Ulick MacRichard Burke, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde, 5th Earl of Clanricarde, 2nd Earl of St Albans (1604, London – July 1657, Kent), was an Irish nobleman who was involved in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Lord Clanricarde was a Catholic Royalist, who had overall command of the Irish forces during the later stages of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. He was created Marquess of Clanricarde in 1646.
He was the son of Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde by his wife Frances Walsingham. Ulick's father was from an Anglo-Norman family who had been long settled in the west of Ireland . Although during the early sixteenth century the family had rebelled against the Crown on several occasions, Ulick's father had been a strong supporter of Queen Elizabeth I. He fought on the Queen's side during Tyrone's Rebellion, notably during the victory at the Battle of Kinsale, where he was wounded. After the war he married the widow of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, a recent commander in Ireland, who was the daughter of the English Secretary of State and spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham.
In 1622, Ulick married Lady Anne Compton, the daughter of William Compton, 1st Earl of Northampton and his wife, Elizabeth Spencer. They had a single child, Lady Margaret Burke (died 14 August 1698), who married:
- firstly Charles MacCarty, Viscount Muskerry, and had issue including Charles, 3rd Earl of Clancarty,
- secondly Robert Villiers, son of Robert Danvers or Villiers, who was himself the suppositious son of John Villiers, 1st Viscount Purbeck, by whom she had further issue,
- thirdly the notorious rake and soldier of fortune Robert Fielding (nicknamed Beau Fielding). After her death Fielding made a scandalous and bigamous marriage to the former royal mistress Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland, having only two weeks earlier married Mary Wadsworth in the mistaken belief that she was an heiress.
Ulick was summoned to the House of Lords as Lord Burgh in 1628, and succeeded his father as 5th Earl of Clanricarde in 1635. In 1636, he inherited Somerhill House on the death of his father. He was a staunch opponent of the policies of the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, who had attempted to seize much of the great Burke inheritance in Connacht for the Crown; there was also personal ill-feeling between the two men since the dispute was thought by many to have hastened the death of Ulick's elderly father. He sat in the Short Parliament of 1640 and attended King Charles I on the Scottish expedition. Charles, unlike Strafford, liked and trusted Lord Clanricarde.
Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Somerhill was sequestered by Parliament in 1645, following the Battle of Naseby. During the Irish Confederate Wars, Lord Clanricarde supported the Royalist leader Ormonde in defending Ireland for Charles I against the Parliamentarians by uniting Catholic and Protestant nobles (he being Catholic). He did not join the Catholic Confederate Ireland, but instead helped to broker a military alliance between the Confederates and English Royalists. He commanded the forces of this alliance during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, after Lord Ormonde fled the country, and soldiers of his Connaught army helped to win a minor victory at the Battle of Tecroghan. Only a few months later, however, his army was wiped out during the Battle of Meelick Island. Clanricarde was a skillful diplomat but not a great soldier. Like Ormonde, Clanricarde was distrusted by most Catholics in Ireland (he was widely considered to be a friend of the notorious Charles Coote) and thus was thus not capable of halting the Parliamentarian conquest of the country. He was also widely regarded as a man whose actions were governed almost entirely by self-interest.
In 1652, he made peace with the victorious Oliver Cromwell. He lost his lands in the Act of Settlement 1652 but his heirs regained them after the Restoration of Charles II in the Act of Settlement 1662. On his death the marquessate became extinct; the earldom passed to his cousin Richard.
- Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. .
- Ó Siochrú, Michael. God's Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland. Faber & Faber, 2009.
|Peerage of Ireland|
| Marquess of Clanricarde
| Earl of Clanricarde
|Peerage of England|
| Earl of St. Albans