Warham St Leger

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Sir Warham St Leger PC (Ire) (c.1525 – 1597) was an English soldier, administrator, and politician, who sat in the Irish House of Commons in the Parliament of 1585–1586.


Birth and origins

Warham was probably born in 1525 in England, the second son of Sir Anthony St Leger and his wife Agnes Warham. His father would be appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1540. His father's family was from Ulcombe, Kent. His mother was a daughter of Sir Hugh Warham, a brother of William Warham, archbishop of Canterbury.

Family tree
Warham St Leger with his two wives, his parents, and other selected relatives. [lower-alpha 1]
St Lger

d. 1519
St Leger

c. 1496 – 1559
Lord Deputy
St Leger


d. 1575
St Leger

c. 1525 – 1597
d. 1628
St Leger

d. 1600
St Leger

d. 1603
St Leger
St Leger

of Munster
XXXSubject of
the article
*d.v.p. = predeceased his father (decessit vita patris)

Early life

His father disinherited his eldest brother William due to his dissolute lifestyle; the third brother, Anthony, would be made Master of the Rolls in Ireland in 1593. Warham served in Protector Somerset's invasion of Scotland in 1547 as he was a prisoner there until January 1550, when he was ransomed. In 1553 he fought against supporters of Wyatt's rebellion in Kent, and he may have served in Ireland under his father during Mary's reign. About 1559 he was named a commissioner to transfer to England John Bale's manuscripts and books. In 1560 he was High Sheriff of Kent. He was soon a member of the Privy Council of Ireland, and in July 1565 he was knighted. Queen Elizabeth had decided to establish a presidential government in Munster, and in January 1566 St Leger was nominated President of Munster, but locally by Sir Henry Sidney, the Lord Deputy of Ireland; he received instructions dated 1 February, and in the following month was given command of all the levies in Munster. Elizabeth, however, refused to confirm St Leger's appointment. The reason was that St Leger was a bitter enemy of Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond, who was a cousin of the Queen on the Boleyn side of her family, and correspondingly friendly with Gerald FitzGerald, 14th Earl of Desmond; and the queen accused St Leger of lukewarmness in arresting Desmond early in 1565. St Leger was consequently recalled, and in November 1568 Sir John Perrot became president of Munster.

First marriage and children

Probably about 1550 St Leger married firstly Ursula Neville (d. 1575). [3] She was the fifth and youngest daughter of George Neville, 5th Baron Bergavenny, by his third wife, Mary Stafford, youngest daughter of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham.

Warham and Ursula had five sons and four daughters, including: [4] [5]

Various offices

His father died in 1559 and Warham inherited. He gave his brother William the manors of Bilsington and Belgar in Kent as a gest of goodwill. [10]

In 1569 St Leger returned to England, residing at his house in Southwark or at Leeds Castle, Kent, and serving as High Sheriff of Kent for 1560. There from 1570 to 1572 he had custody of Desmond and his family (see Desmond Rebellions). He left his wife at Carrigaline, County Cork, a manor he held from Desmond; during his absence it was ravaged by the rebels.

Second marriage and child

By 1577 St Leger married secondly Emmeline Goldwell (d. 1628), [11] by whom he had a son Walter, [12] who obtained his father's Irish property. Emmeline died in London in 1628, and was buried in the church of St Dunstan-in-the-East.

Late life and death

He remained in England until 1579, when his repeated petitions for employment and reward were answered by his appointment as provost-marshal of Munster, a new office, the functions of which seem to have been purely military. In this capacity St Leger was actively engaged against the Irish rebels for ten years. On 7 April 1583 he was appointed an assistant to the court of high commission in Ireland, and in the following year he visited England. While there he accused Ormond of treason, and laid before the queen proposals for the government of Ireland. In 1585 he was elected to the Irish House of Commons as MP for Queen's County. In November 1589 he was succeeded, probably on account of his old age, as provost-marshal by George Thornton, but in 1590 he was governing Munster in the absence of the vice-president. He was in England again in 1594, and died at Cork in 1597. His will is in the Heralds' College, London. He had literary interests, being a friend of Edmund Spenser and Lodowick Bryskett, and was one of the friends to whom Spenser confided his project of writing The Faerie Queene .

The Warham St Leger who died in combat in 1600 against Hugh Maguire (Lord of Fermanagh) was his nephew, the son of his brother William.

Sir Warham St Leger was the ancestor of the St Legers of Hayward's Hill near Cork city and of the St Legers of Ballingarry, North Tipperary and Shinrone, County Offaly in Ireland.

Notes, citations, and sources


  1. This family tree is based on genealogies of the Viscounts Doneraile. [1] [2]


  1. Burke & Burke 1909, p.  592Genealogy of the Viscounts Doneraile
  2. Cokayne 1916, p.  395Genealogy of the Viscounts Doneraile
  3. Edwards 2004, p.  656, left column: "He married Ursula (d. 1575) 5th daughter of George Neville, fifth Baron Bergavenny, and his third wife mary, probably about 1550."
  4. Richardson I 2011 , p. 171.
  5. Richardson III 2011 , p. 482.
  6. Richardson III 2011 , p. 482.
  7. Richardson III 2011 , p. 482.
  8. Richardson III 2011 , pp. 482–3.
  9. Richardson III 2011 , p. 482.
  10. Clavin 2009, 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence"following his father's death (March 1559) he succeeded to the family estates and, in the interest of fostering good relationships with his older brother, passed to him the manors of Bilsington and Belgar in Kent."
  11. Edwards 2004, p.  657, left column. "... the death of his wife in 1575 and his second marriage by 1577 ..."
  12. Richardson III 2011 , p. 482.


  • Burke, Bernard; Burke, Ashworth Peter (1909). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, the Privy Council, Knightage and Companionage (71st ed.). London: Harrison. OCLC   28297274.
  • Clavin, Terry (October 2009). "St Leger, Sir William". Dictionary of Irish Biography . Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1916). Gibbs, Vicary (ed.). The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant. Vol. 4 (2nd ed.). London: St Catherine Press. OCLC   228661424. – Dacre to Dysart (for Doneraile)
  • Edwards, David (2004). "St. Leger, Warham" . In Matthew, Colin; Harrison, Brian (eds.). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography . Vol. 48. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 656–658. ISBN   0-19-861398-9.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. Vol. I (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN   978-1449966379.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. Vol. III (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN   978-1449966393.

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