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athgarvan

THE ZORRO FROM WEXFORD

I've been reading about our own real-life "Zorro", William Lamport.

Born here in the town of  Wexford about 1611, Lamport was descended from a noble family that came to Ireland with the Normans. He was educated by the Augustinians and Franciscans in Wexford and then studied in London but got into trouble for distributing pro-Catholic pamphlets. He ran off with a gang of pirates and ended up in northern Spain where he joined an Irish regiment and changed his name to Guillén Lombardo.

Because of his fluency in a number of languages, he was sent to Mexico in 1640 to spy on the new viceroy who was suspected of not being tough enough on criollos who were fomenting rebellion against their Spanish rulers. Lamport himself was outraged by the  corrupt Spanish Inquisition.

In 1642 the inquisition caught up with Lamport. He was charged with conspiring against Spain to liberate Indians and black slaves. He was sentenced to burn at the stake but managed to hang himself before the flames got to him.

The details of Lamport’s extraordinary life have only recently been unearthed by Spanish and Irish academics. But within Mexico he was remembered as a kind of Robin Hood who supported the Indians and the underprivileged.

A Freemason later used the letter "Z"  to symbolize the divine spark in humans, giving rise
to the name "Zorro".

Peter Paul Rubens' Portrait of a Young Captain, reputedly William Lamport

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