William Burke, 7th Earl of Clanricarde

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William Burke
Earl of Clanricarde
An shield of arms showing a red cross on a golden ground with a black lion in the first quarter.
Arms of de Burgh/Burke of Clanricarde[a]
PredecessorRichard, 6th Earl of Clanricarde
SuccessorRichard, 8th Earl of Clanricarde
  • Lettice Shirley
  • Helen MacCarty
Richard, John, & others
FatherWilliam Burke
MotherJoan O'Shaugnessy

William Burke, 7th Earl of Clanricarde, PC (Ire) (English: /klænˈrɪkɑːrd/; klan-RIK-ard; died 1687), was an Irish peer who fought in his youth together with his brother Richard, 6th Earl of Clanricarde under their cousin, Ulick Burke, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde against the Parliamentarians in the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. He succeeded his brother as the 7th Earl in 1666.

Birth and origins[edit]

William was a younger son of Sir William Burke and his wife Joan. His father was the third son of Ulick Burke, 3rd Earl of Clanricarde.[2] William's mother was a daughter of Dermot O'Shaugnessy of Gort.[3]

William Burke had two sons:[4]

  1. Richard (died 1666), became the 6th Earl of Clanricarde
  2. William (died 1687)

It is likely that he also had sisters but nothing seems to be known about them.

Family tree
William Burke with his two wives, his parents, and selected relatives.[b]
3rd Earl

d. 1601

b. c. 1535
4th Earl


d. 1626
1st Earl

1st Marquess

6th Earl

d. 1666

c. 1617 – 1655
7th Earl
d. 1687

d. 1722
8th Earl

d. aft. 1708
9th Earl


d. 1711
1st Viscount

10th Earl


d. 1733
XXXSubject of
the article
XXXEarls & Marquesses
of Clanricarde
XXXEarls of

First marriage[edit]

His first wife was Lettice Shirley, daughter of Sir Henry Shirley, 2nd Baronet, by Lady Dorothy Devereux and granddaughter of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. She was born about 1617 and died on 25 September 1655.[5] They had three sons:

  1. Richard (died after 1708), became the 8th Earl of Clanricarde;[6]
  2. John (1642–1722), became the 9th Earl of Clanricarde.[7]
  3. Thomas (died 1688), killed at the Siege of Buda, Hungary;[8][c][d][9]

Early life and Irish wars[edit]

During William's childhood his uncle Richard was Earl of Clanricarde, the 4th of his name. That uncle died on 12 November 1635[10] and was succeeded by his cousin Ulick as the 5th Earl and 1st Marquess. Ulick was neutral during the Irish Confederate Wars and fought the Parliamentarians during the Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland. He lost the Battle of Meelick Island in 1650 and surrendered to the Parliamentarians on 28 June 1652.[11] He died in July 1657 and was succeeded by William's brother as the 6th Earl of Clanricarde.[12] In July 1657 his brother Richard succeeded his cousin Ulick as the 6th Earl of Clanricarde.

Second marriage[edit]

Burke married secondly to Helen, widow of Sir John FitzGerald of Dromana and daughter of Donough MacCarty, 1st Earl of Clancarty.[13][14] The date of this marriage is constrained by the death of her first husband in 1662 or 1664 and the birth of their eldest son in about 1670.

William and Helen had four children:[c]

  1. Ulick (1670–1691), was created Viscount of Galway and fell at the Battle of Aughrim fighting for the Jacobites;[15][c]
  2. Margaret (1673–1744), first married Bryan Magennis, 5th Viscount of Iveagh, and then Thomas Butler of Garryricken;[16][c]
  3. William, died childless in France;[17][c]
  4. Honora (c. 1675 – 1698), married 1st Patrick Sarsfield and 2nd the Duke of Berwick.[18]
  5. Thomas (d.1666)

7th Earl[edit]

In 1666 his elder brother Richard, the 6th Earl of Clanricarde, died[19] and William eventually succeeded as the 7th Earl of Clanricarde. The date falls into the bracket of the not precisely known dat of his second marriage.

Late life, death, succession, and timeline[edit]

Clanricarde, as he now was, became Lord Lieutenant of Galway in 1680 and its Chief Governor in 1687. In 1681 he become a member of the Irish Privy Council.[20]

Clanricarde died in October 1687[21] and was succeeded by his eldest son Richard as the 8th Earl of Clanricarde. His daughter Honora inherited a fortune of £3,500 from her father.[22][23]

Notes, citations, and sources[edit]


  1. ^ Blazened: Or, a cross gules in the first quarter a lion rampant sable.[1]
  2. ^ Also see the lists of siblings and children in the text.
  3. ^ a b c d e Lodge by error ignores Clanricarde's second marriage to Helen and lists all the children as born by Lettice Shirley, his first wife.
  4. ^ There probably is some error here as the siege of Buda was in 1686.
  5. ^ His 1st wife was born about 1617; assuming she was 18 at that time, her marriage would be in 1635; assuming he was 20, gives 1615 as year of his birth.


  1. ^ Burke & Burke 1844, p. 325 (renumbered): "Or, a cross gu. in the first quarter a lion ramp. sa."
  2. ^ Cokayne 1913, p. 232, line 18: "... which William was 3rd s. of Ulick, the 3rd earl."
  3. ^ Cokayne 1913, p. 232, line 17: "... by Joan, da. of Dermot O'Shaugnessy of Gort ..."
  4. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 137: "... he had two sons, viz. Richard, the sixth Earl of Clanricarde; and colonel William who succeeded his brother."
  5. ^ a b Cokayne 1913, p. 232, line 29: "She, who was b. [born] about 1617, was bur. [buried] as 'the wife of Col. Burke', 25 Sep. 1655, at Bredon, co. Leicester."
  6. ^ Cokayne 1913, p. 233: "8. Richard (Bourke), Earl of Clanricarde & [I.], s. [succeeded] and h. [heir] by 1st wife. He conformed to the established Church in or before 1681."
  7. ^ Cokayne 1913, p. 234: "9. John (Bourke), Earl of Clanricarde & [I.], br. [brother] and h. [heir] male by full blood. He was born 1642 ..."
  8. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 138, line 11: "Thomas, who was killed in 1688 at the siege of Buda, in Hungary, then possessed by the Turks ..."
  9. ^ Burke 1869, p. 228, left column, line 6: "Thomas, killed at Buda."
  10. ^ a b Cokayne 1913, p. 231, line 13: "He [the 4th Earl] d. 12 Nov. 1635 and was bur. there [Tunbridge] aged about 63."
  11. ^ a b Coffey 1914, p. 223, line 7: "Clanricarde attempted to continue resistance but eventually submitted on June 28th, 1652."
  12. ^ a b Cokayne 1913, p. 232, line 7: "He [the 5th Earl] d. s.p.m. at Somerhill, Kent, July 1657 and was bur. at Tunbridge."
  13. ^ a b Cokayne 1913, p. 233, line 2: "He [Clanricarde] m. 2ndly Helen, widow of sir John FitzGerald, of Dromana, co. Waterford (who d. 1662), da. of Donough (MacCarty), 1st Earl of Clancarty [I.] by Eleanor ..."
  14. ^ Burke & Burke 1909, p. 410, right column, line 73: "His Lordship [Clanricarde] m. secondly, Ellen, dau. [daughter] of Donough, Earl of Clancarty, and had, 4. Ulick ... "
  15. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 138, line 13: "Ulick, created by privy seal, dated at Whitehall, 9 May, and by patent 2 June 1687, baron of Tyaquin in the co. of Galway, and Viscount of Galway; was a nobleman of true courage and endowed with many good qualities; he commanded a regiment of foot in K. James's army; and in that station was killed at Aghrim, 12 July 1691, being not full 22 years old."
  16. ^ a b Lodge 1789, p. 138, line 27: "Margaret, born in 1673 and married first in 1689 to Bryan Viscount Magennis, of Iveagh who dying in 1692, she remarried in 1696 with Thomas Butler of Kilcash in the co. of Tipperary, Esq.; where she died his widow, 19 July, 1744."
  17. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 138, line 26: "William died in his minority in France."
  18. ^ a b Burke 2005, p. 21: "Honora de Burgh was born C 1675 at Portumna Castle, Co. Galway."
  19. ^ a b Cokayne 1913, p. 232, line 23: "He [the 6th Earl] d. s.p.m. [died without male heir] Aug. 1666."
  20. ^ Cokayne 1913, p. 232, line 25: "William (Burke), Earl of Clanricarde, &c. [I. [Ireland] ], br. [brother] and h. [heir] male, was ... Lieut. of co. Galway, 1680; Chief Gov. thereof, 1687; P.C. [I.] 30 Apr. 1681."
  21. ^ a b Cokayne 1913, p. 233, line 5: "He d. Oct. 1687."
  22. ^ Hardy 1913, p. 14: "... the late Earl of Clanricarde bequeathed to his daughter, Lady Honor Burke, who since married Colonel Sarsfield, the sum of 3,500l by his last will and testament, which is forfeited to the King by her marriage with the said Patrick Sarsfield ..."
  23. ^ "Burke, William | Dictionary of Irish Biography". www.dib.ie. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  24. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 16: "Charles I. ... acc. 27 Mar. 1625 ..."
  25. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 17: "Charles I. ... exec. 30 Jan. 1649 ..."
  26. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 39: "Charles II. ... acc. 29 May 1660 ..."
  27. ^ Cokayne 1892, p. 9, line 24a: "... [Ulick] was b. [born] about 1670 ..."
  28. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 46: "James II. ... acc. 6 Feb. 1685 ..."


Further reading[edit]

  • Portumna Castle and its Lords, Michael Mac Mahon, 1983.
  • Burke, Bourke & De Burgh: People and Places, Eamon Bourke, Dublin, 1995. (Google Books, no preview)
  • From Warlords to Landlords: Political and Social Change in Galway 1540-1640, Bernadette Cunningham, in "Galway: History and Society", 1996.
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Earl of Clanricarde
Succeeded by