Maguire, Hugh (DNB00)

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MAGUIRE, HUGH, Lord of Fermanagh (d. 1600), was eldest son of Cuconnaught Maguire (d. 1589) and Nuala, daughter of Manus O'Donnell. One of his earliest exploits was to attack and plunder a party of Scots who had in 1587 made a raid upon co. Down under his own auspices and those of Sir Arthur O'Neill. For some unknown reason Maguire fell upon his former friends on their return to Erne, killing and wounding many of them (Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1586–8, pp. 146, 175, 179). He was also repeatedly in trouble with the English. In 1586 he appears to have surrendered and was pardoned on agreeing to pay five hundred beeves to the queen: two hundred of these were appropriated by Sir John Perrot [q. v.] as his perquisite for making Maguire a captain, but the lord-deputy's part of the bargain was not fulfilled (ib. p. 507). Although three pledges for Maguire's loyalty were placed in Dublin Castle, he entered in 1588 into league with O'Rourke, the Burkes, and the Spaniards (ib. 1588–92, p. 54). He was implicated in a plot of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone (1540?–1616) [q. v.], to murder Con MacShane O'Neill, who petitioned the lord deputy for protection. In 1589, on the death of his father, Maguire succeeded to the estates held by his ancestors since 1302. These were situated in co. Fermanagh, and the position of a considerable portion of them on the islands of Lough Erne gave Maguire an almost impregnable retreat; he considered himself able to hold his country against any power in Ireland. Other of the Maguires, however, were eager to rid themselves of his supremacy, and were willing to join the English with that object (ib. p. 199). Maguire defied the Dublin government, and replied to the lord deputy, Sir William Fitzwilliam (1526–1599) [q. v.], when told that he must allow the queen's writs to run in Fermanagh, ‘Your sheriff shall be welcome, but let me know his eric [i.e. price due to his relatives in case of his death], that if my people should cut off his head, I may levy it upon the country.’ He said he had paid three hundred beeves to the deputy on the understanding that no sheriff should be appointed in his country. Nevertheless, a Captain Willis was made sheriff of Fermanagh; he maintained a force of a hundred men, and gathered as many more followers about him. Maguire in 1590 drove Willis and his men into a church and besieged them there. They were only saved from death by the intervention of Tyrone. Consequently the lord deputy invaded Fermanagh, declared Maguire to be a traitor, and took Enniskillen (Cox, Hibernia Anglicana, i. 402; Fynes Morison, Itinerary, ii. 12). Not discouraged by this reverse, and incited by the primate, Edmund Magauran [q. v.], although Tyrone declared against him, Maguire straightway invaded Connaught. Near Tulsk he fell in with Sir Richard Bingham [q. v.] during a dense fog. The cavalry on either side were close together before they recognised the situation. Bingham's men at first took to flight, and were hotly pursued by Maguire; but on arriving at ‘the camp and fortification where the governor was,’ the English troops ‘turned upon Maguire and pursued him until he had reached the middle of his forces’ (Annals of the Four Masters, vi. 1938). Bingham lost only William Clifford; on the other side were killed among others Magauran, Cathal Maguire, and Felim McCaffry. Maguire now retreated into Fermanagh with considerable spoil (Cox, i. 447–8).

During the next few years Maguire alternately acknowledged and defied the government. Towards the end of 1593 he was wounded in an attempt to prevent Bagnall and Tyrone from crossing the Erne. In June 1594, in conjunction with Hugh Roe O'Donnell, he invested Enniskillen, and when Bingham endeavoured to raise the siege, intercepted and defeated him at the Arney river in an engagement called Bel-Atha-nam Briosgaidh, or the Ford of Biscuits. Enniskillen surrendered to Maguire immediately afterwards. Next year he devastated Cavan, and was publicly declared a traitor (Fynes Moryson, ii. 16; Cox, i. 447). On the outbreak of Tyrone's war Maguire took vigorous action; he shared in the victory of Clontibert, and commanded the cavalry at Mullaghbrack in 1596, when the Anglo-Irish were defeated with great loss. Later in the year he sent in his submission (Fynes Moryson, ii. 17), but in 1598 he was again in arms, and held command at Bagnall's defeat at Yellow Ford. In 1599 he joined in a raid upon Thomond, and took Inchiquin Castle. Early in 1600 he commanded the cavalry in Tyrone's expedition into Munster and Leinster. But he was intercepted by Sir Warham St. Leger within a mile of Cork on 18 Feb. 1600 (Life and Letters of Florence MacCarthy Reagh). An engagement followed, and in the course of it Maguire slew St. Leger, but his own wounds were so severe that he died a few hours afterwards. ‘His foster-father, his priest, all the commanders of his regiment,’ met their death on the field. ‘Thus this auncient Traytor to her Matie,’ wrote Sir H. Power to the council, 4 March 1600, ‘ended his dayes, hauing prosperously contynewed these xvj yeares, and being the meanes of drawing ye rest into action.’ His death caused ‘a giddiness of spirits and depression of mind in O'Neill and the Irish chiefs in general; and this was no wonder, for he was the bulwark of valour and prowess, the shield of protection and shelter, the tower of support and defence, and the pillar of the hospitality and achievements of the Oirghialla, and of almost all the Irish of his time’ (Annals of the Four Masters, vi. 2164–5). An ode, addressed to Maguire by his bard O'Hussey, has been forcibly rendered into English by James Clarence Mangan [q. v.] Maguire is said to have married a daughter of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone. He was succeeded as lord of Fermanagh by his younger brother Cuconnaught Maguire, whom the ‘Four Masters’ style ‘an intelligent, comely, courageous, magnanimous, rapid-marching, adventurous man, endowed with wisdom and personal beauty, and all the other good qualifications.’ He accompanied Tyrone and Tyrconnel to the continent and died at Genoa on 12 Aug. 1608. Almost the whole of Fermanagh was confiscated after his departure and planted with English settlers.

[Calendar of State Papers, 1586–8, 1588–92, 1592–6, passim; Cox's Hibernia Anglicana, ii. passim; Camden's Annals; Fynes Moryson's Itinerary, ii. 12–17, 32; Annals of the Four Masters, vol. vi. passim; Burke's Extinct Peerages; Renehan's Collections; Stuart's Armagh, p. 285; Life and Letters of Florence MacCarthy Reagh; Bagwell's Ireland under the Tudors; Carew MSS.; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography.]

A. F. P.