Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Rowan, Arthur Blennerhassett

ROWAN, ARTHUR BLENNERHASSETT, D.D. (1800–1861), antiquarian writer, born probably in Tralee in October 1800, was only son of William Rowan, ‘formerly of Arbela, co. Kerry, and for many years provost of Tralee,’ by his cousin Letitia, daughter of Sir Barry Denny, bart., of Tralee Castle. He was educated at Dr. King's school, Ennis, and at the age of sixteen entered Trinity College, Dublin, graduating B.A. in 1821, M.A. 1827, B.D. and D.D. 1854. He was ordained in 1824, when he received the curacy of Blennerville in his native county. He held that position for thirty years. In 1840 he went on a visit to Oxford, whence he wrote some lively letters upon the tractarian movement. These he afterwards published under the signature of ‘Ignotus.’ In 1849 he made the tour of the continent, publishing the record of his travels on his return. One of the most diligent antiquaries in the south of Ireland, he projected and edited the ‘Kerry Magazine,’ a periodical which ran for two or three years, and chiefly dealt with local history and antiquities. In 1854 he was appointed rector of Kilgobbin, Clonfert, and on 31 March 1856 was promoted archdeacon of Ardfert. He died at Belmont, near Tralee, 12 Aug. 1861, and was buried in Ballyseedy churchyard. He married Alicia, daughter of Peter Thompson, esq., and had issue one son, William, now of Belmont, co. Kerry (Miscell. Genealog. et Heraldica, new ser. iii. 116).

His published works included: 1. ‘Spare Minutes of a Minister,’ poems (anon.), 12mo, 1837. 2. ‘Letters from Oxford,’ with notes by Ignotus, 8vo, Dublin, 1843. 3. ‘Romanism in the Church, illustrated by the case of the Rev. E. G. Browne,’ 8vo, London, 1847. 4. ‘Newman's Popular Fallacies considered,’ in six letters, with introduction and notes from the ‘Spectator,’ 8vo, Dublin, 1852. 5. ‘Lake Lore, or an Antiquarian Guide to some of the Ruins and Recollections of Killarney,’ 8vo, Dublin, 1853. 6. ‘First Fruits of an Early Gathered Harvest,’ edited by A. B. R., 8vo, 1854. 7. ‘Casuistry and Conscience,’ two discourses, 8vo, Dublin, 1854. 8. ‘Gleanings after Grand Tourists’ (anon.), 8vo, 1856. 9. ‘Brief Memorials of the Case and Conduct of T. C. D., A.D. 1686–1690, compiled from the College Records,’ 4to, Dublin, 1858. 10. ‘Life of the Blessed Franco, extracted and englished from a verie anciente Chronicle,’ 8vo, London, 1858. 11. ‘The Old Countess of Desmond, her identitie, her portraiture, her descente,’ &c., 4to, 1860. He left unfinished at his death a ‘History of the Earl of Strafford’ and a ‘History of Kerry.’

[Gent. Mag. 1861, ii. 565; Burke's Peerage, s.v. Denny; Memorial Pages to Archdeacon Rowan, Dublin, 1862; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.]

D. J. O'D.