James II & his Gunmoney: July 1689 (timeline)

The introduction of the new ‘gunmoney’ sixpence in June was a qualified success for deposed King James II and he quickly moved to cash in even more when he ordered the issue of shillings and halfcrowns for July. The coin presses in Capel Street were in production 24 hours a day, with mint workers employed in two 12-hour shifts per day.

Production rates at this pace and volume inevitably causes damage to dies and they have to be replaced. The gunmoney for July is found in a number of different varieties, e.g.

Gunmoney coinage, Sixpence, 1689 July (1)

James II Gunmoney Sixpence, 1689 July

Gunmoney coinage, Sixpence, 1689 July + full stop

James II Gunmoney Sixpence, 1689 July + full stop

1689 James II, Gunmoney shilling, large size, July + full stop

James II, Gunmoney shilling, large size, 1689 July + full stop

1689 James II gunmoney halfcrown, Jul(y) - damaged

James II gunmoney halfcrown, large size, 1689 Jul(y) – damaged


Timeline: July 1689


In nearby Enniskillen, just south of Derry, armed Williamite civilians drawn from the local Protestant population organised a formidable irregular military force.

  • Operating with Enniskillen as a base, they carried out raids against the Jacobite forces in Connacht and Ulster.
    • They were initially treated (and paid) as a militia but were led by professional officers cashiered out of the standing army in Ireland by Tyrconnell’s purges.
    • They were organised into 3 battalions of infantry, 2 regiments of dragoons and 1 regiment of cavalry. As such, they would prove as effective as any regular force
  • A poorly trained Jacobite army led by Justin MacCarthy, Viscount Mountcashel assembled at Dublin and marched against them – grossly under estimating their resolve and their fighting abilities

27 July 1689

In Scotland, as in Ireland, many people still supported the Catholic James II against the Protestant William III. When Williamite troops (mostly Lowland Scots) advanced into the Grampian Mountains during the summer of 1689, John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, led his clansmen against them at the Battle of Killiecrankie.

  • The Jacobite Highlanders defeated William III’s troops at Killiecrankie
  • The battle ended with the entirety of Mackay’s Williamite force fleeing the field, quickly turning into a rout in which 2,000 were killed
    • However, the cost of victory was enormous.
    • About one-third of the Highlander force was killed
    • And, their leader (Claverhouse) was fatally wounded towards the end of the battle

28 July 1689

MacCarthy’s force was defeated at the Battle of Newtownbutler. Many of the Jacobites’ troops fled as the first shots were fired, and up to 1,500 of them were hacked down or drowned when pursued by the Williamite cavalry.

  • Partly as a result of this defeat and partly because of a major Williamite landing in the east of the province, most Jacobite troops were withdrawn from Ulster and encamped near Dundalk.

28 July 1689

On the evening of the 30th of July, three armed merchant ships,the Mountjoy, Phoenix and Jerusalem, sailed toward the boom, protected by the frigate HMS Dartmouth under Captain John Leake.

  • The Mountjoy rammed and breached the boom at Culmore Fort, and the other merchant ships moved in behind them, unloading many tons of food to finally relieve the Siege of Derry
    • The city had endured 105 days of siege during which some 10,361 from of a population of 30,000 (men, women and children) were said to have died from a combination of disease, hunger, and wounds
    • The remainder of the fleet then came in behind them

29 July 1689

Hamilton and his Jacobite siege army marched away.

  • Thus ended, on the 31st of July 1689, a siege of 105 days, one of the most famous in Irish or British history.
    • The Siege of Derry had ended
    • The Jacobite army had lost 100 officers and over 8,000 men … and gained nothing
    • The brutal conduct of de Rosen, who proposed to drive in all the Protestant inhabitants of the surrounding districts, that they might die of starvation under the walls within sight of the hungry people within, angered King James and caused him to press for his recall
    • De Rosen was equally disliked by Tyrconnel, as being a better general than himself, and he was shortly afterward replaced by the Count de Lauzun, who brought over an army of veteran troops for which Tyrconnel exchanged six thousand half-trained Irish soldiers
      • Mountcashel was captured after the rout at Newtownbutler and, although he escaped from his confinement, he was to be sent abroad with the Irish troops to fight for France.
      • Thus, very early in the war, James lost a capable officer (Mountcashel), who was forced by the jealousy of Tyrconnell to seek in foreign service those laurels for his famous “Mountcashel’s Brigade” which they might have gained at home.

Sarsfield, who commanded a detachment at Sligo, on hearing of these disasters, retired to Athlone; and now Ulster was nearly all in the hands of the Williamites.

  • Ulster was now open for the Duke of Schomberg to land with a substantial force




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