Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A Memoir of St. Laurence O'Toole

From Dalton's Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin (1838, p. 51ff.):

Succ 1162 Ob 1180

Laurence O'Toole the truly illustrious individual who succeeded to this high preferment was the youngest son of the hereditary lord or petty prince of the territory of Imaile the head of one of the septs eligible to the kingdom of Leinster and which maintained the privilege of electing the bishops and abbots of Glendalough even for centuries after that see was de jure united to that of Dublin. His father's principality was situated in the district of Wicklow to which he was also attached in the maternal line his mother having been of the O'Byrnes a family equally revered in the memory of their countrymen. In the depth of the romantic valley of the two lakes which gave name to the see of Glendalough and where the ruins of its little city and cathedral are still traceable there was at this period one of those schools for which Ireland was justly celebrated and within its walls the pious Laurence imbibed the rudiments of his education and the principles of his religion. At the early age of ten his acquirements elevated him considerably above the ordinary class of his contemporaries and the infant ardour of his patriotism so manifested itself that when at that period his father participated in the oppressive hostilities with which Dermot Mac Murrough visited the most worthy of the chieftains of Leinster the heartless tyrant could only be induced to avert the worst inflictions of his cruel power on receiving as a hostage from the father's hands the son of his heart and hopes.

No sooner had Dermot possessed himself of this already celebrated boy than he subjected him to the first lessons of the persecution he was fated to endure and with a fiendish cruelty in thorough consistence with the character which even his Welch allies afterwards attributed to him he is said to have confined his victim in a barren unsheltered spot and only allowed him such a quality and quantity of food as might preserve an existence for tyranny to excruciate. The distracted parent when he heard of his son's sufferings knowing that entreaty would be responded with mockery and increased barbarity by some successful sally from his mountain holds captured twelve of Mac Murrough's soldiers whom he threatened instantly to immolate unless his son was restored to his home. The threat was effective and in the valley of Glendalough Laurence was once more received in a father's embrace. The secluded and melancholy appearance of this scene surrounded as it is by almost perpendicular mountains on all sides but the east where alone it opens like a vast temple of nature to the rising day early marked it as the more peculiar retreat of holiness and must have greatly influenced the determination of the redeemed boy who thereupon again applied himself to his studies in the place where his rudiments were imbibed and ultimately resigning the prospects of his birth and inheritance devoted his great talents to the service of religion and exhibited such eminent proofs of his knowledge devotion purity and high morality that in the twenty fifth year of his age at the importunity of the clergy and people of the district he was advanced to preside over that abbey whose ruins still affect the observer with inexpressible reverence and if not forming the most imposing feature at Glendalough at least powerfully deepen its interest. His charity to the poor at this time is much commemorated especially during a period of remarkable scarcity which miserably afflicted that part of the country during four successive years nor is it to be overlooked that by the rectitude of his conduct throughout this interval of his life he confounded the efforts of calumny and by the firm but merciful superin tendance of the district under his charge converted it from a wicked waste to moral cultivation. The result was to himself as might be expected and when the bishop of the see Gilda na Naomh died Laurence was at once selected by a grateful people to fill the vacant dignity. He however utterly declined this honour wisely and prudently excusing himself by reason of the fewness of his years. Providence reserved him for a more exalted and useful sphere of action and on the death of Gregory Archbishop of Dublin which soon afterwards occurred he was elected the successor a promotion which he would also have declined but was ultimately induced to accept by earnest representations of the good he might thus effectuate. He was accordingly consecrated in Christ Church Dublin in the year 1152 by Gelasius Archbishop of Armagh assisted by many bishops the people offering up the thanksgivings of their hearts and from that period the custom of sending the bishops of the Irish cities which the Danes had occupied to Canterbury for consecration was utterly discontinued.

In the following year Archbishop O'Toole engaged the secular clergy of his cathedral of the Holy Trinity to receive the rule of the regular canons of Aroasia an abbey which was founded in the diocese of Arras about eighty years previously and had acquired such a reputation for sanctity and exemplary discipline that it became the head or mother church of a numerous congregation. The better to recommend this change the archbishop himself assumed the habit of that order which he thenceforth always wore under his pontifical attire and equally submitted himself to their mortifications and rules of living. Although he studiously avoided all popular applause yet his continued charity to the poor could not be concealed. He caused every day sometimes sixty sometimes forty paupers to be fed in his presence besides many whom he otherwise relieved he entertained the rich with suitable splendour yet never himself tasted the luxuries of the table and as frequently as his duties would permit retreated to the scene of his early sanctity where in the cave still shewn as the labour of St Kevin's self inflictions removed from human intercourse he indulged himself in holy thinkings.

In 1167 he assisted at the council which King Roderic convened at Athboy and which in the mixed grades of those who attended it greatly resembled a Saxon Wittenagemote. Thither according to the Annals of the Four Masters came the comorb of Patrick, Catholicus O'Dufly Archbishop of Connaught, Laurence O'Toole Archbishop of Leinster, Tiernan O'Rourke Lord of Brefny, Donough O'Carrol Lord of Uriel, the son of the King of Ulad Dermod O'Melaghlin King of Tara Raynal Mac Raynal Lord of the Danes, Donough O'Faolan Chief of the Desies &c. The complement of the whole so collected was 6000 of Connaught 4000 with O'Rourke 2000 with O'Melaghlin 4000 with O'Carrol and the son of the King of Ulad 2000 with Donough O'Faolan and 1000 with the Danes of Dublin. The political object of this assembly was to obtain more indisputable acknowledgments of the sovereignty of Roderic and to calculate what aid and support he might expect in case of the then expected invasion of Dermot Mac Murrough's auxiliaries. The council did not however separate without passing many good ordinances touching the privileges of churches and clergy and the regulation of public morality and religious discipline Archbishop Laurence also presided as legate at a clerical convocation held at Clonfert in 1170 by commission from the Pope. Upon the first invasion of the Welch adventurers he adhered firmly to the independence of his country and encouraged the inhabitants of Dublin to a vigorous defence against the invaders they however daunted by the martial appearance and disciplined array of Strongbow's forces before their walls entreated the prelate rather to become the mediator of a peace to effectuate which he passed out into the lines of the besiegers but while the terms of surrender were yet under discussion. Raymond le Gros and Milo de Cogan with a party of young and fiery spirits scaled the walls and at once possessed themselves of the city with frightful carnage. The charity of Archbishop O'Toole was eminently exercised on this occasion. At the hazard of his life he traversed the streets of the metropolis protesting against the ruin he could not control snatching the panting bodies from the grasp of the invader he administered to the dying the last consolations of religion to the dead the hasty service of a grave and to the wants and wounds of the wretched survivors all that their necessities could require or his means afford.

In 1171 Hasculph the Danish Governor of Dublin whom the English had expelled from the city arrived in its harbour to reassert his rights with thirty ships in his train and a numerous force commanded by John Wood from the Isle of Man and the islands of the North and described in the Irish Annals as well appointed after the Danish manner with brigandines jacks and coats of mail their shields bucklers and targets round and coloured red and bound about with iron Archbishop Laurence on this occasion considering that much national good might result from opposing the power of the new invaders by that of the old became most zealous in his appeals to the native princes to promote Hasculph's project and his devoted patriotism and the sanctity of his character gave great weight to his exhortations. The people rose in arms to his call collected all their strength surrounded Dublin by land while the Dane occupied the harbour and threatened the hitherto victorious Strongbow with total annihilation From the height of the citadel he beheld with alarm the allied natives at last united in the defence of their country and extending their lines from sea to sea around him Roderic was encamped at Castleknock whence his army extended to the ancient town of Finglas O'Rourke and the petty prince of Ulster mingled their forces along the strand of Clontarf the Lord of Hy Kin selagh occupied the opposite shores of Dalkey while the Chief of Thomond advanced so near as Kilmainham to the walls of the metropolis and even Archbishop Laurence communicated the inspiration of his character to this cause and gliding amidst the ranks of war animated the several septs of his countrymen to the assertion of their common liberties. Within the city were Earl Strongbow Maurice Fitzgerald Raymond le Gros the Achilles of the invasion Milo de Cogan Richard de Cogan and some other chosen chieftains but their scanty soldiery bore a fearful comparison in numbers with the host that were to oppose them and Strongbow in the prudence of necessity withheld them from any encounter that might but reveal their weakness It was the crisis of Ireland's destinies but her monarch was not equal to the emergency. During two months these warriors patiently endured the closest blockade but after that interval a privation of food so grievous that according to Regan a measure of wheat was sold for a mark and one of barley for half a mark threatened the garrison with the most terrific species of death In this emergency rather than pine under the lingering infliction of famine they loudly implored their commanders to lead them against the enemy and afford them at least the glorious consolation of dying on the field of battle In aggravation of their despair and the imminence of their fate came fearful accounts of the state of Fitz Stephen and his followers in Wexford. A council was thereupon held and an ineffectual effort having been made under its direction to obtain favourable terms by negotiation it was resolved without further delay to sally on the besiegers. The garrison was accordingly divided into three companies Raymond le Gros with 200 knights took the vanguard Milo de Cogan with as many more kept the centre and Strongbow with Maurice Fitz Gerald and 200 knights and soldiers composed the rear sufficient numbers being left to guard and secure the city. Early on the following morning when the natives were least expecting an assault the appointed detachments impatiently sallied from the city and falling on the wing of Roderic's army completely broke down any opposition it was able to offer and following up their advantage along the monarch's line slew without mercy even until the fall of night when they returned to the city wearied by their bloody victory but much enriched with spoils and with what was then even more welcome ample stores of provisions Roderic himself narrowly escaped being taken prisoner. The native chieftains fled in every direction and the allies from the isles took to sea without another effort Hasculph himself however was taken prisoner as he was hurrying to his ship and having when brought before the English leader expressed himself in terms deemed unbecoming and certainly imprudent in a captive was instantly ordered to execution Milo de Cogan was thereupon re instated in the government of Dublin and Strongbow marched with his adherents to the relief of Fitz Stephen in Wexford. The political exertions of the archbishop were not however paralyzed by these unexpected discomfitures. With unwearied zeal he still laboured to organize an effective opposition against Strongbow and his followers but the arrival of King Henry the Second at Waterford in the October following with considerable forces having given a new character to the invasion and most of the leading men of Ireland having submitted to him Laurence together with the principal archbishops bishops and abbots of the country repaired to that city and in obedience to the bull of Pope Adrian then for the first time exhibited respectively submitted themselves to him the English king as their temporal lord and ruler. In the Christmas following Archbishop Laurence assisted at the synod convened at Cashel by the king's orders wherein several canons were established for the prevention of marriages within certain degrees of kindred the more solemn administration of baptism the due payment of parochial tithes the immunity of church lands and of the clergy from secular exactions the distribution of the property of deceased persons according to their wishes solemnly avowed before death or an equitable division in case of no such avowal the administration of the last rites to the dying the regulation of burials and the conformity of divine service in Ireland with that of the Church of England while it is very remarkable that notwithstanding the great reform which it was alleged the Irish nation required not only were all the bishops and ecclesiastics who were present on that occasion natives with the exception of three Henry's immediate chaplain and advisers but it was actually not deemed necessary to make any canons at this synod relative to religious doctrine or even the more essential points of discipline and some of the decrees are evidently of a political rather than an ecclesiastical tendency.

About the year 1173 this prelate gave the amiable example not only of Christian forgiveness but yet more of that cordiality with which persons most opposed in politics should concur in the cause of religion and charity and co operating with Strongbow Robert Fitz Stephen and Raymond le Gros undertook the enlargement of Christ Church and accordingly at their own charges erected the choir the steeple and two chapels one dedicated to St Edmund king and martyr and to St Mary and the other to St Laud. He adhered however not the less faithfully to the fallen fortunes of his former sovereign and as zealously but more peaceably endeavoured to uphold them as far as circumstances would now permit. Accordingly in 1175 when Roderic O Conor was reduced to narrow his negotiations and exertions to the sole object of securing the sovereignty of his own province of Connaught he despatched Catholicus Archbishop of Tuam, the Abbot of St Brandan, and Archbishop Laurence styled in the treaty Roderic's chancellor to wait upon King Henry at Windsor where he held his court. There these emissaries concluded that remarkable treaty which is yet extant and in which the contracting parties are both named kings Henry of England and Roderic of Connaught. It was on this occasion Archbishop O'Toole visited the shrine of Thomas a Becket at Canterbury and as the writer of his life says narrowly escaped death from an insane individual who conceived he would do a meritorious action by murdering the prelate and assimilating his fate with that of Becket Accordingly he rushed upon him as he was celebrating mass beat him down and inflicted grievous wounds upon his head. When the archbishop recovered the king on hearing of the circumstance would have punished the attempt by the death of the offender but the archbishop interceded for his life which was spared accordingly.

In 1176 when the remains of Strongbow were deposited in the church he had so lately beautified and enlarged when the proud invader was let down into the grave amidst a population whose homes he had desolated Archbishop Laurence presided at the solemn rites that close the enmities of man and mingle with the better recollections of the dead the hopes and prayers that point to everlasting life yet with what deep reflections must he have witnessed the clay thrown over that cold corse that was once animated with such an adventurous spirit the narrow home of him who was the prominent actor in the catastrophe of a nation whose successful ambition had triumphed over the independence of Ireland subverted its ancient constitution dissolved the privileges of its families confined its monarch within a portion of the remotest province of his former kingdom and erected out of the remainder palatinates and baronies yet in the words of William of Newbridge carried to the grave no part of those spoils he coveted so eagerly in life putting to risk even his eternal salvation to amass them but at last leaving to unthankful heirs all he had acquired through so much toil and danger affording by his fate a salutary lesson to mankind.

In 1177 Cardinal Vivian presided as legate at a council in Dublin where the right of the King of England to the sovereignty of Ireland in virtue of the Pope's authority was further inculcated. There is no positive evidence however that Archbishop Laurence took part in this proceeding although he appears in other transactions conjointly with Vivian during his stay in Ireland. In 1178 he granted and confirmed to the church of the Holy Trinity those of St Michan, St Michael, St John the Evangelist, St Brigid, St Paul and all the profits of the mills which the said church was known to possess without the walls near the bridge and the fishery with the tithes of salmon and of all other fishes on either side of the water course of the Liffey and all the lands of Ratheny, Portrane, Rathsillan, Kinsaly, the third part of Cloghney, the third part of Killallin, Lisluan, Killester, Duncuanach, Glasnevin, Magdunia, St Doulogh's, Ballymacamleib, Cloncoen, Tallagh, Tullaghcoen, Killingincleam, Kiltinan, Rathsalaghan, Tullaghnaescope, Drumhing, Ballyrochaican, half of Rathmihi, Tiradran, Ballyrochan, and Ballymoailph, with all their appurtenances for ever.

In 1179 this archbishop with some other Irish prelates proceeded to Rome to assist at the General Council then held there being the second Council of Lateran. King Henry however before he would permit them to pass through his dominions exacted from them a solemn oath not to prejudice him or his empire in the progress of their mission. On Laurence's arrival at Rome he obtained a bull from thepope confirming the dioceses of Glendalough, Kildare, Ferns, Leighlin, and Ossory to his metropolitical authority and further assuring to his own see its lands and possessions as therein most fully detailed. The Pope also created him legate of Ireland in virtue of which commission according to his biographers he afterwards on his return exercised legatine authority in his native country.

In 1180 according to Hoveden and Benedict he again passed out of Ireland entrusted by the unfortunate Roderic to place that prince's son as an hostage with the English king then sojourning in Normandy as was stipulated in the before mentioned treaty of Windsor. There the archbishop was detained by the king whose displeasure he had incurred as Cambrensis alleges by having through zeal for his country's service made some harsh representations at Rome of the Anglo Irish Government and obtained from the Pope privileges derogatory of the royal dignity. But as all history evinces that this patriotic prelate discharged the duties of his high clerical station in the most exemplary manner and even yielded his political antipathies to the necessities of the times it may be naturally concluded that his remonstrances and authority were only such as justice would warrant and directed against the barbarity of the adventurers of the day.

Such honest representations of the encroachments they would have made in temporal and spiritual property should be fairly considered as so far from violating Laurence's engagement to Henry that in reality the honest interest of the English crown could not be better advanced than by the suppression of the wanton outrages he vainly witnessed It was by the disregard of his expostulations that a host of needy adventurers were endowed in Ireland and a government founded within the pale of that devoted country which was felt only in its power to do injustice.

Well had it been if the consequences of that misrule had died with the tyrants who first perpetrated it Unfortunately however for the generations of ages the acts of those detached and licentious chiefs were permitted to assume the name of English administration and bigotries were engendered and hatreds associated which only the nineteenth century is dissolving Archbishop Laurence lived to see his country the patrimony of strangers but to the last hour of his he laboured to avert the evils of that dispensation and to place a country whose intestine made it incapable and unworthy of independence under the lawful protection of England's not the fickle despotism of alien Palatines the midst however of the ill merited restraints upon him it was too fatally evinced that banishment from his country accelerated his dissolution.

In Normandy the sickness fell upon him and conscious that the hour of his demise was approaching he retired into the monastery of Regular Canons at Eu on the confines of that province anxious to close his life within its peaceful walls and amidst the brethren of his favourite order. Yet even in the sacred reflections of that moment the afflictions of his country lived in his remembrance from his death bed he is recorded as having sent a monk of the fraternity to the camp of Henry to implore peace for Ireland and when some token of assent was given by the King and communicated to the prelate it mingled with the hopes of a dying Christian and he sunk into his last repose on the 14th of November 1180.

Immediately after his burial which took place at Eu King Henry despatched Jeoffrey de la Hay his chaplain into Ireland to seize the revenues of the see which he held over for nearly one year. The remains of Archbishop Laurence were at first placed in a shrine before the altar of the martyr Leodegarius but when the prelate was canonized in 1218 by Pope Honorius the Third they were with great solemnity translated and placed over the high altar where they were long preserved in a silver shrine.

The abbey that was sanctified by his death was on his canonization dedicated anew to him and his festival has continued to be celebrated there yearly with one office of nine lessons as it is also observed in Ireland under the particular sanction of a decree of Pope Benedict the Fourteenth Cherish in your memory says that pontiff addressing the archbishops and bishops of Ireland. Cherish in your memory St Patrick the apostle of Ireland whom our predecessor St Celestine sent to you of whose apostolic mission and preaching such an abundant harvest has grown that Ireland before his time idolatrous was suddenly called and deservedly is the Island of Saints cherish in your memory St Malachy Archbishop of Armagh whose ardour for the conversion of souls St Bernard has depicted in the boldest colouring. He stood forth undaunted in every manner prepared to convert the wolves into sheep to admonish in public to convince in private to touch the chords of the heart boldly or gently as suited the subject. Traversing the country he sought the aspirations which he might turn to the service of the true God neither was he carried by horse but on foot like an apostle he performed his mission. And yet with even more sincerity cherish in your memory St Laurence the Archbishop of Dublin whom born as he was of royal blood our predecessor Alexander the Third in the Council of Lateran selected as his legate apostolic for Ireland and whom Honorius the Third alike our predecessor afterwards canonized whence you may well know what services that saintly man rendered to his flock. But if yet more we were to exhort you to cherish in your memory the very holy men Columbanus, Kilian, Virgil, Rumold, St Gall, and the many others who coming out of Ireland carried the true faith over the provinces of the continent or established it with the blood of their martyrdom we should far exceed the limits of a letter. Suffice it to commend to you to bear in memory the religion and the piety of those that have preceded you and the solicitude for the duties of their station which has established their everlasting glory and happiness.

In reference to his personal appearance St Laurence is represented as having been tall and graceful in stature of a comely presence and in his outward habit grave but rich. His life published by Surius is said to have been written by Ralph of Bristol Bishop of Kildare in the commencement of the thirteenth century and a correct copy thereof is reported to be in Archbishop Ussher's collection in Trinity College Dublin. The biography from which the chief facts above related have been selected was written by a brother of the monastery of Eu and is published in Messingham's Florilegium. It but remains to mention that in the Roman Catholic church St Laurence is the patron saint of the diocese of Dublin.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Archiepiscopal See of Dublin (1669-1707)(Walsh)

Peter Talbot, S.J., 
later Archbishop of Dublin

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 125 ff:

Peter Talbot succeeded in 1669. Peter was the son of Sir William Talbot and brother of the celebrated Colonel Talbot whom James II created earl of Tyrconnell and afterwards ennobled with the title of duke. Peter was born about the year 1620. Early in life, with a view of entering the ecclesiastical state, he repaired to Portugal, there became a Jesuit in 1635, and afterwards to Rome, where he completed his studies and was admitted to holy orders. From Rome he returned to Portugal and afterwards removed to Antwerp where he lectured on moral theology and published a treatise on the nature of faith and heresy the nullity of the Protestant church and its clergy. He is supposed to be the person who received, in 1656, Charles the Second into the Catholic religion while he was at Cologne and to have been sent privately to Madrid to intimate to the court of Spain the fact of his conversion. On the marriage of Charles II with the Infanta of Portugal he was appointed one of her chaplains and his vows as a Jesuit having been dispensed with he was promoted to the see of Dublin in 1669 and consecrated in the May of this year either at Antwerp or Ghent.

On his arrival in Dublin he found an assembly of the Catholic clergy sitting under the control of the primate Talbot asserting an authority to oversee the proceedings, the old controversy respecting the primatial right was revived. Both parties appealed to Rome where a decision was made in favor of Armagh as Archbishop Plunkett and after him Hugh Mac Mahon alleged. In 1670, Archbishop Talbot sojourned for a time at Ghent and having returned to Dublin in the May of this year he waited on Lord Berkeley, lord lieutenant of Ireland, by whom he was courteously received and permitted to appear in his archiepiscopal character before the council. On the 30th of August 1670, the archbishop held a synod in Dublin and again in the following year he convened a second one enforcing the publication of bans of marriages and prohibiting under pain of excommunication any Catholic male or female from contracting matrimony with the offspring of Jews, Turks or Moors and moreover interdicting any priest from solemnizing such.

The liberal Lord Berkeley being removed from the government of Ireland, the bigoted Essex replaced him and forthwith the storm burst upon the devoted heads of the Catholics and Peter Talbot was at once marked out for proscription. He was accused with an intent to introduce Roman Catholics into the common council of the Dublin corporation. Judging rightly of his danger and distrusting those who should adjudicate his cause, he fled and after wandering some time in disguise he arrived safely in the metropolis of France from which he addressed in 1674 a pastoral letter full of tenderness to those over whom he presided on the duty and comfort of suffering subjects.

In 1675, he ventured to return to England where he took up his residence at Pool Hall in Cheshire and fearing that his end was approaching he obtained through the influence of the duke of York a connivance to his restoration to Ireland. In 1678, he was arrested at Malahide on suspicion of being concerned in the popish plot as nothing was found in his papers to justify the charge and as his state of health did not permit his removal the security of his brother was accepted for his appearance. He was, however, on the arrival of the duke of Ormond in Dublin, removed to the castle a prisoner on the point of death. There he remained for two years treated with great severity until death put an end to his afflictions in the year 1680.

Patrick Russell, after a vacancy of three years, succeeded on the 2d of August 1683. In July 1685 he held a provincial synod at Dublin in which local and provincial regulations were made. In the following year, Archbishop Russel assisted at an assembly of the Roman Catholic clergy held in Dublin at which the primate of all Ireland presided. To this meeting of the clergy the earl of Clarendon alludes in a dispatch to the earl of Rochester dated the 15th of May. Again Patrick Russel presided at a diocesan synod held in Dublin on the 10th of June 1686 in which it was decreed that parochial clergymen having the charge of souls should provide schoolmasters in their parishes to instruct the children and should inspect the schools and remove the teachers if negligent. On the 1st of August, 1688, he held a provincial council wherein it was enacted among other things that every parish priest should under pain of suspension on the Lord's day explain some point of the Christian doctrine or give a short exhortation to the people after the gospel. During the residence of King James in the Irish metropolis, Archbishop Russel enjoyed the distinction of performing the holy rites of the Catholic church in the royal presence. The last rite which he celebrated before the king was the consecration of the Benedictine nunnery in Channelrow. On the overthrow of the Stuart dynasty, he fled to Paris, whence he returned to close his days in the land of his labors. At the close of the year 1692, he went the way of all flesh and was buried in the ancient church of Lusk.

Peter Creagh succeeded in 1693, was bishop of Cork for several years previous to 1686. It is probable that he was a relative of Sir Michael Creagh who was the lord mayor of Dublin in 1688, whose brother the mayor of Newcastle was also knighted by King James. On the flight of James and the surrender of Limerick, Peter left the country and resided in Paris until, on the 9th of March 1693, he was advanced to the archdiocese of Dublin. During the incumbency of Peter, the embers of persecution were rekindled the education foreign or domestic of Catholics was prohibited penal enactments succeeded in 1697. All popish prelates, vicars general, deans, monks, Jesuits and all others of their religion who exercised ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Ireland were ordered by act of Parliament to depart from the kingdom before the 1st of May, 1698, and in case of return were subjected to imprisonment and transportation to foreign parts, whence, if they returned, they were liable to be arraigned as traitors and it was moreover enacted that none should be buried in any monastery, abbey or convent not used for the Protestant service. In the same session was enacted the statute prohibiting the intermarriages of Protestants with Catholics. Such indeed was the success of the persecutors in the year 1698, that the number of regulars alone shipped from Ireland were one hundred and fifty three from Dublin, one hundred and ninety from Galway, seventy five from Cork and twenty six from Waterford, in all a total of four hundred and forty four. During all this time there is no public notice of Peter Creagh, the archbishop of Dublin, and such is the scarcity of materials in connection with his life that the period of his death is to be inferred from the appointment of his successor.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

A History of St. Laurence O'Toole - Part 2

From Lanigan's An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland (1822, vol. iv, chapt. xxviii, p. 172ff.):

As soon as St Laurence was placed on the see of Dublin Dermot Mac Murrogh king of Leinster forced upon the monks of Glendaloch a certain person as their abbot in opposition to the reclamations and ancient privilege of the clergy and people who used to elect the abbot of that monastery. But he was afterwards put out and in his stead was appointed Thomas a nephew of the saint and an excellent and learned young man. (59)

Meanwhile St. Laurenee was busily employed in attending to the government of his diocese being particularly anxious for the regular and constant celebration of the Church offices. Not long after his accession he induced the Canons of Christ church who were until then Secular canons to become Canons Regular of the congregation of Aroasia (60) He himself took the habit of the order which he used to wear under his pontifical dress over a hair shirt and observed its rules as much as he could observing silence at the stated hours and almost always attending along with them at the midnight offices after which he often remained alone in the church praying and singing psalms until day light when he used to take a round in the church yard or cemetery chaunting the prayers for the faithful departed. Whenever it was in his power he ate with the Canons in the refectory practising however austerities which their rule did not require for he always abstained from flesh meat and on Fridays either took nothing at all or at most some bread and water. Yet occasionally he entertained rich and respectable persons treating them sumptuously while he contrived to touch the poorest sort of food and instead of wine to drink wine and water so much diluted that it had merely the colour of wine. And as to the poor there were no bounds to his charity. Among his other acts of beneficence he took care to see fed in his presence a certain number of them every day sometimes sixty or forty and never fewer than thirty. He delighted in retiring now and then to Glendaloch and used to spend some time even to the number of forty days in an adjoining cave famous for the memory of St. Coemhgen or Kevin in fasting praying and contemplation. (61)

Notes in Lanigan
(59) Vita S. S. cap. 16. The time at which Thomas became abbot of Glendaloch is not marked but Archdall at Glendaloch assigns it to AD 1162 This is a mistake as appears not only from the Life now referred to but likewise from the circumstance that in or about 1166 the abbot of Glendaloch was Benignus whose name is signed to the foundation charter granted at that time to the priory of All Saints near Dublin. See Harris Bishops p. 375. Benignus was undoubtedly the abbot forced upon the monks by king Dermot. It cannot be supposed that Thomas was abbot prior to Benignus for it is plain from said Life that Thomas held the abbacy for several years and consequently he must be placed after Benignus Archdall ib. has a strange statement relative to that abbey expressed in these words: "A. 1173 Earl Richard, King Edward's lieutenant in Ireland, granted to Thomas his clerk the abbey and parsonage of Glendaloch and the lands," &c. In the first place there was no King Edward at that time By Earl Richard. Archdall must have meant Strongbow but how will this agree with his telling us immediately after that the English adventurers plundered Glendaloch in 1176. Which shows that it did not belong to any Englishman at that period Dr. Ledwich quoting the Black book of Dublin gives (Antiq. p. 48) a more minute account of this pretended transaction. He says that in 1173 Richard Strongbow granted to Thomas, nephew of Laurence O Toole, the abbey and parsonage of Glendaloch and that the charter was signed by Eva, wife of Strongbow, and other witnesses. If the Black book contains what he states it contain a forgery Thomas the nephew &c did not get that abbey from Strongbow but as expressly mentioned in the above quoted Life loc. cit. from the clergy and people of Glendaloch. The Dr. himself tells us that one of the witnesses to that deed marked Luke, Archbishop of Dublin, whose incumbency began in 1228. He would fain change Luke into Laurence that is St. Laurence O Toole. But the truth is that this was a grant not of Richard Strongbow but of Richard de Burgo who was chief governor of Ireland in 1227 and 1228. See in Ware's and Harris's Antiq. the Table of the Chief Governors &c of Ireland. The feet is thus related by Archdall ib. "A. 1228 Earl Richard, King Henry III's Lieutenant in Ireland, granted to Thomas his clerk the abbey and parsonage of Glendaloch together with all its appurtenances kmds and dignities situate within and without the city in pure and perpetual alms." The deed is in Harris's MS Collectanea at AD. 1228 copied from the Black book of Dublin Lib. nig. Archiep. Dublin. foL. 92. the very leaf to which Ledwich refers/ It mentions the numerous lands, &c, &c, and privileges belonging to the abbey according as king Dermot had testified "sicut in verba veritatis Diennicius rex les tatus est." Richard is called simply Count without any addition indicating that he was the same as Strongbow. Thomas is called his beloved and spiritual clerk without the least hint that he was the nephew of Laurence O Toole. The names of the witnesses are Luke, Archbishop of Dublin, the countess Eva, Walter de Ridell, Meiler son of Henry and Nicholas a clerk. The Dr. makes Eva the same as the wife of Strongbow but there was another Eva her grand daughter and daughter of William Marshal, earl of Pembroke. I do not find in Harris any grant made in 1173 by Strongbow relative to Glendaloch. It is plain notwithstanding Archdall's mistake to which Ledwich added circumstances of his own that the grant to the clerk Thomas was by Richard de Burgo in 1228. In Strongbow's days the English were not in possession of Glendaloch.
(60) lb. cap. 11 The abbey of Aroasia in the diocese of Arras had been founded eighty years prior to these times Fleury l. 63 f. 25.
(61) cap. 12 down to 17.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Tour Historical Sites of the Order of St. John on Rhodes with MedSeas Catholic Journeys

A fellow knight of the Order of Malta has put together a wonderful tour of the former Knights of St. John sites of Rhodes and Crete. He is a professional tour operator, MedSeas Catholic Journeys, who has taken groups to Malta, the Camino de Santiago in Spain and Portugal, and a Saints, Knights and Wine tour in Italy. This promises to be a spectacular trip and I hope you will consider joining us next September, 2017. Visit the MedSeas website for more information and a detailed itinerary.

Rhodes – The Island of Sun: Discover Rhodes, surrounded by clear blue waters, it’s a land of ancient temples, castles and fortresses, all part of the rich history dating back to the Neolithic era. We will experience its ravishing coastlines, dramatic mountain scapes, classic small villages and historic monuments especially sites linked to the Knights of St. John.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A History of St. Laurence O'Toole - Part 1

From Lanigan's An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland (1822, vol. iv, chapt. xxviii, p. 172ff.):

The see of Dublin being now vacant several competitors started for it but the electors fixed their eyes upon the holy abbot of Glendaloch Laurence O'Toole who for a long time resisted their proposal and wishes but at length was forced to submit and was consecrated archbishop in the cathedral of Dublin by Gelasius the primate accompanied by many bishops. (44) This was in the year 1162 (45) The original name of this great and good man was Lorcan (46) and he was of the illustrious house of the O Tuathals being the youngest son of Muriartach O Tuathal prince of Imaly or Imaile in the now county of Wicklow. (47) His mother was of the equally great family of the Hy Brins now usually called Byrne. (48) Lorcan or Laurence remained with his parents until he was about ten years old when he was given as a hostage by his father to the king Diermit. (49) This wicked king bore a great hatred to Muriartach and sent the boy to a barren district where he was treated with great cruelty. His father on being apprized of it seized upon twelve of Diermit's soldiers and threatened to put them to death unless his son was restored to him Diermit alarmed at this menace and knowing that Muriartach's territory was impregnable and could defy all his power thought it adviseable to dismiss Laurence and sent him not to his father but to the bishop of Glendaloch under the condition of getting back his twelve soldiers. The good bishop kept Laurence with himself for 12 days placing him under the care of his chaplain who treated him very kindly and instructed him in the principles of the Christian doctrine Laurence who was at that time 12 years old then returned to his father's residence. (50)

After some days his father taking Laurence with him paid a visit to the bishop of Glendaloch and proposed to him to inquire by casting lots which of his sons he should dedicate to the ecclesiastical state. Laurence on hearing this is reported to have laughed and said Father there is no necessity for casting lots if you allow me I will embrace it with pleasure. The father smiled and the bishop and others present were rejoiced to find that a boy of such high lineage should offer himself for the service of the Church. His father then consenting with joy and taking him by the right hand offered him to God and St. Coemhgen the patron of Glendaloch recommending him to the care of the bishop for his instruction in learning and piety. Under his tuition and protection Laurence made great progress in the religious duties and acquirements necessary for a clergyman but after some years he lost this worthy friend and master who was carried off by death. (51) Yet he still persevered in his pious pursuits and continued to improve in virtue so that after some time he was when 25 years of age elected abbot of the monastery of Glendaloch which was distinct from the bishopric. (52) This abbey was very rich and it had been the custom to choose for its abbots men of the highest families who might be able to protect the adjacent country Laurence made the best possible use of the wealth of the monastery distributing it among crowds of distressed and poor persons who were afflicted by a dreadful famine that raged throughout all that district for four years. (53) He used to provide them by means of his monks with corn and other necessaries and his liberality was so extensive that at length the riches of the abbey not being sufficient for the wants of the poor he distributed among them a treasure which his father had left with him in deposit. He was however as great and holy men usually are reviled by certain false and envious brethren but who with all their malignity could not find any thing in his conduct deserving of reproach. By dint of prayers he cleared the country from some powerful robbers who were overtaken by the divine vengeance. Towards the end of the first four years of his administration tranquillity was restored and a very abundant harvest ensued yet Laurence still continued his largesses to the poor and set about building churches. About this time the then bishop of Glendaloch died and every one called out for Laurence as his successor. But he refused to accept of the appointment excusing himself on his not having as yet reached the age required for a bishop. (54) Some years after these occurrences Gregory archbishop of Dublin died and Laurence was as we have seen appointed his successor. (55)

In the same year 1162 Gelasius of Armagh held a synod at Clane in the now county of Kildare which was attended by 26 bishops many abbots and other clergymen. After enacting several decrees relative to Church discipline and morals it was ordered with the unanimous consent of the synod that for the future no one should be admitted a Fer leghinn that is a professor or teacher of theology in any church in Ireland unless he had previously studied for some time at Armagh. (56) When returned to his diocese Gelasius did not remain idle but immediately made a visitation of it exerting himself most strenuously to correct whatever abuses fell in his way. (57) To said year 1162 is assigned the death of Cathasac, a scholastic of Derry. (58)

Notes in Lanigan
(45) Four Masters ap. Tr. Th. p 309. Ware Archbishops of Dublin at Laurence O Toole
(46) Four Masters ib. Lorcan was latinized into Laurentius. In the quoted Life cap. 2 there is a ridiculous story about his having been called Laurentius from laurus laurel
(47) In said Life cap. 1 his father is called Muriartach O'Toheil and is made king of Leinster. This is a mistake for the O'Tuathal country was far from comprizing all that province. In Butler's Life of St. Laurence at 14 November the principality of Muriertach or Maurice is said to have been in the vicinity of Dublin But Imaile or as usually called the Glen of Imaile is several miles from Dublin lying to the SW of Glendaloch and stretching to near the town of Donard.
(48) The author of the Vit. S.L. says cap. 1 that the saint's mother was called Inian Ivrien that is as he adds daughter of a prince. But this is not the meaning of the words which ought to be translated daughter of Hy Brin or O'Brin from the Irish Ingean pronounced like Inian a daughter and Ivrien that is Hy Brin. It is strange that Harris did not see into this when quoting Archbishops of Dublin at Laurence 8 c. the passage of that author. In a note to the Life in Butler I find instead of Hy Brin or O Brin alias Byrne the name written O Brian. This is wrong for the O Brians were a quite distinct family being of the Dalcassian princes of Munster whereas the O Brins were originally a Leinster house supposed to be descended from the celebrated king Brandubh who was killed about the year 602.
(49) This Diermit is usually and I think justly supposed to have been the famous Dermod Mac Morough king of Leinster although Usher Syllog. Not. ad No. 48 makes him a different person. But I believe he was mistaken Mac Morough was king of Leinster at the time that St. Laurence was ten years old.
(50) Vit. S.L. cap. 3 The then bishop of Glendaloch was apparently the immediate predecessor of Gilla na Naomh Laignech who assisted at the council of Kells but his name is not known.
(51) ib. capp. 4, 5.
(52) In Butler's Life this matter is not stated correctly. In it we read Upon the death of the bishop of Glendaloch who was at the same time abbot of the monastery. Laurence though but 25 years old was chosen abbot and only shunned the episcopal dignity by alleging that the canons require in a bishop thirty years of age. Now in the first place there is no authority for saying that the bishop was also abbot of the monastery. What the Latin Life has is merely that there were in the church of Glendaloch both an episcopal see and an abbey but it does not state that any bishop possessed them both together. On the contrary it constantly represents them as quite distinct and informs us cap. 6 that the abbey was far more wealthy than the see. Nor had Butler any reason for supposing that it was upon the death of the bishop that Laurence was chosen abbot and probably a considerable time elapsed between said death and Laurence's promotion to the abbacy. Next comes a great mistake in Butler's imagining that the bishop after whose death Laurence shunned the episcopal dignity was the same as the one by whom he had been instructed and after whose death he became abbot as if the appointment to the abbacy and the offer of the bishopric had taken place at the same time Laurence was as will be soon seen abbot for four years before he refused to accept of the see that became vacant at the end of them by the death of the bishop who consequently was not the one who had been his master but his successor.
(53) I do not know why Butler has four months instead of four years for in Messingham's edition of the Latin Life four years are mentioned in cap. 6 and cap. 9 54 Vit. S.L. cap. 10 Laurence was then only 29 years old having been appointed abbot at the age of 25. That foul mouthed liar Ledwich gives Antiq. etc. p. 48 as the reason of Laurence not having accepted of the see of Glendaloch that his ambition aspired to an higher dignity the pall and the see of Dublin and he soon attained them. But he did not soon attain them for some years intervened before he became archbishop of Dublin. What idea could he have had at that time of his ever being chosen to govern the Danish city of Dublin he a Tuathal an O'Toole. It is as clear as day light that instead of having an eye to that situation he was forced to submit to it the proposal relative to it having come without his knowledge from the electors of Dublin. The fact is that Laurence did not wish to be a bishop at all. Many a conscientious man may agree to being made abbot but holy men do not aspire to bishoprics Harris was much more honest who says Archbishops of Dublin at Laurence that he could not have the opportunities of exerting his strong disposition to charity when bishop of Glendaloch as he had when abbot because the revenues of the bishopric were infinitely inferior to those of the abbacy. The bishop in whose stead it was proposed to appoint Laurence was I am sure Gilla na Naomh mentioned above Note 50. In what year he died I do not find but it must have been between 1152 and 1161 the year of the death of Gregory of Dublin.
(55) Butler is wrong in stating that St. Laurence was only thirty years of age about the time of Gregory's death. This cannot agree with the Latin life which states cap. 10 that a no short time "non breve tempus" elapsed between the time of Laurence's refusing the see of Glendaloch and that of the death of Gregory. Now Laurence was 29 years old when he made that refusal and in Butler's hypothesis only one year would have passed between it and said death. But surely so short a space would not have been called a "non breve tempus" or how could the author of said Life have said cap. 33 that he died full of days plemts dierum if he was only about thirty when he became archbishop of Dublin. For in this case he would not have outlived the age of fifty whereas his incumbency began in 1162 and he died in 1180. Accordingly Harris was right ib. in reckoning some years between his refusal of the see of Glendaloch and the death of Gregory.
(56) Thus the Life of Gelasius cap. 23 and the 4 Masters ap. Tr. Th. p. 309. But according to certain anonymous annals quoted by Harris (Bishops at Gelasius) the decree was, as he explains it, that they should have been fostered or else adopted by Armagh. As to fostered it means that they must have studied at Armagh conformably to the phrase alumnus which is used for a student in a university or college thus "ex c. alumnus universitatis Parisiens" signifies a student of the university of Paris. But the words adopted by Armagh indicate a class of persons who had not actually studied there but who should be approved of by to use a modern technical term the faculty of Armagh and authorized by it to teach theology publicly in the same manner as in our times degrees and diplomas are taken out at universities and in many of them are granted after previous examination to persons who had studied elsewhere. It is very probable that the decree of Clane did not require that all those who might afterwards be appointed public professors of theology should have actually studied at Armagh and that it was sufficient that on their capability being ascertained they had been approved of by the president and doctors of that distinguished school. It is difficult to think that while there were several other great schools in Ireland "ex c. Lismore Clonmacnois Clonard &c" persons of aspiring genius bent on improving themselves in theology would have been forced to repair from all parts of the island to Armagh to prosecute their studies there. It was a sufficiently high compliment to its school or university to grant it the exclusive privilege of approving of and authorizing persons to become public teachers. The decree understood in this manner was a very wise one inasmuch as it served to uphold uniformity of doctrine.
(57) Life &c. cap. 25
(58) Tr. Th. p. 632

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Archiepiscopal See of Dublin (1528-1669)(Walsh)

Saint Michan's Church, Dublin

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 123 ff:

Eugene Mathews succeeded in 1611, was parish priest of Clogher and in August 1609 became bishop of the church of that see from which he was translated to the archdiocese of Dublin in May 1611. The period of his translation was one of imminent danger as Andrew Knox, the bishop of Orkney, was removed to Raphoe in Ireland with the avowed object of annihilating the Catholic faith of the Irish church. This blood thirsty wretch who pretended to be the guardian and successor of the apostolic commission of feeding and teaching the lambs and sheep of the fold was the immediate adviser of those cruel and savage edicts requiring the clergy of the ancient faith to quit the kingdom under pain of death.

Notwithstanding this denunciation against ecclesiastics, the archbishop Eugene presided at a conference held at Kilkenny in October 1614 and on this occasion decrees were enacted:

first for the reception of the canons of the council of Trent as circumstances would permit;
secondly for the establishment of vicars and the appointment of deans to preside over the priesthood;
thirdly for the due qualifications of the clergy before appointment;
fourthly the administration of baptism by aspersion on the head instead of immersion, the registry of the names of parents, children and sponsors, the exaction of dues from the known poor prohibited under pain of suspension;
fifthly to provide for the decorous celebration of the Divine mysteries, directing the celebrant, as he was obliged, to offer up the sacrifice in the open air and in unconsecrated spots, to select a clean place sheltered from wind and rain.
The sixth provides for the publicity and registering of marriages, the qualifications of the contracting parties, and the prevention of clandestine contracts.
The seventh for the maintenance of the clergy by collections from their flocks.
Eighth provides for the character of the clergy prohibits mercantile pursuits farming and especially interference in matters of state or politics.
Ninth restrains preaching on articles of faith by any but those who were approved.
Tenth prevents disputations on matters of faith or discussions on religious subjects during convivial hours.
Eleventh consults for the due observance of fasts and abstinence

In 1615, on the occasion of the regal visitation, the commissioners reported that Eugene Mathews, titular archbishop of Dublin, was secretly harbored therein and on the 13th of October 1617 a proclamation issued from the castle of Dublin for the expulsion of all the regular clergy and a certain individual John Boyton was commissioned to discover them, nor was Boyton remiss in performing his duty, as he detected many of them and also some of the nobles who sheltered them, all of whom were thrown into prison, while the judges on circuit were instructed to enforce the penalties and fines against recusants who did not attend the Protestant service.

Eugene Mathews was obliged at length to yield to the storm. He retired to the Netherlands, where he died in 1623.

Thomas Fleming, a Franciscan friar of the family of the barons of Slane and sometime professor of theology in Louvain was on the 23d of October 1623 and in the 30th year of his age appointed archbishop of Dublin by Pope Urban VIII. Immediately on his promotion to the archdiocese Paul Harris a secular priest began to inveigh bitterly against the selection of prelates from the class of regulars, he also attacked the friars. But at length Cardinal Barberini, prefect of the Propaganda, felt compelled to interfere and accordingly directed the bishop of Meath to banish him from the diocese of Dublin but the bishop of Meath, dreading the civil power, did not wish to act and this turbulent priest at once declared that he would not retire unless compelled by the authority of King Charles. The ensuing years of Archbishop Fleming appear to have passed in the silent and unobtrusive exercise of his ecclesiastical functions.

In 1642, he appeared at Kilkenny through his proxy, the Rev. Joseph Everard, but when the designs of the government became more apparent and that the extinction of the Catholics and their faith was the object, the archbishop of Dublin felt himself obliged to participate in person in the counsels of the confederates at Kilkenny and thereupon appointed Doctor Edmond O'Reilly to fill the station of vicar general in his absence. As one of the members for Leinster, the Archbishop Fleming sat in the council and on the 20th of June, 1643, together with the archbishop of Tuam, the only two among the prelates who did so, authorized Nicholas Viscount Gormanstown, Sir Lucas Dillon, Sir Robert Talbot and others to treat with the Marquis of Ormond, who was obliged to temporise for the cessation of arms. In the ensuing month, Father Peter Scarampa, an Oratorian and a man of consummate prudence and learning, arrived with supplies of money and ammunition from Rome on the part of the supreme pontiff Urban VIII, to whom the celebrated Luke Wadding made known the sufferings of the Irish Catholics and their efforts to preserve themselves and their faith from utter extinction.

In 1644, the archbishop of Dublin was present at the general assembly of Kilkenny in which it was agreed and confirmed by an oath of association that every confederate should bear true faith and allegiance to the king and his heirs to maintain the Roman Catholic faith and religion and to obey the orders and decrees of the supreme council. Father Scarampa remained in the discharge of his commission at Kilkenny until November, 1645, when John Baptist Rinuccini, archbishop and prince of Fermo, arrived in the character of apostolic nuncio extraordinary. In the year 1648, Edmond O'Reilly was removed from the station of vicar general as it appears he had neither prudence or ability to sustain it, and the Rev. Lawrence Archbold was appointed in his stead. During the greater part of the year 1649 the prelate resided in his own diocese and at last he sunk into the grave in the midst of those persecutions by which the keen eyed vigilance of the persecutors drove the Catholic laity into the country. The priests and monks scarcely dare sleep even in the houses of their own people.  Their life was an earthly warfare and a martyrdom they breathed as by stealth among the hills and the woods and frequently in the abyss of bogs or marshes which the persecutors could not penetrate. Yet thither flocked congregations of poor Catholics to receive the doctrine of salvation and the bread of life. Yet the heretics in their hatred to the dogmas of the ancient creed of their fathers hurried through the mountains and woods exploring ploring the retreats of the clergy who were more hotly pursued than the wild beasts of the chase.  It became almost impossible that the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland could be kept up in its integrity. At the close of the year 1660 there were but three prelates of the Catholic church in the kingdom, the archbishop of Armagh, the bishops of Meath and Kilmore. The see of Dublin and the care of the province were placed under the jurisdiction and control of James Dempsey, vicar apostolic and capitular of Kildare.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin (Walsh)

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy: With the Monasteries of Each County, Biographical Notices of the Irish Saints, Prelates, and Religious, 1854, c. xliv, pps. 421ff:

Dublin Abbey of the Virgin Mary. The foundation of this celebrated monastery is attributed to the Danes on their conversion to Christianity about 948 by others it is ascribed to the Irish princes. It was inhabited at first by Benedictines. The first abbot James died on the 11th of March the year of his death is not recorded. The year of the foundation 948 which some assert to have been the date thereof can scarcely be admitted. It was assuredly in existence in the eleventh century.

AD 1113 died the abbot Michael on the 19th of February.
AD 1131 died the abbot Evcrard who was a Dane.
AD 1139 this abbey was granted to the Cistercians through the influence of St Malachy O'Moore who was the personal friend and admirer of St. Bernard, under whose care Malachy placed some Irish youths to be instructed in the discipline which was observed at Clairvaux, the monastery of St. Bernard.

On the 17th of June 1540 an annual pension of 50 Irish was granted to William Laundy, the last abbot, at which period one thousand sand nine hundred and forty eight acres parcel of its property situated in the counties of Dublin and Meath had been confiscated. A considerable part of its possessions had been granted to Maurice, earl of Thomond, and to James, earl of Desmond.

In 1543 the abbey was granted to James, earl of Kildare, on condition and under pain of forfeiture should he or his heirs attempt at any time to confederate with the Irish. How fortunate for the Irish that the keys of heaven have been entrusted to the disinterested keeping of St. Peter. The abbey was however in the twenty fourth of Elizabeth presented to Thomas, earl of Ormond, in common soccage at the annual rent of five shillings Irish.

The abbot of St Mary's sat as a baron in parliament Princes prelates and nobles enriched it with their bequests. Not a vestige of this once magnificent abbey remains the site of which is at present covered over with the habitations of traders and artizans. There was a beautiful image of the Virgin and Child in her arms in this abbey.

Friday, 17 June 2016

The Archiepiscopal See of Dublin (1363-1528)(Walsh)

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 110 ff:

Minot's Tower, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Thomas Minot, prebendary of Mullaghuddart, treasurer of Ireland and also for a time escheator of the kingdom, succeeded by the pope's provision and was consecrated on Palm Sunday in 1363. In the year 1365 the controversy respecting the primatial right was renewed between him and Miles Sweetman, archbishop of Armagh. About the year 1370 Minot repaired part of St. Patrick's church, which had been destroyed by fire, and built the high steeple of hewn stone. In June 1385 he died in London and the care of the temporals of the archbishoprick was committed to the bishop of Meath.

Robert de Wikeford, archdeacon of Winchester, doctor of the civil and canon laws and fellow of Merton College was advanced by Pope Gregory IX to the see on the 12th of October 1375 and consecrated before the close of the year. In 1377 he was appointed chancellor of Ireland, again in 1385 he was appointed chancellor. He obtained leave of absence in 1390 for one year to visit England and, in the interval, died on the 29th of August 1390.

Robert Waldby, bishop of Ayre in Gascony, was translated to the see of Dublin by the pope in November 1391. In 1395 he was transferred to the see of Chichester vacant by the translation of Richard Metford to the see of Sarum and again in 1396 was promoted to the archbishoprick of York.

Richard Northall was promoted to the see in 1396, was a Carmelite friar, the son of a mayor of London and was born near that city. His reputation for preaching learning and other acquirements attracted the notice of the king who procured him the see of Ossory in 1386. Having sat in the chair of Ossory about nine years he was in 1396 translated to the see of Dublin, a promotion which terminated in his death on the 20th of July 1397. He was buried in his own church.

Thomas Cranley, a native of England, a Carmelite friar, doctor of divinity, fellow of Merton College and warden of New College, chancellor of the University of Oxford, was appointed to the see and was consecrated in 1397. He filled the office of lord chancellor of Ireland in that year and again in 1401. In 1416 on Lord Furnival's departure for England, Thomas was his deputy in the government of Ireland. About the end of 1417 he went to England, where he died at Faringdon, full of years and honors on the 25th of May of the same year. His body was conveyed to Oxford and interred in New College, of which he had been the first warden. He was a prelate in high reputation, for his wit and pen was liberal, and fond of alms deeds, an excellent preacher, a great builder and improver of such places as fell under his care.

Richard Talbot, precentor of Hereford, was consecrated archbishop of Dublin in the year 1417. Richard was descended of a noble family and was brother to the celebrated warrior John Talbot, Lord Furnival. In 1423 he was lord justice and subsequently lord chancellor of Ireland. In 1443 on the death of John Prene he was elected archbishop of Armagh but, on declining it, John Mey was promoted to the primatial chair. Richard sat in the see almost thirty two years and all this time was of the privy council of Ireland. He died on the 15th of August 1449 and was buried in St Patrick's church before the steps of the altar.

Michael Tregury, doctor of divinity in the University of Oxford and some time fellow of Exeter College there and chaplain to the king, was consecrated in St Patrick's church archbishop of Dublin in 1449, was at an earlier period of his life esteemed as a man of eminence for learning and wisdom. In 1451 above fifty persons of his diocese went to Rome to celebrate the jubilee then promulgated by Pope Nicholas V. They who returned safe in 1453 brought the saddening news that Constantinople was taken by the Turks and the Emperor Michael Palceologus slain. The Archbishop Michael was so afflicted at the news that he proclaimed a fast to be observed strictly throughout his diocese for three successive days and granted indulgences to those who observed it, he himself walking in procession before his clergy to Christ church and clothed in sackcloth and ashes. In 1453 he was taken prisoner in the bay by pirates who were carrying off some ships from the harbor of Dublin. They were pursued to Ardglass in the county of Down, five hundred and twenty of them were slain and the prelate released. Having presided over his see twenty years he died on the 21st of December 1471 at a very advanced age in the manor house of Tallagh which he had previously repaired. His remains were conveyed to Dublin attended by the clergy and citizens and were buried in St Patrick's cathedral.

John Walton, or Mounstern, abbot of Osney near Oxford was advanced to the see of Dublin and consecrated in England and adorned with the pallium in 1472. In 1475, at the instance of the Dominicans and other regulars, Pope Sixtus IV issued his bull reciting the abundance of teachers but the deficiency of scholars in Ireland and sanctioning the establishment of an University in Dublin for the study of arts and theology and the conferring the usual degrees therein. In 1484 being blind and infirm he voluntarily resigned the archbishopric, reserving to himself as a maintenance during life the manor of Swords. On his resignation Gerald earl of Kildare, then lord deputy, forcibly entered and took possession of twenty four townlands belonging to the see and retained them to the time of his death, these may have been the lands which archbishops Talbot and Tregury alienated. In 1514 they were restored to the see and, in two years afterwards, they were again forcibly seized by the house of Kildare. In 1521 they were again awarded to the archbishopric of which undisturbed possession has since remained in the see. In 1489 five years after his vacating the see he again appeared in the pulpit of the cathedral and preached at St Patrick's church on the festival of the patron before the lord deputy and the nobles to the admiration of his hearers. The precise time of his death is not known.

Walter Fitzsimon succeeded in 1484, was official of the diocese of Dublin, bachelor of the civil and canon laws, a learned divine and philosopher, precentor of St Patrick's church. On the 14th of June 1484 Pope Sixtus IV appointed him to this see and he was consecrated in St Patrick's cathedral in the September following. In 1487 this prelate was one of those who espoused the cause of Lambert Simnel and who were accessory to his coronation in Christ church. In 1488 Walter was permitted to renew his allegiance and receive pardon through Sir Richard Edgecomb. In 1496 he was appointed chancellor of Ireland, in this year he held a provincial synod in the church of the Holy Trinity on which occasion an annual contribution for seven years was settled by the clergy of the province to provide salaries for the lecturers of the University in St Patrick's cathedral. Friar Denis Whyte in the year following, being old and infirm, surrendered the see of Glendaloch in the chapel house of St. Patrick's and, ever since, the archbishops of Dublin have, without interruption, enjoyed that see. Having filled the see twenty seven years he died on the 14th of May 1511 at Finglass near Dublin and his body was conveyed to St Patrick's church and there honorably interred in the nave. He is described as a prelate of great gravity and learning and of a graceful appearance.

William Rokeby was a native of England, doctor of canon law and brother to Sir Richard Rokeby, lord treasurer of Ireland. In 1498 was constituted lord chancellor of Ireland and afterwards advanced to the see of Meath by Pope Julius II in 1507 and was on the 5th of February 1511 translated to the archiepiscopal see of Dublin. In 1518 he convened a provincial synod enacted some useful regulations and in the same year confirmed the establishment of a college of clerks founded at Maynooth by Gerald earl of Kildare. Archbishop Rokeby died on the 29th of November 1521, having a few hours before his death given to every one belonging to the priory of Christ church a piece of silver in testimony of his blessing and prayers. According to the instructions of his will his body was sent to England to be buried in his new chapel of Sandal, a fabric of singular beauty.

Hugh Inge, doctor of divinity succeeded him in his see of Meath and in the archbishopric in the year 1521. Hugh was a native of England and born in Somersetshire, was made perpetual fellow of New College in Oxford AD 1444, took his degrees there and, leaving it in 1496, travelled into foreign countries. In 1512 he was made bishop of Meath, which he governed ten years. In 1521 he succeeded to the see of Dublin and the year following obtained the temporals. In 1527 he was constituted chancellor of Ireland and was esteemed as a man of great probity and justice. He presided six years and died in Dublin on the 3d of August 1528 and was buried in St Patrick's church.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Finglas Abbey (Walsh)

Finglas Abbey

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xliv p. 429ff:

Finglass in the barony of Castleknock two miles north of Dublin. According to Archdall this monastery was founded in the early ages ot the Irish Church and probably by St. Patrick himself. One would suppose that the disciples of St. Patrick were required for the wants of the mission nor can it be imagined where postulants for admission to all those establishments could be procured all at once.

Saint Kenicus is called abbot of Finglass. His festival was observed here on the 12th of October. Saint Florentius whose feast is observed on the 21st of January according to Archdall is buried in Finglass.

There is a St. Florentius who was contemporary with St. Germain of Paris who died in 576. Florence was a priest and an Irishman of great reputation and whose memory is revered at Amboise in France. Dagobert, son of Sigebert, king of Austrasia, had been sent when a child to a monastery in Ireland after his father's death A.D. 655 by Grimoald, mayor of the palace. The monastery in which he was placed is said to have been that of Slane. Dagobert remained in Ireland until about the year 670 when he was recalled to his own country and received a part of Austrasia from Childeric II. On the death of Childeric he became sovereign in 674 of all Austrasia by the name of Dagobert II and ruled over that country until he was assassinated in 679. After his return to Austrasia we find some distinguished natives of Ireland, particularly St. Argobast and St. Florentius and who is different it seems from the saint of that name revered in Amboise. Argobast was living in a retired manner at Suraburg when he was raised to the bishopric of Strasburgh about the year 673 by king Dagobert. At Suraburgh, a monastery was erected in honor of St. Argobast. Being a very holy man he is said to have possessed a considerable share of learning and to have written some ecclesiastical tracts. St Argobast died on the 21st of July 679 and was succeeded in the same year by his friend and companion St. Florentius. Florentius took up his abode in the forest of Hasle in Alsace near the place where the river Bruscha flows from the Vosges. Here was founded a monastery either by himself or for him by Dagobert by whom he was greatly esteemed. It is said that he restored her sight and speech to the daughter of that king. While bishop of Strasburgh he founded according to some accounts the monastery of St. Thomas in that city for Scots or Irish. Having governed the see of Strasburgh eight years St. Florentius died on the 7th of November A.D. 687.

A.D. 795 died the abbot Dubhlitter.
A.D. 865 died Robertach bishop and chronographer of Finglass.  If Dublin had been a see as early as some pretend it to have been it would be absurd to have a bishop at Clondalkin and another at Finglass. There is a remarkable well at Finglass dedicated to St. Patrick. Tradition affirms that it was formerly celebrated through the miracles wrought there.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Archiepiscopal See of Dublin (1294 - 1362)(Walsh)

Passage to the Synod Hall, Dublin

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 115 ff:

William de Hotham was confirmed in the archbishoprick by the provision of the pope who annulled the election of Thomas de Chadsworth. William was born in England educated at Paris where he took the degree of doctor of divinity in 1280, afterwards became a Dominican friar and was twice provincial of the order in England. As ambassador at Rome from King Edward I, he executed his business with great eclat being inferior to none in learning virtue integrity and judgment in the management of affairs the pope gave him authority to select any prelate whom he would choose as his consecrator. It seems he was consecrated in 1298 at Ghent by Anthony Beake, bishop of Durham. Having been the mediator of a truce between Philip IV of France and Edward I of England, which continued for two years, he returned to Rome with the articles of the treaty which the pope had established and on his journey homewards through Burgundy he became ill at Dijon where he died in a monastery of his order on the 27th of August in the same year. His body was conveyed into England and buried in a Dominican monastery of London. Bale, though aspersing his character and that of the pope who promoted him, as if the mediation of gold was all powerful, allows that he was a man highly extolled by the writers of his own order as a person of great spirit acute parts and possessed of a singular dexterity in conciliating the favor of men.

Richard de Ferings, who had been archdeacon of Canterbury during fifteen years before, succeeded in 1229, the king objecting to receive his fealty because of some clauses in the letters provisional of the pope which he considered prejudicial to the royal prerogative. Richard obtained the temporals by renouncing any benefit therefrom. Immediately after his consecration the prelate applied himself to compose the misunderstanding between the cathedrals of Christ church and St Patrick's. The agreement was reduced to writing and fortified by the common seal of each chapter, with a penalty annexed. The heads of it are as follow: That the archbishops of Dublin should be consecrated and enthroned in Christ church; That both churches should be called cathedral and metropolitan; That Christ church as the greater the mother and the elder should have the precedence in all rights and concerns of the see; and that the cross, mitre and ring of every archbishop, wherever he died, should be deposited therein; and lastly, That each church should have the alternate sepulture as a right of the bodies of the archbishops unless otherwise directed by their wills. Having thus, as he thought composed, the jealousies that existed between the cathedrals, the archbishop resided for the most part abroad, having constituted Thomas de Chadsworth his vicar general. His absence having operated injuriously to the affairs of his province, he at length became sensible of the dereliction of his duty and on his return from Rome, with the object of retrieving the detriment, he was seized with a sudden illness of which he died on the 18th of October 1306.

John Leech succeeded to the see in 1310 by the influence of King Edward II, to whom he was chaplain and almoner. Havering, who was bishop elect and confirmed without consecration enjoyed the profits of the see four years and then voluntarily resigned. On the application of John Leech, Pope Clement V issued his bull for founding an university for scholars in Dublin but a design so creditable to the memory of Leech was frustrated by the revival of the contest concerning the primatial right. Archbishop Leech was constituted lord treasurer of Ireland in the close of the year 1312 and died soon after on the 10th of August 1313 and was buried in Westminster.

In the meantime, the usual dispute arose between the Cathedrals regarding the appointment of a successor, one party declaring for Walter Thornbury, chaunter of St. Patrick's, and chancellor of Ireland, the other for Alexander de Bicknor, the descendant of an English family, then prebendary of Maynooth, and treasurer of Ireland. Walter on his election embarked for France where the pope then held his court but on the night of his departure a storm arose and Walter with a hundred and fifty six others perished. Alexander de Bicknor took a journey to Lyons with the king's letters earnestly recommending him to the pope as a man of profound judgment morality integrity and circumspection in spiritual and temporal affairs, yet his confirmation was postponed, as the sovereign required his personal services. At last John XXI confirmed his appointment to the see and Alexander de Bicknor was consecrated at Avignon by Nicholas de Prato, cardinal of Ostia, on the 22d of July 1317. He arrived in Dublin as archbishop and lord justice of Ireland, and was received by clergy and people with great acclamations of joy on the 9th of October 1318. Pope John XXII wrote to him, the archbishop of Cashel, and to the dean of Dublin, to excommunicate Robert Bruce and his adherents and also his brother, Edward, if they did not make restitution for the ravages murders robberies and burning of churches committed by them throughout the kingdom. In 1320 he founded an university in St. Patrick's, Dublin, which was confirmed by Pope John XXII public lectures were established but the deficiency of the endowment rendered the project abortive. The heretics of Kilkenny who were obliged to fly from the authority of their bishop took shelter in the archdiocese of Dublin and were protected from prosecution by de Bicknor. Ledred, bishop of Ossory, who was kept in confinement seventeen days by these heretics would have appealed to Rome in support of his prosecution but he found considerable difficulty even in getting out of Ireland in consequence of the steps taken by de Bicknor to prevent him. The bishop of Ossory did however pass over to France where he was detained by the power of King Edward. In this exile he was forced to remain nine years and in the interim the Archbishop de Bicknor seized the profits of the see of Ossory until he was compelled by the pope to withdraw his metropolitan power over the see of Ossory and this interdict lay over the diocese of Dublin until de Bicknor's death.

In 1349 the contest relative to the primacy was renewed with vehemence between de Bicknor and the primate of Armagh. On the 14th of July in the same year de Bicknor died having governed the see almost thirty two years. Ware says of him that he was not inferior to any of his predecessors in point of probity or learning but let the reader judge of his sheltering heretics and maltreating the bishop who prosecuted them.

John de St .Paul, prebendary of Donnington in the cathedral of Fork and canon of York, was by the pope advanced to the archbishoprick on the 12th of September 1350. De St. Paul was appointed chancellor of Ireland with a salary of 40 per annum, an office which he held six years. In 1351 the pope commissioned him to make inquiry regarding those who were accused of heresy and who fled into the diocese of Dublin and to bring them to punishment according to the canons. He thereupon restored the jurisdiction of Dublin over the see of Ossory. Having sat in the see about thirteen years he died on the 9th of September 1362 and was buried in Christ church. This prelate much enlarged and beautified the church of the Holy Trinity having built the choir at his own expense.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

St. Olave's Abbey (Walsh)

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xliv p. 420-21:

The abbey of St Olave. King Henry II having granted the city of Dublin to a colony from Bristol this monastery was built by them for such of their countrymen as would be inclined to embrace the order of St. Augustine and called it from the abbey of the same order and name in their native town. It stood in Castle street where was erected the house of Sir James Ware. Part of the possessions of this monastery was granted to Edmond Darcey of Jordanstown to hold the same for the term of thirty years at the annual rent of one pound five shillings Irish money.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Archiepiscopal See of Dublin (1180 - 1294)(Walsh)

Medieval Walls of Dublin with St. Audoen's Tower

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 110 ff:

John Comyn succeeded and the English monarch who persecuted the holy prelate St Lawrence for his ardent attachment to the land of his birth no longer able to appropriate the revenues of the see resolved that an office of so much importance should not be entrusted to an Irishman who perhaps might be actuated by the same patriotic motives as St Lawrence and might more openly assume an hostility to the rule of the British monarch Accordingly on the monarch's earnest recommendation his chaplain John Comyn a native of England and a Benedictine monk of Evesham a man of eloquence and learning was elected on the 6th of September 1181 to the archbishopric of Dublin by some of the clergy who had assembled at Evesham for the purpose John was not then a priest but was in the following year ordained one at Velletri and on the 21st of March 1181 was consecrated by Pope Lucius III who took under his especial protection the see of Dublin and by bull dated the 13th of April 1182 and by virtue and authority of the holy canons ordered and decreed that no archbishop or bishop should without the assent of the prelate of Dublin presume to hold within the diocese of Dublin any conference or entertain any ecclesiastical causes or matters of the same diocese unless enjoined by the Roman Pontiff and his legate From this privilege which was introduced as appears against the claims of Canterbury arose the controversy regarding the primatial right of visitation which distracted both provinces for centuries afterwards The Primate of Armagh contended that he had notwithstanding this exemption the right of having his cross borne before him of holding appeals and visitations in the whole province of Leinster Though a bishop is bound to residence by the canons John was absent from his church three years and at length arrived in September 1184 having been despatched by the King to prepare for the reception of Prince John earl of Morton whom his royal parent had resolved to send into Ireland John as an English baron received the Prince at Waterford and obtained from him a grant of the bishopric of Glenda loch with all its appurtenances in lands manors churches tithes fisheries liberties to hold to him and his successors for ever but this union was not to take place during the life of William Piro then bishop of Glendaloch In the year 1186 archbishop Comyn held a provincial synod in Dublin in the church of the Holy Trinity The canons then enacted were confirmed under the leaden seal of Pope Urban III and are extant In 1189 this prelate rebuilt the cathedral of St Patrick erected it into a collegiate church and endowed it with suitable possessions plac in it thirteen prebendaries he also repaired and enlarged the choir of Christ church cathedral founded and endowed the nunnery of Grace Dieu in the county of Dublin for regular canonesses of St Augustine whom he removed from the more ancient convent of Lusk In 1197 Hamo de Valois justiciary of Ireland under Prince John finding the government embarrassed through the want of a treasury harassed John Comyn by seizing on several lands belonging to his see De Valois having enriched himself by plundering this see and also the laity was recalled from the government in consequence of a papal remonstrance in September 1198 Hamo de Valois struck with remorse for his spoliation made a grant of twenty ploughlands to the archbishop and his successors for ever The appeal to Rome having excited the anger of Prince John the prelate was not for some time received into favor John Comyn died on the 25th of October 1214 having survived the reconciliation about six years and was buried in Christ church where a noble monument was erected to his memory.

Henry de Loundres succeeded in the year 1213 He was archdeacon of Stafford and was consecrated in the beginning of 1214 in the following year he was cited to Rome to assist at a general council On his arrival there Pope Innocent HI ratified the union of Glendaloch with Dublin and in 1216 confirmed the possessions of this see in 1217 constituted legate of Ireland by the Pope he convened a synod at Dublin in which according to the annals of St Mary's abbey he established many things profitable to the Irish church In 1219 Henry de Loundres assumed the second time the administration of Ireland Jeoffrey de Marescis the governor having been recalled In 1228 by writ directed to the lords justices he received the custody of all vacant archbishoprics and bishoprics in Ireland the profits to be received by John de St John bishop of Ferns and treasurer of Ireland and by de Theurville archdeacon of Dublin and to be by them paid to the archbishop until the debts and obligations due by the crown to him should be satisfied This prelate erected the collegiate church of St Patrick into a cathedral united as Allen says with the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in one spouse saving to the other Church the prerogative of honor Having filled the see fifteen years he died about the beginning of July 1228 and was buried in Christ Church Of his tomb there is no trace This English prelate obtained the disgraceful epithet of Scorch villain Having summoned his tenants to give an account of the titles by which they held their lands they appeared and produced their deeds The bishop instantly possessed himself of them and consigned them to the fire to the injury of the unsuspecting farmers Whereupon they are said to have given him the opprobrious epithet alluded to.

Luke Dean of St Martin le Grand London treasurer of the king's wardrobe was through the influence of Hubert de Burgh Earl of Kent whose chaplain he had been elected in 1228 but his election had been declared null at Rome whereupon he was reelected though not confirmed by the Pope until the year 1230 when his patron the Earl of Kent incurred the king's displeasure and was cruelly persecuted and deserted by all his friends The Archbishop Luke mindful of the obligations of gratitude adhered to his interest and obtained by his perseverance in his cause milder terms from the sovereign than were originally intended In 1150 the archbishops bishops and clergy of Ireland who were of Irish birth had in a synod enacted a decree that no Englishman born should be admitted a canon in any of their churches A remonstrance being forwarded to the pope a bull was directed to them in which they were commanded to rescind the said decree within a month In 1258 a contest arose between the chapters of the two cathedrals concerning the election of the archbishops. Luke strove to adjust the matter by prescribing that the place of election should be only in the church of the Holy Trinity the dean and chapter of St Patrick's by joint votes assisting in the election but the latter not content with this adjustment the affair was brought before Innocent IV as a special injustice to the chapter of St Patrick's The pope empowered by bull dated the 20th of May the bishop of Emly the bishop and the dean of Limerick to settle the controversy About this time arose also the contest with Reyner archbishop of Armagh concerning the right of visitation In the latter part of his life Archbishop Luke suffered severely by a malady in his eyes which brought on a total loss of sight and eventually hastened his death in December 1225 He was buried in Christ church with his predecessor John Comyn.

Fulk de Sandford succeeded in 1256. Both chapters elected Ralph of Norwich canon of St Patrick's and treasurer of Ireland but he was betrayed at Rome by his agents as Matthew Paris states He was a witty pleasant companion and one who loved good cheer He was it seems too secular and worldly to be consecrated His election was therefore set aside and Fulk de Sandford archdeacon of Middlesex and treasurer of St Paul's London was by the pope's bull declared archbishop of Dublin In 1261. Fulk de Sandford took a journey to Rome on business connected with his see the management of it during his absence having been committed by the pope to the bishops of Lismore and Waterford On the 6th of May 1271 Archbishop Fulk died in his manor of Finglass his body was conveyed to St Patrick's church and deposited in the chapel of the Virgin Mary.

John de Derlington was declared the archbishop of Dublin by the pope who annulled the elections of William de la Corner by the prior and convent of the Holy Trinity and of Fromund le Brun by the dean and chapter of St Patrick's John was a doctor of divinity a Dominican friar and confessor to the late King Henry EH and had been his ambassador to Pope Nicholas in 1278 He was consecrated in Waltham Abbey on the 8th of September 1279 by John archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Paris describes him as a prelate of great authority because of his learning and wisdom Bale calls him a mercenary hireling and no shepherd and says that he died blasted by divine vengeance He was collector of the Peter pence both in England and Ireland to the pontiffs John XXI Nicholas HI and Martin IV His death took place suddenly in London on the 29th of March 1284 in the fifth year after his consecration in a Dominican convent and there buried John de Sandford was a native of England brother to Archbishop Fulk dean of St Patrick's a Franciscan friar and for some time es cheator of Ireland He was canonically elected by the chapter of St Patrick's and being confirmed by the king he was consecrated in the church of the Holy Trinity on palm Sunday 1286 In his early life he came to Ireland as vicar general to his brother and was presented by the baroness of Naas to the rectory of Maynooth John was a prelate in great reputation for learning wisdom and discretion He died in October 1294 having been seized with a grievous distemper His body was conveyed from England at the desire of the Canons of St Patrick's and buried there in his brother's monument.