(fl.1691), hero of the siege of Athlone, was probably born in Ireland but may have been Scottish. On 28 June 1691 the Irish were defending western Athlone against the Williamite army. Between them lay the Shannon and the medieval bridge, the most westerly arch of which had been demolished. In preparation for a frontal assault, the English laid beams and planks across the gap. Sgt Custume, of Maxwell's regiment of dragoons, ‘proffered to pull them down again’. With ten men he donned armour, scrambled over the Irish works, and ran to the bridge under heavy fire. According to the Jacobite accounts, Custume and his men were successful and all or some of them got back to safety. The two Williamite accounts describe the sergeant and all his men being killed, and a second party rushing out to finish the task. Whatever Custume's fate, the planks and the beams were tossed into the Shannon and the enemy were forced to alter their plans. Two days later they forded the river and stormed the town. Custume's name survives because of James II's (qv) account of the siege. The Custume military barracks in Athlone were renamed in his memory in 1922.
J. S. Clark, The life of James II (1816); Harman Murtagh and Michael O'Dwyer, Athlone besieged (1991)
Originally published October 2009 as part of the Dictionary of Irish Biography