The Papal Bulls for the Invasions of England and Ireland

The Papal Bulls for the Invasions of England and Ireland


The Churchman, Volume 47 Issue 4 (1933 )


There are many facts and circumstances common to William’s invasion of England and Henry’s entry into Ireland which serve to elucidate the latter. Neither of these men had any title by birth, bequest, inheritance or election to the countries they invaded and possessed as conquerors. Both of them claimed that their expedition was a holy crusade undertaken to restore to the Church of Rome a nation and a Church that had rebelled against the Pope. They both sent letters and envoys to the Pope misrepresenting the case of their opponents and setting forth with hypocritical subtlety their own pious intentions ; and they both obtained from the occupant of the papal chair confirmatory letters or Bulls, with a ring as a sign of investiture in the holy office of a conquering reformer of the morals of a nation, whose chief fault in the eyes of that occupant was the independence of its Church and State.

As Henry followed closely the steps taken by his pre- decessor, we shall consider :first his invasion and the circumstances which led to the same. John of Salisbury, an adherent of Henry, and personal friend of Adrian, was sent by Henry to Rome to entreat his sanction for the King’s projected invasion of Ireland {II55). Ussher (Sylloge, No. 46) summarised the account given of the invasion by Matthew of Westminster, Matthew of Paris and others in this manner : ” Henry sent ambassadors to Rome and asked Pope Adrian to give him permission to enter Ireland in a hostile manner and subdue it for himself and bring back that beastly people (homines illos bestiales) to a more decent form of the faith of Christ and to persuade them to greater obedience to the Roman Church. The Pope consented and sent him a privilegium on the subject.”

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