Very Rev. William Jephson


Please note, before reading these details, that in the Church of Ireland (Irish Anglican) multiple benefices were quite common, that is, an individual could be Dean of one place, a Rector of another and a Vicar of somewhere else, all at the same time.

William Jephson, born – Dublin - circa 1655. Son of Major-General John Jephson and grandson of Sir John Jephson, Knight, of Hampshire.

William was educated at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) gaining a BA in 1678 and an MA in 1683. While still at TCD he was appointed a minor canon of St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin (1680 – 84). In 1682 he had acquired two further appointments, Prebendary of Donoughmore (Limerick) and Rector of Monaghan, (Diocese of Clogher).

Note :- Confusingly, Co. Monaghan contains a number of parishes one of which is also called Monaghan, within that parish is the major market town, also called ‘Monaghan’. Monaghan Parish probably brought William a relatively high income and he seems to have retained this appointment until his death. However, ‘Prebendary of Donoughmore’ was a higher ecclesiastical title and it was as such that he signed himself in an address to James II (11th July 1683).

In 1689 William was ‘attainted,’ (although the writ list calls him ‘Michael’ Jephson, Rector of Monaghan). This means that he was declared an outlaw and stripped of rank, possessions and appointments.

Note:- The historical background to this is the ‘glorious revolution’, and the date of the attainder is crucial. Obviously, the Rev. Wm Jephson had come out in favour of William of Orange and was outlawed by James II, who in 1689 was still in control in Ireland. This, in itself, probably did not cause Wm Jephson any great hardship; by April 1689 virtually all Protestants in the north had retreated to the safety of the city walls and defences of Londonderry and Enniskillen. Both towns withstood the ensuing sieges until relieved by Williamite forces. Subsequent victories at the Boyne and Aughrim confirmed William of Orange as king.

By way of confirming that Wm Jephson was on the winning side he was subsequently appointed Dean of Lismore and Rector of Inishlonaght (1692 –1720).

Wm Jephson continued to live in Monaghan throughout the 1690s. He died, on 11th April 1720.

Wm Jephson, although older, would have certainly have known Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels). He like William was a TCD man and spent most of his clerical career at St Patrick’s, Dublin, eventually becoming Dean.

William Jephson married Anne Barry, daughter of Redmond Barry of Rathcormac, Co Cork. They had three children :-

John Jephson, The Venerable Archdeacon of Cloyne
Mary Jephson, married James O’Bryan (and became mother to the 1st Marquis of Thomond)
Ann Jephson, married Sir W. Mowett, Baronet.

- With thanks to Brian Ellison for this information.