Thomas Browne, 4th Viscount Kenmare

Thomas Browne, 4th Viscount Kenmare

Thomas Browne, 4th Viscount Kenmare

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Thomas Browne, 6th Baronet & 4th Viscount Kenmare (April 1726 – 11 September 1795) was an Irish landowner and politician. He was probably born at Killarney, County Kerry, the second of four children of Valentine Browne, fifth Baronet, third Viscount Kenmare (1695–1736), one of the few remaining great Roman Catholic landowners in Ireland, and his first wife, Honoria Butler (?-1730). Thomas Browne's great-grandfather, Sir Valentine Browne, third Baronet, had been created first Viscount Kenmare by James II in March 1689. This was an Irish peerage created after the removal of James II from the English throne, but during the period when James was de facto king of Ireland, before the conquest of Ireland by William III. The first and second viscounts had fought for James II but seem never to have been formally attainted under William. Consequently, the peerage remained on the Irish patent roll in a constitutionally ambiguous position, but was not formally recognized by the Protestant political establishment.

Thomas Browne was reportedly educated at Westminster School until the death of his father in 1736. Browne's older brother, Valentine, had died in 1728, so Thomas inherited the peerage and the estate (of more than 120,000 acres) intact. Repeated attempts to persuade him to convert to the English established church came to nothing, even though his refusal cost him a university matriculation at Oxford and a place in the English House of Commons. In 1750, he married...
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