Sir Peter Fitzgerald, 19th Knight of Kerry: Correspondence

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 1189
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Physical Description
      various sizes. 2 volumes (401 items);

Scope and Content

Two volumes in which have been mounted family letters and papers (401 items), newspaper cuttings, photographs and allied materials mainly relating to Sir Peter George Fitzgerald, as follows:

  • Volume I, numbers 1-74, 1805-1868 (but mainly in the 1830s);
  • Volume II, numbers 75-401, 1878-1880. Among Fitzgerald's correspondents are Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught; Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Dean of Westminster; William Ewart Gladstone; various members of the peerage (notably Lansdowne); Lieut.-Col. A.F. [Arthur Frederick] Pickard VC (equerry to the Duke of Connaught, Assistant Private Secretary, Assistant Keeper of the Privy Purse and Groom-in-Waiting to the Queen); and Fitzgerald's son Captain Maurice Fitzgerald (equerry to the Duke of Connaught). Sir Peter Fitzgerald's daughter Julia married Stephen Edward Spring-Rice, son of the Hon. Charles Spring-Rice.

Administrative / Biographical History

'Knights of Kerry belong to an early branch of the mighty Geraldines. There is uncertainty as to exactly how or when they received their title or, more accurately, their distinction. Traditional accounts attribute the creation of this distinction and that of the White Knight and the Knight of Glin to John FitzThomas, who was killed at Callan on 23 July 1261. In any case, whenever the titles originated, the descendants of all these knights have been styled such by acts of parliament, patents under the great seal and in all legal proceedings up to the present time.' (see J. Anthony Gaughan, Listowel and its vicinity (Cork: Mercier Press, 1973), pp. 284-97).

Sir Peter George Fitzgerald, nineteenth knight of Kerry (1808-1880) began his career in the banking house of his maternal grandfather David Latouche in Dublin. He subsequently entered public service, and was appointed Vice-Treasurer of Ireland in Peel's 1841-6 ministry. He succeeded to his father's title and property in 1849, and thereafter devoted his life to improving the family's estates. Unlike many Irish landowners, he appears to have had a genuine concern for his tenants, and he built substantial dwellings for them in the place of the wretched cabins in which they were living. He was also concerned to improve the economic situation of Ireland generally, and he permitted the first trans-Atlantic cable station to be erected on his estate at Valentia. In 1838 he married Julia Hussey (d. 1896), daughter of Peter Bodkin Hussey of Farranikilla House, Dingle, co. Kerry, a Catholic of English ancestry. They had four sons and seven daughters. He was created a baronet in 1880 and died shortly afterwards. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Captain Maurice Fitzgerald, who served with distinction in the Second Anglo-Asante War.

Source: G.B. Smith, 'Fitzgerald, Sir Peter George, nineteenth knight of Kerry (1808-1880)'; rev. Peter Gray, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -