Coghill, Marmaduke (1673–1739), chancellor of the exchequer, was born 28 December 1673, elder of two sons of Sir John Coghill of Co. Dublin, formerly of Coghill Hall, Yorkshire, England, and Hester Coghill (née Cramer); there were also two sisters. Sir John, master in chancery 1682–5, was restored to that position by William III (qv) in 1690. Marmaduke was educated by a Mr Cox, entered TCD (March 1687), and graduated BA and LLB (1691); in 1695 he was awarded the degree of LLD. He was MP for Armagh borough (1692–3, 1695–9, 1703–13) and for Dublin University from 1713 till his death.
Coghill was regarded as a tory during Queen Anne's reign, but like other Hanoverian tories, such as Henry Singleton (qv), he aligned himself with Speaker William Conolly (qv) after 1715. His unequivocal support for the new regime can be attributed to his devotion to the Church of Ireland, the major factor in all of his political actions in the early part of his career. He was a busy parliamentarian, being regarded as a ‘man of business’ rather than as a partisan figure. He was well regarded for his expertise on ecclesiastical matters, which is not surprising considering he had succeeded his father as a judge of the prerogative court in 1699. His status as one of Conolly's closest lieutenants meant that he was rewarded on the speaker's death in 1729, succeeding him as a commissioner of the revenue. He also took a prominent role in parliament, leading the court party in tandem with the new speaker, Sir Ralph Gore (qv). The next four years, according to Hayton, represented the peak of his political career. He was particularly vocal in parliament on financial matters, and was regarded as an honest and able supporter of Irish interests, especially relating to Anglo–Irish trade. He also built up a close relationship with Sir John Perceval (qv), Robert Walpole's leading adviser on Irish affairs, and even met Walpole, although he was unimpressed by the prime minister's habit of talking only about himself. On Gore's death (1733), Coghill was regarded as a possible candidate for the speakership, but a combination of his ill health – he suffered badly from gout – and the lord lieutenant's preference for Henry Boyle (qv) prevented this from coming to pass. Instead he became chancellor of the exchequer in 1735, still very much a sinecure office at this time.
Outside parliament, Coghill was very active in promoting the Irish economy and was a member of many ‘of the boards, commissions, and trusts, official and private, that proliferated in this period’ (Hayton, xix). For instance, he was a member of the linen board and the board of first fruits, and in 1717 he was one of the trustees who undertook the whole responsibility of building Dr Steevens’ Hospital. He also played an active role in the affairs of Trinity College, where he was pro-vice-chancellor in the 1730s.
Coghill had inherited an estate at Drumcondra, Co. Dublin, where he built an elaborate mansion in 1727 – latterly part of the College of All Hallows – as a country retreat. Its ornate south front has been attributed to Edward Lovett Pearce (qv), a protégé of Coghill, who helped secure him the commission to build the new houses of parliament in 1728. Coghill furnished his house handsomely, and lived there in luxury with his unmarried sister Mary. His refined taste, and indeed vanity, were reflected in his decision to have his portrait painted by the fashionable artist Charles Jervas (qv) in 1735. He claimed that Jervas positioned his head oddly on his shoulders, and when he was elevated to the chancellorship of the exchequer while the portrait was being completed, he insisted that he be painted in his new robes.
Coghill never married, although he was reputedly close to marrying a daughter of Lady Louth in 1711, only to be jilted for a soldier. Allegedly he was rejected because of a judgement he made in the prerogative court, where he stated that a husband could lawfully beat his wife, if it was done with a switch such as that which Coghill was then holding. It is said that his intended bride took fright and dismissed his suit; presumably thereafter others were equally wary. He suffered greatly from gout of the stomach, and died 9 March 1739 in Dublin. He was buried in St Andrew's churchyard. In his memory his sister built the church at Drumcondra, with a fine sculptured memorial; his estates, in Co. Dublin and Yorkshire, passed first to a niece and then a great-nephew. The Irish Manuscripts Commission has published Coghill's letters.