Clogher, See of

The See of Clogher is one of the most ancient in Ireland, and had its origin in the religious foundation instituted by St. Patrick, or his friend St. Macartin,Arms of the Bishoprick of Clogher a descendant of Fiachus Araidh, King of Ulster, who was succeeded in the mingled abbacy and prelacy by St. Tigernach, St. Laserian, St. Aidan (who converted the Northumbrians to Christianity, and was the first bishop of Lindisfarne), and other celebrated ecclesiastics of the early ages. So late as the 12th century, Edan O'Killedy, bishop of this see, subscribed his name as Bishop of Uriel to the great charter of Newry. The equally ancient see of Clones was at a remote period annexed to it, as also were those of Ardsrath and Louth. About 1240, Henry III. sent a mandatory letter to Maurice Fitzgerald, Lord-Justice of Ireland, commanding him to unite the bishoprick of Clogher to the archiepiscopal see of Armagh, on account of the poverty of both. This union was not then effected, but under the Church Temporalities act it will take place on the death of the present bishop.

About 1266, the bishoprick of Ardsrath was taken possession of by the Bishop of Derry, and Louth by the Archbishop of Armagh; and on the death of Bishop Arthur Mac Camaeil, the archbishop claimed his best horse, ring, and cup as an heriot. Clogher being situated in a part of the island to which the English arms or laws had scarcely ever extended, had not a bishop of English extraction before the time of Edmund Courcey, who was consecrated in 1485. The last bishop who held the see and its temporalities from the court of Rome was Hugh or Odo O'Cervallan, promoted by Paul III., and confirmed by Henry VIII, in 1542. The first Protestant bishop was Miler Magragh, who had been a Franciscan friar and was made Bishop of Down by Pope Pius V., but afterwards becoming a Protestant, was placed in this see by Queen Elizabeth in 1570, and soon afterwards was made Archbishop of Cashel.

From the time of his translation, owing to the disturbances in this part of the country, there was no bishop till 1605, when George Montgomery, a native of Scotland, was made bishop by James I., and held the see with those of Derry and Raphoe, and afterwards with that of Meath. On the death of Bishop Boyle, in 1687, the episcopal revenues were paid into the exchequer, and the see continued vacant about three years, when King William translated Dr. Tennison to it. This diocese is one of the ten which constitute the ecclesiastical province of Armagh: it comprises a small portion of the county of Louth and parts of the counties of Donegal and Tyrone, the greater part of Fermanagh, and the whole of Monaghan; and is 76 British miles long and 25 broad, comprehending a superficies of about 528,700 plantation acres, of which 1850 are in Louth, 25,000 in Donegal, 68,100 in Tyrone, 254,150 in Fermanagh, and 179,600 in Monaghan.

The chapter consists of a dean, archdeacon, precentor, chancellor, and the five prebendaries of Kilskerry, Findonagh, Tullycorbet, Tyhallon, and Devenish. According to the registry, the ancient chapter consisted of twelve canons, of which the dean and archdeacon were two: this was altered by Bishop Montgomery, and the offices of precentor and chancellor were added; and hence it is that the archdeacon of this diocese, as the more ancient officer, ranks next the dean. The lands belonging to the see amount to 22,591 statute acres, of which 18,851 are profitable land; and the gross average annual income, as returned by the Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Inquiry, is £10,371, and the net revenue, £8686. 11. 6.

There is no economy fund connected with the cathedral; it was for many years kept in repair out of a fund bequeathed for charitable purposes by Bishop Sterne, but the trustees have lately withdrawn the grant. The consistorial court of the diocese is held at Monaghan: its officers are a vicar-general, a surrogate, two registrars and a deputy, and two proctors; the registrars are keepers of the records, which consist of copies of wills from 1659 to the present time, documents relating to inductions to benefices, &c. The diocesan school is at Monaghan, and is described in the article on that place; and there are free schools connected with the diocese at Carrickmacross and Enniskillen. The total number of parishes in the diocese is 45, which are either rectories and vicarages, or vicarages, the rectorial tithes of which are partly appropriate to the see, and partly impropriate in lay persons.

The benefices are also 45, of which, one is in the gift of the Crown, 37 in that of the Bishop, four in that of Trinity College, Dublin, one in that of the Marquess of Ely, and one in that of Sir Thomas B. Lennard, Bart.; the remaining one is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the prebendary of Devenish. The only union is that of Currin and Drumkrin, which will be dissolved on the next avoidance. The number of churches is 61, and of glebe-houses, 38. In the R. C. divisions this diocese, as originally constituted, forms a distinct bishoprick, and is one of the eight suffragan to Armagh: it comprises 37 parochial unions or districts, containing 81 chapels served by 37 parish priests and 51 coadjutors or curates. The bishop's parish is Carrickmacross, where he resides; and the dean's, Monaghan.

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