So early as the 11th century, we find
JOHN PLUNKETT, of Beaulieu, County Meath, the constant residence of the elder branch of his descendants.
The successor at Beaulieu at the beginning of the 13th century,
JOHN PLUNKETT, living at the time of HENRY III, had two sons,
John, ancestor of the BARONS LOUTH;
RICHARD, of whom hereafter.
To the same parliament and council was also summoned as a baron "Waltero de Cusake Militi", Lord of Killeen, whose heir general afterwards, as wife of Christopher Plunkett, was previously thought to have first brought the dignity of a parliamentary barony into this branch of the Plunkett family, but how erroneously may best be seen by reference to the writs of summons during the reign of EDWARD III, before alluded to.
The younger Richard Plunkett was father of
SIR CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT, Knight.
This gentleman, as a recompense for the services he had rendered in the wars of Ireland, and as an indemnity for the expenses he had incurred, had a grant of a sum of money from HENRY VI, in 1426; before which time he was sheriff of Meath; and in 1432, was deputy to Sir Thomas Stanley, knight, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Sir Christopher was created, ca 1426, BARON KILLEEN.
He married, in 1403, Joan, only daughter and heir of Sir Lucas Cusack, Knight, Lord of Killeen, Dunsany, and Gerardstown, County Meath, and became, in her right, proprietor of the Barony of Killeen.
He was succeeded by his son and heir,
CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Baron (who, in an act of parliament during the reign of HENRY VI was called "Christofre Plunkett le puisne Seigneur de Killeen").
This feudal Lord wedded twice: firstly, to Genet, daughter of Bellew, of Bellewstown; by whom he had two sons.
He espoused secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Wells, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, by whom he had a daughter and two sons.
Sir Christopher died in 1462, and was succeeded by his elder son,
CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT, 3rd Baron (1440-c1469); who had summons to parliament in 1463.
His lordship died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother,
EDMOND, 4th Baron (c1450-1510), who had a son and heir,
JOHN, 5th Baron, who was sworn of the privy council of HENRY VIII, and was found by inquisition to have had four sons,
Patrick, dsp;The eldest son,
CHRISTOPHER, heir to his brother;
PATRICK, 6th Baron (1521-c1526), was succeeded by his brother,
CHRISTOPHER, 7th Baron, who succeeded to the titles and estates.
His lordship was an active and gallant nobleman, who discharged many high functions and commissions under the royal authority.
He sat in the parliament of 1509, and having married the granddaughter of the 8th Baron Slane, left issue, three daughters, his co-heirs,
Maude, m 3rd Baron Louth;He died about 1567, and was succeeded by his brother,
Catherine, m David Sutton;
Margaret, m Nicholas Aylmer.
JAMES, 8th Baron (c1542-95), whose inheritance of the ancient family dignity was not opposed or questioned by the daughters, co-heirs of his deceased brother, and he took his place in the House of Lords in 1585.
In 1589, he enfeoffed trustees in his family estates, and was succeeded at his decease by his son and heir,
CHRISTOPHER, 9th Baron (1564-1613), who, when aged 31, sat in the parliament of 1613; and dying soon afterwards, was succeeded by his eldest son,
LUKE, 10th Baron, styled Lucas More.
This nobleman had a large grant of territory in 1613, and was created EARL OF FINGALL in 1628, JAMES I precluding the honour by a most flattering letter beginning thus:-
That having received good testimonies of the virtuous and many good parts of his right trusty and well-beloved subject, the lord Baron Killeen, being one of the ancient nobility of Ireland, His Majesty was pleased ...
- Luke Plunkett, 1st Earl (1589–1637);
- Christopher Plunkett, 2nd Earl (d. 1649);
- Luke Plunkett, 3rd Earl (1639–84);
- Peter Plunkett, 4th Earl (1678–1718);
- Justin Plunkett, 5th Earl (d. 1734);
- Robert Plunkett, 6th Earl (d. 1738);
- Arthur James Plunkett, 7th Earl (1731–93);
- Arthur James Plunkett, 8th Earl (1759–1836);
- Arthur James Plunkett, 9th Earl (1791–1869);
- Arthur James Plunkett, 10th Earl (1819–81);
- Arthur James Francis Plunkett, 11th Earl (1859–1929);
- Oliver James Horace Plunkett, 12th Earl (1896–1984).
Lord Fingall remained as manager of the stud farm established near the castle.
He died in 1984 and is buried at Dunsany Church.
Fingall arms courtesy of European Heraldry. First published in April, 2012.