Fynes Moryson (1566-1630), Lord Mountjoy’s private secretary and his official historian of the Nine Years War, was hardly unbiased about Ireland. A critic once said that Moryson could find nothing in Ireland to praise but the whiskey. But his day-by-day account of the tedium and discomfort of the wintertime siege of Spanish-held Kinsale becomes, in its own dogged way, downright harrowing: a long and painful buildup to a battle that lasted less than three hours. It’s a siege in which the besiegers see themselves as being as badly off as the besieged.

OF THE BESIEGING OF THE Spaniards at Kinsale, with the delivery of the Towne to the Lord Deputy, and their returne into Spaine.

The 16 day of October, his Lordship [Mountjoy] with the Army rose from Corke, and encamped five miles short of Kinsale, at a place called Owny Buoy. The 17 the army rose, & marching towards Kinsale, encamped within half a mile of the towne under a hill called Knock Robin, where some few shot [from] the Spaniards offered to disturbe our sitting downe, but were soone beaten home. Wee had at that time scarce so much Powder as would serve for a good dayes fight, neither had wee any competent number of tooles, so as wee could not intrench our selves, for these provisions were not yet come from Dublin ….

The eighteenth: the Army lay still, and we viewed the fittest places to incampe neere the Towne: but our Artillerie being not come, we removed not. And that night the Spaniards made a salley, much greater then the former, to disturbe our Campe, but our men soone repelled them without any losse to us. The nineteenth: wee lay still, expecting provisions, and that day, our men sent to view the ground, had some slight skirmishes with the enemy, and Don Jean [de Aguila, the Spanish commander] after professed, that hee never saw any come more willingly to the sword, then our men did ….

The one and twentieth: Cormock Mac Dermot a [loyal] Irish man, chiefe of a Countrie called Muskerie, came with the rising out (or souldiers) of his Countrie, to shew them to the Lord Deputy, who to the end the Spaniards might see the meere Irish served on our side, commanded them at their returne to passe by the Spanish trenches, made without the Towne on the top of the hil, but lodged strong parties (out of the enemies sight) to second them. The Irish at first went on wel, and did beat the Spanish guards from their ground, but according to their custome, suddenly fell off, and so left one of the Lord Presidents horsemen ingaged, who had charged two Spaniards: but Sir William Godolphin commanding the Lord Deputies troope, when he saw him in danger, and unhorsed, did charge one way up on their grosse, and Captain Henry Barkley Cornet of the same troope, charged another way at the same instant, and drove their shot into the trenches, and so rescued the horseman with his horse, comming off with one man hurt, and onely one horse killed, from the great numbers of Spanish shot, whereof foure were left dead in the place, divers carried off dead into the Towne, and many hurt ….

The three & twentieth: the Dublyn shipping arrived at Corke, & were directed to come presently to Oyster Haven, where we might unlade the Artillery (which could not be brought by land), and other provisions for the present use of the Army.

The foure and twenty day it was resolved, we should rise and incampe close by the Towne, but the shipping being not come about with the artillery and other necessaries, that day was spent in dispatching for England. And by night Captaine Blany and Captaine Flower were sent out, to lie with five hundred foote, to intertaine the Spaniards which were drawne out of the Towne, but they came no further, and so our men returned.


This day his Lordship and the Counsell wrote to the Lords in England this following letter.

… We can assure your Lordships that we doe not thinke our selves much stronger (if any thing at all) in numbers then they are, whose army at their setting to sea, did beare the reputation of sixe thousand …. It must in reason be thought, that our Companies generally are weake in numbers, seeing they have had no supplies of a long time, and that we desire two thousand to reinforce them, besides that many are taken out of them for necessary wards, some are sicke, and many of the Northern Companies lie yet hurt, since the late great skirmishes against Tyrone, which they performed with good successe but a little before they were sent for to come hither. Wee doe assuredly expect, that many will joine with Tyrone, (if hee onely come up towards these parts), and almost all the Swordmen of this Kingdome, if we should not keepe the field, and the countenance of being Masters thereof, how ill provided soever wee doe find our selves …. And although (grieved with her Majesties huge expence) we are loth to propound for so many men as are conceived to be needefull and profitable for the present prosecution of this dangerous warre, yet wee are of opinion, that the more men her Majesty can presently spare, to be imployed in this Countrie, the more safe and sudden end it will make of her charge. And not without cause we are moved to solicite your Lordships to consider thereof, since wee now perceive that we have an Army of old and disciplined souldiers before us of foure thousand Spaniards (that assuredly expect a far greater supply), and much about twenty thousand fighting men, of a furious and warlike nation of the Irish, which wee may justly suspect will all declare themselves against us, if by our supplies and strength out of England, they doe not see us likely to prevaile. These Provincials (a few of Carbry only excepted, appertaining to Florence Mac Carty) do yet stand firme, but no better then neutralitie is to be expected from those which are best affected, nor is it possible to discover their affections, untill Tyrone with the Irish Forces doe enter into the Province, who (as the Councell at Dublin write) is providing to come hither …. Wherefore wee humbly beseech the sending of them away, which will not onely give us a speedie course to winne the Towne, but also assure the coasts for our supplies, and give an exceeding stay to the Countrie (the enemie fearing nothing more, and the subject desiring nothing so much as the arrivall of her Majesties Fleet) ….

On the other side, Don Jean de l’Aguyla the Spanish Generall, hath used many arguments to move the Irish to defection, and among other (which is very forceable and fearefull unto their wavering spirits), he telles them, that this is the first great action that the King his Master hath undertaken, and assures them he hath protested, that he will not receive scorne in making good his enterprise, and that he will rather hazard the losse of his Kingdoms, then of his Honour in this enterprise. The Priests likewise (to terrifie the consciences) threaten hell and damnation to those of the Irish, that doe not assist them (having brought Bulles for that purpose), and send abroad Indulgences to those that take their parts. These and such like pollicies (as their offering of sixe shillings a day to every horseman that will serve them) doe so prevaile with this barbarous Nation, as it is a wonder unto us, that from present staggering they fall not to flat defection, as they will soone doe, if they once discover them of abilitie to give us one blow, before the comming of our supplies and meanes, which wee are most earnestly to solicite your Lordships to hasten …. Sir I will trouble you no longer, being desirous to doe somewhat worth the writing. God send us an Easterly winde, and unto you as much happines as I doe wish unto my owne soule. From the Campe by Kinsale this 24 of October 1601.

Yours Sir most assured for ever
to doe you service,



The five and twenty: the Army was ready to rise, but the weather falling out very foule, direction was given not to dislodge. Foure naturall Spaniards came this day to us from the Enemy, who the next day were sent to Corke. This night Sir John Barkeley went out with some three hundred foot, having with him Captaine Flower, Captaine Morris, and Captaine Bostocke, and fell into the Spaniards trenches, and did beate them to the Towne, fell into the gate with them, and killed and hurt above twenty of the Spaniards, having but three hurt of our men. Hitherto we lodged in Cabbins, so as it rained upon us in our beds, and when we changed our shirts.

The sixe and twenty: the Army dislodged and incamped on an hill on the North-side before Kinsale, called the Spittle, somewhat more then musket shot from the Towne, and there intrenched strongly. When we sat downe, we discovered that the Spaniards had gotten a prey of two hundred or three hundred Cowes, and many sheepe, which were (in an Hand as it seemed) upon the South-east side of the Towne, beyond the water, which wee could not passe but by going eight or nine mile about, where there was a necke of land to goe into it. Captaine Taffe being sent with horse and foot, used such expedition in that businesse, as he attained the place before night, and by a hot skirmish recovered the prey, save onely some twenty Cowes that the Spaniards had killed, although they were under the guard of a Castle, called Castle Ny Parke, which the Spaniards had in possession ….

Now the Spaniards held the Castle of Rincorane from their first landing, and because it commanded the Harbour of Kinsale, so that our shipping could not safely land our provisions neere the Campe, it was thought fit to make the taking thereof our first worke. To which purpose Sir John Barkeley, Sir William Godolphin, and Captaine Josias Bodley Trench-Master, were sent to chuse a fit place to plant our Artillerie against the Castle. The 28 day two Colverings which had not been long used, were made fit, and the next day they were mounted. The Spaniards were in the towne foure thousand strong, and wee had not many more in the Campe by Pole, though our Lyst were more. That night the Spaniards issued out of the Towne by water, to relieve the Castle, but Captain Buttons ship did beate them backe. The thirtieth day the two Culverings began to batter the Castle, but one of them brake in the eavening.

In the meane time the Spaniards gave an Alarum to our Campe, and drew a demy Canon out of the Towne, wherewith they plaied into the Camp, killed two with the first shot, neere the Lord Deputies tent, shot through the next tent of the pay-Master, (wherein we his Lordships Secretaries did lie) brake a barrell of the Pay-Masters money, with two barrels of the Lord Deputies beare in the next Cabin, and all the shot were made, fell in the Lord Deputies quarter, and neere his owne tent.

This night the Spaniards attempted againe to relieve the Castle, but Sir Richard Percy having the guard, with the Lord Presidents Regiment under his command, did repulse them. The one and thirtieth day the colvering battered the Castle, and that morning another culvering, & a canon, being planted, they plaied without intermission, which while we were busily attending, 500 of their principall Spaniards came out of Kinsale (with shew to go to relieve Rincorran by land) and drew toward a guard we kept betweene Rincorran and the Towne …. And seeing the Spaniards come up close with their Pikes to give a charge, he joyned with Captaine Roe, and incountring them, did beate them back to their seconds, making them to retire hastily, the Spaniards then playing upon our men with shot from every house in that part of the Towne. In this charge Sir Oliver Saint John received many pushes of the Pike on his Target, and with one of them was slightly hurt in the thigh, but hee killed a Leader and a common souldier with his owne hand. The Lord Audley coming up with his Regiment, was shot through the thigh. Sir Garret Harvy was hurt in the hand, and had his horse killed under him, Captaine Buttlers Lieutenant was slaine, and foure other of our part. Sir Arthur Savages Lieutenant was shot through the body, and fourteene other of our part were hurt. The enemie left ten dead in the place, besides their hurt men, which we apparantly saw to be many, and the next day heard to be seventie, by one who saw them brought to the house, where their hurt men lay, and who reported, that eight of them died that night. Likewise in this skirmish Juan Hortesse del Contreres was taken prisoner, who had been Serjeant Major of the Forces in Britany, and our men got from them divers good Rapiers, and very good Armes.

All this while our 3 pieces battered the Castle, till six of the clock at night, when those of the Castle did beate a Drumme, which the Lord President (whom the Lord Deputie had left there, when himselfe in the evening returned to take care of the Camp) admitted to come unto him. With the Drum came an Irish man borne at Corke, and these in the name of the rest, prayed that with their Armes, Bagge and Baggage, they might depart to Kinsayle. This the Lord President refused, and said hee would not conclude with any but the Commander of the Castle, neither had commission to accept any composition, but yeelding to her Majesties mercie. Presently they sent another Drumme, and a Serjeant with him, but the Lord President refused to speake with them. At their returne the Commander himselfe, being an Alfiero (or Ensigne) called Bartholomeo del Clarizo (for the Captaine had his legge broken) came unto the Lord President, but insisting on the condition to part with Armes, Bag and Baggage to Kinsale, his offer was refused. After he was put safe into the Castle, wee began afresh the battery, and they more hotly then ever before bestowed their vollies of shot on us. But the first of November at two of the clocke in the morning, when they found how the Castle was weakened by the fury of our battery, they did againe beate a Drumme for a parley, but we refusing it, many of them attempted to escape under the rocke close to the water side, which our men perceiving, drew close up to the Castle, and hindered their escape.

The first of November: … About one hower of the day the Alfiero sent word to the Lord President that he would quit all their Armes, and render the place, so as they might be suffered thus unarmed to goe into Kinsale, which being refused, hee intreated that himselfe alone might hold his Armes, and bee put into Kinsale, which being also refused, he resolutely resolved to burie himselfe in the Castle. His Company seeing him desperately bent not to yeeld, did threaten to cast him out of the breach, so as they might be received to mercy. So as at last he consented to yeeld, and that all his people should be disarmed in the Castle (which was committed to Captaine Roger Harvy then Captaine of the Guards, to see it done), that the Alfiero himself should weare his sword till hee came to the Lord President, to whom he should render it up. And this being done, they were all brought prisoners into the Campe, and immediatly sent from thence to Corke. The Spanish thus yeelded, were in number fourescore and sixe, and foure women (whose names I have, but omit them for brevitie), besides a great multitude of Irish Churles, Women and Children, but not any Swordmen; for those being skilfull in the waies, had all escaped ….


The fifth of November: foure barkes with munition and victuals that were sent from Dublin, arrived in Kinsale harbor, and upon certaine intelligence, that Tyrone was comming up with a great Army to joyne with the Spaniard, it was resolved by the Counsell of State, and the Colonels of Councell at warre, that the next day the Camp should be fortified against Tyrone, on the North side furthest from the towneward, and that the next day following, the Lord President with two Regiments of foote, consisting of two thousand one hundred men in Lyst, and with three hundred twentie five horse, should draw to the borders of the Province, to stop, or at least hinder Tyrones passage. To which purpose the Lord Barry, and the Lord Bourke, with the forces of the Countrie, had direction to attend the Lord President.

The sixth day the Campe was accordingly fortified, and the seventh in the morning, the Lord President with the said horse and foote left the Campe, at which time it was concluded by both Counsels, that wee could attempt nothing against the towne, untill either the Lord President returned, or the new Forces and provisions promised from England arrived, it being judged a great worke for us in the meane time, to continue our lying before the Towne, since the Spaniards in the Towne were more in number, then we who besieged them ….

The eight of November: certaine ships to the number of thirteene, were discried to passe by Kinsale to the Westward, but it was not knowne whether they were English or Spaniards. The tenth day we had newes that the Earl of Thomond was landed with one thousand foote, left to the Lord Deputies disposall, and with an hundred horse, appointed in England to be commanded by the said Earle; and these were the thirteene ships discovered to passe Westward.

By this time the Spaniards had gotten knowledge of the Lord Presidents departure from the Campe with good part of our forces, and thereupon supposing us to be much weakened, (as in deed we were, and inferiour in bodies of men to them in the Towne); they drew out this day about noone most part of their forces, and soon after sent some sixty shot and Pykes to the foot of the hill, close by our Campe, leaving their trenches very well lined for their seconds: some of ours were presently drawne out to enter-taine skirmish with those that came up, and another strong party was sent out towards Ryncorran, who from the bushy hill plaied in flanckes upon their trenches, and did beate them from the same; so as they that were first sent out close to our Campe, being beaten backe by our shot, and thinking to find the seconds they left behind them, were disappointed by their quitting of the Trenches, and by that meanes driven to follow the rest to the succour of the Towne. Our men following with much fury, hurt and killed divers, amongst whom they brought off the body of a Sergiant, and possessed the enemies trenches, the which the enemies (being reinforced) made many attempts to regaine, but were repulsed and beaten backe into the Towne. Wee heard by divers, that Don Jean committed the Sergiant Major, who commanded then in chiefe, presently after the fight, and threatned to take his head, commended highly the valour of our men, and cried shame upon the cowardise of his owne, who he said had beene the terrour of all Nations; but now had lost that reputation, and hee gave straight commandement upon paine of death, which hee caused to bee set up on the Towne gates, that from thenceforth no man should come off from any service, untill hee should be fetched off by his Officer, though his powder were spent or his Peece broken, but make good his place with his Sword. Captaine Soto one of their best Commanders, was that day slaine, (for whom they made very great mone), and some twenty more, besides those we hurt, which could not be but many. On our side, onely some ten were hurt, and three killed; among whom Master Hopton a Gentleman of the Lord Deputies band, was sore hurt, and in a few daies died thereof. If this skirmish had not beene readily & resolutely answered on our part, the Spaniards had then discovered the smalnes of our numbers, and would no doubt have so plied us with continuall sallies; as we should hardly have beene able to continue the siege.

The eleventh day: we had newes, that the one hundred horse and the thousand foot embarked at Bastable, (both which were left to the Lord Deputies disposall, the horse to be made new troopes, the foot to be dispersed for supplies, or to raise new Companies as his Lordship should thinke fit) were arrived at Waterford ….

The thirteenth day: our Fleet recovered the mouth of Kinsale Harbour, but could not get in, the wind being strong against them. The foureteenth day the Fleete with much difficulty warped in, and recovered the Harbour, whence the Admirall and Vice-Admirall came to the Lord Deputy at the Campe. This night and the next day the two thousand foot, sent under Captaines in the Queenes shippes, were landed, and came to the Campe. And the fifteenth day in the afternoone, the Lord Deputy went aboard the shippes, whence returning to the Campe, the Enemy discerned him riding in the head of a troop of horse, and made a shot out of the Town at him, which grazed so neere him, that it did beat the earth in his face. In these ships were sent unto us not onely artillery and munition, but also speciall Officers to attend the same, as five Canoneers, two Blacke-smiths, two Wheel-wrights, and two Carpenters ….


The Queenes ships after they had saluted the Lord Deputy at his going aboard with thundering peales of Ordinance, had direction the next day to beat upon a Castle in the Hand, called Castle Nyparke, which the Lord Deputy was resolved to make his next worke, & to beat the Spaniards out of it, and so to invest the Towne on that side. This some of the ships performed, and brake the top of the Castle, but finding that they did it no greater hurt, and that the weather was extreame stormy, they ceased shooting. This day his Lordship gave direction, that the hundred horse & one thousand foot, which first landed at Castle Haven, and now were arrived from thence in the Harbour of Kinsale, should be conducted to Corke, to refresh themselves, for being beaten at Sea, and now landed in extreame weather, and in a Winter Campe, where they had no meanes to be refreshed, they beganne to die, and would have beene lost or made unserviceable, if this course had not beene taken to hearten them. This day and for many daies after, divers Spaniards ranne from the Towne to us, by whom we understood that in the tenth daies skirmish, the above named Captain Soto, a man of speciall accompt, was slaine.

The seventeenth day: the weather continued stormy, so as neither that day nor the next we could land our Ordinance, or doe any thing of moment, yet because this was the day of her Majesties Coronation, which his Lordship purposed to solemnize with some extraordinary attempt, if the weather would have suffered us to looke abroad, wee sent at night when the storme was somewhat appeased, the Serjant Major and Captaine Bodley with some foure hundred foot, to discover the ground about Castle Nyparke, and to see whether it might be carried with the Pickaxe, which was accordingly attempted; but the engine we had gotten to defend our men, while they were to worke, being not so strong as it should have beene, they within the Castle having store of very great stones on the top, tumbled them downe so fast, as they broke it, so that our men returned with the losse of two men, & proceeded no further in that course ….

The nineteenth day: a Demy Cannon was unshipped, assoone as it was calme, and placed on this side of the water, which plaied most part of the day upon the Castle Nyparke, being a great reliefe to the besieged, & brake many places, but made no breach that was assaultable. In the night they of the Towne attempted to releeve the Castle by boates, but were repelled by Captaine Tolkerne and Captaine Ward, who lay with their Pinnaces betweene the Iland and the Towne.

Hitherto nothing could possibly bee attempted against the Towne, more then had beene done. For considering that the numbers of the defendants not onely equalled, but by all report, exceeded the number of the besiegers, … and considering that if wee had undertaken the carrying of approaches, with a purpose to batter, the whole Army must either have been tired with watching night and day, without shelter, in tempestuous weather, or disgracefully have forsaken the worke, or (to say the best) incurred the hazard of fight in places of disadvantage, with an expert enemy. And considering that the Countrey stood upon such tickle tearmes, and so generally ill affected to our side, that almost the least blow, which in the doubtfull event of warre might have lighted upon us, would have driven them headlong into a generall revolt. And further, that our Army consisted for a third part (at the least) of Irish, who being not fit to make good an entrenched campe, & much lesse fit to give upon a breach, would without question, either presently have quitted us, or turned their weapons against us, if the Spaniards had had any hand over us; and considering that in al sound judgement, this little army, (which was to be the soule of that body that should oppose it selfe against these invaders and rebels), was by all possible meanes to bee preserved as much as might be, and not at all ventured, but with manifest assurance to prevaile. These things with other like circumstances considered, what could there be more done, during the time that we wanted our supplies and seconds ….


Six Irish Gentlemen horsemen came into the towne of Kinsale on Sunday the fifteenth of November, and one Owen Conde came the same day, and they are all readie to goe out againe, and Father Archer with them. Don Jean says privately, that the Lord Deputy was borne in a happy [hour], for he will have the Towne, unlesse they be relieved from the North. They have nothing but ruske and water. They have but foure pieces of Artillery, one small piece is at the Churchyard, one great and a small in James Meaghes Garden, and the other biggest of all is at the Watergate, to play upon the shipping, and all foure are mounted. The Spaniards were five thousand by report at their setting out from Spaine, they landed at Kinsale three thousand five hundred, they are yet 3000, there are two hundred sicke and hurt in the hospitals, they lost 100 at Rincorran, and 17 and a boy at Castle Nyparke. They had nine slaine when they offered to relieve the Castle, and five when Captaine Soto was slaine ….

They fill the old Abbey at the West gate with earth, that they may mount a great piece there, which they make account wil command the ground where the English battery is planted at the North Gate, where the Mount is raised, yet it is not likely they will mount any Ordinance there, but rather keep it as a hold. They have store of powder and munition, which lies at John Fitz Edmonds Castle, but they meane to remove it presently, and put it in a seller within the towne. Their treasure lies at the house where Captaine Bostock lay. They are much afraid the Lord Deputie will place some Ordinance at Castle Nyparke, or thereabouts, which will much annoy them; but most of all they feare the placing of it at a place neere the water side for which cause they raised their mount, but especially filled up the old Abbey, from whence it is best commanded. Don Jean lies at Phillip Roches. A shot made from the English on Friday at night, hit the house where Don Jean lay. The Townesmen will stay no longer there, for feare of the shot, and then the Spaniards will be in great distresse. One went from Don Jean to Tyrone about nine daies agoe to hasten his coming, the man was blind of one eye ….

The same two and twentieth day foure Pieces were planted by the Cannon and demy Cannon, which altogether played into the Towne, one of which shot killed foure men in the Market place, and strucke off a Captaines leg, called Don John de Saint John, who after died of that hurt, we likewise planted three Culverings in the Hand beyond the water, in which the foresaid Castle Nypark stands, and from whence we heard, that Don Jean feared annoiance.

The three and twentieth: these did beate upon the old Towne with good effect. And the same day our other sixe Pieces on the North-East side plaied upon the Towne, and so continued till night, in which time (in all mens judgments, and by report of the prisoners we tooke) they did great hurt to the Towne. This day while the Lord Deputie, the Marshall and Serjeant Major were viewing the ground where the approches were intended, a private souldier of Sir John Barkleys, in their sight, and in face of the Spanish guards, attempting to steale a Spanish sentenel (as hee had stolne divers before) this sentenel being seconded by foure, that he saw not, he fought with them all five, whereof one was the Serjeant Major, whom he had almost taken; and when he found he could doe no good upon them all, he came off without other hurt, then the cutting of his hand a little, with the breaking of a thrust, which one of them made at him, and he hurt the Serjeant Major.

The night following, we began certaine neere approches on the North-East side of the Towne on a hill, which by the naturall situation thereof, was free from sudden sallies, by reason of a valley betweene it and the Towne, so as it might bee speedily seconded from the Campe. There with much expedition was raised a Fort (and Artillery planted, to play into the Towne) …. For making those approches, the Lord Deputy drew out one thousand foote, continuing the worke all night; and although the ground were extreme hard, by reason of the Frost, and the night very light, yet that night they brought the worke to very good perfection. The enemy played all the night upon them with great vollyes, but hurt onely three men, either in the trenches, or in divers sallyes they made (in the one whereof a squadron of our new men did beat them back to the Gates).

This day the Lord President advertised that O donnell [Hugh O’Donnell], by advantage of a Frost (so great as seldome had been seene in Ireland), had passed a Mountaine, and so had stolne by him into Mounster, whereupon he purposed to returne with the forces hee had, to strengthen the Campe. And in the evening Sir Richard Levison, by the Lord Deputies direction, drew the Admirall and Vice-Admirall in betweene the Hand and Kinsale, whence the foure and twentieth day they shot into the Towne.

The five and twentieth day: all the Artillery still played upon the Towne: but the shot from the ships doing little hurt, save onely upon the base Towne, the Lord Deputie gave direction to spend few shot more, except it were on the high Towne. This night direction was given to make a plat-forme for the Artillery upon the trenches, which was made the three and twentieth at night. Somewhat after midnight the Spaniards made a sudden salley, with purpose to force the trench, but were soon beaten backe by Sir Francis Barkeley, who commanded the watch that night in that place.

The sixe and twentieth: the Lord President with the two Regiments of foote, and with his horse he had led out against Odonnell, together with a Connaght Regiment under the Earle of Clanrickard, and a Regiment of the Pale under Sir Christopher Saint Laurence (which upon the way were commanded to joyne with the Lord President), came to the Campe; and these foure Regiments were that night quartered by themselves, upon the West-side of Kinsale, to invest the Towne more closely, and to keepe Odonnell and the Spaniards from joyning together ….

This day the three Culverings were brought from the Iland beyond the water on the East-side, and were planted on a hill, in a point of land neere the water on this side of the Haven, lying to the East of our Fort newly built there, to which hill the Towne lay neere and very open. In the meane time the Spaniards from the Towne, played upon our ships with a Demy-Cannon, and shot our Admirall twise, and our Vice-admirall once, while they rode (as aforesaid) close by the Towne, but our ships within few shot exchanged, did dismount their Demi-Cannon, so as they could make no more shot with it, and at the same shot hurt their chiefe Gunner ….


The foresaid eight and twenty: in the morning, we sent a Trumpet to summon Kinsale, who was not suffered to enter the Towne, but received his answere at the gate, that they held the Town first for Christ, and next for the King of Spaine, and so would defend it Contra tanti. Upon his returne with this answere, the Lord Deputy commanded to make battery with all our Artillery, (planted all on the East side of the Towne), which was presently performed, and continuing till towards night, brake downe great part of the East gate. In the meane time the Spaniards being retired in great numbers into their trenches on the West side, to escape the fury of our Ordinance on the East side, Sir Christopher S. Laurence was commanded to draw out from our new Campe, on the West side, and to give upon them in their trenches, which he performed, and did beat them out of the Trenches, following them to the very gate of the Towne, killing many, and hurting more of them, and so returned without losse of a man on our side, having onely some few hurt. The nine & twentieth all our Artillery plaied upon the Town, and brake downe most part of the Easterne gate, and some part of a new worke the Enemy had made before the gate. This day two Spaniards wrote from Kinsale to some of their friends prisoners in our Campe, whom they stiled poore Souldiers, when we knew them to be men of accompt, and withal sent them such money as they wanted, yet under the title of Almes, as if they had neither mony of their owne, nor were of credit to be trusted for any.

The last day of November: Sir Richard Wingfield the Marshall tooke some fifty shot, and went to the wall of the Towne, to view the fittest place for us to make a breach, the Spaniards made a light skirmish with them, and hurt some few. The Marshall when he had well viewed the wall, drew the shot off, and judging the wall, close to the Easterne gate on the right hand, to be fittest for the making of a breach, he gave present order that our artillery should beat upon that place, which was done without intermission, and therewith we brake downe before night a great part of the wall, which the Enemy in the night attempted to make up againe, but was beaten from it by our Guards, who plaied upon them with small shot most part of the night. In the evening a Spaniard ranne away from Kinsale to our campe, who reported to the Lord Deputy that our Artillery had killed divers Captaines and Officers in the Towne, besides many private souldiers.

The first of December: it was resolved … that some foote should bee drawne out of the campe, to give the Spaniard a bravado, and to view if the breach we had made were assaultable, and also to cause the Spaniards to shew themselves, that our Artillery might the better play upon them. To this purpose two thousand foot … and drawne neere the wals of the Towne, who entertained a very hot skirmish with the Spaniards, who were lodged in a trench close to the breach without the Towne. During this skirmish, our Artillery plaied upon those that shewed themselves, either in the breach or in the trench, and killed many of them, besides such as were killed and hurt by our small shot.

Among the rest one Captaine Moryson a Spaniard, (of whom … we shal have cause to speake hereafter) walked crosse the breach, animating his men, and though Sir Richard Wingfield our Marshall caused many both great and smal shot to be made at him, with promise of 20 pound to him that should hit him, or beat him off, (whereupon many great shot did beat the durt in his face, and stones about his eares); yet all the skirmish he continued walking in this brave manner, without receiving any hurt. Many thinke them best souldiers, who are often and dangerously hurt, but it is an errour: for wounds are badges of honour, yet may befall the coward assoone as the valiant man; and I have knowne most adventurous men who never received wound. Pardon this my digression, not warrantable in a journall, I will onely adde, that brave souldiers (for the starres have a kinde of power in our birth) are by some secret influence preserved, when others intruding themselves into that course of life, or driven to it by necessity of estate, fall at the first allarum …. After an howers fight, when we had taken full view of the breach, and found it not assaultable, our men were drawne off, with little or no dammage on our part, onely three of our men were hurt, and Captaine Guests Horse was killed under him, which Captaine first had killed two Spaniards with his owne hand.

The same day it was resolved in counsell, to plant a Fort on a Rath on the West side of the Towne, to lodge therein some foote, for seconds to the guard of our artillery, intended to be planted neere the same. And to this purpose, in the night following, the Marshall, the Sergiant Major, Captaine Edward Blany, and Captaine Josias Bodley Trenchmaster, (the Lord Deputy being almost all night present with them), drew out five and twenty of each company, and intrenching themselves on the said hill, not halfe Callivers shot from the Towne, beganne to cast up a small Fort. And though the Spaniards perceived not their purpose, yet many of them lying in a trench they possessed close to the West gate, did play very hotly all night on our men, guarding the Pyoners, and ours did no lesse on them, so that divers were hurt and killed on both sides. But the second day of December, about nine in the morning, when a great myst beganne to breake, and they discovered our worke a yard high, then from the said Trenches, and more from the Castles, and high places in the Towne, they plied us all the day with small shot. Notwithstanding which annoyance, our men brought the work to very good perfection before the night. In the meane time, a Serjeant to Captaine Blany, drew out some seven or eight shot, and suddenly fell into a Trench which some Spaniards possessed, close by the Towne, of whom the Serjeant killed two, and each of the rest one, with their owne hands. But when not content therewith, they attempted another Trench, something distant from the first, the Serjeant in going on was shot through the body and two of his Company were hurt in bringing him off and so returned with this and no more losse.

This night the Trenches where the Cannon was planted on the East side of the Towne, were manned with the Lord Deputies guard …. Now within … two houres before the Moone rose, it being very darke and rainy, the Spaniard impatient off the Forts building, the day before so close to the Townes West gate, and resolving to attempt bravely on our Ordinance, planted on the East side, made a brave sally with some two thousand men, and first gave slightly towards the Trenches on the West side, but presently with a grosse and their chiefe strength fell upon the Trenches, in which the Artillery lay on the East side, continuing their resolution to force it … having brought with them Tooles of divers sorts, to pull downe the Gabbyons and the Trenches, as also spykes, to cloy the Ordinance. The allarum being taken in the campe, the Marchall and Serjeant Major … with some one hundred men fell directly towards the Port of the Towne next to the Campe, and the Lord Deputy sent out Sir Oliver Saint Johns with seconds. Upon the Marshals arrivall and charge, the enemy brake, and our men did execution upon them. Sir Benjamin Berry fell directly upon the enemies seconds, whom he charged and brake, killing many of them, and taking the Commander of that body, being an ancient Captaine, of great estimation with the enemy. At the same time the enemy gave upon our trenches and Fort built the day before on the West side, and continued the attempt long with great fury, till Captaine Flower in heate and without direction, sallying out of the Fort, to follow part of their forces discomfited, the enemie entered the Fort before he could returne, and possessed themselves of our trenches. Yet still our men continued the fight, and Sir William Godolphin gave many brave charges with his horse, to countenance our men, till the Earle of Clanrickard was sent to second them on this part …. Then his Lordship and the rest charged the enemies grosse, being without the Fort, and brake them, and did execution upon them falling towards the towne, and so returning thence, entered the West Fort again, with little resistance, for the enemie abandoned it …. In this salley in all the enemy left in the field above one hundred and twenty dead bodies, besides such as were killed neere the Towne, and could not next day bee discerned by us. And wee tooke thirteene prisoners … After we heard by some of the Towne, that they left dead above two hundred of their best men … and that more then two hundred of them were hurt. On our part Captaine Flower, Captaine Skipwith, and the Earle of Clanrickards Lieutenant were hurt, and Captaine Spencer, and Captaine Dillon, and Captaine Flowers Lieutenant, were killed in the West Fort, who staying in the Fort when Captaine Flower sallied, were there found dead in the place which they were commanded to make good, and with their faces to the enemie, in as honourable manner as could be expected from any souldier …. The trenches about the cannon were in some places filled with dead bodies; for in that particular attempt they left seventy two bodies dead in the place, and those of their best men, whereof some were found having spikes and hammers to cloy the cannon. And in generall among the dead bodies many were found to have spels, caracters, and hallowed meddals, which they woare as preservations against death, and most of them when they were stripped, were seene to have scarres of Venus warfare [venereal disease]. Wee tooke some fortie shovels, and as many mattocks, and much Armes, left in the field, which tooles were so massie, as they had great advantage of us therein, and the sight of them would have put her Majesties Ministers of the Ordinance to shame, who for private gaine sent sale ware to us, unfit to be used ….

Some hower before this skirmish, the Lord Deputie was advertised by one Donnogh O Driscoll, that sixe Spanish ships were put into Castle Haven, and that six more were sent with them from the Groyne, but in the way were scattered from these by tempest, and that since it was not knowne what became of them. That in these six ships arrived, were two thousand Spaniards, with great store of Ordinance and Munition, and that by their report twentie thousand more were comming presently after them. The third of December, by reason of rany weather, nothing could be done ….

A Drumme was sent to the Towne, to offer Don Jean liberty to bury his dead, which message he received with due respect, but prayed us to burie them, with promise to do the like for any of ours happening to fall in his power. And because our Drum, according to his direction, expostulated with Don Jean, that howsoever the Spanish prisoners were well used by us … one of our men taken in the last salley, after he was hurt, so long as he gave himselfe out to be an Irish man, was kept in the hospitall, but after being discovered to be an Englishman, was drawne out, and killed. For this cause Don Jean sent backe with him a Spanish Drum to the Lord Deputy, intreating buriall for his dead, with the foresaid promise to doe the like for ours …. His Lordship promised to doe, as a Christianlike act, though he knew the inequalitie of the offer, having so many of their bodies presently in his power ….


His Lordship also excepted to a kind of challenge sent by Don Jean, that the question betweene England and Spaine should be tried by combat betweene them two, this triall being in neither of their powers by commission, nor in Don Jeans will, though hee had the power, besides that the Councell of Trent forbad the Romanists to fight in Campo Steccato (or combat in the field) so as this message was rather quarrelsome then honourable, which otherwise his Lordship protested to bee most willing to accept, with thankes for the noble offer. Lastly, his Lordship remembred, that at our first setting downe, he sent a Drum to Don Jean, with this message; That whereas his Lordhsip understood certaine Ladies and women to bee in the Towne, he offered them before the playing of our Artillerie free leave to depart, or remaining there still, to command any provision for themselves which our campe afforded. And that Don Jean made an uncivill answere, That he would not be his Baud. To these exceptions hee answered with a Spanish shrug of the shouldier, as having no knowledge nor commission, to satisfie his Lordship therein. So his Lordship protested, that all the courtesie offered hitherto by him, proceeded out of that honourable respect which useth to passe betweene honourable enemies, and because he would ever be true to his owne Honour, whatsoever others were to theirs. But in case it were conceived to proceede of any respect of the greatnes or power of the Spanish Nation, or his owne feare, that he would hereafter shew how much he disdained such ill interpretations of courtesie. And so his Lordship dismissed the Drum.

This night the Spaniards attempted something by boats against our Sentinels, but were soone beaten backe againe. The fifth day Sir Richard Levison, though the wind hindered the going out of Kinsale Harbour, yet with towing, got out the Warspite, the Defiance, the Swiftsure, the Marline, one Merchant, and a Carvill, and with them went to seeke the Spanish Fleete newly arrived at Castlehaven ….

The sixth day: at ten in the morning, our Fleete arrived at Castle haven, and before foure in the after-noone one Spanish ship was sunke, the Spanish Admirall with nine foote water in hold drove to the shore upon the rocks, the Vice-admirall with two others drove likewise aground, most of the Spaniards quitting their ships. Our Fleete was forced to stay there the next day by contrary winds, and the Spaniards having landed some Ordinance, plaied upon our ships all the day, but the night following they warped out, and the day after returned to Kinsale.

The sixt day likewise, a Scottish Barke bringing soldiers from Spaine, and being one of the Fleet newly arived at Castlehaven, but severed from them at sea by storme, came into the Harbour of Kinsale, and put the Spaniards, being fourscore, into our hands, who were brought to the campe, and examined before the Lord Deputie ….

The Spaniards then examined on oath, said, That there is in the Fleete with Siriago not above one thousand, divers of them taken out of the Gaoles, and very poore and naked, whereof one whole Companie of Portingals was taken out of prison … that a Regiment of three thousand Italians was to come for Ireland. That the whole Fleete was bound for Kinsale, and they thought the Queenes Fleete was their ships of Spaine. That all the shipping was to be gathered together at Lisbone, against the Spring, and foure thousand Italians were comming for England.


This sixth day of December: we were advertised, that Odonnel was joyned with those Spaniards which landed lately at Castle-Haven, and that hee, together with Tyrone, assisted by all the Rebels force in Ireland, were drawing up towards Kinsale to relieve it, and were come within few miles of the campe. Of all these newes the Spaniards in Kinsale had knowledge, and thereupon tooke heart againe, when they were otherwise ready to yeeld upon reasonable composition. For this respect, it was thought enough for us to keepe the ground we held, against all these enemies, till wee should be further supplied out of England, since upon the least defeate or disaster befalling us, the whole Kingdome would have been hazarded (if not lost), by reason of the peoples inclination to a generall revolt.

We fortified the foresaid campe on the West (or South-West) side, where the Earle of Thomond lay with foure Regiments, and it was resolved, that two smal forts should be cast up, and manned, betweene that campe and the water side Southward (the said forts and campes, each one flancking the other), thereby so to invest the Towne, as all succour from the countrie might be cut off from it. Further it was resolved, that the ditches of the Lord Deputies campe should bee deepned, and the trenches highthned, and that the backe part furthest from the Towne, lying open hitherto should now bee closed, and made defensable against Tyrones forces, as the side towards the Towne was made against the Spaniards, if they both at one time should give upon us. And that all the Forts should be barracadoed, and by all possible art all the accesses to the towne betweene our two campes be stopped.

The seventh day: the Lord Deputy advertised Master Secretary in England, of all these particulars, adding that we daily heard very hot Alarums of Tyrones purpose, to relieve the Towne, who strengthened with the above named forces, was now lodged in Woods, and in accessable strengths, very neere to our campe, so as hee hindered us from forage for our horse, and from the helpes wee formerly had out of the country, for sustentation of our Army. And that his neighbourhood on the one side, and the Spaniards in Kinsale on the other, kept us at a bay, from proceeding in our aproches and battery. Besides that our last supplies were in this short time incredibly wasted, the new men dying by dozens each night, through the hardnes of the winter siege, whereunto they were not inured ….

The eight day: … In the evening the Rebels Horse were discovered, about two miles off, and after supper all our men were drawne into Armes, upon notice given us by the scouts, that the Rebels drew nigh, but after a small time, all saving the watch were dismissed to rest ….


The thirteenth day we drew three peeces of Artillery from the Lord Deputies campe, and planted them on the West side neere the other campe, to play upon an Abby, which flancked that part where wee intended to make a new breach. The same day the … Lord Deputy and the Counsell wrote this following Letter to the Lords in England:

“… Since the arrivall of the Queenes shippes, the forces, artillery, and other provisions out of England, we have so annoied this Towne with battery in all parts thereof, as the breach was almost assaultable, and the Houses in the Towne much beaten downe, to the great weakening of the defendants, in so much as we were not without hope to be offered it by composition, or within a little more time to have entered it by force, though that was held a course of much hazard and losse, in regard they within are very strong in bodies of men, which we know to be most certaine.

“The Spaniard finding how hardly he was laid to, importuned Tyrone and Odonnell with their forces to come to releeve him, they both are accordingly come, and encamped not farre from the Towne. And now one thousand more Spaniards are arrived at Castle Haven, with great store of munition & artillery, and report that a greater force is coming after, which doth so bewitch this people, as we make accompt all the Countrey will now goe out, as most of them have done already, as in our former letters we signified that we feared.

“Odonnels forces are said to be foure thousand, and to be joined with the Spaniards that landed at Castle Haven, and Tyrones (as we heare generally) to be as many more, and since his passage through the Countrey hither, Tyrrell with many other Lemster Rebels, (as it is said) are joined with him, and comming also hither. By these meanes wee are induced to leave our battery for a time, and to strengthen our Campes, that we may be able to indure all their fury, as wee hope we shall, and keepe the Towne still besieged, and so invested, as wee are not out of hope in the end to carry it, notwithstanding all that they can doe. Yet since it is now most apparent, that the King of Spaine meanes to make this place the seate of the Warre, not onely for the gaining of this Kingdome, but from time to time to push for England, if he should get this, (for so some that we have taken and examined, doe confesse), and that the whole strength of the Irish are drawne and drawing hither, to set up their rest, to get that liberty (as they call it) that they have so long fought for ….

“Notwithstanding the severe courses we have taken, by executing some for a terrour to the rest, by making Proclamations upon paine of death, that none should depart the campe without licence, by giving direction to the Port Townes that they should be staied and apprehended: and lastly, by sending speciall men to Corke, Yoghall, Waterford, and Wexford, to see the same duly put in execution, for which purpose they have commission for martiall law, all which is well knowne to every private man in the campe, and yet they steale away daily in such numbers, as besides those that by devises doe get passages, there are at this present taken betweene this and Waterford, at the least two hundred ready to be returned; though we confesse the misery they indure is such, as justly deserveth some compassion, for divers times some are found dead, standing centinell, or being upon their guard, that when they went thither were very well and lusty, so grievous is a Winters siege, in such a Countrey: For the sicke and hurt men we have taken the best course we can devise, for at Corke we have provided a guesthouse for them, where they are most carefully looked unto, and have their lendings delivered in money, to buy them what the market doth affoord, with an increase of what is held fit for them, allowed out of the surplusage of the entertainement for the Preachers and Cannoneers, (which we conceave your Lordships have heretofore heard of).

“And for those that are sicke or sickely at the campe, because we much desire to keepe them well (if it were possible), we take this course. First their owne meanes is allowed them very duly, Sir Robert Gardner being appointed a Commissioner for that purpose, that the souldier in all things may have his right, with proclamation that whosoever found him selfe in any want, should repaire to him; and secondly, out of a generall contribution from the Officers and Captaines of the Army, there is fifty pound a weeke collected for them, and bestowed in providing warme broth, meate, and lodging, so as a marvellous great number are thereby releeved. And yet all this doth not serve, but that a great many are still unserviceable which we have here noted at the greater length, that it might appeare unto your Lordships that it proceeds not from want of care or providence in us, but from keeping the field in such a season, where humane wit cannot prevent their decay.

“We must further earnestly intreat your Lordships, that the Fleete may remaine upon this Coast during the warre with the Spaniards, and to furnish us with victuals, munition and money, for Easterly winds are rare at this time of the yeere, and without every of these, this action cannot bee maintained, but that the Army will breake, and come to nothing. Neither will this Countrey now affoord us any thing, no not so much as meat for our Horses; and therefore wee must likewise bee humble suters, that two thousand quarters of Oates may speedily be sent us, without which undoubtedly our Horses will be starved ….

“Lastly, whereas the Enemies Fleet at Lysbone, under the conduct of Bretandona, is (by intelligence from Spaine) assuredly intended for these parts, to bring supplies to Kinsale within a moneth or sixe weekes: And whereas we find the great importance of this service depending on the countenance of her Majesties Fleet, to have the same with us as well to guard the Harbour and repell the enemies landing, as also to guard our Magazins of munition and victuals, which must be kept in ships, we having no other conveniency to keepe them: We have made humbly bold to stay the Fleet commanded by Sir Richard Levison, and doe in like sort beseech your Lordships to victuall them for three moneths longer, with all possible speed; for they are now victualled onely till the twentieth of January. And because so great a quantity of victuals as will serve them for that time, can hardly be soone provided; we humbly desire that this supply of their victuals may be sent unto them in parts, as it can be made ready: And because this Fleet, by the opinion of the best experienced in Sea services, (whom we for our parts doe beleeve), must necessarily be divided, and yet is too small to serve in two parts, we humbly pray that some such addition of ships, as in your wisdoms shal be thought meet, may be sent hither …

“By the same dispatch the Lord Deputy wrote this following letter to Master Secretary in England:

… We have taken above two hundred Spanish prisoners; there are (as wee are certainely enformed) above one thousand dead and killed of them in the Towne, the which we have now as throughly invested as may be: but on the other side the whole force of Tyrone and Odonnell, with all the strength of the Rebels of Ireland, do lie within sixe miles of us, and to their assistance they have the Spanish supplyes, and (that which is worst) their munition and provisions; the whole Province either is joyned with them, or stand neutrals; and what use soever the enemie maketh of them, I am sure wee receive by them no manner of assistance. Ending all this, I hope wee shall give a good account of the besieged; but wee have reason to proceede with great caution, having a desperate enemie before us, and so manie that are ingaged in the same fortune behind us. For Tyrone and O Donnell have quit their owne Countries, to them here, or else to loose all …. I beseech God to send mee the height of my ambition, which is, with the conscience of having done her Majestie the service I desire, to in joy a quiet, private life, and that her Majestie may never more have need of men of our profession.”

The foureteenth day was so rainy, and so tempestious in winds, as wee could not stirre out, to proceede any thing in our businesses. The fifteenth our Artillerie, planted by the Campe on the West-side, did play upon the toppes of the Castles in the Towne, where the enemies shot were placed, that from thence they might annoy our men, working in the trenches, and in the platforme, and attending our Artillerie. Our pieces brake downe many of these Castles, and killed many of their shot lodged in them. Likewise in the night, while our men were making new approches, our Ordinance plaied upon the Towne, and many volleys of small shot were exchanged betweene us and the enemy.

The sixteenth day: the same Ordinance plaied in like sort upon the Castles in the Towne, and did much hurt to the men there lodged. The seventeenth day was very tempestious with raine, and especially wind, and so continued all night, for which cause our Artillery plaied but seldom upon the towne. And this night the Spaniards sallyed, and brake downe a plat-forme, which we had begun the day before, with purpose to plant our Artillery there; whereupon a slight skirmish fell betweene us and them, but with little or no hurt on either side. The eighteenth day our Artillerie continued to play upon the Towne.

And this day his Lordship intercepted the following letter, which he commanded me to translate out of Spanish into English.


To the Prince O Neale, and Lord O Donnell:

… I beseech you now you will doe it, and come as speedily and well appointed as may bee. For I assure you, that the enemies are tired, and are very few, and they cannot guard the third part of their trenches, which shall not availe them, for resisting their first furie, all is ended. The manner of your comming, your Excellencies know better to take there, then I to give it here ….

Though you be not well fitted, I beseech your Excellencies to dislodge, and come toward the enemy, for expedition imports. It is needfull that we all be on horsebacke at once, and the greater haste the better.

Signed by Don Jean del Aguyla.

The night was stormy, with great lightning and terrible thunder, to the wonder of all, considering the season of the yeere, and this night came certaine intelligence, that Tyrone, drawne on by Don Jeans importunity, determined presently to set up his rest for the reliefe of the Towne, and that the next night he would lodge within a mile and halfe of our Campe.

The one and twentieth: our scouts confirmed the same, and towards night Tyrone shewed himselfe with all his horse and foote, upon a hill within a mile of us, in the way to Corke. Whereupon two Regiments of our foote, and most of our horse being drawne out of the Campe, made towards them: but when they saw our men resolutely come forward, they fell back to a Fastnesse of wood and water, where they encamped.

This night being light with continuall flashings of lightning, the Spaniards sallied againe, and gave upon a trench, newly made beneath our Canon, but were the sooner repelled, because we kept very strong Guards, and every man was ready to be in Armes, by reason of Tyrones being so neere unto us.

The two and twentieth: Tyrones horse and foote often shewed themselves from an Hill, beyond which they incamped in a Wood, yet our Artillery still plaied upon the Towne, breaking downe the Wall, and some Turrets, from whence the Spaniards shot annoyed our men. Many intelligences confirmed, that Tyrone on the one side, and the Spaniards on the other, had a purpose to force our Campe.

This night the Spaniards sallied, and gave upon a trench close to the West-side of the Towne, which the Serjeant that kept it did quit: but Sir Christopher Saint Laurence appointed to second him, came up with some foote, and did beat the Spaniards into the Towne, before they could doe any great hurt, save onely a little defacing it. Our Artillery still plaied upon the Towne, that they might see wee went on with our businesse, as if wee cared not for Tyrones comming, but it was withall carried on in such a fashion, as wee had no meaning to make a breach, because wee thought it not fit to offer to enter, and so put all to hazard, untill wee might better discover what Tyrone meant to doe, whose strength was assured to bee very great, and wee found by letters of Don Jeans, which wee had intercepted, that hee had advised Tyrone to set upon our Camps, telling him that it could not bee chosen, but our men were much decayed by the Winters siege, and so, that wee should hardly bee able to maintaine so much ground, as wee had taken when our strength was greater, if wee were well put to, on the one side by them, and on the other side by him, which hee would not faile for his part to doe resolutely. And it was most true, that our men dailie died by dozens, so as the sicke and runnawaies considered, wee were growne as weake as at our first setting downe, before our supplies of foure thousand foote ….

This evening [December 23] one of the chiefe Commanders in Tyrones Army, having some obligations to the Lord President, sent a messenger to him for a bottle of Usquebagh, and by a letter wished him, that the English army should that night bee well upon their guard, for Tyrone meant to give upon one Campe, and the Spaniards upon the other, meaning to spare no mans life but the Lord Deputies and his. Don Jean de l’Aguila after confessed to the Lord President, that notwithstanding our sentinels, he and Tyrone the night following, had three messengers the one from the other. All the night was cleare with lightning (as in the former nights were great lightnings with thunder) to the astonishment of many, in respect of the season of the yeere. And I have heard by many horsemen of good credit, that this night our horsemen set to watch, to their seeming did see Lampes burne at the points of their staves or speares in the middest of these lightning flashes.

Tyrones guides missed the way, so as hee came not up to our Campe by night, as the Spaniards ready in Armes howerly expected, but earely about the breake of the next day.


The foure and twentieth of December: some halfe hower before day, the Lord Deputie in his house sitting at Counsell with the Lord President and Master Marshall, as thinking the intended enterprise of the enemie by some accident to bee broken, suddenly one of the Lord Presidents horsemen called him at the dore, and told him, that Tyrones Army was come up very neere to our Campe. And Sir Richard Greame, having the Scout that night, when hee discovered that Tyrone with his forces was on foote marching towards the Campe, presently advertised the Lord Deputy thereof, and his Lordship being alwaies in readinesse to intertaine them (seldome going to bed by night), and at this time setting in Counsell, when he heard that they were advanced within three quarters of a mile of our Campe, caused all our men to draw into Armes in our quarter, and himself with the Marshall attending him, advanced towards our scouts … to take view of the enemy, and hee brought him word that they were in the same place formerly advertised. Upon his returne, the Lord Deputie left for defence of the great Campe on the Northside …. This done, the Lord Deputie sent a Corporall of the field unto our lesser Campe … and directed how to set all the Companies in their severall guards …. By this time the Marshall … advanced with twenty score of the enemie, the ground rising so high betweene them and our men, as they could not see one the other.

It was now the breake of the day, whereas mid-night was appointed the time appointed for the Rebels to meete with Don Jeans forces, the Spaniard being to set upon our lesser Campe, and Tyrrell leading the Rebels Vantguard (in which were the Spaniards lately landed at Castle-Haven), and Tyrone leading their Battaile, and O Donnell their Reare, being all to set upon our chiefe Campe, conceiving themselves of sufficient strength to force both our Campes at one instant, and to make no great worke of it.

The Lord Deputy, with the Lord President in his company, being come up to our forces, led out against Tyrone, and resolving there to give him battaile, commanded Sir John Barkeley Serjeant Major to draw out of the Campe two Regiments …. Upon their comming up, the enemy finding us resolved to fight, retyred himselfe over a Ford, and the Marshall seeing them disordered in their retrait, sent word thereof … to the Lord Deputie, desiring leave to fight, and his Lordship … gave him leave to order that service according as hee in his discretion, should find the disposition of the enemie, and therewith sent backe Sir George Carew Lord President with three troopes of horse, to the great Campe, to command both Camps in chiefe, and to make head against the Spaniards, if they should sally out of the Towne.

But the Spaniards still expecting the comming up of the Rebels, according to their mutuall project, and never imagining that wee with our small forces, could draw out sufficient bands to meete and beate the Rebels, contained themselves within the towne walles, till (as by the sequell shall appeare) their sallies could little profit them.

After the said message sent to the Marshall, presently the Earl of Clanrickard came up and exceedingly importuned the Marshall to fight. Whereupon the Marshall drew a Squadron of foote with their Drumme to the Ford, and willed Sir Richard Greames with his horse to march directly to the Ford. Then the enemy retired hastily with horse and foote over a boggy ground to firme land, hoping to keepe that boggie passage against us. Then the Marshall directed Sir Henry Davers (commanding the horse under him), with his horse, and Sir Henrie Power with his Regiment of foot to advance, who presently came over the foresaid Ford unto him. The Lord Deputy being upon the hill with two Regiments of foote, commanded the Serjeant Major.

So the Marshall having the Earl of Clanrickard, and Sir Henrie Davers with him, advanced with some hundred horse, and began with a hundred Harqubusiers (led by Lieutenant Cowel a valiant Gentleman marked by a red cap he wore, to be a special instrument in this fight) to give occasion of skirmish on the Bog side, which the rebels with some loose shot entertained, their three Battalions standing firme on the one side of the Bog, and our Fort on the other side. In this skirmish our foot were put up hard to our horse, which the Marshall perceiving, put forth more shot, which made the Rebels retire towards their Battaile. Then the Marshiall finding a way through a Ford, to the ground where the Rebels stood, he possessed the same with some foote, and presently he passed over with the Earle of Clanrickard, Sir Richard Greames … and their horse, and offered to charge one of the Rebels Battailes of one thousand eight hundred men: but finding them stand firme, our horse wheeled about.

Now Sir Henrie Davers with the rest of the horse, Sir William Godolphin with the Lord Deputies, and Captain Minshall with the Lord Presidents troopes (kept by the Lord Deputie to answere all accidents), and our Serjeant Major with two Regiments … came all up, whereupon the Marshall with the horse charged home upon the Reare of the Battaile, and the Irish not used to fight in plaine ground, and something amazed with the blowing up of a Gun-powder bagge … but most discouraged to see their horse flie (being all Chiefes … and Gentlemen, to the number of five or sixe hundred), were suddenly routed, and our men followed the execution. The other two Battailes that stood stil, now finding this routed, made haste to succour them. Whereupon the Lord Deputy sent instantly … Sir Oliver Saint Johns Regiment … to charge on the Flanck of the Vanguard, which presently retired disorderly, being followed by our foote and horse: but the Spaniards landed at Castle-Haven, marching there, and being not so good of foote as the Irish, drew out by themselves … soone broken, and most of them killed, the rest (with their chiefe Commander Don Alonzo Del Campo) being taken prisoners, namely, two Captaines, seven Alfieroes, and forty souldiers, whereof some were of good qualitie.

In the meane time many of the light footed Irish of the Van escaped, as did likewise almost all the Rere, by advantage of this execution done upon the Spaniards and the maine Battaile, (of which body farre greater then either of the other, all were killed), but onely some sixty or there abouts.

Thus the Irish horse first leaving the foote, then two of the Battalions being routed, they all fell to flie for life, our men doing execution upon many in the place. On our part Sir Richard Greames Cornet was killed, Sir Henry Davers, Sir William Godolphin, Captaine Henry Crofts Scoutmaster were slightly hurt, onely sixe souldiers hurt, but many of our horses killed, and more hurt.

The Irish Rebels left one thousand two hundred bodies dead in the field, besides those that were killed in two miles chase: we tooke nine of their Ensignes, all their Drummes and Powder, and got more than two thousand Armes. And had not our men been greedy of the Spaniards spoile, being very rich, had not our foote been tired with continuall watchings long before, in this hard winters siege. Had not our horse especially been spent by ill keeping and want of all meate for many daies before, (by reason of Tryones neerenesse, so as the day before this battaile it had been resolved in Counsell to send the horse from the Campe for want of meanes to feede them, and if Tyrone had laine still, and not suffered himselfe to bee drawne to the plaine ground by the Spaniards importunitie, all our horse must needs have been sent away or starved.) Had not these impediments been, wee [could have] then cut the throates of all the rebels there assembled; for they [the Irish] never made head against them that followed the execution, nor scarce ever looked behind them, but every man shifted for himselfe, casting off his Armes, and running for life. In so much as Tyrone after confessed himselfe to be overthrowne by a sixth part of his number, which he ascribed (as wee must and doe) to Gods great worke, beyond mans capacitie, and withall acknowledged that he lost above one thousand in the field, besides some eight hundred hurt. This we understood by the faithfull report of one, who came from his some few daies after, and told the L. Deputy moreover, that he tormented himself exceedingly for this his overthrow.


After the battell, the Lord Deputy in the middest of the dead bodies, caused thanks to be given to God for this victory, and there presently knighted the Earle of Clanrickard in the field, who had many faire escapes, his garments being often peirced with shot and other weapons, and with his owne hand killed above twenty Irish kerne [foot soldiers] and cried out to spare no Rebell …. So before noone his Lordship returned to the campe, where commanding vollies of shot for joy of the victory, the Spaniards perhaps mistaking the cause, and dreaming of the Rebels approach, presently sallied out [of Kinsale], but were soone beaten into the Towne, especially when they saw our triumph, and perceived our horsemen from the hill on the West side, to wave the Colours we had taken in the battell ….

The seven and twentieth: the Lord Deputy … wrote to Master Secretary [in London] the following letter: … “God hath given the Queene the greatest victory that ever was obtained in this Country ….”

The twenty-eighth day of December: the Lord Deputy was advertised that Syrriago, a principal Commander of the Spaniards, landed in the West parts, having received newes of Tyrones overthrow, was suddenly gone for Spaine without acquainting any of the Spaniards therewith, and that he carried with him on the same ship Hugh Odonnell ….

The nine and twentieth day: his Lordship had advertisements from diverse places that Tyrone in his flight out of Mounster, passing the Blackwater, lost many of his carriages, and had some one hundred and fortie of his men drowned, fear making them so hasty, as they could not attend the passing of their owne fellowes, much less the fall of the waters.

The last of December: Don Juan Generall of the Spaniards offerred a Parley, [saying] that having found the Lord Deputy (whom he tearmed Viceroy) though a sharpe and powerfull, yet an honourable enemy; and the Irish not onely weake and barbarous, but (as hee feared) perfidious friends, hee was so farre in his affection reconciled to the one, and distasted with the other, as he was thereby induced to make an overture of such a composition as might be safe & profitable for the state of England, with least prejudice to the Crown of Spaine, by delivering into the Viceroyes power the towne of Kinsale, with all other places held by the Spaniards in Ireland, so as they might depart upon honourable tearmes.

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