Thomas Fitzgerald, 7th Earl of Kildare
Thomas Fitzgerald, 7th Earl of Kildare (15) (? - 1478), Lord Deputy of the Kingdom in 1454 and 1463.
According to new information (2/9/2002), I'm replacing the marriage information for Thomas Fitzgerald. (See the note in the box, below.)
Thomas did marry into the Desmonds, but the desmonds were not Butler, but FitzGerald. His marriage was to Lady Joan Fitzgerald, the daughter of James FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Desmond, known as 'the usurper'. Also, a little known fact is that this was Thomas's second marriage. His first marriage was to Dorothy O More, daughter of Owny (or Anthony) O More, chief of Leix. This marriage was annulled to enable Thomas to marry Lady Joan, causing the enmity between the O More's and the Fitzgeralds of Kildare. Thomas and Dorothy had two sons, Shawn/John and William. They were made illigitimate and therefore excluded from inheriting the title.
Thomas Fitzgerald, 7th Earl of Kildare's son was Gerald Fitzgerald, 8th Earl of Kildare (14) (? - ?), Lord Deputy of Ireland, and, in effect, actual Ruler.
His father was John-Cam Fitzgerald, 6th Earl of Kildare (16) (? - 1427).
From the Encyclopaedia Britannica:
The Kildare ascendancy
The substitution (1485) of Tudor for Yorkist rule in England had no apparent effect in Ireland, where the ascendancy of the Fitzgerald earls of Kildare, established when Thomas, 7th earl, was created lord deputy in 1471, had passed (1477) to his son Garret Mór (Great Gerald). The fiction of the king's power was preserved by appointing an absentee lieutenant, for whom Kildare acted as deputy; in practice, any real power was exercised largely through dynastic alliances with the chief Gaelic and Anglo-Irish lords. Opposition to Kildare was negligible so long as the king was unable to maintain a permanent power to which his opponents might turn; an attempt to displace him was made when Kildare gave support (1487) to Lambert Simnel, a pretender to the English throne. After the advent of a more dangerous pretender, Perkin Warbeck, it was decided (1494) to remove Kildare and rule through an Englishman, Sir Edward Poynings. Poynings subdued Kildare, but he could not reconquer the northern Gaelic Irish. At Drogheda (1494-95) he induced a Parliament to pass an act that came to be known as "Poynings' Law"; it subjected the meetings and legislative drafts of the Irish Parliament to the control of the English king and council. But Poynings' administrative expenses were too great, and Henry VII decided in 1496 to restore Kildare.
On Kildare's death (1513) the deputyship passed to his son Garret Og (Young Gerald), 9th earl of Kildare, who continued, though less impressively, to dominate the country. But James, 10th earl of Desmond, intrigued with the emperor Charles V; and Henry VIII became convinced that Kildare had lost the power to keep Ireland neutral. Therefore, when the divorce (1533) of Catherine of Aragon made the danger of imperial intervention particularly acute, the king summoned Kildare to England (1534). There were thereafter no Irish-born viceroys for more than a century.
Irish "Cill Dara," county in the province of Leinster, east-central Ireland. It comprises part of the lowland west of the Wicklow Mountains and part of the Irish central lowland. With an area of 654 square miles (1,694 square km), it is bounded on the north by County Meath, on the east by Dublin and Wicklow, on the south by Carlow, and on the west by Laoighis and Offaly. The River Liffey forms a gorge at Pollaphuca and runs west into the Kildare lowland, northwest to Newbridge, and northeast to Celbridge and Leixlip. The River Barrow forms much of the county's western boundary. Glacial deposits cover much of the surface of Kildare, and soils are varied; more than four-fifths of the area is farmland.
There is much evidence of ancient settlement, including burial mounds on The Curragh, a large sandy expanse. The town of Kildare, an early Christian site, has a round tower, and remains of others are in Castledermot, Taghadoe, and Old Kilcullen. More than 100 stone or palisaded castles were built in the county in Norman times, and there are also remains of medieval abbeys and churches. Kildare was defined as a county in 1296.
The manors of Naas and Maynooth in Kildare were confirmed to William and Gerald Fitzgerald by Henry II in the 12th century. In 1316 Edward II made John FitzThomas Fitzgerald earl of Kildare. In the later European Middle Ages the holders of the earldoms of Desmond, Ormonde, and Kildare competed to control the Dublin government, and the earls of Kildare became masters of this government at the end of the Middle Ages. From 1477 to his death in 1513, the 8th Earl of Kildare exercised almost kingly power in Ireland. His son Gerald succeeded as 9th earl to his powers and offices but was weakened and ruined by the rebellion of his son Lord Thomas Fitzgerald against the English crown.
Nearly half of the people of Kildare live in towns and villages, including Athy, Naas, Newbridge, and Kildare; the first two are urban districts. The county council meets at Naas.
Most of the farms in Kildare are relatively large, usually over 100 acres (40 hectares) in the lowlands but much smaller on the flanks of the Wicklow Mountains. Cattle fattening is a main source of cash for large farms; sheep are also important. Wheat, barley, and oats are the main crops. Allenwood has a peat-fired power station. Kildare's industries include agricultural engineering and textile, carpet, pharmaceutical, metallurgical, and cutlery manufacture. The county is crossed by the Grand Canal and by railways from Dublin to Cork and Galway. Pop. (1986) 116,247.
The 14th and 15th centuries
A brief threat to English control of Ireland, made by Edward Bruce, brother of King Robert I of Scotland, ended when Bruce was killed in battle at Faughart near Dundalk (1318). English control was reasserted and strengthened by the creation of three new Anglo-Irish earldoms: that of Kildare, given to the head of the Leinster Fitzgeralds; that of Desmond, given to the head of the Munster Fitzgeralds; and that of Ormonde, given to the head of the Butlers, who held lands around Tipperary. But the increased power and lands of the Anglo-Irish brought about an inevitable reaction; and during the remainder of the 14th century there was a remarkable revival of Irish political power, which was matched by a flowering of Irish language, law, and civilization. The Gaels recovered large parts of Ulster, the midlands, Connaught, and Leinster, while the Anglo-Irish became increasingly Irish, marrying Irish women and often adopting Gaelic customs.
The English government, which in any case, because of its aim to curtail feudal privileges, was always to some extent opposed by the Anglo-Norman aristocracy, made an effort to restore control but achieved little more than a definition of the status quo. Edward III's son, Lionel, duke of Clarence, as viceroy from 1361 to 1367, passed in the Irish Parliament the Statute of Kilkenny (1366), which listed the "obedient" (English-controlled) lands as Louth, Meath, Trim, Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, and Tipperary. Intermarriage or alliances with the Irish were forbidden. The independent Irish outside the Pale (the area of English control) were regarded as enemies and were assumed to possess their lands only by usurpation. In practice they were feared, and their attacks were often bought off by almost regular payments. Visits by King Richard II in 1394-95 and 1399 achieved nothing. During the first half of the 15th century Ireland was, in effect, ruled by the three great earls--of Desmond, Ormonde, and Kildare--who combined to dominate the Dublin government. Desmond had sway in Counties Limerick, Cork, Kerry, and Waterford; Ormonde in Tipperary and Kilkenny; and Kildare in Leinster. Although both the Gaels and the Anglo-Irish had supported the Yorkist side in the Wars of the Roses, the Yorkist king Edward IV found them no less easy to subjugate than had his Lancastrian predecessors. Succeeding (1468) in bringing about the attainder and execution for treason of Thomas, earl of Desmond, he was nevertheless obliged to yield to aristocratic power in Ireland. The earls of Kildare, who thereafter bore the title of lord deputy (for the English princes who were lords lieutenant), were in effect the actual rulers of Ireland until well into the 16th century.