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The FitzGerald Family
Early Documented History


The FitzGeralds, or Barons, of Burnchurch
Rev. Carrigan in his "History" published in 1905 describes the FitzGeralds of Burnchurch on pages 378-381 of Volume III.

The Fitzgeralds, otherwise Barons, otherwise FitzMaurices, of Burnchurch, were descended from Maurice fitz Maurice, whose father, most probably, was Maurice fitz Gerald, one of the first of the Anglo-Norman invaders in Ireland, and ancestor of the different families of the Fitzgeralds in this country. Maurice fitz Maurice was lord of Kiltranyn or Burnchurch, in the time of Bishop Hugh de Rous, when he appropriated Burnchurch parish to the Priory of Kells (in Ossory). His descendants are traced, for several generations, in the Abstract of the Register of Kells Priory, as follows:
    Maurice fitz Maurice, who son was
    William, who son was
    Maurice, who son was
    Maurice, who son was
    William, who son was
    Maurice, who son was
    William, who son was
    Roland, who son was
    Richard.

Roland above was but a mere child, at the death of his father, William Fitz Maurice, some time before March 28th, 1374. He was still a minor, March 8th, 1390. He was appointed Keeper of the Peace for Co. Kilkenny, in 1405, and again in 1410. In the later year, he, and his wife, Margaret, had a grant of 1 messuage and 1 1/2 carucates of land in Kenokestoun. Published records mention him for the last time, in 1414, when the King granted him, for his services, a life pension of 12 a year.

His son and heir was Richard Fitz Maurice ("Rold' fil' Wmi genuit Richm ", as shown in the Abstract), who, with his wife Johanna Whytte, is mentioned on the oldest of the family tombs in Burnchurch. Another Richard Fitz Maurice, or Baron, of Burnchurch (probably grandson of Richard, son of Richard), and Patrick St. Leger, chief of his nation, appear in 1502, as witnesses to the identification of the will of Sir James Butler Mac Richard, made in 1487.

Roland Fitz Maurice, or Baron, otherwise "Royland Fitzgerald," probably son of Richard of 1502, was lord of Burnchurch, in 1527 (Raoulandus fitz Maurice, Baron do Ecca.Cremata, in Graves MSS). He was sheriff of Co. Kilkenny in 1535 and 1537, and, dying Feb. 1st, 1544-45, is buried, together with his wife, Anastatia St. Leger, in Burnchurch. He had at least three sons, viz.:

(1) William Fitzgerald, or Baron, the eldest son and heir, who became a priest, and was appointed Vicar of Burnchurch, as appears from the following:
"1546 (March 21). "Presentation of William Baron, otherwise Fitzgerald, son and heir of Rowland Fitzgerald, Baron of Burchchurch, to the vicarage of Burnchurch, otherwise Kiltrany, in the county of Kilkenny, vacant by the resignation of Richard Melley, and in the King's gift, pleno jure."
[Pat. 37 Hen. VII]

(2) Peter Fitzgerald or Baron, who is referred to in the following entry:
"1546 (Feb. 12). Pardon of Peter Fitzgerald, otherwise called Peter Baron, of Danganmore, son of Roland Fitzgerald, otherwise Roland Baron, late of Burnchurch, in the county of Kilkennt, horseman."
[Pat. 37 Hen. VII]

(3) John. He became his father's successor and heir -- apparently by the renunciation of his rights by his eldest brother, William. He was a Justice of the Peace for the Co. Kilkenny, in 1552, in which year he met his death, as the following shows:
"1557 (Oct. 6). Pardon to Grace fitz John, kern, indicted as one of a bank who attacked John Fitzgerald alias Baron, of Burnechurche, a Justice of the Peace of the County of Kilkenny, in the 6th year of Edward VI., at Maillardeston, when the said John was murdered by Edmund moor O'Clery."
[see Fiants of Philip and Mary]

He is buried with his parents at Burnchurch, but only the year of his death, 1552, and the prayer for his soul, may now be deciphered on the tomb.

Richard Baron, son of John, was but a few years old at the death of his father in 1552. During his minority he appears to have been in (the) charge of a gentleman named Patrick Sherlock. He came of age about 1569; and was still living in 1594. He died within the next eight years.

Roland, his son, succeeded, before Nov. 4th, 1602. On the 15th June, 1607, livery was granted "to Roland Fitzgerald of Kiltranyheyn alias Burnechurch, Esqr., son of Richard Fitzgerald, late of same, deceased. Fine 50." Roland was still living in 1641, but died soon after, leaving by his wife, Anstace, eldest daughter of Tobert Rothe of Kilkenny (1550-1622), at least two sons, Richard, his successor; and Edward.

Richard Fitzgerald, or Baron, joined the Confederate Movement; lost his ancestral estate -- consisting of 816 ac. 3r. in Burnchurch, 244ac. in Bueper, now Viper, and 134ac, in Bowley -- under Cromwell, in 1653; and was transplanted to Connaught in 1654. He is said to have left at his death two children, then minors, viz. Garret and Oner, who both died without issue. This statement does not exactly tally with the fact that on the 6th July, 1663, the claim of "John Fitzgerald and Eliz., his wife, relict of Richard, and Simon ye sonn, Richd. ye father, and Rowland ye grandfather," was heard in the Court of Claims for the Trial of Innocents, and a decree of Nocent returned. It appears certain, however, that the issue of Richard Fitzgerald did not continue the family. The representatives of the family then devolved upon his nephew Captain James Fitzgerald, son of his brother Edward.

Captain Fitzgerald was an officer in Colonel James Dempsy's Regiment, serving under the Prince of Conde, and with other officers in the Regiment, petitioned King Charles the Second, in 1660, to restore them their rightful estates in Ireland. Captain Fitzgerald affixes his signature to this document as "Capn. James Fitz Gerald of Burnchurch." Of the Captain nothing further appears to be known, except that, in a pedigree, certified by the Ulster King-of-Arms, he is said to have settled down in the Co. Waterford, when he married Slany, daughter of Donald More O'Brien, of Comeragh, and became the ancestor of the Barons of that region.

Father Patrick Fitzgerald who was parish priest of St. Patrick's, Kilkenny, for 30 years or more, and died Oct. 3rd, 1749, is stated on his monument in St. Patrick's churchyard, to have sprung from the noble family of the Fitzgeralds of Burnchurch, and from the noble family of Rothes. It is probable, therefore, that he was descended in the direct line from the Captain's grandparents, Roland Fitzgerald and Anstace Rothe.

Burnchurch castle, the seat of the Fitzgerald, or Baron, family, is still in good preservation.

A minor branch of the family, but of consequence withal, was also seated at Burnchurch, holding their land, at a nominal rent, from the lords of the castle. The first of them we meet with, is Garret fitz Thomas Fitzgerald, whose monument is, probably, that now broken in Burnchurch graveyard. The translation of the inscription on his monument (given by Carrigan) is
[Here lies Garret ? fitz] Thomas Fitzgeralde, late of Burnchurch, gentleman, Constable of the Castle of Kilkenny, who died March 1st 1586.
He was pardoned in 1561-2, and again appears in 1569. His daughter, Elizabeth, was the wife of John Walsh of Kilcraggan, who died in 1636. He was, presumably, the father of William Fitzgerald of Burnchurch, gent., who received a pardon in 1602, was Constable of the Barony of Knocktopher in 1608, and was still living Aug. 18th, 1623, at which last date he held part of the townland of Burnchurch, paying thereout a chiefry of 12s. a year to the lord of the castle, and head of the family, viz. Roland fitz Richard Fitzgerald. A William Fitzgerald forfeited 28ac. in Burnchurch, and 197ac. in Oldtown, under Cromwell, in 1653, and was transplanted to Connaught the following year. He may have been the William Fitzgerald of 1608 and 1623, above, or possibly his son or grandson.

William Fitzgerald, of Lisdowney, who died in 1695, was, perhaps, a descendant of Garret fitz Thomas, of Burnchurch. In his will he mentions his sons Alexius, Garret, Edward, Thomas and Nicholas, and brother, Doctor Edmond Fitzgerald. From Alexius, who died in 1694, leaving several children, viz. William, John, Garret, Mary, Anastatia, Bridget, Amy and Anne, would seem to descend the Fitzgeralds of Jessfield and Ballintaggert, Co. Tipperary.


The FitzGeralds, or O'Deas, of Gurteen
Rev. Carrigan in his "History" published in 1905 describes the FitzGeralds of Gurteen on pages 203-204 of Volume IV.

They were sprung, according to the family tradition, from Thomas fitz Maurice, who is supposed to have been a son of the Knight of Kerry, to have married the daughter and heiress of O'Dea, chieftain of Ida, and to have assumed the name of his wife's family, by which their descendants were known down to the 16th century [The Geraldines of the Co. Kilkenny, by G. D. Burtchaell, M.A.]. The amount of truth in this tradition it is now impossible to determine. That an O'Dea was ever chieftain of Ida, since the Anglo-Norman Invasion, can scarcely be accepted for a fact; that, however, the Fitzgeralds, of Gurteen, were known as O'Dea in the 16th century, cannot be questioned.

"Thomas O'Daa, of Gurtyns, Co. Kilkenny, gent.," was pardoned , July 8th, 1549 [Fiants of Ed. VI.]. As "Thomas Fitz Garrolde alias Adaye, of Grutchins, Co. Kilkenny, gent.," he also had a pardon, May 26th, 1566 [Fiants of Eliz.]. About the latter year Thomas Day's "landes, houlden of the Mannour of the Grannagh," were valued at 20. "Thomas O'Da, of Gurtines, gentleman," was again pardoned, Dec. 24th, 1571. On the 21st Nov., 1576, pardons were granted to James fitz Edmond roe, of the Geralynes, of Gurtyns, Co. Kilkenny, and Edmund fitz Thomas, of the Geraldines, yeomen.

Nicholas, the son of Thomas O'Dea, otherwise Fitzgerald or Geraldine, served as a Juror, in 1585. On the 22nd June 1588, pardons were granted to Nicholas fitz Thomas Geraldine, of Gurtins, and Walter fitz Thomas Geraldine, of same. In 1608 Richard Fitzgerald, of Gurtine, was one of the Coroners of Co. Kilkenny; and, in the same year, Nicholas Fitzgerald was one of the Constables of the Barony of Ida. In 1610 or 1611 Nicholas fitz Thomas, of the Garteens (i.e. Gurteen), appears as a harbourer of the popish priest, Sir Thomas Woodlock. By his wife, Ellen Bourke, otherwise Gaul, he was father of Patrick Fitzgerald, bron 1567; of Richard Fitzgerald, of waterford, deceased the 25th of March, 1638; and probably of "Theobald fitz Nicholas of the Gurtin," pardoned Aug. 15th, 1599. He died Sept. 29th, 1617, and is buried in Rathpatrick, where portion of his monument may still be seen.

By Inquisition of Aug. 12th, 1619, it was found that Nicholas Fitzgerald, of Gurtin, was seised in fee of the manor, town, and lands of Gurtins, and of the hamlet of Rathnegeragh; also of Kilmurrey, otherwise Cowlefey, Ballivally, Balliboy, Ballilone, Ballentaggart and Balleandrine, parcel of Killmurrey aforesaid; Killecorkeslay and Ballangowne, parcel of the same town; Ballinickoll, and Garrymore parcel of the same town; Currahaun and the hamlets of Corefore and Gragenegihie, parcel of the aforesaid town; Lywghvonye otherwise Luffanie, and the hamlet of Ballivooly, parcel of the said town; and of three-fourths of Rathpatricke, and of a yearly rent of 4s. out of the lands of Oneagh (elsewhere written Creyagh). So seised, the said Nicholas died Sept. 29th, 1617. Patrick Fitzgerald, son and heir of the said Nicholas, was 50 years of age at the time of his father's death, and married. The premises are held of the King in free and common socage, and at a yearly rent of 26s. 8d.

Under the Cromwellian regime, John Fitzgerald, the head of the family, forfeited Rathcleheene, Kilmurry, Gurteens, Rathpatrick, Luffiny, Curraghmore and Castlewood (which last is in the parish of Kilcolumb); Toby or Theobald Fitzgerald, at the same time, forfeited Nicholastown (otherwise "Ballinickoll).

The following members of the family were transplanted to Connaught, Dec. 26th, 1653: -- John Fitzgerald, of Gurteenes; Theobald Fitzgerald. of Bllywaring; Nicholas Fitzgerald, of Flemingstown; and Walter Fitzgerald, of Gallestown.

John Fitzgerald, on his transplantation, was assigned the lands of Turlough and other lands in the Barony of Carra, Co. Mayo; which lands were confirmed to him by Royal letters of May 30th, 1677. He married Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Sir John Browne, of the Neale, Co. Mayo. He must have lived to a very great age, as his will in which he is described as "late of Mohenny, formerly of Turlough, in the County of Mayo," is dated July 23rd, 1717, more than 63 years after his departure from Gurteen. Administration with will annexed was granted to his widow Elizabeth, July 21st, 1720. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas Fitzgerald, born in 1661, died July, 1747, from whom descends the present Charles Lionel Fitzgerald, or Turlogh Park, J. P. and D. L. for the Co. Mayo.


The Barons, or Fitzgeralds, of Brownsford
Rev. Carrigan in his "History" published in 1905 describes the Barons, or Fitzgeralds, of Brownsford on pages 195-196 of Volume IV.

They were probably a branch of the Barons, or Fitzgeralds, of Burnchurch, and appear to have been settled down in the neighbourhood of Inistioge before the close of the 15th century. Their property included the castles of Brwnsford and Cloone, and the townlands of Brownsford, or Aughavroona, Curraghmore, Cloone, Ballygub, and Coolenamuck. Myles, or Milo, Baron, Prior of Inistioge, and Bishop of Ossory for twenty-two years, belonged to this stock, and at his death, in 1550, was buried, with his forefathers (in sepultura maiorum), in Inistioge Priory.

David Baron, gent., of Brownsford, is mentioned in documents of the years 1543, 1549, and 1551.

Edmund Baron, gent., of Brownsford, apparently his son, received a pardon, on the 2nd Jany., 1571-2 [Fiants of Eliz.].

Thomas Baron, of Cloone, son of Edmund, died at Cloone, on the 3rd October, 1584, leaving a son and heir.

David Baron, otherwise Fitzgerald, who was born on the 25th Nov., 1564. Being a minor at the time of his father's death, his wardship was granted to Richard Harding, gent. He married Joan Morress, daughter of Sir John Morres, After his death, which happened on the 14th April, 1621, his wife caused a wayside cross, the base of which now adorns Inistioge square, to be erected to his and her own memory. His son and successor,

Edmund Fitzgerald, born in 1591, threw in his lot with his Catholic fellow countrymen during the Confederate period, and, in consequence, forfeited all his property and was transplanted to Connaught, in 1653.

Edward Fitzgerald, who was probably son of Thomas, and grandson of this Edmund managed to recover, by purchase, or some other means, a portion of the ancestral porperty, viz., Cloone, Ballygub, and Coolenamuck. He was M.P. of Inistioge in King James the Second's Parliament, in 1689. He fell at Aughrim, on the 12th of July, 1691. He is supposed to have been married to a sister of William Shee, of Ballilogue, in the Rower (who was murdered in 1716); but, if he left any children, no account of such has been haded down.

The castle of Brownsford is five-storeyed and is still in fine preservation, the walls being strong and massive. It is said to have been founded by a lady named Una ni 'ac Fheorais, or Una Bermingham. She first selected a site opposite Cloone Castle, but, when a considerable potion of the building had been raised there, she, for some reason, desisted from the work and built he present castle of Brownsford instead. The unfinished castle was called Cushawn ruil (according to tradition]. Its foundations yet remain undisturbed.


The Barrons, or Fitzgeralds, of Burnchurch
A description of the ancestors of the Fitzgeralds of Brunchurch, as given by Eric St. John Brooks from the book Knights' Fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny, Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin Stationery Office, 1950.

In 1247 William, son of Maurice, held half a knight's fee at 'Kiltrafh' (presumed to be Burnchurch in Co. Kilkenny). His father was Maurice son of Maurice who was presumably, and was claimed in the reign of Henry VI by his descendant to be, a son of Maurice FitzGerald. This Maurice son of Maurice was the original grantee of Kiltranie or Burnchurch, as appears from his charter and that of his son William of the church of Kiltranie to the Priory of Kells in Ossory [Irish Monastic and Episcopal Deeds, p. 307]. And he was also enfeoffed of 'five knights' fees in the manor of 'Morice Castell in the territory of Othoyghfynglas, lying in length from the sea to the summit of the mountain of Croghan, and in breadth from the land of the Earl of Wexford up to Botiller's land,' to quote from the petition of his descendant, Sir Roland FitzMaurice, in the reign of Henry VI, who calls himself 'the lawful heir descended in right line from Maurice Fitzgerald knight, who laboured in the conquest of Ireland [Exchr. Roll (Rot. Mem. 24 Hy. VI) quoted by H.F. Hore in Journal, R.S.A.I., 1892, p.362]. This record is of considerable interest. The land in question was presumably held directly of the Crown, as it does not occur in the Marshal feodaries. It lay north of the barony of Gorey (Co. Wexford) to the south of the manor of Arklow, the Butler's territory, and north of the Marshals' Wexford fief, and extended from the sea inland to Mt. Croghan. Othoyghfynglas seems to preserve the sept-name Ui Fenechglais or Ui-Enechglias, seated in the barony of Arklow [Onomast. Goid. ; Top. Poems, notes 364, 452]. There is a reference to it in the charter of the first Theobald Walter to the monastry of Arklow [Dugdale, Monasticum, vi. 1128], the lands granted including the seashore south of the Avoca river up to the land of Morice son of Morice. There is a further reference to this territory in the time of Maurice's gransdon, Maurice son of William, for c. 1280-5 Walter de Hertun' quitted claim to Sir Theobald le Botiller to Tacsylan in the tenement of Maurice son of William [Ormond Deeds, i. 168]. This Maurice son of William was great-grandfather of Maurice son William who held a quarter knight's fee in Killesk (co. Wexford) in 1324.

In regard to the half knight fee at Burnchurch, Brooks offers the following. In 1247, William, son of Maurice, held the fee at Kiltrafh. This is the modern Burnchurch, a name which Canon Carrigan states is as old as the year 1374 [iii. 375, quoted above]. He offers no derivation for the Irish name, the proper form of which seems doubtful. It is generally written as Kiltranyn. The earliest form in the records is Kiltrame (or perhaps Kiltranie) as appears in Irish Monastic and Episcopal Deeds, p. 307. The form in the 1247 feodary (Kiltrafh) suggests that the "n" in the name should perhaps be read as "u."

It is shown [above] that Maurice, son of Maurice, i.e., a younger son of Maurice FitzGerald, was the original grantee of Kiltranyn. He gave the church of Kiltrame (? Kiltranie) to the Priory of Kells in Ossory, according to the Registry, at some time during the episcopate of Hugh le Rous (1202-1218). He was also enfeoffed in the manor of 'Morice Castell' [above]. He witnessed William FitzGeoffrey's charter to Kells in 1215 [Chartae, Privilegia et Immunitates., p. 17].

The Register of Kells names Maurice's son and heir as William, son of Maurice, who confirmed the church of Kiltranyn to the Priory. William, son of Maurice confirmed, as overlord, a charter of c. 1225 concerning Tulachany or Grange, co. Kilkenny [Duiske Charters, no. 15]. He is the William, son of Maurice, who held Burnchurch in the feodary of 1247. About the year 1240 he witnessed charters concerning Erleystown, co. Kilkenny [Ormond Deeds, i. 92, 93]. The Kells Register gives his son and heir as Maurice, son of William; and for him there is independent evidence. For the lands of Sir Maurice, son of William, in the above-named fee of 'Morice Castell' in the north of the barony of Gorey are mentioned c. 1280-5. He is presumably the Maurice, son of William, who married Gila, duaghter of Maurice of London [Cal. Papal Regrs., Letters, vol. i., p.368]. Maurice, son of William, was succeeded, according to the Kells Register, by his son Maurice, son of Maurice. He is the Maurice, son of Maurice, son of William, who occurs in co. Kilkenny in 1297 [Cal. Just. Rolls, i. 141] and in 1301 witnessed a deed in the court of Lady Joan de Valence, Countess of Pembroke [History of the Town and County of Wexford, Hore, vol. iii, p. 85]. In 1307 Maurice, son of Maurice, was granted 2 marks rent, namely for 1/2 carucate in Corbali and from part of the mill of Jeripont [Ormond Deeds, i. 411]. This Corbali is Hamundsboly (now Cotterellsbooly) in Stonecarthy, co. Kilkenny, of later deeds. In 1317 he held the 1/2 fee in Burnchurch, which is listed as Kiltramyn or Kyltuyn depending on which record is referenced [see note below].

The Kells Register gives Maurice, son of Maurice, for son and heir William, son of Maurice; and one version of the 1317 feodary has, in agreement, William, son of Maurice, holding the 1/2 fee in Burnchurch; so that Maurice, son of Maurice, presumably died shortly after 1317. In 1325/6, Mora, widow of Maurice, son of Maurice, occurs [Ormond Deeds, i. 577].

About the year 1326 William, son of Maurice, came into Chancery, with William Outlawe, a wealthy Kilkenny banker, son of Dame Alice Kyteler, the reputed witch, and recognised for their deed an agreement by which Maurice, son and heir of William, son of Maurice, should marry Margaret, daughter of William Outlawe, Outlawe paying to William, son of Maurice, 100 marks silver, and William, son of Maurice, undertaking not to alienate any of his lands and tenements which he gave on that day to Maurice and Margaret, saving one messuage and 16 acres which he held in hamundsboly, co. Kilkenny, of the house of St. John of Jerusalem [Cal. Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland, 35b.]. This deed is not dated, but it is among the entries of the year 1326-7; so that we may take it that William, son of Maurice, was then alive. Yet in 1324 Maurice, son of William, held a quarter knight's fee at Killesk, barony of Shelbourne, co. Wexford [1324 feodary]. It seems, therefore, that William, son of Maurice, had enfeoffed his son in Killesk, whose later history shows other examples of settlement by the head of the house on sons and younger sons. In 1336 William, son of Maurice of Kilkavan (? recte Kiltrauyn) complained of robbery at Killesk [Hore, vol. iii, p.238]. In 1346 William, son of Maurice, and John his son, released the messuage and 16 acres of land in Hamundesboli "in Ospitali," near Insnag, to William, son of Richard Coterel of Kells. The pedigree given in the Kells Register does not mention this John, who may have been a younger son enfeoffed in this property [Ormond Deeds, i. 782-4]. The subsequent history of the famliy is given by Carrigan and Burtchaell ['Geraldines of co. Kilkenny,' Journal, R.S.A.I., 1892, p. 362 f.].

Of the Geraldine fee at Killesk (co. Wexford), the Fitzgeralds continued here, and Killesk was granted to a younger branch. William Barron, late of Killesk, died in 1568, leaving Roland, his son and heir, and seised of the castle and lands of Killesk held of the Queen for 1/2 knight's fee [Hore, iii. 239]. Roland died in 1573, and Richard his son and heir enfeoffed Richard FitzJohn, Baron of Burnchurch, who enfeoffed his younger son of Burnchurch [Hore, loc. cit; Burtchaell, op. cit.]

Note on the feodaries:
The 1247 feodary (The de Valence Purparty) was taken from "Chancery Miscellanea", P.R.O., London (File 88/4, no. 70), collated with a list in the Calendar Patent Rolls.

The 1317 feodary (share of Hugh le Despenser and Alianora his wife) was taken from "Chancery Miscellanea", P.R.O., London (File 9/24). Another account of the feodary (the partitiion of Co. Kilkenny in 1317) is given in Addl. MS. 4791 in the British Museum.

The 1324 feodary was printed in the Calendar of Inquisitions post mortem, representing the inquisition on the Irish estate of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke and taken at Wexford on July 16, 1324.


Information compiled and contributed by Dennis Walsh.


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