The Simonds family is proud of its connection with the FitzGeralds, the Earls of Kildare, borne out by the repeated use of the FitzGerald name, right down to the current generation.

The FitzGerald Family Connection

Prepared by Kenneth FitzGerald Simonds & Eric Duncan Simonds in 1985

Pedigree of Simonds / FitzGerald
Sons of: AMY FITZGERALD SIMONDS, b. 1883, née Hill.
Daughter of: AMY HILL, b. 1857, née FitzGerald.
Daughter of. CHARLES MORDAUNT FITZGERALD, b. 1827 Major. Bengal Staff Corps, d. Calcutta 1867.
Son of: WILLIAM ROBERT FITZGERALD, b. 1798 Major. Bengal Engineers. d. Calcutta 1844.
Son of: MARTIN FITZGERALD. b. 1768 Colonel, 2nd Bengal Cavalry. d. 1829 Buried in Bath Abbey.
Son of: ALEXANDER FITZGERALD, of Strabo, Treasurer of the Queen’s County. d. 1797 Buried in Timogue Churchyard
Son of: DUDLEY FITZGERALD of Ballydavis d. 1761 Administration granted to widow, Ann Delany.
Son of: ALEXANDER FITZGERALD b. 1666. Award to his uncle, Colonel Alexander Piggott. An officer in King James II’s Army 1685 – 88. Will dated 6 June 1712; proved 19 December 1712.
Son of: THOMAS FITZGERALD of Morett etc. m. Sibella Piggott, 5th daughter of Sir John Piggott of Dysart, the Queen’s County. Will dated 5 March 1666; proved December 1666.
Son of: GERALD (BUY) FITZGERALD of Morett etc. and Luggacurran High Sheriff, the Queen’s County 1637. Attainted 1641. d. a very old man in 1667. Administration granted to Alexander Piggott for benefit of grandson, Stephen FitzGerald, 1 April 1667.
Son of: GERALD (OGE) FITZGERALD, of Morett b. 1546. Inherited from his father by will of 20 February 1584 the lands of Morett, Timogue, Ballyteskin, and Shanganamore, all in the Queen’s County. He married subsequent to 1585 and was murdered at Morett and his castle was burnt, 1601.
Son of: GERALD FITZGERALD, 11th Earl of Kildare d. 1585. The great, great, great, great, great, great, grandson of: JOHN FITZ THOMAS FITZGERALD, 1st Earl of Kildare, 1316, from whom originates;

He was an infant in the Castle of Woodstock, near Athy, when there was an alarm of fire. He was at first forgotten and when the servants went in search of him the room was in flames. Hearing a noise on one of the towers they looked up and saw an ape, which was usually kept chained, carefully holding the child in its arms. The ape brought him down to safety and in grateful acknowledgement the Earl adopted a chained Monkey for his crest, and two chained monkeys as supporters for his arms. Some of his descendants added the Motto “Non Immemor Beneficii”.

Another tradition relates this story to Thomas Fitzmaurice and the castle of Tralee, but his family never assumed the monkey crest.

It is said that when Dean Swift was writing “Gulliver’s Travels” he had quarrelled with the then Earl of Kildare, and to annoy him introduced into his story the Brobdingnagian ape who carried off and fed the hero.

The Motto “Crom – a – boo” was really a war-cry compounded of “Crom”, a heathen god corresponding roughly to Jupiter, and “Aboo”, an exclamation of defiance. Crom was also a castle in Co. Limerick belonging to the Geraldines, and on the borders of the territory of the O’Briens, their traditional enemies, whose war-cry was “Lamblaides – a – boo”. In 1495 when the feud between the two families was at its height, Act 10 of Henry VII was passed rendering penal the utterance of these cries. It was not effective in stopping the feuds.

GERALD FITZGERALD, 11th Earl of Kildare was son of Gerald, the 9th Earl who died a prisoner in the Tower of London on 12 December 1534. He was succeeded as 10th Earl by his elder son Thomas, by his first wife Elizabeth Zouch, commonly called “Silken Thomas”. Thomas was executed at Tyburn (now Marble Arch) on 3 February 1536, an event recorded in “The Annals of the Four Masters”, 1537, thus: “Thomas the son of the Earl of Kildare, the best man of the English in Ireland of his time, and his father’s five brothers, James, Margarch, Oliver, John, Walter and Richard, were put to death in England on the 3rd rones (sic) of February, and all the Geraldines of Leinster were exiled and banished. The Earldom of Kildare was vested in the King (Henry VIII) and every one of the family who was apprehended whether lay or ecclesiastical was tortured or put to death. These were great losses and the cause of lamentation throughout Ireland.”

This catastrophe left Gerald, the younger half-brother of Silken Thomas by his father’s second wife Elizabeth Gray, as the sole free survivor of the family. At the time he was aged 11 and was lying ill of smallpox at Donore in Co. Kildare. His younger brother, Edward, was then in England as a hostage with his mother. On such a slender thread hung the existence of the future Simonds family! Gerald was carefully conveyed by his tutor, Thomas Leverous, a priest, in a basket to his sister Lady Mary O’Connor at Offaly.

There followed a long tale of movement and intrigue which is more fully recounted in the family history. In March 1540 the young earl with his tutor sailed from Donegal Bay to St. Malo. Although well received by French connections there, he was still not out of reach of the English. So proceeded to Italy where he was cared for by Cardinal Pole.

He was associated, at least in the public mind, with the assembly of a huge force of 15,000 men by the King of France at Brest, aimed at invading Ireland in 1544, and to be welcomed by the McCartheys and O’Connors. The invasion did not materialise. At the same time he married Ellinor, daughter of the O’Kelly of Timogue. She died in 1546 at the birth of their son Gerald (Oge); owing to his father’s Attainder the legitimacy of this child was not allowed, but he was acknowledged by the O’Kelly, who brought him up. and eventually settled on him much O’Kelly property, including the castle of Timogue.

The Earl found it safer to remain abroad until after the death of King Henry VIII when he returned to London, still accompanied by his faithful tutor. His fortunes were at a low ebb, but he wisely repaired them by marrying in 1552 Mabel, daughter of Sir Anthony Brown who was master of the horse to King Edward VI, and in full court favour. The introduction must have come about from the curious fact that Gerald’ s sister, “the fair Geraldine”, had in 1543 been sold in marriage to Sir Anthony Brown as his second wife. His title and Irish estates were quickly restored to him by letters patent dated at Westminster 25 April 1552, but his son was barred from succession to the title by the former Act of Attainder. This was probably in deference to the rights of his children by Mabel Brown, but in fact they died childless, and the Earldom of Kildare passed to the issue of his younger brother Edward.

The Earl returned to Ireland in 1553 and ruthlessly set about gaining personal supremacy, even earning the thanks of Queen Elizabeth for his services against the O’Connors, and O’Mores. He became the virtual ruler of Ireland and escaped through the perilous year of 1577 when English settlers combined to murder 398 of the old proprietors including many of his kin. He further ingratiated himself with the Queen by treacherously murdering Fergus O’Kelly at the Castle of Kilkea in 1580, and received from her further grants of land. He died in London in 1585, having left to his son, Gerald, by his will dated 20 February 1584, his lands at Morett and elsewhere, in all 2,745 acres.

GERALD (OGE) FITZGERALD married in middle life sometime after 1585 Margaret Bowen, daughter of Robert Bowen of Bally Adams in the Queen’s County. The Bowens were, like King Henry VII (Henry Tudor), of Welsh descent, and had earlier gained possession of the castle at Bally Adams, built originally by Adam O’More, by conquest. This circumstance intensified the blood feud with the O’Mores until finally Gerald was murdered by a raiding party of O’Mores at his home at Morett Castle in 1601, the castle then being destroyed by fire.

GERALD (BUY) FITZGERALD displayed once again the family’s knack for preserving the blood line by being born before his father’s murder. He was called ‘Buy’ by the Irish on account of his yellow hair. He married Ann, daughter of O’Dempsey, Lord Clanmalier, and identified himself with the Irish Catholic party. He became High Sheriff of the Queen’s County in 1637 and was Commandant of Lord Castlehaven’s Life Guard, but his fortunes fell with those of the O’Dempseys and in 1642 he was attainted and lost his property and lands. Somehow, by inter-marriage they ultimately reverted to the family, but gradually over the next two centuries they were frittered away and the FitzGeralds ceased to be of real consequence in the Queen’s County.

Five generations later MARTIN FITZGERALD, born 5 January 1768, followed the natural course for penurious younger sons of Irish gentry by being the first of many FitzGeralds to join the Indian Army. At the age of 15 he was appointed Ensign in the 2nd Bengal European Regiment. He survived much active service in India serving in turn in the 30th Bengal Native Infantry, the 31st of the same, the First Bengal Light Cavalry and the Second of the same. At the battle of Laswar, 1 November 1803, he had two horses shot under him. He was promoted Lt. 1818 and commanded the 2nd Bengal Cavalry at Muttra. His military career was brought to an end in 1820 by an accident when his horse fell on him. He returned to England in 1821, was made Colonel of his Regiment in 1824 and died at Bath in 1829. His eldest son, John, eventually succeeded him in command of the same Regiment.

The second son of Martin’s second son was my (Duncan’s) great-grandfather, Charles Mordaunt FitzGerald who, for the first time, brings us in touch with living memory in the person of person of his wife, Mary Swayne. She outlived him by some 55 years and died when I was five years old at Wokingham. I have a clear recollection of her aged over 90. Charles Mordaunt, like his father and grandfather and most of his cousins, joined the Indian Army, being appointed Ensign in the 31st Bengal Native Infantry at the age of 16. He too endured much active service, serving with the Commissariat in the Burmese War of 1852 – 53, and being severely wounded in action at Trimmoo Ghat. He was honourably mentioned for his services in the Sikkim Expedition of 1861, became substantive major in 1863 and died of cholera in Calcutta on 13 June l867, still aged under 40. He dutifully left two sons for further service in the army, one of whom HERBERT SWAYNE FITZGERALD, my great-uncle, served as adjutant of the 15th Sikh Regiment in the Afghan War in 1880 and in the march under Sir Frederick Roberts from Kabul to Kandahar. This seems to be timely reminder that just a century ago it was the British who were invading Afghanistan, no doubt for the best of reasons, but at that time there were no Olympic Games to boycott.

At this point the history of our part of the FitzGerald family comes to an end, for neither Herbert Swayne nor his brother had male issue. They were however quite an interesting, adventurous, and even at times distinguished family, and I trust that one of my sons will one day give one of his sons the name of FitzGerald so that not all of the history will be forgotten.

Those turbulent early FitzGeralds found their way into Winston Churchill’s “History of the English Speaking Peoples” Vol. 11. Churchill describes the difficulties which King Henry VII experienced in trying to control his far flung and unruly Kingdom, following the Wars of the Roses – particularly in Ireland. The 8th Earl of Kildare was an open supporter of Perkin Warbeck, who laid claim to the throne on the pretence of being the younger of the two princes murdered in the Tower.

Churchill goes on, “Kildare was attainted and sent over to London; but Henry was too wise to apply simple feudal justice to so mighty an offender with his fighting clan on the outskirts of Dublin, and cousins, marriage-kin, and clients all over the island. The charges against the Great Earl were serious enough apart from his suspected favour of Perkin Warbeck. Had he not burned down the Cathedral of Cashel? The Earl admitted it, but excused himself in a fashion that appealed to the King. “I did, but I thought the Archbishop was inside”. Henry VII accepted the inevitable with a dictum which is famous, if not authentic, “Since all Ireland cannot govern the Earl of Kildare, let the Earl of Kildare govern all Ireland”. Kildare was pardoned, freed, married to the King’s cousin Elizabeth St. John, and sent back to Ireland where he succeeded Poynings as Lord Deputy”.

This incident took place in or shortly after 1494. The lady was his second wife and is described in the family tree as “daughter of Oliver St. John of Lydiard Tregoze”. Ironically she bore him seven sons, including the five who were later hanged at Tyburn in the reign of Henry VII’s son, Henry VIII.

The Poynings referred to was the author of the celebrated Poynings Law which subordinated the Irish Parliament to the English, causing great bitterness right up to the present century. That Kildare should have succeeded this hated Englishman is proof, at least, of his versatility.