Fitzgerald, James, 15th earl of Desmond

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Fitzgerald, James, 15th earl of Desmond [I] (c.1570–1601). Fitzgerald was about 13 when his father, the 14th earl, was killed in open rebellion. The boy was put into the Tower of London, where he seems to have been in indifferent health. Left there until 1600, he was brought out during the Tyrone rebellion, created earl, and sent to Ireland in the hope that he could bring his compatriots back to submission. But the Irish repudiated him as a protestant and a puppet, and he returned to England, dying shortly afterwards. His period of semi-freedom in adult life lasted just over a year.

J. A. Cannon

Fitzgerald, Gerald, 14th earl of Desmond

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Fitzgerald, Gerald, 14th earl of Desmond [I] (c.1533–83). Fitzgerald succeeded his father in the earldom in 1558, in his mid-twenties. In 1565 he was wounded in private warfare with Ormond and sent to the Tower 1567–70. From 1574 he was in conspiracy against Elizabeth and from 1579 in open rebellion under papal encouragement. He was killed in 1583 and his head stuck on London bridge. ‘Dim-witted, barely literate, more a captain than a courtier,’ is a modern assessment.

J. A. Cannon

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Gerald Fitzgerald 15th earl of Desmond

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