STEELE, WILLIAM (d. 1680), lord chancellor of Ireland, was a son of Richard Steele of Sandbach, Cheshire, and was educated at Caius College, Cambridge. In 1648 he was chosen recorder of London, and he was one of the four counsel appointed to conduct the case against Charles I. in January 1649, but illness prevented him from discharging this duty. However, a few days later he took part in the prosecution of the duke of Hamilton and other Royalists. Steele was M.P. for the City of London in 1654, was chief baron of the exchequer in 1655, and was made lord chancellor of Ireland in 1656. After the fall of Richard Cromwell he was one of the five commissioners appointed in 1659 to govern Ireland. At the end of this year he returned to England, but he refused to sit on the committee of safety to which he had been named. At the Restoration he obtained the full benefits of the Act of Indemnity, but he thought it advisable to reside for a time in Hojland. However, he had returned to England before his death towards the end of 1680.
See O. J. Burke, History of the Lord Chancellors of Ireland (Dublin, 1879).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)