A Mix of Politics and Religion and Castles

Pen and ink sketch of Ennisskillen Castle, Ireland by Wendy Harty November 2019.

Dear Keziah: I have not forgotten thee. Just took a little detour researching your fascinating relatives and the places they trod in history! Love Wendy

Back in 1468 Sir Thomas Cole was born in Devon, England. His son Thomas Cole 1494-1571 also of Devon, was an English Protestant, a Marian Exile, who graduated M.A at Oxford. When Catholic Queen Mary ascended the throne he fled to Frankfurt where he met John Knox and moved to Geneva with more of the radical protestants. As a political fraction, this group of disaffected country gentlemen, for the most part related, returned to England, under Elizabeth I. Thomas was made Archdeacon of Essex and was present at the convocation of 1563 and subscribed the original Thirty-nine Articles, the defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England. Queen Elizabeth I attempted to reconcile Reformed and Catholic practices to appeal to all the peoples and made a Book of Common Prayer which included the 39 articles. The Marian Exiles would accept nothing less than the pure Calvinist ideal and the Puritan dissenters called for further purification of the Church of England. Thomas Cole had a reputation for eloquence and for nonconformity and he preached before the queen at Windsor in 1564. (He should not be confused with William Cole d 1600 president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, one of the authors of the Genevan translation of the Bible.

William Cole 1521-1601 married Ann 1520-1598

Sir William J Cole II 1546-1623 married Elizabeth Deards 1550-1622

Sir William James Cole III, of Ennisskillen, Ireland July 28, 1574-Nov 19, 1630. The County of Fermanagh is famous for its 17th-century castle ruins, one being Enniskillen Castle, the town’s oldest building, built by Hugh (Maguire) the Hospitable who died in 1428.

The strategic position of the castle made its capture important for the English in 1593, to support their plans for the control of Ulster. The castle was besieged three times in 1594–95. The English captured it in February 1594. Maguire then laid siege to it, and defeated the occupants who were massacred after they surrendered. Maguire (Irish) gained possession of the castle from 1595 to 1598 and it was not finally captured by the English until 1607. (William Cole had married Susan Bale whose grandfather John Bale who was also a Marian exile and came back to join Bishop Thomas Cole to form Parliament.)

This was part of a wider campaign to bring the province of Ulster under English control; the final capture of Enniskillen Castle in 1607 was followed by the Plantation of Ulster, during which the lands of the native Irish were seized and handed over to planters loyal to the English Crown. The Maguires were supplanted by William Cole, originally from Devon, who was appointed by King James I to build an English settlement there.

Captain Cole was installed as Constable and strengthened the castle wall and built a “fair house” on the old foundation as the centre point of the county town. He remodelled and refurbished the castle adding the riverside tower at the south known as Watergate. This features two corbelled circular turrets. The medieval architecture technique placed successive flat stones, each one extending a little further inward than the layer beneath. The first Protestant parish church was erected on the hilltop in 1627. 

Excerpt from “Mayflower Planters, Cape Cod Series Vol. II, Merchant Adventurers of England. The Cole Family had a strong “dissenting” history. Three brothers Job, John and Daniel Cole, came to Plymouth in 1633 ,sailing on the ship “Mary and James. Daniel Cole was born December 12, 1614 at Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, England and died Dec 21, 1694 at Eastham, Massachusetts, buried in Cove Burying Ground at age 80. (In 1648, Daniel was one of the jury that tried Alice Bishop for infanticide.) His daughter Esther/Hester 1661-1705 married Medad Atwood 1658-1704. Their son Stephen Atwood 1695-1732 married Hannah Doane 1704-1776. And their daughter Keziah is my 5th great grandmother.

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