Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jones, Henry (1605-1682)

677832Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 30 — Jones, Henry (1605-1682)1892Robert Dunlop

JONES, HENRY, D.D. (1605–1682), bishop of Meath, eldest son of Lewis Jones (1550?–1646) [q. v.], bishop of Killaloe, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in 1621 and M.A. in 1624. In 1625 hesucceeded his father in the deanery of Ardagh, and on 6 Feb. 1630 was admitted prebendary of Dromore. In 1637 he exchanged his deanery and prebend for the deanery of Kilmore, to which he was presented on 10 July, and in the following year he was appointed archdeacon of Killaloe. On the outbreak of the Irish rebellion in 1641 he was compelled after a short resistance to surrender his castle of Bellananagh, co. Cavan, to the rebels, and was with his family committed to the custody of Philip Mac Mulmore O'Reilly. On the refusal of Bishop Bedell to undertake the office, he consented to present the 'Humble remonstrance of the gentry and commonalty of the county Cavan" (Carte, Life of Ormonde, i. 174) to the lords justices in Dublin. He left his wife and family behind him as hostages, and returned to the camp of the rebels, after an absence of ten days, with an answer (Gilbert, Contemporary History, i. 365) 'suitable,' as he expressed it, 'to the weak condition of affairs in Dublin.' His captivity was at first not particularly irksome, and it enabled him to render some service to the government by revealing, and in a measure frustrating, the plans of the rebels. But finding it becoming less tolerable after a time, he managed in December to escape with his family to Dublin. On 23 Dec. 1641, and subsequently by a fresh commission with more extensive powers on 18 Jan. 1642, he was appointed, together with seven other clergymen, to take evidence on oath as to what robberies, murders, and other outrages had been committed by the rebels since the beginning of the rebellion. About the same time he was employed in soliciting contributions from the citizens of London for the relief of distressed protestants in Ireland. On 27 Oct. 1645 he was promoted, on the recommendation of the Marquis of Ormonde, to the bishopric of Clogher, and was consecrated in Christ Church, Dublin, on 9 Nov., his patent allowing him to bold the archdeaconry of Killaloe aud his other proferments in commendnm. In the following year he was appointed vice-chancellor of the university of Dublin, to which he presented the 'Book of Durrow,' and in 1651 the curiously designed oak staireases which lead to the gallery in the new library. Under the Commonwealth he held the post of scoutmaster-general, and obtained a grant of Lynch's Knock, the ancient seat of the Lynches at Summerhill in the county of Meath, which was confirmed to him at the Restoration. In August 1652 he was appointed a commissioner to collect fresh evidence as to robberies and murders committed by the rebels in Leinster and Munster. He was also actively engaged on several other commissions, viz. 'for the settlement of Ulster' (1653); 'for the due execution and making good all claims relating to articles of war made in Ireland' (1654-5); and 'for hearing and determining all difficulties that have arisen between the adventurers concerning lands allotted to them' (1656).

After the Restoration Jones was elevated to the bishopric of Meath (25 May 1661). Owing, however, to the offices he had held under the Commonwealth, he was not allowed to lay on hands at the consecration of the twelve bishops. He took a prominent part in promoting the parliamentary grant of 30,000l. to the Duke of Ormonde on his appointment as lord-lieutenant in 1662; but Ormonde's tolerant views in regard to the Irish catholics found little favour with him. He was deeply involved in the 'No Popery' schemes of the Earl of Shaftesbury, and was particularly active in procuring evidence as to the existence of a popish plot in Ireland, his intercepted letters, according to Carte, showing 'something more zealous than honourable in his proceedings in that affair.' He was certainly the means of bringing one perfectly innocent person, the titular archbishop of Armagh, Oliver Plunket [q. v.], to the scaffold. In the last year of his life he was engaged in a project for printing the Old Testament and Liturgy in Irish. He died in Dublin on 5 Jan. 1681-2, and was buried the following day in St. Andrew's Church, his funeral sermon being preached by Anthony Dopping. He married a niece of Archbishop Ussher, and had several children, two, if not three, of whom, Ambrose, Alice, and Deborah, becime Roman catholics. There is a portrait of him taken in 1644 preserved in the Clerical Rooms, Lakeview, Motmghan (cf. James Graves's description of it in Kilkenny Archœol. Soc. Journ. 1862).

He wrote: 1. 'A Remonstrance of the Rebellion in the County of Cavan,' 1642. 2.'St. Patrick's Purgatory,' 1647. 3. 'A Consecration Sermon at Christ Church, Dublin,' 1667. 4. 'A Sermon of Antichrist,' 1676. 5. 'A Sermon at the Funeral of Archbishop Margetson,' 1678.

[Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hib.; Ware's Irish Writers, ed. Harris; Carte's Life of the Duke of Ormonde; Gilbert's Contemporary Hist. of Affairs in Ireland (Irish Archæol. Soc.); Thurloe State Papers, iv. 445, 483, vi. 539: Cox's Hibernia Anglicana, ii. App.; Cal. of Clarendon Papers, vol. ii.; Stubbs's Hist. of the University of Dublin; Prendergast's Ireland from the Restoration to the Revolution; Hickson's Ireland in the Seventeenth Century; Petty's Down Survey, ed. Larcom ; Add. MS. 28938, f. 30; Trinity College Dublin MSS.F. 3 18; Commonwealth Papers, Public Record Office, Dublin, 207, 490, 15, 75, 227; 32nd Report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Records (Carte MSS. Oxford), App. i.; Engl. Hist. Rev. i. 740.]

R. D.