Maurice Cuffe

Life
fl. 1642; b. [prob.] Co. Clare; author of The Siege of Ballyally in the country of Clare (S.l.; s.n. 1642), and among the Protestant defenders of that stronghold, being the son of the widow of his namesake, an Irish merchant of English extraction who held the castle on lease from Sir Valentine Blake of Galway; the siege was conducted by Dermot O’Brien acting for Sir Barnabas O’Brien, Earl of Thomond and Lord Lieutenant of Clare, who required the castle to be used for the defence of the county against the Irish rebels - a request (which was seconded by Sir Valentine) was refused by Mrs. Cuffe and likewise by the occupants of thirty-one castles in Co. Clare; The Siege, which is written in fluent English marked by Hiberno-English phonetic spellings, was reprinted by Thomas Crofton Croker in his Narratives Illustrative of the Contests in Ireland in 1641 and 1690 (Camden Soc. 1841); nothing is known of Cuffe’s education or career.

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Works
  • “The Siege of Ballyaly Castle” [sic], by Maurice Cuffe, Esq., in T. C. Croker, ed., ed., Narratives Illustrative of the Contests in Ireland in 1641 and 1690 [Works of the Camden Society, No. 14] (London: Camden Society; printed by J. B[owyer] Nichols, MDCCCXLI [1841]), xiv, 149., 35pp. 23cm. [pp.1-23; copies in Oxford & Aberdeen] - copy available at Cambridge Journal Digital Archive online;
  • True nevves from Munster in Ireland : being a copy of a letter sent to the Countesse of Thomond in Northamptonshire. Cork the fourth of Iune 1642 (London: printed for Henry Seyle, Iune 16, 1642), [2], 5, [1]pp., 4° [attrib. to Cuffe in BL Cat.; copies in BL & Reg. of Preservation Surrogates; Oxford; NL Scotland, and Manchester; reg. as Wing C7473]

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Quotations
The Siege of Ballyally Castle (1642): ’Aftar this the enemy would daily in our sight drae forth there skenes and swordes, flurishing them, shwering many daingeroes othes that ear long thaye would drae us forth and hack us to peeces, terming us pewritan rogges, and all the base names that might bee invented, vowing that shortly Sir Philem O’Neale, and at lest 40,000 souldars, would corn in to Thomond and not leve a Protestant living, praing hartely for hem, pretending that thaie then fought for hem, but within a short time aftar thaye pretended that thaye were wholy the Queens armey, and that shee and har mothar was in the north aiding them, but noe Protestant admited to luck uppon har. This nott suddenly altard, and then thaie were all for the King, vowing depely that thaie had his Majesty's comishon for what thaye did, and that thaye were his Majesty's Cathelick foreces. To expres there base and wicked termes were soe tedious and base that it were abell to shame the readar to heere there wicked inventions and damnable curses.’ [...] (pp.Given in Alan Bliss, Spoken English in Ireland 1600-1740 [...] (Dublin: Cadenus Press 1979), pp.106-08; see also remarks on same, ibid., pp.42-43.)

See also the opening pages (pp.1-3) of the text as given in T. C. Croker, Narratives [of] 1641 and 1690 (Camden Soc. 1841) - attached.

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