Barrett, Thomas (Tomás Bairéad) (d. c.1485), bishop of Annaghdown, obtained a papal provision to the see on 17 April 1458 although the see was already occupied by Donatus Ó Muireadhaigh (qv), archbishop of Tuam, who had procured simultaneous provisions to Tuam and Annaghdown in December 1450. Ó Muireadhaigh resisted Barrett's provision for jurisdictional reasons, citing the loose union of the sees in 1327. Although Barrett was supported by the crown, he failed to gain his see in the face of local opposition, and retired to England, acting as a suffragan bishop in Exeter (1468–75) and in Bath and Wells (1482–5). He was mandated by the pope to serve as a judge in various cases, and in May 1478 was granted a licence to hold three benefices at the same time. He held the parish churches of Charleton and Bren in the diocese of Exeter, and was granted the priory of Down in May 1478, to the value of eighty marks yearly. In February 1485 he was granted half of the lordship of Bren for as long as he was the parson there, so that he could use the proceeds to strengthen the sea walls in the parish. In the autumn of 1484 he was sent by the king on a diplomatic mission to Ireland, carrying instructions from the king to the deputy lieutenant, Gerald fitz Maurice FitzGerald (qv), 8th earl of Kildare, concerning negotiations with Conn O'Neill (qv) (d. 1493), lord of Tír Eoghain, to restore the king's control of his earldom of Ulster. However, the main focus of his mission was to travel among the Anglo-Irish of Leinster, Munster, and Connacht dispensing gifts and learning the state of the lordship. Perhaps the most important part of his mission was the attempt to reconcile the king and James fitz Thomas FitzGerald (qv), 9th earl of Desmond, whose father had been executed in 1468. In this he failed, but on the whole Barrett's mission was a success, gathering information for Richard III as a base for Irish policies. He died some time after February 1485.
C. pap. reg.; CPR; L & P Rich. III & Hen.VII; NHI, ii, 586–7, 610–11