Roche, David (DNB00)

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ROCHE, DAVID, Viscount Fermoy (1573?–1635), born about 1573, was the son and heir of Maurice, viscount Fermoy, described by Carew (MacCarthy, Life of Florence MacCarthy, p. 357) as ‘a brain sick foole,’ but by the ‘Four Masters’ (s.a. 1600) as ‘a mild and comely man, learned in the Latin, Irish, and English languages.’ David succeeded to the title on his father's death in June 1600. His mother was Eleanor, daughter of Maurice Fitzjohn Fitzgerald, brother of James, fourteenth earl of Desmond, and sister of James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald [q. v.], ‘the arch traitor.’ During the rebellion of Hugh O'Neill, second earl of Tyrone [q. v.], Roche signalised himself by his loyalty, and in consequence his property of Castletown Roche suffered greatly from the rebels. When the mayor of Cork refused to proclaim James I, Roche, though a zealous Roman catholic, took that duty on himself. His services did not pass unrewarded. On 20 Dec. 1605 he petitioned the privy council, in consequence of his losses during the rebellion, to accept a surrender of his lands, and to make him a regrant of the same at the former rents and services (Cal. State Papers, Ireland, James I, i. 375). Subsequently he went to England, and returning to Ireland in the summer of 1608, the lord deputy was authorised ‘for his encouragement and comfort’ to assign him ‘a band of 150 foot soldiers under his command,’ ‘and because he is one who has reason to doubt that for doing the king service he has raised to himself many adversaries, to give him effectual aid and encouragement on all occasions’ (ib. ii. 553). He was accepted as one of Florence MacCarthy's sureties, and sat in the parliament which assembled at Dublin in May 1613. He supported the action of the recusant lords, and signed the petition protesting against the new boroughs recently created, the course pursued by the sheriffs at the elections, and the place of holding parliament (ib. iv. 343). His behaviour on this occasion was condoned, and on 8 July 1614 Chichester was authorised to grant him lands to the annual value of 50l. (ib. iv. 487). He died in the odour of loyalty at Castletown Roche on 22 March 1635, and was buried on 12 April at the Abbey, Bridgetown. Roche married Joan, daughter of James FitzRichard Barry, viscount Buttevant, and was succeeded by his son

Maurice Roche, Viscount Fermoy (1595?–1660?), at that time about forty years of age. Already during his father's lifetime Maurice had incurred the suspicion of government as ‘a popular man among the papists of Munster, and one of whom some doubts were conceived of his aptness to be incited into any tumultuous action’ (ib. v. 534), and had in consequence been for some time in 1624 incarcerated in Dublin Castle. He took his seat by proxy in the House of Lords on 26 Oct. 1640, but was an active insurgent in the rebellion, for which he was outlawed on 23 Oct. 1643. He was excepted from pardon by act of parliament on 12 Aug. 1652, and his vast estates in co. Cork sequestrated. Eventually he succeeded in obtaining an order from the commissioners at Loughrea for 2,500 acres of miserable land in the Owles in Connaught, formerly belonging to the O'Malleys, but of these he seems never to have got possession. He died about 1660. A certain ‘Lord Roche,’ who had a pension from government of 100l. a year in 1687, and who is said to have been killed fighting for James II, at the battle of Aughrim, on 12 July 1691, was probably a younger brother or a nephew. Maurice Roche married, about 1625, Catherine [or Ellen], daughter of John Power; she, after gallantly defending Castletown Roche in 1649 against the forces of the parliament, was condemned, on the evidence of a strumpet (Prendergast, Cromwellian Settlement, p. 184), for shooting a man unknown with a pistol, and subsequently hanged. She left four daughters utterly unprovided for. The manor of Castletown Roche and lands attached passed into the possession of Roger Boyle, first earl Orrery [q. v.] The title is presumed to have become extinct in 1733, though it is said (Barrington, Personal Sketches, i. 115) that Sir Boyle Roche [q. v.] possessed a claim to it, which, however, he never pursued.

[Complete Peerage of England, &c. by G. E. C. (Fermoy); Burke's Extinct Peerage; Cal. State Papers, Ireland, James I; Prendergast's Cromwellian Settlement, pp. 183–4, and authorities quoted.]

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