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Bishop Peter Brown 1710-1735

I am delighted today to visually add to the stock of historical knowledge and sense of history of the Bishopstownareawith the unveiling of a facsimile portrait of Bishop Peter Brown.

I would like to thank

  • Liam Royannewho, when I first raised the topic with me was very open to the idea.
  • The Bishopstown Library Staff for taking the idea on board with enthusiasm, which is not unexpected as the staff here has since its relatively short time added enormously to the quality of life of residents in Bishopstown, Wilton, Model Farm Road, Togher and much wider, with the traditional Library Services such as Books, Music and the so significant added value of so many quality productions plays, exhibitions of all kinds-singing and so on truly magnificent , a truly magnificent Community Library.
  • To Bishop Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork and Rossfor facilitating and allowing us to photograph Bishop Brown Portrait hanging stately in the Bishop’s Palace.
  • To Billy Mc Gill for his expertise and professionalism in producing this magnificent production we see before us to-day.

As our local historians tell us the lands of Bishopstown, Baile an Easpaig i.e. the two town lands of Ballinaspigmore and Ballinaspigbeg, were associated with the Bishops of Cork from the earliest times. They were held in capita, i.e. directly from the King. On the death of a Bishop they reverted to the King who granted them to the new incumbent on his appointment as Bishop.

Bishop Peter Brown, Bishop of Cork & Ross, 1710-1735 was a native of Dublin, educated in Trinity Collegein which institution he was a Fellow from 1692 to 1699, and Provost from 1699 to 1709.

When the See of Cork & Ross became vacant, on the death of Bishop Dive Downes in 1709, another candidate for the See, it is thought, was Dr. Jonathan Swift, then an emissary for the Irish Clergy in London, and later Dean of St Patrick’s, Dublin. He was greatly disappointed at being overlooked. Brown was appointed Bishop of Cork and Ross, by letters patent and took up the position in 1710.  

Peter Brown a noted scholar, with many publications to his name, was also energetic in other areas. He was responsible for building the Churches of St Nicholas, St Paul, & St Anne Shandon in the City, as well as laying the foundation for the 18th Century Cathedral which was in turn demolished to make way for Burgess’ 19th Century masterpiece of St Finbarre’s.
St Finbarrs Cathedralwas designed by William Burges and consecrated in 1870 on a site where Christian Worship has been offered since the seventh century.

It is Peter Browne who was responsible for creation of a ‘Publick library’ in the grounds of St FinBarre’s Cathedral in the 1720’s of what is today perhaps the oldest library building in Cork City.
While, the lands in Bishopstown  were associated with the Bishops of Cork, it was Bishop Peter Brown who first established a summer home on these lands, on the south bank of the bend on the Curraheen River. He built a small home, and a chapel arranged around an open courtyard, and carried out other works including a Bishop’s Walk, Bishop’s Pond, Bishop’s Brook, and Bishop’s Well. The remains of the chapel are still to be seen.

Another of Bishop Brown’s improvements was the sun dial, originally in the Bishop’s garden, and which afterwards stood in the Courtyard.

Those of us reared in the Greater Bishopstown / Wilton / Model Farm Road areas have wonderful memories of a wonderful place in which to grow up in and to emerge into adulthood.

But because we schooled outside of Bishopstown and because local history was not universally appreciated or engaged in we were not exposed to our local past and History.

I hope this has changed and Students, at least, in our Local Schools and the local Community in Local History Groups now engage in Local History projects bringing the history of the Greater Bishopstown area in reach of all. This is the intent of to-days event.

Thank you for coming, I am so happy that Bishop Brown at last , is once again, truly part of, and in the midst of his & our Community.