Sir Thomas LUTTRELL of Luttrellstown, Knight

Lord Chief Justice of Ireland

Born: BEF 1496, Luttrellstown, Dublin, Ireland

Died: 1554, Luttrellstown, Dublin, Ireland

Buried: 1554, Clonsilla Church, Ireland

Father: Richard LUTTRELL of Luttrellstown

Mother: Margaret FITZLYONS

Married 1: Anne AYLMER (dau. of Bartholomew Aylmer of Lyons and Margaret Chevers) 1531, Luttrellstown, Dublin, Ireland


1. Richard LUTTRELL


3. Christopher LUTTRELL of Luttrellstown (b. BEF 1530 - d. 1556)

4. Margaret LUTTRELL

Married 2: Elizabeth BATHE (dau. of Sir William Bathe of Rathfeigh)


5. James LUTTRELL of Luttrellstown (Sir)

6. Simon LUTTRELL of Luttrellstown

7. Robert LUTRELL of Tankardstown

8. John LUTTRELL of Killeigh

9. Walter LUTTRELL (b. ABT 1554 - d. AFT 1572)

The Right Hon. Sir Thomas Luttrell, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland, as he became, was a typical example of a gentleman of the English Pale of his time. In spite of the centuries which had elapsed since his family first settled in Ireland and of constant intercourse in his youth with the Irish, which is shown by his knowledge of the Irish language, he remained ever true to the interests of England, and looked upon Ireland, outside the small extent embraced in the Pale, as a foreign country.

At the same time the long separation of his family from England caused him to have little in common with the inhabitants of that country, and to take what may perhaps be described as a parochial view of English policy. Notwithstanding the residence in England necessary for his admission to the legal profession, during which he must have made acquaintance with many of English birth, his relatives and more intimate friends all belonged to the small community within the Pale.

Both Chief Justice Luttrell's wives -for he was twice married- were also taken from old Pale families, one being the daughter of Bartholomew Aylmer of Lyons, and the other the daughter of Sir William Bathe, of Rathfeigh.

Of Luttrell's early life little is known. His first marriage appears to have taken place in 1506, when he can have been little more than a youth, and in 1527 he appears as plaintiff in a suit in the Common Pleas in connection with the property inherited from Sir Elias de Ashbourne.

In 1532 his talents first received recognition from the Crown in his appointment as Solicitor-General and King's Serjeant in Ireland, and in 1534 he was promoted to the Bench as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, a position he filled until his death twenty years later.

He was an active member of the Council, in which capacity we find him accompanying Lord Deputy Grey on his expedition to meet Tirlagh O´Poole, and on another occasion taking charge of Dublin in the Lord Deputy's absence; and it has been stated that he was instrumental in securing the preservation of the public records in a place of safety.

When the Commission presided over by Sir Anthony St. Leger was sent to Ireland in 1537 by Henry VIII, Chief Justice Luttrell was one of those called upon to give evidence. He urged the desirability of restraining the defenders of the Pale in their exaction's, which he feared would soon reduce the Pale to the same condition as the rest of Ireland, where obedience to their Prince was only feigned; the necessity of subduing their nearest enemies, the Kavanaghs, O'Tooles and O'Byrnes; the danger of employing Irish soldiers; the advantage of a Lord Deputy of English birth but with long tenure of office; and, with reference to the inhabitants of the Pale, the benefit of making the English dress and language, as well as knowledge of the use of the bow, compulsory, of expelling Irish bards and musicians, of preventing the return of Englishmen to their own country, and finally, of printing the statutes, a work only now about to be accomplished.

Some letters from Luttrell written about this time are still extant; in one of these he refers to the capture of his relative Aylmer of Lyons, by the O'Tooles, and says that a ransom will have to be paid for his release; and in another he mentions the recent "ruffling time" with O'Neill, and says that rents will be slowly paid, as the farmers, whose services saved the Pale from utter destruction, are all lying out in camps.

In the latter letter the Chief Justice also mentions the Dissolution of the religious houses, by which he profited. St. Mary's Abbey had owned from the time of its foundation the lands of Coolmine, in Clonsilla parish, and in addition had obtained in the fifteenth century lands in that parish which had belonged to the Priory of Little Malvern in England.

Of the latter lands Chief Justice Luttrell was tenant at the time of the dissolution, and doubtless then became owner. In addition he received grants of other monastic property, including some of the possessions of the Hospital of St. John the Baptist, to which he had acted as legal adviser.

The estate which he had inherited from his father was no inconsiderable one, and must have been of material assistance to him in professional advancement. Of this we catch a glimpse in the rare and much. prized goshawk sent by him as a present to Mr. Secretary Cromwell.

At the time of his death Chief Justice Luttrell was possessed of much personal as well as real property, and shortly after his death the Crown applied to his executors for the loan of what was then a very large amount of money.

He kept open house in the castle of Luttrellstown, and entailed on the future owners certain property for the maintenance of hospitality there, together with the use of a basin and ewer of silver, a silver gilt salt cellar and cover, a dozen spoons, and a chain of fine gold of twenty links - articles of no small value as is shown by their weight in ounces, which the Chief Justice sets forth in his will.

His death took place in 1554, and he was buried according to his directions, "honestly but without pomp", in Clonsilla Church, which he directed should be extended sufficiently to admit of a sepulchre being made for him on the north side of the new part.

He must have, at any rate outwardly, adopted the reformed faith, but his belief in its creed did not prevent his leaving money for the preferment in marriage of maidens of his kin in the hope of obtaining salvation for himself and his brother Simon.

Besides providing for the extension of Clonsilla Church he left money for the repair of the chancel and also for rebuilding the bridge at Mulhuddart. He left six sons and three daughters, one of whom was married to Luke Netterville of Dowth, who became one of the Justices of the Queen's Bench, and another to Thomas Dillon of Riverston. Another son, Richard, had predeceased him, leaving a daughter, for whom the Chief Justice made provision.

The Chief Justice was succeeded by his eldest son Christopher, who however survived him only a short time, and two years after the Chief Justice's death, in 1556, his second son, James, was in possession of Luttrellstown.

James Luttrell died on 1557 and his little son only lived three years. On the death of this infant Luttrellstown passed to the Chief Justice's third son, Simon Luttrell, from whom the subsequent owners were descended. Of his three younger brothers the eldest, Robert, settled at Tankardstown, in the County Meath; the second, John, who died in 1620 and was buried at Clonsilla, resided at a place called Killeigh; and the third, Walter, matriculated in 1572 at Oxford University.


Ball, Francis Elrington, "A History of the County Dublin", Volume IV, Chapter 1.

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