Ahead of our next installment of Chapter 2, we’re introducing a new segment to the site; ‘Historical Notes’. This segment will point out some of the elements from our telling of the legend of William Lamport which were taken directly from or inspired by true historical events and characters.
The lens through which we are telling Lamport’s story is one leaning more into the fantastical components of his life and does serve towards exaggeration in order to heighten entertainment. But that said, sometimes with Lamport the truth can be stranger than fiction.
Page 1: Siege of La Rochelle: This was a true historical assault which Lamport was purported to be involved with. It was the result of a war between the French royal forces of Louis XIII and the Huguenots of La Rochelle. It is often cited as the height of the struggle between Catholics and Protestants in France. The siege ended with a complete victory for the Louis XIII and his Catholic supporters.
Page 2: Escape from Inquisition Jail: Lamport did indeed escape from an Inquisition jail in Mexico in 1659. The events leading up to his imprisonment will be explored in greater detail throughout the ‘The Legend of William Lamport’.
Page 6: Pinning of the declaration of Independence to the Cathedral Wall: This action did indeed happen and is central to the story of Lamport lasting into the 21st Century. Written almost a century before the French revolution this document was the precursor to so many other declarations of independence.
Page 1: Wexford: Lamport did originate from Co. Wexford in Ireland. His exact date of birth is highly contested as he frequently falsified documents and out right lied when it came to his heritage and background.
Page 1: Family: This chapter entry does offer some good background information to Lamport’s family tree and siblings. However, his mother’s name does change between accounts. Allison is given as his mother’s name in Gerard Ronan’s fantastic ‘The Irish Zorro’, but an article by History Ireland names his mother as Anastasia Sutton. A scion of a noble Old English Family who originally came to Ireland during the time of Strongbow.
Page 2: Bull-Baiting: This did actually rise in popularity in Ireland at the time, especially with the trade links between Ireland and Spain, trends and fashions were often exchanged. There’s no evidence though that Lamport himself actually did any bull-baiting.
Page 5: The Battle of Kinsale: This battle was a watershed moment in Irish history and there is evidence to suggest that Richard Lamport was involved in some capacity.
Page 6: Entering the Priesthood: Lamport’s father William did enter the priesthood following the death of his wife and did single young William out for further education. The reasoning for the attention lavished upon William hasn’t been uncovered by any specific source, but analysis of the political landscape and customs of the times can lead us to speculate as we have in this telling of Lamport’s story.
Page 7: Father William Devereux: Devereux was a renowned school master in his mid-forties by the time William and his father moved in. He himself was also a fugitive from English justice.
Page 8: Education: Lamport could converse in 14 languages and did study the ‘Art of Memory’. This technique dates back to the ancient Greeks and is a method to allow individuals to store and recall a vast amount of information. It was first developed when an individual attending a dinner party escaped when a roof caved in. He realised he could recall who was present by remembering where they were all sitting. Thus, the art of memory utilises individuals creating “mental rooms” to store and organise memories.
Page 3: Back Lane College: There did exist a Jesuit College in Back Lane Dublin and Lamport did study with the Jesuits in Dublin. The image of the college below was also drawn from reference photographs.
Page 3: Thomas Furlong: Furlong would have been more responsible for Lamport’s education than Devereux. For brevity sake and to progress the story we focused on Devereux as Lamport’s key mentor character. Furlong died in 1625 and Lamport’s education passed to a series of Franciscan friars. In this installment Devereux refers to Furlong’s ill health.
Page 4: The Oath of Supremacy: For more information on the ‘Oath of Supremacy’ please read our brief essay on the political landscape of 17th Century Ireland available here on this very website.
Page 5: Sir Nicholas White: A teacher from Lexilip, White is cited in Gerard Ronan’s biography of Lamport as being responsible for helping William obtain an education in London.
Page 5: Family Motto: ‘Deus Providebit’….God will provide, was indeed Lamport’s family motto.
Page 6: London: The look for London was inspired by contemporary illustrations from the time.
In terms of what was embellished in our telling of Lamport’s tale:
1.) There’s no account of him stopping a mugging upon his escape from the Inquisition jail.
2.) There is no record of him stealing horses during his escape.
3.) There is no record of Lamport Bull-baiting as a child.
4.) The incident at Fitzgerald’s farm in Chapter 2 was a total fabrication.
16 historically accurate points vs. 4 embellishments- not a bad score. Tune in for the next installment as the history lesson and adventure continues.