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Arthur Guinness, the founder of Guinness brewery
Arthur is said to have been born in 1725 near Celbridge, Co Kildare, Ireland, at Oakley Park. He was a son of Richard Guinness. Arthur's mother is sometimes said to have been Elizabeth Read, but proof is lacking. In fact, Mike Rendell reports that Richard Guinness married Catherine Unknown. Bill Yenne reports that Richard Guinness' origin is unknown, though Richard is thought to have had a brother, William, who became a Dublin gunsmith.
Arthur's place of birth has been the subject of some question, or "family tradition." One often reported birth place is the home of his Read grandparents, at Huttonread, Co. Kildare, Ireland. Some say it was then the custom for an expectant mother to return to her home to give birth. Apparently there is a lack of evidence for the name of Arthur's mother and no record of Arthur's birth.
At the time of his birth, Arthur's father is said to have been employed by Dr. Arthur Price (later Archbishop of Cashel), as the Land Steward to his property. One of the Steward's responsibilities was to brew the beer for the workers at the estate near Cashel.
Note: This profile reported an exact birth date March 12, 1725, but the source is questionable (Ancestry.com "Family Tree"). The information about Arthur's mother's name and the origin of Richard Guinness are also questionable. The sources for this information seem to be either Guinness Beer corporate publications or Ancestry.com "Family Trees." Bill Yenne, who researched the family for his book, Guinness, found no such evidence for the mother's name, nor for Richard Guinness' origins.
Arthur probably learned about beer brewing by helping his father. Once on his own, Arthur started with a small brewery near Leixlip. He gifted that business to his younger brother, and on 31 December 1759, signed a lease on a floundering brewery at St James’s Gate in Dublin. By the 1770's, Arthur was brewing the new darker ale called porter. In the span of only eight years, he went from a new member of the Dublin Brewers and Maltsters Corporation to become Master of the Corporation. In 1799, he made the momentous decision to brew only the iconic Guinness porter.
Arthur died in 1803. According to Bill Yenne, in Guinness, he died at his country estate, Beaumont (page 24), "leaving a legacy and a name that would stand the test of time."
Arthur was buried at Read family plot Oughterard, Co. Kildare.
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