William Donn de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster

William de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster and 4th Baron of Connaught (English: /dˈbɜːr/; d’-BER; 17 September 1312 – 6 June 1333) was an Irish noble who was Lieutenant of Ireland (1331) and whose murder, aged 20, led to the Burke Civil War.

William Donn de Burgh,
3rd Earl of Ulster
Uilleag Donn de Búrca
Arms of the House of de Burgh.svg
Arms of William Donn de Burgh:
Or, a cross gules.
Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
3 March 1331 – 5 November 1331
Preceded byJohn Darcy
Succeeded byAnthony de Lucy
Personal details
Born(1312-09-13)13 September 1312
Died6 June 1333(1333-06-06) (aged 20)
Spouse(s)Maud of Lancaster
ChildrenElizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster
Parent(s)John de Burgh
Elizabeth de Clare


The grandson of the 2nd Earl Richard Óg de Burgh via his second son, John, William de Burgh was also Lord of Connaught in Ireland, and held the manor of Clare, Suffolk.

He was summoned to Parliament from 10 December 1327 to 15 June 1328 by writs addressed to Willelmo de Burgh. He is considered the first Baron Burgh. In March 1331 he was appointed Lieutenant of Ireland, serving until November 1331.[1]

Marriage and issueEdit

The 3rd Earl of Ulster married, before 16 November 1327 (by a Papal Dispensation dated 1 May 1327), Maud of Lancaster, daughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Maud Chaworth. They had only one surviving child, Elizabeth, Countess of Ulster, who was 13 months old when he was murdered. She married Lionel of Antwerp, third son of Edward III of England. Maud remarried Sir Ralph Ufford, Justiciar of Ireland 1344–6, and had further issue. She was said to have great influence over her second husband.


In February 1332, at Greencastle, near the mouth of Lough Foyle, he had his cousin Sir Walter Liath de Burgh starved to death. In revenge, Sir Walter's sister, Gylle de Burgh, wife of Sir Richard de Mandeville, planned his assassination.

In June 1333, he was killed by de Mandeville, Sir John de Logan, and others. The Annals of the Four Masters noted that "William Burke, Earl of Ulster, was killed by the English of Ulster. The Englishmen who committed this deed were put to death, in divers ways, by the people of the King of England; some were hanged, others killed, and others torn asunder, in revenge of his death."

His widow, Maud, fled to England, where she remarried, was again widowed in 1346, and then became an Augustinian canoness at Campsey Priory in Suffolk, where she is buried. Upon his death, the various factions of the de Burghs, now called Burke, began the Burke Civil War for supremacy.[2]



  1. ^ O'Mahony, Charles (1912). The Viceroys of Ireland. p. 16.
  2. ^ Frame, Robin (2004). "Burgh, William de, third earl of Ulster [called the Brown Earl] (1312–1333), magnate". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/4001. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. Retrieved 21 December 2021.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link) (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

Further readingEdit

Government offices
Preceded by Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Earl of Ulster
Succeeded by