Open main menu


CALTHROPE, Sir CHARLES (d. 1616), judge, was probably one of the Calthropes of Suffolk, and was largely employed in the service of the crown in Ireland. He was made attorney-general for Ireland 22 June 1584, and was continued in his office by James I 19 April 1603. Calthrope's chief occupation was in connection with grants of forfeited lands, and in securing proper reservation of all royal rights in them. Thus, 24 Dec. 1585, he writes to Burghley that the queen gets but little by her tenures, and many frauds are practised to avoid them, and proposes the application to Ireland of the Statute of Uses and the Statute of Wills (31 Hen. VIII), and to put an end to gavelkind and Irish tenure; he repeats his complaint to Walsingham 27 Feb. 1586, and suggests that Coleman, the queen's remembrancer, is inattentive to his duties in the matter. On 15 July 1585 he is named as one of several commissioners to summon the chiefs in Connaught and Thomond, and to compound for their cesse by a fixed rent to the crown. During 1586 he acted as commissioner for all the attainted lands in Munster, visiting Dungarvan 21 Sept., and remaining eight days each at Lismore and Youghal, ‘meting such lands as Sir Walter Rawley is to have.’ Winter drove him back to Dublin after surveying 27,400 acres, and the work was left to be completed in December by subordinates. On 28 Jan. 1586–7 he represents to Burghley that by his good services the queen recovered 4,000l. owing for arrears, and accordingly his fees were augmented, and Mallow was assigned to him, not much to his satisfaction. Norreys, who had had it before, writes, 8 March 1586–7, begging to have it again, and saying the attorney-general will easily yield it up. Perhaps he felt ill requited, for 14 March 1586–7 Geoffrey Fenton writes to Burghley that reforms do not progress: ‘If the attorney-general were the man he ought to be, the justice (Gardener) might have help of him; but for that he is discovered here to be short of that learning and judgment which his place requireth, and to be rather a pleaser of the lord deputy than careful of the public service; and lastly, too much addicted to the Irishry, the assistance he giveth profiteth little.’ On 26 April he is named in a commission to settle all differences among the undertakers in the plantations in Munster, and he held an inquisition at Youghal in the same year on the death of Conohor O'Mahowne, late of Castle Mahowne, a rebel with the Earl of Desmond, and again in 1588 (10 June) he holds an inquisition with others as to the lands of O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, and of O'Connor Sliggaghe of Sliggaghe, Connaught (Morrin, Irish Patent Rolls, ii. 145). In 1594 he was in the commission for putting in execution the acts concerning the queen's supremacy (id. 27 Nov. 1594). As attorney-general of Leinster his salary was now 78l. 13s. 4d. He was in a commission of 1604 appointing justices for Connaught, and after being confirmed in his office by James he was knighted at Dublin with Sarsfield, chief justice of the common pleas, on 24 March 1604, and was named with others in a commission to examine Sir Denis O'Roughan, a priest. On 19 July 1605 he was again named in a commission to survey, accept surrenders of, and re-grant lands in Ireland. By patent of 29 May 1606 he was raised to the bench of the common pleas as second puisne judge, in succession to Mr. Justice John Ady, the solicitor-general, Sir John Davis succeeding him as attorney-general. The promotion gratified him, but not the stipend, for as attorney-general his salary had been 159l. 6s. 8d.; as judge only one half of that sum. But Sir Arthur Chichester writes to the king that he will help him in other ways without charge to the crown, and he appears in 1611 to have been in receipt of 133l. 6s. 8d. from the crown, and the same in addition by concordatum during pleasure. He died 6 Jan. 1616.

There was published in London in 1635 ‘The Relation betweene the Lord of a Mannor and the Coppyholder his Tenant … Delivered in the learned readings of C[harles] C[althrope].’

[Hamilton's Irish State Papers; Russell and Prendergast's State Papers; Carew's State Papers; Smith's Law Officers of Ireland; Erck's Irish Patent Rolls, pp. 35, 156, 183.]

J. A. H.