Con O'Neale was created Earl of Tyrone by King Henry VIII., and his son Mathew Baron of Dongannon was in remainder of the earldom to him and the heirs males of his body lawfully begotten. Shane O'Neale, son to Con Earl of Tyrone and brother to Mathew, to prevent the English creation, slew his brother Mathew, Con's father yet living.
His father being dead, he usurped the name and authority of O'Neale, made wars upon the Queen's subjects and forced his neighbours to yield him obedience. He constrained O'Relye to submit himself to him and to send him hostages. He took O'Donnell, his son, and wife prisoners, and possessed himself of all his castles and of the whole country of Tirconnell. Upon certain compositions O'Donnell was enlarged, his son remained prisoner, and his wife O'Neale kept for his concubine. For these and other insolencies he was proclaimed traitor.
Not long after, seeming to be sorry for his former actions, came to England, where he was graciously received by her Majesty and pardoned. After his return to Ireland, anno 1566, he entered into a new rebellion, invaded the county of Farmanaghe, and McGuire the lord thereof, and in July following he invaded the English pale and besieged Dondalke, and was repulsed with loss and scorn.
To continue his rebellion he sent to foreign princes to procure aid, and by his letters did his best endeavour to incite the subjects of Mounster to run his courses. In Connaght he had got footing, and Ulster (which province is about 120 miles long and a 100 broad), he had at his devotion. Upon these his intolerable actions and open treasons, Sir Henry Sydney, then Lo. Deputy, proclaimed him and his associates and maintainers rebels, and prosecuted the wars so sharply upon him as, upon the second day of June 1567, had put on a resolution to go to the Lo. Deputy with a halter about his neck, and to prostrate himself at his feet, and beseech the Queen's pardon. But a barbarous clerk named Neale McKever (whom he used for his secretary) diverted his intention and persuaded him to go to the Scots, who were then in camp in Chanhughboy to the number of 600 fighting men under the heading of Alexander Oge, brother to James McDonnell, and of McGillaspike, his nephew, son to Agnus Joy, brother also to James McDonnell, which Agnus was lately slain in an overthrow given by Shane O'Neale to the Scots. The advice of the priest pleased Shane O'Neale so well as he put it in adventure, having in his company O'Donnell's wife; Neale McKever, his secretary; Lorleby, another brother to James McDonnell; and 50 horse.
Alexander Oge seemed to give him hearty welcome. They fell to quaffing and drinking of wine. Gillaspike, bearing revenge in his mind for the death of his father, Angus Joy, and his uncle, James McDonnell, began to minister words of quarrel to Shane O'Neale, which Shane took in ill part, and replied in great heat. McGillaspike, turning his speech to the secretary, asked him whether he had bruited abroad that the lady his aunt and widow to James McDonnell did offer to come out of Scotland to marry with O'Neale. He affirmed it to be true, saying that if his aunt were Queen of Scotland she might be contented to match with O'Neale. Gillaspike gave him the lie, replying that his aunt was a woman of that honesty and reputation that she would not take him who was the betrayer and murderer of her husband. O'Neale maintained his secretary's quarrel. Gillaspike, full of choler, rose and went forth, his men flocking to him. They fell upon O'Neale's men, slaying them they could reach, and in fury rushed into the tent or cabin where O'Neale was and slew him and his secretary, and but a few of his men escaped. His mangled body, wrapt in a kerne's old shirt, was interred. Four days after his body was taken up by Captain William Peers, his head was cut off, and sent to Sir Henry Sydney to Drogheda the 21st of June 1567.
The 23rd of February in the 12th year of Elizabeth, 1568, Shane O'Neale in a parliament was attainted, and at the same time there was attainted likewise his assistants', namely, the sept of the O'Neales, the possessors of the Clanhoigboy, O'Cahan, McGuillin, the inhabitants of the Glynns (sometimes the Baron Missett's lands and usurped by the Scots), McGennis, O'Hanloyne, Hugh McNeale More, the four septs of the McMahons, McKinan, McCan, and all their lands confiscated to the Crown, which were the countries of Tyrone; Cland Hughboy, Krinne, otherwise O'Cahan's country; the Rowte, called McGillins country; the lordship of the Glynns, usurped by the Scotts; Ivagh or McGennes country; Orrier or O'Hanloynes country; the Fuse, called Hugh McNeal More's country; the Ferny Ireel Loghtie and Dartrye, called the McMahons country; the Troughe, or McKinans country, Clankanny or Mackans country: provided nevertheless that this Act should not be prejudicial to those thereunder named, viz.:--
The Primate of Armagh, the Earl of Ormond, the Bishop of Doune, the Bishop of Clogher, the Bishop of Dromore, the Dean of Christchurch in Dublin, the Dean of Armaghe, the Dean of Clogher, the Dean of Dromore, Sir Nicholas Bagenall, Sir John Bedlow, Christopher Darcy, John Travers of Ballykey, Richard Segrave of Killeglan, Willm. Talbott of Mallahide, Roger Gernon of Gernonsloune, Nicholas Taffe of Balligargan, Edward Dowdall of Glaspistell, Rowland White, John White of Balleegan, John Cadell of Hall, Willm. Blackine of Rikenhore, Christopher Russell of Lecalle, Patrick Goghe of Morne, Christopher Gafney Clerk, Thomas Flemming of Siddon, Nicholas Taffe of Rathehesker, Manfield of Waterford, &c.