Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2000-10 > 0970658638
From: "Edward Andrews" <>
Subject: RE: Church of Ireland?
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2000 12:23:58 +0100
Sorry folks, but I seem to have missed the original question, which I
presume was something like "what is the Church of Ireland". Tut tut, the
opportunity for a real row, and Linda away. We have to be very mature about
this. Those who think that this list is merely about genealogy, should press
delete, as should those who are going to be offended by any kind of
You're all away? Then I can begin.
Because the pre Reformation Church was so wealthy, there was a very strong
relationship between it and the state. (for one thing for a long time the
only people who could read and write were the clergy and the religious.
Generally the Church hierarchy tried to meet the desires of the civil state
When Luther objected to the spiritual decay of the pre reformation Church
he needed the political support of the local rulers.
In England however the King was needing a divorce. Usually this would have
been forthcoming, but in this case the Pope was under the control of the
Queen's nephew, and he wasn't going to allow his auntie to be dumped.
The King carried out his own Reformation. This happened in England, and
also in Ireland, which the King also ruled. You have to remember that in
both countries the old Church was in a pretty bad state, and that any change
was an improvement.
There therefore developed a particular form of Christianity, which
basically was very strong on its Episcopal roots, but which had the King as
its head. Originally most of its theology was Lutheran, but the ideas of
Calvin did pop up at times.
Scotland, which was an independent country at the time, did not have a
Reformation for 20 years. When the Scottish Reformation did take place, it
was not carried out by the Monarch, but by the Nobles. The Monarch was in
fact on the other side. She eventually was deposed and replaced by her son.
Once he grew up there was a very complicated series of changes as the Church
was sometimes Presbyterian _the original reformation had been semi
Episcopal - John Knox was not a Presbyterian, sometimes Episcopal. By say
1600, or a bit later it had settled down to a system of Bishops in
Presbytery, which was a compromise, but most people were happy with it.
In 1603, the King of Scotland became the King of England and the King of
Ireland. Thus he became the head of the Church of England, the head of the
Church of Ireland, but merely a member of the Church of Scotland, of which
Christ alone was the head.
James therefore eventually had some of the Scottish Bishops "Properly"
consecrated in 1610.
Meanwhile in Ireland the Scottish settlers in Ulster took ministers with
them. These were or course Presbyterian. At first there were no problems.
Scots had been involved in the foundation of Trinity College, and there were
even Scots who were Bishops in the Church of Ireland. They generally were,
with the rest of the Church of Ireland happy to accept the Scots as Parish
However after the death of James, and the succession of Charles, things
changed. The development of a particular form of Episcopal theory meant that
the Bishops were no longer prepared to tolerate the non Episcopal Scots. The
King, urged by his protégée Laud encouraged the persecution of the
Presbyterians in Ireland, and interference in the life of the Church of
In Ireland Wentworth actively encouraged the persecution of the
Presbyterians, while in Scotland Laud tried to interfere in the life of the
Kirk in the name of Charles.
What we had in fact was an attempt to impose an absolutist monarchy. As
well as the religious question, in both Scotland and Ireland there were
attempts to augment the King's income, by the taking over property which had
passed into the hands of the Aristocracy and the rising middle class.
This, as much as Laud's meddling in the affair of the Kirk, lead to the
signing of the National Covenant in Scotland in 1638. Wentworth, then
imposed the Black Oath on the Presbyterians of Ulster, to root out any
Covenanting sympathy. (Remember the Scots had invaded England and waged war
on the King, so it was a bit like the American Japanese in WW2.).
Many of the Scots fled to Scotland, which may have protected them from the
worst of the 1641 events.
From 1640 until 1649 there was a Civil war, or the war of the three
kingdoms. After 1649 the Scots supported Charles II, and suffered for that
support. At the Restoration in 1660, it was expected that there would be a
payoff. Charles who had signed the Covenant in 1650 at his coronation
re-imposed Episcopacy. The Irish Scots who hadn't liked Cromwell, were
lightly persecuted - which began them going to America. In the meantime
there was quite a flood of people from Scotland from the Killing times. this
was partly because the King could not allow disobedience to his will -
remember what had happened to his Father, and partly because a Presbyterian
minister, James Sharp had accepted the Archbishopric of St Andrews, and was
not prepared to tolerate anything. The Killing times was a mini Civil War,
which we don't need to go into here.
Suffice it to say that at the Glorious Revolution the Episcopalians in
Scotland decided to back James, and the Church of Scotland has been
Presbyterian in government ever since. In Ireland the Episcopalians
continued, and persecution of Presbyterians continued until after 1830 the
Presbyterians were persuaded that they had a common interest with them.
There is no doubt that the history of the Church of Ireland has been
somewhat disfigured by its attempts to persecute the Presbyterians. As the
Established Church in Ireland until 1869 it was effectively part of the
Church of England, with interchangeability of Clergy.
I hope that I have answered the question which was asked - more or less.
Technically it is the Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal
Church in America. (who incidentally got the consecration for their first
Bishop from the non juring Scottish Episcopal Church)
St. Nicholas Buccleuch Parish Church Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland
Visit our Web site http://www.btinternet.com/~stnicholas.buccleuch/index.htm
> The Church of Ireland is a member church of the Anglican Union, as is The
> Church of England, The Episcopal church also a member of the
> Anglican Union
> is the church foisted on Scottish Presbyterians in the 17th century
> resulting in the National Covenant & the killing times. This is
> my perception
> but I know there are those on the S & I list who can put it better.
> Jim McPherson
|RE: Church of Ireland? by "Edward Andrews" <>|