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Zoom Talk: ‘The Life of Arthur Brownlow; a Lurgan Landlord and His Irish Manuscripts’

Zoom Talk: ‘The Life of Arthur Brownlow; a Lurgan Landlord and His Irish Manuscripts’

On Wednesday 20th January 2021 we were delighted to host a Zoom presentation, live from Maynooth University, which explored the life of Arthur Chamberlain Brownlow (1645-1711), the landlord of Lurgan from 1666 through to 1711.

Arthur Brownlow is a pivotal figure in the history of Lurgan, as it was under his diligent supervision that the fledgling town was able to recover from the turbulence of the 1641 rebellion. Through his canny use of tenant leases and his encouragement of the linen industry, Lurgan grew and prospered, with the main street taking the shape it retains today. Besides being a man of business, Brownlow was also a man of culture and science described by one contemporary as ‘more curious than ordinary’. His curiosity was best exemplified by his fluency in Irish and his interest in collecting Irish manuscripts which reveal much about his background and the complexity of Ulster Plantation life.

The presentation was jointly given by Raymond Gillespie, Professor of History at Maynooth University, and Dr. Bernadette Cunningham, Deputy Librarian at the Royal Irish Academy. Professor Gillespie has published widely on many aspects of Irish and local history. He also edited the book Settlement and Survival on an Ulster Estate: The Brownlow Leasebook 1667-1711 (Belfast: PRONI, 1988) in which he provides a transcription and analysis of Arthur Brownlow’s leasebook. Dr. Bernadette Cunningham is a leading authority on Irish manuscripts and has published widely on early modern Irish cultural and intellectual history. Both Professor Gillespie and Doctor Cunningham co-wrote the article “An Ulster Settler and his Irish Manuscripts” that was published in the journal Éigse XXI (1986), which explores Arthur Brownlow’s interest in Irish manuscripts.

A recording of the presentation can be viewed below:


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