Warham St Leger

Sir Warham St Leger (1525?–1597) was an English soldier.


He was second son of Sir Anthony St Leger by his wife Agnes, daughter of Sir Hugh Warham, brother of Archbishop William Warham, and was born probably about 1525. His eldest brother, William, was disinherited; the third brother, Anthony , was made Master of the Rolls in Ireland in 1593. Warham may have served in Protector Somerset's invasion of Scotland in 1547, and he was a prisoner there until January 1550, when he was ransomed.

In 1553 he fought against supporters of Wyatt's rebellion in Kent, and he may have served in Ireland under his father during Mary's reign. About 1559 he was named a commissioner to transfer to England John Bale's manuscripts and books. In 1560 he was sheriff of Kent. He was soon a member of the Privy Council of Ireland, and in July 1565 he was knighted. Queen Elizabeth had decided to establish a presidential government in Munster, and in January 1566 St Leger was nominated President of Munster, but locally by Sir Henry Sidney, the Lord Deputy of Ireland; he received instructions dated 1 February, 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 Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond, and correspondingly friendly with Gerald Fitzgerald, 15th Earl of Desmond; and the queen accused St Leger of lukewarmness in arresting Desmond early in 1565. St Leger was consequently recalled, and in November 1568 Sir John Perrot became president of Munster.

In 1569 St Leger returned to England, residing at his house in Southwark or Leeds Castle, Kent, and serving as High Sheriff of Kent for 1560. There from 1570 to 1572 he had custody of Desmond and his family (see Desmond Rebellions). He left his wife at Carrigaline, County Cork, a manor he held from 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 Ormond of treason, and laid before the queen proposals for the 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.

Marriages and issueEdit

St Leger married firstly Ursula Neville (d. 1575), fifth and youngest daughter of George Neville, 5th Baron Bergavenny, by his third wife, Mary Stafford, youngest daughter of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, by whom he had five sons and four daughters, including:[1][2]

  • Sir Anthony St Leger (d. 1603),[3] who succeeded to the estates at Ulcombe, Kent. He married Mary Scott (d. 1662), the daughter of Sir Thomas Scott. Their son, Warham St Leger (d. 11 October 1631),[4] who was knighted in 1608, married Mary Hayward, the daughter of Sir Rowland Hayward, by whom he had nine sons and four daughters.[5] He sold Leeds Castle, went with Walter Ralegh to Guyana, and died 11 October 1631, leaving a son Sir Anthony Leger (d. 1680), who was made Master of the Mint in 1660.
  • Anne St Leger (1555–1636), who married Thomas Digges and was mother of Sir Dudley Digges.[6]

St Leger married secondly Emmeline Goldwell (d. 1628), by whom he had a son Walter,[7] who obtained his father's Irish property.

The Warham St Leger who died in combat in 1600 against Hugh Maguire (Lord of Fermanagh) was his nephew.

Sir Warham St Leger was the ancestor of the St Legers of Hayward’s Hill near Cork and of the St Legers of Ballingarry and Shinrone in co. Tipperary, Ireland.



  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. I (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1449966373.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. III (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 144996639X.