Unknown.

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

. (page 29 of 45)
Online LibraryUnknownAn 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 text (page 29 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


these Dublin documents ; but as a discussion concerning them
would be relative to times, of which I do not mean to treat, I shall
leave them as they are.

(69) Harris, Bishops at Glendaloch, William Piro. See also
Ware at Henry de Londres.

{70) Ware, Aimals at A. 1497, and Harris, loc. cit.

§. IX. A bishop of Ardfert, named Donald
O'Conarcliy, who was called bishop of lar-Muan, or
West Munster, died in 1193.(71) He was suc-
ceeded by David O'Duibditrib, who lived until 1207.
In said year 1193 Africa, daughter of Godred, king
Mann, and wife of John de Courcey, founded the
Cistercian abbey of Our Lady of Leigh, or Dejugo
Dei, vulgarly called Gray Ahhey, in the now county
of Down and barony of Ardes, in which she w^as af-
terwards buried ; (72) and Geoflry Fitz-Robert, se-
neschal of Leinster, founded at Kells, in the now
county of Kilkenny, the priory of the Blessed Virgin
Mary for Canons Regular of St. Augustiii, four of
whom he procured from the priory of Bodmin in
Cornwall. This establishment was confirmed by
Felix O'Dullany, bishop of Ossory. To this priory

VOL. IV. y



322 AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XXXI.

that of Tullales or Tullelash, in the county of Cork,
and barony of Duhallow, founded by Matthew, son
of Griffin, was afterwards annexed, (73) To this
year some assign the death in, that is near, the abbey
of Mellifont, of Dervorgill, the wife of Tiernan
O'Ruarc, who had been long before carried away
by Dermod Mac Murrough ; and about the same
time Gilbert de Nangle, an English or Norman ad-
venturer, plundered the island of Inis-clothran in
Lough-ree, where there was an ancient and cele-
brated monastery. (74) In or about 1194 died
Eugene, bishop of Clonard, who a little before his
death assumed the title of bishop of Meath^ which
his successors have since used. (15) Yet we have
seen that a bishop Idunan called himself by that
title as far back as the year 1096. (76) In the con-
firmation of two donations made to the monastery of
St. Thomas near Dublin by Hugh de Lacy in 1183,
Eugene styles himself bishop of Clonard. (77)
Hence, and from the circumstance of Ethru
O'Miadachain having been called bishop of Clonard,
(78) it appears that the title, bishop of Meathy
was not assumed after Idunan's time, until it was
adopted by Eugene. This bishop is said to have
appropriated the church of Skrine in Meath to the
Cistercian abbey of St. ^Mary near Dublin. (79)
He was succeeded by Simon Rochfort, an English-
man, and the first of his nation who presided over
that see, and who deserved to govern it, as he was
an excellent and attentive prelate. (80) He removed
the see from Clonard to Newtown near Trim, where
he founded in l!206 a convent of Augustin Canons,
and raised its church to the rank of a cathedral un-
der the title of St. Peter and St. Paul. (81) Dur-
ing his incumbency five of the old epicopal churches
of the principality of Meath, viz. Trim, Kells, Slane,
Skrine, and Dunshaughlin, were only heads of rural
deaneries, governed by archpriests, in the diocese of
Meath. (82) The sees of Duleek, Ardbraccan, and



CHAP. XXXT. OF IRELAND* 323

Fore, were also swallowed up in this diocese, but at
what precise times I am not able to tell. Thus the
diocese of Meath contains a o-reater number of an-
cient sees than any other in Ireland, and, since that
of Clonmacnois was united to it in later times, has
swelled to an extraordinary extent. To the same
year 1194 is assigned the foundation, by an
O'Dogherty, of a Cistercian house at Hilfothuir, in
the now county of Donegal, which was afterwards
united to that of Arrhoe, or De Samario. (83)

(71) Ware, Bishops at Ardfert.

(72) Ware, Annals at A. 1193. and Antiq. cap. 26. at Do'tvn ;
and Archdall at Grai/ Abbe?/.

(73) Ware, Antiq. ib. at Kilkefini/, and Archdall at Kells and
Tullelash. Harris has (Monast.) the foundation of the priory of
Kells in about 1183. This is a mistake ; for, as Ware states, it
occurred in the reign of Richard I. which began in 1190. (Com-
pare with Not 121. to Chap, xxx.)

(74') Ware, Annals at A. 1193.
{15) y^ are, Bishops 'd^ Meath.

(76) See Chap^ xxiv. §. 5. and xxv. §. 6.

(77) Harris, Bishops of Meath at Eugene.

(78) See Chap. xxix. § . 6 - (79) Harris, ib.

(80) Ware, Bishops at Meath. He says, that Simon Roch-
fort was consecrated about 1194?; but Harris states in his addi-
tions, that it will appear from his Antiquities probable, that he
was advanced to that see a considerable time before said year.
If so, Eugene must have died much sooner than is supposed.
I do not find in Harris' Antiquities^ viz. those which he alludes
to, any thing relative to these points.

(81 ) Ware and Harris, ib.

(82) This appears from Simon Rochfort's constitutions passed
at Newtown in 1216 {ap. Wilkins, Concilia, Sfc. Vol. 1. ;;. 51-7.)
in which, after a preamble stating, that it had been decreed in the
council of Kells that, according as the Chorepiscopi and bishops
of smaller sees should die, archpriests were to be placed in their
stead to be appointed by the diocesans, and as presiding over rural
deaneries, we read, that the churches of Trim, &c. which had

Y 2



324 AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XXXT.

been bishops' sees, were then merely heads of such deaneries.
Ledwich {A?itiq. Sfc. p. 394^. seqq.) ca\h Trim Athunry, because
forsooth the original has Aihrumia from the Irish Ath-J'ruim^ the
ford of Truim or Trim. This sapient Doctor has made a pretty
liodge podge of the ancient sees of Meath. He found in Harris
Bishops (p. 138.) that there are twelve rural deaneries in the pre-
sent diocese of Meath, and thence concluded, that they had all
been sees of at least chorepiscopu Some of them indeed had
been so, and even of regular bishops ; but where did he find a
bishop or chorepiseopus of Ratoath, MuUingar, Ardnurchor, or
Ballyloughort, places now reckoned among these deaneries ? Is it
because some old sees had been reduced to rural deaneries, that
therefore eveiy present deanery must have been a bishop's see ?
Now, on the contrary, some places, that were really sees , are not
counted among these deaneries, such as, ex. c. Dunshaughlin and
Ardbraccan. With equal good logic he has made out twelve or
thirteen old sees for the diocese of Dublin (he should have added
Glendaloch) as if every one of its now deaneries had been former-
ly honoured with a bishop or a chorepiseopus. Now among the
places, which he reckons, there are but four of five at most, in
which we find any sort of an episcopal see at any time, such as
Lusk, Clondalkin, Tallaght, Swords, and Finglas. But who has
ever heard of a bishop of Bray, Wicklow, Arklow, &c. &c. ? Besides,
Ledwich might have learned from Harris, fib. p. 299.) whom he
had before his eyes, that the number of deaneries has been
changed in the dioceses of Dublin and Glendaloch. And, if he
understood these subjects, or attended to correct reasoning, he
would have seen, that the number and state of our ancient sees
are not to be judged of from the present division of deaneries.
Such an idea never occurred to Harris ; but the Doctor did not
care what he thrust into his farrago, whether right or wrong, pro-
vided he could swell the book. Amidst a heap of stufl' it is droll
to hear him preferring himself fp. 402.) to Ware, Harris, and
Usher, who, he says, had not even a tolerable idea of our original
episcopacy !

(83) Harris, Monastic, and Archdall at Hilfothuir. Ware has
not this monastery.

§. X. In this year Donald O'Brlan, king of North



CHAP. XXXr. OF IRELAND. 22S

Munster, granted to Brictius, bishop of Limerick,
and^ his successors, and to the clergy of St, Mary's
of Limerick, in free and perpetual alms, the lands
of Mungram, or Mungret, and those of Ivamnach.
{84) This was the last year of that good and brave
prince, and he was succeeded by his son Donougli
Carbrach O'Brian. (85) Besides other monastic
foundations, of which we have seen already, Donald
established a house of Canons Regular at Clare, alias
called Kihnomj, under the little of 8t. Peter and
St. Paul, in the now county of Clare ; (85) and
another, styled a priory, for said order, in Inis-ne-
gananagh (the island of Canons) in the Shannon,
and comprized in the same county, besides a nunnery,
under the name of St John the Baptist, for Au-
gustin canonesses at Kil-Oen likewise in said county,
and in the barony of Islands. (87) He is also said
to have founded in 1 1 94 the Cistercian abbey of the
Blessed Virgin Mary of Corcumroe, or De petra
Jertiliy in that county, and barony of Bun en, which,
however, some attribute to his son Donough and
mark at A, 1200. (88) In the city of Limerick
he had formed, about the time of the arrival of the
English, an establishment, under the name of St.
Peter, for Black nuns of the order of St Augustin.
(89) About the same time he bad erected a cathe-
dral in Limerick, which was dedicated under the
title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and which he af-
terwards richly endowed, although there was one
there before, called St. Munchin's. (90) Thus
Donald added to his many foundations the erection
of two cathhedrals, viz, this one of Limerick, and
that of Cashel. (91) He was also a great benefactor
to the see of Killaloe, (92) where it is said that he
was buried. His loss was severely felt by his sub-
jects ; for soon after his death the English got pos-
session of Limerick and other parts of N. Munster,
where they committed great cruelties, particularly
on the family of Donald, ona of whose sons Mur-



326 AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XXXT.

togh, they deprived of his sight by putting out his
eyes, and another they massacred after having
dragged him out of a sanctuary. But, while thus
wreaking their vengeance against the memory of
Donald, they were checked and forced to fly by
Cathal Crobhdearg O'Conor, prince of Connaught j
and Donald Mac-Carthy of Desmond drove them
out of Limerick. (93)

(84) Ware and Harris, Bishops at Matthew O Heneyy Cashel,
and at Brictiiis, Limerick. The deed was witnessed by Matthew
O'Heney, archbishop, &:c. and Ruadri O'Gradei. (See Ware,
Antiq. cap. 29. at Limerick.

(85) Ware, A7i7ialsat A. 1194<.

(86) Ware, Ayitiq cap. 26. at Clare. It is odd, that Donald's
charter for this foundation is dated A, 1195, (see Archdall at
Clare J although it is agreed, that he died in 1194. Tliis must have
happened in consequence of the witnesses not having assembled to
sign it until 1195.

(87) Ware, ib. and Archall at Inis-negananagh and Kil-Oen.

(88) Ware, ib, Harris, Monast. and Archdall at Corcumroe.

(89) Ware, ib. at Limerick.

(90) See Ware, Antiq. cap. 29. at Limerick, and Harris, Bi-
shops, p. 501.

(91) See Chap. xxix. §. 5.

(92) Ware, Antiq. cap. 29. at Killaloe,/ar\d Bishops of Killaloe
at Constantine O'Brian.

(93) See Ware, Annals, at A. 1191-, and 1195. Leland, Hist.
of h- eland, Book 1. ch, 5. and Ferrar, Historij of Limerick
part 1. ch. 2.

§. XI. Maeliosa, who had been raised to the see of
Clogher in 1191, held it for only about four years ;
for he died in 1195. He gave up to John Cumin,
archbishop of Dublin, and his successors, his claim to
the church of All Saints near Dublin, reserving it,
however, to himself during his life, to be held of
the said archbishop and of the church of the Holy
Trinity, or Christ-church. (94) He was succeeded



CHAP. XXXI. OF IRELAND. 527

by Tigernach Mac-G ilia-Rowan, an Aiigustin Ca-
non. In the same year died Florentine, bishop of
Elphin, who was son of one Riagan of the family of
Malruanaidh, which was descended from kings of
Connaught. (95) He had been a Cistercian monk,
and for some time abbot of Boyle. 96) His next
successor seems to have been Ardgall O'Conor of
the royal house of that name. The death of Nehe-
mias, bishop of Kildare, may be assigned to this
year; whereas he was promoted to tliat see in 1 )77,
and is said to have governed it about eighteen years.
(97) Who was his immediate successor I am not
able to discover. Constantino O' Brian, bivshop of
Killaloe, who had assisted at the third council of
Lateran, must have died before 1195, for in said
year we find Dermod O' Coning bishop there, who
was deprived of the see and driven out of it by
Matthew O'Heney, archbishop of Cashel, the Pope's
legate, for what reason is not recorded. Dermod
died of grief in the same year, and was succeeded
by Charles O'Heney, (probably the same as Cor-
nelius or Conor O'Heney) in or about \vhose time
the see of Roscrea was united to that of Killaloe,
and the see of Iniscathy to that of Limerick, while
its possessions were divided between the Sees of
Limerick, Killaloe, and Ardfert. (98) The nun-
nery of Augustin eanonesses of St. Brigid's of
Odra or Odder in the now county of Meath, and
barony of Skrine, had its possessions coniirmed in
this year by Pope Celestin TIL (99) At the same
time he confirmed also those of the nunnery of the
same order of St. Mary's of Clonard, which had
been endowed long before, probably by the O'Me-
laghlins; (lOO) and likewise those of St. Mary's
nunnery of the same order at Termon-Fechin in
the now^ county of Louth. (lOl) To said year is
assigned the death of one Donald O'Find, who is
called comorba of Clonfert-Brefiain or Brendan ;



328 AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XXXI.

but it is uncertain, whether he was bishop or only
abbot of Clonfert. (102)

(94) Ware, Bishops at Clogher, It appears, that said church
and the priory annexed to it had been placed under the superin-
tendence of one of Maeliosa's predecessors, Edan O'Killedy. (See
Chap. xxviiJ. J, 10)

(95) AA'.SS.p, 158.

(96) Ware, Bishops of Elphin at Florence O'Mulrony*

(97) See Ware and Harris, Bishops at Kildare.

(98) The same, ib. at Killaloe, Ware says, that Iniscathy
was united, as well as Roscrea, to Killaloe ; but Harris has cor-
rected his text in the manner stated above.

(99) Ware, Antiq, cap. 26. at Meath, and Archdall at Odder.
Alemand and after him Archdall say, that this nunnery was
founded by the Barnwall family. I am sure that Alemand had no
authority for this assertion ; for it is certain, that the Barnwalls
were not settled in Meath until a very long time after that period.
He was fond of complimenting distinguished Irish families with
the honour of making them founders of religious houses merely
on conjecture.

(100) Ware, ib. and Archdall at Clonard. See Celestin's
Bull, dated 26 February, A. 1195, in Monast. Angl. Vol. 2,
p. 1043.

(101) Ware, ib. at Louth, and Archdall at Terfeckan. If we
are to believe Alemand, this nunnery had been founded by a
M'Mahon. Ware does not sav so, although Archdall in his
careless manner refers to him for it.

(102) Ware, Bishops at Clonfert. The title comorba means, as
1 have often remarked, successor. But it is more probable, that
St. Brendan was not a bishop, (see Chap. x. $.7.) and accord-
ingly, unless some particulai' reasons appear to the contrary, the
denomination, Comorba of Brendan, indicates rather an abbot
than a bishop.

§. XII. In 1196 died Maurice (Murchertach),
bishop of Ross. He liad succeeded Benedict, who
was bishop there in 1 172, and who seems to have
died about 1 J DO. ( 103) Maurice's immediate sue-



CHAP. XXXI. OF IRELAND. S29

cessor was Daniel, a secular priest, who was conse-
crated at Rome about the year 1197 by the bishop
of Albano, in virtue of an order of Celestin III,
whom he had imposed upon by means of forged let-
ters in the name of several Irish bishops, as if they
attested his having been duly elected. In opposition
to this fraud Florence a monk, and another monk,
whose name is marked only by the initial letter E,
went to Rome, where each of them alleged, that
himself, not Daniel, was the person elected to the
see of Ross, and Florence exposed the tricks and
knavery of Daniel. On being thus informed, the
Pope commissioned Matthew O'Heney of Cashel,
his legate, and Charles O'Heney of Killaloe, to in-
quire into the pretensions of the various candidates,
and directed them, in case of their finding Daniel
canonically elected, to establish him in the possession
of the see ; but, if otherwise, then to examine the
question between Florence and E. whichever of
whom could prove the truth of his claim should be
consecrated by the archbishop of Cashel. Those
prelates, having received this commission, cited
Daniel three times to appear before them ; but he
declined to do so, and accordingly was pronounced
contumacious. They next inquired into the claims
of Florence and E ; upon which it appeared from
the concurrent testimonies of the clergy and people
of Ross, of the king of Cork (Desmond), and of
the bishops of the province, that Florence had been
canonically elected, and E not as much as put in elec-
tion ; and consequently they confirmed Florence in
virtue of the apostolic authority. Meanwhile Ce-
lestine III. died, and was succeeded by Innocent
III. (104) Daniel, availing himself of this circum-
stance, went again to Rome, and by means of cer-
tain false and roundabout statements, in which he
implicated the king and bishop of Cork, and like-
wise Florence, deceived the new Pope as he had the
former, insomuch that Innocent sent peremptory



330 AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XX^.

orders, that Daniel should be put in possession of
the see, and that the king of Cork should be admo-
nished not to oppose him. Florence now found it
necessary to repair to Rome, and laid before the
Pope a true account of the proceedings of the pre-
lates of Cashel and Killaloe on the commission before
mentioned. The Pope, apprehensive of being cir-
cumvented by forged letters, as his predecessor had
been, remanded Florence to the said prelates with a
mandate to cite Daniel, if in Ireland, and to pro-
ceed canonically in the cause. But if he were not
in Ireland that they should, allowing him a year,
reckoned from the time of his departure for Rome,
commit in the mean time the administration of the
see of Ross to Florence, who, on Daniel's not re-
turning, should be consecrated at the end of said
year ; and ift case Daniel were in Ireland, and should
refuse to appear on a citation within three months,
that Florence should be consecrated without delay.
The Pope set aside all power of appeal in this cause,
lest the church of Ross, which had been vacant
near three years, should continue longer without a
pastor. (105) Florence, on his return to Ireland,
was consecrated bishop of that see by the archbishop
of Cashel, and thus the matter ended. (106)

(103) Ware, ib, at Ross, He says, that Benedict held the see
for about 13 years after 1172.

(104) Celestin died on the 8th of January A. 1198, and on the
same day Innocent was elected Pope.

(105) There is a full account of the whole transaction in a
letter of Innocent III. to the archbishops of Armagh and Cashel
and tlie bishop of Killaloe, (ef. 364* in Baluze's edition of his
Epistles, Lib, 1.) dated at Perugia the 17th of September, pro-
bably of tlie year 1198, reckoning the almost three years, men-
tioned by him, from the death of Maurice in 1196. I liave
abridged this account ; but wlioever wishes to see more of it may
consult Harris, Bishops of Ross at DanieL

(106) Ware and Hanis> Bishops at Ross.



CHAP. XXXI. OF IRELAKD. 331

§. XIII. Reginald O'Flanua, bishop of Emly,
died in 1197. He is supposed to have been in that
see at the time of its cathedral being destroyed
by fire, that is, as is said, in the year 1192. (107)
I find no account of who was his immediate successor.
In this year John Cumin, archbishop of Dublin,
was much harrassed by Hamo de Valoniis, alias de
Valois, who being appointed Justiciary or deputy
under John, earl of Morton, and finding the Eng-
lish government much distressed in Ireland, com-
menced his career with the invasion of ecclesiastical
property. He seized on several lands belonging to
the see of Dublin, notwithstanding the opposition
of the archbishop, who, as all his efforts to resist
oppression were fruitless, removed from the cathe-
dral the books, chalices, images, &c. and got the
crucifixes crowned with thorns and stretched pros-
trate on the ground. He excommunicated those,
who had injured him and his church, laid an inter-
dict on the diocese, and leaving Ireland repaired to
king Richard and to the prince John, from neither
of whom did he meet with any redress. (108)
About the same time the see of Lei^hlin bein<x va-
cant, John a Cistercian monk, and abbot of the
monastery De Rosea valle, alias Monasterevan,
was elected by the Chapter and confirmed by Mat-
thew O'Heney, archbishop of Cashel, as apostolic
legate, the archbishop of Dublin being then either
in England or Normandy. But Hamo de Valoniis
opposed the consecration of John, and took possession
of the temporalities of the church of Leighlin and
of the property of the Canons. In consequence of
these violent proceedings Matthew 0*Heney was
loth to consecrate John, who accordingly went
to Rome and was well received by Innocent III.,
who consecrated him himself, and gave him a letter
directed to the Chapter, clergy, and people of the
town and diocese of Leighlin, in which, after men-
tioning his having received letters from them, and



332 AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XXXI.

from the archbishops of Armagh and Cashel, and
the bishops of Ossory and Kildare, and touching
upon other circumstances connected with the elec-
tion, &c. he tells them, that he has consecrated John,
and that he now sends him back to his church,
ordering them to obey him. (109) At the same
time he wrote a very sharp letter to John, earl of
Morton, in which he complains of the unjust and
outrageous conduct of his deputy Hamo, and of John
himself having detained the archbishop of Dublin in
Normandy, and admonishes him not to prevent the
bishop John, whom he himself had consecrated, from
administering the see of Leighlin, and to take care
that he be not molested by any other person. He
desires him to make Hamo refund to the church and
Canons of Leighlin what he had taken from them,
and threatens him, in case of non-compliance, with
disappointing him as to certain hopes of his, perhaps
those, which John entertained of being declared
king of Ireland. (110) These letters must have been
written in 1198, the first year of Innocent's ponti-
ficate, being dated in September, (111) while John
was only earl of Morton, and consequently prior to
his having been crowned king of England on the
26th of May A. D. 1199. Meanwhile Hamo,
having plundered not only the church, but likewise
the laity, whereby he became very rich, was recalled
in 1198, and Meiler Fitzhenry substituted in his
place. (112) Some time after, in compensation for
the injuries he had done to the see of Dublin, he
made a grant of 20 plough-lands to the archbishop,
John Cumin, and to his successors. (113)

(107) The same, ib. at Emly. Ware does not mark this fire
at A, 1192, but Harris does.

(108) Hoveden at A. 1197, p. 113. Ber, Angl. Scriptoresy
Frankfort A, 1601. Ware, Ajinals at A. 1197, and Leland,
Hist. S^c. B. I. ck, 5.



CHAP. XXXr. ~ OF IRELAND. 333

(109) This letter is No. 366 in Lib. 1. of the Epistolacy ed.
by Baluze. It is dated from Perugia 21st September.

(110) This letter is No. 367, ib. dated 18th September.

(HI) This is the month of the date also of the letter concern-
ing the affair of Ross, and they are likewise addressed from Pe-
rugia, whereby is confirmed what I have observed (above Not'
105) as to that letter having been written in 1198.

(112) See Ware, An7ials at A: 1198, and Leland, B. 1. ch. 6.

(113) Ware and Harris, Bishops at Joh7z Cumin.

§. xrv. Cornelius Mac-dermot, king or prince
of Moylurg, who had taken the Cistercian habit in
the abbey of Boyle, died there in 1 197 ; and to the
same year is assigned the death of Flahertach
O'Maldory, prince of Tirconnel. (114) The fol-
lowing year is remarkable for the death of the last
king of all Ireland, Roderic O' Conor, who departed
this life in the monatery of Cong, where he had
spent several of his last years. (115) After his
death terrible dissensions and wars occurred between
Cathal Crobhdearg O' Conor and Cathal Carrach
O' Conor, each assuming the title of king of Con-
naught ; but it is not my province to enter into a
history of these bloody and unhappy contests. In
said year 1198 a bishop of Raphoe, whose name is
not known, resigned his see, and another was chosen
in his stead ; but this resignation was disapproved of
by Innocent III. who in a letter to the archbishop of
Armagh, dated from Rome May 18, says that as
said resignation was irregular, he had already directed



Online LibraryUnknownAn 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 text (page 29 of 45)