Arthur Conan Doyle

As part of my studies for Victorian Literature, I was required to do a presentation about Sherlock Holmes. My part of the project was to look into the authors background and life. So in this post I’ll be discussing his parents life.

Arthur’s mother was Mary Foley and was Irish and was Catholic. She was born in Wexford Ireland in 1832. Her mother however was originally protestant, and then converted to Catholicism to marry Marys father. She was disowned from her family because of it.

Arthurs father was an illistatur, artist and watercolourist – the famous Charles Altamont Doyle. He was born in London, England in March in 1832. Although he was english but his parents were both Irish Catholic. In 1849 Charles moved to Edinburgh where he met arthurs mother Mary. The couple married in July 1855.  They had 9 children together, 7 girls and 2 boys.

Charles however suffered from depression and struggled with an alcohol addiction and this disrupted the upbringing for the whole family. In 1864 the family had to be separated due his addiction and they were housed in different places across Edinburgh. Fortunately, in 1867 the family was reunited because of the determination of Mary his mother.

Charles ultimately had a mental breakdown in 1881. He was then sent to a nursing home called Fordoun House. A home which specialised alchol abuse. While in the home he contuied to paint and draw. He then died in 1893.

Mary was always supportive of Arthur and was known to be a very strong influence on his life and works. She was also known to have been a great storyteller. Mary died in 1920.

Looking into the background of the famous Arthur Canon Doyle, it was interesting to discover his irish roots. Finding out that his mother’s family was protestant and disowned her for converting was particularly interesting as Arthur is known to have struggled with the Catholic faith.


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