Mellifont, Treaty of,
brought the Nine Years War
1594-1603 to a conclusion. Having threatened the existence of English rule in
Ireland with his famous victory at the battle of the Yellow Ford in 1598, the
ambitions of Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone were thwarted following his defeat
at Kinsale in 1601. Denied victory, Tyrone’s tenacity in withstanding English
armies for a further sixteenth months proved the key to the propitious terms
which he was ultimately granted in the Treaty of Mellifont. Far from suffering
execution and confiscation of his family lands for treason, the earl of Tyrone
suffered a marginal penalty so far as loss of territory was concerned. The
financial costs of the English war effort had drained the English exchequer.
Combined with the imminent demise of Elizabeth I and the expected ascension of
James Stuart (widely suspected in England of being a sympathiser of the earl of
Tyrone) to the English throne, Tyrone was offered surprisingly favourable terms.