John Bermyngham

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John Bermyngham or Bermingham (died 1415) was an Irish lawyer and judge. He was one of the first Crown officials to be referred to as King's Serjeant . He was later appointed Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, but did not take up the office.[1]

He belonged to the prominent Anglo-Irish Bermingham dynasty, which acquired the titles Earl of Louth and Baron Athenry.[2] He was appointed King's Serjeant in 1388; he was one of the first law officers to be so described, although the office itself dates from about 1260. His appointment was limited to Dublin and the counties of the Pale.[3] Hart notes that such local appointments were common at the time, reflecting the disturbed state of the English colony in Ireland, when no one travelled from Dublin to County Cork without an armed escort, and Carlow, seat of the Exchequer of Ireland, had recently been burned.[4]

He went to England to further his law studies in 1392 (Ireland at that time had no law school), but Hart believes that he probably acted as Serjeant until 1402, when he became second justice of the Court of King's Bench (Ireland). He was chosen as Chief Justice in 1407 but he cannot have taken up office, since Stephen de Bray, appointed in 1403, remained Chief until 1426. He died in 1415.[5]

He was probably the grandfather of Philip Bermingham (died 1490), Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.[6]


  1. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.1 p.172
  2. ^ Ball p.172
  3. ^ Hart, A.R. The History of the King's Serjeants at law in Ireland Four Courts Press 2000 p.20
  4. ^ Hart p.20
  5. ^ Ball p.172
  6. ^ Ball p.184