Fitzgerald, Sir Thomas Judkin - (1754–1810) (‘Flogging Fitzgerald’), high sheriff of Co. Tipperary (1798), was born 5 May 1754, second son of Robert Uniacke-Fitzgerald of Corkbeg, Co. Cork, and his second wife, Frances, daughter of John Judkin of Greenhills, Co. Tipperary. Thomas's father was obliged by the will of his grandmother's brother (Robert Fitzgerald of Lisquinlan and Corkbeg) to adopt the surname Fitzgerald. Thomas himself added the name Judkin before Fitzgerald, also in response to a will, that of his maternal uncle, John Judkin of Cashel, Co. Tipperary. Thus his surname became Judkin-Fitzgerald, the Uniacke lineage being indicated in Burke, Peerage (1912), 771. Thomas had one older brother, Robert Uniacke-Fitzgerald (of Lisquinlan and Corkbeg, MP for Co. Cork 1797–1806), and four younger sisters, Eleanor, Clotilda, Elizabeth, and Helen. He had a half-sister, Gertrude, from his father's previous marriage. Little is known of his early life but in January 1785 he married Elizabeth, second daughter and co-heir of Joseph Capel, Cloghroe House, Co. Cork. They had three sons, John, Joseph Capel, and Robert Uniacke (killed at Salamanca, Spain, in 1812 as an officer of the 32nd Regiment).
Thomas became high sheriff of Co. Tipperary early in 1798, at the urgent request of local gentry, fearful of rebellion linked to a French invasion. He reported insurgent activity in the county as early as March, two months before general hostilities (May–September), and set out to destroy every sign of dissent. He forced many potential rebels to surrender arms before they had an opportunity to use them, and claimed that thousands of pikes and firearms were handed up. During the rebellion he established a notorious régime of terror as ‘Flogging Fitzgerald’, the Irish-speaking warlord of Tipperary, randomly punishing suspected rebels, prosperous catholic businessmen and loyalists among them. A particularly horrific example was his treatment in Clonmel of a teacher of French called Wright, who came under suspicion for having a letter written in French in his possession and was almost whipped to death, regardless of protestations by an officer who vouched for the man's innocence.
After the rebellion this incident, extreme even by the standards of the time, led to a bizarre civil case when on 14 March 1799 the high sheriff was tried and found guilty by a jury of his own choosing, which awarded Wright substantial damages. Other cases followed and Judkin-Fitzgerald tried in vain to avail himself of an indemnity act designed to protect those guilty of excesses committed in the suppression of rebellion. He appealed to parliament and the act was amended to accommodate him, except in the Wright case, which was upheld against him by the court of exchequer. In spite of such setbacks he was awarded a large government pension for his services and on 5 August 1801 became Sir Thomas Judkin-Fitzgerald, 1st baronet. When he died (24 September 1810) his eldest son, John, became 2nd baronet.