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Taaffe, William (DNB00)

TAAFFE, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1627), sheriff of Sligo, was second son of John Taaffe of Harristown and Ballybragan, Ireland. His ancestors, said to have descended from a Welsh immigrant under Strongbow, had for more than two centuries been landowners in co. Louth, and had received some of the confiscated monastic property. They belonged to the Pale, and William was apparently a protestant. In 1588 he was sheriff of co. Sligo, and complaints of oppression were preferred against him. In 1596 he was employed by Henry Norris [see under Norris, Sir Henry, Baron Norris of Rycote]; in 1597 he was appointed constable of St. Leger’s Castle, and in the following year he served as a lieutenant in the operations against Tyrone. Promoted to a captaincy, he distinguished himself on the landing of the Spaniards at Kinsale in 1601. In January 1603, with his troop of horse, he was sent to attack the MacCarthys at Carbery, entered their stronghold in their absence, and seized their herds. They pursued and charged him at Cladach. Owen MacEgan [q. v.], the vicar-apostolic, who was with them, was shot, and 120 rebels were either killed or drowned in the Bandon. By this exploit Carbery was reduced to subjection, and Taaffe on 25 March 1604–5 was knighted. In 1606 he was nominated constable of Ardee, which post he resigned in 1611. He received various grants of confiscated lands between 1592 and 1620. He died on 9 Feb. 1627, and was buried at Ardee.

By his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Brett of Tulloch in Fingal, Taaffe had no issue; by his second wife, Ismay, daughter of Sir Christopher Bellew, he had a son John, who was knighted, was created in 1628 Viscount Taaffe and Baron Ballymote, married Anne, daughter of the first Viscount Dillon, and died on 9 Jan. 1642, being buried at Ballymote; his son Theobald, second viscount, is noticed separately.

[Stafford's Pacata Hibernia, pp. 205, 366; Lodge’s Irish Peerage; Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1596–1625, and Carew Papers, 1601–3; Mem. of Family of Taaffe, privately printed, Vienna, 1856.]

J. G. A.