Christopher Plunket, 2nd Earl of Fingall
Christopher Plunket, 2nd Earl of Fingall (died August 1649) was an Irish peer, politician and soldier. In he sat in the Parliament of Ireland from 1639 until 1641. After the start of the Irish Rebellion of 1641 he was declared an outlaw, became a member of the Confederation of Kilkenny and was appointed general of the horse for the county of Meath. Towards the end of the war he fought on the Royalist side and was taken prisoner at the Battle of Rathmines, dying two weeks later in Dublin Castle.
Plunket was the eldest son of Lucas Plunket, styled Lucas Môr, 10th lord Killeen, created Earl of Fingall on 26 September 1628, by his second wife, Susanna, fifth daughter of Edward, Lord Brabazon. His father died in 1637, and on 20 March that year Plunket received special livery of his estates. he inherited great estates in County Meath and County Cavan, and played a part in developing the town of Virginia, County Cavan.
He took his seat in the Irish Parliament on 16 March 1639, and was a member of several committees for privileges and grievances. 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".
His behaviour caused him to be mistrusted by government, and on 17 November he was proclaimed an outlaw. He thereupon took a prominent part 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. 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 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 rebellion. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Rathmines on 2 August 1649, died in confinement in Dublin Castle a fortnight later, and was buried in St Catherine's Church[disambiguation needed] on 18 August. He was seven times indicted for high treason, and his estates were confiscated by the English Commonwealth's Act for the Settlement of Ireland on 12 August 1652.
Plunket married Mabel, daughter of Nicholas Barnewall, 1st viscount Kingsland, who survived him (by 50 years), and married, in 1653, Colonel James Barnewall, youngest son of Sir Patrick Barnewall. Plunket's eldest son and heir, Luke, 3rd Earl of Fingall, was restored to his estates and honours by order of the court of claims in 1662. His daughter Mary, Walter Butler, nephew of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde: they were the grandparents of John Butler, 15th Earl of Ormonde.
- Dunlop 1896, p. 440.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Dunlop, Robert (1896). "Plunket, Christopher". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 45. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 440–441. Endnotes:
- Lodge's Peerage, ed. Archdall, vi. 185–6;
- Gilbert's History of the Confederation and History of Contemporary Affairs (Irish Archæological Society).
- In the article in Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography, Plunket is confounded with his kinsman, Colonel Richard Plunket, son of Sir Christopher Plunket of Donsoghly.
- Ohlmeyer, Jane (January 2008) . "Plunket, Christopher, second earl of Fingall (d. 1649)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/22409. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
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