An ecclesiastical history of Ireland, from the first introduction of Christianity among the Irish, to the beginning of the thirteenth century , Compiled from the works of the most esteemed authors ... who have written and published on matters connected with the Irish church; and from Irish annals an online

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ments, and other church ornaments, which the
archbisliop Lanfranc had made a present of through
his uncle Donatus for the use of his church. (33)
Anselm says that, if this be true, he wonders at his
doing so, whereas those articles were not given to
Donatus but to the church, as the brethren of Can-
terbury could prove ; and accordingly he admo-
nishes and desires him to get speedily restored any
such part of them as might have been alienated from
the church. 2. He adds ; " I have heard, that
*' you expel and disperse the monks, who were col-
** lected in said church for its service, and that you
'* refuse to receive those who are willing to return.
** If it be so, this does not become you ; for it is your
'* duty rather to assemble the scattered than to scatter
*' the assembled. Therefore I order you that, if any
^* of them have been cast out, and wish to return
" and keep themselves in the service of God under
" obedience, you do receive them, and with paternal
" affection carefully look to their welfare ; unless,
** what God forbid, there may be some cause in their
'' conduct, which would not allow this to be done.*'
3, Anselm then tells him ; **I have also heard, that
** you make the Cross be carried before you on the
'' way ; which if it be true, I command you not to
" do so again ; for this privilege does not belong
" except to an archbishop, who has been confirmed
** with the pall by the Roman pontiff; nor is it fit,
'' that by any presumption relative to an unusual
*' thing you should appear remarkable and repre-
** hensible to men.'* At what time this letter was
written, I am not able to ascertain ; but it must have
been after Malchus was seated in the new see of Wa-
terford^ whereas it was directed to him with instruc-
tions to be delivered in person to Samuel. (34) This


bishop's incumbency was rather a long one, as he
lived until the 4th of July, A. D. 1 1 21. (35)

(29) Chap. XXIV. f . 13.

(30) Eadmer, Historia Novourm, L. 2. See also Ware,
Bishops at Samuel O'Hahigly.

(31) -^/7. Usher, syZo^e towards the end.

(32) This letter is the 39th in the Sylloge, and the 72d of the
third book in Gerberon's edition of St. Anselm's works.

(33) See Chap, xxiv. $.13.

(34) The letter of Anselm to Malchus, accompanying that to
Samuel, is the 38th in the Sylloge. In it is a summarv' of Ansehii's
complaints, who adds, that he orders the people of Dublin to pre-
vent the letting out of the articles belonging to the church, and
desires him to expostulate, viva voce, with Samuel, and advise
liim to obey his admonition. At this letter to Malchus Usher
marked ahout A. 1110, which, were it correct, would be also the
date of the one to Samuel. Ware and Harris (Bishops of Wa^
terford at Malchus) have followed Usher. But it could not have
been so late, whereas Anselm died on the 21st of April, A, jD.
1109. It is probable, that it was wTJtten in a rather early part of
Samuel's incumbency. The mighty antiquary Ledwich says,
(/?. 439) that Samuel ejected the monks in 1110, i. e. a year after
Anselm's death.

(35) Ware at Samuel O'Haingly, Hams observes, that the
Annals of Mary's Abbey assign his death to 1122. But, besides
the Book of obits of Christ-church, the continuator of Florence of
Worcester, a contemporary writer, points out A, 1121, whereas
at this year he has the election and consecration of Gregory the
successor of Samuel. I do not understand, why Usher, who in
his Note on the letter of the people, &-c. of Dublin, when sending
Gregory over to England, quotes the words of said continuator,
yet at said letter (the 40th in the Sylloge) marks in the margin A.
1122. And in his Z)z>coz«r5e, &c. {chap. 8.) he says that Gre-
gory was sent in 1122 to be consecrated. It would seem then
that he assigned Samuel's death to said year; but it will be seen
that he was mistaken as to the time of Gregory's consecration.

§. VI. Meanwhile Waterford became an episcopal


see, and Malchus, now mentioned, was appointed its
first bishop, having been elected by the clergy and
people of that city and by the king Murtogh
O' Brian, Domnald bishop of Cashel, and the prince
Dermod brother to the king, which election was
approved of by various bishops. Waterford, although
a Danish city, was subject to Murtogh ; but the
inhabitants, in imitation of their brethren of Dublin,
wished to be connected in spirituals with the Nor-
mans of England and with the see of Canterbury.
Murtogh complied with their wish, and joined them
in a letter to Anselm, (36) in which they say, that
they had been for a long time blind to their spiritual
welfare, but that they have at length seen the ne-
cessity of being subject to a bishop. '* Therefore
** we (the clergy and people of the town of Water-
" ford) and our king Murchertac (Murtogh) and
" the bishop Domnald, and Dermeth (Dermod)
** our duke, (37) brother of the king, have chosen
*' this priest Malchus, a monk of the bishop Wal-
" chelin of Winchester, (38) very well known to
'* us, of noble birth and morals, versed in apostolical
** and ecclesiastical discipline, in faith a Catholic,
" prudent," &c. &c. according to the qualifications
required by St. Paul. They request that Anselm
may ordain him bishop for them ; and to show with
what unanimity the election was carried, are sub-
joined the signatures of Murtogh king, Dermod
duke, Domnald bishop, Idunan bishop of Meath,
Samuel bishop of Dublin, Ferdomnach bishop of
the Lagenians, &c. (39)

Malchus went with this letter to England in the
year 1096, (40) and was kindly received by Anselm,
who having found him worthy of the episcopacy,
and received his profession of obedience, consecrated
him bishop at Canterbury on the ^8th of December
in said year, being assisted by Ralph, bishop of Chi-
chester, and Gundulph of Rochester. (41 ) Malchus'
profession was in these words ; *' I Malchus, elected


for tlie church of Waterford, and to be consecrated
bishop by thee, Reverend father Ansehu, archbishop
of the holy church of Canterbury, and primate of
all Britain, do promise that I will observe canonical
obedience in all things to thee and to all thy suc-
cessors." (42) When returned to Waterford,
Malchus and his Danish flock erected the cathedral
dedicated to the Holy Trinity. (43) Concerning
him I find nothing further related, unless he was the
same as the holy Malchus, who became bishop of
Lismore, and who is so much praised by St. Bernard.
But of this lower down.

(36) This letter is in Eadmer s Histor, Nov. L. 2. and in-
Usher's Si/Uogc, No. 34. It is thus headed; '^ AnselmOy Dei
gratia Anglorum archiepiscopo, et omnibus dioecesis suae epis-
copis, Clerus et popidus oj^idi Watafordiae, cum rege Murcker-
facko et episcopo Doinnaldoy salutem in Domino,'

(37) Hence it appears, that Dermod was then governor of Wa-
teiford. He had submitted to his brother Murtogh in 1093, and
they pledged themselves in a most solemn manner, and by the most
sacred oaths, to remain henceforth in peace with each other.
( Annals of Innisfallen at A. 1093.)

(38) Although Malchus had been a Benedictine monk at Win-
chester, he was a native of Ireland, as his contemporary Eadmer
informs us, {loc. cit.) when speaking of his Irish electors he says,
that they chose a man of their own nation ;iamed Malchus.

(39) In the Latin original the signatures are as follows. '' Ego
Murchertacus rex Hibernia subscripsi. Ego Dermeth diixfrater
regis subscripsi. Ego Domnaldus episcopus subscripsi. Ego
Idunnn episcopus Midiac stdjscripsi. Ego Samuel Dublinensis
subscripii. Ego Ferdomnachus Lageniensiu7n episcopus subscripsi.
&c. There were several other signatures, which are not come
down to us. Of Idunan and Ferdomnach we have seen already
{^Chap. XXIV. §. 5.); and that Domnald, alias Dofnald, was not,
as Usher thought, {Not. to Ep. 28. Si/lloge) Domnald of Armagh,
but Domnald of Cashel (sec C/iap. xxiv. §. 6.) is evident from
the circumstance that the bishops, who signed that letter, were
subjects of Murtogh, as king of the southern half of Ireland.


Now Domnald of Armagh belonged to the northern half, which
was then ruled by Domnald Mac-Lochlin. Harris v/as therefore
right (Bishops of Wateiford at Malchus) in stating, that Domnald,
who subscribed the letter, was the one of Cashel. But he was
egregiously mistaken {Ih. and Bishops of Doxjon^ p. 195.) in
making Samuel bishop of Down, instead of Dublin. The obser-
vation now made with regard to Domnald of Armagh would alone
be sufficient to prove, that no bishop of Down was connected with
the transactions of king Murtogh or of the southerns. Harris was
led astray by Spelman and Wilkins, {Councils, &c.) who at the
signatures to the Waterford letter have Samuel Dunensis, instead of
Dublinensis^ They in their turn were deceived by a corrupt read-
ing in the text of Eadmer, and v/hich is still retained in the Bene-
dictine edition, (L. 2./?. 44.) where Samuel is called Dimiiel-
mensis, i. e. of Durham. Knowing tiiat it would be ridiculous to
introduce a bishop of Durham signing a letter from Waterford,
they changed Dunnehnensis into Dunensis; and hence Harris has
honoured Down with a bishop, which it never had. It is strange,
that Wilkins did not look into Usher's Sylloge, where he would
have found the genuine reading Dublinensis.

(40) This is the year marked by Ware, (at Malchus) and be-
fore him by Usher as the date of the letter. Spelman ( Councils,
Ton:. 2. p. 20.) assigns it to 1097. But the other date is more
correct. Yov Eadmer states, that it was received some, seemingly
short, time after William Rufus had passed over to Normandy to
take possession of that dutchy, which was mortgaged to him by
his brother Robert. Now it is knov/n, that William went to Nor-
mandy in 1096 ; and on the other hand the amval of Malchus at
Canterbury was very late in the year. Besides, Anselm was
not in England in 1097 al the time of the year, in which Malchus
went thither. (See Fleury, Z. 64. ^. 49.) Wilkins is exceedingly
wrong (Concil, «^c. Vol. 1. p. 375.) in affixing this letter to A^
1100. Surely he might have known from Eadmer, that it was
received while William was absent from England, and consequently
a considerable time before the year 1100. (See Rapin, History
S^c. at IVilliain Rufus.)

(41) Eadmer, loc. cit. and Ware at Malchus.

(42) Sylloge towards the end.

(43) Ware, jintiq. cap. 29. and Harris, Bishops at Malchus.


§ vn. There is extant a letter written by An-
selm in 1095 to the bishops Domnald, who is
called senior^ Donat, and all the other bishops in
Ireland. (44) It is plain, that Donat was Donat
O'HaingJy of Dublin ; but it may be doubted
whether Domnald was the one of Armagh or the
other of Cashel. Its being a general letter to all
the Irish prelates, and his calling Domnald senior^ as
if invested with a superior jurisdiction, might seem
to indicate that he was the archbishop of Armagh.
Yet the title senior may have been given by him
merely with relation to the age of Domnald, that
is, the one of Cashel, whom he knew to be far
advanced in life, as he had corresponded with An-
selm's predecessor Lanfranc since, at least, the year
1081. (45) And even did he allude to dignity,
Domnald of Cashel might have been styled se?nor ;
for, besides his having been called archbishop, it is
clear that the bishops of Cashel were at this time
distinguished by, at least, an honorary precedency
over the others of the southern half of Ireland,
which constituted the kingdom of Murtogh
O'Brien ; and hence Donald's name occurs first
among the signatures of the bishops to the Water-
ford letter above spoken of. Add, that he was
undoubtedly better known to Anselm than Domnald
of Armagh ; and Anselm seems to have been very
little acquainted with either the ecclesiastical or
civil state of Ireland, except as far as regarded
Murtogh's kingdom. In this letter he tells them,
how he had been forced to accept of the arch-
bishopric of Canterbury, but that, while endea-
vouring to j)erform his duty and correct abuses, he
made himself several enemies, and was then suf-
fering great tribulations, and that persons, who had
submitted to his jurisdiction, now refuse to obey
him. (46) He therefore requests the prayers of
his fellow bishops of Ireland that God may re-es-
tablish harmony, bring over his enemies, and make


them all live conformably with his holy will. Next,
he exhorts them, notwithstanding their living and
thinking properly, to be watchful in maintaining
the Church doctrine and discipline, and advises
them that, if certain difficult cases relative to reli-
gious matters sliould occur, which could not be ca-
nonically determined among themselves, they may,
according to a duty of charity, inform him of them,
as it is better that they should receive counsel and
comfort from him than ran the risk of violating any
of the commandments of God. Amon^ the eccle-
siastical cases, on which they might consult him, he
specifies the consecrations of bishops, but makes no
complaint relative to that or -any other subject of
Irish practice.

(44) This letter is the 33d in the Sylloge, and in Gerberon's
edition of St. Ansehii's works is the 8th in the Supplement to the
books of epistles.

(45) Chap, XXIV. §. 6.

(46) Anselm alludes to the violent proceedings of the king
William Rufus, agaiinst him in 1095, and the conduct of the Eng-
lish bishops, who in the assembly of Rockingham promised the
king that they would not obey him any longer. (See Fleury, L.
64. §. 25.)

§. VIII. Yet, although Anselm spoke only in ge-
neral terms without mentioning any particular abuse,
or insinuating that the Irish bishops were guilty of
any negligence, it is probable that he had an eye to
certain irregularities, which, he says in two letters
of his to the king Murtogh, (47) were reported to
be prevalent in Ireland. After some compliments
and praises of the king for his excellent administra-
tion of his kingdom, he requests of him to consider
whether there be any practices followed in Ireland,
which require correction, and, if there be, to exert
himself to get them reformed. For, he says, it is
rumoured here (in England) that marriages are dis-

c 2


solved in your kingdom witliout any reason, and
that men exchange wives just as others would horses
or whatsoever sort of commodity. It is added, that
persons near akin cohahit, under the name of wed-
lock or otherwise, in opposition to the canonical
rules. (48 j He then directs him, in case he be not
acquainted with the passages of the Holy scriptures,
which condemn these antichristian customs, to order
his bishops and clergy to announce them to him, that
he may be enabled to know^ how to put a stop to
such abuses. Then he tells hhn that it is reported,
that in Ireland bishops are appointed without fixed
sees, and consecrated by one bishop alone. These
practices are, he observes, contrary to the canons,
as in fact they were, with regard to bishops strictly
so called. (49) He justly states, that no one ought
to be made a bishop, unless tliere be a district and
people assigned for him, which he is to govern ; and
that it is a wise rule, that he should be consecrated
by, at least, three bishops. In what year these let-
ters were written, I am not able to determine ; but
it is probable, that it w^as not long after Anselm had
consecrated Samuel O'Haingly, through whom lie
had an opportunity of becoming acquainted witli
Murtogh's high rank, power, and character. (50)
There is a short letter from Murtogh to Anselm,
written after the year 1100 during the reign of
Henry 1. of England, in which he thanks him for
his goodness in continuing to pray for him, and for
his kindness in having on some occasion succoured
his son in law Ernulph. (,5I)

In the year 1101 Murtogh convened a great as-
sembly of the clergy and people of Ireland at Cashel,
in which he made over that hitherto royal seat of the
kings of Munster, and dedicated it to God and St.
Patrick. (.52) In 1102 he concluded a peace for
twelve months with Magnus the powerful king of
Norway, and of the Hebrides and Mann, who in the
following year, while preparing an expedition for the


subjugation of all Ireland, was, when exploring the
country, killed, together with almost all his fol-
lowers, by the Irish in Ulster, and buried near St.
Patrick's church in Down. (53) Murtogh was so
uiucli respected by the Northmen of Mann and the
Hebrides, that upon the death of Lagmann their
king, who had been a son of Godred Crouan, (54)
their nobles petitioned him to send tliem a person of
royal blood, who should govern them as king until
Olave, another son of Godred, would be of age.
Murtogh sent them his nephew Donald son of his
brother Teige or Thady, (55) who, during his ad-
ministration, neglecting the directions of his mas-
ter and uncle, who had commanded him to rule that
kingdom with mildness and moderation, acted in a
quite opposite manner, and behaved so tyrannically,
that after three years all the chiefs of the islands
united against him, and made him fly to Ireland,
whence he returned no more among them. (56)

(47) These two letters are the 35th and the 36th in tlie Sij'lloge,
and in Ansehn's works, L. 3. Ep. 142 — 147. They arc both di-
rected to Muriardach (Murtogh) the glorious king of Ireland, and
are so like each other that the latter seems to be only an improved
copy of the former, or vice versa. In either of them there is no
reference tD the other, nor any thing to sliow, that Anselm wrote
twice to Murtogh concerning the points treated of in them, I
therefore suspect, that they are only various copies of one and the
same letter, which having been found among Anselm's papers,
were published by Picard as distinct letters, and from him by
Usher, who thought that the one which he calls Ep. 35. was
written not to Muriardach O'Brian but to Murchertagh or Mur-
rogh, prince of Leinster, and father of the famous Dermod Mac-
Murrogh. But how can this be reconciled with Anselm's calling
the INIuriardacii or IMurchertach, whom he addresses, king of Ire-
land '? It is true, that there was in Anselm's time a Murcber-
tach, prince or king of Leinster, who was killed in the battle of
Maigh-choba, fighting under Murtogh O'Brien then chief sove-
reign of Leth-mogha; in the year 1103. (Annals of Inni^fallen


at A. 1103.) He was not, however, the father of Dermod Mac-
ISIun-ogh, who was son of another Leinster prince, hkewise called
Murchertach. Usher fell into a very great mistake (ib,) in making
any Murchertach of Leinster the same as the king Murchertach,
Muriardach, or Murtogh, who took part in the election of Mal-
chus bishop of Waterford. Surely Waterford was not subject to
any Leinster prince ; and nothing can be more clear than that,
as we have seen, the king, who interfered in that election, toge-
tiier with his brother Dermod, &c. was no other than Murtogh
O'Brian, who was then king of Waterford as well as of all the
South of Ireland. And it is plain from the whole tenour of the
letters, that the king Muriardach or Murchertach, with whom
Anselm corresponded, was not a subordinate provincial king, such
as those of Leinster were at that time, but a king distinguished
and known by the title of kiyig of Ireland^ as Murtogh O'Brian
certainly was in the days of St. Anselm.

(48) See what has been observed (Chap, xxiv. §» 12. ami
Notes ib.) concerning similar complaints made by Lanfranc.

(49) See what has been said {Jb. ) of the Irish system of Chor-

(50) Usher marks A, 1100 as the date of the letter, which he
reckons No. 35, without assigning any reason for it. Anselm had
returned to England in the latter part of that year ; but it seems
much more probable that said letters or letter were written before
he left England in 1097.

(51) This letter is the 37th in the Sylloge, and the 85th o? L.
IV. in Gerberon's edition of St. Anselm's works. In it Murtogli
calls \i\vasQ\i Miirchardachus rex Hiberniae. The Ernulph, whom
he mentions, was Ernulph or Amulph de Montgomery, lord of
Pembroke and West Wales, who, having together with his bro-
ther Robert, earl of Shrewsbury, revolted against Henry I. pas-
sed over to Ireland, where he raanied a daughter of king Murtogh.
See more ap. Usher, Not. to Ep. 37.

(52) Annals of Innisfullen at A. 1101.

(53) Ib. ad A. 1102, and 1103. Ware, Ant. cap. 24. and the
Chronicle of Mann, in which the death of Magnus is wrongly
marked at A. 1098. Ware has added, without reason, a year to
the dates of these transactions, thus placing the death of Magnus


in 1104 in opposition' both to the annals now quoted and to those
ol' Ulster, which have ^4. 1103.

(54) See Not. 66. txyChap. xxiv.

{55) In the Chronicle of Mann he is called Dopnald son of
Xade, and Murtogh's name is written Murecard O'Brien, king of
Ireland. In the Annals of Innisfallen, (at A. 1105.) Donald is
called son of Teige son of Turlogh O'Brian ; and it is added, that
he becanie king also of the Danes of Dublin, which at most must
mean, that he was appointed governor of Dublin,

{36) Chronicle of Mann. According to one date of said chro^
nicle Donald went to govern the Danes of the islands in the year
1075. This is evidently wrong ; for in that year Murtogh was not
a king, even of Munster. (See Chap.y^-sAw. §. 14.) Another
date is 1089, as quoted by Usher (Not. to Ep, 36. Sylloge) ; but
to this there is a strong objection, inasmuch as INIurtogh appears
not to have been styled king of Ireland until about 1094. (See
said Chap, ib^) The Annals of Innisfallen have a quite different
date, viz. A. 1105; but there is no mention in them of the death
of Lagmann or the minority of Olave having been the occasion of
Donald's appointment to the sovereignty of the islands. According
to the Chronicle of IMann Lagmann reigned only seven years. If
this be true, it would seem that his death must have been prior.
by several years to 1105. There is, however, so much confusion
and uncertainty of dates in that clironicle, that one docs not know
how to arrange many of the occurrences related in it. Yet this
does not affect the truth of Donald having been for some time
king of the isles possessed by the Northmen.

§. IX. In the beginning of the twelfth century
we find at length a bishop of Limerick, Gille, whose
name has been changed into Gilleberty and who
seems to have been abbot of Bangor. (57) There is
no reason to suppose^ as some have suspected, that
he was a Dane ; for, although Limerick was a Da-
nish city, it might have had an Irish bishop in the
same manner as Dublin and Waterford had. And
it is well v^orth observing, that Gillebert, as I shall
call him, was consecrated in Ireland, as evidently
appears from a letter written to him by Anselm.


Hence it seems very probable, that he was not
elected to the see of Lmierick by the clergy and
people of that city, as in that case he would appa-
rently have been consecrated in England, but that,
being already a bishop, he was invited by them to
act as their pastor, or perhaps placed over them by
Murtogh O' Brian. Gillebert had travelled before
he became a bishop ; for he had been acquainted
and intimate with Anselm at Rouen several years
before his promotion. Sometim.e after being placed
over Limerick he wrote a letter to Anselm, (58) in
which he congratulates him on his having at last
induced the untameable minds of the Normans to
submit to the regular decrees of the holy fatliers,
with regard to the election and consecration of ab-
bots and bishops, and thanks God for his having
enabled Anselm to gain this victory. Hence it may
be safely inferred, that this letter was written not
long after Henry I. of England had in 1 106 settled
his disputes with Anselm, and agreed to his terms
concerning the investitures, &c. ; (59) and we may
also conclude, that Gillebert was bishop of Lime-
rick in said year 1 106, and perhaps a year or two
earlier. Gillebert adds, that he sends him as a
token of his attachment, a little present of twenty-
five small pearls (of the sort, I suppose, found in
Ireland) and requests that he will not be unmindful
of him in his prayers. Anselm replied by the above
mentioned letter, (60) thanking him for his congra-

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