George Browne, Archbishop of Dublin

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Browne, George, Archbishop of Dublin. As friar of the order of St. Augustin, he commended himself to Henry VIII.'s notice, and on the murder of Archbishop Allen by the FitzGeralds,he was appointed to the see of Dublin, and consecrated by Cranmer, 19th March 1535. He continued an ardent advocate of the Reformation through life. He wrote to Thomas Cromwell in 1535, that he had "endeavoured almost to the hazard of his life to reduce the nobility and gentry of Ireland to due obedience in owning the King their supreme head as well spiritual as temporal, but that he was much opposed therein especially by Cromer, Archbishop of Armagh."

He followed all Henry VIII.'s changes, opportunely supporting them with Scriptural arguments. In his efforts to establish the Reformation in Ireland, he met with but slight success, and Henry found it difficult to reconcile himself to this, seeing how readily his English subjects accorded. The Bishop of Meath and other prelates met him with open resistance, "and his attempts to displace the images and relics from the cathedrals of Dublin were stubbornly opposed by his clergy, who despatched a secret emissary to Rome, to bear their assurances of devotion and implore for aid." Browne also met much opposition from Lord Grey and others high in power. In 1542 we find him successfully contending in a lawsuit with Lord Howth concerning the ownership of Ireland's Eye. On Mary's accession he was, as a married man, deprived of his see, and he died soon afterwards. Ussher describes him as "a man of cheerful countenance; in his acts and conduct, plain and downright; to the poor, merciful and compassionate." It is surmised that he died about 1556.

Sources

118. Ecclesiae Hiberniae Fasti: Rev. Henry Cotton: Indices by John R. Garstin, M.A. 5 vols. Dublin, 1851-'60.

196. Irishmen, Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished, Rev. James Wills, D.D. 6 vols. or 12 parts. Dublin, 1840-'7.

339. Ware, Sir James, Works: Walter Harris. 2 vols. Dublin, 1764.

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