Thomas Eustace, 1st Viscount Baltinglass (c. 1480-1549) was an Anglo-Irish noble who achieved wealth and influence by prudently remaining loyal to the English Crown. He was born circa 1480 at Caslemartin, County Kildare.
He was the son of Richard Eustace (died before 1496), younger son of Sir Edward FitzEustace, Lord Deputy of Ireland, and Anne, daughter of Robert Eustace of Ballyloughrane.He married Margaret Talbot, daughter of Sir Peter Talbot of Malahide Castle and Catherine FitzGerald. He died on 31 July 1549.
On 14 December 1496, when only sixteen, he succeeded his uncle, Rowland FitzEustace, 1st Baron Portlester, in the family estates.Portlester's daughter Alison married Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare and was the grandmother of Silken Thomas, hence the strong pressure on the Eustace clan to join Thomas' rebellion.
He was High Sheriff of Kildare in 1523 and was knighted, but little else is known of him until about 1534.
During the Silken Thomas rebellion, when the Eustace family were deeply divided, due to the close family tie between the Eustace and Fitzgerald families, he remained loyal to Henry VIII and was duly rewarded for his assistance in putting down the rebellion by being created Baron Kilcullen in the Peerage of Ireland in September 1535. He is said to have possessed one half of County Wicklow,together with his family's existing possessions in Kildare and County Meath, and benefited from the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
He played a prominent part in the Irish Parliament of 1541-2. The Parliament is chiefly remembered for passing the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 by which Henry VIII took the title King of Ireland, in preference to the earlier Lordship of Ireland.
As a reward for further actions in putting down rebellion, he was created Viscount Baltinglass, a title also in the Peerage of Ireland, on 29 June 1541. His principal residence was Harristown, Naas South, County Kildare; he died at New Abbey, Kilcullen.
Children of Sir Thomas Eustace, 1st Viscount Baltinglass and Margaret Talbot
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Rowland FitzEustace, 1st Baron Portlester was an Irish peer, statesman and judge. He was one of the dominant political figures in late fifteenth-century Ireland, rivalled in influence only by his son-in-law Garret FitzGerald, the "Great" Earl of Kildare.
Viscount Baltinglass, in the County of Wicklow, was a title created three times in the Peerage of Ireland. The first came on 29 June 1541 in favour of Thomas Eustace, 1st Baron Kilcullen. He had already created Baron Kilcullen, in the County of Kildare, in September 1535, also in the Peerage of Ireland. Lord Baltinglass was the nephew and heir of Rowland FitzEustace, 1st Baron Portlester, who died without legitimate male issue. His grandson, the third Viscount, took part in the Desmond Rebellion of 1581 and was attainted in 1585 with his titles forfeited. He died the same year. His younger brothers both Edmund and William both subsequently styled themselves Viscount Baltinglass although the titles were never restored.
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James FitzEustace of Harristown, 3rd Viscount Baltinglass (1530–1585) James FitzEustace, the eldest son of Rowland Eustace, 2nd Viscount Baltinglass and Joan, daughter of James Butler, 8th Baron Dunboyne. He was born in 1530 and died in Spain in 1585. Baltinglass's family was traditionally associated with the FitzGerald family, the earls of Kildare, but prudently remained loyal to Henry VIII during the "Silken Thomas" Rebellion of 1534–35. For their loyalty they were granted additional lands. Later in the 1540s Thomas FitzEustace, James's grandfather, was created first Viscount Baltinglass by a grateful king. But like many other old English Pale families, the FitzEustaces later became disillusioned.
Roland Eustace, 2nd Viscount Baltinglass of Harristown, County Kildare, Ireland, was born in 1505 and died in 1578. He was the son of Sir Thomas Eustace (1480–1549), 1st Viscount Baltinglass and Margaret Talbot, daughter of Sir Peter Talbot of Malahide Castle, County Dublin.
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Harristown is a townland in County Kildare on the River Liffey 2.5 miles (4.0 km) downstream from Kilcullen, just north of Brannockstown in the civil parish of Carnalway in the barony of Naas South. It is the site of a former borough and manor, and Harristown Borough was a borough constituency sending two MPs to the Irish House of Commons before the Acts of Union 1800. Harristown Common is a townland and former commonage north of Harristown proper and separated from it by the townlands of Dunnstown and Johnstown or Dunshane.
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G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910–1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 395. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.