Hugh Inge

Hugh Inge or Ynge[1](c. 1460 – 3 August 1528) was an English-born judge and prelate in sixteenth century Ireland who held the offices of Bishop of Meath, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland.[2]


Inge was born at Shepton Mallet in Somerset. Not much seems to be known about his parents, except that they destined him for a career in the Church from an early age.[3] He was educated at Winchester College and became a fellow of New College, Oxford in 1484 and a Doctor of Divinity in 1511. He held a number of minor benefices in England including the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Westonzoyland from 1508.[4] After travelling for a time around Europe, he became attached to the household of Adriano Castellesi, the Italian-born Bishop of Bath and Wells, and went with him to Rome in 1504. In about 1511 he came to the notice of Cardinal Wolsey, who recognised his gifts and advanced his career: he later admitted that he owed everything he achieved to Wolsey, and that "without him I had no comfort in this world".[5]

Inge in Ireland

In 1512, through Wolsey's influence, he was made Bishop of Meath. There seems to have been a later quarrel between the two men, leading to a brief estrangement, since in 1514 Inge wrote to Wolsey imploring him not to "cast him away".[6] The quarrel was short-lived, and Inge followed the same career path as William Rokeby, whom he succeeded both as Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1521. He was a popular and respected figure in Ireland, and enjoyed the friendship of Gerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, the dominant figure in Irish politics for many years.[7]

Inge carried out extensive repairs to the episcopal palace of St. Sepulchre; his name is commemorated in Hugh Inge's door, which was restored in the eighteenth century;[8] a few fragments of the door were discovered during excavations some years ago, at present-day Kevin Street. The door was described as having an unusual three-centred head.[9]

The Archbishop was vigilant in protecting the rights and privileges of the See of Dublin, and in 1524 he complained to the Privy Council of Ireland that the city fathers of Dublin, headed by Nicholas Queytrot (or Coitrotte), who had lately held office as Lord Mayor of Dublin, had unlawfully occupied the Manor of St. Sepluchre (St. Sepulchre actually consisted of several adjoining manors, which covered most of present day Dublin city south of the River Liffey). According to Inge, the manor was a "liberty" under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop (Queytrot was a prominent Dublin merchant and builder, who later served as the city auditor). The Council referred the matter to the three Chief Justices of the Courts of Common Law, who ruled that the disputed lands were indeed within the liberty of the Archbishop, and that he and his successors were entitled to hold them in perpetuity without let or hindrance by the Mayor of Dublin.[10] At the same time he was engaged in a lawsuit with the Dean and Chapter of the Diocese of Kildare as to his rights of Visitation in the Diocese if the office of Bishop of Kildare happened to be vacant: the outcome of this lawsuit is unknown[11]

Death and reputation

In 1528 the fourth and most severe epidemic of sweating sickness swept through England and Ireland, and then ravaged much of the continent of Europe. Inge was among its victims: he died on 3 August and was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin[12]

O'Flanagan[13] praises him as a judge who was noted for his honesty, good sense and desire to do impartial justice; though his recorded judgements are few, they are said to have carried great weight. In his own time Polydore Vergil praised him as an honest man who brought a measure of order and good government to a notoriously troubled kingdom. D'Alton calls him a man noted for "great justice and probity".[14]

See also


  1. Or Hink.
  2. John Collinson; Edmund Rack (1791). The History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset: Collected from Authentick Records, and an Actual Survey Made by the Late Mr. Edmund Rack ... Adorned with a Map of the County, and Engravings of Roman Or Other Reliques, Town-seals, Baths, Churches, and Gentlemen's Seats. R.Cruttwell. p. 461.
  3. O'Flanagan, J. Roderick Lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of Ireland 2 Volumes London 1870
  4. Dunning, Robert (1996). Fifty Somerset Churches. Somerset Books. pp. 59–62. ISBN 978-0861833092.
  5. Ball F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221–1921 John Murray London 1926
  6. Ball Judges in Ireland
  7. D'Alton, John Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin Dublin Hodges and Smith 1838
  8. D'Alton Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin
  9. Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland Vol. 6
  10. Warburton, John; Whitelaw, John; Walsh, Robert History of the City of Dublin from the earliest accounts to the present day Cadell and Davies Dublin 1818
  11. Sir James Ware History of the Bishops of Ireland Dublin 1789
  12. O'Flanagan Lives of the Lord Chancellors
  13. Lives of the Lord Chancellors
  14. D'Alton Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin
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