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The Fants in Ireland
Early records show the Fants settled in Galway at the beginning of the
16th century. They were a prominant family in Galway and were one of the original
"fourteen tribes of Galway". The term "tribes of Galway" was invented by the Cromwellian forces
who regarded unfavourably the close bond of friendship between the chief families of
the city. "Tribes of Galway" was adopted by them as a mark of distinction.
The earliest record of the Fant name in Ireland and to the best of my knowledge, anywhere in the world is in Kilmallock
, County Limerick. The family settled here around 1200AD. Fantstown castle was built two and a half miles east of Kilmallock
around 1320AD. The land on which the castle is located was owned by Robert Fant in 1234AD.
Fant's lake,just outside the town walls of Kilmallock,is mentioned under date of 1290AD. The same land was owned
by Richard and Patrick Fant in 1320AD. Circa 1600 lord John Burgat married Gennet Fant. She inherited Fantstown
castle and its 720 acre estate.
George Webb, the Protestant Bishop of Limerick about 1640 tried to take possession of certain church
lands in Kilmallock parish and said the lands and castle were worth 1200 pounds; but he stated
that Nicholas Fant got these lands from him by means of a trick, on a 21 year lease, when he
(the Bishop) first came to the diocese. He stated that Fant promised to help regain possession of his rights in Kilmallock,
but was now his most bitter enemy. He told the Bishop he'd take mills,bakery and lime kiln at
a yearly rent of 9 pounds, but said the bishop it was worth at least 30 pounds a year. He had
not yet completed the transaction and the Bishop felt he had no intention of doing so.(Ref : Fant Genealogy book)
The Fants in Ireland contin'd