Charles Reynolds (cleric)
|Archdeacon of Kells|
|Native name||Cathal Mac Raghnaill|
|Appointed||13 February 1532|
|Other posts||Rector of Nobber|
|Birth name||Cathal Mac Raghnaill|
Mohill, county Leitrim, Ireland
|Died||July 15, 1535 (aged 38–39)|
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
|Buried||Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, Rome|
|Residence||Mohill, later Maynooth|
|Parents||Marus Mac Raghnaill|
|Previous post||Canon at Priory of Mohill|
|Alma mater||University of Oxford|
Charles Reynolds (c. 1496 – July 1535) was an Irish-born Catholic cleric. Born in County Leitrim, Reynolds entered a religious order and was appointed to influential posts as archdeacon and chaplain to the Earl of Kildare. His name in native Irish is Cathal Mac Raghnaill, but he anglicized his name to Charles Reynolds in order secure ecclesiastical benefices under English laws. He was educated at the University of Oxford and fluent in English, Irish, and Latin. Reynolds opposed Henry VIII of England's separation from the Catholic Church, declining to acknowledge him as Supreme Head of the Church of England and refusing to acknowledge the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
During the Kildare Rebellion of 1534–5 against King Henry, Reynolds was dispatched as envoy to Rome to seek support from the pope. In May 1535 he secured a papal promise to excommunicate King Henry of England.
Reynolds died of an "incurable fever" and was buried in Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on 15 July 1535. The inscription on his grave slab in Rome, gives accurate dates for his birth in Ireland, death in Rome, provides a family setting, and reveals the pope intended to consecrate him bishop.
Reynolds was posthumously attainted of high treason in 1536.
Early life (1496–1531)
Charles Reynolds was born in 1496 or 1497 at Mohill in County Leitrim, then the religious centre of Muintir Eolais. His father was Maurus Mac Raghnaill, canon in the Church of Ardagh.[a] Whether he had brothers or sisters is not recorded. His father or mother taught him Latin before enrolling him in school for children of nobility. By age fifteen he was a novice at the Augustinian Priory of Saint Mary in Mohill-Manachan, a monastery of the Canons regular of St. Augustine. The Canons Regular of Saint Augustine were one of several institutions born from an eleventh-century religious reform movement. The ecclesiastical branch of the Mac Raghnaill family had very strong associations with the Augustinian priory of Mohill, Co. Leitrim, from at least the fifteenth century.[b][c]
Nothing is known of his early life and ministries. Charles must have been highly regarded because sometime after completing his novitiate in Mohill, he was transferred, or moved, to the more important Diocese of Meath. In 1528 he was studying Canon law at the University of Oxford, a rare privilege for a native Irishman. Because the Mac Raghnaill were allied to the Kildare camp the church may have given them preferential treatment. Reynolds graduated in Canon Law around 1531, and secured a grant of "English liberty" entitling him to acquire property and benefice in English Ireland.[d]
Archdeacon of Kells (1532–1534)
On returning to Ireland, Reynolds became chaplain to Gerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, lord deputy of Ireland. The Fitzgerald dynasty was the most powerful family in Ireland.[e] Reynolds was also appointed archdeacon of Kells and rector of Nobber on 13 Feb 1532. A canonist, he was very active as a diocesan and provincial administrator. His appointments came during a time of tremendous international change, and a dangerous time for Christendom. Reynolds soon became involved in huge political issues.
Revolt against Henry VIII (1534–1535)
During 1533, the political situation in Ireland and England was fraught with tension over Henry Tudor's English Reformation.[f] The Irish Council in the Pale was dominated by rival Norman-Irish factions, and the only clerics trusted to promote the English Reformation in Ireland were three Englishmen, the most prominent being John Alen, Archbishop of Dublin. Rumours circulated that Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, aggrieved by the treatment of his aunt, Catherine of Aragon, might intervene in Ireland. Thomas Cromwell, Henry's chief minister, decided to appoint an Englishman, William Skeffington as lord deputy in Ireland. The incumbent, Gerald Fitzgerald, was imprisoned in the Tower of London in spring 1534, provoking his son "Silken" Thomas to start the "Kildare rebellion". Charles V responded quickly to appeals for assistance by dispatching emissaries. The potential for a military intervention drew international attention on Ireland.
Reynolds was now a prominent member of a group of Irish clerics denouncing Henry as a heretic. These clerics shared a widely held belief English rule was empowered, under papal sanction, to merely reform the Irish along conventional canonical lines only. Recognising the English revolution as fundamentally attacking the intellectual and legal basis for their canonical beliefs, they were spurred into revolt and radical action. They believed the King of England had rejected the papal authority and tradition upon which his sovereign rule in Ireland rested, therefore his authority had to be denied. Prospects for a successful rebellion were badly damaged, when a fleeing Archbishop John Alen was captured and killed by rebels. The Pope responded by excommunicating Silken Thomas.
Reynolds was dispatched as envoy abroad to pursue an alliance against Henry VIII of England, and seek his excommunication.[g] He left Ireland by a boat from Sligo in December 1534. He first visited James V of Scotland, who was generally uncooperative with Henry VIII over Ireland. Reynolds was offered encouragement and was furnished with a letter from James V, complimenting him to the cardinal of Ravenna, his agent. Reynolds travelled to Spain and met Charles V in either Madrid or Toledo. He received further encouragement and a promise of military assistance which ultimately never materialised. Reynolds finally travelled on to Italy and arrived there in May 1535, and presented his case personally to the Pope.
Papal meeting (1535)
Reynolds issued a stinging rebuke to pope Paul III for not condemning the heretical and schismatic behaviour of King Henry. He said he represented the Earl of Kildare, the other great nobles of Ireland, and their allies in England.[h] He argued against Henry's ecclesiastical policy in general, rather than simply referring to the Irish political and ecclesiastical grievances. The pope, he said, was negligent for allowing so many souls to be lost by dallying over Henry's matrimonial question. If he had already passed the sentence of excommunication earned by Henry, the English would willingly arise in rebellion and secure its execution. In support his presentation, Reynolds shared printed propaganda pamphlets published by the King, and a copy of Pope Innocent III's grant to John, King of England supporting the notion Ireland was a papal fiefdom subject to Rome's authority. Reynolds also requested absolution for his master, Silken Thomas, in failing to prevent Archbishop Alen being murdered. He alleged Alen had promoted the heretical policy of the English crown and plotted murder upon the Earls of Kildare.
Pedro Ortiz, Charles V's ambassador in Rome, kept minutes of the papal meeting. According to Ortiz, Pope Paul III was impressed by his arguments, absolved the Earl, apologised for past negligence and dutifully promised to excommunicate King Henry VIII.
Reynolds never left Rome.[i] He developed an "incurable fever", possibly malaria, and died in early July 1535, one day before the Pope was to appoint him Bishop of Elphin and Clonmacnoise. Reynolds was buried in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome on the ides (15th) July 1535.
On 30 August 1535, Pope Paul III drew up a bull of excommunication which began "Eius qui immobilis". On 17 December 1538, Pope Paul III issued a further bull which began "Cum redemptor noster", renewing the execution of the bull of 30 August 1535, which had been suspended in a cautious hope Henry would repeal his behaviour.
Had Reynolds not died and returned to Ireland, he faced imprisonment and execution because the Attainder of the Earl of Kildare Act 1536 convicted him, Silken Thomas, and others, by name for high treason.[j] Reynold's estate was confiscated for the King's use.
Grave slab in Rome
Reynolds' grave-slab is in the cloister of the basilica of St John Lateran, where it is on display. It is damaged on all sides but retains an almost complete inscription that helps better understand what happened to him. It is a large floor-slab measuring 1.42 meters (4.7 ft) tall by 0.62 meters (2.0 ft) wide. The finely carved frame of all'antica style foliate decoration originally framed the entire stone. The top of the slab is lost, though the lower portion of the Fitzgerald crest can be observed, alongside the hind legs of a lion rampant associated with the arms of the Reynolds family.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charles Reynolds.|
Rev. Michael Walsh published the following inscription translation in 1961.
The inscription reveals that he was buried on the ides of July (15 July) 1535, aged thirty-eight years. He died the day before he was to be ordained Bishop of Elphin and "Cluonensis" (Clonmacnoise or Clonfert). It praises his memory, whilst recording he was an Irishman, born of a noble family, and competent in civil and canon law. Charles belonged to the Mac Raghnaills, a Gaelic sept of Muintir Eolais, now forming part of southern county Leitrim. The inscription names his father as Maurus Mac Raghnaill, canon of the Augustinian Priory at Mohill. The Fergal 'Raynal' named in the last section is probably a relative of Charles.
Another translation by Senan Furlong O.S.B. was published by Conleth Manning in 2010.
Notes and references
- Papal records name Maurus Magrannel as canon in the church of Ardagh, at Mohill on 25th March 1489, 1497, and 1508. Manning noted the "Dictionary of Irish biography (viii, 449) claims Reynolds was a 'member of a prominent ecclesiastical family, which may have been a branch of the Gaelic Irish Mac Raghnaill dynasty that moved at some time into the Pale', but remarks that "no evidence is presented or reference given".
- Many clerics from Mohill named Reynolds are recorded. A son of Eogan Mâg Raghnaill, prior of Mohill, died in 1473. A Ferghal Mac Raghnaill, prior of Maethal, died in 1486. and Maurus Mac Raghnaill may have succeeded as prior. Gilchreest mac Sean Mac Raghnaill, a grandson of the prior of Mohill, was killed by "Clann Maoleachlainn" in 1486. Master Donald McGranyll of Ardagh presided at a metropolitan court at Termonfeckin in 1526. One Thady Reynolds, vicar of Clonard in 1534, and bishop of Kildare in 1540.
- For full details on the known Reynolds ecclesiastical family, consult Monastery of Mohill-Manchan#Personalities.
- "Grant of English liberty to Charles Reynolds, otherwise Magranyll, bachelor of laws: that he may be free of all Irish service, use and enjoy the English laws, and acquire lands and possessions. – Oct. 9, 23. (Patent Roll 22, 23 Henry VIII. – 1531-2)".
- Fitzgerald's father, the 8th Earl, was commonly called "uncrowned King of Ireland".
- The English Reformation was a series of events in the 16th century leading to the Church of England to break away from the authority of the Pope and Roman Catholic Church.
- "In 1535, a MacRanell, Archdeacon of Kells, was deputed by 'the Silken Lord', Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, and his adherents, to seek aid against the English from the Pope, and from Charles the Fifth".
- The report of Reynolds meeting with the Pope suggests he, and Irish rebels, had contacts with English nonconformists.
- One of his very last acts was to be a signatory to an agreement regarding rectory of Loughsewdy, signed on 1 July 1535.
- A second clerical envoy dispatched abroad by rebels, Dominic Power, was pardoned following a petition of Charles V. Nonetheless, Power never returned to Ireland, and died in Lisbon.
- Gwynn 1946, p. 127.
- Manning 2010, p. 22.
- Manning 2010, p. 24.
- Costello, Coleman & Flood 1909, p. 165.
- Annála Connacht (CELT edition), p. 569.
- Annals of Ulster (CELT edition), p. 303.
- AFM, p. 1141.
- Manning 2010, p. 26.
- Manning 2010, p. 25.
- Morrin 1861, p. 2.
- Chrimes 1999, p. 73.
- Murray 2011, p. 86.
- Byrne 2002.
- Bradshaw & Duffy 1989, p. 163.
- Ellis 1976, p. 814.
- Ellis 1976, p. 810.
- Ellis 1976, p. 809.
- Ellis 1976, p. 808.
- Murray 2011, p. 87.
- Cronin & O'Callaghan 2014, p. 36.
- Cox 1689, p. 223.
- D'Alton 1845, p. 405.
- Ellis 1976, p. 828.
- Ellis 1976, p. 825.
- Heal 2005, p. 130.
- Walsh 1961, p. 46.
- Churchill 1966, p. 51.
- Gairdner 1886.
- Scarisbrick 1997, p. 361.
- Gairdner 1893.
- Burnet 1865, p. 318.
- Record Commission 1830, Volume 2, p. 315.
- Smith 1774, p. 129.
- abbé Mac-Geoghegan 1844, p. 413.
- Manning 2010, p. 23.
- abbé Mac-Geoghegan, James (1844), The History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern: Taken from the Most Authentic Records, and Dedicated to the Irish Brigade (Translated by Patrick O'Kelly ed.), J. Duffy
- Annála Connacht (CELT edition)
- Annals of the Four Masters, ed. & tr. John O'Donovan (1856). Annála Rioghachta Éireann. Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters... with a Translation and Copious Notes. 7 vols (2nd ed.). Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. CELT editions. Full scans at Internet Archive: Vol. 1; Vol. 2; Vol. 3; Vol. 4; Vol. 5; Vol. 6; Indices.
- Annals of Ulster (CELT edition)
- Bradshaw, Brendan; Duffy, Eamon (1989), Humanism, Reform and the Reformation: The Career of Bishop John Fisher, CUP Archive, p. 163, retrieved 7 January 2018
- Burnet, Gilbert; et al. (Burnet) (1865), History of the Reformation of the Church of England (Volume 4 ed.)
- Byrne, Frances (2002), Charles Reynolds grave slab (talk on 15th September 2002 ed.), Meath Archaeological & History Society
- Catholic Church (1857), Bullarum, diplomatum et privilegiorum sanctorum Romanorum pontificum Taurinensis (Volume VI ed.), Augustae Taurinorum, Seb. Franco et Henrico Dalmazzo editoribus
- Chrimes, S.B (1999). Henry VII. The English Monarchs Series (reprint ed.). Yale University Press. ISBN 0300212941.
- Churchill, Winston (1966), The New World, History of the English Speaking Peoples, 2, Cassell and Company, ISBN 0-553-14416-2
- Collins, Arthur; Brydges, Egerton (1812), Collins's peerage of England; genealogical, biographical, and historical (PDF) (Volume 6 ed.), F. C. and J. Rivington, Otridge and son [etc., etc.], p. 149,151, retrieved 5 September 2016
- Costello, Michael A.; Coleman, Ambrose; Flood, William Henry Grattan (1909), De annatis Hiberniæ : a calendar of the first fruits' fees levied on papal appointments to benefices in Ireland A.D. 1400 to 1535 extracted from the Vatican and other roman archives with copious topographical notes together with summaries of papal rescripts relating to benefices in Ireland and biographical notes of the bishops of Irish sees during the same period (PDF), pp. 160, 165, retrieved 12 October 2016
- Cox, Richard (1689), Hibernia anglicana, or, The history of Ireland, from the conquest thereof by the English, to this present time with an introductory discourse touching the ancient state of that kingdom and a new and exact map of the same, London: H. Clark, p. 223
- Cronin, Mike; O'Callaghan, Liam (2014), A history of Ireland, Palgrave Essential Histories series (2, revised ed.), Macmillan International Higher Education, ISBN 1137426055
- D'Alton, John (1845), The history of Ireland, from the earliest period to the year 1245, when the Annals of Boyle, which are adopted and embodied as the running text authority, terminate: with a brief essay on the native annalists, and other sources for illustrating Ireland, and full statistical and historical notices of the barony of Boyle (PDF), Dublin, Pub. by the author
- Ellis, Stephen G. (1976), "The Kildare Rebellion and the early Henrican reformation" (PDF), ARAN (Access to Research at NUI Galway), The Historical Journal, 19, 4 , p. 825, retrieved 2 September 2016
- Gairdner, James (1886), "Henry VIII: August 1535, 26–31", Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 9: August–December 1535, Institute of Historical Research, retrieved 2 September 2016
- Gairdner, James (1893), "Henry VIII: December 1538 16–20", Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 13 Part 2: August–December 1538, Institute of Historical Research, retrieved 2 September 2016
- Gwynn, Aubrey (1946), W. Tempest,, ed., The Medieval Province of Armagh, 1470–1545, Dundalk: Dundalgan Press
- Heal, Felicity (2005), Reformation in Britain and Ireland, Oxford history of the Christian Church (illustrated, reprint ed.), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-928015-0
- Manning, Conleth (2010), "The grave-slab of Charles Reynolds in Rome", The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 140: 22–27, JSTOR 24395863
- McGuire, James, University College Dublin, Quinn, James, Royal Irish Academy, eds. (2009), Dictionary of Irish Biography, From the Earliest Times to the Year 2002, 8, p. 499, ISBN 978-0-521-63331-4
- Morrin, James (1861), Calendar of the Patent and Close Rolls of Chancery in Ireland, of the Reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth: 1514–1575, 1, Ireland Chancery, A. Thom
- Murray, James (2011). Enforcing the English Reformation in Ireland: Clerical Resistance and Political Conflict in the Diocese of Dublin, 1534–1590. Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History (reissue ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521369940.
- Record Commission (1830), State papers, published under the authority of His Majesty's Commission. King Henry the Eighth (PDF) (Volume 2 ed.), University of California Libraries: London: G. Eyre and A. Strahan, printers to the King's Most Excellent Majesty, etc., p. 315
- Scarisbrick, J. J. (1997), Henry VIII (2 ed.), Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-07158-2
- Smith, Charles (1774), The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Waterford (2, digital edition ed.)
- Walsh, Rev Michael (1961), Ríocht na Midhe: The Magranell slab in the basilica of St. John Lateran, Rome. Illustr. (Vol. II, No. 3 ed.), Ríocht na Midhe: records of Meath Archaeological and Historical Society, p. 46 (subscription required)
- Elton, G. R. (1977). Reform and Reformation: England, 1509–1558. Edward Arnold. ISBN 0-7131-5952-9.
- Gillespie, Alexandra; Wakelin, Daniel (2014). The Production of Books in England 1350–1500, Part of Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology. University of Cambridge, University of Toronto. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-107-68019-7.
- Knight, Kevin (2012). "Ardagh". Retrieved 27 September 2016.