Arthur, Thomas (1593–1675), physician, was born 24 November 1593 in Limerick city, son of the patrician William Arthur and Anastace Arthur (née Rice). His early schooling is unknown; he studied medicine in Bordeaux and Paris before returning to Limerick to begin (14 May 1619) a highly successful career as a physician. Soon he was accompanying the president of Munster to Dublin; later he built a fine house in Mungret St., Limerick. Though Arthur was catholic, his patients included leading protestants such as Archbishop James Ussher (qv) of Armagh; he became viceregal physician (1625) and moved to Dublin (1630), but continued to visit country patients. In 1630–31 his income from medical fees was £145 13s. 6d.; from rents, mortgages, and loans, £462 16s. 6d. Apprehensive after rebellion broke out, he left Dublin (December 1641) for Limerick, a catholic stronghold, and was still there in 1651 when the Cromwellian commander, Henry Ireton (qv), besieged it. Arthur tended victims of the siege and of the plague then ravaging Ireland, treating both sides alike. In 1652 he treated the lord deputy, Charles Fleetwood (qv), in Dublin for migraine; in 1656 he treated Fleetwood's successor Henry Cromwell (qv) for tonsillitis.
Arthur had literary interests, composing Latin verse and assembling a library of 315 items, 152 of which were medical. He seems to have retired from practice in 1666 and to have married twice: one wife was named Christian. He had four daughters: Mary, Anastace, Christian, and Dymphna. Dymphna married her second cousin John Arthur of Galway, bringing him a dowry of £1,000 – an indication of Thomas Arthur's wealth. Thomas Arthur died in January 1675, leaving his property to either William or Thomas, the sons of Dymphna and John Arthur. Much of his everyday practice is known through his surviving diary or fee-book and other papers (bought by the British Museum from Maurice Lenihan (qv) (1881) and now in BL, Add. MS 31885). Arthur's importance comes partly from this lucky survival, partly from his being the most sought-after medical man of his time in Ireland.