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County Kilkenny Ireland History


The St. Leger Family
Early Documented History


The de St. Legers of Tullaghanbrogue and Rosconnell

The first member of this family known in co. Kilkenny is William de St. Leger, who held two half knights' fees at the close of the twelfth century. Between 1202 and 1205 he made the following grants to St. Thomas's Abbey, Dublin: (1) the church of St. Nicholas of Thulacbroc, with all that land which Tancard Brun held, and with all tithes, &c. [Regr. St. Thomas's, 124, 356: Carrigan, ii, 107, 110, iii, 384]; (2) the church of St. Nicholas of Tulachbroc (again) with all tithes, &c., and the church of Attenach [Regr., 125]; (3) eleven carucates of land, namely Tulachbroc 5 carucates, being all the land that Tancard Brun held, and in Rosconin 6 carucates, i.e. Grenan, Athenac, and 1 carucate in Baligennar nearest the monastery of Athenac [Ibid., 126, 354]. Attanagh (Attenachm, Athenac) is the neighboring parish to Roconnell (Rosonin), and Grenan, a townland in Rosconnell and Attanagh, co. Leix. The grant was confirmed before 1205 by William Marshal I, of 6 carucates, namely in the district of Stannach (Attanach), and 1 carucate of wood, namely, between the great river (the Nore) and the land of Walter Porcel (i.e. Kilmenan) [Ibid., 137, 356]. William Marshal II also confirmed the grant of land by William de St. Leger in Odoch (Odagh, Idough), next Roskunil [Regr., 137, 357], by deed dated by Rev. Carrigan 1224 [History of the Diocese of Ossory, ii. 107, 110]. About the year 1230 the Chapter of Kilkenny, in confirming the grant of churches to St. Thomas's, included the church of Tullachbroch with the chapel of Balykene [Regr., p. 314].

William de St. Leger was succeeded by his son, another William, who confirmed to St. Thomas's the church of Tulagbroc and all other lands granted by his father in his charters [Ibid., p. 127]. It was probably this William who made a grant to Duiske Abbey [Duiske Charters, no. 48] for the souls of himself and Isabel his wife, of the river (the King's River) dividing his land of Tullaghanbrogue from the monks' land of Tulachany. The editors of Duiske Charters date this deed c. 1235, but it is probably to be dated between 1241 and 1245, or in Walter Marshal's time. He was likely the William who held the two half knights' fees in the 1247 feodary. In the feodary on the Patent Roll of 1279 these fees are grouped together as 1 fee.

Geoffrey de St. Leger, Bishop of Ossory (1260-1286), seems to have been the head of this family, for in 1317 William de St. Leger granted to his son James all messuages, lands, &c., which he had in Balyustre and in Kylhalary in the tenement of Rosconyll, as fully and freely as he (William) and Geoffrey, formerly Bishop of Ossory, or any other of their ancestors held the same [Ormond Deeds, i. 525]. This William was the holder of the two half knights' fees in the 1317 feodary. He is presumably the William who in 1307 held 6 fees in Obargi (Slievemargy, Co. Leix), which Strongbow granted to John de Clahull [Song of Dermot] in right of his wife Joan, daughter and heir of Hugh Purcell, Clahull's descendant.

This William de St. Leger's eldest son and heir was presumably the William, son of William de St. Leger, Baron of Obargy, who was dead, leaving an heir under age in 1358 [Cal. Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland, 67b.]. Here, though the entry refers to the barons of Obargy, the Christian names are the same as those of the Kilkenny family, for the Kilkenny William is called William senior in 1328 [Ormond Deeds, i. 595], presuming the existence of a son William. Thomas de St. Leger, baron of Obargy, occurs in Richard II's time Cal. Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland, 112, 120b, 128, 138b, 146b]. The later history of the family is traced by Rev. Carrigan.


The 1247 feodary (The de Valence Purparty) was taken from "Chancery Miscellanea", P.R.O., London (File 88/4, no. 70), collated with a list in the Calendar Patent Rolls.

The 1317 feodary (share of Hugh le Despenser and Alianora his wife) was taken from "Chancery Miscellanea", P.R.O., London (File 9/24).

Source: extracts from the book Knights' Fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny, Irish Manuscripts Commission, with commentary by Eric St. John Brooks, Dublin Stationery Office, 1950


The St. Legers of Tullaghanbroge

The following passage comes from Carrigan's History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory, published in 1905 by Rev. Canon William Carrigan, and entitled "The St. Legers of Tullaghanbroge," Vol. III, pp. 384-89.

At the Norman invasion, William St. Leger was granted the entire parish of Tullaghanbroge, together with the manor of Rosconnell. St. Leger was a great benefactor of the Abbey of St. Thomas, Dublin; and not only appropriated to the Abbot and community thereof the spiritual charge of the Parishes of Tullaghanbroge and Attanagh, but also granted them considerable temporal possessions, "in pure and perpetual alms." The following are summarised from the original charters in the Registry of the said Abbey:
(1) A.D. 1202-18.   Between these dates, William St. Leger granted to St. Thomas' Abbey, the church of St. Nicholas of Thulachbroc, with all the land which Tancred Brun held there, and all the tithes belonging to the church. Witnesses: Hugh, Bishop of Ossory, &c. [Regr. of St. Thomas, Ch. cxlvi.]
(2) He renews this grant soon after, and grants, moreover, the Church of Attenach. [Regr. of St. Thomas, Ch. cxlv.]
(3) About the same time he grants St. Thomas's eleven carucates of land, viz. five carucates at Tulachbroc, consisting of the entire holding of Tancred Brun; and six carucates at Rosconin, i.e. Rosconnell. [Regr. of St. Thomas, Ch. cxlvi.]
(4) Circa 1210.   Hugh, Bishop of Ossory, confirms William St. Leger's grant of the church of St. Nicholas of Tulachbroc, with its tithes. [Regr. of St. Thomas, Ch. ccclxiii.]
(5) 1221-30.   Peter, Bishop of Ossory, confirms the grant made to the Abbey of the tithes of Tolachanbroc. [Regr. of St. Thomas, Ch. ccclxiv.]
(6) C. 1230.   William, son of William St. Leger, confirms his father's grant of the church of Tulagbroc, and all his other grants, to St. Thomas's Abbey. [Regr. of St. Thomas, Ch. cxlvii.] (7) C. 1230.   William, Dean, and the Chapter of the Cathedral church of Kilkenny, confirm the grant to St. Thomas's Abbey, of the church of Tullachbroch with the chapel of Balykene, with all their appurtenances. [Regr. of St. Thomas, Ch. ccclxv.]

The parish church of Tullaghanbroge, now generally called Grove, is still a substantial, but very broken, ruin, about 60 ft. long by 20 ft. wide. It is clearly a very ancient building. There is no division into nave and chancel. Beside the door, on the outside, is a coffin-shaped slab, with a very beautiful raised cross, but bearing no inscription. Within the church a broken altar-tomb has the following raised Old English inscription, which is imperfect at the beginning owing to the loss of a fragment of the covering slab:
Translation: Here lie [Oliver Sen]tleger, lord of Tullihanbrog, gentleman, who died Sept. 5th 1597, and Ellen Comerford, his wife, who both [got] this monument [made].

William St. Leger and his son, who bore the same christian name, were, as we have seen, lords of the parish of Tullaghanbroge, during the first half of the 13th century. They were, we may presume, near relatives of Geoffry St. Leger, Bishop of Ossory (1260-1286). On the 20th May, 1366, John fitz John de St. Leger released to John Fitz William Coterell and Johanna, his wife, the lands &c. which they hold in Kiltranin, Crokersgrage, fflemyngstoun, Huberdestoun, Donfert and Kenlys, formerly belonging to James Oweyn, and of which the reversion and inheritance were and ought to be in Margaret, wife of the said John de St. Leger. [Graves's MSS]

Edmund "Sleger" was one of the freeholders of the Co. Kilkenny in 1526. Patrick "Sentlegere" was lord of Tologhanbruwe" in 1543 and 1569, About the latter date his property was "extended," or valued at 26 13s. 4d. Edmund Sentleger fitz Patrick, his son and successor, was pardoned in 1574. Oliver St. Leger, son or brother of Edmund, was lords of Tullaghanbroge, in 1584, in which year he also received a pardon. He died in 1597, as the inscription on his monument testifies.
Note: An Ormond Deed (cited below) shows the descent of Tullaghanbroge, beginning perhaps in the late 15th century, from Patrick to Edmund to Oliver to another Patrick (of 1550).

Edmund St. Leger fitz Oliver succeeded. By Inquisition at Thomastown, Sept. 5th, 1607, the jury found as follows:

"Edmund Sentleger, of Tullaghanbroge, is seised in fee of the manor and town of Tullaghanbroge and of the hamlets of Gragnekylly, Cowleloppoge and Graigetorney, containing 1 castle, 20 messuages, and 13 1/2 ac. great measure; Lyslonyn and Kilfeahin, 1 castle, 8 messuages, and 7 1/2 acres great measure; Dirrenetoycke, otherwise Durrinbege, 4 messuages and 6 ac.; the hamlet of Ballinemony called the two Ballinemonys, 3 ac.; a head rent of 24s. issuing from a certain parcel of land called 'Farrinfreny,' now in the tenure of Richard Comerford of Ballibur, belonging to the said manor of Tullaghanbroge. The said Edmund, and his tenants dwelling at Tullaghanbroge aforesaid, have a common pasture in the said parcel of land, in virtue of a certain ordinance of April 12th 1599. The said Edmind is seised of another head rent of 2s. 8d. issuing of the town of Ballikife, now in the tenure of the Rihjt Hon. the Earl of Ormond and Ossory; and of a head rent of 3s. 4d. issuing from a parcel of land called 'le Pontraght,' parcel of the town of Ballimaka, now in the King's hands by reason of the minority of Thomas Comerford of Ballimaka. The aforesaid Edmund and his tenants dwelling at Leslonyn, have a common pasture in the said parcel of land fro their 'averiis' and beasts there.

"The premises are bounded by the following meres and bounds, viz.: -- From the ford called 'le Maddecuffe [Black Stick Bridge, near Grange chapel], on the east, it is bounded by the lands of Grange Tulleghan; thence to the west and north, by a small watercourse towards the wood of Kylvyan, and a fosse in the same wood dug on both sides; and thence it is bounded by the side of the field of Clonduffe-ne-Mannagh and by a parcel of the lands of Grangetullaghany, on the east; and thence towards the north, to near Tobernedoihy, where th lands of the Edmund Sentleger, and the lands of the Earl of Ormond in Ballicallan, and the lands of le Grangetullaghan aforesaid have the same bounds and touch one another; thence toward the west by a moor or bogge called Akeeh, towards the ford of Aghenore; and thence alonge, towards the west, by le Dromyne, to the ford of Agheline; where the lands of said Edmund Setnleger, of Ballycallen, and of Kilballikife meet together; thence, by le Dromen, to Knokane-Phillipreach; and, thence, towards the south, to the end of Claranbege, in the west, where the lands of Ballikife and the lands of le Sentleger touch each other; thence, towards the south, by the side of part of a wood called Muckballikifa, to a place called Monynenemanleman, where the lands... ... ..."


In 1641, George St. Leger, gent., son and successor of Edmund, is returned as tenant of "all the castles, towns and lands of Lissnonyne, and Kilfechine, Derrintoick alias Dirrinbeg, Ballynemony and Kiltullaghmaine, one house and castle in the town of Callan, a chief rent of 18s. yearly issuing out of the lands called Farrenefreny, chief rent of 22d. issuing yearly out of the town and lands of Ballykeeffe, a chief rent of 2s. 6d. yearly issuing out of the parcel of land called le Ponteraght, with common pasture over the lands of Farrenfreny and Ponteraght aforesaid."

During the Cromwellian confiscations of 1653, the St. Leger estate was forfeited by George and Patrick St. Leger, Irish Papists, the townlands of Tullaghane, 876 ac., and Lislonen, 520ac., being forfeited by the former, and the townland of Derrenetewke by the latter. In 1654 George St. Leger of Tulloughane and Patrick St, Leger of Derrin, are found on the long lists of Kilkenny Papists ordered to transplant to Connaught.

Geoffry St. Leger of Dizart (Desart), gent., and Patrick St. Leger, of Tullaghene, gent., were outlawed, as Jacobites, April 20th, 1691.

The St. Legers are now almost extinct in this locality. In Irish the name is pronounced Sallinger, which is also the form of the name nearly always used by English speakers.


Newtown - The St. Legers

The following passage comes from Carrigan's History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory, published in 1905 by Rev. Canon William Carrigan, Vol. III, pp. 201-202.

Newtown is a large townland consisting of the three well-known sub-denominations, Newtown proper, Cooleen, and Kilenaboul. Kilenaboul is again traditionally sub-divided into Kilenaboul proper, or its southern half, and Fennerstown, or it snothern half. In former times the name Fennerstown, also written Ballyfennor anBallyfinnan, extended to Newtown proper, that is, the New Town of Fennerstown, and thus denoted nearly all the present townland of Newtown. It is located in the civil parish of St. Canice's.

The castle of Ballyfinnan was situated in Newtown proper, about two hundred yards to the north of the "Churchyard." A fragment of the south wall, 10ft. long, the same in height, and about 3 ft. thick, is all of it now remaining. Tradition identifies this castle as the ancient residence of "the Sallingers," or St. Legers.

The St. Legers, formerly lords of Ballyfinnan or Fennerstown, were probably a branch of the St. Legers of Tullaghanbroge. In 1537 "Slygger" of Tolleghanbroge, and "James Slygger" [of Ballyfinnan], were presented, among other magnates of Co. Kilkenny, for charging coyne and livery. "James Sentleger of Ballynownan (Ballyfinnan), gent.," was pardoned in 1549 [Fiants of Ed. VI.]. He died soon after, and, with his wife Aegidia Tobin, who died Nov. 2nd, 1570, is buried in St. Canice's Cathedral Cathedral. They left issue two sons, viz. : Robert, the elder, and Patrick. In 1581-2, Patrick was appointed clerk of the Crown and keeper of the writs and records of the county Kilkenny, in succession to Peter Dormer, deceased [Fiants of Eliz.]. He died, Feb. 21st, 1607-8, and together with his wife, Margaret Shee, rests with his parents in St. Canice's Cathedral.

Robert St. Leger, elder son and heir of James St. Leger and Aegidia Tobin, was pardoned in 1561-2, about which time his lands, held of the manor of Kilkenny, were valued at 13. He also received pardons in 1571 and 1578. Robert St. Leger, his namesake and, probably, grandson, was seised of Fennorstown, otherwise Ballyfennor, and Keilenebolle, otherwise Kilbreanell, and died August 1635, leaving James St. Leger, his son and heir, then only ten years old [Inquisition post mortem.], and a second son, Geoffry St. Leger.

The said James St. Leger, soon after coming of age, enlisted in the King's army and died in the royal service, without issue, having attained the rank of Captain. The family estate having been, in the meantime, handed over by the Cromwellians to one Major Adams, the King, on the 13th Feb., 1660-61, issued a Royal "Letter for Jeffrey St. Leger, brother and heir to Captain James St. Leger, to be restored to Ballyno [i.e. Newtown] and Fennerstown, the said Captain James St. Leger being within age at the Rebellion, and being enlisted in our Army in 1648, and served in Flanders till he died in service. We do adjudge the said Jeffrey St. Leger to be comprehended within our Declaration as an Innocent." [Carte MSS., Vol XLI., 312]. Geoffry St. Leger was accordingly put in possession of the ancestral property. As "Galfrid St. Leger, Newtown, gent.," he was outlawed, with his son, "James St. Leger fitzJeffery, Newtown, gent.," by the Williamites, April 21st, 1691. ...


St. Leodegario references in The Calendar of Ormond Deeds, Edmund Curtis, 1933-1941

1204 -1026 - William de Sancto Leodegario was among the witnesses of a confirmation of the foundation charter of the Priory of Kells in Ossory, made by Geoofrey son of Robert. [Vol I, p.12-14]

December, 1310 - William de Sancto Leodegario, knight, was primary witness to a grant by Roger de Pembrok, knight, to his son Robert, of lands in Balyrayhyn in the tenement of Lysdonnechy. Given at Kilkenny. [Vol I, p.178]

October and November, 1312 - William de Sancto Leodegario, then Seneschal of Kilkenny, was among the witnesses of a series of grants whic transferred the castle and manor of Knocktopher to Edmund le Botiller and his heirs. Given at Knocktopher and Kilkenny. [Vol I, p.182-189]

April 6, 1317 - William de Sancto Leodegario (St. Leger) grants to James his son all the messuages, lands, meadows, moors, woods, etc., which he had in Balyustre and in Kylhalary in the tenement of Rosconyll as full and freely as he (William) and Geoffrey, formerly bishop of Ossory, or any other of their ancestors held the same. To have and to hold to James and his lawful heirs of William and his heirs for ever, rendering yearly therfor one pair of gilt psurs at Pentecost and six pence silver on the summons of royal service, and to the vicar of the church of St. Canice at Kilkenny, for hi, (William) andhis heirs thirty shillings silver at the usual terms. If the said James die without lawful heir, the said messuages etc. to remain to him (William) and his heirs and assigns for ever. Winesses: William de Druhull, Thomas de Cantewell, Adam Purcel, knights, Walter de Rocheford, James de Clynny and John de Weston. Given at Kilkenny. [Vol I, p.215-6]

March, 1319 - William de Sancto Leodegario, knight, was among the witnesses when Roger fitz Milo, baron of Overk, quitted claim to Edmund le Botiller, the whole lordship of his barony of Overk. [Vol I, p.224]

January, 1328, N.S. - William St. Leger (de Sancto Leodegario), senior, grants to William, son of Peter de Bermingham, knight, all his land of Shanboth. Given at Kilkenny. [Vol I, p.256]

June, 1333 - William Purcell grants to John de sancto Leodegario and his heirs forever, all his right in the vills of Leauvghyll, Balyesk, Roskonelle, Castellemarge, Cnokaneredirre in Odogh in county Kilkenny and in all other of his lands and tenements, mills, advowsons, tithes, rents, homages, warships, marriages etc. etc. pertaining to the sadi vills. Given at Kilkenny. Witnesses: Thomas Sherlok, James Cottrell, John Rothe, and Sir William Walche. [Vol I, p.276-7]

April 24, 1351 - John de St. Leger (de Sancto Leodegario) was among the witnesses of a Patrick de Lalaunde grant, to his son David, of one messuage and one carucate of arable land and 20 acres of wood and pasture in Crompistoun, in the tenement of Kylmannan (Kilmenan, co. Kilennny). [Vol II, p.2]

March 20, 1366 - John son of John de Sancto Leodegario releases and quitclaims for ever to John son of William Coterel and Johanna his wife all his right, claim and action in all messuages, lands, meadows, pastures, morrs, rents, services, etc., which John Coterel and Johanna his wife held in Kiltram, Crokeresgragh, Flemyngeston, Huberedston, Dounfert and Kells, which tenements formerly beonged to James Oweyn and which ought to descend or remain to Margaret, grantor's wife. [Vol II, p.94]

Circa 1413 - Among the royal service due to the Lord of Balligaveran (Gowran) includes xxs. "from Tillaghnebroke by hand of Richard Seyntleger." [Vol II, p.319]

May 3, 1416 - Patrick Sleger was among the witnesses of a Cantewell grant to Henry Forstall of all lands and tenements in the parish of Ballagh[mich?]ow in Sillr' (Shillelogher). Given at Ramynduff. [Vol III, p.13]

March 8, 1428 - Willig Sentleger gives and grants to Henry Sentleger of Kilkenny the manor of Lewghill, Ballioskill, Castelwarynge and Rosconell, Knoccanerwere (?), Lackneshetry, Ballihamson, Aghnegreni, Ballipyckase, Lysnegrnem etc,. (Illegible), together with the advowson of churches and chapels. To have and to hold to him and his heirs male of his body of the chief lords of the fee. Remainder successively to William fytz (son of) Henry Sentleger, Edmund fitzJohn Sentleger, James Sentleger of Ballygowgan. Witnesses: Thomas Sherlok, James Coterell, John Rothe and Sir William Walsch. [Vol III, p.62] NOTE: The date of this grant, or the one dated June, 1333, is obviously in error, due to the names of the witnesses.

October 21, 1456 - Oliver Seynt Legger is amonf the witnesses at a quitclaim by Anastasia daughter of Robert Erchenekne ot messuages and tenements in Carrhygyn, Loghedare, Carnegele and elsewhere in county Kilkenny. [Vol III, p.177]

April 12, 1460 - Patrick Sleger's land, near Kilkenny city, is noted in a grant of a messuage in the town of Kilkenny. [Vol III, p.188]

July 3, 1507 - Patrick Sleger alias de sancto Leodegaio, principal of his nation, is noted in a document relative to the will of James Butler. [Vol III, p.322-4]

October 18, 1536 - Inspeximus by Henry VIII in 1536 of acts of Parliament relative to the descent of the Earldom of Ormond. Dame Anne Seintleger, widow, daughter and heir of Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond, and Anne's son George Seintleger, knight, are mentioned in the document. Its object is to prevent Edmund and Theobald Bulter, elder but illegitimate brothers of Sir Piers Butler, and their heirs from benefiting by an act of legitimation passed in the Irish parliament in 1468 in their favor. Sir Piers Butler was created Earl of Ossory in February 1528 at the time the agreement made between the King and the various heirs of Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond. [Vol II, p.206-9; 366-9]

March 15, 1546/7 - An inquisition was held at Dublin where the witnesses said upon oath, among othere things, that George St. Leger, son and heir of Anne St. Leger, one of the daughters and heirs of Thomas, late Earl of Ormond (died 1515), was seised in his demesne as of fee with Margaret Bullen, the other duaghter and heir of said Earl, of the manor and lordships of Rush, Balskaddan and Portrarne in county Dublin. ... [Vol V, p.17]

November, 1550 - Inspeximus of a decree made in the Chancery of Ireland. Memorandum. Patrick Sentleger of Tullaghanbroge complained in the court of chancery before Sir John Alen, Lord Chancellor, that he was seised as of his inheritance of all the meases, lands, etc., in Rosconell, Lawghyll and Ballyosker in county Kilkenny, ... by Sir Bryan Fitz Patrick, lord of Upper Ossory...
The said Sir Bryan in answer said that at the time of his creation as Baron of Upper Ossory and his receipt of his lands from the King;s Majesty he was peaceably seised of the above-said tenements, and therefore he now demanded judgement whether he ought to be put to answer for the same.
Patrick Sentleger replied that his great-grandfather, Patrick Sentleger, was seised of said tenements in fee tail and so died seised, the premises descending after his death to his son and heir Edmond Sentleger who made a lease thereof to Edmond Rothe Mc Gillepatrick and afterwards to Donughe Brygen, parson of Rosconyll, and after Edmond's death the tenements descended to to his son and heir Oliver Sentleger who let them to Rory Birgene, parson of Rosconyll, and after Oliver's death his son and heir Patrick Sentleger, the complaintant, became seised of the premises and let them to William Birgen who became said Patrick's tenant and paid rent to him until Easter last when he was expelled from the premises by Edmind Fitz Davye, constable of said Sir Bryan Fitz Patrick...
The award is therefore in favour of said Patrick, and signed by Thomas Cusack, Chancellor, and Patrick Barnewall, master of the rolls.
Teste Anthony Sentleger, at Dublin. [Vol V, p.53-5]

December 10, 1550 - In an Extent of (Co.) Leix. The circuits and limits around the country of Leix lies as follows: From Biernegarr nigh and brodering the lordship of Dolwgh to Cnockanecorle, thence to Klenyn, and so to the ater of Clonebroke, then to the lands of Leawhill belonging to Sentleger in county Kilkenny, thence to the lands of Rosconnill, then to aghcoreycronegane, thence to Clomocod, then to the outer gate of Caishelanynoysky in Ossory,... [Vol V, p.57]

July, 1596 - Oliver Seintleger of Tulleghanbroge and Robert Seintleger of Ballifeunon, gentlemen, were among the jurors at the Pleas of the Crown held at Kilkenny in the county of Kilkenny. Patrick Seintleger is listed as clerk. [Vol III, p.345-47]


Information compiled and contributed by Dennis Walsh.


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