George Dowdall

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George Dowdall (1487 – 15 August 1558) was twice Archbishop of Armagh.

He was born in Drogheda, son of Edward Dowdall.[1] The Dowdall family came to Ireland from Dovedale in Derbyshire in the thirteenth century and settled in County Louth. Many of the family became distinguished lawyers and judges. George entered the Order of Crutched Friars at an early age and became the last Prior of their house at Ardee.[2]

He was appointed Primate of All Ireland by Henry VIII in 1543 to succeed George Cromer. [3] However, this was not recognised by the Pope, who had earlier replaced Cromer with Robert Wauchope. Dowdall accepted Henry's position as Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of Ireland, but like Henry took an anti-Protestant theological position. This became unsustainable in the reign of Edward VI. Dowdall would not accept the new liturgy and in 1552, he withdrew to a monastery in Brabant, and was replaced by Hugh Goodacre. By this stage Wauchope had died without replacement. Dowdall was deprived of his Primacy, but not, it seems, formally deposed as Archbishop.[4]

With Mary's accession in 1553, and the re-establishment of Roman Catholicism, Dowall was reappointed to Armagh, this time with the Pope's approval, and he held the position until his death, some three months before Mary. He was energetic in attempting to undo the effects of the Reformation, holding two provincial synods at Drogheda to restore the constitution of the pre-Reformation Church. He was particularly zealous in depriving married clergy of their living: these included, inevitably, personal enemies such as George Browne, Archbishop of Dublin.[5] He was made a member of the Privy Council of Ireland. He died in London while on official business there.[6]

He was noted from an early age for gravity of character and learning, but also for his "high stomach" (pride).[7] Despite his reputation for learning, he left very few published works.[8]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ DNB p.384
  2. ^ DNB p.384
  3. ^ DNB p.384
  4. ^ DNB p.384
  5. ^ DNB p.384
  6. ^ DNB p.384
  7. ^ DNB p.384
  8. ^ DNB p.384

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