Monday, 27 March 2017

The Medieval Bishops of Meath

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Eugene, bishop of Meath, succeeded and sat about twenty years. Before his death he assumed the style which his successors have since used. His predecessor Idunan adopted the same title. He succeeded in 1174 and died 1194.
Simon Rochfort was the first Englishman who governed this see and was consecrated about the year 1194. He died in the year 1224. having conducted himself in the government of his see with fidelity wisdom and integrity. Was of such an humble and meek behavior that he acquired the reputation of being a most excellent prelate.
Deodatus was elected bishop in 1224 and obtained the royal assent on the 29th August following. Some say he died before consecration and therefore do not reckon him among the bishops of this see. He died in the year 1226.
Ralph le Petit succeeded in 1227. He was archdeacon of Meath, a man of great gravity and wisdom. He died advanced in years about the fourth year of his consecration in 1230.
Richard de la Corner, canon of St. Patrick's, Dublin, succeeded in 1230, was confirmed by King Henry III and consecrated at Drogheda in St. Peter's church in 1232. He died in the year 1250.
Hugh de Taghmon succeeded in 1250. He is styled a man of piety and of venerable life. To this prelate Maurice Fitz Maurice, Lord Justice of Ireland, and John de Sanford, Escheator of Ireland, Edward I issued a commission to administer the oath of allegiance to the nobility and to the commonalty of Ireland. Having governed the See about thirty one years, he died in January 1281 and was buried at Mullingar.
Thomas St. Leger succeeded in 1287, was born of an illustrious family and was adorned by his manners. He was Archdeacon of Kells. Not having the assent of his metropolitan, he appealed to Rome. Another being preferred by the Primate, both parties resigned their claims into the hands of the Pope who, in the plenitude of apostolic power, chose Thomas St. Leger. He was not consecrated till the 3d of November, 1281. He was careful of his temporal privileges and equally so of his spiritual concerns. He enjoyed bad health before his death in December 1320. He ruled over his diocese thirty eight years.
John O'Carroll succeeded in 1321, was Dean and Bishop of Cork and was translated by the Pope to the See of Meath in the year 1321. He died in London about the beginning of August, 1329, on his return from Avignon.
William de Paul, a Carmelite Friar and sometime Provincial of his Order in England and Scotland, in token of his singular piety great learning wisdom and dexterity in managing affairs, succeeded as Bishop of Meath, 1327 by provision of the Pope, was consecrated at Avignon. He died in July, 1349, having sat twenty two years.
William St. Leger succeeded in 1350, was Archdeacon of Meath, was elected by the clergy and ratified by Bull of Pope Clement VI, was consecrated in England on the 2d of May, 1350, and died AD 1352.
Nicholas Allen succeeded in 1353, was Abbot of the Monastery of St. Thomas near Dublin, was consecrated in the beginning of this year. He was Lord High Treasurer of Ireland and took oath of office on the 10th of March, 1357. He died on the 5th of January, 1366.
Stephen de Valle or Wall succeeded in 1369, was Dean of Limerick and promoted by the Pope, consecrated in 1360. He sat in the See nine years and became Lord High Chancellor of Ireland. He died intestate at Oxford on the 10th of November, 1379.
William Andrew succeeded in 1380, was an English Dominican and Doctor of Divinity, was consecrated Bishop of Achrony in the year 1374, and was by Pope Urban VI translated to this see. He was distinguished for wisdom and learning. He died five years after his translation AD 1385.
Alexander de Balscot was successor in 1386. A canon of St Canice's Church, he was promoted to the See of Ossory and translated to Meath on the 14th of December, 1386. He was Lord High Treasurer of Ireland, executed the duties of his office with fidelity, had the reputation of a good bishop, died at Ardbraccan on the 10th of November, 1400, and was buried at Trim in St. Mary's Abbey.
Robert Montain, Rector of the Church of Kildalky, succeeded by the provision of the Pope in 1402. He sat ten years and died on the 24th May, AD 1412.
Edward Danteey, Archdeacon of Cornwall, was promoted to the See by Pope John XXII in the year 1413. He presided over sixteen years and was during that period Lord High Treasurer of Ireland and Deputy Viceroy of the Kingdom. He was falsely accused of theft and arraigned before the Parliament. His innocence was afterwards established by the voluntary and public confession of an accomplice in the robbery. Having solicited the Bishop's pardon, who forgave him, he was referred to the Primate for absolution. He died on the 4th of January, AD 1429.
William Hadsor was promoted in 1430 by the Pope and consecrated. He died on Ascension Day 1434. The same month that Bishop Dantsey died.
Thomas Scurlock, Prior of the Abbey of St. Peter, Newtown, near Trim, was elected by the clergy. He hastened to Rome to obtain the Pope's confirmation, if consecrated he survived but a short time.
William Silk, Doctor of Canon Law, Official of the Ecclesiastical Court of Meath and Rector of Killeen, succeeded in 1434. Application was made to the Pope to exonerate him from his pastoral charge on account of old age. He died at Ardbraccan on the 9th of May, 1450, and was buried in the church of St. Mary at Killeen.
Edmund Ouldhall, a Carmelite of Norwich, succeeded to the See in 1450. He died at Ardbraccan on the 9th or 29th of August, 1459, and was buried in the church of that place.
William Sherwood succeeded by provision of Pope Pius II and was consecrated in 1460. He was some time Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and afterwards Lord Chancellor. He died in Dublin on the 3d of December, 1482, and was buried in the Abbey Church of SS, Peter and Paul at Newtown near Trim. He presided over the See twenty two years.
John Payne, a Dominican and Doctor of Divinity, was promoted to the See by Pope Scxtus IV on the 17th of March, 1483, and installed on the 4th of August following. He presided over twenty three years, was some time Master of the Rolls. He was a prelate in great esteem for his alms deeds and hospitality. He died on the 6th of March, 1506, and was buried at Dublin in a monastery of his own order.
William Rokeby, an Englishman, Doctor of the Canon Law, was advanced to this See by Pope Julius II in 1507, was Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1498 and, on his promotion to the See of Meath, was called into the Privy Council, was translated to Dublin by the same Pope, where he died on the 20th of November, 1521. He resigned in 1511.
Hugh Inge, an Englishman, Doctor of Divinity, was promoted by the Pope in 1512, was translated to Dublin, where his name will occur to notice.
Richard Wilson, an Englishman succeeded by provision of the Pope in 1523 and sat about six years.  He died in 1529.
Edward Staples, a native of Lincolnshire, succeeded by provision of Pope Clement VII in the year 1530. He was deprived by Queen Mary on the 9th of June 1554 for having joined in the changes of religion, &c.
William Walsh, Doctor of Divinity and a native of Waterford, was on the 18th of October, 1554, appointed to the See. In maintaining the purity of faith, William stood forth conspicuous.  He was deprived by Queen Elizabeth/ He died at Complute in Spain and was there interred in a monastery of his own order, the Cistercian. His epitaph briefly describes his merits. 'Here lieth William Walsh a Cistercian Monk and Bishop of Meath who having suffered imprisonment and many other hardships for thirteen years at last died in banishment.'

Thomas Dease, the ablest canonist of the Irish Church, died AD 1649.
Anthony Geoghegan died AD 1660.
Patrick Plunkett died AD 1671.
Patrick Cusack died AD 1690.
Luke Fagan translated to Dublin.
Stephen MacEogan, translated from Clonmacnois in 1729, he died on the 30th of May. AD 1756. Bishop Geoghegan died while coadjutor.
Patrick Joseph Plunkett was consecrated in 1779, died AD 1829.
Robert Logan, coadjutor in 1824, died AD 1830.
John Cantwell consecrated in 1830 still happily presides Bishop of Meath.

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