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Lord Thomas Fitzgerald


FITZGERALD, LORD THOMAS (loth earl of Kildare) (1513-1537), known as "Silken Thomas," the eldest son of Gerald Fitzgerald, 9th earl of Kildare, was born in London in 1513. He spent much of his youth in England, but in 1534 when his father was for the third time summoned to England to answer for his maladministration as lord deputy of Ireland, Thomas, at the coun cil held at Drogheda, in February was made vice-deputy. In June the Ormond faction spread a report in Ireland that the earl had been executed in the Tower, and that his son's life was to be at tempted. Inflamed with rage at this apparent treachery, Thomas rode at the head of his retainers into Dublin, and before the council for Ireland (June 11, 1534) formally renounced his allegiance to the king and proclaimed a rebellion. His enemies, including Arch bishop John Allen (of Dublin), who had been sent by Henry VIII. to watch Fitzgerald, took refuge in Dublin castle. In attempting to escape to England, Allen was taken by the rebels, and was mur dered (July 28, 1534) by Fitzgerald's servants in his presence. He was solemnly excommunicated by the Irish Church. Leaving part of his army (with the consent of the citizens) to besiege Dublin castle, Fitzgerald himself went against Piers Butler, earl of Ossory, and succeeded at first in making a truce with him. But the citizens of Dublin now rose against him, Ossory invaded Kil dare, and the approach of an English army forced Fitzgerald to raise the siege. Fitzgerald from his stronghold at Maynooth ravaged Kildare and Meath throughout the winter. He succeeded to the earldom of Kildare, on his father's death in the Tower on Dec. but he does not seem to have been known by that title. On March the Geraldine stronghold fell and most of the garrison were put to the sword. This proved the final blow to the rebellion. Fitzgerald spent the next few months in raids against the English and their allies, but his party gradually de serting him, on Aug. 18, 1535 he surrendered himself to Lord Leonard Grey (d. 1541), probably on conditions. He was placed in the Tower of London. In February 1536 his five uncles were also, some of them with great injustice, seized and brought to England. The six Geraldines were hanged at Tyburn on Feb. 3,

dublin, kildare and england