We’re excited to announce that we will be producing a series of short trailers in the lead-up to the publication of ‘The Legend of William Lamport’ graphic novel in 2021, as well as adapting some of our pre-existing content into short motion comics.
Below you can download our first trailer or view it here on our Facebook page.
Featuring the Artwork of Cormac Hughes with Colours by Ellie Wright and Letters by Rob Jones, the video was created and edited by Donal Hanway with an original score by Louis Claffey.
In our next installment of ‘The Legend of William Lamport’, we explore young Lamport’s adventures in London. In the meantime please enjoy this preview image of what’s to come from artist Cormac Hughes.
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.
Later this week we will be continuing with Chapter 2 of ‘The Legend of William Lamport’. In the interim, a couple of readers to the site have been in contact to ask how they could access further information regarding Lamport and his extraordinary life.
Where possible to obtain a copy, Gerard Ronan’s excellent ‘The Irish Zorro- The Extraordinary Adventures Of William Lamport (1615-1659)’, comes highly recommended.
For further historical analysis on the life of William Lamport, History Ireland published an insightful article back in 2001 as part of Early Modern History (1500-1700) entitled ‘The Man Behind The Mask of Zorro’. This article also comes with a ‘Further Reading’ list.
In terms of documentary information Newstalk’s J.J. O’Shea produced an engaging audio documentary Man and Myth which you can still listen to today as a podcast.
Across all aforementioned sources a recurring theme of connecting the life events of Lamport as inspiration for Johnston McCulley in his creation of ‘Zorro’ are implied by the authors. The merits of this statement does warrant further discussion and will serve as the subject of a future article on this site.
In the meantime, we leave you with a preview of what’s to come in our next installment of Chapter 2 with a depiction of the Jesuit College College of Back Lane in Dublin, where a young Lamport would have studied as the ‘Oath of Supremacy’ would have made Trinity College inaccessible to him. Art and colours by Cormac Hughes and Ellie Wright respectively.
Welcome to the start of the next thrilling installment as we explore the Legend of William Lamport. This chapter begins with exploring Lamport’s teen years and the events which will ultimately lead him to London.
The years of 1536-1691 bore witness to the erosion of Gaelic Culture as the first full conquest by England of the island of Ireland was undertaken. This was achieved through the colonization by Protestant Settlers from England. The 17th Century bore witness to the emergence of great estates formed from the confiscated lands of the Gaelic Chieftains.
What emerged from this tumultuous time were two pivotal themes within the history of Ireland:
1.) The subordination of Ireland to London-based governments.
2.) Sectarian animosity between Catholics and Protestants.
Under King Henry VIII Ireland was transformed from a Lordship to a full Kingdom. Often cited as a strong reason as to why Henry VIII sought to conquer Ireland completely, the growing influence of the Fitzgerald dynasty in County Kildare is provided as evidence. The Fitzgeralds had become the effective rulers of Ireland in the 15th Century and their allegiance to the Tudor Monarchs became questionable.
Since the forming of a lordship in Ireland in the 12th Century, Ireland had retained its own Parliament. To secure effective control over Ireland as a full Kingdom, Henry VIII pursued a Policy of “surrender and regrant”. Under this policy Gaelic Chiefs, and some autonomous Norman-Irish Lords, were actively encouraged to surrender their lands to the King of England and recognise him as the King of Ireland and then have their lands regranted to them. Those who resisted faced military reprisals. Those who surrendered their lands were expected to; speak English, wear English style-clothing, follow English laws and customs, remain loyal to the crown and convert to Henry VIII’s new church. Ultimately this conquest, which was completed under Elizabeth I and James I, resulted in the assimilation and abolition of lordships which had been independent for several hundred years.
As discussed back in the entry for Chapter 1 Part 1 of ‘The Legend of William Lamport’, Hugh O’Neill and his allies, supported by a Spanish expeditionary force were defeated at ‘The Battle of Kinsale’ in 1601 and forced to surrender to James I in 1603.
From the mid-16th Century to the early 17th Century the English government carried out a policy of colonisation known as ‘Plantations’. These new settlers held a strong British and Protestant identity and would go on to form the ruling class of the British administration in Ireland.
What resulted under this new administration were a series of ‘Penal Laws’ which discriminated against all other Christian Faiths apart from the Church of Ireland formed by Henry VIII. Roman Catholics suffered greatly under these laws. From 1607 they were prevented from taking Public Office. By 1615, it was made law that there would always be a Protestant majority for any vote given in the Irish House of Commons.
Ireland’s political landscape in the 17th Century was further altered by the emergence of the “New English”. This Anglo-Irish class replaced the Gaelic Irish and “Old English” ruling class. The use of “New” and “Old” was to further distinguish them from Hiberno-Norman settlers from medieval times.
The effects of this turbulent political landscape will be explored among the themes of Chapter 2 of ‘The Legend of William Lamport’ as we will see that Lamport himself is prevented from studying in Trinity College in Dublin (founded by Elizabeth I) due to the ‘Oath of Supremacy’ (recognising the king of England as the head of the whole church of Ireland) and this would be a contributing factor in taking young William from Ireland to England. We will also see an example of how tenant farmers and peasant classes suffered under the sectarian governing of Crown rule.
It would not take an immense leap in logic to hypothesise that the experiences of the land displaced Irish Catholics of this time helped focus Lamport’s sympathies towards the land displaced Mexicans he would later encounter.
Ahead of the release of Chapter 2, ‘The Legend of William Lamport’ author Eoin McAuley spoke about the project in depth with John Siuntres of the Word Balloon Podcast.
Word Balloon is currently in its 15th year and for the past decade and a half John has been interviewing comic creators from many different publishers and has amassed a very impressive archive of insightful discussions with comic creators about their work and careers.
The full Word Balloon podcast archive is available for free here.
If you wish to support the Podcast Mr. Siuntres has a Patreon account here.
During the McAuley interview background to the project’s development and an overview of Lamport’s biography is discussed. Other topics are touched upon as well such as classic swashbuckling films and wider discussions on mainstream comics and the Irish Comic Book Community in general.
You can listen to and/or download the full interview here.
There will also be a video recording of the interview posted to the Word Balloon YouTube page which you can subscribe to for free here.
Before you go, be sure to check out some great art work by Cormac Hughes from Chapter 2 (starting next week) below.