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Peter Rowe (judge)

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Peter Rowe (died c. 1403) was an Irish judge who held the office of Lord Chief Justice of Ireland from 1388 to 1397.

Elrington Ball states that he was born in Ireland, to a family which was of English origin, but which had long been settled in Ireland.[1] According to MacLysaght, the leading expert on Irish surnames, the name Rowe, or Roe, has several different origins in Ireland, some Gaelic and some English, and is mainly associated with Waterford.[2] He was in England, probably qualifying as a barrister,[3] in 1377. He returned to Ireland before 1380, and held office as King's Serjeant from 1381 to 1387. He was appointed Lord Chief Justice in September 1388 and was given custody of the Great Seal of Ireland. He was removed from office in 1395, briefly restored, and finally dismissed from office in 1397.[4] He died before 1404, when his widow remarried Sir Jenico d'Artois.[5]

There is a brief glimpse of his career in the Close Rolls of Richard II, in a case in which the English Crown had an interest, since the feudal overlord of the lands in question was the King's cousin Edmund Mortimer, then a royal ward.[6] Two citizens of Dublin, Richard Dunart and Thomas Cusack, each claimed the right to hold part of the Mortimer lands at Trim, County Meath. Rowe, who as Lord Chief Justice presided over the hearing, was commanded by the King to "do justice according to the laws and customs of Ireland".[7]

He married Joan Taaffe, daughter of Sir Nicholas Taaffe of Liscarton Castle, County Meath.[8] They had at least one son, Nicholas, who inherited Liscarton from his mother.[9] Joan married secondly the leading military commander, statesman and landowner Sir Jenico d'Artois (died 1426), a native of Gascony, by whom she had at least more two children, Sir Jenico d'Artois the younger and Jane, Lady Gormanston.[10]


  1. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol. 1 p.167
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward The Surnames of Ireland Irish University Press 1973
  3. ^ Ireland then had no law school, and all Irish students intending to be called to the Bar were educated at the Inns of Court in London.
  4. ^ Ball p.167
  5. ^ Crooks, Peter Factionalism and Noble Power in English Ireland c.1361-1423 : Thesis submitted for the degree of PhD. University of Dublin 2007 p.262
  6. ^ Close Rolls 14 Richard II
  7. ^ Close Rolls 14 Richard II
  8. ^ Journal of the Co. Kildare Archaeological Society 1902 : Reprinted 2013 pp.355-56
  9. ^ Butler, Richard Some Notices of the Castle and of the Abbeys and other religious houses at Trim Henry Griffith Trim 1835
  10. ^ Journal of the Co. Kildare Archaeological Society
Legal offices
Preceded by
Richard Plunkett
Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
Succeeded by
William Hankford
Preceded by
William Tynbegh
Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
Succeeded by
Stephen de Bray
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Peter Rowe (judge)
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