Molloy, Stuart Andrew
An Irish Missionary in France,
Thomas Gould (1657-1734), Irish Migrant, Catholic priest and Missionnaire du Roi.
Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
Thomas Gould (1657-1734) was a native of Cork who achieved an impressive, although not unusual
level of success as an Irish man in the employ of the French state and Catholic Church during the late
seventeenth and early eighteenth-centuries in France. As well as being an Irish migrant on the
Continent, Gould was an ecclesiastic, a Catholic missionary and religious polemical writer, and above
all as this study will highlight, an agent of the Bourbon monarchy, a uniquely titled Missionnaire du
Roi. Leaving his bridled Catholic life in Ireland Gould became involved and indeed achieved a high
level of renown in the proscription of the religious lives of Protestants in Bourbon France. His
missionary activities to the Protestants in Poitou formed part of the French state’s final attempt to
impose religious unity upon its religious dissenting community, the Huguenots.
The hermeneutical merit in focusing on Gould in this period is evident in the dynamism of his
life, the study of which allows one to weave together the many differing contextual fabrics of the late
seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries that constituted the many backdrops to Gould’s activities in
Poitou. Centrally placed as he was in Poitou at the vanguard of the Bourbon state’s advance against
the Huguenots, Gould provides an insight, not just into the complex workings of the relationship that
existed between the Bourbon monarchy and its ecclesiastical allies, the Catholic Church, but more
importantly, and that which forms the central thesis of this study, how both institutions attempted to
subdue and convert its Protestant Huguenot community to Catholicism.
||Irish Missionary; France; Thomas Gould; 1657-1734; Irish Migrants; Catholic priests; Missionnaire du Roi;
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