Britannia, by William Camden

The County of Maio.

Small T THE County of Maio lies upon the Western Ocean; bounded on the South by the County of Gallway, on the East by Roscommon, and on the North by Slego. It is fertile, pleasant, and well stock’d with Cattle, Deer, Hawks, and Honey. It is so call’d from Maio,Maio. a little Episcopal City, which in the Roman Provincial is writ Mageo. At present this See is annex’d to its Metropolis, the Archbishoprick of Toam; and the neighbours * * under the Jurisdiction ofBishoprick of Killaley. the Bishop of Killaley, in the Barony of Tir-auley; ⌈from whence the Honourable Sir Charles O Hara hath been advanced to the dignity of Baron of Tyrawly.⌉Baron Tyrawly.

In Maio (if I mistake not,) Colman Bishop of Ireland, founded a Monastery; as Bede says, for about thirty English who had been educated Monks, and brought over by him into Ireland. But let him speak in his own words. L.4. C.4. Colman found a place in Ireland very proper for a Monastery, which was called Magio by the Scots; and so he purchas’d a small part of it of the Earl to whom it belong’d, that he might build a Monastery on it; with this condition annex’d, That the Monks residing there, should offer up Prayers for the Earl, who had granted them a Seat. The Monastery, with the assistance of the Earl and the neighbours thereabouts, was soon finish’d; and (leaving the Scots in the Isle of Bovind) he placed the English there. The Monastery is to this day possess’d by the English, being grown much greater, and the same which is usually call’d In Mago. Here, the Institution and way of Living have been very much reform’d; so that they are now a most regular Convent, being all transplanted thither out of England, and living, by the labour of their own hands, under certain Rules and a Canonical Abbot, after the example of the ancient Fathers, with great continence and simplicity. About the year 1115. this Monastery was at last repair’d, and continu’d in a flourishing state in King John’s time, who by his Letters Patents confirm’d their title to several of their Estates. From hence, we meet with no other Logh Mesk. place remarkable, but Logh-Mesk, a large lough full of Fish, containing two small Islands well fortify’d, and formerly belonging to the family de Burgo, or the Burks.

This County is not so * * There are now several good Towns in it; and many of the Families are decay’d.eminent for Towns, as for Inhabitants; who are either of Irish Original, as the O-Mailes, Ioies, † † None of this name now, of note here.Mac-vaduses; or Scots transplanted from the Hebrides and the family of Donell, from thence called Clan-Donells (who are all Galloglases, and a kind of mercenary * * Triarii mercenarii.Soldiers, armed with two edg’d axes and ¦ ¦ Loricis anulatis.coats of mail; and who being formerly invited over by the Rebels, were rewarded with Lands among them;) or else English, as the Burks aforesaid, the Jordans, descended from Jordan of Exeter, the * * None, of these names, now, of note here.Nangles of Castlough, and Galloglases.* Prendergest of Clan-morris.

But the most powerful, are the Burks, who owe their original and glory to William, younger Brother of Walter de Burgo, Earl of Ulster. He was famous for his bravery in the wars, and carry’d Prisoner into Scotland; where leaving his wife a hostage, he was dismiss’d, and valiantly recover’d Conaught, out of which the English had been banish’d in his absence by Phelim O Connor. He slew Phelim O-Conor, Mac-Dermond, and Tego O-Kelly, in battel; and himself was at last kill’d, in revenge, by Cormac Mac-Dermond. His Grandson Thomas (by his son Edmund, who was sirnam’d Albanach, from his birth in Scotland) seeing the fair Estate of this family devolved upon Leonell Duke of Clarence by a female, was much concern’d; and drawing together a desperate Body of men (who are ever to be had in Ireland, as well as other places) enter’d by force upon the estate of the Earls of Munster in this County, and from his Grandfather, whose Authority and Interest among them were fresh in their minds, called himself Mac-William,Mac-William, also call’d Mac-William Eughter. i.e. the Son of William. His Posterity, under that title, did long tyrannize over these parts, breaking in upon one another with slaughters, and upon the poor people with rapine and plunder; so that hardly a Village † † Is, C.was left standing, or ¦ ¦ Extersam.unrifled by them.

Richard Bingham, Governour of Conaught, a sharp man, and fit to rule in such a fierce Province, thought this was not to be endured; wisely observing that these practices were the causes of rebellion, barbarity, and poverty in Ireland, and that they had so far alienated the affections of the Subjects from their Prince, that they hardly knew or acknowledged any other but their own * * Dynastas.Lords. Accordingly, he resolv’d to employ all his thoughts and abilities to re-establish the Regal Power, and overthrow the tyranny of this Mac-William and others; wherein he persevered, tho’ often complain’d of both to the Queen and the Lord Deputy. The Burks and their dependants, who denied the authority of all Laws, took up arms against him; drawing to their assistance the Clan-Donells, Ioies, and others, who were also apprehensive of danger to themselves, and of the diminution of their authority. However, Bingham easily suppress’d them, and forc’d their Castles, and drove them to the woods and holes, till the Lord Deputy, upon their Petition, commanded him by Letters to desist, and to permit them to live quietly. But they who had first broken the peace, were so far from a sense of the miseries of war, that they were no sooner restored, and had their lives given them, but they took up arms again, made inroads into the Country for spoil, and put all in confusion; saying, they would either have their Mac-William to rule over them, or send for one out of Spain; that they would admit no Sheriffs for the future, nor be subject to Laws: so, they privately invited the Scots from the Hebrides to their assistance, with a promise of large Estates. The Lord Deputy sent orders to the Governour to suppress these insolences; who immediately thereupon offer’d them terms; which being rejected, he drew an Army together, and press’d them so closely in the woods and forests, that after six or seven weeks grievous famine, they were forced to submit. At the same time, their reinforcement from Scotland was upon their march, seeking by-ways into the County of Maio; but their motions were so well watched by the Governour (who was night and day upon his march) that at length at Ardnary he intercepted, engag’d, and defeated them; there being kill’d or drown’d in the river Moin about three thousand. This Victory was not only glorious for the present, but of great consequence to after-times, as having put an end to that rebellion, and the title of Mac-William, and cut off Donell Gormy, and Alexander Carrogh, the sons of James Mac-Connell, with those Islanders, who above all others had infested Ireland. These things I have briefly related, though beyond my Design; such noble Exploits being a more proper subject for an Historian.

⌈The honourable Family of Bourk, enjoy the title of Viscount Mayo.⌉Viscount Mayo.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52