Cox, Michael (1692–1779), Church of Ireland archbishop, was born 2 November 1692 in Dublin, fifth and youngest son of Sir Richard Cox (qv) and his wife Mary (née Bourne). Different years have been given for his birth, but TCD records show him as aged 15 on entering the college in July 1706. He was educated in Dr Andrews's school, Kilkenny, and at TCD (BA 1710, MA 1712), and was a gentleman commoner of Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1707), where a portrait of him remains. He took holy orders and eventually became bishop of Ossory (nominated 15 February 1743), where he repaired the episcopal residence and added demesne land to it ‘at a considerable pecuniary sacrifice’ (Mant), and archbishop of Cashel (nominated 3 January 1754). Michael Cox died 28 May 1779. He shares a monument by Peter Scheemaker in St Canice's cathedral, Kilkenny, with his second wife, Anne O'Brien, granddaughter of the 3rd earl of Inchiquin; she died in 1745, two years after their marriage, while giving birth to a son, who survived. Edward Malone joked in verse that the bare expanse of the monument was the best summary of Cox's life.
Cox's chief monument is the great house Castletown (‘Castletown Cox’), Co. Kilkenny, built for him (1767– ) by Davis Ducart (qv) on land formerly held by Cox's father, and returned to Cox's possession through his first marriage to Anne Cooke (neither marriage can be dated). Castletown, Ducart's masterpiece, ‘ranks as one of the five or six most important houses in Ireland’ (Guinness & Ryan). The demesne originally included a racecourse. The claim that it was the home of Cox's Orange Pippin apples is not now accepted; the apple was developed c.1830 by Richard Cox (c.1776–1845) in Slough, Buckinghamshire, England.