Now I will deal with some of the earliest instances of the Arthur name in Limerick. It is difficult to trace the name back much before 1300 although it is certain that there were people called Arthur in the city before that time, the documentary evidence before these years is scant.


The first Person with the Arthur name that I have come across is Thomas Arthur who died about 1204 aged 76 years. Henry the Second conferred high honours upon him in 1178 as well as great quantities of land.


There was a Robert Arthur in 1216 who was a benefactor to the great Abbey of St. Thomas in Dublin.


Nicolas Arthur who died in 1246 aged 72.


William Arthur who married Ann Basset and died in 1315


John Arthur who died in 1326.


Martin Arthur who was wealthy and powerful built a magnificent peristyle of marble in the Dominican Church of St. Saviour. He died in 1326 at the age of 66.


John Arthur a remarkable and distinguished Mayor who died in 1352. I think he died in office but not certain.


Richard Arthur who married Elizabeth, heir of Roger Twitt of Bristol and he died during the reign of the Black Prince.


Edmond Arthur who married Lucy Clarke of Somerset and he died in the eleventh year of Henry IV.


Thomas Arthur who married the daughter of Thomas Fitz Edmond Cummings don’t have any date for him except that he was involved with a Desmond Carew.


Thomas Arthur who married Joan daughter of M, Power of Limerick. He died on 14th. February 1360 and is interred at St. Mary’s.


John Arthur who married Julia daughter of Oliver Burke. John died in 1395.


Thomas Arthur was consecrated Bishop of Limerick on the 14th. Of April 1400.


Nicolas Arthur who married Phyllis daughter of James White. Nicolas died in 1442.


James Arthur who married Mary daughter of William Strich, Mayor of Limerick


John who married Elinor daughter of William Buxton of Bristol. John died in 1525 in Limerick.


Nicolas Arthur who married Elinor daughter of McCommine. Nicolas was one of Limerick's Mayors.


Sir Nicolas Arthur was married to Margaret daughter of Sir William Blake. This Nicolas had no children but he had several favours placed upon him by Henry VIII.


Thomas Arthur who married Margaret daughter of John McNamara from Co Clare.


Nicolas Arthur who married Winifred Moure. Nicolas was lieutenant to the Rt. Hon. Daniel Lord Viscount Clare.


Francis Arthur who married Margaret daughter of McNamara of Co. Clare. He had three sons and eight daughters, the oldest daughter was the 4th. Abbess of Ypres. She was born 1673 and died in 1743. She was called Mother Xavier Arthur and she was abbess of Ypres from 1723 - 1743. Ypres was to become the mother house for Kylemore Abbey ( founded in 1920) in Galway.

Nicolas Arthur

Now for perhaps the most famous and colourful Arthur of that time. Of course I am talking about Nicolas Arthur (1405 – 1465). The story of Nicolas Arthur unfolds like a story from the Arabian Nights and he was mayor of Limerick no less than seven times.


He was a bold and enterprising adventurer exporting in his own ship and carried pelts of fur bearing animals such as stoat, pine martin, otter, squirrel and hare. He also dealt in tables of polished marble, scarlet and fine mantles. Among his live cargo were hounds, falcons and horses of generous breed.


Using your imagination you can see the intrepid merchant sailing out of the little harbour on which the potato market was to be found in later times with his noisy squawking cargo. In 1428 he was captured by pirates from Brittany and imprisoned for two years in St. Michael’s Mount. He was robbed of his cargo, which was worth 700 marks and his ship was sold He had chartered the ship from his friend John Church. Finally he was released when his family paid a ransom of 400 marks.


Once he was free he set about recovering everything that had been taken from him. To this end he went to the court of Henry VI where he obtained letters patent dated 29 July 1430 which entitled him and his friend John Church to make reprisals to the value of £5,332.13.4 sterling, on the property of that Duke wherever found within the domains of the King of England. These letters patent endowed Nicolas with the right to rob every Frenchman he met in the king’s domains whether on land or sea until the desired sum was accounted for.


He was also granted a fishery at Castle Beagh as well as being appointed Constable of Limerick Castle. On 30th. October 1431 he married Katherine Skyddy of Cork. He had to get a dispensation from the Pope as the bride was related to him in the fourth degree. He had six sons four of whom became mayors of Limerick, another was appointed to the important office of bailiff , which took on odious connotations early in the eighteenth century, Thomas the last became bishop of the diocese.

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