Hugh Ward, D.D.

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Ward, Hugh, D.D., Rector of the College of Louvain, was born in the County of Donegal, towards the close of the 16th century. He was educated at Salamanca and at Paris, and was among the first members of the theological faculty of the Irish College founded at Louvain in 1616. He was first Professor of Divinity, and afterwards Guardian or Rector of the College. He was soon joined by Father John Colgan and Father Michael O'Clery. "These three noble Franciscans," says O'Curry, "soon began to devise means to rescue from the chances of threatened oblivion the perishing records and evidences of, at least, the ecclesiastical history of their native country. They established an Irish press in St. Anthony's College. Michael O'Clery was sent back into Ireland to collect, purchase, or transcribe manuscripts; the expenses of his mission being provided for by Father Ward." Dr. Reeves characterizes Ward as "a great and good man;" and Harris says: "He was a man well skilled in the antiquities of his country, and undertook to write a general history of the lives of the Saints of Ireland... While our author waited with impatience many years for the benefit of O'Clery's collections, he employed himself writing several pieces as preliminary to his larger work." (None of those noted in Harris's Ware appear to have been published except his Acta Sancti Rumoldi Martyris Inclyti, which appeared in 1662.) Dr. Ward died 8th November 1635, before he could make use of the materials collected in Ireland; but in the hands of O'Clery and his brothers [see O'CLERY, MICHAEL, p. 373], they formed the basis of the Annals of the Four Masters, and enabled Colgan to commence his Acta Sanctorum. Dr. Ward, or Mac an Bhaird, as he is known in Irish, was buried at Louvain.

Sources

195. Irish Writers of the Seventeenth Century: Thomas D'Arcy McGee. Dublin, 1846.

260. O'Curry, Eugene: Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History. Dublin, 1861.

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