Barnaby Fitzpatrick was born around 1535 in Ireland and was the eldest son of the 1st Baron Upper Ossory. He was sent at an early age to England as a pledge of his father’s loyalty, in England he was educated at the court of King Henry VIII alongside Prince Edward, who he became very close to. Fitzpatrick was amongst the chief mourners at the funeral of King Henry. On 15th August 1551 Fitzpatrick, alongside Sir Robert Dudley, were sworn in with four others to the new King Edward’s privy chamber.
King Edward VI sent Fitzpatrick to France in 1551 to further his education and advised him to ‘behave himself honestly, more following the company of gentlemen, than pressing into the company of the ladies there.’ Fitzpatrick responded to the King said ‘You make me think the care you take for me is more fatherly than friendly.’ Fitzpatrick was introduced to King Henri II of France by Lord Clinton the Lord Admiral. Henri made Fitzpatrick a Gentleman of the Chamber, which was a privileged position in which to observe French politics. Fitzpatrick left France on 9th December 1552 and was commended by Henri for his conduct whilst within the court.
Upon his return to England Fitzpatrick took an active role in the suppression of Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1553. Later in the year John Gough Nichols recorded in his Chronicle of Queen Jane that;
“the Erle of Ormonde, Sir Courteney Knight, and Mr. Barnaby fell out in the night with a certain priest in the streate, whose parte a gentyliman coming by chance took, and so they fell by the eares; so that Barnabye was hurte. The morrowe they were ledd by the ii sheryves to the counter in the Pultry, where they remained … daies.”
Fitzpatrick was sent to Ireland shortly after with the Earl of Kildareand Brian O’Conor Faly. It was recorded that in 1558 Fitzpatrick was present at the Siege of Leith where he was knighted by the Duke of Norfolk despite Norfolk having no authority to authorise such appointments. In 1566 he was officially knighted by Sir Henry Sidney.
In 1573 as part of a feud with the Earl of Ormond his wife and daughter were kidnapped. Fitzpatrick appealed to Sir Henry Sidney to help secure their return but resorted to employing Piers Grace, an Irish felon, to rescue his daughter. His wife was eventually returned but Fitzpatrick retaliated by ruining Ormond’s lands.
The following year, in 1574, saw Ormond make fresh allegations against Fitzpatrick and his loyalty but it resulted in Fitzpatrick being summoned in front of the council in Dublin to answer his allegations instead he successfully acquitted himself at the council.
In 1576 Fitzpatrick succeeded his father to Baron Upper Ossory. He remained fairly quiet for a few years until 14th January 1581 when he and his wife were committed to Dublin Castle after Ormond declared that there was ‘not a naughtier or more dangerous man in Ireland than the baron of Upper Ossory. However, Sir Henry Wallop called him ‘as sound a man to her majesty as any of his nation’.
On 11th September 1581 Fitzpatrick was taken ill, at 2pm he died in Dublin in the house of surgeon, William Kelly. Sir Henry Sidney spoke of Fitzpatrick and said that he was ‘the most sufficient man in counsel and action for the war that ever I found of that country birth; great pity it was of his death’.