FitzGibbon, Edmond fitzJohn (c.1552–1608), the ‘White Knight’, was second son of John Oge FitzGerald (FitzGibbon) (d. 1569) and Ellen, daughter of Patrick Condon, lord of Condons. Edmond's father, who had taken part in the rebellion of James fitz Maurice Fitzgerald (qv), surrendered to Humphrey Gilbert (qv) in October 1569 and died shortly afterwards. Edmond was one of the many chieftains and lords of Munster who delivered pledges of loyalty to Gilbert in the following months. However, his father was posthumously attainted by act of parliament in 1571 and Edmond lost the extensive family lands of the lordship of Clangibbon on the Cork–Limerick border. He succoured the 15th earl of Desmond (qv) after his escape from Dublin Castle late in 1573 and accompanied James fitz Maurice to France early in 1575, having requested the earl of Ormond (qv) to intercede on his behalf with the queen.
He received a pardon in June and returned in July to face interrogation by the Munster commissioners, incongruously assisted by Desmond. It appears that the expedition had been a calculated and successful bid to draw the attention of the government to his difficulties and their possible consequences. In the following year he was allowed to lease back most of his father's attainted lands: some, however, were leased to James Roche, son of Viscount Roche whose lands bordered on Clangibbon and whose family was a longstanding enemy of the FitzGibbons. The hereditary feud flared up and James Roche was killed. In 1579, when fitz Maurice returned to Ireland, Edmond was engaged in negotiating a new lease that included additional lands that had reverted to the crown on the death of his mother, chief among them the lands formerly leased to Roche.
FitzGibbon joined with the government army against the Munster rebels and in 1581 it was reported that his forces had killed 43 of Desmond's followers, some of whom were his own kindred. Perhaps in recognition of this service, he was pardoned for the killing of Roche, but in spite of it many English officials in Ireland continued to view him with suspicion, largely as a result of information provided by Roche, and in 1582 Ormond, lord general of Munster, discharged him from the crown forces. In 1584 he accompanied the lord deputy, Perrot (qv), on his expedition to Ulster and was wounded at Glenconkine. However, his loyalty continued to be questioned, in part because of his son's association with the traitor Sir William Stanley (qv), but principally as a contrivance to bring the lands he leased within the compass of the plantation that was being put into effect on the forfeited lands in Munster.
In April 1587 FitzGibbon was arrested and imprisoned by Perrot in Dublin castle. Warham St Leger's (qv) suggestion that he be made shorter by his head was not received with favour by the English government. When he was released on a large recognizance in 1590, he was licensed to go to England where he pledged his loyalty and received a grant in tail male of the lands that he leased. It appears that some of these had been in the possession of other family members at the time of the attainder of his father and considerable dissension within the lordship followed. In 1596 FitzGibbon was appointed sheriff of Cork, and distinguished himself in the office by repelling an attack by the McSheehys. He seems also to have abused it by taking the opportunity of looting Roche's lands.
When rebellion broke out in Munster in October 1598, FitzGibbon hesitated. He went to meet Ormond in Kilmallock on October 11 to discuss the protection of his lordship. Less than a week later, Clangibbon was overrun by a rebel force led by James fitz Thomas FitzGerald (qv), the sugan earl, and on October 18 Fitzgibbon submitted to him. He later protested to Robert Cecil that with his neighbours in arms and the queen's forces ‘not sufficient to prevent the great mischief', no other course of action was open to him (CSPI, 1600-01,139). Estimated to be in command of a force of 400 foot and 30 horse, he was involved in the unsuccessful defence of Cahir castle against Essex (qv) in late May 1599, but was one of the first to submit to Sir George Carew (qv) in June 1600 on the eve of his campaign to subdue Munster and earned Carew's gratitude by providing valuable information.
In May 1601 he was accused of harbouring the sugan earl and evaded the implicit penalty of expropriation by capturing fitz Thomas in the Mitchelstown caves, with suggestive expedition, and delivering him to Carew. He made enemies by doing so, but he secured his inheritance. Carew regarded the capture of the earl as putting an end to the troubles in Munster and recommended FitzGibbon for special favour; the queen rewarded him with money and a promise to procure an act of parliament setting aside the 1571 attainder. In 1604 James I issued a king's letter confirming that promise and ennobled the White Knight as baron of Clangibbon.
Four years later, on 23 April 1608, Edmond FitzGibbon died at Castletown. He was twice married: first, to Joan Tobyn, daughter of the lord of Compsy in Co. Tipperary, with whom he had two sons and four daughters, and secondly to Joan McCarthy, daughter of Lord Muskerry, with whom he had two sons. All of his sons predeceased him, his heir Maurice by a single day. They were interred together in a tomb in Kilmallock. His heir general Margaret, who was probably the daughter of Maurice and his wife, Joan Butler, daughter of Lord Dunboyne, was a minor. Her wardship was granted to the earl of Thomond who sold it to Richard Boyle (qv), 1st earl of Cork, on 12 December 1614: less than three weeks later she was married to Boyle's brother in law William, son of Sir Geoffrey Fenton (qv).