Thomas Sheridan (divine)

Last updated

Thomas Sheridan (1687 10 October 1738) was an Anglican divine, essayist, playwright, poet, schoolmaster and translator. He is chiefly remembered for his friendship with Jonathan Swift.

Contents

Family and early career

He was born in Cavan, Ireland, the son of James Sheridan, and grandson of the Reverend Dennis Sheridan. Two of his uncles were William Sheridan, Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh and Patrick Sheridan, Cloyne, the Bishop of Cloyne. After graduating from Trinity College, Dublin, he married Elizabeth MacFadden and the couple first lived in Dublin in King James's Mint. He inherited from his father-in-law a substantial property at Quilca in County Cavan. He ran a school in Capel Street, Dublin in the 1720s, whose pupils included children of many prominent families such as Anthony Foster, the future Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, and Philip Tisdall, the future Attorney General for Ireland.

He was the father of Thomas Sheridan, a celebrated actor and elocutionist, who was in his turn the father of the celebrated playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan; he had two other sons and one daughter.

In 1725 he was appointed a royal chaplain, but preached a sermon which was considered by some to be politically suspect, and his appointment was cancelled. In compensation he was given a living at Drumlane in Cavan and in 1735 became headmaster of the Cavan Royal School where he remained for three years. Other appointments he is reputed to have applied for were the position of Dean of Kilmore and the position of headmaster of the Royal School in Armagh, but neither was successful.

Friendship with Swift

He was friends with Jonathan Swift, and had a room permanently reserved for him in the Deanery; he was his principal collaborator and wrote his biography. Swift often stayed at Sheridan's country house and wrote part of Gulliver's Travels there [1] [2] [3] On the much debated question of whether Swift was secretly married to Esther Johnson ("Stella"), Sheridan was a strong if not conclusive witness that the marriage did take place; according to friends his source was Stella herself.

Like so many of Swift's friends, he was ultimately fated to quarrel with him irrevocably: in 1738 Swift told him that he was no longer welcome at the Deanery. Apart from Swift's increasing eccentricity, the cause of the quarrel is obscure: by one account Sheridan rebuked Swift for his growing avarice, which Swift thought unforgivable.

Death and reputation

Sheridan collapsed and died suddenly while having dinner at a friend's house in Rathfarnham, County Dublin. [4]

Swift before their final quarrel called him the best scholar in Ireland; Sir Walter Scott in his Life of Swift calls him "good- natured and light- hearted."

Related Research Articles

Jonathan Swift 17th/18th-century Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, and poet

Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, hence his common sobriquet, "Dean Swift".

Thomas Sheridan (actor) Irish stage actor and educator

Thomas Sheridan was an Irish stage actor, an educator, and a major proponent of the elocution movement. He received his M.A. in 1743 from Trinity College in Dublin, and was the godson of Jonathan Swift. He also published a "respelled" dictionary of the English language (1780). He was married (1747) to Frances Chamberlaine. His son was the better known Richard Brinsley Sheridan, while his daughters were also writers - Alicia, a playwright, and Betsy Sheridan a diarist. His work is very noticeable in the writings of Hugh Blair.

William Bedell Irish bishop and bible translator

The Rt. Rev. William Bedell, D.D., was an Anglican churchman who served as Lord Bishop of Kilmore, as well as Provost of Trinity College Dublin.

Esther Johnson Friend of Jonathan Swift

Esther Johnson was the English friend of Jonathan Swift, known as "Stella". Whether or not she and Swift were secretly married, and if so why the marriage was never made public, remains a subject of intense debate.

Virginia, County Cavan Town in Ulster, Ireland

Virginia is a town in County Cavan, Ireland. Founded in the 17th century as a plantation town, it now holds both local industry and commuter housing.

John Forster was an Irish lawyer politician and judge.

Jonathan Smedley (1671–1729) was an Anglo-Irish churchman who became Dean of Clogher in 1724. He was an opportunist and satirical victim who engaged in a polemic with Jonathan Swift and the forces of the Tory party.

Anthony Foster Irish politician

Anthony Foster, of Collon, County Louth, was an Anglo-Irish politician and judge.

John Darley (bishop) Irish bishop

John Richard Darley DD , a "man who laboured strenuously to awaken and sustain the practical interest of the clergy and laity", was a 19th-century Irish Anglican Bishop.

St George Ashe Church of Ireland Bishop of Cloyne, Clogher and Derry

St. George Ashe, D.D. was an Irish mathematician and university administrator who, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, served as Church of Ireland Bishop of Cloyne, Clogher and Derry, in succession. From 1657 to 1718 he was the Donegall Lecturer in Mathematics at Trinity College Dublin (TCD). He is remembered now chiefly for his alleged role in performing a secret marriage between Jonathan Swift and Esther Johnson (Stella).

William Sheridan (Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh) Irish bishop

William Sheridan was a 17th-century Irish clergyman, who was Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh between 1682 and 1691, having previously served as Dean of Down from 1669 to 1682.

Robert Marshall (c.1695–1774) was an Irish judge; his is remembered chiefly as co-executor and legatee of Esther Vanhomrigh, the beloved "Vanessa" of Jonathan Swift, although he does not seem to have been a close friend of hers.

John Sterne (bishop) Dean of St. Patricks, Dublin 1705-1713; became Bishop of Dromore, then Clogher

John Sterne (1660–1745) was an Irish churchman, bishop of Dromore from 1713 and then bishop of Clogher from 1717.

William Tisdall (1669–1735) was an Irish clergyman of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He was well known in his own time as a writer on religious controversies, but he is now mainly remembered for his friendship with Jonathan Swift. The friendship was damaged by Tisdall's wish to marry Esther Johnson, Swift's beloved friend Stella.

Corran, County Cavan

Corran is a townland in the civil parish of Templeport, County Cavan, Ireland. It lies in the Roman Catholic parish of Templeport and barony of Tullyhaw.

Dr. Patrick Sheridan was the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cloyne between 1679 and 1682.

Curraghabweehan

Curraghabweehan is a townland in the civil parish of Templeport, County Cavan, Ireland. It lies in the Roman Catholic parish of Corlough and barony of Tullyhaw.

Derrynacreeve

Derrynacreeve is a townland in the civil parish of Templeport, County Cavan, Ireland. It lies in the Roman Catholic parish of Corlough and barony of Tullyhaw.

Drumbeagh is a townland in the civil parish of Templeport, County Cavan, Ireland. It lies in the Roman Catholic parish of Corlough and barony of Tullyhaw.

Mullaghmore, Tullyhunco

Mullaghmore, Tullyhunco is a townland in the civil parish of Kildallan, barony of Tullyhunco, County Cavan, Ireland.

References

  1. Charles Frederick Partington (1838), "Sheridan, Thomas", The British Cyclopaedia of Biography
  2. Robert Goode Hogan (1994), "Introduction", The poems of Thomas Sheridan
  3. "Sheridan, Thomas (1687-1738)". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  4. DNB entry