Cosby, Francis (DNB00)

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COSBY, FRANCIS (d. 1580), Irish general, settled in Ireland in Henry VIII's reign. In 1548 Bellingham, the lord deputy, acknowledged the resource and courage displayed by Cosby in attacking the marauders who infested the boundaries of the English pale, and ten years later Sussex was as enthusiastic in his commendation. In 1558 Cosby was appointed general of the Kerne, and in 1562 was granted the suppressed abbey of Stradbally in Queen's County. In 1565 he became governor of Maryborough, and seneschal of Queen's County. He helped to massacre, although the amount of his responsibility is doubtful, many of the O'Mores at Mullagh, near Athy, in 1567, who had been summoned to the fortress on avowedly peaceful business. (The date 1577 in the ‘Annals of the Four Masters’ is corrected to 1567 in the ‘Annals of Lough Cé.’) Cosby was not successful in repressing disorder in Queen's County. Rory Oge O'More was continually threatening him, and took his eldest son prisoner in 1577. The murder of Rory in the following year relieved Cosby of his chief difficulty, but the outbreak of the Desmond rebellion in 1580 caused him new anxieties, and he was killed by the rebels at the battle of Glenmalure, 25 Aug. 1580. He married Elizabeth Palmer, by whom he had three sons, Alexander, Henry, and Arnold, and one daughter. Alexander succeeded to the estates, received additional grants in Queen's County, and was, with his son Francis, killed at the battle of Stradbally Bridge. The estates subsequently passed to Richard, another son of Alexander, whose descendants still possess them. Arnold, Francis Cosby's second son, served under the Earl of Leicester in the Low Countries.

[Burke's Landed Gentry; Four Masters, ed. O'Donovan (1856); Bagwell's Ireland under the Tudors; Webb's Irish Biography; Carew MSS.; Cal. Irish State Papers; Froude's Hist. x. 580.]

S. L. L.