Marsh, Francis (DNB00)

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MARSH, FRANCIS (1627–1693), archbishop of Dublin, was born in or near Gloucester on 23 Oct. 1627. He was admitted as a pensioner at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, on 22 April 1642, and graduated B.A. in 1647, M.A. in 1650. On 14 Oct. 1651 he was elected a fellow of Caius College, and held the office of 'praelector rhetoricus' for 1651-2. He had a reputation for Greek, and for a knowledge of the Stoic philosophy, but his loyalist sympathies stood in the way of his further preferment. In February 1653 he obtained four months' leave of absence 'to go into Ireland,' probably with a view to take orders from one of the Irish bishops then in Dublin (perhaps John Leslie [q. v.], bishop of Raphoe); he must have been in orders by 11 Oct. 1653, when he was appointed dean. He was again 'praelector rhetoricus' in 1654-7, and remained in residence till April 1660. On 8 Oct. 1660 the king's letter was received, requesting the continuance of his fellowship 'so long as he should remain in the service of the Earl of Southampton,' then lord high treasurer. His return to Ireland was due to the patronage of Jeremy Taylor, who is said by Richard Mant [q. v.] to have given him orders, and made him dean of Connor; but Taylor was not consecrated till 27 Jan. 1661, and Marsh obtained the deanery of Connor on 28 Nov. 1660. On 1 June 1661 he resigned his fellowship, writing from Dublin, and on 27 June he became, through Clarendon's influence, dean of Armagh and archdeacon of Dromore. At the end of 1667 (elected 28 Oct.; consecrated at Clonmel 22 Dec.) he succeeded William Fuller, D.D. [q. v.], as bishop of Limerick, Ardfert, and Aghadoe; he was translated in 1672 to Kilmore and Ardagh; and on 14 Feb. 1682 was made archbishop of Dublin. It was in his palace that the privy council assembled on 12 Feb. 1687, when Tyrconnel was sworn in as lord deputy. Early in 1689, feeling his position unsafe, owing to his opposition to the administration of Tyrconnel, Marsh returned to England, having appointed William King, D.D. [q. v.], then dean of St. Patrick's, to act as his commissary. King declined the commission as not legally executed, and prevailed upon the chapters of Christ Church and St. Patrick's to elect Anthony Dopping [q. v.], then bishop of Meath, as administrator of the spiritualities. Marsh, who favoured the transfer of the crown to William of Orange, was included in the act of attainder passed by James's Dublin parliament in June 1689, his name being placed in the first list for forfeiture of life and estate. He returned to Dublin after the battle of the Boyne, but was not present at the thanksgiving service in St. Patrick's on 6 July 1690, excusing his absence on the ground of age and infirmity. In his last years he repaired and enlarged the archiepiscopal palace at his own cost. He died of apoplexy on 16 Nov. 1693, and was buried on 18 Nov. in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Dopping preaching the funeral sermon. He married Mary, youngest daughter of Jeremy Taylor, and left issue; his son had succeeded him as treasurer of St. Patrick's, and afterwards became dean of Down. He was apparently not related to Narcissus Marsh [q. v.], his successor in the see of Dublin.

[Harris's Ware's Works, 1 764, vol. i.; Bonney's Life of Jeremy Taylor, 1816, pp. 387 sq.; Mant's Hist. of the Church of Ireland, 1840, i. 710, 732, ii. 45 sq.; Wills's Lives of Illustrious Irishmen, 1842, iv. 266 sq.; information from the Master of Emmanuel, and from the Gesta of Caius College, per Dr. Venn.]

A. G.