Paris, Christopher (d. 1535), constable of Maynooth castle, was the son and heir of William Paris of Agher, Co. Meath; nothing is known of his mother. His family were clients of the Fitzgerald earls of Kildare, and Christopher was foster-brother to Thomas FitzGerald (qv), Lord Offaly (‘Silken Thomas’). He served as a financial official for the Kildares, and was one of Offaly's most trusted supporters during his rebellion of 1534–5. When the constable of Maynooth castle, James Boys, refused to join the rebellion and surrendered the office of constable, Offaly entrusted the defence of the castle to Paris. His tenure of the office was brief. In March 1535 the castle was invested by government forces commanded by Sir William Brereton (qv), who described it as the strongest fortress in Ireland, but nevertheless captured it after ten days in an early-morning assault in which some sixty of the defenders were slain against only seven of the attackers. Suspicions were at once aroused. Both the Ulster Annals and the Pale historian Richard Stanihurst (qv) attest to the currency of a widespread belief that the fall of Maynooth was brought about by the treachery of Christopher Paris, who had offered to deliver the castle in exchange for payment. It was alleged that Paris had fulfilled his bargain by plying the garrison with sufficient drink to ensure that Brereton's men would be able to enter the castle unopposed. The story concluded with a dramatic scene in which Paris attended the lord deputy, Sir William Skeffington (qv), in the expectation of receiving his reward, only to be denounced for his betrayal of the trust of his foster-brother and condemned to be executed. The truth of the allegations against Paris is unknowable in the absence of evidence, but he was indeed executed, along with most of the garrison, and was posthumously attainted by the Irish parliament in 1536.
Liam Miller and Eileen Power (ed.), Holinshed's Irish chronicle (1979), 277–80; AU, iii, 599–603; The statutes at large passed in the parliaments held in Ireland, i (1786), 66–76; SP Hen. VIII, ii; Crown survey of lands 1540–41, with the Kildare rental begun in 1518 (1992), 350; Laurence McCorristine, The revolt of Silken Thomas (1987)