Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/St. Leger, Warham

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ST. LEGER, Sir WARHAM (1525?–1597), soldier, second son of Sir Anthony St. Leger [q. v.] by his wife Agnes, daughter of Sir Hugh Warham, brother of Archbishop Warham, was born probably about 1525. His mother died on 24 March 1558-9, and was buried in Ulcombe church (cf. Machyn, Diary,. pp. 192, 372). His eldest brother, William, was disinherited; the third brother, Sir Anthony St. Leger, entered Gray's Inn in 1563 or 1568 (Foster, Reg.), was made master of the rolls in Ireland in 1593, and died at Cork early in 1613. Warham may have served in Somerset's invasion of Scotland in 1547, and he was a prisoner there until January 1549-50, when he was ransomed for 100l. (Acts of the Privy Council, 1547-50, p. 373). In 1553 he fought against Wyatt's supporters in Kent (Archaeol. Cant. xi. 143), and perhaps he served in Ireland under his father during Mary's reign. About 1559 he was named a commissioner to transfer to England Bale's manuscripts and books. In 1560 he was sheriff of Kent. He was soon a member of the Irish privy council, and in July 1565 he was knighted. Thenceforward he took a prominent part in Irish affairs. The queen had resolved to establish a presidential government in Munster, and in January 1565–6 St. Leger was nominated president, apparently by Sir Henry Sidney, the lord deputy; he received instructions dated 1 Feb., 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 Ormonde, and correspondingly friendly with Desmond; and the queen accused St. Leger of lukewarmness in arresting Desmond early in 1565 [see Fitzgerald, Gerald, fifteenth Earl of Desmond]. St. Leger was consequently recalled, and in November 1568 Sir John Perrot [q. v.] became president of Munster.

In 1569 St. Leger returned to England, staying either at his house in Southwark or Leeds Castle, Kent, where from 1570 to 1572 he had custody of Desmond and his family. He left his wife at Carrigaline, co. Cork, a manor he held of Desmond; during his absence it was ravaged by the rebels. 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 Ormonde of treason [see Butler, Thomas, tenth Earl of Ormonde], and laid before the queen proposals for the better government of Ireland. 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 married: first, Ursula (d. 1575), fifth daughter of George Neville, third baron Bergavenny [q. v.] His eldest son, Sir Anthony St. Leger, succeeded to the estates at Ulcombe, Kent, married Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Scott of Scott's Hall, Kent, and was father of Warham St. Leger who was knighted in 1608, sold Leeds Castle, went with Ralegh to Guiana, and died in 1631, leaving a son Sir Anthony (d. 1680), who was made master of the mint in 1660. Of St. Leger's daughters, Anne (1555–1636) married Thomas Digges [q. v.] and was mother of Sir Dudley Digges [q. v.] St. Leger married, secondly, Emmeline Goldwell (d. 1628), by whom he had a son Walter, who obtained his father's Irish property (cf. Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1598–9, p. 326).

St. Leger must be distinguished from his nephew, Sir Warham St. Leger (d. 1600), eldest son of St. Leger's eldest brother William. He began service in Ireland, according to his own statement, about 1574, and was employed in the defence and government of Leix and Offaly. In August 1584 Maryborough and Queen's County were committed to his charge. He acquired a reputation for valour and activity. In January 1588-9 he visited England to cure a wound which made him lame. While there Elizabeth directed that he should be sworn of the Irish privy council. In 1597 he was sent on a mission to Tyrone, was knighted, and made governor of Leix. On 22 Sept. 1599 he was one of the two to whom the government of Munster was entrusted pending the appointment of a president. On 18 Feb. 1599-1600 he encountered Hugh Maguire [q. v.], and a hand-to-hand engagement took place between the commanders which proved fatal to both (Annals of the Four Masters, vi. 2161). By his wife Elizabeth Rothe of Kilkenny, widow of Henry Davell and Humphry Mackworth, he was father of Sir William St. Leger [q. v.]

[There is considerable confusion between the various Sir Warham St. Legers, and they can only be satisfactorily differentiated by a careful comparison of the numerous references to them in the Cal. of Fiants (Rep. of Deputy-keeper of Records in Ireland) and Cal. State Papers, Ireland; even in the indexes to these they are confused. There is no certain evidence for the existence of the Warham St. Leger who, according to Metcalfe, was knighted in 1583. See also the St. Leger pedigree in Wykeham-Martin's Hist. of Leeds Castle, which is materially corrected by The Royal Descent of Kingsmill, contributed by Dr. T. K. Abbott to Miscell. Genealog. et Heraldica; Harl. MS. 1425, f. 54; Carew MSS.; Cal. Hatfield MSS.; Cox's Hibernia Anglicana; Fynes Moryson's Itinerary; Life and Letters of Florence McCarthy Reagh; Smith's Hist. of Cork; Journ. of the Cork Hist. and Archaeol. Soc. i. 200, 235, ii. 23, 38; Bagwell's Ireland under the Tudors, vol. iii.; Pacata Hibernia, ed. Standish O'Grady, 1896; O'Sullevan-Beare's Hist. Cathol. Iberniae Compendium; Collins's Letters and Memorials of State, i. 32-3, ii. 125, 134, 180; Brown's Genesis U.S.A.; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xi. 6, 7, 7th ser. xi. 386.]

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