Walsh Origins - Descendants of Nesta
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Descendants of Nesta, Princess of Deheubarth

The origins of the Walsh surname in Ireland are interwoven with the adventurers who came to Ireland as early as 1169 when the first Cambro-Norman contingent arrived from Wales to assist the ousted King of Leinster. Many of those who were to lead the battles, and to benefit from endowments of title and property in Ireland were descendants of the beautiful princess Nesta. The most notable of these included Robert FitzStephen and Raymond le Gros, who lead consecutive campaigns into southern Ireland prior to the arrival of either Strongbow or King Henry II.

Walsh traditions hold that the first Brenaghs and le Waleys, the early forms of the Walsh surname, were directly or indirectly related to Nesta's descendants and were among the first to arrive during the early campaigns of 1169 and 1170. The evidence is sketchy, but the references are numerous. Whatever the actual lineages, there appears to be multiple origins of the Walsh families. Among the first Walshs was claimed to be a nephew, or nephews, of Raymond FitzWilliam 'le Gros' a grandson of Nesta. There is also a suggestion they were releated (nephews or grandsons) to Robert FitzStephen, son of Nesta. Others suggest a possible relationship to Ricard FitzGilbert 'Strongbow', while others point ot them as nephews of the Welsh prince Rhys ap Gruffydd, a nephew himself of Nesta. A couple of references point to a David 'Walsh' as a son of one of Raymond's sisters, perhaps Isabel de Carew. Another points to a Howell Walsh, son of Philip, to have married a daughter of Raymond 'le Gros', while another says Howell was married to a daughter of Gryffith, a brother of Raymond 'le Gros'.

The circumstantial evidence points clearly to the interrelationship of the early Walsh families in Ireland to the descendants of Nesta. Many individuals in the descendant chart below are frequently mentioned in connection with the early acquisition of lands in Ireland, which later became those of Walsh families.

Descendants of Nesta     (a possible pedigree)
1 Nesta	verch Rhys	b: Abt. 1073    d: Bef. 1136   f: or Nest, Princess of Deheubarth, dau. of Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr	
*1st LINE OF NESTA:					
1 +Henry I Beauclerc, King of England   b: c.September 1068 Yorkshire, England    d: December 1135 in St Denis-le-Fermont, Near Gisors	f: son of William the Conqueror, King of England	
 2  Henry FitzHenry      b: c.1103   d: 1157 in Anglesey. Held Narbarth and Pebidiog in Wales.		
  3   Robert FitzHenry   b: c.1135   d: c.1185   f: one of the invaders with brother Meiler in 1169.
  3   Meiler FitzHenry   b: c.1135   d: c.1220   f: helped a David 'Walsh' become Bishop of Waterford in 1204.	
      +?? de Lacy        f: daughter of Robert de Lacy, neice of Hugh de Lacy	
   4    Meiler Fitzmeiler FitzHenry	                         		
  3   Morgan FitzHenry   b: c.1135     				
  3   Amabel FitzHenry   b: c.1135   f: or Amabalis	
      +Walter de Ridelesford					

 2  Robert of Gloucester                                                    
*2ND LINE OF NESTA:	                                          
1 +Gerald FitzWalter de Windsor  b: c.1072   d: Bef. 1136   f: Constable of Pembroke Castle, Wales	
 2  William FitzGerald de Carew	 b: c.1100   d: 1173     f: of Karreu (Carew). Held Pembroke and Emlyn in Wales. A branch of his family is claimed responsible for the name "Le Waleys" in Ireland.
    + Maria Montgomery		   	         	 f: the name of William's spouse(s) is disputed				
  3   Gerald de Carew            b: c.1140   	         f: Lord of Carew (not typically named in genealogies)
  3   Odo de Carew               b: c.1140   d: c.1202   f: Ancestor of the Carews of Carlow	
  3   Raymond le Gros 	 	 b: c.1140   d: c.1183   f: a leader in the Norman Invasion of Ireland, father of the Carew Lords of Cork	
      +[1] Basilia de Clare	 b: c.1140   d: c.1215   f: daughter of Richard (strongbow) de Clare	
   4    Richard FitzRaymond			f: an illegitimate son?, his father Raymond was said to die without issue.
        +Raghenilda McCarthy			f: daughter of Dermod McCarthy	
   4    Catherine				f:  married Hayle Walsh who built Castlehale, per O'Harts Irish Pedigrees                		
  3   William FitzWilliam 	 b: c.1140   f: ancestor of the Gerards, Co. Chester
   4    William FitzWilliam FitzGerald	  	    f: Lord of a Moiety of Kingsley, Co. Chester.
  3   Griffin FitzWilliam 	 b: c.1140   f: Baron of Knocktopher, Kilkenny, Ireland	f: supposedly killed Tiernan O'Rourke in a conference with DeLacy and FitzGerald.
   4    Gilbert Fitzgriffin 	 b: c.1170   f: 2nd Baron of Knocktopher	
   4    Matthew Fitzgriffin 	 b: c.1170   f: 3rd Baron of Knocktopher	
   4    Raymond Fitzgriffin 	 b: c.1170   d: 1257   f: 4th Baron of Knocktopher	
   4    Griffin Fitzgriffin	 b: c.1170   f: Sheriff of Dungarvan	
   4    Katherine		 b: c.1180   f: married Hoyle Walsh who built Castlehale, per Burke's Landed Gentry	
  3   Mabel de Carew   b: abt. 1140.  f. aka Mabilia
      + Nicholas de Caunteton	 b: c.1140   d: c.1215   
   4    Raymond de Caunteton	 b: c.1165  	         f: knighted at Ordone in 1185
   4    Richard de Caunteton	 b: c.1165   d: c.1199   f: 1st Lord of Cork, ancestor of the Condons
  3   Isabel de Carew  b: c.1140   f: name uncertain, possible mother of David 'Walsh' (of Carrickmaine??) 		
                                   f: If she was married to Rhys, the early Walsh records might be explained. (J.C. Walsh)
Notes: An unnamed daughter of William FitzGerald is referred to as mother of David the Welshman, since 
Giraldus Cambrensis mentions David as a 'nephew' of Reimund (le Gros).
From "Notes on the Ecclesiastical Remains at Runston, Sudbrook, Dinham, and Llan-bedr" is the following citation: 
"two of the family accompanied Strongbow to Ireland in or about 1170; these were David Le Walleys, and Phillip Le Walleys, 
younger sons of Ralph and brothers of William Le Walleys"                             
 2  Maurice FitzGerald   b: c.1100   d: September 01, 1176 in Wexford, Ireland   f: A leader in the Norman Invasion of Ireland.   
							 f: Held Llanstephan in Wales  f: Ancestor of the Barons of Offaly and Naas.
    +Alice de Montgomery   f: granddaughter of Muirchertach O’Brien, King of Ireland; daughter of Arnulf de Montgomery	
  3   Gerald FitzMaurice FitzGerald   b: Abt. 1150   d: Bef. January 15, 1203/04   f: 1st Baron of Offaly   
      +[2] Eve de Bermingham   b: c.1155   d: Bef. December 1226   f: daughter of Robert de Bermingham, Baron of Offaly	
   4    Maurice FitzGerald     b: c.1190   d: 1257 in Youghal Monastery   f: 2nd Baron of Offaly. Justiciar of Ireland.	Ancestor of the Earls of Kildare.
        +Juliane de Cogan   f: dau of John de Cogan, g-gson of Miles or Richard de Cogan?	
  3   William FitzMaurice FitzGerald  b: c.1150   f: 1st Baron of Naas, son of Maurice Fitzgerald, born circa 1100	
      +Alina de Clare                 b: c.1175                                        
   4    William FitzGerald            b: c.1195                                
  3   Thomas FitzMaurice FitzGerald   b: c.1150   d: c.1213   f: Ancestor of the FitzGeralds, the Earls of Desmond, the White Knight, the Knight of Glin, the Knight of Kerry, the FitzMaurice Lords of Kerry, etc. 
							      f: acceded to Shanid after 2nd marriage to Elinor, daughter of Jordan de Marisco. 
							      f: Lord of Connello, Co. Limerick. 
      +Elinor of Shanid					
   4    John FitzThomas FitzGerald    b: c.1175   d: 1216     f: of Shanid. Ancestor of the Earls of Desmond.	
        +Margery FitzAnthony          b: c.1175   	      f: dau. of Thomas FitzAnthony	
   4    Maurice FitzThomas FitzMaurice		  f: ancestor of the FitzMaurice Lords of Kerry
  3   Maurice FitzMaurice FitzGerald  b: c.1150	  f: Baron of Kiltrany (now Burnchurch), Co. Kilkenny.  Ancestor to the Barons of Burnchurch.
  3   Robert FitzMaurice
  3   Nesta FitzGerald de Windsor     b: c.1150	  f: possibly a daughter of Angharad and William FitzOdo de Barry
      +Hervey de Montmorency          b: c.1110   f: Constable of England and Constable of Ireland.	 
 2  David FitzGerald		      b: c.1100   d: 1176     f: Bishop of St. Davids	
  3   Miles FitzDavid Fitzgerald      b: c.1145   d: 1215     f: Milo of Overke FitzBishop, Baron of Iverk, also referred to as Miles Menevensis
   4    David FitzMilo                b: c.1180   d: c.1247   f: 2nd Baron of Iverk.	
   4    Henry FitzMilo                b: c.1180               f: granted Athnegaddy to the monastery at Kells.
   4    William FitzMilo              b: c.1185	  d:c.1250    f: Messenger to the Justiciary, 1231-1243
 2  Angharad FitzGerald	  	      b: c.1100                             			
    +William FitzOdo de Barri	      b: c.1100   f: William de Barri of Manorbier, Baron of Rhos	
  3   Philip de Barri    	      b: c.1140	  f: knighted at Lismore c. 1185			
  3   Robert de Barri		      b: c.1142   d: 1199       f: granted cantreds in Co. Cork
  3   Gerald of Wales (de Barri)      b: c.1146   d: c.1223/43  f: aka Giraldus Cambrensis, chronicled the Norman Invasion and Medieval Britain	
*3rd LINE OF NESTA:	                                       
1 +Hait, Sheriff of Pembroke          b: c.1070      	   
 2  William de Hay (FitzHait)  	      b: c.1105   f: held St. Clare around the year 1130, campaigned with William and Maurice FitzGerald in Carmarthen in 1137. 
A footnote in the 13th century Welsh text "Brut y Tywysogyon" (The Chronicle of the Princes), compiled at the Welsh 
monastery of Strata Florida around 1300 alludes that William Hay 'Wallensis', son of Nesta and de Hay/Hait, was 
perhaps the father, or grandfather, of Philip and David (who went to Ireland). 
1 +Stephen de Ceredigion    b: c.1070      		      f: aka Stephen de Cemais, Constable of Cardigan, Wales	
 2  Robert FitzStephen 		b: c.1110   d: c.1182         f: one of the leaders in the Cambro-Norman Invasion of Ireland	
							      f: held Cardigan and other lands in Cemais.
  3   Ralph FitzRobert                b: c.1140   d: 1182			
  3   Meredith FitzRobert             b: c.1140

 2  William Wallensis           b: c.1140   f: son of Stephen and Hay (not Nesta)? Possibly the person of William de Hay 'Wallensis'.
A note in a Genealogical Memoir of the Family of Montmorency (1817) suggests Robert Fitz-Stephen had two nephews, 
besides William de Hay, named Hoel and Walter, chiefs of Knightly families, and another nephew David Walsh, author 
of the family of Walsh of the mountain. 

1 +Unknown Father(s)  (Note: Owain ap Cadwgan was thought to had a child with Nesta)

 2  Howel                                   f: provided with lands and office in Wales [lord of Llanbedr, or Llampeter]
 2  Walter 				    f: held Swelfrei (Velfrey) and Llanbedr (Llampeter), together with Howel
 2  Gwladus				    f: married a Baron of Pembroke (a de Clare, or de Montgomery, or de Cogan?)
A footnote to the de Cogan family lineage by C. J. Goggins notes that Nesta had a daughter named Gledewis who 
was the mother of John de Cogan, father of Milo and Richard de Cogan who went to Ireland. 

*Partial Sources: "The Conquest of Ireland" by Giraldus Cambrensis
                  "Strongbow's Conquest of Ireland" by Francis Pierrepont Barnard (1888)
                  "Walsh - 1170 to 1690" by J. C. Walsh (1925)
                  "Autobiography of Giraldus Cambrensis"
                  "Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland" (publ. 1912)
                  "O'Harts Irish Pedigrees" 
                  "Dictionary of National Biography" (1909)

Whatever the actual lineages ...
Based on the Commentary of J. C. Walsh, "Walsh 1170-1690"

Two of the first to be considered to be "Walsh" in Ireland were David and Philip, claimed to be barons of Cornwall in England. If they were nephews of Strongbow, the relationship may have been through his cousin, Alicia, daughter of Richard de Clare, who married Cadwalader. Cadwalder was a brother of Owen Gwynned, and therefore uncle of David of North Wales who was said to be an ancestor of David and Philip.

In 1146 Cadwalader was lord of Cardigan, Wales and gave his son Cadogan his shares of castles there, but in 1151 he and his family were obliged to seek refuge with his wife's relatives. It may be this Cadogan that is said to have the same Coat of Arms as the Walshs of Castlehale in County Kilkenny. Cadawalder died in 1172, killed it is said by his English escort. Cadwalader married Alice de Clare, a 1st cousin of (Richard) Strongbow. Cadwalader's sons were Cunneda, Ralph, Richard, Cadogan, Meredith and Cadwallon. He had a daughter, Alicia, and perhaps others. The descendants of Richard (ap Cadwalader) are readily traced in several families of Waleys in England. Two of Robert FitzStephen's sons were also named Ralph and Meredith, indicating possible family ties. Descent of David and Philip (Walsh) from this family would be consistent with the statements of Gerald (Cambrensis) that they were not of pure Welsh blood.

There is a Philip, son of Cadogan (possibly the one referred to above), who is mentioned in a document of about the time in which the Bishop of St. David's in Wales made over certain property rights to the Fitzgeralds. The deeds are given in the Gormanston Register. It would be natural enough for this Philip to go to Ireland, but no specific record of his presence there appears.

It is more likely David and Philip came from Wales than from Cornwall, perhaps like Raymond le Gros they were from Strongbow's own household. The Walsh possessions in England, which seem to date from a little later period, however do indicate a William Valensis (Walsh, et al) in Cornwall in the exchequer roll of 1185 (Henry II).

In the subdivision of the lands of Ireland, after 1170, among the principal beneficiaries were the children and grandchildren of Nesta (see chart above). This lady, "the Welsh Helen," has been much aspersed by the historians. She was a daughter of Rhys ap Tewdor, a ward of Henry I, the wife of Gerald of Windsor and of Stephen of Cardigan, and she was abducted by Owen Glendower. She had many children and grandchildren, and nearly all of them went to Ireland and received sword lands there.

Robert FitzStephen was first granted lands in Wexford. Afterwards he was grantee of half Cork. An old Irish keen in southern County Kilkenny mentions "the dear relative of FitzStephen," alluding to a relationship of Walsh of the Mountain to Robert.

Maurice Fitzgerald was grantee of Naas, in Kildare, and lands in Wicklow. His son William Fitzgerald, succeeded him as Baron of Naas, and married Alina, daughter of Strongbow (not of Eva McMurrough). Another son, Gerald, was ancestor of the Earls of Kildare and Dukes of Leinster. Another son, Thomas, was granted lands in Limerick, and was ancestor of the Earls of Desmond. A daughter, also named Nesta, married Harvey, uncle of Strongbow. From Maurice's brother William descend the Carew family while from his other brother David, bishop of St Davids in Wales, come the FitzGeralds, barons of Brownsford in County Kilkenny, and lords of Gurteen near there. Maurice's son, Maurice, was ancestor of the Geraldine barons of Burnchurch in County Kilkenny.

Odo, son of William Fitzgerald, was ancestor of the Carews of Carlow. Raymond (le Gros), his brother, had a large property in County Carlow, and his son Richard inherited from FitzStephen in Cork. Mabel, sister of Raymond and Odo, was ancestress of the Condons, who had large territory in Cork. If there was another sister in this family (married to Rhys ap Gruffydd - a member of the Welsh family to which they were all related), all of the early Walsh records might easily be explained. And perhaps part of the records may be explained through the citation in O'Harts Irish Pedigrees that Raymond's daughter Catherine married Hayle Walsh, the builder of Castlehale and a son of Philip "the Welshmen". Griffin, the brother of Raymond (and Odo), was Baron of Knocktopher, in Kilkenny, and Lord of Carrick Mac Griffin in Tipperary. The Walshs were later landowners in Knocktopher, and Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland has Hoyle Walsh (of Castlehoel) marrying Griffin's daughter Katherine.

Meiler FitzHenry, Nesta's grandson (through Henry I), received lands in Kildare and later Leix and still later in Kerry. Meiler's sister Amabel married to Walter de Ridelsford who had grants in Kildare and Wicklow.

Philip and Robert de Barry, sons of Angharad FitzGerald, received large estates in Cork.

Miles, son of Nesta's son David, was Baron of Iverk in southern Kilkenny. Nesta's other sons were William Hay, Walter and Hoel (Hoel being a first name peculiar to Walsh of the Mountain). The first certainly, and the others almost certainly, settled in Wexford at the time of the first occupation. They had all been well provided for in Wales, and were certain to be with FitzStephen or Raymond le Gros on their respective campaigns to Ireland. The Walshs were certainly in Iverk at an early date, as they were in the 17th century.

Whatever the actual lineages of the early Walshs in Ireland it does appear that at least some were related, perhaps only through marriage, to the descendants of Nesta. The Walshs were closely allied with the FitzStephens, FitzGeralds, FitzGriffins, FitzMilos, and FitzHenrys and their acquisition of land in Ireland is tied directly to the lands first granted to these descendants of Nesta.

The preceding article was compiled by Dennis J. Walsh, © 2002

Further Reference:
Origins of the Walsh Surname.
Exploring Walsh Connections in Wales.
Possible Pedigrees - of the early Walshs of Ireland.

Descendants of Nesta

Monday, 24-Aug-2009 20:18:03 MDT