Luttrell, Henry (c.1655–1717), Jacobite soldier, was born in Luttrellstown, Co. Dublin, second among four sons of Thomas Luttrell and his wife Barbara, daughter of Henry Segrave (qv). Thomas's estate was confiscated by Cromwell (qv) and bestowed upon Col. John Hewson, the ‘one-eyed cobbler’, Cromwellian governor of Dublin. Thomas settled in Connacht in 1655, although his wife and sons remained at Luttrellstown. His friendship with the duke of Ormond (qv) ensured that he was quickly reestablished in his estate at the restoration. The young Henry spent some time at the French court in the company of his elder brother Simon (qv), where he gained a reputation as an attractive but dangerous man, and was accused of the death of Lord Pembroke in a duel.
Luttrell took his place among the Jacobite army at Salisbury Plain which attempted to oppose William of Orange's (qv) landing in 1688, and took part in a small and indecisive skirmish along with Patrick Sarsfield (qv) in Burton, Somerset. After James's flight to France he returned to Ireland (1689) and raised, at his own expense, a company of 228 cavalry, which took part in Sarsfield's successful attack on Sligo in 1689 and inflicted a number of defeats on the Enniskilleners.
In summer 1690, in the aftermath of defeat at the Boyne, Henry, along with his brother Simon, Sarsfield, Nicholas Purcell (qv), and Gordon O'Neill (d. 1704), vigorously opposed the view of Tyrconnell (qv) that the city of Limerick could not hold out for more than three days. With the raising of the first siege (30 August 1690) and Tyrconnell's decision to go to France the following month, Sarsfield fell increasingly under the influence of an anti-Tyrconnellite cabal of which Luttrell was an influential member. They urged Sarsfield to move against the pro-Tyrconnellite caretaker government of the duke of Berwick (qv). Berwick acquiesced and allowed the Irish Jacobites to send a delegation which included Luttrell to Saint-Germain, calling for the removal of Tyrconnell. Luttrell finally returned to Ireland with the French commander St Ruth (qv) after convincing James II that Tyrconnell would be in danger from certain elements within the Jacobite army if he were not allowed to return. He was stationed behind Aughrim castle, which had been invested by the musketeers of Col. Walter Bourke (qv), in command of four regiments of dragoons to provide cover for the Jacobite infantry. His failure to engage the Williamite cavalry, resulting in the slaughter of the infantry, was attributed to treachery. However, his forces were heavily outnumbered and receiving no reinforcements from his superior Col. Dominic Sheldon, he had little option other than retreat.
During the second siege of Limerick (25 August–24 September 1691) a Williamite trumpeter who had come to treat for prisoners was searched and had in his possession a letter addressed to Luttrell which implied that he was in secret negotiations with the Williamite commander Ginkel (qv). Shocked by the apparent treachery of his right-hand man, Sarsfield took the unusual step of going straight to their adversary, Tyrconnell. The evidence against Luttrell was insubstantial; only five out of fifteen voted against him in a tribunal. He was imprisoned in St John's castle. On hearing of his arrest Ginkel let it be known that if any Jacobites were executed for attempting to change sides he would take revenge on the Irish. A report on his trial was sent to Saint-Germain, accompanied with a request for directions, but Limerick had surrendered before a reply was received.
Luttrell received a pension of £500 a year from William III because he brought his cavalry regiment of twelve troops over to the Williamite side. Indeed, Dr George Clarke (qv), the Williamite secretary for war, claimed that Luttrell had been very useful in persuading many Irish to stay after the treaty of Limerick. He later accompanied William III to Flanders and received the commission of major-general in the Dutch army. He received the estate of his brother Simon, who had refused to abandon James II. On Simon's death (1698) Henry refused to pay his widow's jointure and persuaded the tenants on her own estate to pay their rents to him. However, she successfully recovered her rents and jointure.
Luttrell remained the subject of much controversy, fuelled no doubt by his reputation as a traitor and a man of loose morals. His appearance in the streets of Dublin always occasioned ugly scenes. Street ballads mocked him and his numerous mistresses and illegitimate children. His ‘treachery’ or public notoriety finally caught up with him when he was assassinated in his sedan chair outside his town residence in Stafford St., Dublin (22 October 1717). The Irish house of commons believed that it was an act of revenge on the part of the papists, and a reward of £1,000 was offered for discovering the perpetrators. Pierts Wauchope concludes that it was more likely the work of a jealous husband, a debtor, or a disgruntled relation than a consequence of his ‘treachery’ at Limerick. He survived the fatal shooting long enough to make a will in which he left his sons in the care of his wife, Lord Cadogan (qv), Lord Gowran (qv), and Sir William Strickland. He may also have converted to protestantism on his deathbed.
References to Luttrell's treachery abound in the Irish literary tradition. In his poem ‘Ba mhinic tú ag díol na sleanncán’, Seán Ó Tuama (qv) reminded his audience of Luttrell who sold Limerick. An English version of the Jacobite verse of Seán Clárach Mac Domhnall (qv) censored ‘Blind’ Henry Luttrell and (Robert) Clifford (qv) for ‘betraying like hangmen their country and people’. Luttrell's notoriety survived in the popular mind. In 1797 his skull was taken out of his tomb and smashed with a pick-axe by a labourer named Carthy, who was later hanged for his part in a plot to assassinate Luttrell's grandson Lord Carhampton (qv), a character no less detested in the 1790s than his grandfather had been.
Luttrell married Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Jones of Halkin, Flintshire, Wales. His eldest son Robert died on his travels in Europe. His other son, Simon, inherited the estate and later represented four different constituencies in the British house of commons between 1754 and 1768. Simon's son Henry stood against John Wilkes in Middlesex, succeeded his father as earl in 1787, and later committed enormous cruelties against the United Irishmen. He sold Luttrellstown in 1800 and left Ireland forever.
Henry Luttrell's portrait, painted by Lely, was in the possession of Lady Du Cane in the late 19th century. A woodcut was also reproduced in Cox's Magazine (Dix, 15).