LORD CHARLES JAMES FITZGERALD (1756-1810), third son of James, 1st Duke of Leinster, and brother of William, 2nd Duke of Leinster, was a distinguished naval officer and politician,
MP for County Kildare, 1776-90; Commissioner of Customs, 1789-92; Rear-Admiral, 1790; MP for County Cavan, 1790-97; Muster-Master General of Ireland, 1792-1806; High Sheriff of County Down, 1798; MP for Ardfert, 1798-1800; MP for Arundel, 1807.Lord Charles was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, by the title of BARON LECALE, of Ardglass, County Down.
His lordship's sister-in-law, Lady Henry FitzGerald, became 21st Baroness de Ros in her own right.
Lord Charles was raised amidst the splendour of Carton House, near Maynooth, County Kildare, ancestral seat of the Dukes of Leinster.
Leinster House in Dublin was the family's town residence.
In 1790, Lord Charles bought Ardglass Castle (also known as The Newark), County Down, and transformed it into a residence.
Early in his life, Lord Charles entered the Royal Navy and quickly distinguished himself as an able captain.
He faced action on many occasions and eventually attained the rank of rear-admiral of the Red.
After his career in the Navy, Lord Charles became an MP.
He inherited the Ardglass estate in 1790 and took away half of the 'New Works' to make his manorial home, perhaps to the designs of Charles Lilly.
When Lord Lecale became ill, and later died, William Ogilvie, who had married the Duchess of Leinster, bought his lordship's former estate for £28,000 and began to create the modern day village of Ardglass.
Lord Lecale was married and had a son and daughter.
His only son, Henry, drowned at sea while serving with the Navy, in 1803, in the West Indies (Civita Vecchia), and soon afterwards his wife died also.
Lord Lecale is buried at Bright parish church, where there is a memorial plaque in his memory.
The barony became extinct in 1810.
Ardglass Castle is now better known as the club-house of Ardglass Golf Club.
First published in 2009. Lecale arms courtesy of European Heraldry.