Our Island Story - H. E. Marshall


Although most of the people received William and Mary joyfully, some, chiefly in Ireland and Scotland, still looked upon James as the rightful King.

In Ireland especially there were many Roman Catholics, who would not acknowledge a Protestant King. The King of France hated William, so he helped James with money and ships, which enabled him to set out for Ireland to win his kingdom again.

James landed at a town called Kinsale and the Irish people welcomed him with great joy. But he felt disheartened almost at once for there had already been much fighting, and the country through which he had to pass was desolate and deserted, and at times he and his men could find hardly enough food to keep them from starving. Most of the Protestants had fled from the land or had shut themselves up in the two towns of Enniskillen and Londonderry. The soldiers of James besieged both these towns, but it was round Londonderry that the greatest fight took place.

Londonderry is on a river called the Foyle, and the enemy not only surrounded the town on the land side, but they built a bar across the river so that no ships could come to the town with food or help.

The walls were weak and the cannon few, and the Irish thought that the town could not hold out for long. The Governor, too, was a cowardly man, and did his best to dishearten the people, until it was suspected that he was a traitor. Indeed, he would have given in, but a brave old clergyman, called Walker, marched into his pulpit one morning with a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other, and preached such a rousing sermon that the people took heart and never lost it again through all the long weeks of hunger and suffering which they had to endure.

It was a dreadful time. The people had hardly anything to eat, but they held bravely on, hoping against hope that help would come to them from England. But day after day passed and no help came. Rats, mice, dogs, and horses, all were eaten, only tallow and skins remained. Still they held on. The soldiers were so weak at last from want of food that they could hardly stand, far less fight. They resolved to hold out for two days longer. Then the end must come.

But just as the sun was setting on the 28th of July, the day before they were going to give in, the eager watchers on the walls saw the gleam of sails far down the river. Help! Help at last! How their hearts beat, how they shouted with all the little strength they had, as nearer and nearer sailed the ships.

There were three of them. On they came with all sail set. But how could they pass the dreadful bar which lay right across the river? On they came. One ship called the Mountjoy  took the lead and, sailing with all its force, it crashed against the boom, as the bar was called.

With a tremendous noise the boom shivered and cracked, but the Mountjoy  was not strong enough to break it through. The shock was so fierce that the ship was thrown backward and stuck in the mud, for the river was shallow.

A groan rose from the people on the walls, and their hearts grew sick with disappointment and fear, while the Irish soldiers on the bank cheered with triumph. But as the Mountjoy  was thrown back, the second ship followed and dashed at the spot which the Mountjoy  had hit. The boom, which was already cracked, gave way and, amid the noise of joyful cheers and of tearing, splintering wood, she sailed gaily over. Londonderry was saved.

That same night, eager hands unloaded the ships and, for the first time for three months, the people had enough to eat. A day or two later the army of James burned the tents and cabins in which they had lived while besieging the town, and went away.

But the struggle was not over. It lasted until the following year, when William himself came to Ireland. Then there was a great battle between the soldiers of James and the soldiers of William. It was called the Battle of the Boyne, because it was fought near a river of that name. James was beaten, and fled again to France, and William, with the crown upon his head, entered Dublin, the acknowledged King of Ireland.


Front Matter

Albion and Brutus
The Coming of the Romans
The Romans Come Again
Caligula Conquers Britain
The Story of Boadicea
The Last of the Romans
The Story of St. Alban
Vortigern and King Constans
Hengist and Horsa
Hengist's Treachery
The Giant's Dance
The Coming of Arthur
Founding of the Round Table
Gregory and the Children
King Alfred Learns to Read
Alfred and the Cowherd
More About Alfred the Great
Ethelred the Unready
Edmund Ironside
Canute and the Waves
Edward the Confessor
Harold Godwin
The Battle of Stamford Bridge
The Battle of Hastings
Hereward the Wake
Death of the King
The Story of William the Red
The Story of the "White Ship"
The Story of King Stephen
Henry II—Gilbert and Rohesia
Thomas a Becket
The Conquest of Ireland
Richard Coeur de Lion
How Blondel Found the King
The Story of Prince Arthur
The Great Charter
Henry III and Hubert de Burgh
Simon de Montfort
The Poisoned Dagger
The War of Chalons
The Lawgiver
The Hammer of the Scots
King Robert the Bruce
The Battle of Bannockburn
The Battle of Sluys
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Battle of Poitiers
Wat Tyler's Rebellion
How Richard Lost His Throne
The Battle of Shrewsbury
Prince Hal Sent to Prison
The Battle of Agincourt
The Maid of Orleans
Red Rose and White
Margaret and the Robbers
The Story of the Kingmaker
A King Who Wasn't Crowned
Two Princes in the Tower
The Make-Believe Prince
Another Make-Believe Prince
The Field of the Cloth of Gold
Defender of the Faith
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
The Story of a Boy King
The Story of Lady Jane Grey
Elizabeth a Prisoner
A Candle Lit in England
Elizabeth Becomes Queen
A Most Unhappy Queen
Saved from the Spaniards
Sir Walter Raleigh
The Queen's Favourite
The Story of Guy Fawkes
The Story of the Mayflower
A Blow for Freedom
King and Parliament Quarrel
The King Brought to Death
The Adventures of a Prince
The Lord Protector
How Death Plagued London
How London was Burned
The Fiery Cross
The Story of King Monmouth
The Story of the Seven Bishops
William the Deliverer
William III and Mary II
A Sad Day in a Highland Glen
How the Union Jack was Made
Earl of Mar's Hunting Party
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Flora MacDonald
The Black Hole of Calcutta
How Canada Was Won
How America Was Lost
A Story of a Spinning Wheel
Every Man Will Do His Duty
The Battle of Waterloo
The First Gentleman in Europe
Two Peaceful Victories
The Girl Queen
When Bread was Dear
Victorian Age: Peace
Victorian Age: War
The Land of Snow
The Siege of Delhi
The Pipes at Lucknow
Under the Southern Cross
From Cannibal to Christian
Boer and Briton
List of Kings