Calf, Elizabeth (b. a.1365, d. 1445), queen of Leinster, was a daughter of Robert Calf (or le Veel; fl. 1378), baron of Norragh, and a great-great niece of Walter Calf (qv), bishop of Leighlin. She was married in 1374, evidently at a very young age, to Sir John Staunton, lord of Otymy (latterly in the barony of Clane); Staunton died in 1382, leaving his young widow with two infant daughters, Margaret and Anastasia. Before the end of the decade Elizabeth, who apparently had no siblings, inherited the tenancy of two-thirds of the barony of Norragh (roughly the later barony of Naragh–Reban East, Co. Kildare) on the death of her father. Her inheritance made marriage to her an attractive proposition to Art Mór MacMurrough Kavanagh (qv), king of Leinster, who was then extending his authority within the province. They were married about 1390; perhaps because of difficulties posed by the statutes of Kilkenny, which sought to prohibit intermarriage between Anglo-Irish and Gaelic ruling lineages, there was marked opposition to the union on the English side. Elizabeth's lands were declared forfeit to the crown in January 1391. Art is alleged to have assured her that he would not rest until they were restored. Doubtless the strategic importance of Norragh, situated between the Leinster mountains and other territories held by MacMurrough further west, had not gone unnoticed by any of the parties concerned. During Richard II's (qv) expedition in Leinster in autumn 1394 it appears that Elizabeth shared her husband's dangers. She may well have been, as Edmund Curtis (qv) intimates, present at the MacMurrough stronghold of Garbhchoill when it was stormed by the English in January 1395. The lands of Norragh were restored following Art's submission, but the grant was revoked in 1398 when the king's lieutenant, Roger Mortimer (qv), was slain at Kellistown; it was restored again, following Richard II's failed expedition in 1399, by the new king Henry IV. It seems likely that Elizabeth and Art may have parted at some time after this. She herself was not in royal favour and the lands were retained in King Henry's control for several years. Following Art's death in 1416, she resumed possession of Norragh in her own right. She was in occupation in 1438 and in 1442, when a royal order was made that she be paid 40s. out of the treasury for her defence of the barony. Elizabeth died in 1445 at over eighty years of age.
Rot. pat. Hib., 148, 154, 263b; E. Curtis, ‘The barons of Norragh, Co. Kildare, 1171–1660’, RSAI Jn., lxv (1935), 84–101; R. Frame, ‘Two kings in Leinster: the crown and the MicMhurchada in the fourteenth century’, Colony and frontier in medieval Ireland: essays presented to J. F. Lydon, ed. T. B. Barry, Robin Frame, and Katharine Simms (1995), 171–2