Fowler, Robert (DNB00)

FOWLER, ROBERT (1726?–1801), archbishop of Dublin and chancellor of the order of St. Patrick, third son of George Fowler of Skendleby Thorpe, Lincolnshire, by Mary, daughter and coheiress of Robert Hurst, was a king's scholar at Westminster School in 1744. Thence he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. 1747, M.A. 1751, and D.D. 1764. In 1756 he was appointed chaplain to George II, and in January 1765 became prebendary of Westminster. He was promoted from his prebend to the bishopric of Killaloe and Kilfenora by patent dated 29 June 1771, and on 8 Jan. 1779 was translated to the archbishopric of Dublin, with a seat in the Irish privy council. While he held the bishopric of Killaloe he caused the present see-house to be erected. Philip Skelton [q. v.] has spoken of him in terms of high respect for his great regard for religion, as well as for his kindness and affability, not, however, unattended by warmth of temper—an ordinary ‘concomitant of good nature;’ and he has noticed as unrivalled his solemnity of manner in reading the services of the church (Burdy, Life of Skelton, 1792, p. 183). John Wesley makes a similar remark (Journal, xx. 14). In 1782, as a member of the Irish House of Lords, Fowler was one of twelve spiritual peers who protested against the bill for the relief of dissenters, as likely to promote clandestine and improvident marriages. In 1789 he concurred with fourteen other peers in protesting against the memorable address to the Prince of Wales (Lords' Journals, vi. 243). He also joined in protesting against the resolution condemning the answer of the lord-lieutenant refusing to transmit the address. He married, in 1766, Mildred, eldest daughter of William Dealtry of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and coheiress of her brother, William Dealtry of Ashby in the same county, and had an only son, Robert, who was promoted to the bishopric of Ossory in 1813, and two daughters, Mary, countess of Kilkenny, and Frances, who married the Hon. and Rev. Richard Bourke (subsequently bishop of Waterford and Lismore), and was mother of Robert, fifth earl of Mayo. Fowler died suddenly at Bassingbourne Hall, near Dunmow, Essex, where he had resided two years for his health, on 10 Oct. 1801.

[Graduati Cantabr.; Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiæ Hibernicæ, i. 471, ii. 27; Mant's Hist. of Church of Ireland, ii. 648, 660; Cooke's Diocesan Hist. of Killaloe, &c. p. 62; D'Alton's Memoirs of Archbishops of Dublin, p. 347; Gent. Mag. 1801, lxxi. pt. ii. 965, 1049; Ann. Reg. 1801, xliii. Chron. 74; Burke's Landed Gentry, 3rd ed. p. 409.]

B. H. B.