Palmer, William (1657–1726), MP and officeholder, was a son of Edward Palmer of Norfolk, England, and his wife Philippa, daughter of Sir Henry Armiger. On his appearance in Ireland he began a political and administrative career that lasted from about 1692 to 1713. He was one of the commissioners (1692–5) for stating the accounts of the army in Ireland, and was deputy clerk of the Irish privy council by the end of 1693, in which capacity he acted as registrar when the council sat as a court of claims to adjudicate on land forfeitures under the treaty of Limerick. He was one of the commissioners of revenue appeals, 1693–1707, and sat in the house of commons for Castlebar, Co. Mayo (1695–9, 1703–13). He was chief secretary to the lords justices, 1696–7. In this position he corresponded officially with James Vernon, under-secretary of state at Whitehall, who disliked his politics, considering him to be a ‘known creature’ of Sir Charles Porter (qv) and a ‘tool’ of his party (James, i, 256). He served briefly as secretary to the lords justices in 1701.
Between 1693 and 1697 he petitioned the government for grants of lands in Co. Roscommon and Co. Meath and houses in Athlone belonging to Devenish, a forfeiting landowner. He had also purchased from Viscount Sidney (qv) lands in Co. Meath, granted out of the forfeited Barnwell estates, and was alarmed at the appointment of the commission of inquiry into the forfeited estates established by the English parliament in 1699. His own residence was at Castlelackan, Co. Mayo.
He disappeared from public life after 1713 and died 22 September 1726. The surname of his wife Jane (a kinswoman of James Vernon) is unknown, and she appears to have predeceased him. He had three daughters, including Elinor, heir to his lands in Meath, and seven sons, one of whom was probably the William Palmer, jun., who held the office of usher of the council chamber, 1705–58.