Rowland FitzEustace, 1st Baron Portlester (c. 1430 – 19 December 1496) was an Irish peer, statesman and judge. He was one of the dominant political figures in late fifteenth-century Ireland, rivalled in influence probably only by his son-in-law Garret FitzGerald, the "Great" Earl of Kildare.
FitzEustace was the eldest son of Sir Edward FitzEustace of Castlemartin, County Kildare, Lord Deputy of Ireland, and his wife Alicia.He belonged to one of the most prominent of the "Old English" families of the Pale, which had several branches. He was called to the Bar in England in about 1454, and soon afterwards became Chief Clerk to the Court of King's Bench and the Court of Common Pleas. He was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Lord Treasurer of Ireland by King Edward IV of England in 1474 and was elevated to the Irish peerage as Baron Portlester in 1462. In the latter year, he was accused of treason, but defended himself with such vigour that the charges were dropped: similar charges made against him in 1470 were not pursued. In 1474 he was a founder member of the Brotherhood of Saint George, a short-lived military order charged with the defence of the Pale (the four counties nearest to Dublin), the only part of Ireland which was under secure English rule.
In 1478 when his son-in-law, Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare was replaced as Lord Deputy of Ireland by Lord Grey, Portlester organised a campaign of non-co-operation with the new Deputy.Grey ordered him to hand over the Great Seal of Ireland, but Portlester refused point-blank, thus making the conduct of official business impossible. The King went to considerable lengths to support Grey. He ordered Thomas Archbold (alias Galmole), the Master of the Royal Mint in Ireland, to strike a new Great Seal, declaring that the Seal held by Portlester was annulled and that all acts passed under it were utterly void, but these efforts were to no avail. So effective was the campaign of obstruction that after a few months Lord Grey was forced to return to England.
Portlester was reappointed Chancellor by Edward IV, and following the change of dynasty in 1485 he was confirmed in office by Henry VII, but later removed because of his part in the crowning of the pretender, Lambert Simnel, as King Edward VI of England, on 24 May 1487.This coronation took place in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland. Nearly every noble and Prince in Ireland took part in the ceremony. Simnel invaded England with an Irish army which was crushed at the Battle of Stoke. Henry VII was magnanimous in victory, sparing Simnel's life and issuing pardons to Portlester and his fellow peers; but he decided to split the offices held by Lord Portlester between Alexander Plunket and Sir James Ormond. Portlester nonetheless remained an influential figure for the remaining decade of his life, and was able to fight off an attack on his record as Treasurer in 1493.
He was married three times.His wives were:
He had issue with all of his wives, but it is uncertain in some cases which wife was the mother of which child.Joan is thought to have been Elizabeth's daughter, while Katherine and Alison were Margaret's. His only legitimate son, Richard, died young.
His daughters were:
He also had an illegitimate son:
The barony became extinct on his death in 1496, but his nephew Thomas, son of his brother Richard, was created Viscount Baltinglass in 1541. Sir Maurice Eustace, a wealthy and influential member of the FitzEustace clan who became Lord Chancellor of Ireland, accepted the title Baron Portlester at the Restoration of Charles II, but then changed his mind, apparently because, like Rowland, he had no legitimate son to succeed him.
Elrington Ball regarded him as perhaps the most important Irish political figure during his 40-year career, more influential even than his son-in-law, the "Great Earl of Kildare."
There is a memorial to him and his third wife Margaret d'Artois in St. Audoen's Church, Dublin, erected by him in gratitude for his preservation from a shipwreck near the site.He founded New Abbey, Kilcullen, where he is buried beside his daughter Alison. His estates passed to his nephew Thomas Eustace, 1st Viscount Baltinglass.
Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond, 1st Earl of Ossory also known as Red Piers, was from the Polestown branch of the Butler family of Ireland. In the succession crisis at the death of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond he succeeded to the earldom as heir male, but lost the title in 1528 to Thomas Boleyn. He regained it after Boleyn's death in 1538.
Alexander Plunket was an Irish statesman and judge of the fifteenth century.
Gerard FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, was a leading figure in 16th-century Irish History. In 1513 he inherited the title of Earl of Kildare and position of Lord Deputy of Ireland from his father.
Thomas Eustace, 1st Viscount Baltinglass was an Anglo-Irish noble who achieved wealth and influence by prudently remaining loyal to the English Crown. He was born circa 1480 at Caslemartin, County Kildare.
Christopher Fleming was an Irish nobleman, who was Lord High Treasurer of Ireland from 1514 until his death. He succeeded as 8th Baron Slane in 1492.
Thomas Fleming was an Irish peer, and a member of the Parliament of Ireland of 1585. He was the son of James Fleming, and great-grandson of James Fleming, 7th Baron Slane. His mother was Ismay Dillon, daughter of Sir Bartholomew Dillon, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and his first wife Elizabeth Barnewall; after his father's death she remarried Sir Thomas Barnewall of Trimlestown.
Margaret Butler, Countess of Ormond, Countess of Ossory was an Irish noblewoman and a member of the powerful and celebrated FitzGerald dynasty also known as "The Geraldines". She married Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond, by whom she had four sons and five daughters.
John Barnewall, 3rd Baron Trimleston, was an Irish nobleman, judge and politician. He was the eldest son of Christopher Barnewall, 2nd Baron Trimlestown and his wife Elizabeth Plunket, daughter of Sir Thomas Fitz-Christopher Plunket of Rathmore, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench in Ireland and his second wife Marian Cruise. He succeeded his father as 3rd Baron about 1513. His father, like most of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, had supported the claim of the pretender Lambert Simnel to the English throne in 1487. After the failure of Simnel's rebellion, he received a royal pardon.
Lucas More Plunket of Killeen, County Meath, styled Lucas Môr, tenth lord Killeen, created Earl of Fingall on 26 September 1628, was an Irish peer.
Nicholas St Lawrence, 4th Baron Howth was a leading Irish soldier and statesman of the early Tudor period, who held the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
Robert Preston, 1st Viscount Gormanston (1435–1503) was an Irish peer and statesman of the fifteenth century who held the offices of Deputy to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Lord Deputy of Ireland.
Sir Richard FitzEustace (c.1380–1445) was an Irish statesman who briefly held the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
Sir Robert FitzEustace (c.1420–1486) was an Irish landowner and politician of the fifteenth century.
Robert Plunkett, 5th Baron Dunsany was an Anglo-Irish nobleman of the Tudor period.
Henry Grey, 4th Baron Grey of Codnor was an English nobleman of the fifteenth century. Having initially supported the House of Lancaster during the Wars of the Roses, he later gave his allegiance to the victorious King Edward IV. Despite a record of conflict with other members of the nobility, he enjoyed the confidence of the King, who appointed him Lord Deputy of Ireland, an office in which he was a notable failure. He retained the favour of two later monarchs, Richard III and Henry VII, both of whom made him grants of land.
Oliver FitzEustace was an Irish judge. His appointment as Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer was a surprising one since according to the leading historian of the Irish judiciary he appears to have been unable to speak.
John Estrete, or Strete was an Irish judge, author, law lecturer and statesman of the late fifteenth century. He held the offices of King's Serjeant, Deputy Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, and Master of the Coinage of Ireland. He was a member of the Privy Council of Ireland. He wrote at least one legal textbook, Natura Brevium.
Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare KG, known variously as "Garret the Great" or "The Great Earl", was Ireland's premier peer. He served as Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1477 to 1494, and from 1496 onwards. His power was so great that he was called "the uncrowned King of Ireland".
Sir William FitzWilliam, of Windsor, Berkshire, was an Irish courtier and Member of Parliament in England. He was Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Edward VI of England; Deputy Chancellor of Ireland; Lieutenant of Windsor Castle; Keeper of Windsor Great Park and Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire.
Sir Jenico d'Artois, Dartas, Dartass or Dartasso was a Gascony-born soldier and statesman, much of whose career was spent in Ireland. He enjoyed the trust and confidence of three successive English monarchs, and became a wealthy landowner in Ireland.