Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The See of Limerick (1207 - 1400)

From Chapter XXIV of 'History of the Irish Hierarchy' by Fr. Thomas Walsh:


Geoffry bishop of Limerick sat in 1217.

Edmund bishop of Limerick died in 1222.

Hubert de Burgo a prelate descended of a noble family and prior of the monastery of Athassel in the county of Tipperary succeeded in 1222 and obtained the temporals in that year. He was a liberal benefactor to the cathedral to the canons and vicars choral of it. A little before the death of this prelate the bishops of Ireland had formed a project to deprive the king of the custody of the temporalities of sees while vacant and also to obstruct their tenants from suing in the king's courts without the Pope's assent. Hubert de Burgo was selected by the Irish bishops to arrange this affair at Rome. This attempt alarmed the king who instructed his agents at the court of Rome to resist and oppose any such effort with all their might. The death of de Burgo in 1250 prevented his journey and put an end to the design of the prelates.

Robert of Emly was elected by the dean and chapter in the year 1251. In the year 1253, Robert granted to Thomas of Woodford, dean of Limerick, and to his successors, the benefices of Carnarthy and Rathsiward. Robert died on the 8th of September 1272.

Gerald de Mareschall, archdeacon of Limerick, succeeded in 1272 and was consecrated by the archbishop of Cashel.  He obtained the temporals the king reserving for one year to himself knight's fees advowsons wards reliefs and escheats. Robert recovered a great many possessions of his see which others had unjustly usurped. In 1297, he obtained judgment against Richard Myath for one messuage one plow land and four hundred acres of wood with their appurtenances in the lands of Lisredy which his predecessor Robert had granted to said Richard without the consent of the chapter of Limerick. He governed this see twenty nine years and died on the 10th of February 1301. The constitutions of this prelate are extant in the registry of the bishops of Limerick.

Robert of Dondonyl, canon of the cathedral of Limerick, succeeded by election of the chapter and was consecrated in 1302. He obtained the temporals in the September of that year. He sat almost nine years and was buried in his own church.

Eustace del Ewe, or Waters, dean of Limerick, was consecrated before the close of the year 1311. He expended large sums of money in adorning and repairing his church and, having finished it, dedicated his cathedral in July 1327. He died on the 3d of May 1336 having enjoyed the see upwards of twenty four years and was buried in his own church.

Maurice Rochfort, or de Rupe, was consecrated at Limerick on the 6th of April 1337. An information was exhibited against him for preventing the subsidy from being levied which the parliament granted to the king. He was some time deputy to Sir Thomas Rokeby, justice of Ireland. He died on the 9th of June or in April 1353. The annals of Nenagh style him a man of a good life and honest conversation.

Stephen Lawless, chancellor of the cathedral of Limerick, succeeded in 1354 and obtained the temporals from the king Stephen died on the feast of the holy Innocents 1359.

Stephen de Valle, or Wall, dean of Limerick, succeeded in 1360 by provision of the Pope. He presided nine years and was treasurer of Ireland. Was translated to the see of Meath where he sat ten years and having died at Oxford in November 1379 was buried there in a monastery of Dominicans. While he was bishop of Limerick he translated the bones of Richard Fitz Ralph, archbishop of Armagh, commonly called Saint Richard of Dundalk, from Avignon to Dundalk, the birth place of that archbishop, and deposited them in a monument in the parish church of St Nicholas in that town. In a parliament held at Trim in June 1485 a chantry was confirmed in this church of St Nicholas at Dundalk in honor of God the blessed Virgin St. Nicholas and St. Richard of Dundalk. The virtues of FitzRalph, archbishop of Armagh, were so great and the miracles ascribed to him were so many that Pope Boniface IX issued a bull to John Cotton, archbishop of Armagh, Richard Young, bishop elect of Bangor, and to the abbot of Osney near Oxford, to hold an enquiry concerning the truth of those miracles.  The result of the commission vanished in silence. On account of his opposition to the Regulars some have treated him and his writings with indifference. Bellarmine thinks his writings ought to be read with caution, others allowing him to have been a man of great accomplishments, rank him among the heretics, but the celebrated Luke Wadding, though not inclined to favor him, vindicates him of such a foul aspersion and adds that Ralph never departed from the unity of the church having submitted all his writings to her correction and decision.

Peter Curragh, or Creath, a native of the county of Dublin, was elected in 1369 and having sworn fealty to King Edward III obtained the temporals. In Luke Wadding's works is recorded a bull of Pope Gregory XI dated at Avignon the 20th of August 1376 in which are enumerated the charges against Peter, bishop of Limerick, by the archbishop of Cashel who was conservator of the privileges of the Franciscan friars in Ireland. The whole matter was referred to Simon Sudbury, archbishop of Canterbury, who was armed with authority to enquire into the proceedings of this bishop and should the complaints be found true, which Philip de Torrington, the metropolitan of Cashel advanced to pronounce, the bishop and his accomplices excommunicated.

The charges against the bishop of Limerick were that when archbishop Torrington came to redress the grievances of the Franciscans and cited the bishop to answer their complaints, he laid violent hands on the archbishop tore the citation from him with such violence and force that he drew his blood and like a man bereft of his senses ordered the archbishop to begone or it should fare worse with him and his attendants, that the bishop being cited refused to appear by himself or proctor laid more grievances on the friars after the citation than before and excommunicated all within his diocese who should repair for divine service or burial within their church, that the bishop having been a long time excommunicated for debts due to the apostolic see paid no regard thereto but acted as usual, that the archbishop having cited him for heresy he was together with the clergy who attended him in danger of being assaulted if he had not retired, and that after his retiring the bishop clad in his pontificals entered the city of Limerick with his accomplices and by bell book and candle publicly excommunicated every person who had supplied the archbishop with food or entertainment, that when he the archbishop had on a day of solemnity repaired to Limerick according to custom to preach the bishop caused public proclamation to be made that nobody under pain of excommunication should hear the archbishop's sermon and excommunicated by name all those who attended it that when he had left the city the bishop sent some of his servants after him who laid violent hands on him and forced the bridle of his horse. How this affair terminated is not on record Peter bishop of Limerick resigned in the year 1400 and died 1407.