And just why would Wexford be remembering El Zorro? Because, dear friends, it is thought that William Lamport of Wexford may have been the inspiration for the part history, part myth character we know as “El Zorro” . Lamport, descended from old English stock, was born in Wexford in 1610. His grandfather Patrick sided with the Irish Chieftains at the disastrous (for the Irish) Battle of Kinsale. He survived that but ultimately annoyed King James 1 so much that he was executed in 1617. William and his brother John received a good church schooling in Dublin before William moved on to university in England. It is after this that things start getting interesting for him. Like his grandfather he got the wrong side of James 1 and had to leave in a hurry for France. There he was captured by pirates and ended up spending several years with them. When he parted ways with them he moved on to Spain where he fell in with the exiled Irish nobles. The Spanish royalty were sufficiently impressed by him that they assisted with his education, even ear-marking him as suitable to serve as one of the elite servants of the monarchy. William, now known as Don Guillén Lombardo de Guzmán, went on to serve as soldier, administrator and diplomat for the Spanish. Lamport held sufficient sway in the Spanish Court that he was able to lobby for Spanish support for the Irish in their efforts to reclaim Ireland from the English. In 1640 a liaison with a woman led to him having to hightail it to the Viceroyalty of New Spain (present day Mexico and parts of North and Central America). Lamport immediately involved himself in the politics of his new home, first in an espionage role reporting back to Spain, and secondly in pushing for an Independent Mexico. The latter led to his imprisonment. Behind bars for seventeen years he was finally sentenced, in 1659, to be executed in the Auto de Fé. He hanged himself before the hangman could get to him.
(For a more in-depth history of William Lamport see http://www.irlandeses.org/dilab_lamportw.htm)
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