Robert Bagod

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Sir Robert Bagod (died after 1298) was an Irish judge who was appointed the first Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas. He built Baggotrath Castle, which was reputed to be the strongest fortress in Dublin: it was located on present day Baggot Street in central Dublin.

He was born in Dublin, the son of Ralph Bagod; the Bagod family had come to Ireland in the 1170s. Robert spent the earlier part of his career in Limerick, where he served as sheriff and constable of King John's Castle. He was accused of misconduct in respect of his official duties in 1275, but was cleared of the charges; he was held in high regard by the English Crown and was a friend of Robert Burnell, the Lord Chancellor of England.[1]

In 1274 the Court of Common Pleas (Ireland), which was generally known in its early days as "the Bench" was established, and Bagod was chosen to be its Chief Justice. He had three associate justices to work with him, though in later centuries the number of associate justices was reduced to two.[2] He was also required to act as an itinerant justice when necessary. In addition to his judicial office he served as Deputy Treasurer of Ireland.

The Crown continued to hold him in high regard: in 1281 he received financial rewards for his loyalty, and in 1284 in consideration of his long service he was excused from going on assize. He retired on health grounds in 1298;[3] his date of death is uncertain. His eldest son and heir, also named Robert, was like his father a judge.

In 1280 he bought the lands then called the Rath, and were subsequently called Baggotrath or Baggotstrath. He built Baggotrath Castle, which passed from the Bagods to the Fitzwilliam family. It was severely damaged during the English Civil War, allowed subsequently to fall into ruin and demolished in the early nineteenth century. The family name is commemorated in Baggot Street and nearby Baggotrath Place.

Ruins of Baggotrath Castle, 1792

He has been described as a man of energy and ability, noted for his loyalty to the Crown and the confidence the Government placed in him.[4]

Baggot Street in Dublin was named after him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 Vol. 1 pp.20-21
  2. ^ Ball, p.20
  3. ^ Ball, p.52
  4. ^ Ball, F. Elrington History of Dublin 6 Volumes Alexander Thom and Co. Dublin 1902-1920 Vol.2 p.43