Norman, Welsh, and Legendary
Ancestors of the FITZMAURICE
Lords of Kerry


This chapter in the history of the FITZMAURICE families begins with legends and gradually acquires substance as we approach 1100 A.D. Although the story is fairly well substantiated for 1100 A.D. to about 1220 A.D., I am sensitive to the need for greater access to primary sources even for that period.



Gwriad of Man to Einon ap Owain


Einion ap Owain to Nesta


Legendary Ancestors

The most ancient documents on which I have relied are the Domesday Book (A. D. 1086) and the writings of Gerald of Wales (c. 1146-c. 1223). They say nothing about the ancestors of Lord Other, the father of Walter fitzOther (aka Walter de Windsor or Gualterius filius Otheri).

There were many people named Other or Otho in the 10th and 11th centuries. Otho I, Otho II, and Otho III were the first three Holy Roman Emperors (962 — 1002). They ruled Lombardy from A.D. 951. All three emperors were Saxons. Among the contemporary variations of the name "Otho" or "Other" were "Oitir" (Old Irish), "Ottar (Old Norse), and "Ohtere" (Anglo Saxon).15  Bishop Odo (c. 1030--1097) of Bayeux, a half-brother of William I, fought at Hastings and commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry.

Because the name "Other" (with variations in spelling) was so common, it is not surprising that several speculative legends evolved concerning the ancestors of Lord Other. There are three legends (first printed several centuries after the death of Lord Other) which state respectively that the ancestors of Other came from Tuscany, Helgoland, and Spain.

Legendary Tuscan Ancestors
According to a popular legend unsubstantiated by any know contemporary documents, in the direct male line of the FITZMAURICE Lords of Kerry, there was the Gherardini family of Florence, Italy. This legend was published in 1655 by a Dominican scholar, Father O'Daly, at the beginning of a history of the Geraldine earls of Desmond.232 Father O'Daly wrote that the family was descended from the ancient Trojans and had fled to Florence from Troy.

The legendary ancestor memorialized by the family name was said to be Gherardo, who was said to have held the land on which Florence now stands. The Gherardini were one of the seigniorial families that fell when the Republic of Florence was founded circa A.D. 1250.211

The emigrant Gherardini who was ancestor to the FITZMAURICE families was said to be Otho or Odher (probably pronounced as "Oh-tair" with the accent on the first syllable).

The legendary Other is said to have gone to Normandy with King Canute of England who passed through Florence on his way home from a pilgrimage to Rome.

This legendary Other subsequently went to England. According to one story16, 56, this was about the time of King Canute's marriage with Emma, daughter of Richard Second, Duke of Normandy, and widow of King Ethelred, who died in A.D. 1016. Another account says that Other went to England with Edward the Confessor when the latter was called back from exile to be King of England. That would have been circa A.D. 1042.  Since A.D. 1016 and A.D. 1042 were only 26 years apart, the two stories are not contradictory.

As a supporter of King Edward during his exile, Otho Gherardini would have had great power in England.

While the Tuscan origin of the Geraldines is supported by the Royal Genealogical Data Base205 maintained at the University of Hull in England, some other genealogists reject all details of this legend. Absent documentation, I have no opinion.

Legendary Helgoland Ancestors
In his monograph written in 1879, W. P. Williams connects Other to the Norse Viking, Othere of Helgoland.231 I know of no confirmation of the relationship. The story seems implausible since the Viking ancestors of the Normans who invaded England were not Norse. They were Danish.

Legendary Spanish Ancestors
In 1903, H. T. J. Wood published the "Golden Grove" pedigree of the Geraldines. According to this document,
Walter fitz Other was the son of
Othero (from Normandy) who was the son of
Osoria (born in Florence) who was the son of
Gerald Dias Lopez (b. in Biscay, dwelt in Florence) who was the son of
Lopez Diaz who was the son of
Inigo the left handed who was the son of
Manso Lopez, Lord of Biscay, who was the son of
Zuria Lopez the fair, first lord of Biscay.

Wood does not quote any documentary sources for this fanciful genealogy.


Lord Other

Lord Other (aka Other Dominus, Otho fitz Othoer, Other fitz Othoer, etc.) is the most ancient of the direct male ancestors of the FITZMAURICE Lords of Kerry concerning whom there still exist contemporary documents. There is no documentary record of any of his ancestors. The Domesday Book of A.D. 1086 indicates that he was the father of Walter of Windsor.


Walter fitz Other

Walter fitz Other (or Walter de Windsor), the son of Lord Other, was tenant in chief of lands in Berkshire, counties Buckingham, Middlesex, Surrey, and Hampshire at the time of the Domesday Survey in A.D. 1086, and was Castelan of Windsor and Keeper of the Forest before A.D. 1100. Walter married Beatrice. Walter and Beatrice had three children:

  • William, Castelan of Windsor, ancestor of the Lords Windsor.
  • Gerald fitzWalter (or Gerald of Windsor).
  • Robert de Windsor, Baron of Eston, Essex.


Gerald of Windsor

(Born A.D. 1070 in Windsor, Berkshire, England;
died before A.D. 1136)

Gerald fitzWalter (or Gerald of Windsor), the second son of Walter fitzOther, was appointed by Henry I to be Constable of Pembroke Castle and Pres. of Pembroke County.

In A.D. 1095, Gerald of Windsor married Nesta, daughter of Rhys ap Tudor Mawr (Prince of South Wales). Gerald and Nesta had four children:

  • William fitzGerald, whom Giraldus Cambrensis expressly calls "Williamus primaevus". William succeeded to Carew Castle, and was ancestor of the family of Carew. William, the father of Raymond le Gros, died in A.D. 1173.
  • Maurice fitzGerald, Lord of Maynooth and Baron of Naas, who who was born in A.D. 1100 in Windsor, Berkshire, England, and died on 1 Sep 1176 in Wexford, Irreland.
  • David fitzGerald, Bishop of St. David's in A.D. 1147, who died in A.D. 1176. Bishop David fitzGerald granted the stewardship of the bishopric to his brother, Maurice fitzGerald, in 1175. The stewardship of the bishopric remained in the same family for at least three generations.117
  • Angharat (a daughter) who married William de Barri, to whom she bore Giraldus Cambrensis, the historian, and Philip de Barri, Lord of Manobier. Philip married a woman of the Baskerville family and had three sons:
    • William de Barri, b. circa 1176, who inherited the title Lord of Manobier.
    • David de Barri, who lived in Ireland.
    • Giraldus de Barri, Archdeacon of Brecon (the same title held previously by his uncle Giraldus de Barri or Giraldus Cambrensis).


Nesta (or Nest), Princess of Deheubarth

The earliest Welsh ancestor of the first Lord of Kerry with whom we can associate a date was Gwriad of Man who died in A.D. 825.

According to Welsh oral history,
Gwriad of Man, King of Gwynedd, was the
son of Elidir ap Sandde,
son of Sandde ap Alcwn,
son of Alcwn ap Tegid,
son of Tegid ap Gwair,
son of Gwair ap Dwywg,
son of Dwywg ap Llywarch,
son of Llywarch Hen ap Elidir,
son of Elidir ap Meirchion,
son of Meirchion Gul ap Gwrst,
son of Gwrst ap Ceneu,
son of Ceneu,
son of Coel Hen,
son of Tehvant,
son of Urban.


  • In a personal name,
    "ap" = "mac" = "fitz" = "son";
    "hen" = "old".
  • In the 9th century,
    Wales had three parts,
    Gwynedd (North Wales),
    Deheubarth (South Wales),
    and Powys.

Gwriad of Man had a son called Marvyn Vrych (d. A.D. 843) who became the King of Powys17.  Rhodri Mawr , the son of Marvyn, became King of Powys upon the death of his father.  His mother was Esyllt, Queen of North Wales. He married Angharad, heiress of South Wales and daughter of Meuric ap Dyfnwal (possibly the first known "Maurice" in our family) Lord of Caerdigan. Rhodri Mawr ruled Powys, North Wales, and South Wales. By his wife Angharat, Rhodri Mawr, who was slain in A.D. 876, had at least two children:

  • Anarawd ap Rhodri Mawr, King of North Wales, from whom was descended Henry VII, King of England and founder of the royal line of Tudor.
  • Cadell ap Rhodri Mawr, King of South Wales, who took possession of the Kingdom of Powys in A.D. 900. He died in A.D. 907 and was succeeded by his son Hywel ap Cadell, surnamed Dha, or the Good.

    Hywel ap Cadell Dha, King of South Wales, annexed Powys, and in A.D. 947, also usurped the crown of North Wales. He died in A.D. 948 and left an elder son, Owain ap Hywel Dha. Owen ap Hywel Dha, King of South Wales, died about A.D. 987. By his first marriage he was the great-grandfather of Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr.

    Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr and his second wife, Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn, had at least three children:

    • Gruffydd ap Rhys, Lord of S. Wales (d. 1137)
    • Margaret
    • Nesta, Princess of Deheubarth (d. 1136).17

    Nesta was firstly mistress to Henry I; secondly she married Stephen, Constable of Cardigan; thirdly she married Gerald of Windsor.56 Gerald and Nesta had four children:

    • William fitzGerald.
    • Maurice fitzGerald.
    • David fitzGerald.
    • Angarat, a daughter.

    The second son, Maurice fitzGerald, was one of the leaders of the Norman invasion of Ireland in A.D. 1170. A second leader was his half-brother, Robert FitzStephen.

    Considering the Welsh ancestry of both Gwladys and Nesta, it is clear that the genetic heritage of the children of Gerald fitzWalter was at least 75% Welsh despite the Norman names. In addition, we know that the Norman invasion of Ireland was launched primarily from Wales with most of the participating soldiers recruited in Wales. The total genetic input of the Norman invasion of Ireland was well over 50% Welsh. For this reason, the invasion of A.D. 1170 is often described as the Cambro-Norman invasion.


Maurice fitzGerald de Windsor

(Born A.D. 1100; died 1 Sep 1176 at Wexford, Ireland)
Lord of Maynooth and Baron of Naas.

The photo at the right is a drawing of Maurice that his nephew, Giraldus Cambrensis,  inserted in the Latin MS of his Expugnatio Hibernica (Conquest of Ireland) which was completed in A.D. 1189.  [Note the red hair on top of his head and the dark mini-beard on his lower lip.]

In A.D. 1168, Dermot MacMorrogh, King of Leinster, driven from his territory by Roderick O'Conor, High King if Ireland, sought assistance from the Norman-Welsh and succeeded in enlisting in his cause Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke (called Strongbow). Having reached St. David's, on his way back to Ireland, Dermot was hospitably received by David fitzGerald (son of Gerald of Windsor), Bishop of the diocese. According to Burke's Peerage, the Bishop persuaded his brother, Maurice fitzGerald, and his half-brother, Robert fitzStephen to assist MacMorrough with their forces.

The lower drawing shows Dermod MacMorrough.  This drawing also may be found in the Latin MS of Expugnatio Hibernica (Conquest of Ireland) by Giraldus Cambrensis. 

Sometime after achieving success in the invasion of Ireland, Strongbow granted to Maurice fitzGerald the middle cantred of Offelan, in which Naas was situated. Offelan was a district quite distinct from Offaly.

Maurice married Alice de Montgomery and had six sons:

  • William fitzMaurice, Baron of Naas. Confirmed in his lands in Offelan in A.D. 1185.
  • Gerald fitzMaurice, 1st Baron of Offaly, ancestor of the Dukes of Leinster. d. A.D. 1203
  • Thomas fitzMaurice, Lord of Connello, Co. Limerick. d. A.D. 1213. Ancestor of the FitzGeralds, the Earls of Desmond, the White Knight, the Knight of Glin, the Knight of Kerry, the FitzMaurice Lords of Kerry, etc.
  • Maurice fitzMaurice of Kiltrany (now Burntchurch), Co. Kilkenny. Ancestor of the Barons of Burntchurch.
  • Alexander fitzMaurice, d.s.p.
  • Robert fitzMaurice.

The information above was all obtained from the 1970 edition of Burke's Peerage. I am inclined to accept that source for the present.

From at least the end of the 16th century to at least the mid19th century, English and Irish genealogists wrote that William fitzMaurice (the eldest son of Maurice fitzGerald of Windsor) was the ancestor of the FitzMaurices of Kerry via his son Raymond le Gros.16  There is now general agreement that Raymond le Gros had no children.

One modern Irish genealogist102 argues that Thomas fitzMaurice (the 1st Lord of Kerry) was the son of Maurice fitzThomas of Molahiffe (d. 1306), son of Thomas fitzRobert (d. after 1261), son of Robert fitzMaurice, the youngest son of Maurice fitzGerald (Lord of Maynooth and Baron of Naas, d. 1176).


Alice de Montgomery

Alice was the daughter of Arnulph de Montgomery. Arnulph was the fourth son of Roger de Montgomery, who led the center of the Norman army at the Battle of Hastings.

Roger took his name from the castle Sainte Foi de Montgomery in the diocese of Lisieux in Normandy. (Another branch of the Montgomery family took its name from Saint Germain de Montgomery in Calvados).40 The legendary progenitor of the Montgomery family was named Gomer:

"who brought his legions from the war,
and settled the same
Upon a hill 'twixt Rome and Spain,
Gomericus by name;
From which he and his offspring do
Their sir-name still retain."

Roger was made an Earl with large holdings of land in Wales. His family gave its name to the county of Montgomeryshire.

In A.D. 1102, Robert de Belesme, a son of Roger de Montgomery, rebelled against Henry I and was banished from England.40 The Earls of Eglinton descended from other sons of Roger de Montgomery.40

The family of Montgomery in Scotland was founded by Robert de Montgomery in the second part of the 12th century when he obtained the lands of Eaglesham in Renfrewshire.40 The family is that of the Earls of Eglinton and Winton.40

The first Earl of Shrewsbury was named Robert de Montgomery. He was alive before A.D. 1123.40

Alice de Montgomery married Maurice fitzGerald (d. 1176). They had six sons:

  • William, Baron of Naas.
  • Gerald, 1st Baron Offaly.
  • Thomas, Lord of Connello.
  • Maurice, of Kiltrany.
  • Alexander.
  • Robert

The mother of Alice de Montgomery was Lafeacott O'Brien. The O'Brien and the MacCarthy families had been warring with each other in southwestern Ireland for many years prior to the Norman invasion of Ireland. Lafeacott was apparently a persuasive woman. When her son-in-law, Maurice fitzGerald, invaded Ireland in 1171, he took by conquest part of the MacCarthy territory. Initially at least, Maurice did not seize any O'Brien territory of which I have any record.

Most people named O'Brien are descended from Brian mac Cennéidigh, the Ard-Righ (High King) of Ireland usually known as Brian Bóru. Since Lafeacott O'Brien was born only about 150 years after the army of Brian Bóru defeated the Vikings at Clontarf in A.D. 1014, she was undoubtedly aware of her famous ancestor and careful about the spelling of her name. In later generations, the families of (O) Byrne, O'Broin, and Bryan sometimes changed the spelling of their name to O'Brien.84

The father of Alice de Montgomery was probably the same Arnulph de Montgomery who, circa A.D. 1100, founded the Benedictine priory in Monkton known as Pembroke priory, a cell of Seez.


Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald the Welshman)

Son of William de Barri and Angharat (daughter of Gerald of Windsor). Nephew of Maurice FitzGerald (d. 1176). First cousin of Raymond le Gros. Gerald wrote a history of the conquest of Ireland by his Norman-Welsh relatives. He wrote this history in Latin under the name Giraldus Cambrensis. Gerald has also left us a description of the people of Wales in the late twelfth century. This work was written in Welsh under the name Gerallt Gymro (Gerald the Welshman). Following is a smoothed version of a word-for-word translation:87

"The women as well as the men cut their hair in a circle round their ears and their eyes. The women wear head-dresses of white cloth which has been placed in coils like a turban of the Persians. Everyone takes great care of their teeth by rubbing them regularly with hazel green and wiping them with a piece of woolen cloth until they become as white as ivory. In their care for their teeth, they refrain from eating hot meals. The men shave their beards excepting only the mustache.

"The people show special skill on their musical instruments, the harp, the pipes, and the crowd. Bards are very numerous among them and those who compose poetry are excellent. They like alliteration very much. In their music, they are wont to sing in unison, but in many voices, modes, and keys. In a company of singers are heard as many different keynotes and voices as there are heads to be seen but in the end all finish together with B flat.

"Everyone puts a high price on pure pedigree and noble lineage. The most common man of no note is concerned with his genealogical table. Because of this emphasis on pedigrees and family relationship, they are ready to avenge any wrong that has been done to their kindred, whether the wrong be old or recent."

Giraldus Cambrensis was the tutor or secretary of Prince John. He traveled over a third of Ireland.

Chronological History of Giraldus Cambrensis117

  • c. 1146: Giraldus de Barri born at Manobier Castle, Pembrokeshire. His father was William de Barri; his mother was Angharet, the daughter of Gerald of Windsor.
  • c. 1162-c. 1174: Student at Paris. Then returned to England.
  • c. 1175: Appointed to the archdeaconry of Brecon (diocese St.David's).
  • 1176: Unsuccessful candidate for election to the bishopric of St. David's after the death of the incumbent, his uncle, Bishop David fitzGerald. The successful candidate was Peter de Leia who held office from 1176 to 1198.
  • 1177-1179: Student at Paris. Studied law.
  • c. 1179-c. 1182: Represented the Bichop of St. David's in the diocese.
  • 1183: Giraldus made first visit to Ireland.
  • c. 1184: Giraldus entered into the royal service as a clerk.
  • 1185: At Easter 1185, Prince John sailed with a fleet from Pembroke and Milford Harbor and landed at Waterford in Ireland. Gerald was sent with him as chaplain and advisor. Gerald remained in Ireland until sometime between Easter and Whitsun 1186.
  • 1188: Made a Lenten tour of Wales with Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury.
  • 1194: Retired from court. Studied at Hereford and Lincoln.
  • 1199: Elected to the see of St. David's on June 29. Made short, third visit to Ireland.
  • 1199-1203: Three journeys to Rome to defend his election.
  • 1203 Apr 15: Election declared invalid by Pope Innocent III after four years of negotiation. Giraldus had initially wanted to have the Welsh church separate from the jurisdiction of Canterbury and subject to Rome alone. "He thus wished to secure the privileged which had been granted to the Scottish and the Irish church in the second half of the twelfth century."
  • 1203 Dec 6: Final agreement between Giraldus and Archbishop Hubert Walter of Canterbury. (Giraldus agreed to retire with a guaranteed income.)
  • 1203 Dec 7: Consecration of Geoffrey of Henlaw as bishop of St. David's.
  • 1203 Dec 11: At Newbury, Giraldus resigned the archdeaconry of Brecon in favor of his nephew (who also was named Giraldus de Barri).
  • 1204-1205: Giraldus Cambrensis made his fourth visit to Ireland.
  • 1206: Pilgrimage to Rome.
  • 1207: Retirement at Lincoln.
  • c. 1208: Appeal of his nephew and Master William de Capella against Giraldus at Hereford. (This was in connection with a law suit initiated by Giraldus when the guaranteed income was discontinued. Most terms of the agreement were apparently not in writing.)
  • c. 1223: Giraldus died, perhaps in the diocese of Lincoln.


Thomas fitzMaurice fitzGerald of Connello79

Died A.D. 1213

Third son of Maurice fitzGerald (d. 1176), Lord of Naas and Maynooth, and Alice de Montgomery.

A significant event during the lifetime of Thomas fitzMaurice of Connello was the death of Henry II at Chinon in Touraine on 6 July 1189. Henry seemed to be more concerned with retaining control over part of France than with completing the conquest of Ireland.

Thomas married Elinor of Shanid, daughter of Jordan de Marisco (Justiciar of Ireland). Thomas was survived by two sons:

  • John fitzThomas, who obtained land in Desmond, was killed at Callan in A.D. 1261 and was ancestor of the FitzGerald Earls of Desmond, the White Knight, the Knight of Glin, the Knight of Kerry, etc.
  • Maurice fitzThomas who was ancestor of the FitzMaurice Lords of Kerry.


Maurice fitzThomas fitzMaurice

Died before 1253

Maurice was a hostage in England until 1215 (Pat. Roll 17 John, MS. 19). He was released and returned to Ireland after his father died. Maurice was the younger son of Thomas fitzMaurice of Connello (d. 1213) and Elinor, daughter of Jordan de Marisco (Justiciar of Ireland). Maurice built the castle of Molahiffe and others along the river Maine in Kerry. He held the Manor of Altry in Clanmaurice.79

According to Cusack86, Maurice married a woman named Johanna and was survived by one son, Thomas fitzMaurice, the First Lord of Kerry.

According to Ref. 65, Maurice the hostage married the heiress of the McElligotts of Galey. There are at least five popular theories concerning the origin of the name McElligott. The current theory is that McElligott came from FitzElyoth which came from FitzElias, the name of a Cambro-Norman family in Kerry from the middle of the 13th century.


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