Patrick Barnewall (died 1622)

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Sir Patrick Barnewall or Barnwall (died 1622), was the eldest son of Sir Christopher Barnewall of Turvey, Grace Dieu Abbey, and Fieldston. Christopher in turn was the son of the elder Sir Patrick Barnewall, who in 1534 was made Serjeant-at-law (Ireland) and Solicitor-General for Ireland, and in 1550 became Master of the Rolls in Ireland. Patrick's mother was Marion Sherle, daughter of Richard Sherle of County Meath.


Sir Christopher was Sheriff of County Dublin in 1560, and is described by Raphael Holinshed, his son in law, as ‘the lanthorn and light as well of his house’ as of that part of Ireland where he dwelt; who being sufficiently furnished as well with the knowledge of the Latin tongue, as of the common laws of England, was zealously bent to the reformation of his country.’ Sir Patrick Barnewall ‘was the first gentleman's son of quality that was ever put out of Ireland to be brought up in learning beyond the seas’.[1] He succeeded his father in his estates in 1575. He married firstly Mary St. Lawrence, daughter of Lord Howth, but the marriage was annulled in 1579 and in 1582 he re-married Mary, daughter of Sir Nicholas Bagenal, knight mareschal of Ireland, with whom he had a son and four daughters. She died in 1609. Her sister Mabel, celebrated for her elopement with Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone in 1591, lived with them at Turvey, and it was from Turvey, with the connivance of Sir William Warren, that Mabel fled to Warren's home at Drumcondra, where the marriage to O'Neill took place.[2] After the death of Mary's eldest brother Henry Bagenal, Patrick was appointed guardian of his children.

Early career[edit]

Barnewall began to attend the Inns of Court in London, one ‘of the evident tokens of loyalty’ which led Elizabeth I in November of 1582 to make him a new lease of certain lands without fine for sixty years. Loyal he undoubtedly was, but he had inherited in a great degree both the principles and the disposition of his father, and was thus inclined to ‘demean himself frowardly’ when the true interests of Ireland were threatened by the government.

Charged and imprisoned[edit]

In December 1605 he was brought before the Privy Council of Ireland at Dublin on the charge of having contrived the petition of the lords and gentlemen of the Pale in favour of those persons who had refused to comply with the enactment requiring attendance at the Protestant church on Sundays. He denied having been the contriver of the petition, but on account of his ‘obstinate and indecent manner of defending it’ was regarded as having been more deep in the offence than he who first wrote it. He was therefore retained in prison, and ultimately was sent to England, where he was committed to the Tower of London. The timing of the petition was particularly unfortunate in coming so soon after the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, although it was not suggested that Barnewall had any link to the Plot itself.

Release and later career[edit]

On account of illness he was, however, first ‘enlarged to his own lodgings,’ and on 31 December 1606 he was sent to Ireland upon bond to appear before the lord deputy and council within four days to make his submission. While in London he was supposed to have acted as the agent of the recusants in obtaining a relaxation of the law, but whether this was so or not, his spirited resistance to it had made it practically a dead letter, and no attempt was ever again made in Ireland to enforce attendance at church through a fine in the council chamber. In 1613 he strongly opposed the creation of new boroughs in Ireland ‘as being designed only to pass votes’, and on this account was summoned to England to answer to the council. He died on 11 January 1622. His son Nicholas became Viscount Barnewall of Kingsland.[3] His daughter Eleanor married Christopher Fleming, 12th Baron Slane, and had six sons of whom the eldest Thomas renounced the title in favour of his next brother William, 14th Baron; Thomas became Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. Another daughter Sarah married the statesman Sir Pierce Crosbie, 1st Baronet.


  1. ^ Cal. State Papers, Irish ser. (1611–14), p. 394
  2. ^ Sean O'Faolain The Great O'Neill Mercier Press Cork 1942
  3. ^ Lodge, John Peerage of Ireland London 1784 Vol. 3 p.49

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Barnewall, Patrick". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.