THE FITZGERALDS OF KILDARE ARCHIVE
An important collection of Deeds relating to one of Ireland’s most historic families – the FitzGeralds, Earls of Kildare and (from 1766) Dukes of Leinster.
The 45 documents in this collection fall into two distinct groups: (1) 34 deeds (mainly leases) dating between 1619 and 1744; and (2) 11 deeds dating between 1812 and 1884.
The first group covers the reigns of:
· Gerald, 15th Earl, 1611-1620
· George, 16th Earl, 1620-1660
· Wentworth, 17th Earl, 1660-1664
· John, 18th Earl, 1664-1707
· Robert, 19th Earl, 1707-1744
This was the period after the glory years in which the Earls had ruled Ireland under the early Tudor Kings, followed by the rebellion of Silken Thomas, the confiscation of their estates, and their eventual restitution, and before the building of Leinster House and Carton House in the 1740s, which marked the family’s new rise to eminence. This period, though less studied, is significant as it marks the family’s survival through the turbulent years of the 17th century, chiefly thanks to the shrewd policies of George the 16th Earl (“the Fairy Earl”), who succeeded to the title at the age of eight in 1620 and died in 1660 just before the Restoration. During this time the family lived at Maynooth Castle until its destruction in the wars of the 1640s, and thereafter at Kilkea Castle and elsewhere.
The deeds in this collection cast a new light on the management of the Kildare estates at this time. They are mostly written on vellum and in good condition in an attractive script.
The second group mainly concerns the financial transactions arising from the marriage in 1809 of Lady Isabella Charlotte FitzGerald, fourth daughter of the 2nd Duke of Leinster, to the Vicomte de Chabot, the son of a French émigré officer living in London. In 1841 de Cabot inherited from his cousin Lady Elizabeth Mathew the estate of the Mathew family at Thomastown in Co. Tipperary. (Another cousin, Father Theobald Mathew, “the Apostle of Temperance”, is named as a trustee in a deed of 1842.)
A habitué of both the British and French royal circles, Isabella is now remembered mainly for the diary she kept from 1806 until the break-up of her marriage in 1825. Discovered by a descendant in 1984, it provides valuable insights into her early life in Ireland, her experiences of the 1798 rebellion, and her later life in England and France.
N.B. Prior to the calendar reform of 1752, the year began on 25 March and not on 1 January. Therefore, in dates between 1 January and 24 March a year needs to be added in order to bring them into line with current practice. In the list of deeds, such dates are expressed as a fraction, e.g. 8 March 1632 (as written in the deed) is 8 March 1633 New Style and is therefore given below as 8 March 1632/3.
BOX I 10 deeds 1619-1638/9
1. 7 July 17th of James I . “An Award betwixt Dame Lettice FitzGerald, wife to Sir Robert Digby, and Gerald FitzGerald, Earl of Kildare, concerning ye Mannors of Geshill, Porlester, Woodstock, Maynooth, Maylagh and Castle Leigh.” Issued in the King’s name. Royal seal attached (broken).
2. 23 March 17th of James I . Indenture between (1) John Tayler of Bloxham, Oxfordshire, labourer, son and heir of Jane Tayler, late wife of Thomas Tayler and sister of John Jeffryes and Elizabeth his wife, and (2) Richard Gascoine of Bloxham, yeoman. Sale for £120 of land in Bloxham.
3. 8 March 1632/3. Indenture between (1) George Earl of Kildare, Richard Talbott of Malloghoid and Robert Randolphe, and (2) Edward St Michell of Cormickeston in the lordship of Maynooth. Renewal of his lease of Cormickeston.
4. 8 March 1632/3. Indenture between (1) George Earl of Kildare &c and (2) Richard Brett of Giginston. Renewal of his lease of Giginston and Crinston.
5. 20 March 1632/3. Indenture between (1) George Earl of Kildare &c and (2) Thomas Aylmer of the Rouske in the lordship of Maynooth. Renewal of his lease of the Rouske.
6. 5 September 1633. Indenture between (1) George Earl of Kildare &c and (2) Joshua Carpenter and Bartholomew Peisly of Dublin. Lease of Moonicooly and Whitesfarme in the manor of Maynooth.
7. 24 June, 10th of Charles I, 1634. Indenture between (1) George Earl of Kildare and his feoffees and (2) Robert Sibthorpe of Maynooth, clerk. Lease of Sibthorpe’s dwelling house and farm and other property in Maynooth.
8. 4 August 1635. Indenture between (1) George Earl of Kildare and (2) Robert Sibthorpe, clerk. Lease of one messuage &c in Maynooth.
9. 22 December 1635, 11th of Charles I. Indenture between (1) Robert Sibthorpe of Maynooth, clerk, and (2) Thomas Foyner of Dublin, gent. Sale for £1,000 of Sibthorpe’s mansion house dwelling called Larrabrine in Maynooth.
10. 1 March 1638/9, 14th of Charles I. Indenture between (1) George Earl of Kildare and (2) Thomas Holmes of Surrey and John Chowne of Maynooth. Holmes and Chowne