Our Direct Line to our 25th Great-Grandfather Richard Mor de Burgh
the founder of Galway

With a couple of exceptions everyone on this page is a grandparent to us.

Burke Family Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms of the Burke Family

In the history of Galway, Ireland there are 18 families that stand out. The 14 merchant families that came to be called the 14 Tribes of Galway, Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'arcy, Deane, Ffont, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris and Skerrit; and 4 other very important none merchant families, O’Flaherty, Birmingham, Burke, and O’Connor.

Page two of this series is about the Athy family one of the 14 tribes of Galway. The Athy’s were credited with erecting the first stone building in Galway. The page shows our direct line of descent from the progenitor of the family in Galway, John de Athy.

This page is about one of the families that is not among the 14 tribes of Galway, but maybe more important in a way, the Burke (Bourke, de Burgh) family. This page shows our direct line of descent from our progenitor in Ireland William de Burgh.

William de Burgh (circa 1160 - winter 1205/1206) was the founder of the de Burgh / Burke / Bourke dynasty in

Ireland. His family descended from the French noble Counts of Rethel and Baldwin II of Jerusalem and he was a direct descendant of Charlemange. William was in England for a while but moved to Ireland in 1185 and was closely associated with Prince John who was the son of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and later became John Lackland Plantagenet, King of England.

King Henry II of England appointed His son Prince John Lord of Ireland in 1177 and later appointed William Governor of Limerick and granted him vast estates in Leinster and Munster. See map to the right.

William was given Connacht and in 1203 took the title "Lord of Connacht", but never had control over it, in fact it seems he never even went into it. That was left up to his

Ireland about the year 900
oldest son Richard Mor (the Great) de Burgh, Lord of Connacht.

More information on the family at the bottom of this page.

John Lackland  King of England
John Lackland King of England

King John is our 24th Great-Grandfather.

We know John best by his violent quarrel with Fulk FitzWarin a medieval landed gentleman and the second husband of our 24th Great-Grandmother Maud (Marian?) le Vavasour an Anglo-Norman heiress.

Subsequent to the quarrel Fulk was deprived of his lands and property by the vengeful king and was forced to seek refuge in the woods and became an outlaw, with Maud accompanying him, it is said.

The legend of Robin Hood and Maid Marian is based in them.

John Lackland  King of England
Maid Marian and Robin Hood

William Marshal, 1st/ 4th Earl of Pembroke is our 23rd Great-Grandfather.

He was one of King John's most senior military leaders.

William has been described as the "greatest knight that ever lived" and the "greatest jouster of his age".

He rose from obscurity to become one of the most powerful men in Europe.

William Marshal
From Matthew Paris's Chronica Major, Marshal unhorses Baldwin de Guisnes.

This aside has been to try and illistrate some of the interactions between different branches of our family during this period.

As to Fulk FitzWarin it is very difficult to get at all the truth about his life. The legend of Robin Hood and even his biography, that seems to be embellished, gets in the way. We do know that he had a violent quarrel with King John over his familial right to Whittington Castle in Shropshire. That his lands were appropriated by the King and he was in open rebellion from 1200 to 1203 and had at least 52 men that were with him in his rebellion, many of them his brothers and cousins. That in the spring of 1201, King John ordered Hubert de Burgh (our 26th Great-Granduncle and brother of William de Burgh. Hubert was the most powerful man in England next to King John.) with 100 knights to counter the rebellion of Fulk and William Marsh. Marsh was a Somersetshire knight who was raiding off the coast of Devon. That on 11 Nov 1203, Fulk and over thirty men were pardoned including his brothers William, Phillip and John as well as his cousins. That in October 1204 Fulk received Whittington Castle in "right and inheritance" on payment of a fine of 200 marks. That Fulk was highly regarded by many of the barons and very populer amongst the people.

But, as to Maud's involvement in all of this it seems highly doubtful, as she was still married to her first husband Theobald Walter, 1st Baron Butler and was in Ireland during this time. She did not return to England until after Theobald's death in 1206 and Maud did not marry Fulk until October 1207. But, she was well liked by the people and any good legend needs a little romance in it.

Now back to the Burke family.

William de Burgh, Lord of Connaught


Richard Mor (the Great) de Burgh, Lord of Connacht


Walter de Burgh, Earl of Ulster


Richard the Red Earl de Burgh, 3rd Earl de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster


John de Burgh, Earl of Ulster


William the Brown Earl de Burgh, Earl of Ulster


Elizabeth (Isabella) de Burgh


Phillippa of Ulster Plantagenet, Countess of Ulster


Elizabeth Mortimer


Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland


Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland


Margaret Percy


Margaret Gascoigne, Baroness Ogle


Dorothy Ogle


Margaret Forstor


Elizabeth Heron


William Carr


Elizabeth Carr


Reginald Foster[1]


Isaac Foster[1]


Jacob Foster


Benjamin Foster[2]


Judith Foster[2]


|                                        |

Deacon Thomas Chute[2]          Samuel Chute[2]

|                                        |

Andrew Chute --Wife-|          Mary Chute 

|                      |                 |

      Edward Chute           |---->Olive Woodworth



Olivia Chute[3]


Harriet Minnie Saxton[3]


Eugene Frederick Glover[3]


Gertrude Belle Glover


Donald Eugene Cook


Eugene Taison Cook, Attorney at Law

[1]Isaac Foster emigrated to America with his father Reginald Foster

[2]Benjamin Foster emigrated to Canada along with his wife their daughter Judith and her husband and children.

[3]Olivia Chute, Harriet Saxton and Eugene Glover all emigrated from Canada to the USA

Galway Fort

"Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe ("Fort at the Mouth (bottom) of the Gaillimh") was constructed in 1124, by the King of Connacht, Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair who was born in 1088 and died in 1156. A small settlement grew up around this fort." Wikipedia

Old Galway

Richard Mor de Burgh, was Justiciar (viceroy) of Ireland and Lord of Trim in County Meath, Lord of Cannacht and though his wife, Giles de Lacy, Earl of Ulster, as well as Williams oldest son.

Richard was leader of the Norman invasion of Connacht in the 1230s and he captured Galway fort. Richard seen the possibilities of the area and settled there. He built Castle Galway and established Galway city. Galway grew and prospered on trade with France and Spain. Fourteen merchant families dominated this trade and eventually become know as the "Fourteen Tribes of Galway".

The walled city in 1651 (North is to the left). The River Corrib is in the foreground, crossed by what is now "O’Briens Bridge", leading to Mainguard Street.

The Burkes (Bourkes, de Burgh) were not one of the 14 merchant families, but more of a military and ruling family. In Ireland they became more completely hibernicised than any other Norman family. They adopted Brehon Law and proclaimed themselves chiefs after the Irish fashion, forming, indeed, several septs of which the two most important were known as MacWilliam Uachtar (Galway) and MacWilliam Iochtar (Mayo).

See the County Galway Guide

As the de Burghs became more gaelicised, the merchants of the town, the so called “Tribes of Galway”, pushed for greater control over the walled city. The merchants eventually gaining complete control over the city even to the granting of mayoral status by the English crown in December 1484.

Galway had difficult relations with its Irish neighbors and it showed in a number of ways. One was by a notice that was placed over the west gate of the city, completed in 1562 by Mayor Thomas Óge Martyn , stating

"From the Ferocious O'Flahertys may God protect us"

The troubled relationship also showed in their law. They had a by-law that forbade the native Irish (as opposed to Galway's Hiberno-Norman citizens) unrestricted access into Galway, saying "neither O' nor Mac shall strutte nor swagger through the streets of Galway" without permission.

During the Middle Ages, Galway was ruled by an oligarchy of the fore mentioned fourteen merchant families (They were of mixed origins, variously Norman, Hiberno-Norman, French, Welsh and English, or some combination of the above. Two of the families were Gaelic-Irish).

One of these families is shown on page two of this series, the Athey family.

The merchant families lost much of their power within Galway city after English Parliamentarians took over the Galway Corporation in 1654. Because of the uncertain response to this dilemma by the merchant families, Cromwell's forces referred to them by the derogatory name, "The Tribes of Galway", which they themselves later adopted as a mark of defiance. And today they are know as the 14 tribes of Galway.

The city thrived on international trade, and in the Middle Ages, it was the principal Irish port for trade with Spain and France.

An Aside

In 1477 Christopher Columbus visited Galway, possibly stopping off on a voyage to Iceland or the Faroe Islands. Seven or eight years later, he noted in the margin of his copy of Imago Mundo: (and used it as part of his argument that he could sail west to Cathay.)

“Men of Cathay have come from the west. [Of this] we have seen many signs. And especially in Galway in Ireland, a man and a woman, of extraordinary appearance, have come to land on two tree trunks [or timbers? or a boat made of such?]”


 Some say that the most likely explanation for these bodies is that they were Inuit swept eastward by the North Atlantic Current.


Maps of Galway

County Galway Guide-Burke

County Galway Guide-Galway Tribes

galway Arms 

Maps of Galway



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This web page, Our Direct Line to our 25th Great-Grandfather Richard Mor de Burgh the founder of Galway, produced 30 Mar 2013