fitz Henry, Meiler (a.1157–1220), justiciar, was son of Henry fitz Henry (son of Henry I, king of England) and Nesta, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, king of Deheubarth, Wales. He was orphaned as a child when his father was killed in an ambush while fighting in Henry II's (qv) Welsh campaign of 1157. He inherited his father's lands in Pembrokeshire and was part of the first group of Anglo-Norman adventurers that landed with Robert fitz Stephen (qv) in Ireland in May 1169. During the initial stages of the Anglo-Norman conquest, fitz Henry gained a reputation for bravery that bordered on foolhardiness. In 1169 he played a prominent role in the campaign led by Diarmait Mac Murchada (qv), king of Leinster, against Domnall Mac Gilla Pátraic (qv), king of Osraige, in Laois, and then was part of fitz Stephen's expedition to aid Domnall Mór Ua Briain (qv), king of Thomond. Fitz Henry was part of the group of Anglo-Normans that broke the siege of Dublin in 1171 by attacking the army led by Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (qv), king of Connacht. He was assigned to the garrison of Hugh de Lacy (qv) in Dublin by the king in 1172, but the following year he was part of the garrison in Waterford. Fitz Henry followed Raymond fitz William (qv) (Raymond le Gros) back to Wales in 1173 but returned to Ireland with le Gros in 1174 and took part in the campaign against Limerick in 1175, where he was the first man to cross the Shannon. He was granted a cantred in Uí Fáeláin (Kildare) around Carbury, but was deprived of this grant by the king's representatives, John de Lacy and Richard de Pec. In place of this grant, fitz Henry was granted the densely forested region of Laois, which was seen to be a more fitting place for him. He married a niece of Hugh de Lacy, who constructed a castle at Timahoe for him.
Fitz Henry was appointed justiciar of Ireland c.1198 by John (qv), lord of Ireland, and reappointed by John (now king) in June 1200. In October 1200 he received a further grant of land in Cork and Limerick from the king. His period as justiciar was marked by constant difficulties with the great magnates of Ireland: difficulties that were compounded by shifts in royal policy towards individual magnates. In Connacht, fitz Henry faced the problems caused by the interference of William de Burgh (qv) (d. 1026) in the succession of the kingdom of Connacht. De Burgh's designs led him to support a rival to Cathal Crobderg Ua Conchobair (qv) as king of Connacht, which brought him into conflict with the justiciar. Fitz Henry was ordered to remove Limerick castle from de Burgh's possession in 1204, an action that alienated both de Burgh and Walter de Lacy (qv), who oversaw his son-in-law's lordship of Thomond. Initially, fitz Henry enjoyed better relations with the second Hugh de Lacy (qv) (d. 1242) as they allied to force John de Courcy (qv) to submit to the crown, but they fell out soon after de Lacy was made earl of Ulster in 1205. De Burgh's death in 1206 ended one problem, but the arrival of William Marshal (qv), earl of Pembroke and lord of Leinster (d. 1219), in Ireland in 1207 created another. Fitz Henry was ordered to seize the lands of Gerald fitz Maurice (qv) in Offaly, although these had previously been granted to Marshal. The endemic warfare in Ireland forced the king to summon fitz Henry and Marshal to England in October 1207 to mediate a settlement. Fitz Henry was allowed to return to Ireland, where he was defeated at Thurles by Geoffrey de Marisco (qv) and surrendered to Marshal's wife, Isabella (qv), who demanded hostages for fitz Henry's good behaviour. His position in Ireland was greatly weakened in March 1208 when the king restored Marshal and Hugh de Lacy to favour, and he was superseded as justiciar by John de Grey (qv), bishop of Norwich, in June 1208. Fitz Henry's problems with the other magnates clearly sprang from royal policy, and after 1208 he seems to have lived quite amicably with them. In 1212 he was one of the magnates that signed a letter protesting against the treatment of the king by the pope. He died after September 1220 and was buried in the chapter house of one of his foundations, the abbey of Conall.