Lord President of Munster

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The post of Lord President of Munster was the most important office in the English government of the Irish province of Munster from its introduction in the Elizabethan era for a century, to 1672, a period including the Desmond Rebellions in Munster, the Nine Years' War, and the Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Lord President was subject to the chief governor, but had full authority within the province, extending to civil, criminal and church legal matters, the imposition of martial law, official appointments, and command of military forces.[1] Some appointments to military governor of Munster were not accompanied by the status of President. The width of his powers led to frequent clashes with the longer established courts, and in 1622 he was warned sharply not to "intermeddle" with cases which were properly the business of those courts. He was assisted by a Council whose members included the Chief Justice of Munster, another justice and the Attorney General for the Province. By 1620 his council was permanently based in Limerick.

The post was suppressed in 1672.

Early history[edit]

The position of President of Munster was created at the suggestion of Sir Henry Sidney in the late 1560s. Filling it proved troublesome initially, since the nomination in 1566 of Warham St Leger failed to get royal approval.[2] John Pollard turned down Sidney's offer, ultimately, for financial reasons. Later in 1569 Sir Edward Fitton accepted the position of Lord President of Connaught.[3] The first President to be appointed was Sir John Perrot (1568) but it took several years for him to arrive in Munster.[2] There are sources saying that Humphrey Gilbert had the title in 1569.[4]

From the late 16th or early 17th century, Shandon Castle (just outside the Cork's north gate) became an official residence associated with the office.[5] The castle was used by the administration as a residence, for court hearings, and as a place of imprisonment.[5][6][7]

Presidents of Munster[edit]

Vice-Presidents and deputies[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Theodore William Moody, F. X. Martin, William E Vaughan, F. J. Byrne, J R Hill, Art Cosgrove, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, A New history of Ireland (1984), p. 534.
  2. ^ a b c Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "St. Leger, Warham" . Dictionary of National Biography. 50. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  3. ^ Penry Williams, The Later Tudors: England, 1547–1603 (1998), p. 269.
  4. ^ Jennifer Speake, Literature of Travel and Exploration: G to P (2003), p. 490.
  5. ^ a b Collins, J. T. (1943). "Military Defences of Cork" (PDF). Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. 2. 48 (167): 63, 64. Shandon Castle, on the north side of the city, was erected soon after the Anglo-Norman invasion [..] and served as a manorial feudal centre until the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Then it became official residence of the Lord President of Munster, and the vital nerve-centre of English power in the south of Ireland
  6. ^ Dwyer, James (1897). "Permanent Influence of the Religious Orders" (PDF). Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. 2. 3 (31): 298. Shandon Castle was built soon after the Conquest by one of the lords of Barrymore [..] Courts for criminal cases were frequently held there by the lord president and the judges on circuit. Persons obnoxious to the government were likewise imprisoned there
  7. ^ "History of Shandon". Cork Past and Present. Cork City Libraries. Retrieved 28 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ https://biography.wales/article/s-PERR-HAR-1530
  9. ^ a b Lee, Sidney, ed. (1895). "Norris, Thomas (1556–1599)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 41. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  10. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "St. John, Oliver (1559–1630)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 50. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  11. ^ Letters from Sir Robert Cecil to Sir George Carew (1864, Camden Society), note p. 145.
  12. ^ Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, editor, Burke's Irish Family Records (London, U.K.: Burkes Peerage Ltd, 1976), Becher, page 100. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Irish Family Records.
  13. ^ Be(e)cher's appointment by the commission is mentioned by Charles Bernard Gibson in The History of the County and City of Cork (1861), on p. 19, as occurring in 1604; and alluded to in A History of the City and County of Cork (1875) by Mary Francis Cusack, p. 345.
  14. ^ http://www.thepeerage.com/p17980.htm#i179794
  15. ^ Brendan Fitzpatrick, Seventeenth-century Ireland: the war of religions (1989), p. 16.
  16. ^ http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/GeorgeCarew(ETotnes).htm[unreliable source]
  17. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1886). "Brouncker, William" . Dictionary of National Biography. 6. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  18. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1900). "Wilmot, Charles" . Dictionary of National Biography. 62. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  19. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1888). "Danvers, Henry" . Dictionary of National Biography. 14. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  20. ^ According to A. F. Pollard O'Brien became President in 1605 (in Pollard, F. (1895). "O'Brien, Donough (d.1624)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 41.
  21. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1899). "Villiers, Edward (1585?–1626)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 58. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  22. ^ a b Lee, Sidney, ed. (1899). "Weston, Jerome" . Dictionary of National Biography. 60. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  23. ^ Robert Armstrong, Protestant War: the 'British' of Ireland and the wars of the three kingdoms (2005), note p. 136.
  24. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1886). "Boyle, Roger (1621–1679)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 6. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  25. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Stanley, Sir William" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 782.
  26. ^ https://biography.wales/article/s-HERB-WIL-1593
  27. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Legge, William (1609?–1672)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  28. ^ a b Lee, Sidney, ed. (1894). "Moryson, Fynes" . Dictionary of National Biography. 39. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  29. ^ http://mcgrathsearch.com/files/Version01_A.pdf, pp. 74–5.