Bray, Thomas (1746/7–1820), catholic archbishop of Cashel, was born at Fethard, Co. Tipperary, son of John Bray, a wine merchant, and his wife Margaret, daughter of Pierce Power (d. 1717), who had owned property at Glashy, Co. Waterford. The name ‘Bray’ occurs nearby at Clonmel from medieval times; another John Bray (probably a catholic) represented the borough in James I's Irish parliament (1613). Thomas Bray studied at the Propaganda College, Rome, and at Sainte Garde, Avignon (then a papal possession, and the place where his mother's eldest brother, John Power, alias Lee, had settled) before entering the Irish college, Paris (1764). Soon after he was ordained to the catholic priesthood (22 May 1774) he returned to Ireland to a curacy at Thurles in his native diocese of Cashel. From 1779 he was priest of the parish of Cashel and from 1782 vicar general of the diocese.
On 17 June 1792 he was provided to the archbishopric and on 14 October consecrated bishop at Thurles (the seat of the catholic archbishops of Cashel and Emly). He proved an efficient administrator – the Cashel diocesan archives are rich for his period of office – and organised provincial and diocesan synods (1808 and 1810). As a result of the diocesan synod, he edited for publication the Cashel diocesan statutes and regulations drawn up by Hugh Fitzpatrick (qv), together with much other matter, including prayers in English and Irish: Statuta synodalia pro unitis diocesibus Cassel. et Imelac.: lecta, approbata, edita et promulgata in synodo diocesana . . . habita prima hebdomada mensis Septembris anno MDCCCX (2 vols, 1813). He had no political influence and though in 1799 he believed a union of the Irish and British parliaments might prove ‘a useful measure’ (Renehan) he declined to canvass for it. Thomas Bray died 9 December 1820 aged seventy-three. He had two cousins, sons of a maternal uncle, who rose to high office in the catholic church: James Power, who was a canon of Cassel in Flanders, and Francis Power (1737–1817), who was a canon of Avignon before the French revolution and vice-president of St Patrick's College, Maynooth. He was also related to Nicholas Sheehy (qv) and the countess of Blessington (qv).