Tuchet, James (c.1617–1684), Lord Audley and 3rd earl of Castlehaven , soldier, was eldest son of Mervyn Tuchet, Lord Audley and 2nd earl of Castlehaven, and Elizabeth, daughter of Benedict Barnham, alderman of London. The Tuchets, an English catholic family, had acquired an interest in Ireland only at the end of the sixteenth century, after receiving grants of land in Co. Cork and Co. Kildare. Mervyn Tuchet enjoyed a decadent lifestyle in England, totally neglecting his Irish estates, as well as the education of his son and heir. After Elizabeth's death, he married Anne Stanley, daughter of the 5th earl of Derby, described by one contemporary as ‘the wickedest woman in the world’ (G.E.C., Peerage). In 1631 he was executed on Tower Hill, following a conviction on charges of homosexuality and assisting in the rape of his wife. James, disgusted by his father's behaviour, cooperated fully with the authorities in bringing him to justice. Although the Audley title was declared forfeit, James succeeded to the Irish earldom, and shortly afterwards Charles I restored all of Castlehaven's English inheritance. Sometime before 1631 James married Elizabeth, 12-year-old daughter of Anne Stanley by her first marriage to Grey Brydges, 5th Baron Chandos of Sudeley. At his trial, it emerged that Mervyn Tuchet had forced his young daughter-in-law to commit adultery with her mother's lover. Elizabeth's own marriage suffered as a result, and James took a succession of lovers throughout his life. Anxious for a new beginning free from scandal, the young earl chose to pursue a military career abroad.
In 1638, however, the king, embroiled in conflict with his Scottish subjects, summoned him back to England. With the signing of the treaty of Berwick (1639), Castlehaven returned to the Continent, where he witnessed the fall of Arras to the French, despite the resolute defence conducted by the town's commander, Owen Roe O'Neill (qv). Castlehaven next attended the parliament in England until the execution of Thomas Wentworth (qv), earl of Strafford in May 1641, at which time he travelled to Ireland on private business. News of the Ulster uprising (October) brought the earl to Dublin, where he unsuccessfully opposed the proroguing of parliament by the lords justices. He offered his help in suppressing the insurrection; but the Dublin administration, wary of all catholics, ordered him instead to return to the family home in Maddenstown, Co. Kildare. In early 1642 the earl received an unsolicited letter from the catholic lords of the Pale, who sought to use him as an intermediary with the government. Castlehaven informed the lords justices of this approach, but the episode served to heighten their suspicions of his activities. Shortly afterwards, the insurgents massacred a convoy of refugees travelling to Dublin from his estates in Kildare. Castlehaven, accused by the lords justices of complicity in the affair, was summoned to Dublin and imprisoned in the house of Mr Woodcock, one of the sheriffs of the city. After five months, the authorities ordered his removal to Dublin castle, but the earl escaped so as ‘not tamely to die butchered’ (quoted in Lodge, ii, 133). Unable to flee abroad, and fearing the retribution of the lords justices, he decided to take the oath of association and make common cause with the catholic confederates.
Castlehaven served as commander of the horse under Gen. Thomas Preston (qv) in Leinster, and during the first general assembly (October 1642) he assisted the eminent lawyer Patrick Darcy (qv) in drawing up a ‘model of government’. According to his memoirs, written forty years later, Castlehaven sat on the first executive supreme council, ‘with no relation to any province but to the kingdom in general’ (Castlehaven's review, 59). The surviving evidence does not support this claim, but the earl did represent Leinster on each of the subsequent four councils, from May 1643 until February 1646. Despite his political activities, Castlehaven concentrated primarily on military affairs, displaying a particular flair for cavalry warfare. He took part in the capture of Birr in January 1643, and commanded the Leinster horse two months later at Ross, Co. Wexford, when the royalist commander, James Butler (qv), marquess of Ormond, defeated the confederate forces. The general assembly in May of that year appointed Castlehaven as commander in Munster, to replace the ineffective Garrett Barry. Shortly afterwards (4 June) the confederates won an important victory at Cloughlea, near Fermoy, over Sir Charles Vavasor – one of their few battlefield successes. The leading confederate lord, Nicholas Preston (qv), Viscount Gormanston, died the following month, and a new peace faction, led by Castlehaven's close friend, Donough MacCarthy (qv), Viscount Muskerry, dominated Kilkenny politics for the next three years.
This group favoured a speedy settlement with Ormond, the royalist lord lieutenant, to whom Castlehaven was closely related through the marriage of his sister Frances to Ormond's brother, Sir Richard Butler of Kilcash. While peace negotiations with the royalists progressed, the confederates remained active in the field against the Scottish covenanters in Ulster and those forces, scattered throughout the country, loyal to the English parliament. In late 1643 a dispute over the supreme command of a proposed offensive into Ulster, between the general of that province, Owen Roe O'Neill, and Thomas Preston, threatened to undermine the whole enterprise. As a compromise, general assembly members selected Castlehaven, ‘a person generally beloved’ (Gilbert, Ir. confed., iii, 3), according to Richard Bellings (qv), secretary of the supreme council. Apart from O'Neill, Randal MacDonnell (qv), 2nd earl of Antrim, also believed he should lead any campaign in Ulster, which provoked further quarrels within the confederate ranks. Castlehaven, unfamiliar with the northern terrain and unsure of the support of the Ulster Irish, displayed uncharacteristic caution throughout the subsequent campaign. Despite some initial success against rogue elements in Connacht, the Ulster offensive in 1644 proved a costly failure, ending in a military stand-off. The supreme council summoned both Castlehaven and O'Neill to account for their actions, but after a bout of mutual recriminations, neither man was censured. The following year, Castlehaven, restored to his Munster command, launched a lightning offensive against Murrough O'Brien (qv), Lord Inchiquin, the parliamentary commander in Cork. He captured a succession of strongholds along the Blackwater river and, with the parliamentary forces throughout the province in disarray, laid siege to Youghal. He failed, however, to take the town, losing in the process a glorious opportunity to close the Munster front permanently.
Political events increasingly occupied the earl's time, particularly after the arrival in Ireland of the papal nuncio, GianBattista Rinuccini (qv), at the end of 1645. The nuncio demanded more extensive religious concessions from Ormond, a stance that Muskerry's faction believed threatened the entire peace process. The earl resigned as Munster commander, frustrated by the delay in agreeing treaty terms, which he described as ‘a great folly and a prodigious instance of blind zeal in the Irish clergy’ (Castlehaven's review, 81). None the less, during the summer of 1646 he returned to halt Inchiquin's latest offensive, and took part in the successful siege of Bunratty castle. Ormond finally proclaimed the treaty, signed by the confederate commissioners, at the end of July, but clerical leaders, assembled in Waterford, opposed the deal. Castlehaven later claimed that he personally tried to convince the nuncio to change his mind, although no corroboratory evidence survives to indicate that the two men met at this time. The earl accompanied Ormond's subsequent procession through south Leinster and north Munster, but the approach of Owen Roe O'Neill from the north forced the royalists to flee back to Dublin. Castlehaven helped prepare the city's defences for the expected confederate assault which never materialised, and in early 1647, as Ormond began to negotiate Dublin's surrender to the English parliament, he sailed for France.
Castlehaven served in Prince Rupert's regiment until 1648, when he returned to Ireland with Ormond. Accepted back into confederate ranks at the general assembly, despite his blatant desertion two years earlier, the earl helped negotiate a new settlement with the royalists. The second Ormond peace treaty, signed in January 1649, created a confederate–royalist alliance, with Castlehaven serving as lord general of the horse. He campaigned against opponents of the treaty, including Owen Roe O'Neill, throughout the summer of 1649, capturing Maryborough and a number of smaller garrisons. He temporarily retired from the field after a dispute over precedence with Theobald Taaffe (qv), Viscount Taaffe, but rejoined Ormond to take part in the disastrous defeat at Rathmines (2 August 1649). He subsequently assisted in the defence of Wexford town and the fort of Duncannon, and in early 1650 Ormond appointed him commander-in-chief in Leinster. He retreated into Connacht, however, after the fall of Kilkenny to Cromwell (March). At the end of the year, the lord lieutenant sailed for France with both Inchiquin and Taaffe, but he persuaded a reluctant Castlehaven to remain behind and continue the struggle. The earl went on the offensive in Kerry, clearing the county of parliamentary forces before returning to his base in Ennis. Despite this success, the war continued to go badly for the royalist–confederate alliance, and after the fall of Limerick (October 1651) Galway was the only city still holding out against the parliamentarians.
In April 1652 the lord deputy, Ulick Burke (qv), marquis of Clanricarde, sent the earl on an urgent mission to seek military assistance from abroad. After a battle at sea with parliamentary ships, Castlehaven finally landed at Brest in Brittany and travelled to the French court in Paris. Unable to gain any assistance from a government paralysed by civil war, he joined the forces of the prince of Condé instead. Captured by Marshal de Turenne in December 1652, Castlehaven was exchanged after the direct intervention of the duke of York. He remained with Condé until the restoration of Charles II, fighting at Rocroy and Cambrai, as well as the battle of the Dunes (June 1658). On his return to England in 1660, Charles II ordered that Castlehaven recover the family estates, as well as granting him a generous pension. None the less, the earl had to overcome numerous obstacles before regaining his land and receiving his annuity. Anxious to resume his military career, in 1663 he offered to raise troops for service in Portugal, but nothing came of this proposal. In 1667 Castlehaven landed at Ostend with a regiment comprised of 2,400 Irish troops, to oppose the French invasion of Flanders. Active in Spanish service throughout the 1670s, as commander of a foot regiment, he fought at the battle of Mons (14 August 1678).
Castlehaven retired to Ireland shortly afterwards and began writing his memoirs, which appeared in 1680. In this controversial and entertaining account of the Irish wars, the earl made a clear distinction between ‘the first beginners of the  rebellion, and those that afterwards carried on the war under the title of confederate catholics of Ireland’ (Castlehaven's review, 5). The memoirs survive as an invaluable historical source, although they do contain a number of factual errors and undoubtedly overstate the earl's role, particularly in political affairs. The lord privy seal, Arthur Annesley (qv), earl of Anglesey, a parliamentary commissioner during the Irish wars, challenged Castlehaven's version of events in a series of public letters. Anglesey also criticised Ormond's role in agreeing peace terms with the confederates. Ormond, aware of the intensity of anti-catholic feeling in England, described Castlehaven's work as a foolish and unseasonable book. None the less, Anglesey's letters forced the duke to defend his record in Ireland, and he ultimately succeeded in having the lord privy seal dismissed from his post. Castlehaven also issued a second edition of his memoirs with an addendum, answering his critics. After the death of his first wife (1679), the earl married Elizabeth Graves, about whom little is known, but this second union also remained childless. He died suddenly 11 October 1684 at Kilcash, Co. Tipperary, and was succeeded by his youngest brother, Mervyn.