Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/MacMurrogh, Art - Wikisource, the free online library

MACMURROGH or MACMURCHAD, ART (1357–1417), styled also Cavanagh, Irish chief, born in 1357, was descended from Donall, illegitimate son of Diarmaid or Dermod MacMurchada [q. v.], king of Leinster. The sept of which he was the head was so numerous and important that the name of 'Cavanaghs' country' was applied to districts occupied by them, which are now comprised in the counties of Carlow, Wexford, and Wicklow. Under a compact with the government at Dublin, an annual subvention was long paid to the head of the Cavanagh sept for protection which he agreed to afford to the English settlers in their district. In connection with this subvention, which occasionally remained unpaid, disputes from time to time arose between the governmental officials and MacMurchad. By native writers he was extolled as courageous, liberal, and hospitable. He married Elizabeth Veele, who, as heiress to Anglo-Norman settlers, was entitled to lands of considerable value in Leinster. These were seized by the crown on the plea that she had forfeited them by her marriage. Richard II when in Ireland in 1395 propitiated MacMurchad, and, according to Froissart, conferred knighthood on him at Dublin. The king's representatives also concluded an agreement with MacMurchad for the restoration of his wife's lands and the payment of the subvention as formerly. The subsequent non-fulfilment of this agreement led to hostilities by MacMurchad, and Thomas de Spencer, earl of Gloucester, was delegated to negotiate with him when Richard II revisited Ireland in 1399. Some details of the interview between them have been chronicled in verse by Creton, a contemporary French writer. He mentions that their meeting was between two woods near the sea, that MacMurchad, a fine large man, marvellously agile, stern in aspect, rode on a very swift horse of high value, and bore a spear in his right hand, which he used with great dexterity. The discourse, according to Creton, lasted for some time, but led to no satisfactory result. King Richard subsequently by proclamation offered a hundred marks of gold for MacMurchad, alive or dead. The meeting between MacMurchad and Gloucester formed the subject of an elaborate drawing in colours and gold in Creton's manuscript, now in the British Museum (MS. Harl. 1319), and an accurate reproduction of it will be found in the 'Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Ireland,' edited by the present writer. After the deposition of Richard II the representatives of Henry IV in Ireland entered into new negotiations with MacMurchad, which were, however, often broken off. The death of MacMurchad in 1417 was ascribed to poison administered by a woman.

[Patent Rolls of Chancery, Ireland; Carew MSS., Lambeth; Archæologia, xx. 1823; Annals of the Four Masters, 1848; Gilbert's Viceroys of Ireland, 1865; Annals of Loch Cé, 1871.]

J. T. G.