Browne, Patrick (d. 1614), merchant and municipal politician, was the elder of two sons of Patrick Browne of Backweston, Co. Kildare, and his wife Katherine Weston, sister of the former prior of St Wolstan's, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. The Brownes were an old established merchant family of Co. Dublin, with a rural seat at Backweston. Despite inheriting a landed estate, he became a merchant in Dublin, where he was elected an alderman in 1579 and engaged in a lucrative trade between Dublin and Chester. During the second Desmond rebellion in Munster (1579–83) he was heavily involved in the supply of munitions to the Dublin government. He had a rural residence at Kishogue, and in Dublin lived in a tower on the city walls between New Gate and Gormond's Gate. In 1582 he was influential enough to be included on a short list of aldermen who were to travel to England to act as agents for the citizens of Dublin in discussions over composition payments to the lord deputy. In 1586 he refused to serve as mayor of Dublin, probably owing to his religious views. As a strong catholic, he would have been suspicious of the protestant-dominated royal government. His Dublin residence was often used as a mass house.
In early 1603 the lord chancellor, Adam Loftus (qv), and others on the Irish council anxious about security, used the revival of the ecclesiastical commission to proceed against seven aldermen, all noted recusants. Browne was among them. Although they were released after a few weeks, the following summer the seven were fined again by their fellow aldermen for absenting themselves on chief assembly and station days. In 1605 Browne stood firm against the ‘mandates’ policy introduced by the lord deputy, Sir Arthur Chichester (qv), which compelled leading Dublin citizens to attend protestant church services on pain of fine or imprisonment. He refused to attend the state church, saying it was contrary to his conscience, and was brought in January 1606 before the court of castle chamber with another prominent Dublin merchant and alderman, Philip Conran, where he was fined £100 and imprisoned. Apparently, he was given the opportunity to buy immunity from religious harassment, but declared he was not willing to lose his share in the persecution. He appears to have been imprisoned many times for his recusancy and died in Dublin in 1614 of a fever contracted while in confinement.
Browne married (date unknown) Margaret, sister of Thomas Gerrott, alderman and mayor of Dublin; they had two sons, Richard and John, and two daughters, Margaret and Eleanor.