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Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde

Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde (also Richard de Burgh) (1572 – 12 November 1635) was an Irish nobleman and politician. He was the son of Ulick Burke, 3rd Earl of Clanricarde and Honora Burke. Knighted in 1602 for his exploits as leader of the English cavalry during the Battle of Kinsale, he would later serve as Governor of Connaught from 1604 to 1616, and as a member of the Privy Council of Ireland. Having established himself as the largest and most influential landowner in Connacht, his later life was characterized by animosity between him and an increasingly hostile and acquisitive Dublin government.

Richard Burke
(Richard de Burgh)
4th Earl of Clanricarde
PredecessorUlick Burke, 3rd Earl of Clanricarde
SuccessorUlick Burke, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde
1st Earl of St Albans
PredecessorTitle Created
SuccessorUlick Burke, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde
1st Baron of Somerhill
PredecessorTitle Created
SuccessorUlick Burke, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde
Galway, Ireland
Died12 November 1635(1635-11-12) (aged 62–63)
Galway, Ireland
ConsortFrances Walsingham (m.1603)
IssueUlick Burke
Honora Burke
Mary Burke
FatherUlick Burke
MotherHonora Burke
ReligionRoman Catholic

He actively served Queen Elizabeth I against the rebel Irish lordships and their Spanish allies during the Nine Years' War. He was appointed governor of Connaught, member of the privy council in Ireland, and, in 1624, created Viscount Tunbridge and Baron of Somerhill, a manor which he owned in Kent. The titles of Viscount Galway and Earl of St. Albans were conferred on him in 1628.

Portumna Castle was commissioned by Richard Burke and completed in 1617.

By 1633 he was not only one of the principal landowners in Ireland, but virtually all powerful in County Galway. This aroused the resentment of the Dublin Government, which decided to use the method of empanelling juries to "find" defective titles, in order to recover the lands in question for the English Crown. The treatment which Lord Clanricarde experienced from the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas Wentworth, was said to have accelerated his death in November 1635: Wentworth however pointed to the Earl's advancing years and asked sarcastically if he was to blame for a man being over sixty. The feud, which was continued by Clanricarde's son and heir, was in the long run very damaging to Strafford, who apparently did not reflect on the close connections Clanricarde, through his wife, had with just that faction of the English nobility, the Rich-Devereux clan, who were most hostile to Strafford.

In 1603, he married Frances Walsingham, the widow of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. They had one son, Ulick, and two daughters, Honora, who married John Paulet, 5th Marquis of Winchester, and Mary, wife of Hon. Edward Butler of Ballinahinch. He was succeeded by his son and heir, Ulick, as 5th Earl of Clanricarde, who in 1622 had married Lady Anne Compton, only daughter of William Compton, 1st Earl of Northampton.


  • ‹The template Rayment is being considered for deletion.› Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
  • Wedgwood, C.V. Thomas Wentworth 1st Earl of Strafford 1593-1641- a revaluation Phoenix Press reissue 2000
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Burgh, Ulick de". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
Government offices
Preceded by
Lord President of Connaught
Succeeded by
The Viscount Wilmot
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Ulick Burke
Earl of Clanricarde
Succeeded by
Ulick Burke
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of St Albans
Succeeded by
Ulick Burke
Viscount Tunbridge