JONES, MICHAEL (died 1649), soldier

Name: Michael Jones
Date of death: 1649
Parent: Mabel (née Ussher)
Parent: Lewis Jones
Gender: Male
Occupation: soldier
Area of activity: Military
Author: Arthur Herbert Dodd

Of Irish birth but Welsh family, being sixth in descent from Gruffydd Derwas, lord of Nannau and ancestor of the family of Nannau as well as (on the female side) of John Jones the regicide. His father, Welsh-born LEWIS JONES (son of John Wynn ap John) went from Merioneth to Brasenose College, Oxford, c. 1562, proceeding straight from B.A. to a Fellowship of All Souls (1569), thence to Ireland, where he married (c. 1600) a sister of James Ussher (afterwards primate), and became successively dean of Ardagh (co. Longford) 1606-25, and of Cashel (where he restored the cathedral), 1607, prebendary of Ely, 1629-38, and (despite Laud's dislike for his Puritanism) bishop of Killaloe from 1633 to his death on 2 November 1646, at the reputed age of 104. He was joined in Ireland by two brothers - HENRY JONES, whose son, judge OLIVER JONES (died 1682), was the grandfather of Ann Jones, Oliver Goldsmith's mother, and BRYAN JONES (died 1671) a member of the Irish parliament and founder of the still prominent Irish family of Jones of Headfort.

Michael Jones was a younger son of the bishop, probably born at Ardagh; he returned to Ireland from Lincoln's Inn (adm. 12 January 1631) to enlist in the army raised to combat the Irish rebellion of 1641, but protesting against the truce of 1643 joined the Roundhead forces in England to fight its author, Charles I. He operated as colonel of horse mainly on the North Wales border, beating back Prince Maurice at Holt bridge in March 1645, and helping to negotiate the surrender of Chester (1 February 1646) after joining Thomas Mytton to defeat relieving forces at Denbigh (1 November 1645). He was governor of Chester from 6 February until on 30 June he was recommended to parliament as commander-in-chief for Ireland, and sent to renew the struggle there with the rank of major-general. He won a brilliant victory at Dangan Hill, Antrim (8 August 1647), and, resisting Ormonde's appeal after the king's execution to join him and his new allies - the Confederate Catholics - in chastizing the executioners (9 March 1649), he made possible Cromwell's landing in Ireland by crushing Ormonde's forces at Rathmines, near Dublin (2 August 1649); but on 10 December he died of fever and was buried in S. Mary's Church, Youghal. He left a high reputation for personal gallantry and military skill. The £3,000 Irish estate with which Parliament rewarded his widow, long in dispute, was seized by Tyrconnel in 1690 (leaving her destitute), while her adopted son MICHAEL JONES (son of Henry Jones, bishop of Clougher) was fighting for William III.

Three other sons of Lewis Jones won distinction in Ireland. HENRY JONES (1605 - 1682) - 'a man of great learning' (Strype, Parker, I, xi) and a pioneer of Gaelic studies - succeeded him as dean of Ardagh (1625), became bishop of Clougher in 1645, served Cromwell as scoutmaster when the episcopate was in suspense, but was nevertheless appointed bishop of Meath in 1661. Sir THEOPHILUS JONES (died 1685) succeeded his brother Michael as governor of Dublin (1649-59), was an Irish member in Cromwell's parliament of 1656, but co-operated with Monck to bring about the Restoration and was rewarded with the office of scoutmaster general to Charles II (1661). AMBROSE JONES (died 1678) was made bishop of Kildare in 1667.


Published date: 1959

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