Christopher St. Lawrence, 2nd Baron Howth

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Christopher Saint Lawrence, 2nd Baron Howth

Also Known As: "Christopher St. Lawrence"
Birthplace: Howth, Fingal, Dublin, Ireland
Death: September 17, 1462 (55-56)
Howth, Fingal, Dublin, Ireland
Place of Burial: Ireland
Immediate Family:

Son of Stephen or Christopher St Lawrence, 1st Baron Howth and Elinor St. Lawrence
Husband of Elizabeth St Lawrence and Anne Plunkett
Father of Robert St Lawrence, 3rd Baron Howth; Thomas St. Lawrence; Almeric St. Lawrence; Lionel St. Lawrence and William St. Lawrence

Occupation: First barron of Howth
Managed by: Carole (Erickson) Pomeroy,Vol. C...
Last Updated:

About Christopher St. Lawrence, 2nd Baron Howth

Christopher St Lawrence, 2nd Baron Howth

Christopher St Lawrence, 2nd Baron Howth ( died 1462 or 1465 ) was an Anglo-Irish nobleman, a key figure in fifteenth-century Irish politics, and one of the strongest supporters in Ireland of the House of York. His tomb can still be seen in the family chapel in St. Mary's Church, Howth.

He was the son of Christopher (or Stephen) St Lawrence, 1st Baron Howth, and Elinor, daughter of Sir Robert Holywood of Artane.[1] As is often the case with Anglo-Irish titles the date of its creation is difficult to determine, since a "lordship" or Irish feudal barony did not necessarily imply a peerage. It is generally thought that the Crown recognised the elder Christopher as a hereditary baron around 1425, but Elrington Ball suggests that it was the younger Christopher who was recognised as the first hereditary peer about 1461.[2]

He succeeded to his father's estates and title in 1430, or according to some accounts in 1435, and did homage to the Crown for his lands n 1437.[3]

He was a man of strong and decided character, and from the start of his career showed a determination to assert his rights over the peninsula of Howth, and to maintain all other rights and claims belonging to the St Lawrence family. When a twelve-foot grampus (Risso's Dolphin) was stranded at Howth the Crown tried to claim it as royal fish, but Howth resisted, claiming that since time immemorial every grampus and porpoise found on the peninnsula was the property of the Lord of Howth.[4]

He was the patron of Richard Ingram, an early mining explorer, and at a meeting of the Privy Council in 1450 was himself granted the right to search within his lordship for lead and tin, and if any was found to take the profits for three years. He quarreled with some citizens of Wicklow over the ownership of salt which he alleged they had seized unlawfully and had them outlawed; he also used his influence to have the Irish Parliament pass legislation to exempt some of his lands from taxation.[5]

Despite his determination to protect his own rights, Howth did not neglect public affairs. He was knighted before 1442 and became a member of the Privy Council of Ireland in 1450, and from that date played a crucial part in the defence of Dublin.[6] In 1455 he was given the power to exact tolls on all those using Howth harbour to defray the costs of protecting shipping from "French, Bretons, Scots and other nations". He was also charged with strengthening the bridges at Lucan and Kilmainham. The same year he sat on a commission to inquire into the alleged failure of the Sheriff of County Dublin to adequately defend the county, and in 1458 he sat on another commission to inquire into the conduct of the Walsh family of Carrickmines, whose loyalty to the Crown was suspect.[7]

When Richard, Duke of York arrived in Ireland as Lord Lieutenant in 1449, Lord Howth quickly became one of his strongest allies.[8] He returned with the Duke to England, and remained loyal to him after the setback to his fortunes after the Battle of Ludford Bridge in 1459. On Richard's return to Ireland later the same year, Howth was one of his key supporters in the Parliament called by Richard. Howth was appointed to several offices, including Constable of Dublin Castle. The legislation suggests that he was intending to accompany Richard again to England, but there is no evidence that he was present at the disastrous Battle of Wakefield in December 1460, where Richard was killed.

The setback to the Yorkist cause was only temporary, and was followed by their triumph in the spring of 1461. Richard's son, the victorious King Edward IV, confirmed Howth as Constable of Dublin, and reognised his right to sit in the Irish House of Lords.[9] His family flourished under the House of York, although his heirs were to shift their allegiance to the House of Tudor.

There is some confusion over the year of his death; his tomb indicates 1462 but some sources give 1464 or 1465.[10]

He married before 1435 Anne Plunkett of Ratoath, a relative of the 1st Baron Killeen.[11] She survived him and remarried Anthony Percy, but is buried with her first husband. They had at least six children:

  • Robert St Lawrence, 3rd Baron Howth
  • William, Admiral of Ireland
  • Thomas
  • Almeric, Clerk of the Rolls
  • Lionel, precentor of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
  • Walter St. Lawrence, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer.

Ball describes him as a man of "great qualities": capable, courageous and determined.[12]



  • Christopher St. Lawrence, 1st Lord Howth, Constable of Dublin Castle1,2,3
  • M, #44099, d. between 1 September 1462 and 24 January 1464
  • Father Stephen St. Lawrence1 d. 1435
  • Mother Elinor Holywood1
  • Christopher St. Lawrence, 1st Lord Howth, Constable of Dublin Castle was born at of Howth, Dublin, Ireland.1 He married Anne Plunkett before 1435.1,2,3 Christopher St. Lawrence, 1st Lord Howth, Constable of Dublin Castle died between 1 September 1462 and 24 January 1464; Buried at St. Mary's, Howth, Dublin Co., Ireland.1
  • Family Anne Plunkett
  • Child
    • Sir Robert St. Lawrence, 2nd Lord Howth, Lord Chancellor of Ireland+1,2,3 b. c 1436, d. bt 16 Jul 1487 - 11 Mar 1488
  • Citations
  • 1.[S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. VI, p. 604.
  • 2.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 46.
  • 3.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. IV, p. 651
  • From: ________________________________
  • Christopher St. Lawrence, 1st Baron Howth1
  • M, #234984, d. from 17 September 1462 to 24 January 1463/64
  • Last Edited=9 May 2011
  • Christopher St. Lawrence, 1st Baron Howth was the son of Stephen St. Lawrence and Elinor Holywood.1 He married Anne Plunket before 1435.1 He died from 17 September 1462 to 24 January 1463/64.1
  • In 1437 he did homage for his lands.1 He was created 1st Baron Howth [Ireland] circa 1440.1 In 1451 he had a licence to search for a mine in Howth.1 He held the office of Constable of Dublin Castle in 1461, for life.1
  • Child of Christopher St. Lawrence, 1st Baron Howth and Anne Plunket
    • 1.Robert St. Lawrence, 2nd Baron Howth+1 d. 1486
  • Citations
  • 1.[S21] L. G. Pine, The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971: Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages With Genealogies and Arms (London, U.K.: Heraldry Today, 1972), page 150. Hereinafter cited as The New Extinct Peerage.
  • From: _____________________________

Earl of Howth

  • Earl of Howth was a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1767 for Thomas St Lawrence, 15th Baron Howth, who was elevated to Viscount St Lawrence at the same time, also in the Peerage of Ireland. The St Lawrence family descended from Christopher St Lawrence who was elevated to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Howth in circa 1425. The third and fourth Barons both served as Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
  • The fourth baron was a distinguished soldier who fought at the Battle of Knockdoe; his grandson the seventh baron was also a notable soldier. The eighth baron, commonly known as "the blind lord", led the opposition to the Government's taxation policy in the 1570s. The ninth baron was openly Roman Catholic, and led opposition to the Penal Laws in the early 1600s. The tenth baron was a notable military commander who served with the Earl of Essex and Lord Mountjoy. The fourteenth Baron represented Ratoath in the Irish House of Commons, and was a friend of Jonathan Swift. The third Earl served as Lord-Lieutenant of Dublin. [1]
  • The fourth Earl sat as Member of Parliament for Galway Borough, and in 1881 he was created Baron Howth, of Howth in the County of Dublin, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. All these titles became extinct upon his death in 1909 as he left no male heir. The family seat, Howth Castle, still belongs to their descendants in the female line, the Gaisford-St Lawrence family. [2]

Barons Howth (c. 1425)

  • Christopher St Lawrence, 1st Baron Howth (died 1430)
  • Christopher St Lawrence, 2nd Baron Howth (died 1465)
  • Robert St Lawrence, 3rd Baron Howth (died 1485)
  • Nicholas St Lawrence, 4th Baron Howth (died 1526)
  • Christopher St Lawrence, 5th Baron Howth (died 1542)
  • Edward St Lawrence, 6th Baron Howth (1508–1549)
  • Richard St Lawrence, 7th Baron Howth (died 1558)
  • Christopher St Lawrence, 8th Baron Howth
  • Nicholas St Lawrence, 9th Baron Howth (1555–1606)
  • Christopher St Lawrence, 10th Baron Howth (died 1619)
  • Nicholas St Lawrence, 11th Baron Howth (1597–1643)
  • William St Lawrence, 12th Baron Howth (died 1671)
  • Thomas St Lawrence, 13th Baron Howth (1659–1727)
  • William St Lawrence, 14th Baron Howth (1688–1748)
  • Thomas St Lawrence, 15th Baron Howth (1730–1801; created Earl of Howth in 1767)

Earls of Howth (1767)

  • Thomas St Lawrence, 1st Earl of Howth (1730–1801)
  • William St Lawrence, 2nd Earl of Howth (1752–1822)
  • Thomas St Lawrence, 3rd Earl of Howth (1803–1874)
  • William Ulick Tristram St Lawrence, 4th Earl of Howth (1827–1909)
  • From: ______________________________
  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 50
    • by Edward Irving Carlyle
  • ST. LAWRENCE, ROBERT, fifteenth, or more properly third, Baron Howth (d. 1483), son of Christopher, fourteenth baron, whose father Christopher, thirteenth lord of Howth, created a peer by writ shortly before 1430, was head of the ancient family of St. Lawrence. Their ancestor, Almaric de Tristram, landed in Ireland with De Courci in 1176, and having distinguished himself by his conduct in the first engagement with the Irish at the hill of Howth, received as a reward the grant of the district. He assumed the name of St. Lawrence after defeating the Danes near Clontarf on St. Lawrence's day, and fell in battle in 1189. Robert's mother was Elizabeth Bermingham of Athenry. He succeeded to the barony on the death of his father about 1463, and was created chancellor of the green wax of the exchequer by patent on 22 Feb. 1467 (Harl. MS. 433). In 1474 he formed one of the ‘thirteen most noble and worthy persons within the four shires,’ known as the brotherhood of St. George, who were entrusted by an act of parliament of that year with the duty of defending the Pale against Irish invasions and of preserving order within its bounds (Cal. of Irish State Papers, Carew MS. Misc. 403). On 20 May 1483 he was appointed lord chancellor of Ireland by Richard III, but he died a few months later. He married Joan, second daughter of Edmund Beaufort, duke of Somerset, and great-uncle of Henry VII, who afterwards married Sir Richard Fry. By her he had four sons—Nicholas [q. v.], Thomas, Walter, and Christopher—and two daughters, Genet and Anne.
  • [Lodge's Irish Peerage, ed. Archdall, iii. 187; G. E. C.'s Peerage, iv. 272; Rymer's Fœdera, xii. 181; D'Alton's History of Dublin, p. 160; Harleian MS. 1425, f. 104; O'Flanagan's Lord Chancellors of Ireland.]
  • From:,_Robert_(DNB00) _________________________________

Christopher St.Lawrence, 1st Baron Howth, the Barony was recognised by the Crown in 1489, and he was recognised as the first Baron, but the Lordship of Howth was considered to be much older, mar pre-1435 to Anne Plunkett, though [DNB] lists his wife as "Elizabeth Bermingham of Athenry", succ 1435, he died between Sept 1462 and Jan 1464 [using [NJ] date format, note that this was regarded as the end of 1463], both bur St.Mary's "Abbey" Church, Howth, HOWTH in [Lewis, 1837] says: "Among the monuments is one of marble to Christopher, 13th baron of Howth, and his lady, whose effigies are still entire, erected in 1430 [sic], and decorated with sculptured emblems of the crucifixion, and coats of arms", had issue:


In 1437 he did homage for his lands. He was created 1st Baron Howth [Ireland] circa 1440. In 1451 he had a licence to search for a mine in Howth. He held the office of Constable of Dublin Castle in 1461, for life.


  • 'StLawrence1'
  • Sir Amoricus or Amorey Tristram, 1st baron of Howth (d 1189)
  • TCP reports that "his romantic adventures ... are mythical."
  • m. _ Courcy (sister of Sir John Courcy, Earl of Ulster)
    • 1. Sir Nicholas FitzAmorey, 2nd baron of Howth
      • A. ??
        • i. ??
        • Uncertain on number of intervening generations.
          • a. ?? St. Lawrence
            • (1) ?? St. Lawrence
              • (A) Adam St. Lawrence (d 1334)
              • m. Scholastica
                • (i) Nicholas St. Lawrence of Howth (d 29.09.1404)
                • m. Alice Plunkett (dau of John Plunkett of Beaulieu)
                  • (a) Stephen St. Lawrence of Howth (d 1435)
                  • m. Elinor Holywood (dau of Sir Robert Holywood of Artain)
                    • ((1)) Christopher St. Lawrence, Constable of Dublin Castle, 1st Lord Howth (d c1463)
                    • TCP reports that this was one of the (longstanding) Irish Peerages that were recognised "by prescription" in 1489 King Henry VII "but of the date or mode of whose creation nothing certain is known."
                    • m. (before 1435) Anne Plunkett (dau of ?? Plunkett of Rathmore)
                      • ((A)) Robert St. Lawrence, 2nd Lord Howth, Lord Chancellor of Ireland (b c1435, d 1486)
                      • BP1870 identifies Robert as the 15th baron of Howth.
                      • m1. (before 1459) Alice White (dau of Nicholas White of Killester)
                      • m2. (06/7.1478) Joan Beaufort (d 11.08.1518, dau of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset)
                      • BP1870 mentions only Robert's marriage to Joan Beaufort, identifying her as mother of 4 sons and 2 daughters, but TCP identifies Alice White as his first wife and mother of his heir. BP1870 appears certain that Joan was ancestress of the later Lords, referring within a note on the 19th baron to heritage from her.
                        • ((i)) Nicholas St. Lawrence, 3rd Lord Howth, Lord Chancellor of Ireland (d 10.07.1526) - continued below
                        • m1. Janet Plunkett (dau of Christopher Plunkett, Lord Killeen)
                        • m2. Anne Berford (dau of Thomas Berford of Kilrowe)
                        • m3. (02.1504/5) Alice FitzSimons (sister of Walter FitzSimons, Archbishop of Dublin, dau of Robert FitzSimons by Genet Cusack)
                        • ((ii)) Thomas St. Lawrence (a 1532, Attorney General of Ireland)
                          • ((a)) Margaret St. Lawrence
                          • m. William Bermingham (son of Patrick, Chief Justice)
                        • ((iii))+ ?? - 2 sons and 2 daughters
                      • ((B)) Margaret St. Lawrence possibly of this generation
                      • m. Sir William D'Arcy of Plattyn (d 1540, Vice Treasurer of Ireland)
    • 2.+ 2 sons (d 1203)
  • Main source(s): BP1870 (Howth), TCP (Howth)
  • From:
  • ______________________________________
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