Raymond le Gros a Carew, not a Fitzgerald

Published in General, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2008), Letters, Letters, Medieval History (pre-1500), Volume 16

At the grave risk of appearing a pedant (God forbid!), may Irespectfully suggest that the reference to Raymond le Gros in yourMay/June 2008 issue (‘On this day’, 1 May 1170, p. 8) meritscorrection? Le Gros was not a Fitzgerald, although he may perhaps beconsidered to have been a Geraldine (the question is rather semantic).The Geraldine ancestor, Gerald fitz Walter, castellan of Pembroke, isancestor to two great lineages through his eldest son, William, and hisyounger son, Maurice. William’s sons chose the surname de Carew, fromthe place where their father’s chief castle was located (Caeriw inPembrokeshire), a toponym, whilst the descendants of the second son,Maurice, eventually adopted Maurice’s usage, fitz Gerald (literally‘son of Gerald’), several generations later, although as a surname(Fitzgerald) rather than an eponym (fitz Gerald). Raymond le Gros wasthe second son of William fitz Gerald of Caeriw. Although he mostlysettled for being recorded by his cognomen (‘fat’), on severaloccasions he is referred to as ‘fitz William’, and on at least oneoccasion as ‘de Carew’. Accordingly, le Gros was a Carew and not aFitzgerald. These families had very different histories, even during leGros’s lifetime, and one should not confuse one with the other.

—Yoursetc.,
PAUL MacCOTTER
Ballincollig
Co. Cork

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