Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench for Ireland

Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench for Ireland

The Court of King's Bench (or Court of Queen's Bench during the reign of a Queen) was one of the senior courts of common law in Ireland. It was a mirror of the Court of King's Bench in England. The Lord Chief Justice was the most senior judge in the court.

The King's Bench was one of the "four courts" which sat in the building in Dublin still known as "The Four Courts"

The Annals of the Four Masters dates the appointment of a John, Bishop of Norwich, as Lord Justice over Ireland to 1208. The office under its full title was created during the Lordship of Ireland (1171-1536) and continued in existence under the Kingdom of Ireland (1536-1800) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Prior to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Ireland) 1877, the Lord Chief Justice presided over the Court of King's/Queen's Bench, and as such ranked foremost amongst the judges sitting at common law. After 1877, the Lord Chief Justice assumed the presidency of the Queen's Bench Division of the new High Court of Justice, which sat permanently in the Four Courts in Dublin.

Chief Justice of the King's Bench

  • 1300 Walter L'Enfant
  • 1342 Elias de Asshebournham
  • 1346 John Hunt
  • 1356 John de Rednesse
  • 1371 William de Skipwith
  • 1373 John Keppok, or Keppock
  • 1381 Sir Thomas de Mortimer, knt.
  • 1385 John Shriggely, from the Exchequer
  • 1388 Richard Plunkett, July 10
  • 1388 Peter Rowe, Sept 23
  • 1403 Stephen Bray, from the common pleas
  • 1426 Henry Fortescue
  • 1429 Stephen Bray, again
  • 1434 Christopher Bernevall, or Barnewall, 2nd justice
  • 1446 Robert Bye
  • 1447 Robert Plunket
  • 1447 James Alleyn
  • 1457 Nicholas Barnewall
  • 1461 Thomas Plunket
  • 1468 John Chevir
  • 1474 Phillip Bermingham (d 1490, buried St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin)
  • 1490 Thomas Cusacke
  • 1494 Thomas Bowring
  • 1496 John Topcliffe, from the Exchequer
  • 1521 Patrick Bermingham
  • 1532 Sir Bartholomew Dillon, knt; 2nd justice, from the Exchequer
  • 1534 Patrick Finglas , from the Exchequer
  • 1546 Sir Gerald Aylmer, from the Exchequer
  • 1559 John Plunket
  • 1562 John Plunket, by a new patent
  • 1583 James Dowdall, 2nd justice
  • 1586 Robert Gardiner, sergeant-at-law in England
  • 1604 Sir James Ley, afterwards Earl of Marlborough: resigned
  • 1608 Sir Humphrey Winch, knt, chief baron; from the exchequer; made a justice of the common pleas of England
  • 1612 Sir John Denham, knt; chief baron, from the Exchequer
  • 1617 Sir William Jones, knt; sergeant-at-law
  • 1619 Sir George Shurley, or Shirley, knt; serjeant-at-law
  • 1655 Richard Pepys, under the usurpation
  • 1658 John Santhey, Jan 19 pro tem on Pepys' death
  • 1659 William Basill, attorney general; Jan 24
  • 1660 Sir James Barry, knt; afterwards Lord Santry
  • 1673 Sir John Povey, knt; from the Exchequer
  • 1679 Sir Robert Booth, knt; died the next year
  • 1680 Sir William Davys, knt; prime serjeant
  • 1687 Thomas Nugent; removed
  • 1690 Sir Richard Reynell, 1st Baronet; dismissed.
  • 1695 Sir Richard Pyne, chief justice of the common pleas
  • 1709 Alan Brodrick; removed
  • 1711 Sir Richard Cox, knt and bart; removed
  • 1714 William Whitshed; removed to the common pleas
  • 1727 John Rogerson, attorney general
  • 1741 Thomas Marlay; from the Exchequer; resigned
  • 1751 St George Caulfeild, attorney general; resigned
  • 1760 Warden Flood, attorney general
  • 1764 John Gore, later Lord Annaly, solicitor general; Aug 24
  • 1784 John Scott, created Lord Earlsfort, afterwards Viscount and Earl of Clonmell; Apr 29
  • 1798 Arthur Wolfe, Lord Kilwarden; June 13; murdered 23 July 1803
  • 1803 William Downes, afterward 1st Baron Downes; Sept 12
  • 1822 Charles Kendal Bushe (solicitor general from 1805), Feb 14
  • 1841 Edward Pennefather (solicitor general) Nov 10
  • 1846 Francis Blackburne (master of the rolls) Jan 21
  • 1852 Thomas Langlois Lefroy
  • 1866 James Whiteside
  • 1877 George Augustus Chichester May
  • 1887 Michael Morris, Chief Justice of Ireland, Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1889)
  • 1889 Peter O'Brien
  • 1913 Richard Robert Cherry
  • 1916 James Henry Mussen Campbell
  • 1918 Thomas Molony


  • List from Liber Munerum Publicorum Hiberniae, by Rowley Lascelles, copied in Haydn's Book of Dignities
  • Names from 1852 onwardsfrom The Oxford Companion to Law, ed David M. Walker, 1980

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