Fitzgerald, Gerald, eleventh Earl of Kildare 1525-1585, was son of Gerald Fitzgerald, ninth earl of Kildare [qv.], by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Grey, marquis of Dorset. In 1537 Gerald's father was executed for high treason and attainted, with forfeiture of title and estates. Mainly through the exertions of his tutor, Thomas Leverous, subsequently bishop of Kildare, Gerald was conveyed to France, whence he went to Rome, where he was received by his relative, Cardinal Pole. He subsequently took part with knights of Rhodes in expeditions against the Moors, and entered the service of Cosmo de' Medici at Florence. After the death of Henry VIII Gerald came to England, and married Mabel, daughter of Sir Anthony Browne, knight of the Garter. Edward VI, in 1552, restored to him some of his paternal estates. In 1554 he served against Sir Thomas Wyatt. Queen Mary conferred upon Gerald the earldom of Kildare, with possessions of his father, which, under the attainder, had been confiscated. The original grant for the re-establishment of the earldom is in the possession of the Duke of Leinster, now the chief representative of the earls of Kildare. The document has, with autographs of the eleventh earl, been reproduced in the fourth part of Facsimiles of National MSS. of Ireland. Gerald conformed to the protestant religion early in the reign of Elizabeth. He sat in parliament in Ireland in 1559. The attainder of his family was annulled by statute in 1568. In 1577 he attended before the privy council in England in relation to complaints made concerning the assessment imposed upon landholders in Ireland. He took an active part in the warfare against hostile Irish and the Spaniards who had landed in Munster. In 1582, on suspicion of treason, the earl's estates were placed under sequestration, and he, his son Henry, and his son-in-law Lord Delvin, were imprisoned in the Tower of London. After examinations before the lord chancellor of England and other judges, the earl was released from the Tower on giving a bond for 2,000l., in June 1583, to remain within twenty miles of London and not to come within three miles of her majesty's court. In the following year the queen granted him permission to wait upon her, and to return to Ireland, where he sat in the parliament at Dublin in April 1585. He died in London on 16 Nov. following, and was interred at Kildare. He is stated by contemporaries to have been an expert horseman, valiant, small of stature, slender of person, very courteous, but hard and angry at times, a great gatherer of money, and addicted to gambling.

     Archives of the Duke of Leinster
     Patent and Statute Rolls
     State Papers, Public Record Office, London
     Carew MSS., Lambeth
     Carte Papers, Bodleian Library
     The Earls of Kildare, 1862
     Report of Hist. MSS. Commission, 1883.

Contributor: J. T. G. [John Thomas Gilbert]

Published: 1889