Apart from several puritan divines and some prominent merchants, there were few civilian inhabitants of Wexford waiting on the quayside to greet their new ruler. Indeed, Fleetwood could not have wondered at the reason for the lack of enthusiasm of the citizens of Wexford as he surveyed the ruined, powder-blackened walls of the old town; the breaches where Oliver Cromwell’s artillery had pounded its ancient fortifications, allowing his infantry to pour in.
The Parliamentary soldiers had surged through the narrow streets pushing the people towards the market place, Market Cross, in the north of the town. There the soldiers slaughtered nearly 1,500 of the inhabitants, including 250 women, as many children, five Franciscan priests and two Franciscan Friars.
The charred ruins of the Franciscan Friary in John Street bore mute witness to the massacre. The memory was too sharp for the survivors of Wexford to make a pretense of welcoming Cromwell’s son-in-law.
Peter Beresford Ellis Hell or Connaught