Maurice FitzGerald, 4th Earl of Kildare

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Maurice FitzThomas FitzGerald, 4th Earl of Kildare (1318 - August 25, 1390) was a prominent Irish nobleman in the Peerage of Ireland who held the office of Lord Justice of Ireland.

The second son of Thomas FitzGerald, 2nd Earl of Kildare by his spouse Joan (d.1359), daughter of Richard de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, he succeeded his brother Richard, 3rd Earl, who died aged 12 in 1329.

Maurice, Earl of Kildare, suppressed the insurrection in 1339 of the O'Dempsies in Leinster; and in November 1346, with Lord Justice Bermingham, forced the O'Mores to submit and give hostages for their future good behaviour. On January 26, 1347, he was summoned by Writ signed at Eltham Palace to serve King Edward III at the siege of Calais where he proceeded in May with thirty men-at-arms and was subsequently made leader of the army, and knighted.[1]

With various irregulars and foot-soldiers assigned to defend County Kildare against rebel Irish, the earl was appointed, on September 14, 1358, supervisor of the four commissioners for raising and collecting their pay from that county.

On March 30, 1360, he was constituted Lord Justice of Ireland with an annual salary of £500 sterling. He was made Custos of the realm again on March 22, 1371, and a third time on February 16, 1375, until the return of Sir William Windsor.

In 1364 he headed a delegation of Irish nobles and officials to complain directly to King Edward III about the misgovernment of Ireland, and the corruption of certain officials, notably Thomas de Burley, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

In 1378 he petitioned King Richard II that he had, at his request, accompanied the Lord Justice, James Butler, 2nd Earl of Ormond "in a certain amount of great hosting" of the O'Morchoes of Slewmargy (Sliabh Mairge), with numerous horsemen in his retinue, whereof six of his men were lost as well as four coats of mail and other armour. He asked for recompense, of which the King granted £10 sterling from the Exchequer of Ireland on May 21, 1378.

On January 22, 1377, he was summoned to the Parliament held at Castledermot; and on September 11, 1381 to that held at Trim; and on April 29, 1382 to that held at Dublin.

He was, with Sir Philip Courtenay, the Lord Justice, active in imposing law and order in Leinster and Meath and elsewhere, and in resisting rebels all at his own expense. His reward came partly in the form of a grant, dated April 20, 1386, of the estate of Sir William de London in the counties of Kildare and Meath during the minority of his son and heir, John de London. On August 5, 1389, he was enfeoffed in the manors of Lucan, County Dublin, Kildrought (now Celbridge), and Kilmacredock, County Kildare, held from the Crown in capite for him and his heirs forever.

On May 29, 1390, a Writ was issued to him to remove O'Connor, son of Dough O'Dempsie, the King's Irish enemy currently detained in Kildare Castle, to Dublin Castle for safer custody.

He died at an advanced age in 1390, and was interred in the Church of the Holy Trinity, now Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin.[1]

Maurice, Earl of Kildare, married Elizabeth de Burghersh, 3rd Baroness Burghersh, daughter of Sir Bartholomew de Burghersh, 2nd Baron Burghersh, KG.,[1] and had at least four children, including:

Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Richard FitzGerald
Earl of Kildare
Succeeded by
Gerald FitzGerald