James FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Desmond

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James FitzGerald
Died 18 June 1529
Dingle
Resting place Tralee
Title Earl of Desmond
Tenure 1520–1529
Nationality Hiberno-Norman
Predecessor Maurice FitzThomas FitzGerald
Successor Thomas FitzThomas FitzGerald
Spouse(s) Amy, daughter of Turlough Mac-i-Brien Ara
Issue Joan (Amy) FitzGerald
Lady Honora FitzGerald (d. 1577)
Ellice FitzGerald
Parents Maurice FitzThomas FitzGerald
Ellen Roche
Ireland in 1450, showing the rival earldoms of Desmond and Ormond
The earl's enemy, King Henry VIII, and the earl's ally, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, pictured with Pope Leo X

James FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Desmond (d. 1529) was the son of Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Desmond. He plotted against King Henry VIII with King Francis I of France in 1523[1] and with Emperor Charles V in 1528[1] or 1529.[2]

Alfred Webb tells us of this earl that:

"[He] succeeded on his father's death in 1520. In 1529 he proffered fealty to the Emperor Charles V., and declared himself willing to enter into a league against England. The Emperor commissioned his chaplain to visit Ireland. The report of his mission to Dingle, of the resources of the country, of the demeanour of the Earl, and his reasons for hostility to England, as given by Mr. Froude in his History of England, are extremely interesting. The chaplain writes: 'The Earl himself is from thirty to forty years old, and is rather above the middle height. He keeps better justice throughout his dominions than any other chief in Ireland. Robbers and homicides find no mercy, and are executed out of hand. His people are in high order and discipline. They are armed with short bows and swords. The Earl's guard are in a mail from neck to heel, and carry halberds. He has also a number of horse, some of whom know how to break a lance. They all ride admirably, without saddle or stirrup.'

"A skirmish between him and Ormond was thus reported to Henry VIII. by the Lord-Lieutenant: 'In the sayd conflyct were slayn of the said Erll of Desmonde's party xviii. banners of galoglas, which bee commonly in every baner lxxx. men, and the substance of xxiv. baners of horsemen, which bee xx. under every banr at the leest, and under some xxx., xl., and l.; and emonges others was slayne the said Erll is kinnesman, Sir John FitzGerot, and Sir John of Desmond takyn, and his son slayne, and Sir Gerald of Desmond, another of his uncles, sore wounded and takyn; with many others whereof the certainte yet appereth not... His discomfyture and losse may bee right hurtfull; the moost part of theym that overthrew him bee Irishmen; and I feare it shall cause theyme to wex the more prowder, and also shall cause other Irishmen to take pride therin, setting the less by Englishmen.' He died at Dingle, 18th June 1529, and was buried with his father at Tralee."[2]

Marriage and issue[edit]

James married Amy, daughter of Turlough Mac-i-Brien Ara, Bishop of Killaloe[3][1] and had issue:

  • Joan (Amy) FitzGerald[3][2]
  • Lady Honora FitzGerald (d. 1577)
  • Ellice FitzGerald

Notes[edit]

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: A Compendium of Irish Biography


Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Maurice FitzThomas FitzGerald
Earl of Desmond
1520-1529
Succeeded by
Thomas FitzThomas FitzGerald