Lord Chancellor of Ireland
The Lord High Chancellor of Ireland (commonly known as Lord Chancellor of Ireland) was the highest judicial office in Ireland until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. From 1721 to 1801, it was also the highest political office of the Irish Parliament: the Chancellor was Speaker of the Irish House of Lords. The Lord Chancellor was also Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Ireland. In all three respects, the office mirrored the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.
There is a good deal of confusion as to precisely when the office originated. Until the reign of Henry III of England it is doubtful if the offices of Irish and English Chancellor were distinct. Only in 1232 is there the first clear reference to a separate Court of Chancery (Ireland). Early Irish Lord Chancellors, beginning with Stephen Ridell in 1186, were simply the English Chancellor acting through a Deputy. In about 1244 the decision was taken that there must be separate holders of the office in England and Ireland. Elrington Ball states that the salary was fixed at sixty marks a year, equivalent to forty pounds sterling. Although it was twice what an itinerant justice was paid at the time, this was apparently not considered to be a very generous amount: Richard Northalis, Lord Chancellor in 1393–97, complained that it did not cover even a third of his expenses, and asked for an extra payment of twenty pounds a year.
In the earlier centuries the Lord Chancellor was always a cleric, and usually an Englishman. Lay Chancellors became common after the Reformation, and no cleric was appointed Chancellor after 1665, but although there were a number of exceptions, the Crown retained a preference for English-born Chancellors until the mid-nineteenth century.
Lord Chancellors of Ireland, 1186–1922
- Stephen Ridell. Appointed in 1186. (first Chancellor)
- John de Worchley (1219–1234)
- Ralph Neville (1234–1235). Also Lord Chancellor of England, Bishop of Chichester and Archbishop of Canterbury.
- Alan de Sanctafide (1235–1237)
- Geoffrey de Turville (1237)
- Ralph de Norwich (1237–1238)
- Robert Luttrell (1238–1245)
- William Welwood (1245–1259)
- Fromund Le Brun (1259–1283). He was elected Archbishop of Dublin, but his election was contested by William de la Corner from 1271 to 1279. Pope Nicholas III declared both elections void in 1279.
- Walter de Fulburn (1283–1288)
- William Le Buerlaco (1288–1292)
- Thomas Cantock, Bishop of Emly (1292–1294)
- Adam de Wodington. Appointed in 1294
- Thomas Cantock, Bishop of Emly (1306–1308)
- Adam de Wodington (1308). The same as above.
- Richard de Beresford. Deputy in 1307, Chancellor in 1308
- Walter de Thornbury, died 1313: while he was travelling to Avignon, his ship was sunk in a storm and he drowned.
- Stephen Riddel (c. 1313–1318).
- William FitzJohn, Bishop of Ossory (1318– 1320)
- Roger Utlagh, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Kilmainham. Appointed in 1321.
- Adam Limberg (1330–1334)
- William, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Kilmainham (?1331–)
- Alexander de Bicknor, Primate of Ireland (c. 1335 – ?1337)
- Thomas Charlton, Bishop of Hereford (1337–1338).
- Robert de Henningsberg (1338–)
- Robert de Askeby (1340–)
- John L'Archers, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Appointed in 1343.
- John Morice. c. 1344
- William de Bromley
- John de St Paul, Archbishop of Dublin (1350–1356)
- Richard d'Askeaton (1356)
- John Frowyk, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1357–1359)
- Thomas de Burley, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1359–1364)
- Robert de Ashton (1364)
- Thomas le Reve, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore (1367-1368)
- Thomas de Burley, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1368–1371)
- John de Bothby (1371–1374)
- William Tany, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1374–1377).
- Robert Wikeford or de Wikeford, Archbishop of Dunlin and Primate of Ireland (1377–1379)
- John Colton, Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral(1379–1382). Later Archbishop of Armagh.
- William Tany, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1382–1385). The same as above.
- Ralph Cheyne (1383-4)
- Alexander de Balscot, Bishop of Ossory (1385–1388).
- Robert Preston, 1st Baron Gormanston 1388
- Richard Plunkett (1388–1393)
- Richard Northalis, Bishop of Ossory (1393–1397). Also Primate of Ireland from 1395 to his death.
- Robert Braybrooke, Bishop of London (1397)
- Thomas Cranley, Primate of Ireland (1401–1410)
- Sir Laurence Merbury, Deputy Chancellor (1403–1410), who exercised the duties of Chancellor while Cranley was too ill to do so.
- Patrick Barrett, Bishop of Ferns (1410–1412)
- Thomas Le Boteller, Prior of Kilmainham. Lord Keeper (1412–1413). The name of his family would change to Butler.
- Thomas Cranley, Primate of Ireland (1413–1417) (second term)
- Sir Laurence Merbury (1417) (second term)
- William Fitz Thomas, Prior of Kilmainham (c. 1417–1418)
- William Yonge, Archdeacon of Meath (c. 1418–1419)
- Richard Talbot, Primate of Ireland (1423–1426)
- William Fitz Thomas (1426) (second term)
- Sir Richard FitzEustace (1426)
- Richard Talbot, Primate of Ireland (1426–1441)
- Thomas Chase (1441–1446)
- Richard Wogan (1446–1449), Lord Chancellor
- William Chevir (1446–1449), Deputy Chancellor
- Walter Devereux (1449–1451)
- Edmund, Earl of Rutland (1451–1460). Lord Chancellor, a minor who acted through Edmund Oldhall.
- John Dynham (1460–1461), Lord Chancellor
- Sir Robert Preston, 1st Viscount Gormanston, Deputy Chancellor
- Sir William Welles (1461–1462)
- John Tiptoft, 1st Earl of Worcester (1462–1463). By decree of Edward IV of England he held the title of Lord Chancellor for life. He continued receiving the salary of the position and exercising some of its functions until his death in 1470.
- Thomas FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Kildare (c. 1463 – 1468). By decree of Edward IV of England he held the title of Lord Chancellor for life. He continued receiving the salary of the position and exercising some of its functions until his death in 1478.
- Robert Allanstown (1468–1469)
- William Dudley (1469–1472)
- Joint Lord Chancellors of Ireland (1472–1477)
- Robert FitzEustace
- John Taxton
- Gilbert Debenham (1474)
- Rowland FitzEustace, 1st Baron Portlester (1474–1480)
- William Sherwood, Bishop of Meath (1480–1482)
- Robert St Lawrence, 3rd Baron Howth (May 1483, but probably died a few months later)
- Sir Thomas FitzGerald of Laccagh (c.1483 – 1487)
- Rowland FitzEustace, 1st Baron Portlester (1487–1492). The same as above.
- Alexander Plunket (1492–1494)
- Henry Deane (1494–1495)
- Walter Fitzsimon, Primate of Ireland (1496–1511)
- William Rokeby, Primate of Ireland (1512–1513)
- Sir William Compton (1513–1515)
- William Rokeby, Primate of Ireland (1515–1521). The same as above.
- Hugh Inge, Primate of Ireland (1522–1528)
- John Alen, Primate of Ireland (1528–1532)
- George Cromer, Archbishop of Armagh (1532–1534)
- John Barnewall, 3rd Baron Trimlestown (1534–1538)
- Sir John Alan (1538–1546, 1548–1551). Lord Keeper from 1538 to 1539, Lord Chancellor from 1539 to 1546: removed but later reinstated.
- Sir Thomas Cusack 1 May 1546 (Lord Keeper)
- Sir Richard Reade (6 December 1546 – 1548)
- Sir John Alan (1548–1551)
- Sir Thomas Cusack (1551–1554)
- Sir William Fitzwilliam, Lord Keeper (1554)
- Archbishop Hugh Curwen (1555–1567). Lord Chancellor from 1555 to 1558, Lord Keeper from 1558 to 1559, Lord Chancellor from 1559 to 1567.
- Doctor Robert Weston (1567–1573)
- Archbishop Adam Loftus (Lord Keeper) (1573–1576)
- Sir William Gerard (1576–1581)
- Archbishop Adam Loftus (1581–1605) the same as the above.
- Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland (1605)
- Archbishop Thomas Jones (1605–1619)
- Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland (1619)
- The Viscount Loftus (1619–1639)
- Sir Richard Bolton (1639 – November 1648)
- Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland (14 June 1655−1656)
- William Steele (1656–1660)
- Sir Maurice Eustace (1660–1665)
- Archbishop Michael Boyle (1665–1686)
- Sir Charles Porter (1686–1687)
- Sir Alexander Fitton (1687–1690)
- Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland (1690)
- Charles Porter (second term) (29 December 1690 – 1696)
- Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland (1696–1697)
- John Methuen (11 March 1697 – 1703)
- Sir Richard Cox (1703–1707)
- Richard Freeman (11 June 1707 – 1710)
- Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland (1710–1)
- Sir Constantine Henry Phipps (22 January 1711 – September 1714)
- The Viscount Midleton (11 October 1714 – 1725)
- Richard West (29 May 1725 – 1726)
- The Lord Wyndham (13 December 1726 – 1739)
- The Viscount Jocelyn (7 September 1739 – 3 December 1756)
- The Lord Bowes (11 March 1757 – 22 July 1767) (Attorney-General, 1739–41)
- The Viscount Lifford (24 November 1767 – 28 April 1789)
- Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland (1789)
- The Earl of Clare (20 June 1789 – 28 January 1802) (sitting Attorney-General)
- The Lord Redesdale (15 February 1802 – 1806)
- George Ponsonby (25 March 1806 – 1807)
- The Lord Manners (23 April 1807 – 1827)
- Sir Anthony Hart (5 November 1827– November 1830)
- The Lord Plunket (23 December 1830 – November 1834) (Attorney-General, 1805–07 and 1822–27)
- Sir Edward Sugden (13 January 1835 – April 1835)
- The Lord Plunket (30 April 1835 – 1841) (see above)
- The Lord Campbell (22 June 1841)
- Sir Edward Sugden (3 October 1841 – 1846) (see above)
- Maziere Brady (16 July 1846 – 1852) (Attorney-General, 1839–40)
- Francis Blackburne (1852) (Attorney-General 1831-34 and 1841–42)
- Maziere Brady (1852–1858) (see above)
- Sir Joseph Napier (1858–1859) (Attorney-General, 1852)
- Maziere Brady (1859–1866) (see above)
- Francis Blackburne (1866–1867) (see above)
- Abraham Brewster (Attorney-General, 1853–55) (1867–1868)
- The Lord O'Hagan (1868–1874)
- Commissioners of the Great Seal of Ireland (1874–1875)
- John Ball (1875–1880) (sitting Attorney-General)
- The Lord O'Hagan (1880–1881) (see above)
- Hugh Law (1881–1883) (sitting Attorney-General)
- Sir Edward Sullivan (1883–1885) (Attorney-General, 1868)
- John Naish (1885) (sitting Attorney-General)
- The Lord Ashbourne (1885–1886) (Attorney-General, 1877–80)
- John Naish (1886) (see above)
- The Lord Ashbourne (1886–1892) (see above)
- Samuel Walker (1892–1895) (Attorney-General, February–August 1886)
- The Lord Ashbourne (29 June 1895 – 1905) (see above)
|Term of office||Other Peerage(s)||Monarch
|Sir Samuel Walker
|Baronet in 1906||Edward VII||–|
|Sir Ignatius O'Brien
|1918||Baronet in 1916
Baron in 1918
|Sir James Campbell
|1921||Baronet in 1917
Baron in 1921
|(Attorney-General, 1905 and 1916–17)|
|Sir John Ross, Bt.
|Baronet in 1919||–|
- Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland, 1221–1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol. 1, p. 6
- Ball p. 8
- Ball p. 6
- The history of the Lord Chancellors of Ireland from A.D. 1186 to A.D. 1874
- Otway-Ruthven, A.J. History of Medieval Ireland Barnes and Noble reissue 1993 p. 256
- Ball p. 79
- "The History and Antiquities of the Collegiate and Cathedral Church of St. Patrick Near Dublin, from it Foundation in 1190, to the Year 1819: Comprising a Topographical Account of the Lands and Parishes Appropriated to the Community of the Cathedral, and to Its Members, and Biographical Memoirs of Its Deans" Mason, W.M. p122:Dublin, W.Folds, 1820
- Ball p. 80
- Otway-Ruthven p. 302
- Otway-Ruthven p. 3i6
- Ball p. 98
- Otway-Ruthven p. 370
- Otway-Ruthven, p.386
- Otway-Ruthven p. 389
- Otway-Ruthven p. 391
- Dictionary of National Biography, article on St. Lawrence.
- Ball p. 130
- Ball p. 131
- Ball p. 250
- James Roderick O'Flanagan,The lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of Ireland, 1870, page 345
- Ball p. 272
- O'Flanagan pp. 536–541
- Ball Vol. 2 p. 101
- Ball Vol. 2 p. 127
- Delaney, V.T.H. Christopher Palles Allen Figgis and Co Dublin 1960 p.29
- Delaney p. 29
- Delaney p. 177
- Healy, Maurice The Old Munster Circuit 1939 Mercier Press edition p. 27
- Healy p. 27
- Healy p. 105
- Healy p. 188
- Healy p. 242
- Healy p. 263