Thomas Chase

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For the 19th-century president of Haverford College, see Thomas Chase (educator).

Thomas Chase (died 1449) was a 15th-century judge and cleric who was Chancellor of the University of Oxford in England and subsequently held the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

Chase was Warden of the Hospital of St Bartholomew near Rye in 1420 and was subsequently attached to the free chapel at Jesmond near Newcastle. In politics he was a supporter of the Duke of Gloucester, and served as one of his chaplains.[1] He was Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1426 until 1431, and Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1441 until 1446.

The Crown had originally appointed him Chancellor in 1432, and he travelled to Ireland to take up office, but Richard Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin, the outgoing Chancellor, simply refused to hand over the seal of office.[2] Chase, perhaps intimidated by the Archbishop's formidable personality, seems to have meekly returned to England, until such time as Archbishop Talbot was willing to surrender his office, as he duly did in 1441.[3] Due to the more than usually turbulent conditions in Ireland, which was wracked by the feud between the Butler and Talbot factions, Chase when he eventually took up office was urged not to leave the country unless strictly necessary and to hurry back as soon as possible.[4]

Although he was described as a man of great learning,[5] unlike most holders of high office at the time he never became a bishop, and spent his last years as parson of High Ongar in Essex, where he died in 1449.[6]

As Lord Chancellor he is mainly remembered for his petition to the Privy Council that Irish law students seeking admission to the Inns of Court in London should receive equal treatment with their English colleagues, to which the Council returned a favourable response.[7]

St.Mary, High Ongar


  1. ^ Griffiths, Ralph A. The Reign of Henry VI- the Exercise of Royal Authority Ernest Benn Ltd. 1981 p.413
  2. ^ O'Flanagan, J. Roderick Lives of the Lord Chancellors of Ireland London 1870 Vol.1 p.94
  3. ^ O'Flanagan p.94
  4. ^ Griffiths p.413
  5. ^ Griffiths p.413
  6. ^ Ball F. Elrington, The Judges in Ireland 1221–1921. John Murray, London, 1926.
  7. ^ Kenny, Colum The King's Inns and the Kingdom of Ireland Irish Academic Press Dublin 1992 p.19
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Castell
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Succeeded by
Gilbert Kymer
Government offices
Preceded by
Richard Talbot
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
Succeeded by
Richard Wogan