Sir Richard Cox, 1st Baronet

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Sir Richard Cox, 1st Baronet PC (25 March 1650 – 3 May 1733) was an Irish lawyer and judge. He served as Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1703 to 1707[1] and as Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench for Ireland from 1711 to 1714.

Early life[edit]

Cox was born in Bandon, Ireland. He was the great-great-grandson of Richard Cox, the Chancellor of Oxford in 1547. His family had arrived from Wiltshire in c. 1600, and was dispossessed in the Irish Rebellion of 1641. His father was Captain Richard Cox II (1610–c1651) and mother was Katherine (Bird) Batten. She was born in Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland and died c.1651/52 probably in Bandon. He was orphaned at the age of three and raised by his maternal grandparents and uncle in County Cork.


He qualified at Gray's Inn, London, in 1673; was apprenticed in the manorial courts of the Boyle family, of County Cork. He was appointed Recorder of Kinsale, and acquired an estate at Clonakilty, 1687; but lost recordership after accession of James II. He moved to Bristol, where he practiced as a lawyer and became acquainted with Sir Robert Southwell, who introduced him to the Duke of Ormonde, thereafter his patron. He returned to Ireland, and fought at the Boyne, in 1690. He was knighted on 5 November 1692 by William III of England and then became a baronet on 21 November 1706.

He became Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1703 and then Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench from 1711–14, after being dismissed in 1707 for his opposition to the possible repeal of the sacramental test for religious dissenters in that year.[2] He escaped impeachment when Ormonde defected to the Jacobite cause in 1715.

He was the author of an early history of Ireland as regarded from the standpoint of the New English; Hibernia Anglicana, or, The History of Ireland (1689–90), (called ‘trite’ by Oxford Dictionary of National Biography); purporting to be the first chronological history of Ireland, and incidentally attacking "the ridiculous stories which they have publish of the Firbolgs and Tuah-de-danans'.

He lived 20 years in retirement before his death, from apoplexy, in the Great Hall of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Mary Bourne on 26 February 1674. Mary Bourne was born in 1658 in County Cork, Ireland. She died on 1 June 1715. They had twenty- one children, of whom the eldest son, also Richard, predeceased his father. A younger son, Michael, was Archbishop of Cashel from 1754 to 1779.

Cox's letters give vivid evidence of a lively and charming personality;[citation needed] he welcomes additions to his numerous offspring, describes the pleasures of good food and drink, and his love of music and fine clothes.

Cox died of apoplexy on 3 May 1733. His grandson Sir Richard Cox, 2nd Baronet (1702-1766) succeeded to the title and estates.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ J. C. Beckett, Protestant Dissent in Ireland, 46

Beckett, J. C. (1949). Protestant Dissent in Ireland. London. p. 198. 

Ball. F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir John Hely
Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Doyne
Preceded by
John Methuen
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
Succeeded by
Richard Freeman
Preceded by
Alan Brodrick
Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench for Ireland
Succeeded by
William Whitshed
Baronetage of Ireland
Preceded by
new creation
(of Castletown)
Succeeded by
Richard Cox