Monday, May 12, 2014

Military Monday - Gallowglass and Kern in the Desmond Wars

Reading  a book about Eleanor Countess of Desmond I see that their Galloglass were the McSheehys. Roric McSheehy held a vill and land at Ballycullane near Limerick under the Earl so James Ffant who murdered Patrick Ffant at the Glassie Gate in Kilmallock was on the Fitzgerald /Desmond side of the struggle.. the Gaelic side and not the Ormond Butler side..It may have been part of this struggle..

2nd thing I learned was that the Galloglass wore heavy armor and mail and fought with swords an...d lances and that the Irish who fought were the Kerns..they fought barefoot or lightly shod in clothing that was adapted to the climate and terrain and used swords, darts( throwing knives) axes and bows and were very effective.. Many Fants were Kerns, probably in charge of others.. They were quick and fast..

There were Butlers and Fitzgeralds on both sides of this struggle.So very likely that Fants were also.Eleanor Countess of Desmond was a Butler as had been Garret ( Gerald) Fitzgerald's first wife and the mother of Black Tom who was the Earl of Desmond.

There was a pardon granted to John Faunte, kern, of Ballyderonty Limerick in 1567, and there was a pardon granted to John Faunt, horseman, of Fantstowne in 1584. James & John Fant of Clangibbon are also mentioned in pardons at this time. That tells us that others in the family survived these struggles.

 Any battle at Fantstown would have involved all kinsman fighting with the landholder at the castle itself but that Castle passed into the hands of Thomas Burgat by 1585 and then to his son and heir John who was married to Genet Ffant who was very likely his ward.

It was at this time that some Fants were in Tipperary. Were they allied with the Butler family, the  Earldom of Ormond? It is very possible. James and John Fant of Clangibbon would have been affiliated with the "White Knight" Fitzgibbon who at that point was also attainted and linked with the Desmond faction. We know that Ellen Burgat,Genetta Fant Burgat's daughter marries Maurice Fitzgibbon the last "White Knight" but one.

The Fant family  has redrawn their territory at this time. One Patrick Fant hold lands both in Limerick and Kildare in the 1550s so he is likely the man who was murdered or of his line. We know we have the family who are in  Fermoy and are linked to the Roche and  Fitzgibbon families. My own family is in Bansha, Fethard ,Cordangen and Fethard in the 1600s, also in Ballyporeen and Mitchelstown Cork until they exit  Ireland or move down  to Cork City . They were survivors and did what they needed to.