Thomas Meek of the Armada

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Disclaimer: This genealogy was prepared by the author using undocumented and/or unverified sources. Some facts presented here MAY NOT be correct. Never accept as factual any information you find in a library, the Internet or from other genealogist unless it is supported by documentation. Documentation DOES NOT include the undocumented genealogies of other people including those on this web site.

The earliest known reference to the Meek surname in Ireland is Thomas Meek, who settled in County Tyrone (West of Antrim), around 1610. Thomas was an Englishman who participated in the battle against the Spanish Armada. In 1588, Thomas was captain of the ship "John Trelawny" which joined the fleet to resist the Armada. Thomas had earlier (1577-80) circumnavigated the globe with Sir Francis Drake, and he was probably chosen by Drake to command this ship as someone he knew and trusted. The John Trelawny was a 150-ton coaster provided by the town of Saltash. Before the battle, Lord high admiral Charles Howard and Sir Frances Drake divided the English fleet into squadrons. The John Trelawny was in a squadron of 19 coasters that served under Charles Howard of Effingham, the Lord High Admiral. The John Trelawny served in the battle for six weeks and had a crew of 30 men. Thomas Meek was possibly from the Cornwall region, like his ship and crew. The sailors were paid by Queen Elizabeth for their services. Perhaps land in Ireland was part of Thomas Meek’s reward for serving in this battle.

Thomas seems to have brought at least four sons with him in Ireland: Francis, Matthew, James, and Arthur Meek. Capt. Frances Meek (d. 1664) lived on a plantation settlement in Carrickfergus Ireland (County Antrim) and had 4 children. Frances attained the title of Captain for his service in the Munster rebellion of 1642, and was the Soveraigne (mayor) of Belfast in 1660. Matthew Meek established a family in County Monaghan, later his line moved to County Down. Arthur Meek lived in County Dugannon and was murdered by Catholics in 1641, and evidently died childless. James Meek's line appears untraced, but he may have been the father of Thomas Meek the Elder. Thomas' sons had many descendants. It is likely that Thomas Meek of the Armada is the progenitor for many of the Meeks in Ireland.