Earlier this year, I started gathering a collection of citations from online issues of the Journal of the Co. Kildare Archaeological Society and Surround Districts. Lots of gems in here on Keatings in the Co. Kildare area, and I’d like to do the same with other available journals (as well as find a good source for issues not readily available online). I ordered the entries in my notes by the earliest year referenced in each article. I’ve some ideas for a searchable database containing these entries, but for now, here they are in article form.
This William FitzGerald was twice married : his first wife was Joan Keating, and his second Cisly Gaydon ; the former died on the 21st of February, 1623. I cannot discover the names of more than three of his children. One was a daughter named Mary, married to William, son of James Rochford. Another was a son named Garrett, who joined the ranks of the Confederate Catholics in the Rebellion of 1641, and was slain at the Battle of Kilrush (Co. Kildare) in the following year.
The burial place of the family, since settling down at Castleroe, was the old churchyard of Kilkea. Attached to the west end of the Church ruins, is a Mortuary Chapel, now also in ruins, containing a vault above which stands a three-sided altar-tomb bearing representations of our Lord’s Passion and Crucifixion. The covering slab is ornamented with a cross running down the centre; while rounding the edge is the following inscription:–
HIER LIETH WILLIAME FITZGERALD AND HIS FIRST WIFE, IVANE KEITING.
AND HIS SECOND WIFE, CISLIE GEIDONE : IVANE : DIE. THE 21 DAY
OF. FEBRVARI. IN THE YEAR. OF OVR : GOD : 1623.
In connection with William FitzGerald there are some sculptured stones, which are now built into the west wall of the nave in the church ruins; one represents his crest, a monkey carrying a knight’s helmet; another a mermaid holding a comb in one hand, and a lock of hair in the other, seated on , or reclining against, a sea-horse(?); this may have been the crest of one of his wives. The two remaining stones formed a mural monument: the upper stone bears the FitzGerald crest and coat-of-arms (on a shield argent, a saltire gules with a crescent for difference); in each of the bottom corners is a small shield bearing arms impaled, viz. —
On the dexter side the FitzGerald and Keating coats (the latter being “argent, a saltire gules between four nettle-leaves vert,” with a crescent for difference), below which are the letters I and K, the initials of his first wife.
On the sinister side the FitzGerald and Gaydon coats (“gules, a chevron between three roses or,” for Gaydon); below them S and G, the initials of his second wife.
Exactly below the large centre shield is the date 1630. This must be the date of the erection of the monument, as from his letter, quoted above, we know that William FitzGerald was alive in 1632. The lower portion of the mural monument bears the following Latin inscription:–
VIVO EGO, IAM MORIOR MIRARIS VERBVLA, LECTOR
IN TERRIS MORIOR VITA SECVNDA POLO EST •
VITA NIHILL • PRIA • EST • ESTET MIHI POPA SECVNDA •
VITA PRIOR DOLVS EST, VITA SECVDA DECVS •
ECCE KEATINGA PIO IVNCTA IONNA VIRO
CAECILLE CONIVX CLARA DE STIRPE GEIDON
IVNCTVS ERAT, QVI TRES CONDIMVR HOC TVMVLO.
It is not unlikely that William’s son, Garrett, was the author of this epitaph, as in the notice of him already given he is described as a good Latin scholar. The following translation of the Latin was made in 1863 by W.E. Coghlan, then a tutor in Kilkea Castle :–
“I dead still live : the words create surprise !
I died on earth to live again in heaven.
My former life was naught but tears and sighs ;
But now to me are pomp and glory given —
A second life, all happiness in heaven.
“Lo ! I am Joanna Keating, who did join
With William — he, a pious Geraldine,
Was first Caecelia’s consort,1 she who came
Straight from Geidon’s stock of famous name,
We three to death’s sharp sting at last succumbed.
And ‘neath this stone together lie entombed.”
These sculptured stones were formerly built into the boundary-wall of the churchyard, on the north-west side, and were placed for safety in their present position by the 4th Duke of Leinster. The mortuary chapel must have been their original site ; the proper place, too, of their coat-of-arms stone would be resting on the slab bearing the inscription, and in that position built into the wall over the altar-tomb. There is said to have been one, if not two, more sculptured FitzGerald stones, which, being in a fractured state, got buried, or were lost.
1 This does not agree with the inscription on the altar-tomb, which states that Joan was William’s first wife. The tomb itself appears to have been made in William’s lifetime, and the inscription recording her death, and that of his second wife, was never completed.FitzGerald, Walter. “William FitzGerald of Castleroe, and His Tomb in Kilkea Churchyard.” Journal of the Co. Kildare Archaeological Society and Surrounding Districts III (1899-1902): 229-253. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Journal_of_the_Co_Kildare_Archaeological/60g9AAAAIAAJ (accessed February 25, 2021).