COMBERFORD, COMERFORD, or QUEMERFORD, NICHOLAS, D.D. (1544?–1599), Jesuit, was born in the city of Waterford in Ireland about 1544, and took the degree of B.A. at Oxford in 1562, after he had spent at least four years in that university' in pecking and hewing at logic and philosophy ' (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 459; Fasti, i. 161; Boase, Register of the Univ. of Oxford, i. 250). After completing his degree by determination he returned to Ireland, was ordained priest, and obtained some ecclesiastical preferment from which he was ejected on account of his religion. Repairing to the university of Louvain, he was promoted to the degree of D.D. on 23 June or October 1575, on which occasion his fellow-countryman, Peter Lombard, who that year was 'primus in schola artium,' wrote 'Carmen Heroicum in Doctoratum Nicolai Quemerfordi' (Oliver, Jesuit Collections, p. 262). He entered the Society of Jesus about 1578 (Hogan, Ibernia Ignatiana, p. 58). He died in Spain about 1599 (Hogan, Cat. of Irish Jesuits, p. 6).
He wrote in English 'a pithy and learned treatise, very exquisitely penned,' entitled 'Answers to certain Questions propounded by the Citizens of Waterford;' also some sermons; and, it is said, 'divers other things.'
[Authorities cited above; also Foley's Records, vol. vii. pt. i. p. 52; Ware's Writers of Ireland, ed. Harris, p. 96; Backer's Bibl. des Ecrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus (1872), ii. 2205; Catholic Miscellany, ix. 140.]
COMBERMERE, Viscount. [See Cotton, Stapleton Stapleton, 1772-1865.]
COMERFORD, JOHN (1762?–1832?), miniature-painter, the son of a flax-dresser, was born at Kilkenny. He gained some knowledge of art from copying the pictures in the collection of the Marquis of Ormonde. He went early in life to Dublin, and entered as a student in the art schools of the Dublin Society. He exhibited in London at the Royal Academy in 1804 and 1809. He was very successful and gained a high reputation as a miniature-painter in Dublin, and had a large and lucrative practice in his art. He particularly excelled in his male portraits, which were carefully finished, well expressed, and quiet in colour. Some examples of his work were exhibited at the Special Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures in 1865, including portraits of Lady Sarah Lennox, Mr. Burgoyne, and Mr. William Fletcher, the latter in college dress. There is a miniature by him of an English military officer in the South Kensington Museum. In 1819 the Dublin Society of Artists, which had been for some years torn by internal dissensions, applied for a charter of incorporation. This was actively opposed, and Comerford was selected by the opposers, as being a man of good repute and much respected, to write to Sir Robert Peel, then chief secretary for Ireland, explaining the reason for opposition. The controversy ended in the complete defeat of Comerford and his friends, and the society obtained their charter in 1821. He died in Dublin of apoplexy in 1832 or 1833, aged between sixty and seventy years. He drew for Sir Jonah Barrington [q. v.] many portraits of leading Irishmen, which were engraved by J. Heath in Barrington's 'Historic Anecdotes, and Secret Memoirs relative to the Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland.'
[Redgrave's Dict. of English Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760-1880; Sarsfield Taylor's Fine Arts in Great Britain and Ireland; Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures, 1865; Royal Academy Catalogues.]
COMGALL, Saint (6th cent.), the founder of the great monastery of Bangor on Carrickfergus Bay in Ireland, is first mentioned in Jonas's ' Life of Columbanus ' (written about 620 A.D. and still preserved in a ninth-century manuscript). From this almost contemporary work we learn that Columbanus, before his journey to Gaul, was educated at Bangor under Comgall, with whom he seems to have spent several years (Jonas ap. A. SS. O.B. ii. 9). Notker (fl. 850), who seems to have preserved the genuine traditions of the monastery of St. Gall, founded by Columbanus's brother, makes Comgall the disciple of St. Columba and the instructor of Columbanus and St. Gall (Martyr. 9 June). Adamnan, however (about 700 A.D.), while recognising the intimacy of Comgall and Columba, has not a word to indicate any such relationship between the two. In a very ancient hymn dating from the seventh or eighth century, and still preserved at Milan, the name of Comgall comes first in the list of the abbots of Bangor (see the hymn quoted by Whitley Stokes, who assigns the manuscript to the eighth century in Academy, December 1885).
Comgall's name appears in what is probably the earliest Irish martyrology extant, the 'Feilire of Oengus the Culdee' (lxxix.) In this work, which Mr. Stokes assigns to the tenth century, he is entered on 10 May, a day which he keeps in most of the other martyrologies. A still earlier document, Celtic by origin, but Latin in language, known as Tirechan's 'Catalogue,' &c., composed 'certainly not later than the middle of the viiith century' (Warren, Lit. of Celt. Ch. p. xiv),