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Thomas FitzGerald.

Famous Irish People.

Thomas FitzGerald 10th Earl of Kildare

Silken Thomas.
Tomás an tSíoda

Thomas FitzGerald son of Gerald FitzGerald, the 9th Earl of Kildare spent a considerable amount of his early life in England. In February 1543 Thomas father was summoned to London, before he left he appointed Thomas deputy governor of Ireland. Thomas then only 21 years of age was surrounded by English Lords greedy to lay their hands on the Kildare estates, his inexperience led to him embarking on a rebellion against Henry VIII rule in Ireland, based a rumor put about in June 1543 that his father had been executed in London and that the same fate awaited him and his uncles.

Despite advice from many of his elder kinsmen on 11th June Thomas summoned the Council and accompanied by 140 horsemen with silk fringes on their helmets, rode to St Mary's Abbey, Dublin where he renounced his allegiance to King Henry VIII, self proclaimed Lord of Ireland.

In July of that year he attacked Dublin castle resulting in the rout of his army, previously Archbishop Alen had tried to mediate in the dispute, Thomas ordered that the Archbishop be murdered, resulting in the loss of support of the clergy. Thomas retreated to Maynooth Castle stronghold of the Kildare's, in March 1535 Thomas was away gathering reinforcements when the castle was attacked by Sir William Skeffington leader of the English forces who had bribed a guard. The garrison surrendered and were all put to the sword, this event became known as 'The pardon of Maynooth'

Lord Leonard Grey arrived in Ireland as Lord Deputy with orders to crush the rebellion, with Grey's arrival Thomas found his former allies melting away and submitting to Grey. Anxious to end the matter as soon as possible The Lord Deputy made it be known that he would personally guarantee Thomas's safety if he submitted unconditionally to the king's mercy, taking Grey at his word the young Thomas FitzGerald surrendered.

In October 1535 he was sent as a prisoner to the Tower, there he languished in a wretched state until 3 February 1537 when despite the assurance of Lord Grey he along with five of his uncles were hung drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

The death of Silken Thomas largly brought to an end Irish born nobles holding the post of Lord Deputy.

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