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William III and the War in Ireland in Twelve Objects: 11. Earl of Meath’s Letter

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

This first-hand account of the Battle of the Boyne was written by Edward Brabazon, Fourth Earl of Meath, to Lady Stephens, wife of Sir John Stephens, on 5 July 1690.

The letter provides an interesting account events surrounding the Battle of the Boyne and the taking of Drogheda by Williamite forces.

Of particular note is his description of what would later become known as the fortunate escape of William III. On the night before the Battle, William and his commanders were on the northside of the river Boyne looking at the displacement of the Jacobite forces. Spotting this important target, Jacobite gunners fired cannons from a concealed position. William was injured in the shoulder but shrugged off the attack.

As Meath writes, William was philosophical about the incident: “The enemy designed to prevent his fighting next day, but certainly I’ll be tomorrow against the thickest of them.”


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