ST. LEGER, SIR ANTHONY (c. lord deputy of Ireland, eldest son of Ralph St. Leger, a gentleman of Kent, was educated abroad and at Cambridge. He quickly gained the favour of Henry VIII., and was appointed in 1537 president of a commission for inquiring into the condition of Ireland. In 154o he was appointed lord deputy of Ireland. His first task was to repress disorder, and he at once proceeded with severity against the Kavanaghs, permitting them, however, to retain their lands, on their accepting feudal tenure on the English model. By a similar policy he exacted obedience from the O'Mores, the O'Tooles and the O'Conors in Leix and Offaly; and having concili ated the O'Briens in the west and the earl of Desmond in the south, the lord deputy carried an act in the Irish parliament in Dublin conferring the title of king of Ireland on Henry VIII. and his heirs. Conn O'Neill, who in the north had remained sullenly hostile, was brought to submission by vigorous measures. For the most part, however, St. Leger's policy was one of moderation and concilia tion—rather more so, indeed, than Henry VIII. approved. St. Leger's personal influence was proved by an outbreak of dis turbance when he visited England in i544, and the prompt restora tion of order on his return some months later. St. Leger retained his office under Edward VI., and again effectually quelled attempts at rebellion by the O'Conors and O'Byrnes. From 1548 to 155o he was in England. He was recalled from Ireland in 1551. Under Mary he was again lord deputy from 1553 to 1556, when he was recalled on a charge of falsifying accounts. He died (March 16, 1559) before the investigation was completed.
His great-grandson, SIR WILLIAM ST. LEGER, took part in "the flight of the earls" (see O'NEILL) in 5607, and spent several years abroad. Having received a pardon from James I. and large grants of land in Ireland, he was appointed president of Munster by Charles I. in 1627. He supported Strafford, actively assisting in raising and drilling the Irish levies destined for the royalist service. In the great rebellion of 1641 he executed martial law in his province with the greatest severity, hanging large numbers of rebels, often without much proof of guilt. He was still struggling with the insurrection when he died at Cork on July 2, 1642.
A biography of Sir Anthony St. Leger will be found in Athenae Cantabrigienses, by C. H. Cooper and T. Cooper (Cambridge, 1858) ; see also Calendar of State Papers relating to Ireland, Hen. VIII.—Eliz.; Calendar of Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII.; Calendar of State Papers (Domestic Series), Edward VI.—James I.; Calendar of Carew MSS.; J. O'Donovan's edition of Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters (7 vols., Dublin, 1851) ; Richard Bagwell, Ireland under the Tudors (3 vols., London, 1885-90) ; J. A. Froude, History of England (12 vols., London, 1856-7o). For Sir William St. Leger, see Strafford's Letters and Despatches (2 vols., London, 1739) ; Thomas Carte, History of the Life of James, Duke of Ormonde (6 vols., Oxford, 1851) ; History of the Irish Confederation and the War in Ireland, edited by Sir J. T. Gilbert (Dublin, 1882-90.