Sir Thomas Luttrell (c. 1490–1554 ) was a leading Anglo-Irish nobleman of the sixteenth-century Irish Pale, and was also a distinguished lawyer and judge who held the offices of Solicitor General for Ireland and Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas.
He was born in Dublin, eldest son of Richard Luttrell of Luttrellstown Castle, head of a prominent Anglo-Irish family, and Margaret FitzLyons. His exact date of birth is not recorded but can hardly have been later than 1490, since his first marriage took place in 1506. Little is known of his earlier years. He was involved in litigation over an inheritance in 1527; he was presumably by then a barrister of some years standing since he became Serjeant-at-law (Ireland) and Solicitor General in 1532. He was spoken of as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas (Ireland) in 1533, and next year became Chief Justice of the Court, holding office until his death 20 years later.
He was an active member of the Privy Council of Ireland, accompanying the Lord Deputy of Ireland on a mission to treat with the O'Tooles; Luttrell was of great assistance since, perhaps surprisingly, he spoke fluent Irish.He took charge of the defence of Dublin in the Deputy's absence and was praised for his diligence in that regard. He sat on a commission into monastic land in 1541 and himself received several grants,notably the lands of St. Mary's Abbey at Clonsilla. He was knighted in 1540.
When Henry VIII set up a commission headed by Sir Anthony St. Leger in 1537 on the governance of Ireland Luttrell submitted a detailed memorandum. He urged the imposition of the English language and modes of dress on the inhabitants of the Pale, the expulsion of Irish musicians, the discouragement of English settlers from returning home, the danger of trusting Irish soldiers, the need to subdue the neighbouring Gaelic clans, and the desirability of the Lord Deputy being English yet prepared to serve a lengthy term. Less harshly he argued that the inhabitants of the Pale were overtaxed. He also urged the printing of the Irish Statutes.
Death and memorial
Luttrell was in London at the time of Mary I's accession but returned to Dublin and died the following year. He was a wealthy man, due partly to his acquisition of monastic land: his will refers to numerous objects of gold and silver, and in 1538 he was able to present Thomas Cromwell with a goshawk, always a very rare bird in Ireland. Though he outwardly conformed to the reformed faith, he did request prayers for the salvation of his soul, and was suspected of remaining a Catholic at heart. He was buried by his own direction " with honesty but no pomp " in Clonsilla Church, and left a bequest for the building of a mortuary chapel there.On a more worldly note he directed that open house be kept for guests at Luttrellstown Castle.
Elrington Ball sums up Luttrell as " a typical example of a gentleman of the English Pale of his time": though his family had been settled in Ireland for centuries, though he had constant contact with the Old Irish families round him since his youth, and even spoke fluent Irish, yet he identified wholly with the interests of England, and Ireland outside the Pale was to him a foreign country. His most attractive quality was the hospitality for which he was famous.
Luttrell married firstly, apparently while still in his teens Anne Aylmer, daughter of Bartholomew Aylmer, and sister of his future colleague Sir Gerald Aylmer. His second wife was Elizabeth Bathe, daughter of Sir William Bathe. By two marriages he had nine children-
- Richard, who predeceased him
- Anne, who married Thomas Dillon
- Christopher who inherited his father's estate but died only two years later
- Margaret, who married Luke Netterville: their descendants gained the title Viscount Netterville
- Sir James Luttrell, Sheriff of Dublin, who inherited Luttrellstown from his brother Christopher
- Simon, the eventual heir, from whom future generations of Luttrells were descended
- Ball, F. Elrington History of the County Dublin Volume IV Alexander Thom Dublin 1907
- Ball F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926
- Ball History of the County Dublin
- Ball History of the County Dublin
- Ball The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921
- Lennon, Colm Sixteenth-century Ireland- the Incomplete Conquest Gill and Macmillan 1994 p.313
- History of he County Dublin