James FitzGerald, de jure 12th Earl of Desmond

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James FitzGerald
Died 19 March 1540
Leacan Sgail, Co. Kerry
Cause of death murdered
Title Earl of Desmond
Tenure 1534-1540
Other names The Court Page
Nationality Hiberno-Norman
Predecessor Thomas FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Desmond
Successor James FitzGerald, 14th Earl of Desmond
Spouse(s) Mary MacCarthy
Parents Maurice FitzGerald
Joan FitzGibbon
Ireland in 1450, showing the Earldom of Desmond
Henry VIII playing his harp beside his jester, Will Somers, in an illustration from Henry's psalter. James FitzGerald, the "Court Page," grew up a hostage in Henry's court.

James FitzGerald, de jure 12th Earl of Desmond (d. 1540) was the grandson of Thomas FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Desmond.[1] James's father, Maurice, had died of the plague shortly after Thomas attained the earldom, so upon Thomas's death, James inherited it.[2] However, James's title was disputed by his granduncle John FitzGerald, de facto 12th Earl of Desmond.[3] John died in 1536.[3] Although James lived until 1540, he was succeeded by John's son James FitzGerald, 14th Earl of Desmond.

Alfred Webb tells us of this earl that he was "called the 'Court Page,' having been hostage for his grandfather at the court of Windsor. On the earldom becoming vacant in 1534, 'the King loaded him with honours, and fitted out ships to accompany him to the Irish shores, and provided him with a number of men who were ready to stand by him against those who were inclined to dispute his title to the patrimonial honours and inheritance.' His title to the earldom was disputed by his grand-uncle, Sir John, who being supported by a large faction, was de facto [12th] Earl. This Sir John died about Christmas 1536. The 'Court Page' did not long enjoy his honours, for he was murdered at Leacan Sgail in Kerry, by his cousin, Maurice an Totane, son of his late opponent, 19th March 1540. He married a daughter of his grand-uncle, Cormac Oge MacCarthy."[3]


James FitzMaurice FitzGerald wed Mary, daughter of Cormac Óg MacCarthy, and left no issue.[2]


Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Thomas FitzThomas FitzGerald and John FitzGerald, de facto 12th Earl of Desmond
Earl of Desmond
Succeeded by
James FitzGerald, 14th Earl of Desmond