The Fatal Feuds series has tracked the dramatic rise of the most powerful family in Medieval Irish history – the de Burgh Lords of the West and Earls of Ulster.

In 1326 the family Patriarch, the Red Earl, died leaving the family facing an uncertain future. The heir known as the Brown Earl was only 15 years of age. He now had to unify his vassals and powerful relations  many of whom had ambitions of their own. As the title suggests things dont go according to plan in what is a dramatic conclusion to the series.

You can find the first four parts of the series here.
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
To help with the story I have posted the de Burgh family tree below along with biographies of important characters.

Listen and download the show here.
Fatal Feuds V – Medieval Downfall

de Burgh Family Tree (click to enlarge)

de Burgh Family tree editImportant characters

Richard de Burgh
The Red Earl of Ulster and Lord of Connacht 

Richard was the most powerful individual in medieval Irish history , his life is covered in the first four parts of the Fatal Feuds Series. While he does really feature in this episode, his death in 1326 was central to the events in this podcast.

William ‘Liath’ de Burgh

The first cousin of the Red Earl (above). Something of a legendary battle commander who lead the de Burghs to their great victory at the Battle of Athenry, he died in 1324. While he does not feature directly his children are central characters. (His life is covered in Part III and IV)

William de Burgh
The Brown Earl of Ulster and Lord of Connacht.

William (not to be confused with William ‘Liath’ de Burgh’) was the Red Earl’s heir. William’s father John de Burgh was the old Earl’s eldest son, but when he died in 1313 William inherited the mantle of heir.

Walter de Burgh

The eldest son of William ‘Liath’ de Burgh he was most senior member of the de Burgh family in the west of Ireland after 1326. Given his father had been a hugely powerful figure under the Red Earl, Walter was an ambitious man. The relationship between Walter and the Brown Earl is key to this story.

Gyle de Burgh

The daughter of William ‘Liath’ de Burgh. She married Richard de Mandeville and is arguably the most important figure in this story.

Edmund ‘Albanach’ de Burgh

Edmund was the youngest son of William ‘Liath’ de Burgh. As an infant he was shipped to Scotland to ransom his father. This is covered in Fatal Feuds IV. His name Albanach is the gaelic for Scot in reference to these events.

Henry de Mandeville

The leading Norman colonist in Ulster. He emerged as a significant player in 1319 when he lead the punitive raid on the O’Neills for their support of the Bruce Invasion. He was seneschal of Ulster until 1331. His brother Richard de Mandeville married Gyle de Burgh (above).


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