Henry Dowcra

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1560-1631 [occas. Docwra]; took Derry during Hugh O’Neill’s Rebellion, establishing garrison at Culmore; laid out modern city; prosecuted a campaign against O’Cahan, enlisting help from Art O’Neill, son of Turlough Luineach (whom O’Neill has deposed); Dowcra horse was ‘shott in two places & fell deade under mee’, and was struck in the head by a spear on another occasion; suffered near starvation during winter awaiting supplies; detached Irishmen from the rebellion; Niall Garbh, a gs. of Calvagh who contested the chieftainship with Red Hugh O’Donnell, rode into Derry, 3 Oct. 1600; continued to harry the Ulster Irish, in conjunction with Mountjoy; published A Narration of the Services Down under the Leading of Me, Sir Henry Dowcra, Knight.

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Works
Docwra’s A Narration of the Services done by the army ymployed to Lough-Foyle’, in Miscellany of the Celtic Society, ed., John O’Donovan (Dublin 1849); William Kelly, ed., Dowcra’s Derry: a Narration of Events in North-West Ulster 1600-1604 (Ulster Hist. Foundation 2003; 2008), 166pp.

Criticism
John McGurk, Sir Henry Docwra, 1564-1631: Derry’s Second Founder (Dublin: Four Courts 2005), q.pp.

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Quotations
Taking Derry: ‘On the 22nd of May wee put the Army in order to marche, & leaving Captain Lancellott Atford at Culmore with 600 men, to make up the workes, wee went to the Derry 4 myles of upon the River side, a place in manner of an Iland Comprehending within it 40 acres of Ground, wherein were the Ruines of an old Abbay, of a Bishopp’s houses, of two churches, & at one of the ends of it an old Castle, the River called loughfoyle encompassing it all on one side, & a bogg most commonlie wett, & not easilie passable except in two or three places dividing it from the maine land. / This peece of Ground we possest our selves of without Resistaunce, & iudging it a fitt place to make our maine plantation in, being somewhat hie, & therefore dry, & healthie to dwell upon, att that end where the old Castle stood, being closer to the water side, I presentlie resolved to raise a fforte to keep our stoore of Munition & victuells in, & in the other a little above, where the walls of an old Cathedral church were yet standing, to evert another for our future safetie & retreate unto upon all occasions.’ Further, ‘And now the winter beganne to be feirce upon us, our men wasted with continuall laboures, the Iland scattered with Cabbins full of sicke men, our Biskitt all spent, our other provisions of nothing but Meale, Butter, & a little Wine, & that by Computation to hould out but 6 dayes longer.’ (Cited in Jonathan Bardon, A History of Ulster, Blackstaff 1992, pp.104-05; bibl. John O’Donovan, ed., Docwra [sic], A Narration of the Services done by the army ymployed to Lough-Foyle’, in Miscellany of the Celtic Society, 1849.)

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References
Jonathan Bardon, History of Ulster (Belfast: Blackstaff 1992), makes copious reference to Docwra’s Narration.

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