Bellingham, Edward (DNB00)

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BELLINGHAM, Sir EDWARD (d. 1549), lord deputy of Ireland, was the oldest son of Edward Bellingham, Esq., of Erlingham in Sussex, by Jane, daughter of John Dudley of Michelgrove in the same county, of the family from which sprung Percy Shelley. Bellingham was brought up in the household of the Duke of Norfolk. He was a soldier of distinction, having served in Hungary with Sir Thomas Seymour, and with the Earl of Surrey at Boulogne, and when lieutenant of the Isle of Wight in 1545, he took the chief part in the repulse of the French attack on that island. He was a member of the privy council of Edward VI. From the State Papers we know that he was in Ireland in October 1547. How long he had been there does not appear. He returned to England early in 1548, and on 12 April in that year was appointed lord deputy, but did not arrive in the country till 27 May(19th according to one account). His conduct in this office is highly praised by Fuller (Worthies, Westmoreland, p.138) and by Holinshed (Irish Chronicle, p. 109). 'He had,' says the former, 'no fault in his deputyship but one, that it was too short.' The country was in a state of extraordinary confusion when he arrived in it, and it is not easy from the contemporary documents to trace the action of his government. The chief difficulty with which Bellingham had to contend was a rebellion in the district now known as King's County and Queen's County, but at that time as the O'Connor's country and the O'More's country. Both these chiefs had taken up arms against the English crown, and both were brought to submission by the forces directed against them by Bellingham, although the troops at his command did not exceed 1,500 men. O'More's lands were taken from him and parcelled among English colonists. This was almost the first extension of the English westwards from the Pale. Bellingham then turned his attention to two other objects — the freeing the coast from pirates, and the opening up of the passes into Munster and Connaught, To secure the latter he built a strong castle at Athlone; he likewise quelled an attempted rising on the part of the Earl of Desmond. He is related by Holinshed to have taken prisoner the Earl of Desmond, to have brought him to Dublin, and there kept him till he grew civil and obedient to the king. But no distinct mention of this latter act is to be found in the State Papers. Though a man of great administrative ability, he seems to have given offence by his arrogance, and it may have been on this account, or it may have been only on account of ill-health, that he was recalled in 1549. He died in the autumn of the same year.

[Visitation of Westmoreland. Harl. MS. 1435; State Papers. Ireland, Edward VI, vol. i,; Holinshed's Irish Chron. p. 109.]

C. F. K.