Audley, James (c.1220–1272), justiciar of Ireland, was the eldest son of Henry de Audley, marcher baron of Shropshire and Staffordshire, and Bertred, daughter of Ralph Mainwaring, seneschal of Chester. He rose to prominence during the 1250s, received a number of royal commissions, and in 1258 during the Oxford parliament was one of the council of fifteen appointed to advise Henry III on the provisions of Oxford. A royalist, he was retained as one of Henry’s familiares.
Between 9 July 1261 and August 1263 he was sheriff of Shropshire and Staffordshire and was also made keeper of the castles of Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury. A member of the victorious royalist forces at the battle of Northampton (3 April 1264), he was allowed to return to his lands after Henry's defeat at Lewes to maintain the defence of the border, though his son Nicholas was surrendered as a hostage. In October he reneged on his conditions of release and with other marcher lords held Bristol castle, sacked Hereford, and plundered the Severn valley, though he was brought to terms after a brief campaign by Montfort. After the escape of Edward (later Edward I) from captivity as a hostage (28 May 1265), Audley rallied to his standard, and on 31 May captured Beeston castle in Cheshire. Active in Lancashire in June, he was able to secure the submission of a number of prominent Montfortians, and remained in the west after the battle of Evesham to protect the marches.
Although he took the cross with Edward in 1268, Audley did not go on crusade with the prince, but Edward's lieutenants in England appointed him justiciar of Ireland in September 1270. Records of his activities in Ireland are scant, but it appears that much of his time was spent on campaign. His first problem of defence was Connacht, where he spent a large sum of money provisioning and rebuilding the castles of Roscommon, Randown, and Athlone. In order to raise the necessary funds he raided the vaults of the Dominican church at Roscommon, allegedly seizing some £80, which had been deposited there for safe keeping by the poor of the county. After ensuring the cooperation of the Ó Néill and the Ó Catháin by a mixture of coercion and bribery, he spent some time in Desmond and also moved against the Ó Broin and Ó Tuathail in Wicklow where he was successful in extracting hostages. He then advanced into Thomond to deal with the growing threat of Brian Ruad Ó Briain (qv). According to the Anglo-Irish annals his death was the result of an accidental fall from his horse near Limerick on 11 June 1272.
An active justiciar, he was ruthless in attempting to fulfil his mandate, often resorting to large-scale borrowing and, when necessary, extortion. His brief period in office was largely successful in putting down the threats in Connacht and Wicklow, but his initial successes in Thomond were reversed after his death. He married Ela, daughter of William Longespée, earl of Salisbury, in 1244 and was survived by four sons and one daughter.