Thomas Snagge

Last updated

Thomas Snagge (1536–1593) was a Member of Parliament, barrister and landowner who served as Speaker of the English House of Commons, Attorney General for Ireland and as Queen's Sergeant. [1]


Snagge was born in 1536 in Letchworth. [1] He was the son of Thomas Snagge, the prosperous lord of the manor of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire. He studied law at Gray's Inn, and after being called to the bar in 1554 practiced law in London.

Snagge was elected as a knight of the shire for Bedfordshire in 1571. He was chosen by Queen Elizabeth to be Attorney General for Ireland and held this appointment from 1577 to 1580. [1] The Queen chose him because he had a reputation for efficiency, and "the public service had been not a little hindered through the default and insufficiency of m the [Irish] law officers" and "her Majesty thought that a person well-chosen in England might be sent over". [2] Snagge as it turned out was not particularly well-chosen: he had not wanted the job and disliked living in Ireland and, according to a modern writer, his official correspondence is simply a long list of complaints. [3] In particular, he complained of the inefficiency of the Master of the Rolls in Ireland, Nicholas White, and went so far as to make an official complaint against him to the Privy Council of England. In 1580 he was appointed a Serjeant-at-law (Ireland). [4]

In 1586 Snagge was again returned as one of the members of parliament for Bedfordshire and in 1589 for the borough of Bedford. In 1589 he was elected as Speaker of the House of Commons and in 1590 was promoted to Queen's Serjeant. As well as owning several manors in Bedfordshire, his home seat was at Marston Moretaine. [5]

Snagge died in 1593 and was entombed in St Mary's Church, Marston Moretaine, where an alabaster tomb carrying effigies of him and his wife survives. [5] He had married Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Thomas Dickons of Marston Moretaine; they had five sons and two daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas, also a member of parliament (for Bedford in 1586).

Related Research Articles

Solicitor-General for Ireland

The Solicitor-General for Ireland was the holder of an Irish and then United Kingdom government office. The holder was a deputy to the Attorney-General for Ireland, and advised the Crown on Irish legal matters. At least two holders of the office, Patrick Barnewall (1534–1550) and Sir Roger Wilbraham (1586-1603), played a leading role in Government, although in Barnewall's case this may be partly because he was also King's Serjeant. As with the Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Solicitor-General for Ireland was usually a barrister rather than a solicitor.

John Perrot Lord Deputy to Queen Elizabeth I

Sir John Perrot served as lord deputy to Queen Elizabeth I of England during the Tudor conquest of Ireland. It was speculated that he was an illegitimate son of Henry VIII.

Marston Moreteyne Human settlement in England

Marston Moreteyne is a large English village and civil parish located on the A421 between Bedford and Milton Keynes in the county of Bedfordshire. The population was 4,560 at the 2001 census, and 4,556 at the 2011 census. The village is served by Millbrook railway station, approximately a mile away on the Marston Vale Line.

Attorney-General for Ireland

The Attorney-General for Ireland was an Irish and then United Kingdom government office-holder. He was senior in rank to the Solicitor-General for Ireland: both advised the Crown on Irish legal matters. With the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the duties of the Attorney General and Solicitor for Ireland were taken over by the Attorney General of Ireland. The office of Solicitor General for Ireland was abolished at the same time, for reasons of economy. This led to repeated complaints from the first Attorney General of Ireland, Hugh Kennedy, about the "immense volume of work" which he was now forced to deal with single-handed.

Christopher Yelverton English judge and politician

Sir Christopher Yelverton was an English judge and Speaker of the House of Commons.

Christopher Wray (English judge) Member of the Parliament of England

Sir Christopher Wray was an English judge and Chief Justice of the King's Bench.

Sir Nicholas White was an Irish lawyer, judge, privy councillor and government official during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Rickard Deasy PC was an Irish lawyer and judge.

William Fleetwood was an English lawyer and politician. He was Member of Parliament for Marlborough in 1558, Lancaster in 1559 and 1567, and for the City of London several times between 1572 and 1592, but his most significant position was as Recorder of London from 1571 to 1591. A lawyer of the Middle Temple, he was a Queen's Serjeant in 1592.

Roger Wilbraham English lawyer and Solicitor-General for Ireland

Sir Roger Wilbraham was a prominent English lawyer who served as Solicitor-General for Ireland under Elizabeth I and held a number of positions at court under James I, including Master of Requests and surveyor of the Court of Wards and Liveries. He bought an estate at Dorfold in the parish of Acton, near his birthplace of Nantwich in Cheshire, and he was active in charitable works locally, including founding two sets of almshouses for impoverished men. He also founded almshouses in Monken Hadley, Middlesex, where he is buried.

Sir Humphrey Winch (1555–1625) was an English-born politician and judge. He had a distinguished career in both Ireland and England, but his reputation was seriously damaged by the Leicester witch trials of 1616, which resulted in the hanging of several innocent women.

Patrick Barnewall was a leading figure in the Irish Government of the 1530s and 1540s. He owed his position largely to his close links with Thomas Cromwell. He sat in the Irish House of Commons as MP for Dublin County, and held the offices of Solicitor General for Ireland and Master of the Rolls in Ireland. Today he is mainly remembered for his role in founding the King's Inns. He belonged to a junior branch of the family of Lord Trimlestown: his own descendants held the title Viscount Barnewall of Kingsland.

Edward Drew Member of the Parliament of England

Edward Drew (c.1542–1598) of Killerton, Broadclyst and The Grange, Broadhembury, Devon, was a Serjeant-at-Law to Queen Elizabeth I. He served as a Member of Parliament for Lyme Regis in 1584, twice for Exeter in 1586 and 1588 and in 1592 for the City of London. He occupied the honourable position of Recorder of the City of London.

Edward Fitz-Symon was a leading Irish barrister and judge of the Elizabethan era. He held the offices of Attorney General for Ireland, Serjeant-at-law (Ireland) and very briefly Master of the Rolls in Ireland. Despite his appointment these senior offices, he was derided by his contemporaries as being a man of "mean learning". His family were Lords of the Manor of Baldoyle for several generations.

Sir Nathaniel Catelyn, was a leading English-born politician and judge in seventeenth-century Ireland. He was Speaker of the Irish House of Commons in the Irish Parliament of 1634–5, Recorder of Dublin and the first holder of the office of Second Serjeant. Despite accusations of conflict of interest and of Roman Catholic sympathies, he retained the confidence of the Crown and was a key ally of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, the Lord Deputy of Ireland.

Edward Somerton

Edward Somerton was an Irish barrister and judge who held the offices of Serjeant-at-law (Ireland) and judge of the Court of King's Bench (Ireland).

7th Parliament of Elizabeth I

The 7th Parliament of Queen Elizabeth I was summoned by Queen Elizabeth I of England on 18 September 1588 and assembled on 4 February 1589.

Sir Thomas Snagge of Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, was an English Member of Parliament and High Sheriff.

Moreteyne Manor

Moreteyne Manor (previously known as Moat Farmhouse} is a 15th-century manor house in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, England. For many years it was used as a farmhouse but is now a country house restaurant. It is a Grade II* listed building.

John de Ponz, also called John de Ponte, John Savan, or John of Bridgwater (c.1248-1307) was an English-born administrator, lawyer and judge in the reign of King Edward I. He served in the Royal Household for several years before moving to Ireland, where he practiced in the Royal Courts as the King's Serjeant-at-law (Ireland). He later served as a justice in eyre, and then as a justice of the Court of Common Pleas (Ireland). He was clearly a gifted lawyer, but as a judge he was accused of acting unjustly.


  1. 1 2 3 Bedfordshire Library Website, Local Biographies - Thomas Snagge, retrieved 3 January 2009
  2. Hart, A. R. History of the King's Serjeants-at-law in Ireland (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2000)
  3. Casey, James The Irish Law Officers (Dublin: Round Hall Sweet and Maxwell, 1996)
  4. Hart The King's Serjeant-at-law in Ireland
  5. 1 2 A History of Moreteyne Manor - Moreteyne Manor website, retrieved 3 January 2009
Parliament of England
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire
With: George Rotheram
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire
With: George Rotheram
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bedford
With: John Pigott
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by