Duel between the Earl of Meath and Capt. Robert Gore 1797

Coat of Arms of the Earls of Meath
Image from Illustrated London News, Vol 90 from 1887
Seen of First duel of General James Shields, in Ireland in the early 1800's
From William Henry Condon's book Life of Major-General James Shields, hero of three wars and senator from three states, Press of the Blakely printing co. Chigago,1900

In 1797 Captain Robert Gore of Seaview co Wicklow sent a challenge to the young Earl of Meath, William Brabazon, the 9th Earl of Meath. The two men met on Sunday morning the 26th of March 1797, on the Hill of Cookstown near Enniskerry County Wicklow on the land of a Mr Buckley, tenant of lord Powerscourt. The two gentlemen stood twelve yards apart and at a little before 10am the first fire was shot and the Earl of Meath received a ball in his thigh, which ended the duel. The Earl was unable to stand and the ball could not be extracted from his thigh. The Earl died on Thursday, sixty-four days later of the wounds he received in the duel.

The Trial of Mr Gore

The Trail of Robert Gore was held at the Wicklow Summer Assizes in 1797 before The Right Hon Judge Kelly and Captain Gore pleaded not Guilty. The trail lasted four hours and after the jury retired for ten minutes, the verdict found that Captain Gore was not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter in his own defence. They afterwards altered to a verdict to not guilty generally.

What lead to the Duel?

The dispute which led up to the duel that resulted in the death of William Brabazon all stemmed from the forming of two adjoining Cavalry Corpses in North County Wicklow. One was the Bray Yeomanry Corps and the other was the Mount-kennedy Corps. The dispute revolved around the recruitment of local men of each corps and that some of men were recruited by both Corps. Gore was the commander of the Mount Kennedy Corps and the young Earl of Meath was the commander of the Bray Corps. Several messages were exchanged between the two gentlemen regarding one or two of the mentioned recruits which it seems lead to the Earl of Meath apparently charging Gore of a mis-falsehood, which the Earl apparently would not withdraw. This resulted in Gore feeling he had to defend his honour.

Who was Captain Robert Gore?

Robert Gore was the son of Arthur Gore and Mary nee Fleming. His father died in 1777 and is buried in Delgany. In 1793 his mother remarried after his father’s death to the Rt Hon Edward Cary. Gore set up a corps of Cavalry called the Mountkennedy Corps in the beginning of 1797. Robert Gore died on the 13th of January 1824, he was 54 years of age and was buried at Ballysax Churchyard in County Kildare. His monument is a large pillared monument supporting an obelisk.

Who was the Earl of Meath?

William Brabazon the 9th Earl of Meath was born in 1769 and was the son of Anthony the 8th Earl of Meath and his wife Grace the daughter of John Leigh of County Wexford. He succeeded to the title in 1790 on the death of his father, William was only twenty years of age. William, The Earl of Meath formed a yeomanry Corps for Bray in the beginning of 1797 and was the commanding officer of the Corps. He was twenty-seven when he died. William died unmarried and was succeeded by his brother John Chambre Brabazon, who became the 10th Earl of Meath.


Walker’s Hibernian Magazine, Or, Compendium of Entertaining Knowledge 1797-10, Open Court Publishing Co, 1797 – 1710.

Burke, Bernard – A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the peerage and baronetage, the Privy Council, knightage and companionage, Harrison and Sons, London, 1915

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