Bagenal (Bagnal(l)), Sir Nicholas (1510?–1591), soldier, was second son of John Bagnal (d. 1558), tailor and mayor of Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, England, and his wife Eleanor (Elinor) Whittingham of Middlewich, Cheshire. In 1539 Nicholas, as a gentleman pensioner, went to northern Ireland, evading punishment for a murder; he was eventually pardoned at the request (December 1542) of the council, urged by the recently created earl of Tyrone, Conn Bacach Ó Néill (qv). He returned to England (April 1544), with permission to fight in the English army in France. In March 1547 he became marshal of the army in Ireland; in the next few years he took part in campaigns against the O'Connors of Offaly, the Scots in the Dufferin, and Shane O'Neill (qv) in Tyrone. In 1551 he was knighted, and in 1552 received lands in the areas of Newry, Co. Down, and Carlingford, Co. Louth.
Bagenal lost the marshalship at Mary I's accession – possibly because his brother Ralph was an active protestant partisan – and did not regain it till October 1565. In the interim he was reluctant to return to Ireland, and had to be bound in a recognisance of £1,000 to attend to his duties there. Meanwhile his lands in the Newry area suffered, by his own account, from raiding by Shane O'Neill; and when he regained the marshalship he attempted to sell both the office and his lands to Sir Thomas Stukeley (qv). Having been prevented by Elizabeth I from doing so, he retained the office for twenty-five years; made Newry an effective base for government power and Englishry in the north, and in 1577 and 1584 was given chief responsibility for Ulster. His son Henry (qv) was granted the reversion of the marshalship in August 1583. After bitter dispute with Sir John Perrott (qv), the lord deputy, Bagenal returned to England (September 1587); he resigned the marshalship (October 1590) on the grounds of age and ill health, and on condition of Henry's succession, and died shortly after. He was buried at Newry on 7 February 1591.
Bagenal sat in Elizabeth's first English parliament for Newcastle under Lyme, and in the Irish parliament for Co. Down (1585–6). He married (c.1555) Eleanor Griffith of Penrhyn, north Wales; they had at least five sons and at least six daughters, one of whom married Sir Christopher Plunkett (qv); another, Anne, married successively Sir Dudley Loftus and Dominick Sarsfield (qv), Viscount Kilmallock; the youngest, Mabel (qv), famously eloped with Hugh O'Neill (qv), 2nd earl of Tyrone, in August 1591.