|Died||1691 (aged about 79)
|Allegiance||England (to 1642)
Spain (1653– ? )
France (? –1660)
|Battles/wars||Battle of the Dunes (1658), Siege of Athlone|
Grace, the younger son of Robert Grace, feudal baron of Courtstown, was born the early part of the 17th century, of a Kilkenny family that may have been descended from Odo, Count of Champagne. He resided at Moyelly Castle, Queen's County, and served Charles I in England, until the surrender of Oxford in 1646. He then returned to Ireland, and was for some years engaged in the Irish Confederate Wars. He is referred to in State Papers as being at the head of 3,000 men, harassing the Parliamentary troops — now in Wicklow, and again at Crogan, beyond the River Shannon.
In 1652 a reward of £300 was by the English Commonwealth government set upon his head, yet at the conclusion of the war he was permitted to enter the Spanish service with 1,200 of his men. At the Battle of the Dunes (1658) he commanded the Lord Ormond's regiment of Irish in the services of King Charles II. After some time he went over to the French side, without betraying any trust imposed upon him, having given due notice to his Spanish friends. After the Restoration he was appointed Chamberlain to the Duke of York (the future James II), and in consideration of his faithful and indefatigable services, received "pensions of £400, and a portion at least of his estates were restored to him." When James II. came to Ireland, Grace was appointed Governor of Athlone, with a garrison of three regiments of foot, and eleven troops of cavalry.
After the Battle of the Boyne, Athlone was invested by General Douglas with ten regiments of foot, and five of horse. Grace having burnt the English town, and broken down the bridge, defended the Connaught works with indomitable spirit. When called upon to surrender, he fired a pistol over the messenger's head, and declared: "These are my terms; these only will I give or receive; and when my provisions are consumed, I will defend till I eat my old boots." At the end of a week, Douglas was obliged to draw off, with the loss of 400 men. The town was again invested by Godert de Ginkell in 1691.
Marquis de St Ruth had meanwhile obliged Grace to exchange three of his veteran regiments for inferior French troops. Nevertheless, he made a heroic defence under St Ruth, and on 30 June 1691, after de Ginkell's passage of the Shannon and the capture of the citadel on the Connaught side, Colonel Grace's body was found under the ruins. His conduct towards the Protestants within his district is described as having been peculiarly humane and just; and although the severity of his discipline contrasted with the irregularities tolerated in other portions of the Irish army, he was greatly beloved by his men.
- "Richard was the fourth of five sons (Oliver, called 'fille the poet', b.1605, John, b.c.1607, Patrick, b.c.1610, the said Richard, b.c.1612, and Lucas, b.c.1615 (Burke 1836, p. 353)
- Langrishe 1902, pp. 64–67 See Odo, Count of Champagne for more details on the descent issue.
- Web pp. 223,224
- Firth, p.85 (PDF p. 19)
- Burke, John (1836), A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank, II, p. 353
- Firth, C. H., Royalist and Cromwellian Armies in Flanders, 1657-1662, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Read November 20, 1902, journals.cambridge.org.
- Langrishe, Richard (31 March 1902), "The Origin of the Grace Family of Courtstown, County Kilkenny. (No 2)", The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 5, 32 (1), pp. 64–67, JSTOR 25507186
- Web, Alfred (1878). Comprising sketches of distinguished Irishmen, eminent persons connected with Ireland by office or by their writings, Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son. Grace, Richard. Cites: 150. Grace, Memoirs of the Family of: Sheffield Grace. London, 1823.
- This article incorporates text from a work in the public domain: "A compendium of Irish Biography" by Alfred Web (1878)