William de Burgh

William de Burgh (1157 – 1206) (but may be the same as William FitzAldelm de Burgh). He died in 1206 at Athassell Abbey, Golden, County Tipperary, Munster, Ireland.



The 'de Burgh' family owned the majority of a small village, Walton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire [Walton] and did so for hundreds of years through many generations.

Early life Early career

William's ancestry is unknown but he was apparently a kinsman of Hubert de Burgh. He arrived in Ireland in 1175 among retinue of King Henry II of England. Henry apparently appointed him Governor of Limerick. With in a few years he was granted the manors of Kilsheeland and Ardpatrick, and in time, the castle of Tibraghty in County Kilkenny.

In 1179, King Henry II of England granted vast estates of land in Leinster, Munster, and Connaught to William who became the first Lord of Connaught, but never really held the land of Connaught until 1204. [http://www.booksulster.com/library/biography/biographyD.php]

Sometime in the 1190s, William allied with the King of Thomond, either Donal Mor mac Turlough O’Brien, King of Thomond (died 1194) or his son Murtogh, and may have married Donal's daughter. This alliance probably took place during the reign of Murtough, as up to the time of his death Donal had being at war with the Normans. At any rate no more wars are recorded between the two sides for the rest of the decade.

Alliance with Connacht

In 1200, "Cathal Crobderg Ua Conchobair went into Munster, to the son of Mac Carthy and William Burke to solicit their aid." This marked the start of de Burgh's interest in the province. Though King of Connacht Cathal Crobderg Ua Conchobair (reigned 1190–1224) faced much opposition, mainly from within his own family and wished to engage Burke's aid to help secure his position. The following year William and Ua Conchobair led an army from Limerick to Tuam and finally to Boyle. Ua Conchobair's rival, Cathal Carragh Ua Conchobair marched at the head of his army to give them battle but was killed in a combined Burke/Ua Conchobair onslaught after a week of skirmishing between the two sides.

William and Ua Conchobair then travelled to Iar Connacht and stayed at Cong for Easter. Here, William and the sons of Rory O'Flaherty conspired to kill Ua Conchobair but the plot was foiled, apparently by holy oaths they were made to swear by the local Coarb family. However, when de Burgh demanded payment for himself and his retinue, battle finally broke out with over seven hundred of de Burgh's followers said to have being killed. William, however, managed to return to Limerick.

The following year in 1202, William returned and took vengeance, on his army that was destroyed a year early. He took the title “Lord of Connaught” in 1203.


The "Annals of the Four Masters" recorded his passing in 1206:

"William Burke plundered Connaught, as well churches as territories; but God and the saints took vengeance on him for that; for he died of a singular disease, too shameful to be described."


The identity of William's wife is uncertain. A late medieval genealogy records his marriage to Donal Mor mac Turlough O'Brien [cite book | first=C. A | last=Empey | chapter=Burgh, William de (d. 1206) | title=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography | publisher=Oxford University Press | year=2004 | url=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4000 | accessdate=2006-11-04] , and the descent of Clanricarde from their son Richard. A book of genealogies recorded in the 15th century by Cú Choigcríche Ó Cléirigh, one of the Four Masters (published in "Annalecta Hibernica" 18), indicates that the mother of Richard Mor de Burgh, William's son and successor, was the "daughter of the Saxon [English] king", an illegitimate daughter of Henry II of England or perhaps Richard I of England. Such a connection would explain the use of the term "consanguineus" [kinsman] by Edward I of England to describe Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster. However, the filiation of William's children remains conjectural, and it is not even clear whether Richard de Burgh, ancestor of Clanricarde, is even a separate person from Richard Mor de Burgh.

Children, perhaps by a natural daughter of a King of England:
* Hubert, Bishop of Limerick (1196–1251)
* William, Sheriff of Connaught (1198-1247)

Son, by the daughter of Donal Mor mac Turlough O'Brien:
* Richard Mor de Burgh, Lord of Connaught (Abt. 1194–Bet. 17 Feb 1242-1243)

See also

*Burke Baronets of Glinsk
*Burke Civil War 1333-38
*Earl of Ulster


*Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis, Line 177B-8.
* "Burke: People and Places", Eamonn Bourke, Dublin, 1995.

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