The life and times of Sir Frederick Hamilton, 1590–1647
This is the story of Sir Frederick Hamilton, an ambitious and boastful 17th-century Scottish nobleman who secured a grant of land during the Leitrim Plantation in 1620. Unlike many other grantees, he and his English wife, Sidney, took up residence on their estate and enlarged it through purchase or mortgage from their British and Irish neighbours. The adventurous and enterprising Hamilton raised a regiment to fight for Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years War in Germany, but later sought redress from the Swedish council of state for the ‘unlawful’ disbandment of this regiment. From then on, he concentrated on consolidating his situation in Leitrim, where his impregnable castle at Manorhamilton served him well during the turbulent years of the 1641 rebellion. Hamilton moved to Derry in 1643 in the hope of succeeding his father-in-law as governor of that city. He joined the covenanter movement and then sought military promotion from the covenanters’ allies – the English parliament. Having failed in his quest – despite all his bragging – he retired to Scotland to take command of a regiment in the Army of the Solemn League and Covenant. He was discharged in 1647 with little or no compensation and died a ruined man.
Dominic Rooney has had a lifelong interest in the history of his native Leitrim. He has been contributing articles of a historical nature to the county’s premier magazine, the Leitrim Guardian, for over twenty years.