Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell

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The Earl of Tyrconnell

Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnel, attributed to François de Troy[1] Note that he, a renowned duellist, is ready to draw.
Lord Deputy of Ireland
In office
Preceded byThe Earl of Clarendon
Succeeded byLords Justices
Personal details
Died14 August 1691 (aged 60-61)

Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell PC (1630–1691) was an Irish royalist and Jacobite soldier. He served as James II's Lord Deputy of Ireland (or viceroy) during the Williamite War in Ireland. His administration saw a major purge of Protestant officers from the Irish Army, which had previously largely barred Catholics.

Frances Jennings, his second wife

Birth and origins[edit]

Richard Talbot was born about 1625, probably in Dublin, as one of 16 children and the youngest of the eight sons of William Talbot and his wife Alison Netterville. His father was a lawyer and the 1st Baronet Talbot of Carton.[2][3] His mother was a daughter of John Netterville.

  1. Robert, who succeeded his father as the 2nd baronet;
  2. Peter, who became archbishop of Dublin; and
  3. Richard (1630–1691), our subject here.

The Talbots are descended from a Norman family that had settled in Leinster in the 12th century. Like most Old English families in Ireland, the Talbots had adopted some customs of the Irish and had, like the Gaelic Irish, adhered to the Catholic faith even after the official change of religion under Henry VIII.

Irish wars[edit]

During the Irish Confederate Wars that followed the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Talbot served in Confederate Ireland's Leinster army as cavalry cornet or junior officer. He was taken prisoner by the Parliamentarians at Thomas Preston, 1st Viscount Tara's defeat of the battle of Dungans Hill in 1647, but was ransomed back to his own side. In 1649, he also survived the Cromwell's Siege of Drogheda, escaping from the garrison before it was massacred. Other sources say he was taken prisoner and then exchanged. Shortly afterwards, he fled Ireland, to join his fellow defeated Royalists in France.

French exile[edit]

Talbot had been introduced to Charles II and James, Duke of York (later James II), when they were exiles in Flanders, as a result of the English Civil War. Talbot then lived like many other royalist refugees, partly by casual military service but also by acting as a subordinate agent in plots to upset the Commonwealth and murder Oliver Cromwell. He was arrested in London in November 1655 and was examined by Cromwell. Once more, he escaped, but it was said by his enemies that he was bribed by Cromwell with whom one of his brothers was certainly in correspondence. He was actively engaged in an infamous intrigue to ruin the character of Anne Hyde, the Duke's wife-to-be, but continued in James' employment.

Restoration court[edit]

After the Restoration, he continued to have a place in the household of the Duke of York. Talbot accumulated money by acting as agent for Irish Roman Catholics who sought to recover their confiscated property by the Act of Settlement 1662, often helped by the Duke, who later inherited as James II of England in 1685. He saw some service at sea in the naval wars with the Dutch. He was arrested for supposed complicity in the Popish Plot agitation in 1678 but was allowed to go into exile.[4]

First marriage[edit]

In 1669 he married Katherine Baynton, daughter of Colonel Matthew Baynton and Isabel Stapleton. She was a Royal maid of honour and a noted beauty. They had two daughters, Katherine and Charlotte.[5] Baynton died in 1679.[6]

Popish Plot and second marriage[edit]

In August 1679 he fled from Ireland to France to avoid to be taken into custody for involvement in the alleged Popish Plot. In Paris he met his old love Frances Jennings, sister of Sarah Jennings (the future Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough) and married her in 1681.[7]

Jacobite Ireland[edit]

After the accession of James II in 1685, he was created Baron of Talbotstown, Viscount Baltinglass and Earl of Tyrconnell (2nd creation),[8] and he was sent as commander in chief of the forces in Ireland. In this capacity and as Lord Deputy of Ireland (1687–88) he placed Catholics in positions of control in the state and the militia, which the Duke of Ormonde had previously organised. Consequently, the entire Roman Catholic population sided with James II in the Glorious Revolution. Thus, in 1689, when James landed at Kinsale with his French officers, Tyrconnell had an Irish army ready to assist him. His role in the Revolution was satirised in the contemporary folk song, Lillibullero. Having landed at Kinsale on 12 March, he went to Cork the next day where he met Tyrconnell and created him Duke of Tyrconnell and Marquess of Tyrconnell, titles recognised only by the Jacobites.[9]

By early 1689, there was growing dissent amongst Protestants across Ireland. In County Cork, the town of Bandon rose but was swiftly defeated by Justin MacCarthy, ending plans for a general uprising across Munster. When the Protestant inhabitants of the north began to rebel, Tyrconnell sent a force of Irish Army troops under Richard Hamilton who routed the rebels at the Break of Dromore and occupied much of Ulster. A second comfortable victory at the Battle of Cladyford followed. This initial success was checked when the Catholic forces besieged Derry and attacked Enniskillen. After Percy Kirke's forces relieved Derry, the Jacobites were forced to withdraw. The situation worsened after Marshal Schomberg's large Williamite expedition landed in Belfast Lough and captured Carrickfergus. Schomberg then marched south to Dundalk and threatened to advance on Dublin. After a lengthy stalemate, the two armies withdrew into winter quarters. Both Tyrconnell and James had rejected advice from their French allies to burn Dublin and retreat behind the River Shannon.

After defeat in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, Tyrconnell went to France for aid. He returned to Ireland in 1691 but died of apoplexy just before the fall of Limerick. Some contemporary accounts say that he was poisoned, but that is unsubstantiated. His widow, Frances, and his daughter, Charlotte, remained in France, where Charlotte married her kinsman, William Talbot of Haggardstown, called 3rd Earl of Tyrconnell in the Jacobite peerage. His other daughter Katherine became a nun.

Tyrconnell's brother, Peter, was Catholic Archbishop of Dublin from 1669 to 1680.

Tyrconnell Tower, Carton Estate.

He is believed to be buried in the "Old Carton" graveyard. His estate in nearby Carton was uncompleted before he died. Tyrconnell Tower on this site was originally meant to be his mausoleum but was also unfinished.

By age and date[edit]

0 1630 Born.
39 1669 Married his 1st wife, Katherine Baynton.
49 1679, March His 1st wife died in Dublin.
49 1679, Aug. Fled from Ireland to Paris, being menaced by accusations under the Popish Plot.
51 1681 Married his 2nd wife, Frances Hamilton, née Jennings, in Paris
57 1687 Appointed Viceroy of Ireland
61 1691, 10 Aug. Died in Limerick.


  1. ^ Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell portrait at (accessed 15 February 2008)
  2. ^ Cokayne 1896, p. 444: "RICHARD TALBOT, 5th or 8th son of Sir William Talbot 1st Bart., [I.] of Carton, co. Kildare (d. 16 March 1633), by Alison, da. of John NETTERVILLE, was b. probably about 1625;"
  3. ^ Petrie 1972, p. 29: "Sir William Talbot and his wife had in all sixteen children, eight sons and eight daughters of whom Richard was the youngest."
  4. ^ Chisholm 1911.
  5. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1957, right column, line 64: "His Grace [Richard Talbot] m. firstly Catherine, dau. of Col. Matthew Boynton and had two daus., of whom the elder, Lady Charlotte, m. her cousin Richard Talbot, called Lord Baltinglas ..."
  6. ^ Sergeant 1913, p. 266: "In March his wife Katherine died, being buried at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin on the 17th."
  7. ^ Bagwell 1898, p. 332, right column: "His wife died in Dublin in 1679 and before the year was out he married in Paris his old love Lady Hamilton whose husband had been killed in 1676 leaving her with six children."
  8. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1957, right column, line 58: "Richard, Earl and Duke of Tyrconnell, who by Patent, dated 20 June, 1685, was created Baron of Talbot's town, Viscount of Baltinglas, and Earl of Tyrconnell, with remainder in tail-male for his nephews;
  9. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1957, right column, line 61: "[Richard Talbot] was subsequently, 20 March, 1689, advanced to the dignity of Marquess and Duke of Tyrconnell by JAMES II, in whose service, as Chief Gov. of Ireland, he d. 14 August, 1691."


Further reading[edit]

  • Lenihan, Pádraig (2014), The Last Cavalier: Richard Talbot (1631–91), Dublin: University of Dublin Press, ISBN 9781906359836


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Clarendon
Lord Deputy of Ireland
Succeeded by
Lords Justices
Peerage of Ireland
New title Earl of Tyrconnell