Clan Leslie Society    
Australia & New Zealand


Raphoe & the Fighting Bishop, Ireland - Raphoe, Co Donegal Ireland was the home of the Right Reverend John Leslie D.D.He was the grandson of William Leslie 4th Baron of Wardis and was bornin Crichie Aberdeenshire in 1571, the second son of George Leslie of Crichie and his wife Janet Innes. He studied at Marischal College Aberdeen,and after his studies there, he went to Oxford and France.

In 1633 he was sent as Bishop to Raphoe Co Donegal Ireland. He had to enter into litigation to recover the church lands, which had been seized by "lay usurpers". He had to fortify the Episcopal mansion with the help of his cousin, Colonel James Leslie who supervised the fortificationand defences. In 1641, the Irish rebellion broke out and unspeakable atrocities were carried out on both sides and more than 500,000 people lost their lives until the rebellion was finally crushed by Oliver Cromwell. The Rev James Leslie managed to hold out with the help of his cousin Col James Leslie. After the execution of Charles I in January 1649 he left London to return to Raphoe and had to defend his Palace against the Cromwellian forces. His friendship with Oliver Cromwell's son, Henry, ensured that as the only surviving Anglican Bishop his outspoken royalist views were tolerated.

He is reputed to have ridden the 200 miles from Chester to London in a single day, when he was aged 90, to greet Charles II on the restoration. Charles II rewarded his loyalty by restoring him to his Raphoe see and in 1664 gave him the bishopric of Clogher and £2000. He bought a property in County Monaghan that he called Castle Leslie, afterwards called Glaslough. He then married 18 year old Catherine Conyngham and had six sons and two daughters.

He died at Glaslough, five weeks short of his one-hundredth birthday, having been a Bishop for fifty years. His youngest and only surviving son, Rev Charles Leslie, born 17th July 1650, who married his cousin Jane Leslie, succeeded him in the Glaslough property.