Renzy, Matthew de (DNB00)

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RENZY or RENTSI, Sir MATTHEW de (1577–1634), Irish writer, born in 1577, was a native of Cologne, and was said to be descended from Scanderbeg, but the ‘Biographie Universelle’ says the last descendant of the Albanian hero was the Marquis of St. Ange, who was killed at Pavia in 1525.

Sir Matthew was an officer of the customs in Ireland. In 1623 he corresponded with the lord-treasurer Middlesex about revenue business (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. pp. 284, 302). On 30 Jan. 1628–9 he wrote to Middlesex that there was a plot among the Leinster catholics to massacre the English (ib. p. 290). He received grants of land from James I, and also purchased property in King's County, where he made considerable improvements. He died on 29 Aug. 1634. Clobemon Hall, Ferns, was held by his descendants until recent times. A monument still standing in St. Peter's Church, Athlone, was erected by his son Matthew one year after his death. According to the inscription, he was ‘a great traveller and general linguist, and kept correspondence with most nations in many weighty affairs; and in three years gave great perfection to this nation by composing a grammar, dictionary, and chronicle in the Irish tongue: in accounts most expert, and exceeding all others to his great applause.’ Diligent search has been made for the works mentioned, but without result, and if they are extant it is probably in some foreign library.

[Ware's Writers of Ireland, ed. Harris; Journal of Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 3rd quarter, 1890; Morrin's Cal. Pat. Rolls, Charles I, p. 96.]

R. B-l.