Barnewall, Sir Christopher (d. 1575), politician and administrator, was the son of Sir Patrick Barnewall (qv), master of the rolls, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Luttrell, chief justice of the common pleas. Christopher Barnewall was probably a lawyer too, but the evidence is slight and he never held legal office. In 1547 he was appointed customer of Dublin and Drogheda. From his father he inherited in 1550 former monastic property in north Co. Dublin, chiefly Grace Dieu in the parish of Lusk, once the convent of the Arroasian (Augustinian) canonesses regular. He was close to the powerful 10th earl of Ormond (qv), who in 1556 appointed him ‘steward, receiver, surveyor, seneschal and chief serjeant’ of his property in the Pale (Ormond deeds, v, 93).
In 1565 Barnewall and his wife, Marion, née Sherle or Churley, daughter of Patrick Sherle of Shallon, Co. Meath, and a ward of Sir Patrick Barnewall, built a house, at Turvey, from the stones of the old convent, on land acquired from Ormond. It was to be the seat of the Barnewalls for several generations, and was not demolished until the 1970s. Barnewall did, however, protect the nuns, who continued to live nearby at Portrane until two years after his death. In July 1566 he was made a knight bachelor. In the Irish parliament of 1569–71, having failed to be elected speaker, he led the opposition Palesmen, objecting to the legality of the parliament as ‘packed’. In the spring of 1571 he sheltered Edmund Campion (qv) at Turvey for ten weeks, before the latter's departure for the continent to train for the priesthood.
Barnewall died in July 1575. His tomb at Lusk, erected by Sir Lucas Dillon (qv) (d. 1593), who married Marion Barnewall after her husband's death, is ‘one of the finest examples of funerary sculpture which survive from the later sixteenth century’ (Lennon, Lords of Dublin, 86). Sir Christopher Barnewall had at least two sons and eleven daughters. His elder son, Patrick Barnewall (qv), was a prominent recusant. The daughters made alliances by their marriages with gentry throughout Fingal. The third daughter, Genet, Genetta or Janet, married Richard Stanyhurst (qv), who in his writings eulogised Barnewall's patriotism, piety, fair-mindedness, hospitality and wisdom (ibid., 85).