Know your local History revealed

A while ago I asked the following question

This picture is found at Maynooth, just above the entrance as you walk in (Must get a better picture without the giant red van in the way) .

It is the Geraldine coat of arms. Look closely and you’ll see that there’s a monkey on the coat of arms! There are two stories about how this all came to be.  One was that when John Fitzthomas was a child, there was a fire in the castle.  He went missing and when the servants returned to his fire-stricken room, he was not to be found. They then heard a noise and saw an ape, usually bound in chains holding him. In thankfulness, they put the monkey as a symbol on their coat of arms and adopted the motto ‘Non immemor beneficii‘ ( not forgetful of favours).

The second story is more fantastical than the previous. Thomas Fitzmaurice (different character) was grabbed by an ape when he was left alone and hauled up to the top of a nearby abbey where he was paraded around by the ape until the ape was eventually coaxed away from the dangerous heights. Thomas was then nicknamed the ape.

I really can’t tell you my sources apart from a secondary history book (like this blog, it could be pure opinion for all I know!). The fact remains that there still is evidence from the picture itself so there must have been SOME reason why there’s a monkey on a crest…Any ideas?


Cannonballs and Croziers: A History of Maynooth by John Drennan


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