Thomas FitzMaurice, 1st Earl of Kerry

Thomas FitzMaurice, 1st Earl of Kerry PC (Ire) (1668 – 16 March 1741) was an Irish peer and politician.


He was the son of William FitzMaurice, 20th Baron Kerry, and Constance Long. He succeeded his father in March 1696/97 and was invested as a Privy Counsellor before April 1711. He was created Earl of Kerry on 17 January 1723, together with the subsidiary title Viscount Clanmaurice, both in the Peerage of Ireland. He had some military experience, and even his grandson Lord Shelburne, in a notably hostile character sketch, admitted that he showed courage and talent as a soldier. He was notorious for his hot temper, and even in an age when dueling was commonplace, he was reprimanded for challenging John Methuen, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland to a duel.

FitzMaurice was a Member of the Irish House of Commons for Kerry from 1692 to 1697.


He married Anne Petty (1671-1737), daughter of the scientist and philosopher Sir William Petty and his wife Elizabeth Waller, Baroness Shelburne, daughter of Sir Hardress Waller, in 1692. They had five children:


Thomas FitzMaurice was the grandfather of William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, Prime Minister of Great Britain. Shelburne left a most unflattering picture of his grandfather as "a tyrant... the most severe and inflexible character that can be imagined, obstinate and inflexible... his family did not love him but dreaded him, as did his servants". He praised his grandmother Anne Petty (whom he never knew personally) as a woman of superior intelligence and strong character, who was the only person who could manage her husband. His picture of his grandfather must be treated with some caution: it is likely to be based largely on other people's reports of his character, since William was not quite four years old when the old man died.

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Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Member of Parliament for Kerry
With: Edward Denny
Succeeded by
Edward Denny
William Sandes
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Earl of Kerry
1723 1741
Succeeded by
William FitzMaurice
Preceded by
William FitzMaurice
Baron Kerry
1697 1741

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