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Our common ancestors - St.Lawrence - Contents

Christopher St.Lawrence, 7th (20th) Baron Howth

Christopher St.Lawrence, 7th (20th) Baron Howth,
called "the Blind Lord" because of his defective eyesight.
He mar 1stly, 1546, to Elizabeth Plunkett [descendant of Edward I].
He succ as Baron Howth in 1558.
He rebuilt Howth Castle.
Knighted by the Lord Deputy Sir Henry Sidney at Drogheda on 9 Feb 1569.
The Book of Howth apparently belonged to him, and he may have authored some of the entries.

The Grace O'Malley story:
There is a story (see account by Jonathan Bardon) that in 1576 the pirate Grace O'Malley abducted his grandson.
The story goes that she put in at Howth to obtain water and provisions after a long voyage. But she was told the 7th Baron's family was at dinner and the Howth Castle gates were closed against her. In retaliation, she abducted his grandson (the future 9th Baron) on the beach and took him back to Co.Mayo. He was eventually released when a promise was given to keep Howth Castle gates always open to unexpected visitors, and to set an extra place at every meal, which tradition has been followed since.

In 1577-78, he and other chiefs of the Pale came into conflict with the Lord Deputy (again Sir Henry Sidney) over taxation on Ireland, against which Howth led a campaign. As a result he was for 5 months imprisoned in Dublin Castle.
In 1579 he was convicted of beating his 13 year old daughter Jane so badly that she died within 2 days. He was also convicted of beating and ill-treating his long-suffering wife. The court also heard about his many affairs. He was imprisoned and fined £1,000.
Elizabeth left her husband about 1579.
He mar 2ndly, probably 1580, to Cecilia Cusack.

He died at Howth, 24 Oct 1589.
He was bur with his 1st wife Elizabeth in large tomb in St.Mary's "Abbey" Church, Howth.
[DNB] says: "Over him is a monument in high relief, with the effigies, it is said, of him and his first wife, Elizabeth ... though, as the inscription is now entirely obliterated, it is questionable whether they do not represent some earlier members of the family, conjecturally Christopher, thirteenth baron, and his wife".
The inscription on the two effigies at St.Mary's "Abbey" Church was read in the past [Ball, vol.5, 1917] as clearly referring to Christopher, 1st (13th) Baron and his wife, so presumably there are no effigies of 7th Baron and his wife.

7th Baron had issue by 1st wife:

  1. Nicholas St.Lawrence, 8th (21st) Baron Howth, born c.1550,
    mar 1stly to Margaret (or Alison) Barnewall,
    had issue by 1st wife:

    1. Christopher St.Lawrence, 9th (22nd) Baron Howth, born c.1568,
      there is a story that he was abducted as a child by the pirate Grace O'Malley in 1576,
      fought on his father's campaign in 1595,
      married before 1597, succ 1607,
      he informed on a plot against the Crown by many Irish nobles and chiefs in 1607,
      died 1619, age c.51 yrs,
      bur St.Mary's "Abbey" Church, Howth.
      Ancestor of the Barons and Earls of Howth.

    8th Baron divorced,
    mar 2ndly, c.1575, to Mary Whyte [dau of Sir Nicholas Whyte, of Leixlip, Co.Kildare, by his wife --- Sherlock],
    knighted by Sir William Fitzwilliam in 1588,
    succ 1589,
    he brought, at the general hosting at Tara, 24 Sept 1593, six archers on horseback for Howth, and one for Killester,
    participated in an expedition against the insurgent Fiagh MacHugh O'Byrne in Wicklow in 1595,
    nominated for membership of the Irish council in 1600,
    was Catholic, though at one time he apparently conformed to the established church,
    stayed loyal to the crown, but protested anti-Catholic laws under James I (after 1603),
    died May 1607, age c.57 yrs,
    bur 21 May 1607 in St.Mary's "Abbey" Church, Howth,
    Mary died 25 July 1607, bur with husband at Howth,
    had issue by 2nd wife:

    1. Alison St.Lawrence,
      Catholic, born est c.1585-90,
      mar 1616 to Thomas Luttrell, MP and had issue.

TV program "Warrior Women" on Grace O'Malley (2003).
Does not show the Howth incident.

The N gate of Howth Castle.
Always open since the Grace O'Malley incident.
Photo 2007. Light adjusted digitally. See full size and original.
See street view.

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