Welcome back to this week’s installment. Starting Chapter 1 we explore some of William Lamport’s backstory. Son to Allison and Richard Lamport, William had two brothers John and Gerald and a younger sister Catherine. John was five years older than William the second eldest.
The genealogy of the Lamport family line is a fascinating one. His Father Richard helped to pilot a Spanish armada into Kinsale (The Battle of Kinsale, 1601) against the English overlords. This was part of a rebellion led by Gaelic Chieftain Hugh O’Neil. The General of the Armada sent was Juan Del Águila. Ultimately the rebellion failed and Richard reinvented himself as a merchant.
Lamport’s maternal grandfather was Leonard Sutton of Rahayle, a local nobleman who may have worked with Richard, possibly sharing connections to Spain as part of a smuggling operation, which may have culminated in a brief stint in a North African Prison.
The start of this chapter sees Richard return home to Wexford following his merchant dealings. At the time Wexford would have been a noisy place covered in raw sewage, tanning pits, brothels and alehouses.
Richard learns from his own brother that his wife Allison has passed and his brother has been caring for Richard’s children. Grief for the loss of his wife would drive Richard to seek atonement and ultimately take up the Priesthood. This path would be formative in young Willie Lamport’s education. But for now we will see how the loss of his mother so early in life left such a profound impact on Willie. We meet him as a carefree risk taker, but on a collision course reunion with his father and the advice that he has to impart.
William as a child seemed to be the type to push things to the absolute limit, so when the bloody sport of bull baiting arrived from Spain to Wexford, he was sure to take the opportunity to enrapture a crowd.