Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fitzgibbon, Edmund Fitzjohn

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FITZGIBBON, EDMUND Fitzjohn (1552?–1608), the White Knight, second son of John Oge Fitzgerald, alias Fitzgibbon (d. 1569), and Ellen, daughter of Patrick Condon, lord of Condons, accompanied James Fitzmaurice to France in March 1575, returning in July. Being by the attainder of his father (13 Eliz. c. 3) deprived of his ancestral possessions, he in 1576 obtained a lease of a large portion of them (Cal. of Fiants, Eliz. 2873), which he surrendered in 1579, receiving in return a new one comprising the lands contained in the former and others which had in the meantime reverted to the crown through the death of his mother (ib. 3583). Charged by his hereditary enemy, Lord Roche, viscount Fermoy, with aiding and abetting the rebellion of Gerald, earl of Desmond, he appears to have trimmed his way through the difficulties that beset him with considerable skill, but without much regard for his honour. The English officials, Sir H. Wallop in particular, were greatly provoked that the lands forfeited by his father's rebellion were not to be allotted among the planters, and did their best to blacken his character. In 1584 he accompanied Sir John Perrot on his expedition against Sorley Boy MacDonnell, and being wounded on that occasion was much commended for his valour by the deputy. In April 1587 the government thought it advisable to arrest him, though it declined to follow St. Leger's advice to make him shorter by his head. In 1589, when all immediate danger had passed away, he was released on heavy recognisances. In the following year he paid a visit to England and obtained a grant in tail male of all the lands he held on lease (Morrin, Cal. of Patent Rolls, ii. 198). He was appointed sheriff of the county of Cork in 1596, and appears to have fulfilled his duties satisfactorily. But he still continued to be regarded with suspicion, and not without reason, for it is almost certain that he was implicated in the rebellion of Hugh O'Neill. He, however, on 22 May 1600, submitted unconditionally to Sir George Thornton, and was ready enougk when called upon to blame the folly of his son John, who had joined the rebels (Pac. Hib. i. 74, 133). Still Cecil was not quite satisfied, and advised Sir George Carew to take good pledges for him, 'for, it is said, you will be cozened by him at last' (Cal. Carew MSS. iii. 462). In May 1601 he again fell under suspicion for not attempting to capture the Sugan Earl [see Fitzgerald, James Fitzthomas, d. 1608], while passing through his territories ; but, 'being earnestly spurred on to repair his former errors' by Sir George Carew, 'did his best endeavours which had the success desired.' His capture of the Sugan Earl in the caves near Mitchelstown purchased him the general malice of the province. Such service could not pass unrewarded, and on 12 Dec. 1601 the queen declared her intention that an act should pass in the next parliament in Ireland for restoring him to his ancient blood and lineage. This intention was confirmed by James I on 7 July 1604, and the title of Baron of Clangibbon conferred on him. But as no parliament assembled before 1613, and as by that time he and his eldest son were both dead, it took no effect. In 1606 he again fell under suspicion, and was committed to gaol, but shortly afterwards liberated on promising to do service against the rebels. He died at Castletown on Sunday, 23 April 1608, a day after the death of his eldest son, Maurice, They were buried together in the church of Kilbeny, where they lay a week, and were then removed to Kilmallock, and there lie in their own tomb. He married, first, Joan Tobyn, daughter of the Lord of Cumshionagh, co. Tipperary, by whom he had two sons, Maurice (who married Joan Butler, daughter of Lord Dunboyne, by whom he had issue Maurice and Margaret), and John, and four daughters ; secondly, Joan, daughter of Lord Muskerry, having issue Edmund and David, who died young. Maurice and John dying, Maurice, the grandson, succeeded, but dying without issue the property passed to Sir William Fenton through his wife, Margaret Fitzgibbon.

[All the references to Fitzgibbon's life contained in the State Papers, the Carew MSS., and Pacata Hibernia have been collected together in the Unpublished Geraldine Documents, pt. iv., ed. Hayman and Graves.]

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