James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven


James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven

James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven (c. 1617 – 11 October 1684) was the son of Mervyn Tuchet, 2nd Earl of Castlehaven and his first wife, Elizabeth Barnham (1592 – c. 1622).

He succeeded his father as Earl of Castlehaven and Baron Audley of Orier on 14 May 1631, when his father was attainted and beheaded.

He was created Baron Audley of Hely with remainder "to his heirs forever" on 3 June 1633, with place and precedency of George, his grandfather, formerly Baron Audley, in an effort to nullify his father's attainder. However, this was considered insufficient, legally, until a bill was passed by Parliament in 1678 allowing him to inherit the original Barony of Audley.

Castlehaven was involved in the defence of Ireland during the Confederate Wars of the 1640s and in the subsequent Cromwellian invasion. In 1644 the Irish Confederate Supreme Council decided to vote for Castlehaven as the commander of a 6,000 strong expedition force in a push against the Ulster Scottish army under Robert Monro. The campaign under Castlehaven proved indecisive, the large army being mostly used to defend the stronghold of Charlemont. Historians generally consider the expedition to have been a wasted opportunity: as a result of this, Owen Roe O'Neill considered Castlehaven to be incompetent and Thomas Preston also developed a dislike of him. That said, Castlehaven was not entirely lacking in military ability. Apart from Owen Roe O'Neill, he proved to be the only Irish Confederate commander capable of winning conventional set-piece battles. In 1643 he surprised and routed hundreds of Inchiquins men in county Cork and in 1650 he won a small victory over an English Parliamentarian force during the battle of Tecroghan with the aid of Ulick Burke. The great weakness of Castlehaven was that he was largely an amateur: he lacked the patience to conduct sieges and was also touchy- it is said that some referred to him as "Tiarna Beag" or 'Little Lord.' [Padraig Lenihan, Con. Cath, pg 188]

He married twice, first Elizabeth Brydges, daughter of Grey Brydges, 5th Baron Chandos and of his wife Lady Anne Stanley (1580–1647), who married the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven after Lord Chandos' death. (Anne Stanley was thus both the 3rd Earl's stepmother, and his mother-in-law.) He married secondly, about 19 June 1679, Elizabeth Graves.

He died "sine prole" 11 October 1686, at Kilcash, County Tipperary, Ireland and was succeeded in the Earldom by his brother.

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