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Hamilton, Archibald (1580?-1659) (DNB00)


HAMILTON, ARCHIBALD, D.D. (1580?–1659), archbishop of Cashel and Emly, son of Claud Hamilton of Cochno in Dumbartonshire, was educated at Glasgow University, where he proceeded D.D. Advanced by James I on 21 May 1623 to the conjoint sees of Killala and Achonry, he was consecrated in St. Peter's Church, Drogheda, on 29 June following. On 20 April 1630 he was translated to the archbishopric of Cashel and Emly. The temporalities of that see having been much diminished by the wholesale alienations of Archbishop Miler Magragh [q. v.], Hamilton earnestly petitioned Wentworth for their recovery. But for this purpose the common law proved insufficient, and it required a special letter of instruction from the king to undo the mischief committed by Archbishop Magragh. Archbishop Laud, who was warmly interested in the case, but whose confidence, as he admitted, in Hamilton was not infinite, cautioned Wentworth to keep a sharp eye on him lest he should prove ‘as good at it as Milerus was’ (Strafford, Letters, i. 172, 380–1; Laud, Works, vii. 58–9, 107, 141, 159). It was not long before Hamilton incurred Laud's displeasure. For having, ‘upon his own authority, commanded a fast once a week for eight weeks together throughout his province,’ it transpired in the course of his examination that, notwithstanding the restoration of his temporalities, he was in the possession of sixteen vicarages. Being summoned to Dublin to explain matters, Hamilton pleaded inability to travel owing to an acute attack of sciatica. His excuse weighed little with Laud, who wrote to Wentworth: ‘Do you not think it would lame any man to carry sixteen vicarages? But surely that burden will help him to a sciatica in his conscience sooner than in his hips.’ Hamilton's friends, including the queen of Bohemia, interceded with the king for his forgiveness, and solicited for him ‘a portion in the plantation going forward in Ormonde or Clare.’ But Laud and Wentworth both agreed that he already possessed as much as he deserved, and being pardoned, it does not appear that his petition was granted (Laud, Works, vii. 298, 309, 328, 393, vi. 522; Strafford, Letters, ii. 42, 157). In November 1641, when the rebellion broke out in Tipperary, Hamilton happened to be absent from his diocese, and being joined by his wife and family, who owed their preservation to the humanity of their Roman catholic neighbours (Hickson, Irish Massacres, ii. 244, 245), he appears shortly afterwards to have quitted Ireland and, like many others of his kindred, to have retired to Sweden. His loss of personal property in the rebellion was very great. He is usually said to have died at Stockholm, aged about 80, in 1659. Peringskiöld, in his ‘Monumenta Ullarakeriensia cum Upsalia Nova Illustrata’ (Stockholm, 1719, p. 176), states, however, that he died at Upsala in 1658, and lies buried in the cathedral there, in the same grave as Laurentius Petrie Nericius, the first protestant archbishop of Upsala. Schröder in his ‘Upsala Domkyrka’ (2nd edit., Upsala, 1857), p. 27, repeats this statement, but the destruction by fire in 1702 of the Upsala church registers makes confirmation impossible, and inquiries at Upsala have failed to identify the grave. The archbishop married the daughter of Bessie MacDowall, wet-nurse of the queen of Bohemia, and from one of his sons some of the existing Hamilton families in Sweden are believed to derive their descent.

[Information very kindly supplied by Professor Harald Hjärne of Upsala; Lodge's (Archdall) Peerage; Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hib. iv. 67; D'Alton's Hist. of Drogheda; Ware's Works, ed. Harris; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vol. v.; Christianus Hagerman, Dissertatio Gradualis de illustri Hamiltoniorum gente, Lund, 1754; John Anderson's Historical and Genealogical Memoirs of the House of Hamilton, Edinburgh, 1825; Ussher's Works, vol. xv.; Straiford's Letters; Laud's Works, vols. vi. and vii.; Mrs. Green's Lives of the Princesses of England, vol. v.; Miss Hickson's Irish Massacres.]

R. D.