LAMBART, Charles, 2nd Baron [I] (1602-1660), of Lanhydrock, Cornw., Dublin and Kilbeggan, co. Westmeath
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Family and Education
b. 1602,1 1st s. of Oliver, 1st Bar. Lambart of Cavan [I] (Sir Oliver Lambert†) of St. Mary’s, Southampton, Hants and Kilbeggan and Hester, da. of Sir William Fleetwood I* of Cranford, Mdx. and Cardington, Beds.2 educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1618; G. Inn 1620; travelled abroad (France) 1622.3 m. 29 Mar. 1623, (with £4,000) Jane (d.1655), da. of Richard, 1st Bar. Robartes of Truro, Cornw., at least 3s.4 suc. fa. as 2nd Bar. Lambart [I] 1618;5 cr. Visct. Kilcoursie [I] and earl of Cavan [I] 1 Apr. 1647. d. 25 June 1660.6 sig. Charles Lambart.
Gent. of privy chamber (extraordinary) 1637.15
PC [I] 1641-7.16
Lambart’s ancestors came from Carshalton, Surrey, but his grandfather acquired an ex-chantry estate at St. Mary’s, just outside Southampton, during Elizabeth’s reign.17 His father, Sir Oliver, a soldier in Ireland and the Low Countries from 1580, was the first member of the family to sit in the Commons, being returned at a by-election for Southampton in 1597. Appointed to the Irish Privy Council in 1603 and elevated to the Irish peerage shortly before his death in 1618,18 Sir Oliver acquired freehold lands in Cavan and Westmeath, a lease of termon [glebe] lands in Cavan, and the profits of a wardship of lands in Roscommon. His annual income was variously estimated at between £1,700 and £2,600.19 Sir Oliver’s will assigned the termon lands and the profits of the Roscommon wardship to raise portions of £3,000 for his daughters, and the rest of his estate to pay off his debts, the settlement of which was to plague the family for the next 15 years. Administration of the will was granted to Lambart’s mother,20 Dame Hester, who borrowed heavily to purchase her son’s wardship and pay for lawsuits relating to the Southampton estate and the Roscommon wardship. She also prevailed upon her brother, Sir Miles Fleetwood*, to send Lambart and his brother £600 during their travels in France in 1622.21
When Lambart returned from the Continent his mother attempted to arrange a match for him, initially with an unnamed ‘daughter of a great officer of ... Ireland’. This came to nothing, but in the spring of 1623 Fleetwood approached the Cornishman Sir Richard Robartes about a match with his daughter Jane to include a dowry which would enable Dame Hester to pay off the debts on her estate. A figure of £7,000 was provisionally agreed, but the marriage took place before any formal settlement had been drafted, and Robartes refused to honour the undertaking. Dame Hester quickly secured a Chancery decree for payment of the £2,000 portion bequeathed to Jane Robartes by her grandfather, together with a further £2,000 interest. Robartes attempted to have this sentence overturned by statute in 1626, but his private bill was rejected in the Commons at its second reading (9 June). He then attempted to reverse the decree by means of a Chancery suit, but this ploy apparently also failed.22
The question of Lambart’s marriage portion was linked to a wider dispute about his debts. In December 1623, shortly after he came of age and took possession of his estates, his mother assigned her jointure lands to him, in return for which he assumed responsibility for the £12,500 of debts his mother had incurred as executrix of his father’s will.23 He planned to sell some of his lands to pay off his creditors, but quickly discovered that they were charged with a complex series of encumbrances which greatly reduced their annual value.24 Dame Hester was undoubtedly aware of the problem, and may have hoped that the situation would force Robartes to assist his son-in-law in paying off his debts. Robartes refused to do so, and Lambart was forced to look to Fleetwood and the latter’s brother-in-law Sir Oliver Luke* for short-term credit and surety for his debts. Cash flow problems quickly soured Lambart’s relations with the two men, provoking a flurry of litigation and ultimately leading to his outlawry for debt.25
Lambart apparently lived with his father-in-law in Cornwall for most of the 1620s and 1630s, serving as a magistrate and being recommended for command of the garrison mooted for Fowey in 1625. To his annoyance, he was also rated in the Cornish subsidy lists in 1628, although he owned no land in the county.26 He was returned to the Commons for Bossiney in 1626 and 1628, presumably under Robartes’ patronage, which makes it likely that he supported his father-in-law’s bill to reverse Dame Hester’s 1624 Chancery decree for payment of his wife’s dowry. Thrown into the Fleet in February 1626 under a writ sued out by Fleetwood and Luke, he was quickly released under parliamentary privilege.27 He played little part in the 1626 session thereafter. On 4 Mar. he was nominated to attend a conference at which the duke of Buckingham was called upon to answer allegations concerning the detention of the St. Peter, and three days later he was one of the delegation who were encouraged to vote supply for the war effort by Archbishop Abbot and the 3rd earl of Pembroke.28 He was also named to committees for bills dealing with the foundation of the London Charterhouse (11 Feb.), simony (14 Feb.), intestacy (7 Mar.), the exclusion of clergy from commissions of the peace (10 Mar.) and the modernization of militia arms (25 March).29
Having failed to secure Lambart’s arrest at the start of the 1626 session, Fleetwood and Luke referred their dispute to the arbitration of William Coryton* and Sir John Strangways*. The early dissolution wrecked any chances of an agreement, and Lambart, who fled to Ireland to escape arrest,30 found himself pursued in the Dublin courts. A provisional timetable for his debt repayments was settled by two members of the Irish Privy Council in the autumn of 1627, and a formal agreement was signed when he returned to England, once again under the cover of parliamentary privilege, in the spring of 1628.31 As before, Lambart had little impact on the Commons’ proceedings in 1628-9: he was named to the committee for the bill to restore Carew Ralegh to his Dorset estates (4 June 1628). His Cornish connections explain his addition to the committee examining the allegations that several of the county’s deputy lieutenants had attempted to interfere with the election of the knights of the shire (9 May 1628), while he subsequently presented a petition for the deputy lieutenants to be represented by counsel.32 In the following year he was accused of imprisoning a Cornishman for refusing to pay a militia rate, but the case failed to receive a hearing before the dissolution.33
Lambart’s financial difficulties continued during the 1630s. He never quite managed to find the full £600 a year he was required to provide to amortize his debts under the terms of the 1628 agreement, and remained at odds with Fleetwood and Luke, who secured some minor adjustments to the settlement in 1630; in 1634-5 Lambart responded with a Chancery suit to redress the balance in his favour. While these disputes generated much resentment, the compromise apparently achieved its broad aim of discouraging Lambart’s creditors from suing Fleetwood and Luke for restitution.34 Lambart pursued another suit against Robartes in Star Chamber for payment of the £2,000 interest awarded as part of his wife’s dowry under the 1624 Chancery decree, and after Robartes’ death in 1634 he prosecuted his wife’s family for a share in his late father-in-law’s enormous personal fortune.35 He also had a lengthy dispute with the widow of one of his minor creditors, became involved in the financial problems of (Sir) James Bagg II*, and was challenged by the 1st earl of Cork over the title to an estate at Beleek, co. Mayo.36
Lambart lived in England throughout the 1630s, and in the spring of 1640 he approached the Southampton corporation for the nomination of a parliamentary candidate.37 This was probably not intended for his personal benefit, as he had taken his seat in the Irish House of Lords by 24 Mar. 1640, where he played a significant part in the tumultuous politics of the decade. He proved his loyalty to the Crown by supporting a generous grant of four subsidies in the opening days of the session, but subsequently became one of a number of Protestant peers who attacked the arbitrary government of the 1st earl of Strafford (Sir Thomas Wentworth*). Personal and political motives became intermixed in 1641 over his support for the impeachment of several of the judges who had previously overturned his title to the estate at Beleek.38
Like most Protestant landowners, Lambart lost control of his estates at the outbreak of the Irish rebellion in October 1641. A colonelcy in the royalist forces provided him with a regular income, but the only action he is known to have seen was a raid in the Byrnes’ country south of Dublin in March 1642.39 He was appointed governor of Dublin in the summer of 1642, and was one of the commissioners who negotiated the Cessation with the Catholic Confederates in 1643.40 In April 1647 the king, by then a prisoner of Parliament, elevated Lambart to an earldom, but if this was an attempt to stiffen the resolve of the Irish royalists it failed, as lord deputy Ormonde surrendered Dublin to parliamentarian forces in June 1647. The capitulation left Lambart almost without means, as his Irish lands were still in rebel hands and the houses on his Southampton estate had been levelled during the English Civil War.41 He probably lived at his Dublin house during the 1650s, as his wife was buried in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In 1658 he petitioned Oliver Cromwell* for a grant of some of the lands he had mortgaged to rebel Catholics as compensation for arrears of his army pay, to unknown effect. He would presumably have regained much of his estate at the Restoration, but he had little time to enjoy the prospect, as he died in Dublin on 25 June 1660. His will, proved in Ireland, was destroyed in the Four Courts in 1922. His descendants regularly attended the Irish House of Lords, but none sat in the English Commons until 1885, when the 9th earl was returned for South Somerset.42
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. Aged about 15 at his fa.’s death, he came of age in 1623: C2/Chas.I/L37/71; 2/Chas.I/L52/36; 2/Chas.I/L6/64, f. 4.
- 2. Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 82.
- 3. Al. Cant.; GI Admiss.
- 4. Allhallows’ London Wall Par. Reg. ed. J. Hovenden, 177; C2/Chas.I/R40/40, R46/30, R53/35; CP.
- 5. C142/343/177.
- 6. CP.
- 7. HMC 11th Rep. iii. 23.
- 8. C231/4, f. 158.
- 9. C181/3, f. 108.
- 10. SP16/11/52, 16/33/111; CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 440.
- 11. CSP Ire. 1625-32, p. 251.
- 12. Ibid. 1625-32, pp. 329, 595; 1633-47, p. 765; HMC Ormonde, i. 124, 131, 195.
- 13. CPR Ire. Chas. I, 249.
- 14. CSP Dom. 1641-3, pp. 341, 345; HMC Ormonde, n.s. ii. 157-9.
- 15. LC5/134, p. 196.
- 16. CSP Ire. 1633-47, p. 330.
- 17. Vis. Surr. 82; CPR, 1560-3, p. 481; C2/Chas.I/F27/72.
- 18. Stockwell Pprs. ed. J. Rutherford (Southampton Rec. Soc. xxxii), pp. x-xiii.
- 19. C2/Chas.I/L6/64.
- 20. PROB 11/131, f. 421.
- 21. C2/Chas.I/L6/64; 2/Chas.I/L35/66; 2/Chas.I/L37/71.
- 22. C2/Chas.I/B143/24; 2/Chas.I/R40/40; 2/Chas.I/R46/30; 2/Chas.I/R53/35; 2/Chas.I/R61/93; Procs. 1626, iii. 404.
- 23. C2/Chas.I/F27/72; 2/Chas.I/L9/16; 2/Chas.I/L37/71; 2/Chas.I/L46/43.
- 24. C2/Chas.I/B143/24; 2/Chas.I/F27/27; 2/Chas.I/F51/146; 2/Chas.I/L12/44.
- 25. C2/Chas.I/B143/24; 2/Chas.I/L6/64; 2/Chas.I/L9/16.
- 26. CSP Dom. 1628-9, pp. 333, 364, 400-1.
- 27. CJ, i. 824b; HMC 3rd Rep. 28.
- 28. CJ, i. 830a, 832a; Procs. 1626, ii. 197.
- 29. CJ, i. 818a, 819a, 832b, 834a, 841a.
- 30. CSP Ire. 1625-32, p. 245; HMC Cowper, i. 324.
- 31. C2/Chas.I/L37/71.
- 32. CJ, i. 894a, 909a; CD 1628, iii. 376.
- 33. CJ, i. 930; CD 1629, pp. 72, 206, 212.
- 34. C2/Chas.I/F27/72; 2/Chas.I/F51/146; 2/Chas.I/L35/66; 2/Chas.I/L37/71; 2/Chas.I/L41/58; 2/Chas.I/L46/43; CPR Ire. Chas. I, 658; HMC Cowper, ii. 57-8, 92; CSP Ire. 1633-47, p. 95.
- 35. CSP Dom. 1629-31, pp. 171-2, 192; 1633-4, p. 59; 1634-5, pp. 415-16, 612-13; 1636-7, p. 273; 1637, p. 423; 1638-9, p. 636; 1640-1, pp. 207-8; CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 564; HMC Cowper, i. 469-70; PC2/44, p. 137.
- 36. CSP Ire. 1647-60, p. 187; Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 282, 333, ii. 95-6; CSP Dom. 1638-9, p. 255; Chatsworth House, Cork mss 20/158, 22/37.
- 37. Strafforde Letters, ii. 95-6; CSP Dom. 1639-40, p. 307.
- 38. M. Perceval-Maxwell, Outbreak of Irish Rebellion of 1641, pp. 78, 123-5, 167, 169; LJ Ire. 102-78; HMC Var. viii. 208-11.
- 39. HMC Ormonde, n.s. ii. 10-11, 82; CSP Ire. 1633-47, p. 765.
- 40. HMC Ormonde, n.s. ii. 126-7, 157-9; CSP Dom. 1641-3, pp. 341, 345.
- 41. CSP Dom. 1645-7, pp. 579-80.
- 42. CSP Ire. 1647-60, p. 670; CP.