Sir Standish Hartstonge, 1st Baronet (c. 1627-1701) was an English born lawyer who had a distinguished career as a judge in Ireland, but was twice removed from office. He was also a very substantial Irish landowner. His last years were marked by bitter family disputes with his grandson and heir.
Background and early career
He was born in Norfolk, eldest son of Francis Hartstonge of Catton and Elizabeth Standish, daughter of Sir Thomas Standish of Bruff, County Limerick; he inherited a considerable fortune from the Standish side of the family. He entered Middle Temple in 1657 but soon decided to pursue a career in Ireland. He entered the King's Inn in 1659 and soon built up a flourishing practice. He became Recorder of Limerick, and second justice of the provincial court of Munster in 1666. He was the last holder of that office, which was abolished in 1672.
He was appointed third Baron of the Court of Exchequer (Ireland) in 1680. The following year he was made a baronet, which was not a common honour for an Irish judge at this time. It was said that the acquisition of the title was due to his independent wealth: in addition to the Bruff estates he acquired property in Hereford, as well as a house at Oxmantown in Dublin. He was reputedly in favour of a generous measure of religious toleration for Roman Catholics (which at that time often led to the accusation of being a Catholic at heart oneself). Nonetheless. he was summarily removed from the Bench by the Catholic King James II in 1686, probably due to the hostility of the new Viceroy, Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell, who was said to be jealous of his wealth and social standing. He settled the Limerick estates on his eldest son Francis and retired to Hereford.
After the Revolution of 1688 Harstonge was anxious to resume his judicial career: he returned to Ireland and was appointed to his former office in 1691. However, despite his quarrel with Tyrconnell, the old accusation that he was unusually tolerant of Roman Catholics was revived: he was removed from office for the second time in 1695, and retired once more to Hereford. His last years were troubled by quarrels with his eldest grandson and heir, who greatly offended him by marrying against his wishes. The turbulent career of his third wife's brother, Sir Rowland Gwynne, who was ultimately to die in a debtor's prison, was another source of worry. His last will is dated December 1699, and was the subject of a lawsuit in 1702. He is thought to have died in 1701.
Hartstonge married three times. His first wife, whom he married around 1650 was Elizabeth Jermyn of Gunton, Norfolk. They had four children, Francis, Standish, John and Alice. She died in 1663. His second wife was Anne Bramhall, daughter of John Bramhall, Archbishop of Armagh and Elinor Halley, who died in 1682. His third wife was Joanna Gwynne, daughter of George Gwynne of Llanelwedd and his wife Sybil, and sister of Sir Rowland Gwynne, MP for Radnorshire. They had one son, Gwynne (born 1685).
His eldest son Francis died in 1688 and the title passed to Francis's son Sir Standish Hartstonge, 2nd Baronet. HIs second son Standish followed his father to the ][Irish Bar]] and entered King's Inn in 1681. His third son John Hartstonge was Bishop of Ossory 1693-1714 and Bishop of Derry 1714-1717. His daughter Alice married Anthony Maude, member of the Irish House of Commons for Cashel and High Sheriff of Tipperary, and was the mother of Sir Robert Maude, 1st Baronet; her descendants acquired the title Viscount Hawarden. Sir Standish left the bulk of his estate to his youngest son, Gwynne, resulting in a long lawsuit between Gwynne and the younger Sir Standish.
- Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221–1921 John Murray London 1926
- Ball Judges in Ireland
- Judges in Ireland
- National Library of Ireland Collection List No. 121 The Limerick Papers
- Cokayne, George Edward Complete Baronetage Reprinted Gloucester 1983
- Cokayne Complete Baronetage
- Kenny, Colum King's Inn and the KIngdom of Ireland Irish Academic Press Dublin 1992 p.149