Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fuller, Thomas (1593-1667)

FULLER or FULWAR, THOMAS, D.D. (the two forms of surname seem to have been used indifferently) (1593–1667), archbishop of Cashel, one of the sons of the Rev. Thomas Fuller, vicar of Stebbing, Essex, a member of the same family with Fuller the church historian, was born in 1593. According to Kennett he was disinherited by his father ‘for a prodigal.’ This drove him to Ireland, ‘with the happy necessity of being sober and industrious’ (Kennett, Register, p. 364). He may previously have graduated at Cambridge. His name does not appear in the registry of the university of Dublin, but he took orders in the Irish church. One of his name is found as prebendary of Cloyne, and in 1639 chancellor of Cork. In 1641 he was consecrated bishop of Ardfert, being the last prelate who held that see as an independent diocese before it was united to the see of Limerick. The Irish rebellion soon drove him with his family to take refuge in London, probably in the parish of St. Andrew's, Holborn. He dedicated a sermon on Luke ii. 48, preached at Gray's Inn 2 Oct. 1642, ‘on the anniversary of the Irish rebellion,’ to ‘the worthy gentlemen and inhabitants of that parish who had been,’ he says, ‘the chief preservers of me and mine since our escape out of Ireland, where we had only our lives for a prey, and those lives your bounty hath cherished.’ The ill-treatment he met with from the presbyterian party then dominant compelled him to retire to Oxford, where he was incorporated D.D. in 1645 (Wood, Fasti, ii. 79). He seems to have remained in England till the Restoration, and in 1656 he ordained William Annand [q. v.], afterwards dean of Edinburgh (Wood, Athenæ, iv. 258). After the Restoration he returned to Ireland, and was translated to the archiepiscopal see of Cashel (1 Feb. 1660–1). Kennett gives a somewhat highly coloured account of the archbishop's reception at Cashel, not only by churchmen but by others, who were converted by his ‘indefatigable powers and exemplary piety’ (Kennett,, Register, p. 312). He died 31 March 1667, in the seventy-fourth year of his age, and was buried in the chancel of his cathedral of St. John's, to which he bequeathed a silver chalice, paten, and flagon, still in use. As bishop of Ardfert he ordained his three nephews, who all rose to some eminence, the sons of his brother John, who succeeded his father as vicar of Stebbing: Thomas, fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, an acquaintance of Pepys, mentioned several times in his ‘Diary,’ subsequently, in 1658, chaplain to Colonel Lockhart, governor of Dunkirk, vicar of the college living of Navenby, near Lincoln, and rector of Willingale Doe, Essex, 1670, ‘an inveterate preferment hunter,’ who died at Navenby in March 1701; Samuel, afterwards dean of Lincoln [q. v.], and Francis the elder [q. v.] Archbishop Fuller is not mentioned by Ware among the Irish writers. He published a few sermons, of which the only one known to be extant is that upon the Irish rebellion.

[Kennett's Register; Cotton's Fasti Hibern.; Bailey's Life of Thomas Fuller.]

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