Fitzgerald, Raymond (DNB00)
|←Fitzgerald, Peter George||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 19
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FITZGERALD, RAYMOND, surnamed (Le Gros d. 1182), was the son of William, the elder brother of Maurice Fitzgerald, d. 1176 [q. v.], and Robert Fitzstephen [q. v.] (Expugnatio Hibernica, pp. 248, 310), who preceded him in the invasion of Ireland, whither he was sent as Strongbow's representative in April 1170 [see Clare, Richard de, d. 1176], He landed at Dundunnolf, near Waterford (c. 1 May), at the head of ten knights and seventy archers, and at once entrenched himself behind a turf fortification. Here he was besieged by the Ostmen of Waterford in alliance with the Irish of Decies and Idrone. A sudden sally repelled the assailants with a loss of seventy prisoners. Raymond spared their lives against the advice of Hervey de Mountmaurice, who had represented Strongbow in Ireland before he himself arrived, and a long feud arose from this (Exp. Hib. pp. 250-3; Regan, pp. 70-2; Ann. Four Masters, i. 1177; Annals of Inisf. p. 114).
Four months later Earl Strongbow reached Ireland, and the fall of Waterford was due to Raymond, who, in the words of Giraldus, was totius exercitus dux et tribunus militiaeque princeps' (25 Aug. 1170). After the earl's marriage to Dermot's daughter, Raymond accompanied his lord to Ferns. In the Dublin expedition he led the centre of the army, having eight hundred 'companions' under his orders. There Raymond and Miles de Cogan, tired of negotiations, broke into the place and drove its ruler Asculf to his ships, 21 Sept. 1170 (Exp. Hib. pp. 256-8; Regan, pp. 73-82; Ann. Four Masters, p. 1177; Annals of Boyle, p. 28).
Raymond was soon afterwards sent by the earl to place all his conquests at the disposal of Henry II. Raymond seems to have met Henry in Aquitaine (c. December 1170 to January 1171). He led the first or second squadron in the famous sally from Dublin about July 1171. He probably returned to England with Henry II in April 1172, as he was not one of those to whom the king gave grants of Irish land on leaving the country. A year later, when Strongbow's services in Normandy were rewarded by permission to return to Ireland, he insisted upon taking Raymond with him (Exp. Hib. pp. 256-98; Regan, pp. 73-8).
During the earl's absence Henry de Mountmaurice had apparently occupied his post. The Irish had revolted, the earl's soldiers were unpaid, and threatened to return to England or join the Irish unless Raymond became their constable. The earl yielded, and Raymond led his old troops on a plundering expedition against Offaly; Dermot MacCarthy was routed near Lismore, and four thousand head of cattle were driven into Waterford. Three or four years before the earl had given the constableship of Leinster to Robert de Quenci, along with his sister's hand. Robert was soon slain, leaving an infant daughter ; and Raymond now wished to marry the widow, and thus become the guardian of the baby heiress. When his petition was refused Raymond made the death of his father an excuse for crossing over into Wales, and Hervey once more became the acting constable. An unfortunate expedition into Munster was the signal for a general Irish rising. Strongbow was besieged in Waterford (1174) ; Roderic of Connaught had burst into Meath, and was laying everything waste as far as Dublin (Exp. Hib. pp. 308-11 ; Regan, pp. 130-7 ; Ann. Four Masters, ii. 15-18 ; Annals of Boyle, p. 29 ; Annals of Inisf. p. 116).
The earl now offered his sister's hand to Raymond in reward for help. Raymond and his cousin Meiler hurried over to Wexford just in time to save the town, marched to Waterford, and brought back the earl to Wexford. The marriage took place a few days later, and on the morrow Raymond starred for Meath. Roderic retreated before him and peace was restored, though the new constable did not leave this province until he had repaired the ruined castles of Trim and Duleek (Exp. Hib. pp. 310-14 ; Regan, pp. 142-3 ; cf. Ann. Four Masters ; Boyle ; Inisfallen). A short calm followed. Raymond took part in promoting the alliances by which the Normans solidified their interests. His cousin Nesta married Hervey de Mountmaurice, and his influence brought about the union of William Fitzgerald and Alina, the earl's daughter (Exp. Hib. p. 314).
In the summer of 1175 Donald O'Brien, king of Munster, threw off his allegiance to King Henry, and Raymond was despatched with some eight hundred men against Limerick. There he found the Irish drawn up on the opposite bank of the river (Shannon sic) in such strength that his soldiers feared to cross until Meiler Fitzhenry passed over alone, and Raymond, going to his rescue, was at last followed by the army. The town was taken, provisioned and garrisoned, and the constable turned back towards Leinster (ib. pp. 320-3; Regan, pp. 160-4 ; cf. Ann. Four Masters, Boyle, and Inisf.)
Meanwhile Hervey de Mountmaurice had accused Raymond before the king of endeavouring to supplant the royal authority in Leinster and all Ireland. Henry recalled Raymond, who was about to obey, when Donald O'Brien again revolted. The earl's household refused to march without Raymond to command them. The king's envoys consented, and the constable started for Limerick once more at the head of a mixed army of English and Irish. On Easter eve (3 April 1176) he forced his way through the pass of Cashel, and three days later entered Limerick, upon which Donald and Roderic of Connaught renewed their fealty to the king of England (Exp. Hib. pp. 327-31). From Limerick he set out for Cork to aid Dermot Macarthy, prince of Desmond, who had been expelled by his son Cormac. News of the earl's death (c. 1 June 1176) called him back to Limerick, which he now determined to evacuate in order that he might have larger forces for the defence of Connaught in the event of a general rebellion among the Irish. Donald O'Brien undertook to hold the town for the king of England, but fired it as soon as it was evacuated (ib. pp. 327-34 ; Ann. Four Masters, p. 25 ; Inisfallen, p. 117).
Raymond now ruled Ireland till the coming of William Fitzaldhelm, the new governor, to whom he at once handed over the castles in his possession. If we may trust Giraldus, Fitzaldhelm, unmollified by this conduct, set himself to destroy the whole power of the Geraldines, who were soon despoiled of their lands. Raymond now lost his estates near Dublin and Wexford. Next year Hugh de Lacy succeeded Fitzaldhelm, and a general redistribution of Ireland among the English adventurers took place in May 1177. It was now that Robert Fitzstephen and Miles de Cogan received the kingdom of South Munster (i.e. of Desmond or Cork) from Lismore west (HHoveden,ii. 134; cf. Inisfallen, p.ll7). A few years later, when Fitzstephen's sons had perished (1182 according to the Irish Annals) and the Irish seemed on the point of winning back their land, Raymond hurried from Waterford to the help of his uncle, who was closely besieged in Cork. According to Giraldus, who himself came to Ireland about this time, Raymond succeeded to his uncle's estates, became master of Cork, and reduced the country to quiet (Exp. Hib. pp. 349-50, &c.) The date of his death is not given by the contemporary English chroniclers, but the 'Irish Annals' seem to assign it to 1182. This is almost certainly a mistake, as the latter writers associate his decease with that of Fitzstephen's son (Ralph), while the words of Giraldus are hardly compatible with such a synchronism (Annals of Loch Cé, sub an. 1182, and the note, with quotations, from the Annals of Ulster and Clonmacnoise ; cf. Ann. of Boyle, p. 31). Raymond Fitzgerald left no legitimate issue (Exp. Hib. pp. 345, 409).
Raymond Fitzgerald was a man 'big-bodied and broad-set,' somewhat above the middle height, and inclining to corpulence. His eyes were large, full, and grey, his nose rather prominent, and his features well-coloured and pleasant. He would spend sleepless nights in his anxiety for the safety of his troops. Careless in the matters of food and drink, raiment, or personal comfort, he had the art to appear the servant rather than the lord of his followers, to whom he showed himself liberal and gentle. Though a man of undoubted spirit, he always tempered his valour with prudence, and, 'though he had much of the knight about him, he had still more of the captain. He was specially happy in this, that he rarely or never failed in any enterprise he took in hand through rashness or imprudence' (ib. pp. 323-4 ; cf. the quaint englishing of this passage in Holinshed, p. 190; and the Book of Howth, pp. 297-8).[It is hardly possible to make Giraldus's account of Raymond's movements harmonise completely with that of Regan, and the Irish Annals give little or no help in settling the details of the chronology from 1172 to 1176. Giraldus Cambrensis, Expugnatio Hibernica, ed. Dimock (Rolls Series), vol. v. ; the Anglo-Norman poet cited as Regan, ed. Michel and Wright (London, 1837) ; Annals of Loch Cé, ed. Hennessy (Rolls Series) ; Annals of the Four Masters, ed. O'Donovan; Annals of Inisfallen and Boyle, ap. O'Conor's Scriptores Rerum Hibernicarum, vol. ii. ; Hoveden, ed. Stubbs (Rolls Series), vol. ii.]