When Sussex (Thomas Radclyffe) returned to England for the succession (1558) of the new Queen Elizabeth, Shane O’Neill acted quickly to establish his supremacy.
First he subjected the local chiefs of our area (O’Hanlon and Magennis) to his power and made them his uriaghts.
Where Bagenal was at this time we are uncertain, but as he later took frequent refuge in Greencastle – which he seemed to prefer as a home to Newry – it is not unlikely that he was there.
The English were not to take it all lying down. On 1st February a commission was granted to William Ashely and Thomas Bramley to execute martial law in the territories of Newry, Mourne and Cooley. As Small (in his ‘Sketch’) remarked, ‘such arbitrary proceedings cannot have tended by any means to pacify the country or reconcile it with English rule’.
Nor did it work.
The government was compelled to send Sir Henry Sidney with an army to Dundalk in the same year of 1559 to confront Shane O’Neill.
Avoiding open conflict on this occasion, Shane invited Sidney to a friendly visit: the invitation was accepted and shortly after, the English army was withdrawn.
For the time being Shane O’Neill retained hegemony in his own domain.
Bagenal remained slighted. He probably chose not to have O’Neill look down in dominating fashion from his castle at Fathom: we can reasonably surmise that he remained in retreat elsewhere – Greencastle being the most likely place.
… Desmond rebellions …
… more later ….