Joseph Peacocke (archbishop of Dublin)

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Signed photograph of J.F. Peacocke as Bishop of Meath
Peacocke, drawn in 1908 by Philip de László

Joseph Ferguson Peacocke (5 November 1835 – 26 May 1916) was a Church of Ireland cleric. He was the Bishop of Meath from 1894 to 1897 and then Archbishop of Dublin from 1897 until 1915. He was also briefly the professor of pastoral theology at Trinity College, Dublin.

Early life[edit]

Born at Abbeyleix, Queen's County (now County Laois), Peacocke was the son of George Peacocke, who was a physician at Longford, and of his wife Catherine Ferguson. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he graduated BA in 1857 with a first-class divinity testimonium. He was senior moderator in history and English literature and won that year's Dublin University prize for political economy.[1]


Peacocke was ordained a deacon in 1858 and a priest of the Church of Ireland in 1859. He was curate at St Mary's, Kilkenny, from 1858 until 1861, then for two years took up the position of secretary to the Hibernian Church Missionary Society. He was on the Evangelical wing of the church and believed especially in foreign missions and in the Church Missionary Society. From 1863 until 1873, he was curate of Monkstown Church, County Dublin. in 1873 he was appointed rector of St George's, Dublin, a significant parish. In 1878 he returned to Monkstown as rector and remained until he was elected a bishop. He became a canon of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin,[2] he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1883, and for a few months in 1894 he held the professorship of pastoral theology in Trinity College.[1]

In 1894, Peacocke was elected bishop of Meath,[1] where he was consecrated on 11 June 1894.[3] On 19 May 1897, he was translated to become archbishop of Dublin[3] (with which the dioceses of Glendalough and Kildare were united) and became the first archbishop of Dublin in two centuries to have served as a parish priest in the diocese. He presided successfully over his dioceses, serving also as a visiting preacher at Cambridge, until 1915, when he resigned on the grounds of ill health.[1]

Peacock died at Hastings, Blackrock, in May 1916, and his memorial tablet in Kildare Cathedral says that he was a Pastor fidelis, humilis, et sanctus corde ("a faithful, humble and holy pastor"). According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, his reputation was for "tolerance, holiness, and varied pastoral experience" and also as "a man of fine presence".[1]


In 1865, Peacocke married Caroline Sophia Irvine. They had one daughter and four sons.[1] Their eldest son, Joseph Irvine Peacocke, was elected bishop of Derry and Raphoe a few weeks before his father's death, while the other sons included George John Peacocke and the Rev. Gerald William Peacocke.[4]


A portrait in oils of Peacocke by Philip de László (working sketch illustrated) was presented to him by the diocese and is now to be seen in the bishop's palace at Dublin.[1] A sketch for this is reproduced in de László's book Painting a Portrait (1937).[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bernard, J. H., rev. David Huddleston, 'Peacocke, Joseph Ferguson (1835–1916), archbishop of Dublin', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  2. ^ John Healy, James Bennett Keene, History of the Diocese of Meath (Association for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1908), vol. 2, p. 273
  3. ^ a b Theodore William Moody et al., A New History of Ireland (Oxford University Press, 1976, ISBN 0-19-821745-5) p. 408 at
  4. ^ Bernard Burke & Ashworth Peter Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland (9th edition) (Harrison & Sons, 1899), p. 220
  5. ^ Philip Alexius de Laszlo Most. Rev. Joseph Ferguson Peacocke, Archbishop of Dublin at
Anglican Communion titles
Preceded by
The Lord Plunket
Archbishop of Dublin
Succeeded by
John Bernard