Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Plunket, Christopher

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PLUNKET, CHRISTOPHER, second Earl of Fingall (d. 1649), was the eldest son of Lucas Plunket, styled Lucas Môr, tenth lord Killeen, created Earl of Fingall on 26 Sept. 1628, by his second wife, Susanna, fifth daughter of Edward, lord Brabazon. His father died in 1637, and on 20 March that year Plunket received special livery of his estates. He took his seat in the Irish parliament on 16 March 1639, and was a member of several committees for privileges and grievances. On the outbreak of the rebellion in October 1641, he endeavoured, like the nobility and gentry of the Pale generally, to maintain an attitude of neutrality between the government and the northern party, and on 16 Nov. was appointed a commissioner to confer with all persons in arms, ‘with a view to suspend for some time the sad effects of licentiousness and rapine, until the kingdom was put in a better posture of defence.’ His behaviour caused him to be mistrusted by government, and on 17 Nov. he was proclaimed an outlaw. He thereupon took a prominent part in bringing about an alliance between the Ulster party and the nobility and gentry of the Pale. He was present at the meeting at the Hill of Crofty, and subsequently at that at the Hill of Tara, where he was appointed general of the horse for the county of Meath. His name is attached to the principal documents drawn up by the confederates in justification of their taking up arms. He was a member of the general assembly, and, by taking the oath of association against the papal nuncio Rinuccini in June 1648, proved his fidelity to the original demands of the confederates; but otherwise he played an inconspicuous part in the history of the rebellion. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Rathmines on 2 Aug. 1649, died in confinement in Dublin Castle a fortnight later, and was buried in St. Catherine's Church on 18 Aug. He was seven times indicted for high treason, and his estates were confiscated by the act for the speedy settlement of Ireland on 12 Aug. 1652.

Plunket married Mabel, daughter of Nicholas Barnewall, first viscount Kingsland, who survived him, and married, in 1653, Colonel James Barnewall, youngest son of Sir Patrick Barnewall. His eldest son and heir, Luke, third earl of Fingall, was restored to his estates and honours by order of the court of claims in 1662.

[Lodge's Peerage, ed. Archdall, vi. 185–6; Gilbert's History of the Confederation and History of Contemporary Affairs (Irish Archæological Society). In the article in Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography, Plunket is con founded with his kinsman, Colonel Richard Plunket, son of Sir Christopher Plunket of Donsoghly.]

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