CELT document E650001-023

Account of Surrender of Limerick, 1651


William Layles

Edited by John T. Gilbert

Whole text

Account of Surrender of Limerick, 1651

Clarendon Papers, 1651, No. 580, Bodleian Library.

After a longe debate for a treatie with the enemy the 23th of October last a mixt Councell of warr and Civill Government was held in the Courte house wherein was concluded that the treatie should goe on, and that they should not sticke for any persons exempted or to be exempted from quarter of life or goods, the which theire result being knowne by the rest of the towne uppon theire meeting the next morneing to choose Commissioners for the treaty the Lord Bishops of Lymricke and Imly and the Clergie there resident went into the Court house and declared unto them the excommunication to be incurred by them and every of them if they should deliver upp the prelatts to be slaughtered, Which notwithstanding they proceeded to theire election of agents for the treatie. Uppon which a declaration of the excommunication uppon theire persons and perpetuall interdict of the Cittie was published and fixed to the churches doores, which when the factioniers heard they sent that very night Collonell Fenell, William Burke, Fitz Thibott, and Lieutenant Collonell Teige Mc John, Mc Teige, Mc Nemarra, with theire partys into St. Joanes Gate and Cluam's tower, of which they possessed themselues, and did cast away the guard appointed for the place, and the said Collonell Fenell being questioned by the Major Generall what brought him thither, being appointed to relieve the Islands pousts, he answeared that he had reason to be there, and alsoe commanded by the Mayor and the best in the towne. Uppon which the Mayor being sent for never answered directly to any question, but alwayes alledged that there was noe harme in the said partys being in that place, and being questioned whether he gaue the keyes of the gate unto them he answered negatively though vntruely as appeered after, this being on Twesday the 24th. Friday a Councell of warr sate and sent for Collonell Fenell for to be tryed, but he would not appeere though sent for three or fower tymes, uppon which his neglect and contumacie the Councell of warr thought to proceede against him but vpp starts my Lord of Castle Conell, and tooke Fenell's parte, uppon which the Councell was disolved, and the said Lord of  p.264 Castle Connell went to Fennell and had a longe priuat discourse with him, and afterwards Fennell haveing gotten fower ferquens of powder, etc., from the Mayor, turned Surrender the mussells of the artillery which was to play uppon the enemy uppon the citty, and said plainely that he would not parte the place afore the cittie were yeelded.

This night the enemy planted a battery at the windemill, but soe high that it was to noe purpose. Saturday night they removed theire gabions into a lower place where they might play sure. Sunday in the morneing aboute ten of the clock they shott nyne greate shotts, broke theire battery peece, they gaue a seacond vollie of eight shotts, and uppon that a drummer was sent abroad to haue a tyme to send out Commissioners for the treatie. The agents went away the after noone with full power to conclude, and they sent in two Captains as hostages from the enemy.

Munday they sent home for the hostages and they were sent abroade. The quarter was thus: that the inhabitants should with three monethes warneing goo away, bagge and baggage, and shall haue three other monethes to carry away theire goods which they should leaue behinde them, but the militia should march away without armes, onely the field officers to carry theire swords, and that all other persons then resident not exempted from quarter may march with the militia, and that they should haue a safe conduct to what part soeuer in Ireland they would be pleased to goe, not being garizon or hould of theires, but it was not performed. This evening Collonell Fenell suffered, by the Recorders order, two hundred redd coates into St. Joanes gate tower, and a company of redd coates was sufferred into Price's mill by his order, and soe they continued untill Wednesday in the morneing and then a drummer was sent through the cittie comaundinge all manner of troopers and souldiers in pay within the cittie to come to Our Ladyes church and there to laye downe theire armes, which presently done, and soe the souldiery were comaunded to march away. Ireton himselfe came in within the gate and received the keyes, etc., and did committ Major Neile. The cheefe authors of the plott were the new Mayor, Piers Creagh Fitz Piers, Piers Creagh Fitz Andrewe, the Recorder, Dr. Dominicke White, James Burke, Nicholas Fanning, James White, Alderman, and many burgesses, whereof Lawrence Rice, Lawrence White, David Creagh, Stephen White, Patricke Wolfe, and James Mahony were cheefest.

The cheefest exempted persons were the Major Generall, the two Bishops [of Emly and Limerick], Francis Wolfe, guardian of St. Francis, Captain Lawrence Welsh, priest, Dominic Fanning, Alderman, Tho. Stretch, Alderman, Edmond Roch, Burges, Patricke Faning, Captain, John Sexten, David Rochford, Major Generall Pursell, Major Piers Lacie, Captain Ullicke Lacy, and others to the number of fower and twenty. For the persons executed I was not present, but I hard for certaine from those that came after me abroad that the Bishop of Imly, Major Purcell, Dominic Fanning, both his sons and his brother, Thomas Strech, Lawrence Welsh, Francis Woulfe, and George Woulfe weare putt to death. What became of the rest I doe not know.

Dr William Layles.
Endorsed by Lord Clanricarde: A relation of the Surrender of Limericke, Oct. 27, 1651.

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Title (uniform): Account of Surrender of Limerick, 1651

Author: William Layles

Editor: John T. Gilbert

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Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber

Proof corrections by: Olivia Lardner

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1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 1840 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of the History Department, University College Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2009

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E650001-023

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Source description

Secondary literature: a small selection

  1. Francis Finegan, 'The siege of Limerick, 1651', in: Francis Finegan (ed.), Commemoration of the siege of Limerick: tercentenary commemoration of the siege of Limerick, 1651–1951 ([s.l.]: [s.n.] 1951) 25–33.
  2. Gerard Anthony Hayes-McCoy, 'Limerick 1651: the weapons of the siege', in: Francis Finegan (ed.), Commemoration of the siege of Limerick: tercentenary commemoration of the siege of Limerick, 1651–1951 ([s.l.]: [s.n.] 1951) 34–39.
  3. J. G. Simms, 'Hugh Dubh O'Neill's defence of Limerick, 1650–1'. Irish Sword 3:2 (1957/58) 115–123.
  4. Jane H. Ohlmeyer (ed.), Ireland from independence to occupation 1641–1660. Cambridge 1995.
  5. Jane H. Ohlmeyer, 'Ireland independent: confederate foreign policy and international relations during the mid-seventeenth century', in: Jane H. Ohlmeyer, (ed.), Ireland from independence to occupation 1641–1660. Cambridge 1995, 89–111.
  6. Micheál Ó Siochrú, Confederate Ireland, 1642–1649: a constitutional and political analysis. Dublin 1998.
  7. Nicholas Canny, Making Ireland British, 1580–1650. Oxford 2001.
  8. Micheál Ó Siochrú, 'The Confederates and the Irish wars of the 1640s', in: Liam Ronayne (ed.), The battle of Scariffhollis 1650 (Letterkenny: Eagráin Dhún na nGall, 2001), 7–15.
  9. Micheál Ó Siochrú, (ed.), Kingdoms in crisis: Ireland in the 1640s. Essays in honour of Donal Crógan. Dublin and Portland (OR) 2001.
  10. Margaret Franklin, A bibliography of Limerick city and county. Limerick 2005.
  11. David Farr, Henry Ireton and the English Revolution. Woodbridge 2006.
  12. Mícheál Ó Siochrú, Atrocity, Codes of Conduct and the Irish in the British Civil Wars 1641–1653, Past & Present 195/1 (2007) 55–86.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Account of Surrender of Limerick, 1651’ (1880). In: A Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland from 1641 to 1652‍. Ed. by John T. Gilbert. Vol. 3. Dublin: Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, pp. 263–264.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {John T. Gilbert},
  title 	 = {Account of Surrender of Limerick, 1651},
  booktitle 	 = {A Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland from 1641 to 1652},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  publisher 	 = {Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society},
  date 	 = {1880},
  volume 	 = {3},
  pages 	 = {263–264}


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The present text covers pages 263–64 of the volume in the Appendix.

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Creation: Dr. William Layles

Date: October 1651

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  • The text is in seventeenth-century English. (en)

Keywords: histor; military; political; letter; 17c; Confederate wars; surrender of Limerick

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2009-03-06: File parsed; bibliography compiled; SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2009-03-05: Header created, file proofed (2); structural and some content markup applied, including variant spellings and place-names. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2008-10-30: File proofed (1); page-breaks added. (ed. Olivia Lardner, Galway)
  4. 2008-10-15: Text captured. (ed. Beatrix Färber)

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