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State intervention in disputes between secular and regular clergy in early seventeenth-century Ireland

  • Mark Empey (a1)
Abstract

The success of the Counter-Reformation in Ireland following the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy was a remarkable achievement. Between 1618 and 1630 Rome made a staggering nineteen episcopal appointments in a kingdom that was ruled by a Protestant king. Documenting the achievements of the initial period only paints half the picture, however. The implementation of the Tridentine reforms and the thorny issue of episcopal authority brought the religious orders into a head-on collision with the secular clergy. This protracted dispute lasted for a decade, most notably in the diocese of Dublin where an English secular priest, Paul Harris, led a hostile attack on the Franciscan archbishop, Thomas Fleming. The longevity of the feud, though, owed at least as much to the intervention of Lord Deputy Sir Thomas Wentworth as it did to the internal tensions of the Catholic Church. Despite Wentworth’s influential role, he has been largely written out of the conflict. This article addresses the lacunae in the current historiography and argues that the lord deputy’s interference was a decisive factor in exacerbating the hostilities between the secular and regular clergy in early seventeenth-century Ireland.

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Copyright
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I would like to express my gratitude to the Irish Research Council and UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute for the Study of Irish History and Civilisation for their financial assistance at the time of researching this article.

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1 Fleming to the Sacred Congregation, 29 May 1640, in Moran, P.F., History of the Catholic Archbishops of Dublin since the Reformation (Dublin: J.M. O’Toole & Son, 1864), 325 .

2 Fleming to Luke Wadding, Guardian of St Isidore’s College in Rome, 20 July 1631, in Brendan Jennings, ed. Wadding Papers 1614-38 (Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1953), 557; James Barron, Abbot of Vallis Salutis, to the Cardinal Protector, 21 August 1631, ibid, 564.

3 Jackson, Brian, ‘Sectarianism: division and dissent in Irish Catholicism’, in Alan Ford and John McCafferty, eds. The Origins of Sectarianism in Early Modern Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 203215 .

4 Benignus Millett, O.F.M., ‘Catalogue of volume 294 of the Scritture originali riferite nelle congregazioni generali in Propaganda Archives’, Collectanae Hibernica, 8 (1965): 18 .

5 Moran, History of the Catholic Archbishops of Dublin, 369-80.

6 Ó hAnnracháin, Tadgh, Catholic Reformation in Ireland: the mission of Rinuccini, 1645-1649 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 4245 ; Kearney, H. F., ‘Ecclesiastical Politics and the Counter-Reformation in Ireland, 1618-1648’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 11 (1960): 206208 ; Corish, P. J., The Catholic Community in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Dublin: Helicon Press, 1981), 2628 ; Corish, P. J., ‘An Irish Counter-Reformation Bishop: John Roche’, Irish Theological Quarterly, 26 (1959): 110112 .

7 Flynn, T. S., The Irish Dominicans, 1536-1641 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1993), 231262 .

8 O’Connor, Thomas, Irish Jansenists 1600-70: Religion and Politics in Flanders, France, Ireland and Rome (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2008), 129170 .

9 Brief analyses of Wentworth’s involvement in the dispute is provided by McCafferty, John, The Reconstruction of the Church of Ireland: Bishop Bramhall and the Laudian Reforms, 1633-1641 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 170174 ; Canny, Nicholas, Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 443445 ; O’Connor, Tim, ‘Wentworth and Dublin’s Catholic clergy: A document from the Strafford Papers’, Archivium Hibernicum (hereafter Archiv. Hib.), 59 (2005): 3755 .

10 O’Connor, ‘Wentworth and Dublin’s Catholic clergy’, 41-3.

11 Knowler, William, ed. The Earl of Strafforde’s Letters and Dispatches, 2 vols (London: William Bowyer, 1739), 1:293 .

12 Rushworth, John, The Tryal of Thomas, Earl of Strafford (London, 1680), 69 .

13 Wentworth to King Charles, 27 January 1634[/5], Sheffield City Library (hereafter SCL), Strafford Papers (hereafter Str. P.), volume 3, ff. 167-8.

14 Wentworth to Secretary Coke, 2 March 1634[/5], SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 187.

15 Cregan, D. F., ‘The Social and Cultural Background of a Counter-Reformation Episcopate, 1618-60’, in Art Cosgrove and Donal MacCartney, eds. Studies in Irish History Presented to R. Dudley Edwards (Naas: Leinster Leader Ltd., 1979), 87 .

16 Bishop Bedell to Ussher, 18 September 1630, in Parr, Richard, The life of the Most Reverend Father in God, James Usher, late Lord Arch-Bishop of Armagh (London, 1686), 453 . See also Bedell to Wentworth, 5 November 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 20, f. 115.

17 Cressy to Wentworth, 15 August 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 13, f. 28.

18 Flynn, The Irish Dominicans, 240.

19 For example, see letters of Thomas Strong O.F.M. to Luke Wadding O.F.M., 27 March 1629, 20 November 1629, 26 May 1630, Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on Franciscan Manuscripts preserved at the convent, Merchants’ Quay, Dublin (Dublin: Stationary Office, 1906), (hereafter H.M.C. Franciscan MSS), 10, 16, 25.

20 Strong to Wadding, 26 November 1630, ibid, 34; See also Strong to undisclosed, 21 November 1631, ibid, 54-5.

21 Bishop David Rothe of Ossory to Richard Smith, bishop of Chalcedon, 6 December 1628, Catholic Record Society, 22 (1921): 168-70. On the troubles Smith encountered, see Allison, A.F., ‘A question of jurisdiction: Richard Smith, bishop of Chalcedon, and the Catholic laity, 1625-31’, Recusant History, 16 (1982-3): 111145 .

22 Flynn, The Irish Dominicans, 257-8.

23 See Tait, Clodagh, Death, Burial and Commemoration in Ireland, 1550-1650 (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2002), 5458 .

24 Corish, The Catholic Community, 35.

25 Memorandum concerning the statements of bishops of Ossory and Meath, [1630], Benignus Millett, ed., ‘Catalogue of Irish material in vols. 132-139 of the Scritture originali riferite nelle congregazioni generali in Propaganda Archives’, Collectanea Hibernica, 12 (1969): 11.

26 O’Queely to Wadding, 26 June 1630, H.M.C. Franciscan MSS, 27.

27 Comerford to Francesco Ingoli, 4 February 1633, ibid, 21.

28 My thanks to Clodagh Tait for drawing my attention to this. See her article, ‘Spiritual Bonds, Social Bonds: Baptism and Godparenthood in Ireland, 1530-1690’, Cultural and Social History, 2 (2005): 301-27.

29 O’Connor, ‘Wentworth and Dublin’s Catholic clergy’, 45.

30 O’Connor, Irish Jansenists, 152-3.

31 Declaration by the Dominican Chapter in favour of Thomas Fleming, Archbp., 20 February 1628[/9], Wadding Papers, 287-8.

32 O’Connor, Irish Jansenists, 155.

33 Fleming to Wadding, 26 August 1629, Wadding Papers, 308, Fleming to Wadding, 23 September 1629, ibid, 315.

34 Fleming to Wadding, 1 February 1631, ibid, 469.

35 W.D. O’Connell, ‘The Cahil propositions, 1629’, Irish Ecclesiastical Record, 62 (1943): 118-23; O’Connor, Irish Jansenists, 158-61.

36 Fleming to Wadding, 3 January 1631, Wadding Papers, 456; H.M.C. Franciscan MSS, 36.

37 The propositions censured at Paris, Wadding Papers, 510.

38 Condemnation of the Irish propositions, 30 January 1631, ibid, 465.

39 In the Wadding Papers alone there are seventeen attestations in favour of the regulars and at least ten letters by the regulars themselves addressed to the Holy Office.

40 Fleming to Wadding, 7 April, 3 May, 20 July, September 1631, Wadding Papers, 493, 516, 558, 570.

41 Donnelly, Nicholas, Short Histories of Dublin Parishes: Part viii, Parish of St Audeon and St Michael (Dublin: Catholic Trust Society of Ireland, 1911), 171172 .

42 Jean Pierre Camus, A Discours hapned betwene an hermite called Nicephorus & a yong lover called Tristan, who for that his Mistresse Petronilla entred into Religion would faine become an Hermite...and Translated into English by P.S.P. ([Paris], 1630), ‘To the Catholickes of Ireland’. I owe this reference to John McCafferty. According to the Capuchin, Nicholas Archbold, it was not until 1635 that the book was censured by the Sorbonne and prohibited by the Privy Council. Archbold ‘Evangelic Fruict of the Seraphicall Franciscan Order’, London, British Library, Harleian MS 3888, p. 282.

43 Matthews, Francis, Examen Juridicum Censurae Facultatis Theologicae Parisiensis et eiusdem civitatis archiepiscopi latae circa quasdam Propositiones Regularibus Regni Hiberniae impositas (Frankfurt, 1631). Matthews also went under the name of Francis O’Mahony.

44 The petition is in Moran, History of the Catholic Archbishops of Dublin, 374.

45 Comerford to Wadding, 30 October 1631, Wadding Papers, 609.

46 Peter Caddell and Paul Harris, To the most illustrious archbishops and reverend bishops of Ireland, but more particularly to those of the Province of Dublin their Honourable Lords, David Bishop of Osory, John of Fernes, Ross of Kildare, and Mathew Vicar Apostolicall of Laghlein (Roan [i.e. Dublin]: at the sign of the three lilies with Edmund Firzours [Dublin Society of Stationers], 1632).

47 Harris, Paul, The excommunication published by the L. archbishop of Dublin Thomas Flemming aliàs Barnwell friar of the Order of S. Francis, against the inhabitants of the diocesse of Dublin, for hearing the masses of Peter Caddell D. of Divinity, and Paul Harris priests, is proved not onely injust, but of no validity, and consequently binding to no obedience. In which treatise is also discovered that impious plot and policy of the aforesaid archbishop and his friars in supplanting the pastors and priests of the clergy, thereby to bring all into the hands of the friars, of whose disorders and foule abuses (especially in this kingdome) something is noted. (Dublin: [Society of Stationers], 1632).

48 Harris, Paul, Arktomastix, siue Edmundus Vrsulanus propter usurpatum judicium de tribunali dejectus: et propter libellum famosum in judicium vocatus (Dublin: [Society of Stationers], 1633).

49 Archbishop Fleming to Thomas Fleming, 12 October 1631, Wadding Papers, 604.

50 Memorandum for the English Privy Council, c.1628, Brendan Jennings, ed. ‘Miscellaneous Documents I, 1588-1634’, Archiv. Hib., 12 (1946): 152. See also ‘Abstract of a l[ett]re dated att Dublyn’ [written in Falkland’s hand], 9 July 1633, Kew, The National Archives, State Papers 63/254, f. 87.

51 Memorandum for the English Privy Council, c.1628, Calendar of State Papers Ireland, 1647-60, Addenda 1625-60 (London: Public Records Office, 1900), 109.

52 Mark Empey, ed. ‘The diary of Sir James Ware, 1623-66’, Analecta Hibernica (hereafter Anal. Hib.), 45 (2014): 81-2, 89.

53 Mark Empey, ‘“We are not yet safe, for they threaten us with more violence”: a study of the Cook Street riot, 1629’, in William Sheehan and Maura Cronin, eds. Riotous Assemblies: Rebels, Riots and Revolts in Ireland (Cork: Mercier Press, 2010), 64-79.

54 Empey, ed. ‘The diary of Sir James Ware’, 82.

55 Archbold, ‘Evangelic Fruict’, BL, Harleian MS 3888, p. 212.

56 Roche to Wadding, January 1630, Wadding Papers, 333.

57 Wentworth to Laud, 28 August 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 8, f. 13.

58 Aidan Clarke, ‘28 November 1634: A detail of Strafford’s Administration’, Journal of Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (hereafter JRSAI), 93 (1963): 161-7; Dermot Fenlon, ‘Wentworth and the Parliament of 1634: An essay in chronology’, JRSAI, 94 (1964): 159-76.

59 Wentworth to Laud, 22 October 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 8, f. 34.

60 Wentworth to Coke, 16 December 1634, SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 162.

61 Alan Ford, ‘“Firm Catholics” or “Loyal Subjects”? Religious and Political Allegiance in Early Seventeenth-century Ireland’, in D. G. Boyce, Robert Eccleshall and Vincent Geoghegan, eds. Political Discourse in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Ireland (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), 1-31.

62 Wentworth to Laud, 28 August 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 8, f. 13.

63 Ibid. Laud to Wentworth, 9 September 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 8, f. 32; O’Connor, ‘Wentworth and Dublin’s Catholic clergy’, 45-50.

64 Wentworth to Laud, 28 August 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 8, f. 13; Laud to Wentworth, 9 September 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 8, f. 33; Laud to Wentworth, 15 November 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 6, f. 1; Secretary Coke to Wentworth, 12 July 1634, SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 246.

65 Wentworth to Laud, 31 October 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 8, f. 43; Laud to Wentworth, 2 December 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 6, f. 16.

66 Wentworth to Laud, 29 January 1633[/4], SCL, Str. P., vol. 6, f. 15. Bramhall was of the same opinion following a visit to Munster where he witnessed ‘a great controversy…hatched at Limericke between the Franciscans on the one part and the Jesuits and Dominicans on the other.’ Bramhall to Laud, 26 May 1634, Historical Manuscripts Commission, Calendar of the manuscripts of the late Reginald Rawdon Hastings, 4 vols (London: Stationary Office, 1944), 4:60.

67 ‘Extracts from Sir George Radcliffe’s draughts for his life of Strafford’, Wentworth Papers, 1597-1628, ed. J. P. Cooper, Camden Fourth Series, 12 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press for the Royal Historical Society, 1973), 320.

68 Harris, Paul, Fratres sobrii estote. 1 Pet. 5.8. Or, An Admonition to the Fryars of this Kingdome of Ireland to abandon such hereticall doctrines as they daylie publish of Ireland to abandon such hereticall doctrines as they daylie publish (Dublin: [Society of Stationers], 1634).

69 Harris, Paul, The Exile Exiled (Dublin: [Society of Stationers], 1635).

70 Bishop Roche to the Secretary of Propaganda, 15 November 1634, in P.F. Moran, ed. Spicilegium Ossoriense: being a collection of original letters and papers illustrative of the history of the Irish church, from the Reformation to the year 1800, 3 vols (Dublin: W.B. Kelly, 1874-8), 1:198-9.

71 Letter of John Roche, 20 October 1635, Ibid. 1:204.

72 Archbold, ‘Evangelic Fruict’, BL, Harleian MS 3888, p. 264.

73 Fleming to Wadding, 5 September 1636, Jennings, ‘Miscellaneous Documents I, 1588-1634’, 16-17; Falkland to Sir John Veel, 24 December 1632, Dublin, National Archives of Ireland Falkland Letter Book, 1629-33, MS M2445, f. 278; Falkland to Sir John Veel, 24 May 1633, ibid, f. 314,. Ussher to Laud, 17 March 1630[/1], in Alan Ford, ed. ‘Correspondence between Archbishops Ussher and Laud’, Archiv. Hib., 41 (1991-2): 14.

74 Coke to Wentworth, 21 January 1634[/5], SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 268; Wentworth to Coke, 2 March 1634[/5], SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 187.

75 O’Connor, Irish Jansenists, 167. Doyle was vicar general of Swords in 1630 and subsequently parish priest of St. Audoen’s in Dublin from 1631. M.V. Ronan, ‘Archbishop Bulkeley’s Visitation of Dublin, 1630’, Archiv. Hib., 8 (1941): 63; Donnelly, Short Histories of Dublin Parishes, 171-2.

76 O’Connor, ‘Wentworth and Dublin’s Catholic clergy’, 46.

77 Donnelly, Short Histories of Dublin Parishes, 172.

78 Flatsbury’s identity is somewhat of a mystery. A John Flatisbury was Guardian of Clane Friary in 1645. It is possible that John was his religious name and that Flatsbury used his baptismal name (Christopher) to evade the authorities. Ignatius Fennesy O.F.M., ‘Franciscan Guardians in Co. Kildare, 1629-1872’, Journal of the County Kildare Archaeological Society, 18 (1994-95): 158 ; Tait, Clodagh, ‘Namesakes and nicknames: naming practices in early modern Ireland, 1540-1700’, Continuity and Change, 21 (2006): 313340 . I am indebted to Father Ignatius Fennesy O.F.M. for his assistance on this matter.

79 Examinations taken upon oath before the Right Honourable, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, 31 January 1633[/4], SCL, Str. P., vol. 24-25, f. 101.

80 Harris obviously failed in his initial suit against Doyle in the consistory court the previous year, Donnelly, Short Histories of Dublin Parishes, p. 172.

81 Harris, The Exile Exiled, 34-5.

82 Roche to the Secretary of Propaganda, 15 November 1634, Spicilegium Ossoriense, 1:197-9.

83 The exercise of jurisdiction derived from Rome was again declared illegal in April 1629 by royal proclamation. P. J. Corish, ‘Two Seventeenth-Century Proclamations against the Catholic Clergy’, Archiv. Hib., 39 (1984): 53-5.

84 Wentworth to Laud, December 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 6, f. 7; Laud to Wentworth, 15 November 1633, SCL, Str. P., vol. 6, f. 2.

85 Sentence in the Castle Chamber against Nicholas Stephens and others for spreading abroad a letter and order of Cardinal Barberini against Paul Harris, contrary to the laws against foreign jurisdictions and bringing in Papal Bulls, 18 November 1635, SCL, Str. P., vol. 24-25, f. 460.

86 Wentworth to Coke, 2 March 1634[/5], SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 180.

87 Brendan Jennings, ‘The Indictment of Fr. John Preston, Franciscan’, Archiv. Hib., 26 (1963): 50-5.

88 Ibid, 52.

89 Giorgio Coneo [George Conn] to Cardinal Barberini, 2 September 1636, in P.E. Mac Fhinn, ed. ‘Scríbhinní I gCartlainn an Vatican: Tuarascbháil’, Anal. Hib., 16 (1946): 20. See also Archbold, ‘Evangelic Fruict’, BL, Harleian MS 3888, p. 264.

90 Examinations taken upon oath before the Right Honourable, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, 31 January 1633[/4], SCL, Str. P., vol. 24-25, f. 101.

91 Vicenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate, 9 December 1633, Calendar of State Papers, Venice, 1632-6 (London: Stationary Office, 1865), 172; John Southcot to Peter Biddulph, 13 September 1633, in Newsletters from the Caroline Court, 1631-1638, ed. Michael Questier, Camden Fifth Series, 26 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press for the Royal Historical Society, 2005), 205; Mr Garrard to Wentworth, 6 December 1633, Str. P., SCL, vol. 13, , SCL, f. 130.

92 Wentworth to Coke, 3 March 1633[/4], SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 58; Coke to Wentworth, 15 April 1634, SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 229; Wentworth to Coke, 13 May 1634, SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 81; Coke to Wentworth, 30 June 1634, SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 243.

93 Brocard Mansfield, O.D.C., ‘Fr Paul Browne, O.D.C., 1598-1671’, Dublin Historical Record, 37 (1984): 54-8.

94 Empey, ed. ‘The diary of Sir James Ware’, 84, 88, 90, Empey, ‘A study of the Cook Street riot, 1629’, 76-8; Rev. Marcellus Glynn, O.D.C. and Rev. F. X. Martin, O.S.A., eds. ‘The “Brevis Relatio” of the Irish Discalced Carmelites, 1625-1670 by Father Paul Browne, O.D.C.’, Archiv. Hib., 25 (1962): 149-50.

95 Empey, ed. ‘The diary of Sir James Ware’, 99.

96 Wentworth to Coke, 2 March 1634[/5], SCL, Str. P., vol. 5, f. 190.

97 Conn to Barberini, 23 October 1636, ‘Scríbhinní I gCartlainn an Vatican’, 20; Conn to Barberini, 20 November 1636, ibid, 21; Jennings, ‘The Indictment of Fr. John Preston, Franciscan’, 50.

98 Queen Henrietta Maria to Wentworth, 30 April 1634, SCL, Str. P., vol. 3, f. 105.

99 For an excellent assessment of Wentworth’s uneasy relationship with the queen and her court, see Fiona Pogson, ‘Wentworth and Court Politics, 1628-40’ (PhD thesis, Sheffield University, 2004), 189-235.

100 Wentworth to Sir Robert Ayton, secretary to the queen, 14 May 1634, SCL, Str. P., vol. 8, f. 112. He informed Ayton, ‘for her Majesty’s letter you mention in favour of some religious men, it is not as yet brought unto me’.

101 Wentworth to Queen Henrietta Maria, n.d., SCL, Str. P., vol. 3, f. 106.

102 Empey, Mark, ‘Ireland, Spain and “the protection and defence of the Christian religion”, c. 1622-35’, in Declan M. Downey and Julio Crespo MacLennan, eds. Spanish-Irish relations through the Ages (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2008), 103122 , esp. 115-22.

103 See McCafferty, The Reconstruction of the Church of Ireland, 140-6; Ford, Alan, James Ussher: Theology, history and politics in early modern England and Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007), 184, 242 .

104 Mark Empey, ‘Paving the way to prerogative: the politics of Sir Thomas Wentworth, c. 1614-1635’ (PhD thesis, University College Dublin, 2009), 234-7.

105 A. Guthrie to Robert Maxwell, earl of Nithsdale, 7 February 1636, Constable Maxwell MS, DDEV/79/H10, University of Hull Archives, Brynmor Jones Library.

106 Zagorin, Perez, ‘Sir Edward Stanhope’s advice to Thomas Wentworth, Viscount Wentworth concerning the deputyship of Ireland: an unpublished letter of 1631’, The Historical Journal, 8 (1964): 317318 .

* I would like to express my gratitude to the Irish Research Council and UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute for the Study of Irish History and Civilisation for their financial assistance at the time of researching this article.

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