Sir William Sarsfield


Sir William Sarsfield (1520–1616),a politician and landowner was the Seneschal (an agent or steward in charge) of the queen’s manors, including Crumlin in the late 16th century

Sir William Sarsfield was a notable figure in Irish history born in Sarsfieldstown, Co. Meath, to Alderman John Sarsfield. His significant wealth and active involvement in Dublin’s civic affairs marked him as a key player in the municipal government and the broader Pale area.

Sarsfield’s civic journey commenced in 1554–5 when he served as sheriff. In 1560, he became an alderman of Dublin, and in 1566–7, he assumed the position of mayor, earning a knighthood for raising a defensive force against Shane O’Neill’s threat to Drogheda. Notably, his father and elder brother had previously served as mayors. Following this, he became the treasurer in 1569–70 and held the office of sheriff of Co. Dublin in 1572 and 1582.

Actively engaged in the defense of the Pale, Sarsfield participated in various commissions and, in 1577, was appointed to survey and shire Co. Wicklow. During the rebellions led by James Eustace and William Nugent in 1581–2, he defended the Pale, demonstrating his commitment to the region. He even confronted Fiach MacHugh O’Byrne, a Baltinglass ally, during the winter of 1581–2.

Sarsfield’s family estate was located in Lucan, Co. Dublin, inherited by 1566, and his primary residence stood on High Street, Dublin. As a Protestant, he earned the trust of the government, securing privileges such as a twenty-one-year lease of the Tully preceptory in Co. Kildare in 1569. Additionally, in 1592, he was appointed seneschal of the queen’s manors, including Newcastle Lyons, Esker, Saggart, and Crumlin.

In terms of family, Sarsfield’s marriage to Margaret Tyrell of Athboy, Co. Meath, resulted in three sons and three daughters. Notably, sons John, Patrick, and Simon inherited various estates. Daughters Katherine married Sir Robert Dillon and later Sir Christopher Bellew, while Mary married Christopher Bath.

Sir William Sarsfield passed away on December 17, 1616, and was laid to rest in Lucan. His legacy endures through his family’s contributions to Irish society and his dedicated efforts in defending the Pale during tumultuous periods in Irish history, including his involvement in the Crumlin region.

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Connection with area: Politician appointed seneschal of the queen's manors of Newcastle Lyons, Esker, Saggart, and Crumlin