Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Elrington, Thomas (1760-1835)
ELRINGTON, THOMAS, D.D. (1760–1835), bishop of Leighlin and Ferns, only child of Richard and Catherine Elrington of Dublin, was born near that city on 18 Dec. 1760, He entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 1 May 1775 as a pensioner, under the tutorship of the Rev. Dr. Drought, and was a scholar in 1778, his undergraduate career being brilliant, especially in mathematics. He graduated B.A. in 1780, M.A. in 1785, and B.D. and D.D. in 1795. In 1781 he was elected a fellow of his college. About 1786 he married Charlotte, daughter of the Rev. Plunket Preston, rector of Duntryleague, co. Limerick, and by her had issue Charles Richard Elrington, D.D. [q. v.], and another son and daughters. In 1794 he was the first to hold the office of Donnellan divinity lecturer in the Dublin University, when he delivered a course of sermons on the proof of Christianity from the miracles of the New Testament, which were published in 1796. In 1795 he was appointed Archbishop King's lecturer in divinity. and succeeded to a senior fellowship. In 1799 he exchanged Erasmus Smith's professorship of mathematics for that of natural philosophy on the same foundation. On resigning his fellowship in 1806 he was presented by his college to the rectory of Ardtres, in the diocese of Armagh, which he held until December 1811, when he resigned, having been appointed by the Duke of Richmond, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, by letters patent dated the 15th of the preceding month, to the provostship of Trinity College. During his tenure of this office he was the acting manager of almost every public board, and the generous supporter of numerous charitable institutions. From the provostship he was advanced on 25 Sept. 1820 to the bishopric of Limerick, and on 21 Dec. 1822 he was translated to Leighlin and Ferns. He was an active and useful prelate of the church of Ireland. While on his way to attend his parliamentary duties in London he died of paralysis at Liverpool on 12 July 1835, He was buried under the chapel of Trinity College, Dublin, in which there is a monument with a Latin inscription to his memory. Another monument has been erected by his clergy in the cathedral church of Ferns. The Elrington theological essay prize was instituted in Trinity College in 1837. A portrait of the bishop was painted in 1820 for his brother, Major Elrington, by Thomas Foster, and, having been engraved by William Ward, was published in 1836 by Graves & Co. There is a marble bust in the library of Trinity College.
Elrington was an active member of the Royal Irish Academy, and of other literary and scientific societies. His works are:
- 'Refutation of the Arguments in Dr. Butler's Letter to Lord Kenmare,' 1787.
- 'Reply to the Third Section of Mr. O'Leary's Defence,' 1787.
- 'Thoughts on the Principles of Civil Government, and their Foundation in the Law of Nature, by S.N.' [Thomas Elrington], 1793.
- 'Enquiry into the Consistency of Dr. Troy's Pastoral Instruction,' 1793.
- 'Sermons on Miracles, preached at the Donnellan Lecture in Trinity College, Dublin, in 1795; with an Act Sermon for the degree of D.D.,' 1796.
- 'Sermon on the Death of Matthew Young, D.D., Bishop of Clonfert; with some Anecdotes of his Life' (three editions), 1800.
- 'The Vindication of Dr. Troy Refuted,' 1804.
- 'The Clergy of the Church of England truly Ordained, in reply to Ward's Controversy of Ordination; with an Appendix,' 1808.
- 'Letters on Tythes, first published in the "Dublin Journal"' (two editions), 1808.
- 'Reflections on the Appointment of Dr. Milner as the Political Agent of the Roman Catholic Clergy of Ireland,' 1809.
- 'Remarks occasioned by the Supplement and Postscript to the second edition of Dr. Milner's Tour in Ireland,' 1809.
- 'Letter to the Right Hon. W. W. Pole on the Proposal for a Commutation of Tythes in Ireland,' 1810.
- 'The Validity of English Ordination Established, in answer to the Rev. P. Gandolphy's Sermon on John x. 1,' 1818.
- 'Inquiry whether the Disturbances in Ireland have originated in Tythes,' 1822; second edition, with an Appendix, 1823.
- 'Observations on J. K. L.'s [Bishop Doyle's] Letter to the Marquess Wellesley; on Tracts and Topics by E. Barton; and on the Letter to Mr. Abercrombie,' 1824.
- 'Review of the Correspondence between the Earl of Mountcashell and the Bishop of Ferns, with the Letters,' 1830.
- 'Reply to John Search's [Archbishop Whateley's] Considerations on the Law of Libel as relating to Publications on the subject of Religion,' 1834.
Elrington also published separate sermons and charges, and edited, for the use of Trinity College, 'Euclid's Elements, the first Six Books,' 1788 (ten or twelve times reprinted); 'Locke on Government, with Notes,' 1798; and 'Juvenalis et Persius, edito expurgata,' 1808.
[Dublin University Calendars; Todd's Cat. of Dublin Graduates; Cotton's Fasti Eddles. Hibern. 1. 391, ii. p. 36; Annual Register (1835), lxxvii. chron. 232; British Mag. (1835-6), viii. 507, ix. 5.]