Belfast Telegraph

After 325 years, could Lundy the traitor now be declared innocent?

BY DONNA DEENEY

He's been branded a traitor by Protestants for 325 years.

But could it be that Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lundy, Governor of Londonderry during the Great Siege of 1688-89, may actually have been blamed in the wrong?

On the day when a giant effigy of the historic figure emblazoned with the placard 'LUNDY THE TRAITOR' is hanged and burned in front of tens of thousands on the very streets he once commanded, a website that may prove he did not betray the besieged city has been launched.

Little is known of Robert Lundy's early days and opinion is deeply divided as to whether he betrayed the city and its people, or whether he was just "a realist".

But without ever having faced a trial, the question remains, was Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lundy a victim of misrepresentation?

Now visitors to the website – thetrialoflundy.com – will be able to read not only Lundy's account of what happened during events, but also extracts from diaries of other players.

Extracts from his own letters, in which Lundy complained "after having patiently undergone months imprisonment without being sensible of the least guilt", are documented along with those of Governor Walker, John Mackenzie and Captain Thomas Ash.

The website is the brainchild of local man Paddy Stevenson, aided by Dr Andrew Robinson and Dr Billy Kelly of the University of Ulster's Magee campus. They have produced a definitive and intriguing account of one of the most controversial characters in the city's history.

That evidence may provide the foundation that could grant Lundy the trial he wanted.

Interestingly, the general secretary of the Apprentice Boys, William Moore, the man who will lead the commemorations to burn Lundy today, fully supports the idea of an investigation.

He said: "This is a fantastic idea that the Apprentice Boys not only fully endorses, but it is something we had actually talked about doing ourselves a decade ago.

"The matter of whether Lundy was a traitor was never fully answered because he had fled to England, and although people wanted him brought back for trial, it was felt he would not get a fair hearing, and instead he was given another commission to go off and fight, which is what he did.

"Everyone has their own interpretation of his actions and some say he was a traitor while other say he was a realist, and was just trying to get the best deal he could at the time for the city.

"Anything that opens the debate has our backing, and in fact what we would be very keen on is progressing this to an actual trial held in the courthouse in Londonderry, on a day when it is not in use for cases, obviously.

"But no matter what the outcome of this process, I don't envisage a day any time soon when this particular commemoration will be taken out of the Apprentice Boys' calendar."

BACKGROUND

In April 1689 Lundy declared a defence of Derry during the siege by King James was hopeless and he intended to withdraw. He sent to the enemy's headquarters a vow to surrender at the first summons. As soon as this was known, Lundy was in danger and fled in disguise. He was apprehended in Scotland and sent to the Tower of London.

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