Anthony St Leger (Lord Deputy of Ireland)
Anthony St Leger was the eldest son of Ralph St Leger of Ulcombe, Kent, and Isabel or Elizabeth Haute, the daughter of Richard Haute (d. 8 April 1487) by Elizabeth Tyrrell, widow of Sir Robert Darcy (c.1420 - 2 November 1469) of Maldon, Essex, and daughter of Sir Thomas Tyrrell (d. 28 March 1477) of Heron in East Horndon, Essex. He was educated abroad and at the University of Cambridge. He quickly gained the favour of King Henry VIII, and in 1537 was appointed president of a commission of enquiry into the condition of Ireland. In the course of this work, he obtained much useful knowledge of the country. In 1539 he was knighted and appointed Sheriff of Kent.
On 7 July 1540, Anthony was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland and tasked with the repression of disorder. He moved against the Kavanaghs, permitting them to retain their lands only by accepting feudal tenure on the English model. By a similar policy he exacted obedience from the O'Mores, the O'Tooles and the O'Conors in Leix and Offaly; and having conciliated the O'Briens in the west and the Earl of Desmond in the south, he carried an act in the Irish parliament in Dublin conferring the title of King of Ireland on Henry VIII and his heirs. Conn O'Neill, who had remained sullenly hostile, was forced to submit.
St Leger's policy was generally one of moderation and conciliation—more so than Henry VIII wished. He recommended The O'Brien, when he gave token of a submissive disposition, for the title of Earl of Thomond; O'Neill was created Earl of Tyrone; an administrative council was instituted in the province of Munster; and in 1544 a levy of Irish soldiers was raised for service in Henry VIII's wars. St Leger's personal influence was proved by an outbreak of disturbance when he visited England in 1544, and the prompt restoration of order on his return some months later. St Leger retained his office under Edward VI, and again effectively quelled attempts at rebellion by the O'Conors and O'Byrnes. From 1548 to 1550, Anthony was in England, and returned charged with the duty of introducing the reformed liturgy into Ireland. His conciliatory methods led to his recall in the summer of 1551. After the accession of Queen Mary he was again appointed Lord Deputy in October 1553, but a charge of keeping false accounts caused him to be recalled for the third time in 1556. He died while the accusation was still under investigation, by which time he had been elected (in 1559) Member of Parliament for Kent.
As a man St. Leger seems to have been quarrelsome and unpopular : certainly he was on very bad terms with other leading figures in the Dublin administration, particularly John Alan, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and George Browne, the Archbishop of Dublin. Following complaints by St. Leger, Alan was removed from office and although he was later reinstated the two men found it impossible to work together. The Archbishop accused St. Leger of treasonable words, giving Alan as his source, but the charge came to nothing when Alan, perhaps surprisingly, refused to confirm the report. When St. Leger gave high military command to James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond, he was accused by allies of Alan of deliberately endangering Ormond's life, and Ormond's mysterious death from poisoning in London in 1546 was, at the least, extremely convenient for St. Leger.
By his wife Agnes, daughter of Hugh Warham, a niece of Archbishop William Warham he had at least five sons and two daughters.
- William St Leger. He died before his father and was himself father to Sir Warham St Leger (d. 1600) and grandfather to William St Leger (d. 1642), president of Munster.
- Warham St Leger.
- Anthony St Leger, who became Master of the Rolls in Ireland in 1593; some sources describe him as a nephew rather than a son of the elder Anthony.
He was granted possession of Leeds Castle in 1552.
- Richardson III 2011, pp. 216-17, 481.
- Robertson 1893-95, pp. 70-1.
- "Sentleger, Anthony". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- "ST. LEGER (SELLENGER), Sir Anthony (c.1496-1559), of Ulcombe and Leeds Castle, Kent.". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- O'Flanagan J Roderick Lives of the Lord Chancellors of Ireland London 1870
- O'Flanagan Lives of the Chancellors
- Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.1 p.225
- Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham III (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. pp. 216–17, 481. ISBN 144996639X
- Robertson, Herbert (1893-95). Stemmata Robertson et Durdin. London: Mitchell and Hughes. pp. 70–1. Retrieved 29 July 2013. ISBN 978 1 84383 614 8
- "St. Leger, Anthony". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- A biography of Sir Anthony St Leger will be found in Athenae Cantabrigienses, by Charles Henry Cooper and Thompson Cooper (Cambridge, 1858)
According to the Irish Genealogical Office, Kildare Street, Dublin, Sir Anthony St Leger KG held office as the King's Deputy (Lord Deputy) in Ireland for five not three terms as commonly held. His terms of office were as follows :
1st term: 7 July 1540 to 10 February 1544 2nd term: 3 July 1544 to 1 April 1546 3rd term: 7 November 1546 to 21 May 1548 4th term: 4 August 1550 to 23 May 1551 5th term: 1 September 1553 to 26 May 1556
- Calendar of State Papers relating to Ireland, Hen. VIII-Eliz.
- Calendar of Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII.
- Calendar of State Papers (Domestic Series), Edward VI-James I
- Calendar of Carew Manuscripts
- J O'Donovan's edition of Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters (7 vols., Dublin, 1851)
- Richard Bagwell, Ireland under the Tudors (3 Vols., London, 1885–1890)
- JA Froude, History of England (12 vols., London, 1856–1870).
For Sir William St Leger, see:
- Strafford's Letters and Despatches (2 vols., London, 1739)
- Thomas Carte, History of the Life of James, Duke of Ormonde (6 vols., Oxford, 1851)
- History of the Irish Confederation and the War in Ireland, edited by J. T. Gilbert (Dublin, 1882–1891).
The Viscount Grane
|Lord Deputy of Ireland
|Lord Deputy of Ireland
|Lord Deputy of Ireland
The Lord FitzWalter
|Parliament of England|
|Member of Parliament for Kent
With: Thomas Kempe
Sir Henry Cheyne