Marsh, Francis (1626–93), Church of Ireland archbishop of Dublin, was born 23 October 1626, son of Henry Marsh (d. 1629) of Edgeworth in Gloucestershire and Anne, daughter of William Aylesbury and Anne Poole. His first cousin Frances Aylesbury was the second wife of Edward Hyde, 1st earl of Clarendon, and mother of Anne Hyde, first wife of James, duke of York (qv). He was educated at the Free School, Gloucester, and entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1642, graduating BA (1647) and MA (1650). He was a senior fellow of Gonville and Caius College (1651–61), and held several offices in that college. In February 1653 he was granted four months’ leave to go to Ireland. In October 1660 he was in the service of the earl of Southampton, lord treasurer of England, a friend of Clarendon and of the marquess of Ormond (qv). In 1660 he was invited to Ireland by Jeremy Taylor (qv), and in November a letter for his appointment as dean of Connor was prepared. On 26 January 1661 he was incorporated MA of TCD. On 27 January 1661, on the day of his own consecration as bishop of Down and Connor, Taylor ordained Marsh deacon and priest, and on 8 February 1661 he was presented to the deanery. On 1 June 1661 he resigned his Cambridge fellowship and on 27 June was appointed, through Clarendon's influence, dean of Armagh and archdeacon of Dromore.
On 22 December 1667 he was consecrated as bishop of Limerick but by 1671 was complaining to the lord lieutenant, Lord Berkeley (qv), that he was weary of Munster and wished to be moved. In January 1673 he was appointed bishop of Kilmore, with the diocese of Ardagh, a translation for which he thanked Viscount Conway (qv). In November 1681 he was offered, through a misunderstanding as to his wishes, the diocese of Raphoe, which he refused. In February 1682 he was made archbishop of Dublin, and treasurer of St Patrick's cathedral.
Marsh was appointed to the privy council in 1682, and was reappointed by James II in 1685. He does not however appear to have attended during James's reign, and was said in March 1687 to have been put out of the council. He was a friend and ally of his kinsman, Henry Hyde (qv), 2nd earl of Clarendon, when the latter was in Dublin as lord lieutenant and afterwards when they were both in London.
He fled to England in February 1689, appointing William King (qv) and Samuel Foley (qv) as his commissaries. Foley soon followed him into exile, while King ceded authority in the diocese to Anthony Dopping (qv). Marsh gave evidence in August 1689 to the English house of lords committee investigating Irish affairs and returned to Ireland after the battle of the Boyne. He was reappointed to the privy council by William III (qv) in 1690, and attended the Irish house of lords constantly during the parliament of 1692.
He died 16 November 1693, and is buried in Christ Church cathedral. The Library of the Representative Church Body of the Church of Ireland has a photograph of a painted portrait. His successor as archbishop of Dublin, Narcissus Marsh (qv), does not appear to have been related to him.
He married Mary (d. 1695), the youngest daughter of Jeremy Taylor. They had two daughters and two sons, of whom the second, Jeremiah (1667–1734), was treasurer of St Patrick's cathedral (1693–1734) (which post his father resigned in his favour shortly before his death) and dean of Kilmore (1700–34).