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and the husband of the barmaid of the Dolphin Inn, had risen to the rank of King Henry's Archbishop of Canterbury. He had first attracted the king's attention by writing in favor of the divorce of Queen Katharine; he bad secretly married the niece of the reformer Osiander, while he still pretended to be a Catholic and a bishop; he had assisted at the marriage, the accusation, and sentence of the four queens, whom Henry successively espoused and put away. By consenting to every thing, he had at last overcome every thing, and, next to the regent, was the most powerful man in the kingdom.
Ireland attracted, early, Cranmer's attention. An order in council commanding the use of the new liturgy in that kingdom was issued; another order commanded the administration of the oath of allegiance; another transferred the primacy from Armagh to Dublin, much to the satisfaction of George Browne. Some new bishops of Cranmer's making - among them Dr. Goodacre for Armagh, Dr. Lancaster for Kildare, Dr. Bale for Ossory, and Dr. Travers for Leighlin were sent over. They were providently accompanied by six hundred horse and four hundred foot, under Sir Edward Bellingham,
a man of great valor, and celebrated for military science," who was honored with the title of “marshal and captain general of Ireland.” The old bishops, being summoned to Dublin, to take the oath of allegiance, boldly refused, with three sorrowful exceptions, Myler Magrath, Archbishop of Cashel, Staples, Bishop of Meath, and Quinn, or Coyn, Bishop of Limerick. The apostasy of Magrath alone excited attention, the other two being “nominations” of Henry. The laity of his diocese rose in a tumult of indignation, and ordered him to leave the city of Cashel, where Dr. Edmund Butler, son of the Earl of Ormond, was enthroned in his stead. Magrath fled into England, and threw himself on the bounty of Cranmer. In Queen Elizabeth's reign, we find him, for a time, intruding in the see of Lismore, and, except in the polemical songs of the age, we hear of him no more. "James I.'s captains in Munster did not
spare his heirs, though they pleaded their kindred " to Milerus, late archbishop." The other “king's bishops"
“ succeeded little better. Dr. Goodacre, having the fear of Shane O'Neil before his eyes, never ventured to Armagh; Dr. Bale, under cover of Ormond Castle, entered Kilkenny. He preached “very peaceably" so long as the Irish did not understand him; but when he ordered his menials to pull down images and crosses, they rose, “ slew five of his servants, and barely suffered him to escape."* Dr. Lancaster's diocese lay among the O'Connors and O'Moores of Offally and Leix, who had no very strong desire for his administration. They rose in arms against it, and Bellingham marched to support the bishop. A battle was fought at Three Castles, in Kilkenny, in which the Catholics were defeated, and Maurice 6 of the Wood,” son of the Earl of Kildare, was taken prisoner. He, with two of his nephews, was executed at Dublin. The bishop and the foreign soldiery triumphed; they built or repaired forts in Offally and Leix, and strongly garrisoned Cork, Belfast, and Athlone. These garrisons, when not otherwise employed, were allowed to make descents upon the churches and schools of the adjacent country. At Down, they mutilated the shrine of Sts. Patrick, Bridget, and Columbcille. Taking to their longboats, the northern garrison plundered the shrines of Rathlin Islet, and coming to Derry, they assailed the Black Abbey of St. Columbcille, in which so many princes and prelates had laid down mitre and crown. Here, Shane O'Neil's forbearance ended, and with the red hand of Ulster, he brushed the wretches out. Four miles above Athlone, on the sloping banks of the Shannon, stood the seven churches, the castle, round tower, and village of Clonmacnoise. There St. Kiaran died, and their Abbot Tighernan O'Broin, after the Danish desolations gathered together the early annals of our race. In a sudden foray, the garrison of Athlone surrounded Clonmacnoise, slew all its religious inhabitants who remained, mutilated the tombs of chiefs and abbots, and carried off the rich shrine of its saint. Donald O'Brien, of Thomond, worthy of his name, rose in arms on receiving this intelligence, captured, in rapid succession, the garrisons of Clare and Limerick, and in the decisive battle of Thurles, where, nearly four centuries before, his ancestor had routed Strongbow, he cleared the southern counties, for that generation, of the reformers.*
* Life of Dr. Bale, prefixed to his works.
On Leix and Offally the forces of the captain-general were concentrated. Defeated in several engagements, O'Moore and O'Connor agreed to refer their case to the protector. On reaching London, with some friends, they were cast into the Tower, where O'Moore died in his chains. O'Connor's son found safety in exile at the court of Margaret of Scotland. Their districts were declared confiscated to the crown, and in the next reign were called King's and Queen's county. Bellingham boasted that he had been the first to enlarge the limits of “the Pale,” since the days of Edward III. This boast was not only well founded in this instance, but in another; in 1550, the head of the old royal house of McMurrogh, who had not participated in the election of Henry, “made his submission” in Dublin.
The lord deputy having received an order in council, dated the 6th of February, 1551, commanding the use of the new liturgy in all the churches, in flagrant violation of the conditions of the election of 1541, immediately summoned the bishops, as he had ten years before summoned the barons. They assembled, on the 1st of March, at Dublin, the Catholics led by Primate Dowdal, the heretics by Dr. Browne.
After a lengthy discussion, " the primate and his party left the assembly. The Archbishop of Dublin remained and received the king's order, commending it to those of his brethren who were present;” that is, to Staples, Lancaster, Travers,
* The plunder of Clonmacnoise is thus stated in the Annals : “ They took the large bells out of the steeple, and left neither large nor small bell, image, altar, book, gem, nor even glass in a window in the walls of the church, that they did not carry with them; and that truly was a lamentable deed to plunder the city of St. Kiaran, the patron saint." Annals of the Four Masters. A. D. 1552.
and Coyn, or Quin, who were already Protestants. On Easter day following, Christ Church Cathedral beheld for the first time the "celebration of divine worship according to the English liturgy.” The viceroy, the mayor, and the bailiffs were present. Dr. Browne " preached an able sermon from the 18th verse 'of the 119th psalm “ Open mine eyes that I may see the wonders of the law.” *
St. Leger, having conducted this second negotiation to a result, was recalled after Easter, and Sir James Crofts sent over in his stead. One of his instructions was, “ to propagate the worship of God in the English tongue; and the service to be translated into Irish, in those places which need it.” He had the English liturgy printed at Dublin one of the first books issued there. He appointed “a herald at arms, named Ulster," and performed, as his eulogist says, “ many memorable acts” - most of which are now forgotten.
The death of Edward, in July, 1553, and the accession of Mary, daughter of Katharine of Arragon, gave the harassed Irish church a reprieve. Her marriage with Philip of Spain, the following year, still farther augmented this hope, which, for a season, was fulfilled, so far as the church was concerned. The banished bishops were restored to their sees, and the desecrated churches to their ancient uses. The restoration of the church lands was postponed, until, by the queen's death, it was rendered impossible.f The apostate Anglo-Irish nobles conformed to their former faith with as much alacrity as the English aristocracy. With the exception of some of the remoter Irish chiefs, the heads of the Milesians were all at peace with the state'; Donald O'Brien and Shane O'Neil included. When, in the last year of Mary, her deputy marched from Dublin to Galway, he met no opposition on the way. It is stated that the bishops and clergy of Tuam, Clonfert, and Clonmacnoise went out to meet him in procession.” The Spanish marriage had a great effect in preparing the irritated and insurrectionary spirit of the Irish people for peace. In Philip, and in Philip's influence, they had every confidence; nor was the queen without her personal claims-to their regard. Apart from the heroic constancy with which she had persevered in the profession and practice of her faith, she had other good qualities, in Irish eyes.
* Sir R. Cox's Rerum Hib. Ang. Rev. R. King's Book of the Irish Church.
† The priory of Kilmainham, restored to the knights of St. John, was the only act of restitution of this kind of property in Mary's short reign. Doubtless, if she had lived, the other religious estates would also have been restored to the right owners.
In the reign of Edward, we have seen that O'Connor, of Offally, was imprisoned in the Tower. Six years hé lingered on in that gloomy prison, from which, at length, he was delivered, in this romantic fashion. “Margaret, [his daughter) went to England on the strength of her friends there and of her knowledge of the English language, to ask the release of her father from Queen Mary; and having appealed to her mercy, she obtained the release of her father, whom she brought back with her to Ireland.” * Her praise was in every mouth, in
* This heroism of Margaret O'Connor was hereditary in the women of her family. Three generations earlier, another Margaret, daughter of O'Carroll, married O'Connor, chief of Offally, retaining, after her marriage, (a not unusual custom with our ancestresses,) her maiden name. Several traits of her character, given in MʼFirbiss's Annals, prove her to have been a woman of remarkable spirit and capacity. Thus we read of her pilgrimage to Compostella, and how the English of Trim, having taken several Irishmen, her neighbors, prisoners, and her lord having in his keeping certain English prisoners, she “went to Beleathatruim, and gave all the English prisoners for Mageoghan's son, and for the son's son of Art, and that unadvised to Calagh, and she brought them home.”. Mis. Irish Arch. Society, vol i. p. 212. It was she," says the same annalist, “that twice in one year proclaimed to, and commonly invited, (in the dark days of the yeare,) on the feast day of Da Sinchel in Killaichy, all persons, both Irish and Scottish, or rather Albians, to the general feasts.” The numbers who usually attended these feasts are set down as “ upwards of 2000,” by some at 2700. It is stated also, “she was the ony (one ?] woman that has made most of preparing highways and erecting bridges, churches, and mass books, and of all manner of things profitable to serve God and her soul.” Her death, from cancer of the breast, is very pathetically bemoaned, as well as it might be by the M'Firbiss of her time. It took place in 1461, which is called on that account “an ungratious and unglorious yeare to all the learned in Ireland, both philosophers, poets, guests, strangers, religious persons, soldiers, mendicants, or poor orders, and to all manner and sorts of poor in Ireland.” – Mis. Irish Arch. Soc. vol. i.