Roche, Gerald de la (c.1200–1262), son of David fitz Robert, first appears in the record of the Irish lordship in 1229 in connection with a legal dispute over his lands. His father had been granted lands in Wicklow, which Gerald inherited after his father's death, displacing the daughters of his deceased elder brother Raymond. His nieces challenged his claim to the lands in the court of the justiciar, William Marshal (qv), earl of Pembroke (d. 1231). De la Roche's claims to his father's lands were upheld, possibly because of his willingness to serve the king overseas, and the new justiciar, Richard de Burgh (qv), was ordered to drop the case. De la Roche married one of the five daughters of Thomas fitz Anthony (qv) and was one of the claimants for fitz Anthony's lands in Munster, but forfeited his claims as a result of his support for Richard Marshal (qv), earl of Pembroke, in 1234. He took part in the conquest of Connacht, but granted the lands he gained in that province to Maurice fitz Gerald (qv) (d. 1257), preferring to concentrate his attentions in Munster. His son Alexander died during his father's lifetime, but de la Roche arranged a marriage between his grandson David and Amice, daughter of William de Caunteton (Condon), which brought Glanworth into the Roche lordship carved out of the old cantred of Fermoy. From this acquisition a longstanding feud between the Roches and the Condons ensued. In 1262 de la Roche joined an army led by the justiciar, Richard de la Rochelle (qv), against the MacCarthys in the aftermath of the battle of Callan, but was killed during the campaign. De la Roche's importance within the Anglo-Norman lordship at the time of his death was recognised by the Gaelic annalists who called him the ‘third best baron in Erin’; and although his descendants withdrew into the affairs of Munster in the fourteenth century, the family's importance was acknowledged by Henry VII in 1489 when David Roche was recognised as Lord Roche. From the thirteenth century to the sixteenth century the Roche inheritance passed in unbroken succession from father to son or grandson.
ALC; CDI; Orpen, Normans; E. Donnelly, ‘The Roches, lords of Fermoy’, Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., xxxix (1934), 38–40; K. W. Nicholls, ‘The development of lordship in county Cork 1300–1600’, Patrick O'Flanagan and Cornelius G. Buttimer (ed.), Cork history and society (1993), 157–211 (esp. 185–87)