The lord deputy, who happened at the time to be at Christ Church, hearing of the uproar, at once committed Howth to the castle till—an inquest having been held on the dead man and the jury having returned a verdict of manslaughter—he was enlarged on his own bonds. When called upon to explain himself, Howth declared that he was the victim of a conspiracy on the part of Sir Roger's father, the lord chancellor, Archbishop Jones, and Sir Garret Moore, and even went so far as to reflect on the impartiality of Chichester's government. His ‘audacity in daring to incense the king against his faithful servants’ the deputy pronounced to be ‘beyond comparison’ and endurance. After hearing both sides, the privy council found that ‘most of Lord Howth's charges arose out of unkind speeches behind backs, and were grounded sometimes upon looks and sometimes on loose observations that men did not much love him;’ wherefore, seeing that he was ‘so much subject to his own passions,’ he was strictly commanded ‘to retire himself to his own house … that the world might take notice that his majesty disliked his proud carriage towards the supreme officers of the kingdom.’ He was expressly forbidden to leave Ireland on any pretext; but, notwithstanding the prohibition, he repaired to England without license early in May 1611. He was immediately, on his arrival in London, clapped in the Fleet, but had sufficient interest at court to procure his release in July. He refused to be reconciled to Sir Roger Jones, whom the council had exonerated of all blame; but his behaviour in England impressed the king favourably, and on returning to Ireland in October 1612 he was specially commended to Chichester, who was desired to treat him, as he had not hitherto done, in friendly sort. He sat in parliament in 1612, and in 1614 he subscribed 100l. by way of a free gift to the king. He died on 24 Oct. 1619, and was buried at Howth. By his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of John Wentworth of Little Horkesley, Essex, from whom he had long been separated, and who after his death married Sir Robert Newcomen, bart., he had two sons—Nicholas, his successor; and Thomas, who settled at Wiston, Suffolk, and married Ellinor, daughter of William Lynne of Wormingford and Little Horkesley (Genealogist, new ser. i. 149–50, note on the ‘Essex Visitation’ by J. H. Round)—and a daughter Margaret, said by Lodge to have married, first, William FitzWilliam of Donamon, and, secondly, Michael Birford of Kilrow.
[Lodge's Peerage, ed. Archdall, iii. 199; G. E. C[okayne]'s Peerage; Cal. Carew MSS. iii. 229, 254, 304, 323, 378, 431–2, 439, 465; Cal. State Papers, Ireland, Eliz. vii. 121, 411, 457; James I, i. 91, 258, 338, 346, 519, and vols. ii. iii. iv. passim; Bagwell's Ireland under the Tudors, vol. iii.; Cal. of Fiants, Eliz. 6164, 6281, 6288, 6572, 6636; Erck's Repertory, p. 148 n.; Harrington's Nugæ Antiquæ, pp. 31, 41; Meehan's Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell; J. Hubandsmith's A Day at Howth; Devereux's Earls of Essex; D'Alton's Hist. of Dublin, pp. 164–5; Harl. MS. 1425, f. 104; Lansdowne MS. 160, f. 221.]
ST. LAWRENCE, NICHOLAS, sixteenth, or more properly fourth, Baron Howth (d. 1526), son of Robert, fifteenth baron [q. v.], and of Joan, daughter of Edmund Beaufort, duke of Somerset, and great-uncle of Henry VII, succeeded to the barony on the death of his father in 1483. Unlike the majority of the English in Ireland, Nicholas was a staunch Lancastrian. When Lambert Simnel [q. v.], in 1486, personated the Earl of Warwick, Howth not only refused to recognise his claims, but apprised Henry VII of his designs. At the close of the rebellion, after the battle of Stoke, Henry summoned Nicholas with the rest of the Irish nobility to London, and rewarded him by presenting him with three hundred pieces of gold, and by confirming the lands of Howth to him by charter.
Howth attended the parliaments held at Dublin in 1490 and in 1493. In 1504 he attended Lord Kildare on an expedition to repel an Irish invasion of the Pale. On arriving at Cnoctuagh in Connaught, they found the natives gathered before them in great force. Lord Gormanston and some of the leaders were in favour of retreating, or at least of trying to negotiate with an enemy so superior. But Howth was for an immediate engagement, and led the bill-men to the attack on foot. The result of the conflict justified his counsel, for the English were completely victorious. In 1509 Howth was created lord chancellor of Ireland, and retained that office till 1513. Although he did not agree with the lord deputy (Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare [q. v.]) on the justice of Lambert Simnel's claims, yet in later times he became a devoted partisan of the deputy, and went so far as to defy the Earl of Ormonde to mortal combat for speaking ill of Kildare (Book of Howth, p. 176). After Kildare's death in 1513 the opposite faction obtained the dismissal of Howth from the council (ib. 191). From this time he remained in obscurity. He died on 10 July 1526, and was buried in the family sepulchre at Howth.
He was thrice married: first, to Genet, only