The Earl was borne off, apparently lifeless, to one of his own castles, which had been seized by the Viceroy. It is said that even his surgeon was bribed to prevent his recovery. Before submitting his wounds to the necessary treatment, he prepared for death, and received the last sacraments. He died calmly and immediately, clasping a crucifix, on Palm Sunday, the sixteenth day after his treacherous capture. And thus expired the “flower of chivalry,” and the grandson of Strongbow, the very man to whom England owed so much of her Irish possessions.
It could not fail to be remarked by the Irish annalists, that the first Anglo-Norman settlers had been singularly unfortunate. They can scarcely be blamed for supposing that these misfortunes were a judgment for their crimes. Before the middle of this century (the thirteenth) three of the most important families had become extinct. De Lacy, Lord of Meath, died in 1241, infirm and blind; his property was inherited by his grand-daughters, in default of a male heir. Hugh de Lacy died in 1240, and left only a daughter. The Earl of Pembroke died from wounds received at a tournament. Walter, who succeeded him, also died without issue. The property came eventually to Anselm, a younger brother, who also died childless; and it was eventually portioned out among the females of the family.
It is said Henry III. expressed deep grief when he heard of Earl Richard’s unfortunate end, and that he endeavoured to have restitution made to the family. Geoffrey de Marisco was banished. His son, William, conspired against the King, and even employed an assassin to kill him. The man would have probably accomplished his purpose, had he not been discovered accidentally by one of the Queen’s maids, hid under the straw of the royal bed. The real traitor was eventually captured, drawn at horses’ tails to London, and hanged with the usual barbarities.
His miserable father, who had been thrice Viceroy of Ireland, and a peer of that country and of England, died in exile, “pitifully, yet undeserving of pity, for his own treason against the unfortunate Earl Richard, and his son’s treason against the King.” Such were the men who governed Ireland in the thirteenth century.
Treachery seems to have been the recognized plan of capturing an enemy. In 1236 this method was attempted by the government in order to get Felim O’Connor into their power. He was invited to attend a meeting in Athlone, but, fortunately for himself, he discovered the designs of his enemies time enough to effect his escape. He was pursued to Sligo. From thence he fled to Tir-Connell, which appears to have been the Cave of Adullam in that era; though there were so many discontented persons, and it was so difficult to know which party any individual would espouse continuously, that the Adullamites were tolerably numerous. Turlough’s son, Brian O’Connor, was now invested with the government of Connaught by the English, until some more promising candidate should appear. But even their support failed to enable him to keep the field. Felim returned the following year, and after defeating the soldiers of the Lord Justice, made Brian’s people take to flight so effectually, that none of Roderic’s descendants ever again attempted even to possess their ancestral lands.