Fitzgerald, Thomas (d.1477) (DNB00)

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FITZGERALD, THOMAS, seventh Earl of Kildare (d. 1477), deputy of Ireland, was son of John, sixth earl, and his wife, Margaret de la Herne (Lodge, i. 82). He succeeded to his father in 1427, when he must have been quite young. Between 1455 and 1459 he was deputy for Richard, duke of York, the lord-lieutenant. In 1459 he warmly welcomed York on his taking refuge in Ireland. The Lancastrian government in vain sought to weaken his position by intriguing with the native Irish against him. On 30 April 1461 Kildare was appointed deputy to George, duke of Clarence (Cal. Rot. Pat. Hib. 1 Edward IV, p. 268); and on 5 July the confirmation of a grant of Duke Richard's was Edward IV's further reward for his fidelity to the Yorkist cause (ib. p. 268 b). Next year he was superseded by Sir Roland Fitzeustace, but in January 1463 he was made lord chancellor of Ireland. In 1464 he and his wife Joan founded the Franciscan convent at Adare in county Limerick (Annals of the Four Masters, iv. 1035). In 1467 he incurred, with his brother-in-law Desmond [see Fitzgerald, Thomas, eighth Earl of Desmond], the hostility of the new deputy, John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester. Both were attainted at the parliament of Drogheda, but the reprisals which followed the execution of Desmond brought out so clearly the weakness of a government deprived of the support of the Fitzgeralds, that Kildare was respited. The Archbishop of Dublin and other grandees became his sureties, and on his promise of faithful service the parliament of 1468 repealed the attainder and restored him to his estates. In the same year he was reappointed deputy, but on the fall of Clarence, Tiptoft himself became lord-lieutenant, and Edmund Dudley his deputy. But on Clarence's reappointment Kildare became deputy again, and remained in office until 1475. By building a dyke to protect the Pale, and by excluding 'disloyal Irish' from garrisons, he sought to uphold the English rule. In 1472 eighty archers were provided for him as the nucleus of a permanent force, but he was expected to defray half the cost. In 1474 the archers were increased to 160, with 63 spearmen; and in 1475 a 'Brotherhood of St. George' was established for the defence of the Pale, of which Kildare was president, while his son Gerald was its first captain. This put a further force of 120 mounted archers, 40 men-at-arms, and 40 pages in his hands ('Carew MSS.,' Book of Howth, &c., p. 403). His government is an epoch of some importance in the history of the Irish coinage. In 1475 he was superseded by William Sherwood, bishop of Meath. He died on 25 March 1477 and was buried in the monastery of All Hallows in Dublin. By his wife, Joan, daughter of James, seventh earl of Desmond, and sister of Thomas, the eighth earl [q.v.], he is said to have left four sons and two daughters (Lodge, i. 83). He was succeeded by his eldest son, Gerald Fitzgerald, the eighth earl [q.v.]

[Gilbert's Viceroys of Ireland; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, vol. i.; Annals of the Four Masters; Carew MSS., Book of Howth, &c.; Marquis of Kildare's Earls of Kildare, pp. 38-42.]

T. F. T.