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THE ORIGIN OF ROBERTSTOWN

The origin of Robertstown

James Durney

The name Robertstown is undoubtedly of Anglo-Norman origin. But who exactly was the Robert in question? ‘The Red Book of the Earls of Kildare’ contains transcripts (in Latin) of some 200 documents relating to the lands of the Leinster Fitzgeralds in the provinces of Leinster, Munster and Connacht. Robertstown, or Villa Roberti, is listed in 1318. Robertstown is mentioned in the Civil Survey (1654-56) of Kildare, as being:


in the Parrish of Kilmaogue and Rathernine as Reberstowne, the Proprietour being Morrice ffitz Gerald of Allon Esqr. Irish Papist.


The Norman baron Robert Fitzstephen was the younger half-brother of Maurice Fitzgerald, an adventurer from Wales who accompanied the first Norman invaders to Ireland in 1169. Fitzstephen and Fitzgerald had been enlisted as mercenaries by Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster, in his bid to become high king of Ireland. After the successful capture of Leinster Fitzstephen and Fitzgerald became lords of Kildare and as Robertstown is less than two miles from the Fitzgerald castles at Kilmeague and Ballyteague it is possible that it was named after a member of this family – i.e. Robert Fitzstephen.

The name Robertstown is undoubtedly of Anglo-Norman origin. But who exactly was the Robert in question?


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