Hardiman's History of Galway

Chapter 5: From 1641 to the restoration of Charles II in 1660

Captain Willoughby bombards the town

Chapter 5

From 1641 to the restoration of Charles II in 1660

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Old map of Galway

When the inhabitants ventured to remonstrate with him on these proceedings, he threatened to discharge his ordnance into the town; and, not satisfied with the usual supplies from the country, he sallied forth in conjunction with captain Ashley, and with parties of horse and foot indiscriminately burned and broke open houses, carried away goods, and plundered the entire district, to the extent of upwards of one thousand sheep, and two hundred head of cattle. This system of rapine and devastation had the effect, which perhaps the perpetrators intended, of exasperating the whole country. Captain Willoughby, in one of his predatory excursions with a trumpeter and a troop of horse, coming to a town of lord Clanricarde's made a prisoner of one Redmond Burke, (serjeant of a company in the forces which lord Clanmorris had raised for his majesty's service,) a man of good character and an experienced soldier, respected and well allied in the country him he bound, and, with two others, carried; to the fort, and had immediately hanged, (in the view of the town's-people, who were looking on from the walls,) under the commission for martial law, which he lately received from the lords justices. [i] After this outrage, which was little better than deliberate murder, he proceeded to open hostilities against the town, and, as if in a fit of frenzy, without any provocation, burned all the suburbs, the houses whereof were set for more than one thousand pounds a year rent, and obliged upwards of seven hundred families to retire within the walls, to the great incumbrance of the town. He killed several of the inhabitants, assaulted and scaled the walls by night, and fired his cannon into the town for an entire day, though it produced no other effect than a vast lavish of powder, and a discovery of the small injury his ordnance could do to the town, together with the retreating back into the fort of all the guards and sentinels that had been placed near the gates. All these desperate proceedings were well calculated to create, and did accordingly cause universal discontent and resentment, and occasioned and hastened the general and successful confederacy which afterwards ensued, and effected the destruction of the fort, and finally ended in the total subversion of the royal authority in the country.

Next: Lord Forbes arrives with a fleet in the bay

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