Lambart, Oliver (DNB00)


LAMBART, Sir OLIVER, Lord Lambart (d. 1618), Irish administrator, son and heir of Walter Lambart, of Preston, West Riding, Yorkshire, and his first wife, Rose, daughter of Sir Oliver Wallop, was by profession a soldier. He went to Ireland about 1580, acting in the first instance as a volunteer. He served under Sir John Norris in the expedition conducted by the deputy Sir John Perrot against the Scots in Clandeboye in the summer of 1584, and falling into the hands of the enemy ‘he was so sorely wounded that besides the loss of some limbs’—dextro succiso poplite—‘he hardly was saved with life’ (State Papers, Ireland, Eliz. cxv. 16). Proceeding to Dublin for the sake of surgical assistance, he had the further misfortune to be ‘betrayed’ by O'Cahan into the hands of Shane's sons Hugh and Art O'Neill; but they were anxious to come to terms with the government, and Lambart was made the bearer of their message to the lord deputy (ib. cxii. 25). On his recovery he proceeded to England with letters of recommendation from Sir John Perrot, Sir John Norris, and his uncle Sir Henry Wallop to Lord Burghley and Walsingham. In August 1585 he accompanied Sir John Norris into the Netherlands. He was present at the capture of Doesburg in September 1586, and was subsequently, it would appear (Cott. Galba D. viii. ff. 71, 84, 110), made governor of that town. In June 1591 he greatly distinguished himself at the attack on Deventer, but being seriously wounded at the siege of Steenwyck in June 1592, he was prevented from taking part in the campaign in France and obliged to proceed to Ostend (State Papers, Dom. 2 July 1592). In 1596 he took part in the expedition against Cadiz, and for his valour on that occasion he was knighted (Camden, Annales). He returned to the Netherlands in 1597, but in 1599 his company of 150 foot, forming part of Sir Charles Percy's regiment, was drafted into Ireland to support the Earl of Essex in the war against the Earl of Tyrone. On Essex's departure from Ireland in September, Lambart was made master of the camp, and subsequently sergeant-major of the army. In 1600–1601 he was actively engaged against the rebels in Leix and Offaly, and on the recommendation of Lord Mountjoy he was on 19 July 1601 appointed governor of Connaught, when he immediately began to build the fort of Galway, which was finished in the following year. He was present at the siege of Kinsale, and after the capitulation of the Spaniards he was occupied in suppressing the last traces of rebellion in Connaught (Cal. Carew MSS. iv. passim). On 9 Sept. 1603 he was created a privy councillor, and received a grant of 100l. a year in crown lands. On the flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel becoming known, he was appointed to convey official information of it to the king, and having ‘diligently attended to the business he came for,’ returned to Ireland with such ‘marks of the king's favour, which increase his state and fortune’ (Russell and Prendergast, ii. 322). At the same time it is to be noted that in the document which Tyrconnel drew up of his grievances Lambart is charged with having ‘purposely drawn the plot of the Earl's ruin’ (ib. ii. 374).

Immediately on the outbreak of O'Dogherty's rebellion in April 1608, Lambart and Sir Richard Wingfield were despatched to the north ‘with all available forces both of horse and foot’ (ib. ii. 501). On 20 May they arrived at Derry, where they left a ward in the church, and proceeded to Birt Castle, three miles distant from Culmore, in viewing which Lambart received a slight bullet wound in the right shoulder (ib. ii. 541). In the meanwhile he had succeeded, by methods which, if legal, were not always strictly honourable (ib. iii. 397), in accumulating considerable real property in the county of Roscommon and elsewhere. In 1610 his name appears in the list of ‘servitors thought meet to be undertakers’ in the plantation of Ulster (ib. iii. 428), and he was of considerable assistance to Chichester in arranging the details of that plantation. He had made choice of him, Chichester wrote to Salisbury in November, to lay the scheme before the English council, because, ‘albeit he is not the best orator,’ ‘he is well acquainted with the country and the condition of the people, having long travelled and bled in the business here when it was at the worst, and has seen many alterations since he came first into the land’ (ib. iii. 527). He returned to Ireland in April 1611, and the plantation being put into execution, he received on 26 June as his allotment two thousand acres in Clanmahon, co. Cavan. From Pynnar's ‘Survey,’ 1618–19 (Harris, Hibernica), it appears that he had not only complied with the conditions of the plantation so far as to build a stone house and bawn upon it, but had also purchased another portion of one thousand acres in the same precinct. All these and other lands acquired by him were confirmed to his family by patent on 16 Feb. 1621. He sat for the county of Cavan in the parliament of 1613, though his return was petitioned against by the Roman catholic freeholders on the ground that the election had been conducted illegally, and that Lambart himself did not reside in the county (ib. iv. 361, 363–4).

In November 1614 Lambart was appointed to command an expedition to assist in recovering the castle of Dunivaig in Islay from the Macdonalds, who had taken it, partly by stratagem, partly by force, from the constable Andrew Knox [q. v.], bishop of Raphoe. The expedition sailed in December, but it was not till the end of January 1615 that the weather permitted an attack to be made. On 2 Feb. the castle surrendered (cf. Cal. Carew MSS. vi. 287, and Russell and Prendergast, Cal. Irish Papers, v. 6–10). On 21 April the king directed Chichester to return his royal thanks to Lambart for his successful management of the business, and on 17 Feb. 1618 he was created Lord Lambart, Baron of Cavan in the Irish peerage. He died 23 May in the same year in London, and was buried 10 June in Westminster Abbey. He married Hester, daughter of Sir William Fleetwood of Carrington Manor, Bedfordshire, and by her (who died 12 March 1639, and was buried in St. Patrick's, Dublin) had two sons and three daughters, viz. Charles [q. v.], who succeeded him; Cary, who was knighted and lived at Clonebirne in co. Roscommon, and died in 1627 unmarried; Jane who married Sir Edward Leech of Sauley in Derbyshire; Rose, who married, first, Nicholas, son and heir to Sir Nicholas Smith of Larkbear in Devonshire, and secondly Sir John Blagrave of Southcot in Berkshire; and Lettice, who died young.

Sir Oliver Lambart, though he wrote his name Lambert, must be distinguished from Captain O[swald] Lambert, who was wounded at the siege of Guisnes in 1558 (Churchyarde, Choise).

[Lodge's Peerage, ed. Archdall; Berry's Hampshire, p. 77; Cal. State Papers, Domestic and Ireland; Cal. Carew MSS.; Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep. pp. 264, 284, 4th Rep. p. 606, 8th Rep. p. 381; Rawlinson's Life of Sir John Perrot; Motley's United Netherlands; W. Harris's Hibernica; Hill's Plantation of Ulster; Reg. Privy Council, Scotland, vol. x.; Gregory's Western Highlands; Trevelyan Papers (Camd. Soc.), vol. iii.; Camden's Annales; Chester's Reg. of Westminster Abbey.]

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