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Friday, June 18, 2010

Patrick Sarsfield

Patrick Sarsfield, the First Earl of Lucan

Patrick Sarsfield (ca. 1660 – 21 August 1693), created the first Earl of Lucan, Irish Jacobite and soldier, belonged to an Anglo-Norman family long settled in Ireland.

Sarsfield was born in Lucan. His father Patrick Sarsfield married Anne, daughter of Rory (Roger) O'Moore, who organized the Irish Rebellion of 1641. The family was of Norman origin (by this time, known as "Old English") and possessed an estate with an income of £2,000 a year. Patrick, who was a younger son, entered Dongan's Regiment of Foot on 6 February 1678.

In his early years, he is known to have challenged Lord Grey for a supposed reflection on the veracity of the Irish people (September 1681), and in the December of that year he was run through the body in a duel in which he engaged as second.

In 1682-83 while in London, Sarsfield took part in two abductions of heiresses. In May 1682, he helped his friend Captain Robert Clifford to abduct Ann Siderlin, a wealthy widow, and was considered lucky not to be prosecuted. Then he abducted Elizabeth Herbert, the widowed daughter of Lord Chandos, on his own account. Elizabeth refused to marry him, but agreed not to prosecute him in exchange for her freedom.

During the last years of the reign of King Charles II, he saw service in the English regiments that were attached to the army of Louis XIV of France. The accession of King James II led to his return home.

He took part in the suppression of the Western rebellion at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685. In the following year he was promoted to a colonelcy. King James had adopted the policy of remodelling the Irish army so as to turn it from a Protestant-led force to a Catholic-led one, and Sarsfield, whose family was Roman Catholic, was selected to assist in this reorganization. He went to Ireland with Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell, who was appointed commander-in-chief by the king.

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