Map of Limerick circa 1587







The Arthur’s were buried in the chapel of St. Nicolas usually called the Arthur chapel in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick. They also had an ancestral monument on the left of the alter of St. Catherine, Virgin and Mary.


Down the years the Arthur family has contributed many of its number to the religious life as priests, nuns and brothers. A number of the Arthur’s were prominent members of the clergy of the Church of Ireland.


Below you will find a list of many of the members of the wider Arthur family who devoted their lives to the church. 


Below the list we will look in more detail at some of these.


Most Rev. Thomas Arthur, consecrated 1472

The Very Rev. David Arthur Dean of Limerick. 1583

Rev. Fr. Arthur of 1604.

Rev. Robert Arthur  O.P. 1613

Most Rev. Richard Arthur, consecrated 1623

The Rev. Geoffrey Arthur 1519

Very Rev. Edmond Arthur 1580

Rev Professor A Arthur O.P. 1587

Very Rev, Prior James Arthur O.P. 1689

The Right Rev. Abbess Margaret Xaveria Arthur, Received abbatical benediction 1724

Ar. Arthur (Daughter of Francis 1798) Princethorpe.

Very Rev. Francis Arthur 1876 Son William Arthur Ennistymon and Limerick.

The Very Rev. Patrick McDonough p.p. 1903

Most Rev. John McCarthy, consecrated 1917

The Very Rev. Francis Cassidy p.p. 1926

Rev Francis Shaw S.J.  1927

The Very Rev. William Cassidy P.P. 1932

The Rev Br. William Canice Arthur1941

The Very Rev. Cannon Charles Arthur p.p. 1946

The venerable Archdeacon Cassidy 1950

The Rev Br. Charles Firmin Arthur 1950

The Rev. Mother Clare Arthur 1950.

Sr. M.Aquin Arthur

Sr. M. Augustine Arthur.

Sr. M. Bernadine Cassidy

Sr. Bernard Marian

Sr. M Columbanus Marian

Sr. M. Lucy Flatly (Mercy Order).

Sr. M.  Flatly (Loreto Order)

Sr. M. Francis O’Dea (Mercy)

Mother M. Xaveria Arthur O.S.B.

Mother M. Theresa O.S.B.

Sr. M Ignatia Arthur (Loreto)

Sr. M. Aloysia Arthur (Loreto)

Sr. M. Agnus Warren Darley O.S.B.

Mother M. Angela Warren Barley, Sister of Charity.

Fr. Frank Arthur (Son of Joseph Arthur ) studied at Frieburg Switzerland and got to meet Card. Hume who was there as a student. Frank also spent a time teaching at an American college.

Rev. Lucius Arthur, of Glanomera, Co. Clare, Ireland, born 1810 and died Jan 4, 1887, aged 76 years

Rev Henry Arthur cannon of Ferns, diocese of Ossary b. 12 Nov  1820

Rev Frederic Brian Boru Arthur b 12 Sept 1822 d. 19 Jan 1870

SR. Cecily Arthur b.1880 d 22nd. June 1962

Above are the members of the Arthur family who became, Priests, Nuns , Christian Brothers or Church of Ireland Clergymen. If I have omitted anyone please forgive me and let me know about them and I will include them in the list.


The family contributed many of its members to the religious and secular ranks of the clergy and several of them became illustrious, reflecting credit not only on Limerick but also on Ireland.


Now we will look at some individual family members who became illustrious in the religious life.




Benefactor of St. Mary’s.


This Thomas Arthur was born in 1378 and while he never joined any religious order I think he deserves to be in this part of the manuscript because of his actions while alive. Thomas married Johanna daughter of David Murrough of Cork. He was a senator. Now this pious couple at their own expense built in a magnificent manner the Eastern font and costly wrought window of the choir of the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Limerick. On the Eastern door of the church they had the armorial bearings of the Arthur family and the armorial bearings of the Murrough sculpted. It was said that they did not do these things through a spirit of pride and vain glory but in order that others would imitate the memorial of their piety. This Thomas Arthur served as mayor of Limerick on two occasions and he died in 1427.




Bishop of Limerick


The Most reverend Thomas Arthur was bishop of Limerick in 1472. He was a grandson of Thomas Arthur 1378 – 1427. He was the third son of Nicolas Arthur and Catherine Skiddy of Cork City. His father Nicolas was the most eminent citizen of his time and was a personal friend of the kings of England to whom he used to give valuable gifts. This bishop had five biographers all of whom rose to distinction in Limerick. During this time Robert Arthur was mayor of Limerick and Bishop Thomas died on the 19th. July 1486.





About the time Bishop Arthur died 1486 Jeoffrey Arthur held the post of ninth Treasurer of St. Mary’s Cathedral. It was more than likely that he was high ecclesiastic as well as being treasurer. There is an inscription in Latin on his tomb in St. Mary’s Cathedral, which translates as follows, “ here at the bottom of the tomb, removed from the world, Jeoffrey Arthur treasurer. He rested in perpetual peace in the year of the crucified lord 1519.




Arch Priest of Limerick


In the year 1580 during the Elizabethan persecutions the Very Rev. Edmond Arthur, Arch priest off Limerick ministered to the persecuted Catholics. He spoke both Irish and English fluently.




James Arthur of Limerick was a Theologian, in Louvain in 1580. He was a master of arts. At that period no student could according to the Penal Laws could study for the priesthood, so young James left his native Limerick to become a priest and then returned to his native country to keep to minister to the people.



of the Order of Saint Dominic.


The Rev. James Arthur O.P. was born in Limerick in 1587. He was the son of William Arthur and Beatrice Creagh. These were the days of religious persecution and as John grew up he begun to realize that he had a vocation for the religious life. At this time all the religious houses in Ireland lay in ruins so in order to pursue his dream of joining the Dominican Order he had to leave Ireland and go to Spain.


He went to Salamanca where he entered the Dominican Order in the monastery of St. Stephen. After he was ordained he became a famous theologian and taught in several schools belonging to the order. In time he was appointed professor of theology in the University of Coimbra in Portugal.


In 1630 he was recommended as coadjutor bishop of Limerick.


In 1642 he was expelled from that country for refusing to take an oath to defend the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. At this time the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception had not yet been defined as an article of faith.



In 1646 he was recommended to fill the vacant Archbishopric of Cashel.


When he died 1n 1670 aged 70 Fr. James was writing a commentary on the Summa Thelogica of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He died in the Convent of Saint Dominic, Lisbon where he was buried.




Bishop of Limerick.


Richard Arthur was born in the city of Limerick around 1560 (no record of his birth). He went abroad to study for the priesthood as there was no place in Ireland where he would be allowed to study. In 1613 he was appointed vicar general of the diocese of Limerick. At that time there were two sets of bishops in Ireland, there were those appointed by the English and those appointed by the Pope.


In 1623 he was appointed Bishop of Limerick by Pope Urban VIII and Most Rev. Dr. Roth Bishop of Cork consecrated him and the abbot of Holy Cross Abbey assisted at the consecration. When you consider that he was not recognized by the English authorities working as bishop would be difficult.


He was a great benefactor to the diocese In 1624 he presented two plate cruets to the diocese and in 1625 he presented a crucifix, which was hollowed inside to contain relics. The pedestal of this crucifix was set with semi precious stones, which was designed to be carried before the bishops in 1627. In 1627 he also presented a large gilded chalice, an enamelled patina as well as an enamelled plate pax. The enamelling represented the crucifixion and a soldier piercing the side of Christ with a lance. In 1534 he gave a monstrance for The Blessed Sacrament; it was supported by four pillars and had a cover.


On October 30th. 1634 Dr. Richard received the Papal Nuncio Rennuccini in his Cathedral of St. Mary’s Limerick. The clergy and all the municipal authorities in solemn procession accompanied Rennuccini from St. John’s gate to the Cathedral.  


On the occasion of the visit of Rennuccini Dr. Arthur wore a glorious mitre and carried a splendid crosier both of which were admired by the nuncio. The mitre was afterwards entrusted to the hands of a wealthy merchant to prevent it falling into the hands of the English but he took out some of its precious stones and replaced them with false ones. It is said that he had no luck afterwards for doing this and died soon afterwards in 1646. During his visit Nuncio Rennuccini reconsecrated St. Mary’s as a Cathedral.


On the 23rd. May 1646 Richard died and his funeral was attended buy the Nuncio and all the clergy. He was buried in his Cathedral of St. Mary’s and Bishop Edward O’Dwyer succeeded him.





A letter written on Jan. 30th  1630 describes a raid on the Friars Chapel in Cook Street Dublin by the mayor, the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin the sheriff and soldiers. During the raid two young friars were taken (later rescued) as well as the two friars a Robert Arthur was captured and committed to the castle it is possible that this was the famous Robert Arthur O.F.M. also called Chamberlain who died in Louvain in 1636. Meehan “Earls” (p 136) says that this Robert Arthur was a native of Limerick. He was a Doctor of Theology at the University of Salamanca as well as being confessor and confident to Hugh O’Neill of Tyrone.





Margaret Arthur was the eldest of the eight children of Francis Arthur. After the treaty of Limerick 1691 the whole family left Limerick for France where they were part of the court of King James II at St. Germain.


Queen Mary of Modena sent Margaret to the convent of the Ursulines at St Germain. While there she decided to enter the religious life. Fr Jeremy O’Donnell who was chaplain to the Irish Abbey at Ypres (Belgium) came to visit and persuader her to go to Ypres as Abbess Butler was living alone there with only four lay nuns.


After three months at Ypres she was sent to Ghent on 10th. Jan. 1696. In Jan. 1697 she returned to Ypres with the name Sr. Margaret Xaveria Arthur. Because Ypres was so poor the Bishop refused to let her and other postulants profess until Queen Mary of Modena provided a dowry for each of the four postulants and on Dec 19th. 1700 she made her profession. She held a number of posts within the abbey until 19th. March 1724 when she was elected abbess.


Mr. Daniel Arthur (a cousin of the Abbess) a merchant and banker of London who was from Limerick acted as financial agent to the community at Ypres.


In 1740 after a bad winter when the community accumulated many debts and had no way of paying them a gift of £ 500 from James 111 (The Old Pretender).  This gift enabled the community to pay off their debts.


On the 5th. Of March 1743 Sr. Margaret Xaveria Arthur died she was 70 years of age.




S.B. of the Benedictine Convent Princethorpe England. Born 1780. Died 1860.


Catherine Helen Arthur was born on the 20th. of March 1780 in the city of Limerick. She was the daughter of Francis Arthur. She was eighteen years of age when her father was sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay.


Catherine Helen Arthur was one of the first pupils to attend Bodany Hall, Norfolk where a school had been opened in 1793 three years after the O.S.B. order had arrived in England from France. It wasn’t long before she decided to join the order and when she made her wishes known to her parents they were opposed and they did all they could to change her mind but to no avail. It was not until 1814 when her eldest brother and mother died within a short time of one another that her fathers heart softened and believing that God was asking of him yet another sacrifice that he gave the long desired permission to become a Benedictine nun. Meanwhile the community had left Bodany Hall, which had become too small for the increasing numbers of both nuns and pupils. They went to Heath Hall, Yorkshire. Catherine applied to be received as a postulant and entered on Jan7th. 1814 aged 34.


Her father wished her to be received on the understanding that she should make a foundation in Ireland and promised a large fortune for that purpose, but the Prioress Madame De Mirepoix absolutely refused to receive her under such conditions and in consequence Francis withdrew the dower to which they had a right. Catherine took her final vows on May 16th. 1816 and was immediately appointed first mistress of the school. Later on she became bursar and in 1835 the convent moved to Princethorpe and soon after the move her niece Mary Jane Arthur became a novice there. In 1809  Miss Alicia Arthur, daughter of Francis Arthur married Jeremiah Scully of Mt. William Co. Tipperary at Middle Gardiner St. Dublin [ Francis Arthur's house in Dublin}. Jeremiah Scully died 1840  and after spending some time with her sister at Princethorpe, Alicia Arthur entered Carmelite Order and died at Darlington in 1859 not having had any  children.
In 1842 Mrs. Scully Mother Xavier’s sister
 generously offered to complete some apartments for her own use if as a favour she might be allowed to live at the monastery. She also built the village school and gave to various other charities. In 1866 Mother Xavier celebrated her Golden Jubilee together with the Mother Prioress Sr. Genevieve McCarthy when both of them were in ill health. Within a year of them celebrating their Golden Jubilee together they were both dead. Mother Xavier Arthur died on the 27th. July 1867 in her 88th. year after a long illness.




(Sister Mary Theresa).


Mother Mary Theresa Arthur O.S.B. was a grand daughter of Francis Arthur and a great grand daughter of Patrick. She was born in Limerick in 1813 and she was the niece of Mother Xavier Arthur. Her father died while she and her sister were very young leaving them large fortunes.

Some years later her mother married again and when she and her husband, Mr. Galway went to France and Italy and they took the two children with them. On arriving in Rome where the nuns of the Sacred Heart had opened a school it Latrinita Dei Monti Mr. And Mrs Galway placed their two children there to finish their education. The time they spent in the convent left an indelible impression on the two Arthur girls.


After Mr. And Mrs. Galway returned to Dublin with the two Arthur girls they found that both had a strong desire to enter the religious life but they wished the two sisters to see something of the world first. Mary Jane could not be persuaded so she ran away to her aunt at Princethorpe where her family were persuaded to allow her to stay. At her profession on October 9th. 1837 she gave a gift of costly vestments of gold and silver to the church. She lived to celebrate her Golden Jubilee on October17th. 1887 with several of her relations present. She lived for a further two and a half years and she died on March 4th. 1890 when she was 77 after an attack of influenza.



(In religion Sr. M. Aloysia of the Loreto Order).


Ellen Arthur was the sister of Mother Mary Jane Arthur and they were both the daughters of a son of Francis Arthur. She was the niece of Sr. Mary Ignatia. Ellen had travelled extensively and spoke both French and Italian fluently. She entered Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham on 24th June 1836 aged 25, received the habit on 26th. July 1836 and was professed on 18th. October 1837.She died at Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham on 13th. 1895 after being a nun for 60 years. It is very remarkable that nearly one hundred years after Sr. M. Aloysia entered there should be another descendent of Patrick Arthur, as a member of the community at Rathfarnham in the person of Lucy Flatly.





(In religion Sr. Mary Ignatia of the Loreto Order).


Ellen Frances Arthur was the youngest daughter of Francis Arthur. She was born in 1792. As with her sister her father tried to prevent her from entering the church but she entered the Bar Convent, York on September 2nd. 1819 aged 27 and professed in Dublin October 15th. 1821 and she died at Rathfarnham, Dublin on January 5th. 1842.


In August 1820 she accompanied Rev. Mother Teresa Ball and Sr. M. Baptist Therry to found a convent of the institute of the B.V.M. in Ireland. She thus had the unique distinction of being along with Mother Teresa Ball, a co-foundress of the Loreto order in Ireland. She died on the 5th. of January 1842.




Prior of the Dominicans, Limerick 1689.


  Fr. James Arthur studied in Portugal and after his ordination remained in London for a long period as the capelin to the Portuguese Embassy, under the protection of which he ministered to the Catholics. He returned to Limerick where he died in 1689.



Co Clare. 


In Corofin there is a Chalice with the following description in Latin, which reads as:


“Calix benedictionis cui benedicimus, none communicatio

Sanguino Christi est. (1 Cor x)

D. Robertus Arthur at Margerita, soror eius

Deo optimo maximo Dicant”


Which translates as:


The chalice of the benediction, which we bless, is not the communication of the blood of Christ.

Robert Arthur and his sister Margaret Blake to the Most High dedicate it.


The date on the chalice is 1670.





Of Glenomera


The Rev. Lucius Arthur 1810 – 1887 was 76 years of age when he died. He packed a lot of living into his 76 years and had a large family. His wife Harriet Smith died before him, as did many of his sons who served in the army


He served in many parishes from Leeds to Suffolk, Cornwall, and Derbyshire as well as in the north of Ireland. Newspapers of the time mention that he was well known for upsetting other clergy it would seem that he had a forthright manner.


When he died his daughters surrounded him.


Frederic Died in 1870  leaving behind nine daughters none of whom married. Their names were Charlotte, Lucy, Harriet Grace, Maria, Anne Francis, Florence Theodosia, Augusta and Julia Adelaide Isebella.



of Glenomera


Sr Cecily was either the sister or half sister of Captain Charles William Augustus Arthur. She may have been born in the same year as Captain Charles William Augustus Arthur, she may even have been his twin but nobody is certain when she was born. Nor do we know why she was sent away from home so young to school and never returned after she left. Sr. Cecily was a member of the Anglican order of nuns called the Community of St. Mary the Virgin which was based at St. Mary's Home, Pembroke Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. The Community of St. John the Evangalist(Ireland) is now based there and took over in 1959.  Sr.Cecily remained on with the new order after 1959 until her death. Her duties included visiting the Church of Ireland families around Dublin in order to raise money for the convent. Sister Cecily died on the 22nd. of June 1962 when she was 81 years of age and is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harrolds Cross, Dublin.


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