Preston, Ireland and the Glorious Revolution — 1688


For detailed source references see the edited diary entries for 1688 of Thomas Bellingham and Lawrence Rawstorne.
For background information see Introduction


Bellingham was clearly a member of the Anglo-Irish establishment and as such was closely connected by family and friendship with the Protestant gentry arriving in Preston from Ireland. The ties linking Bellingham with Ireland are demonstrated by the second entry in his diary, for 2 August 1688, where he records a visit by Robert Rochfort and Stephen Ludlow. Rochfort was married to a sister of Bellingham’s wife, Abigail, and Ludlow and Abigail’s brother, William Handcock, both represented Boyle in the Irish House of Commons in 1692:

Ye 2d. A fayr day. Chancery Court. R. Rochfort and Mr Ludlow came here. We din’d att Turlagh’s. After dinner we went to ye marsh and bowld. Att night were att Rigby’s with severall of ye gentlemen of ye town.

Rochfort was a lawyer by profession and held high legal and political positions in Ireland before the revolution, including speaker of the Irish House of Commons, attorney general and chief baron of the exchequer. He left Ireland in 1688, and was among the Protestants attainted by James II’s Irish parliament of 1689, and had his Westmeath estate sequestered. By early 1690 he was back in Ireland and serving in public office. In 1692 he was elected MP for County Westmeath.

Later in the month Bellingham was welcoming two cousins named Springham, who arrived in town on the 27 August and stayed until 12 September. These were quite possibly members of the Dublin family of that name, some of whom feature in lists of the city’s high sheriffs in the 17th century.

Bellingham was in Liverpool in October 1688 where he spent the day with Sir Robert King, an Irish MP who served as Charles II’s Muster-Master-General of Ireland. A probable relation of Sir Robert’s, Luke King, features elsewhere in Bellingham’s diary.

On 5 October, Bellingham was recording that the Duke of Ormonde was to replace James II’s favourite Tyrconnell as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland as the king attempted to regain the support he had lost by his favouring of Catholics. After William’s invasion Tyrconnell retained his position.

By December the exodus of Protestants from Ireland had begun, with Bellingham recording, Ye 11th. … We had account of severall vessells arriv’d att Liverpoole, yesterday, wth multitudes of English who fled out of Ireland for fear of a massacre. It is perhaps noteworthy that Bellingham refers to those fleeing Ireland as English, not Irish. Next day, Bellingham is reporting, ye account of ye Lord of Meath’s going to Tirconnell and desiring armes for theyr protection, but was refus’d and threatned and charg’d wth Rebellion. Meath would have been Edward Brabazon, the Earl of Meath, who commanded a regiment at the battle of the Boyne.

More information on conditions in Ireland were brought from Liverpool on 13 December, Dean Ward came from Liverpoole, and confirms the account of 500 being come from Ireland for fear of a massacre, thatt Ld of Meath and Granard went to Tirconnell who gave them no satisfaction, and that he believ’d Ld Meath was come over to the P of O [Prince of Orange], and yt ye D of Orm [Duke of Ormond] was gone into Ireland wth a considerable force.

Dean Ward would have been the Rev Thomas Ward, the dean of the Irish diocese of Connor from 1679 until 1694, when he was deprived of his deanery for immoral conduct. That he is the Dean Ward who appears in the Bellingham/Rawstorne diaries is made clear by Lawrence Rawstorne‘s entry for 28 August 1687 in which he records hearing ‘Dean Ward of Down & Conner in Ireland’ preach in the Preston parish church.

Rumours of atrocities in England (not always well-founded) were now circulating, with Bellingham reporting:

Ye 15th. A fayr day. We had an account by express this morning, from Wiggan, that 8,000 Scotch and Irish were ravaging the Kingdom, yt they massacred in Breimingham, burnt Stafford, and were moving towards Newcastle, upon which this town was making all speedy preparation and sent severall expresses. I was desir’d to take care of the horse [a militia troop], wch I did, and gott severall who were very ready but wanted arms. We searcht severall suspected houses [these would be the homes of Catholics], but found very little. We return’d about 4 a clock, mett ye mayor, and I entred [?]. About 50 gave theyr names to serve in ye horse.

The Earl of Derby had ordered the raising of the militia, as Rawstorne, who was colonel of one of the militia regiments, records, i5 went to Preston, received my Lds [Derby] Order to raise our Regmt. for [8] days and march to Manchester. Black Saturday [?] X

Next day, Bellingham was writing that A letter came from my Ld Derby confirming the newes of the Irish and Scotch. The reports that 8,000 Scotch and Irish were ravaging the Kingdom were false, but, added to the accounts coming from Ireland, they heightened the fear of ‘an enemy within’ among the Catholic community, with Bellingham reporting (17 December) the detention of the leading local Catholic, Sir Thomas Clifton, Sr Tho Clifton was taken and brother. Bellingham may have been mistaken here, see Sir Thomas Clifton’s biography.

On Christmas Day, with the king still in England, Bellingham records that Tirconnell refuses to surrender Ireland.

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