James Murray
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The ‘absenting of the bishop of Armagh’
Eucharistic controversy and the English origins of Irish Catholic identity, 1550–51
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The 'absenting of the bishop of Armagh' has generally been regarded by scholars as a significant, even pivotal, event in Ireland's early modern religious history. The 'absenting of the bishop of Armagh', as Lord Deputy Croft euphemistically described Archbishop George Dowdall's flight, was preceded, and immediately precipitated, by a meeting between the two men. The surviving notice of their interview, an instruction from Croft to his servant, Thomas Wood, to brief the English privy council on their deliberations, provoked a dramatic response from Dowdall. Dowdall boldly asserted his faith in traditional eucharistic doctrine and confirmed his loyalty to the viceroy. Dr Richard Smyth's treatises were written only a few short years before 'Fides priscorum' at a time when traditional eucharistic doctrine was upheld by Henry VIII and the English nobility who had 'fully and perfectly agreed' to its establishment 'by act of parliament'.

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