Hugh Inge

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Hugh Inge or Ynge [1](died 1528) was an English-born judge and prelate in sixteenth century Ireland who held the offices of Bishop of Meath, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

He was born at Shepton Mallet in Somerset. His parents are said to have destined him for the Church from an early age.[2] He was educated at Winchester College and became a fellow of New College, Oxford in 1484 and a Doctor of Divinity in 1511. He held a number of minor benefices in England. After traveling for a time on the Continent, he became attached to the household of Adriano Castellesi, the Italian-born Bishop of Bath and Wells, and went with him to Rome in 1504. In about 1511 he came to the notice of Cardinal Wolsey: he later admitted that he owed to Wolsey everything he enjoyed "without him I had no comfort in this world".[3]

In 1512, through Wolsey's influence, he was made Bishop of Meath. There may have been a later estrangement between the two men, since in 1514 he wrote to Wolsey imploring him not to "cast him away".[4] In fact Inge followed the same career path as William Rokeby, whom he succeeded both as Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He was a popular and respected figure in Ireland, and enjoyed the friendship of Gerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, the dominant figure in Irish politics for many years. [5]

Inge carried out extensive repairs to the episcopal palace of St. Sepulchre; his name is commemorated in Hugh Inge's door, which was restored in the eighteenth century;[6] a few fragments of the door survive at present-day Kevin Street. He was vigilant in protecting the rights and privileges of the See of Dublin, and in 1524 he complained to the Privy Council of Ireland that the city fathers of Dublin, headed by Nicholas Queytrot (or Coitrotte), lately Lord Mayor of Dublin, had unlawfully occupied the Manor of St. Sepluchre, adjoining the palace, which was a "liberty" under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop.[7] At the same time he was engaged in a lawsuit with the Dean and Chapter of the Diocese of Kildare as to his rights of Visitation if the office of Bishop of Kildare happened to be vacant: the outcome of this lawsuit is unknown.[8]

In 1528 the fifth and most severe epidemic of sweating sickness swept through England and Ireland. Inge was among its victims: he died on 3 August and was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin[9]

O'Flanagan[10] praises him as a judge noted for honesty, good sense and justice; though his recorded judgements are few, they carried great weight. In his own time Polydore Vergil praised him as an honest man who brought a measure of order and good government to a notoriously troubled kingdom. D'Alton calls him a man noted for "great justice and probity".[11]


  1. ^ Hink was yet another version of the name.
  2. ^ O'Flanagan, J. Roderick Lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of Ireland 2 Volumes London 1870
  3. ^ Ball F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926
  4. ^ Ball Judges in Ireland
  5. ^ D'Alton, John Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin Dublin 1838
  6. ^ D'Alton Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin
  7. ^ Warburton, John; Whitelaw, John; Walsh, Robert History of the City of Dublin Cadell and Davies London 1818
  8. ^ Sir James Ware History of the Bishops of Ireland Dublin 1789
  9. ^ O'Flanagan Lives of the Lord Chancellors
  10. ^ Lives of the Lord Chancellors
  11. ^ D'Alton Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin