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St Leger, Sir Anthony

St Leger, Sir Anthony (c.1496–1559). Lord deputy of Ireland. Of a Kentish family, St Leger married the niece and heiress of Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, and rose under the patronage of Thomas Cromwell. In 1537 he was leader of a commission to report on Irish affairs and was knighted in 1539. In 1540 he succeeded Grey as deputy of Ireland, with a policy of reasserting royal authority, a first step being Henry VIII's adoption of the title king of Ireland. Several of the Irish chiefs, and particularly O'Neill, were brought to submit. St Leger was given the Garter. He was retained in office on Henry's death in 1547 but returned to England in 1548. When his successor died shortly afterwards, St Leger was sent out again but recalled in 1551 on suspicion of being too conciliatory towards Irish catholics. Mary's reign saw him reinstated for the third time (1553) and he served until 1556, when accusations of peculation were brought against him. His long term of office gave some coherence to English policy and he was credited with a cautious and moderate approach.

J. A. Cannon

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