Baker-Browning Tomb

baker-browning-tomb-600

The First Day and the Last.

This is the memorial tablet to Colonel Henry Baker and Captain Michael Browning who are buried in the north aisle of St Columb’s Cathedral.

Baker, originally from County Louth, was elected Governor of the City on April 19th after Lundy’s departure from the town. His election marked the beginning of the 105 days of the Siege.

On his death from natural causes on the 30th June, Captain Thomas Ash wrote in his diary – “He was a great loss to the garrison, greatly beloved and very well qualified for the Government, being endued with great patience and moderation; free from envy or malice, as may be seen in the affair between him and Mitchelburn.”

This referred to a curious incident between the Garrison’s senior officers that was never fully explained.

From Mackenzie’s Diary –“About the beginning of May Colonel Mitchelburn was suspected by Governor Baker and the garrison. The Governor confined him to his chamber, betwixt whom there was some little scuffle when he was apprehended. He continued under the rules of confinement, but was never tried by a council of war. What the grounds of the suspicion were is too tedious to relate, but he was afterwards nominated by Baker Governor during his sickness”

Browning, a native of Derry and related by marriage to Captain Thomas Ash, was killed in action on the last day of the Siege, July 28th 1689. He commanded the Mountjoy and attempted to break through the boom to relieve Derry.

Ash’s Diary: 28th July- “The Mountjoy first attempted the boom, struck upon it, and run aground, which the enemy observing, gave a loud huzzah, thinking she was their own”

Richards Diary of the Fleet: “The enemies brought down all their cannon against, and two regiments of horse, thinking to take one of the ships, which struck ashore just bye one of their batteries… It seems the ship let the horse come up within a pike’s length of her side”

Ash’s Diary: “While she was aground, Captain Browning who commanded her, and who had that honour conferred upon him by Major-General Kirk, to be the man who should bring relief to Derry, stood upon the deck with his sword drawn, encouraging his men with great chearfulness; but a fatal bullet from the enemy struck him in the head, and he died on the spot.”

St Columb’s Cathedral