Christopher Plunket, 2nd Earl of Fingall

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Christopher Plunket
Earl of Fingall
PredecessorLuke, 1st Earl of Fingall
SuccessorLuke, 3rd Earl of Fingall
DiedAugust 1649
Spouse(s)Mabel Barnewall
Luke, & others
FatherLuke, 1st Earl of Fingall
MotherSusanna Brabazon

Christopher Plunket, 2nd Earl of Fingall and 11th Baron Killeen (died 1649) was an Irish politician and soldier. In 1641 he negotiated with the rebels on behalf of the Old English of the Pale and pushed them to join the rebellion. He fought for the rebels at the siege of Drogheda. He joined the Confederates and fought in their Leinster army, notably at Dungan's Hill. When the Confederates fused into the Royalist Alliance, he fought under James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond in the Battle of Rathmines where he was wounded and taken prisoner. He died of his wounds two weeks later in captivity at Dublin Castle.

Birth and origins[edit]

Christopher was probably born in the late 1610s in County Meath, Ireland.[a] He was the eldest son of Lucas Plunket and his second wife Susanna Brabazon. His father had become the 10th Baron Killeen in 1613 and would on 26 September 1628 be created Earl of Fingall. His father's family is believed to be of Danish origin and is attested in Ireland from the 11th century onwards.[2] His mother was the fifth daughter of Edward Brabazon, 1st Baron Ardee and his wife Mary Smythe. Her grandfather had come from England to Ireland as vice-treasurer of Ireland and had been Lord Justice of Ireland.[3] His parents had married in 1611.[4]

Family tree
Christopher Plunkett with his wife, parents, and other selected relatives.[b]
12th Earl

9th Baron

1st Baron

c.1548 – 1625
1st Earl

d. 1637

d. 1623
1st Viscount


2nd Earl
d. 1649
1st Earl


d. 1700
3rd Earl

1639 – c. 1685

d. 1704

d. 1738
4th Earl
XXXSubject of
the article
XXXEarls of
XXXEarls of
*d.v.p. = predeceased his father (decessit vita patris).

Christopher was the eldest of at least four brothers (but only Christopher and George are known):

  • Christopher (died 1649)
  • George, the fourth son, married Cicely, daughter of Sir William Hill, of Allenston, County Meath, was captain at the siege of Drogheda, and colonel of a regiment of foot in the Confederate army[11]

Early life[edit]

His mother died in 1623.[12] She had been a Protestant. After her death, his father made sure that he would be raised in the Catholic faith.

Marriage and children[edit]

in January 1636 Lord Killeen married[13] Mabel, daughter of Nicholas Barnewall, 1st viscount Kingsland and Lady Bridget FitzGerald. She would survive him by 50 years[14] and would, in 1653, remarry to Colonel James Barnewall, youngest son of Sir Patrick Barnewall.

Christopher and Mabel had six children, five sons (of which the younger three are poorly known):

  1. Luke (1639 – c. 1685), his heir, who recovered the estate and title in 1662.[15]
  2. Nicholas, married Anne Taaffe, daughter of Theobald Taaffe, 1st Earl of Carlingford[16]
  3. ____ (died 1664) buried at St. Catherine, 20 September
  4. Patrick (died 1666), buried at St Michan's, 3 June
  5. ____ of county Monaghan

—and a daughter:

Honours and parliament[edit]

In 1637 Killeen succeeded his father as the 2nd Earl of Fingall. On 20 March that year Lord Fingall received special livery of his estates.[1] he inherited great estates in County Meath and County Cavan, and played a part in developing the town of Virginia, County Cavan.[citation needed]

Lord Fingall took his seat in the House of Lords of the Irish Parliament on 16 March 1639, and was a member of several committees for privileges and grievances.

Irish wars, death, and timeline[edit]

When the Rebellion broke out on 23 October 1641,[18] Fingall tried to stay neutral between the government and the rebel as most of the nobility and gentry of the Pale did. On 16 November he was appointed a commissioner to negotiate with the rebels, "with a view to suspend for some time the sad effects of licentiousness and rapine, until the kingdom was put in a better posture of defence".[19]

His behaviour caused him to be mistrusted by the Government, and on 17 November he was proclaimed an outlaw.[20] He thereupon played a prominent role in bringing about an alliance between the Ulster party and the nobility and gentry of the Pale. He was present at the meeting at the Hill of Crofty, and subsequently at that at the Hill of Tara, where he was appointed general of the horse for the county of Meath. He, therefore, led the rebel horse at the siege of Drogheda.[21] His name is attached to the principal documents drawn up by the Irish Confederates in justification of their taking up arms. He was a member of the general assembly of the Confederation of Kilkenny, and, by taking the oath of association against the papal nuncio Giovanni Battista Rinuccini in June 1648, proved his fidelity to the original demands of the confederates; but otherwise, he played an inconspicuous part in the history of the confederation.

Death in battle[edit]

On 2 August 1649 Lord Fingall fought under James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond at the battle of Rathmines where he was wounded and taken prisoner by the Parliamentarians. He died of his wounds about a fortnight later while in captivity in Dublin Castle. He was buried in St Catherine's Church on 18 August. The Parliamentarians accused him of high treason, and his estates were confiscated by the English Commonwealth's Act for the Settlement of Ireland on 12 August 1652[22] and Beaulieu was given to Sir Henry Tichborne as tenant to the State by Cromwell.[23] Fingall's son and heir by 1677 had recovered much of the family property, but Beaulieu was permanently lost to the Plunketts.

Notes, citations, and sources[edit]


  1. ^ His birth date is constrained by his parents' marriage in 1611 and his mother's death in 1623. However, the special livery of his estates at his father's death in 1637[1] indicates that he was not far from coming off age at that time.
  2. ^ This family tree is derived from two published trees,[5][6] and classical genealogical sources.[7][8][9][10] Also see the list of children in the text.


  1. ^ a b Dunlop 1896, p. 440, right column, line 6: "His father died in 1637, and on 20 March that year Plunket received special livery of his estates"
  2. ^ Burke & Burke 1909, p. 728, right column, line 16: "This noble family is of Danish origin, but its settlement in Ireland is so remote that nothing certain can be ascertained as to the precise period. So early as the 11th century we find John Plunkett was seated at Beaulieu, or Bewley, Meath ..."
  3. ^ Burke & Burke 1909, p. 1242, right column: "Sir William Brabazon, Knt., who was appointed, in 1534, vice-treasurer ..."
  4. ^ Cokayne 1890, p. 353: "He m. [married] secondly (articles dat. 9 June 1611) Susanna, sister of William, 1st Earl of Meath, da. [daughter] of Edward Brabazon, 1st Baron Brabazon of Ardee [I. [Ireland]] ..."
  5. ^ Dunboyne 1968, pp. 16–17: "Butler Family Tree condensed"
  6. ^ Mountmorres 1792, p. 216: Pedigree from Walter, 10th Earl, to John, 15th Earl, in note
  7. ^ Burke & Burke 1909, p. 1400–1401: Genealogy of the earls and dukes of Ormonde
  8. ^ Debrett 1828, p. 641–642: Genealogy of the earls and dukes of Ormonde
  9. ^ Cokayne 1895, p. 149–153: Genealogy of the earls and dukes of Ormonde
  10. ^ Cokayne 1926, p. 385–390: "Genealogy of the earls of Fingall"
  11. ^ Burke & Burke 1909, p. 729, left column, line 35: "George, the 4th son, a capt. of foot at the siege of Drogheda in 1641, and afterwards col. in the rebel army. He m. Cicely, dau. of Sir William Hill of Allenston, co. Meath ..."
  12. ^ a b Ohlmeyer 2004, p. 626, right column, line 3: "Christopher's mother, a Protestant, died in 1623."
  13. ^ a b Burke & Burke 1909, p. 729, left column, line 51: "He m. [married] in Jan. 1636 Mabel Barnewall, dau. [daughter] of Nicholas, 1st Viscount Kingsland"
  14. ^ Reily v Ward (1717) Brown's Law Reports Vol.1 p.575
  15. ^ Dunlop 1896, p. 440, right column, line 53: "His eldest son and heir, Luke, third Earl of Fingall, was restored to his estates and honours by order of the Court of Claims in 1662"
  16. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 186, line : "(2) Nicholas who married Anne, daughter of Theobald Earl of Carlingford, and widow of Sir Joseph Throckmorten ..."
  17. ^ Burke & Burke 1909, p. left column, line 52: "Walter, m. Lady Mary Plunkett, dau. [daughter] of 2nd Earl of Fingal ..."
  18. ^ Warner 1768, p. 6: "... the twenty-third October [1641] ... seized all the towns, castles, and houses belonging to the Protestants which they had force enough to possess;"
  19. ^ Dunlop 1896, p. 440, right column, line 12: "On the outbreak of the Rebellion in October 1641, he endeavoured, like the nobility and gentry of the Pale generally, to maintain an attitude of neutrality between the government and the northern party, and on 16 November was appointed a commissioner to confer with all persons in arms, "with a view to suspend for some time the sad effects of licentiousness and rapine, until the kingdom was put in a better posture of defence"."
  20. ^ Bellings 1885, p. 360: "Persons indicted of treason in the King's Bench in Hilary terme, anno decimao septimo Caroli Regis, 1641, and outlawed thereupon: Meath:—Fingall, Christopher [Plunkett], Earl of."
  21. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 185, bottom: "... was commander in chief of the horse at the siege of Drogheda ..."
  22. ^ Dunlop 1896, p. [440]: "He was seven times indicted for high treason, and his estates were confiscated by the act for the speedy settlement of Ireland on 12 Aug. 1652."
  23. ^ Armstrong 2004, p. 755, left column, line: "... grant of lands at Beaulieu, co. Louth, of which he had been awarded possession, as tenant to the State, by Cromwell."
  24. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 16: "Charles I. ... acc. 27 Mar. 1625 ..."
  25. ^ Cusack 1871, p. 317: … encamped at Benburb. Here, on the 5th of June A.D. 1646 he [Owen Roe O’Neill] won a victory …
  26. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 17: "Charles I. ... exec. 30 Jan. 1649 ..."


Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Earl of Fingall
Succeeded by