On 11 July 1332 William de Bermingham, brother of the earl of Louth, was hanged at Dublin by order of the justiciar, Anthony de Lucy. This event is recorded by Clyn, by the author of the Annals of Ross and by the Dublin annalist, all of whom praise Bermingham for his military excellence but do not give any explanation for the execution. All the chroniclers mention Bermingham’s arrest earlier in the year, but the connexion between the two events is never stated.
In February and March 1332 William had been indicted by juries at Clonmel and Limerick of involvement in two alleged conspiracies, one in 1326 and the other in 1331, both of which had as their supposed object the establishment of the earl of Desmond as king of Ireland. The surviving indictments do not mention William’s son Walter, but he is later described as also having been indicted of felony. Both William and Walter were arrested by the justiciar at Clonmel in February 1332, held locally until Lucy had concluded his business in Munster, and then transferred on 19 April to Dublin castle, where two of the other named conspirators, Desmond himself and Henry de Mandeville, had been imprisoned since the previous year. Yet another conspirator, Walter de Burgh, was in the custody of his cousin, the earl of Ulster, in Northburgh castle.