James Dowdall of Drogheda
An Irish Martyr
Seancas Ard Mhacha
Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society
Volume 20 No. 1
By: Margaret Smith Kristich
For questions and comments please send an email to:firstname.lastname@example.org
James Dowdall was an Irish Martyr from Drogheda, County Louth. According to the 1913 edition of the Catholic Encyclopaedia his name is included in the Apostolic Process of the Irish Martyrs. This information ignited in me a desire to uncover the story of his life. Although he was included in the cause of the Irish Martyrs until sometime in the 1900s, his name was deferred for beatification due to insufficient and unclear information.
Due to modern wonders of communication, one can connect the various sources describing James' life - gathering the various sources that tell of James, learning more about the Dowdall family history, studying the shipping trade of the 1500s and finding documents pertaining to James and his family. This was for me a fascinating task.
The information provided in this article will clarify that James Dowdall, martyred in Exeter in 1599, was from Drogheda and not from Waterford or Wexford, and that he is to be distinguished from his cousin, James Dowdall of Athboy, County Meath.
Why is it important to tell the story of James Dowdall and set off down the path to his beatification in the Roman Catholic Church? In today's busy world, full of turmoil and self-absorption, one can forget to take time to contemplate the sacrifice this humble man and others made for their faith in God. James and other incredible people led extraordinary lives. They possessed exceptional courage and endured the horrors of torture for their faith. James Dowdall sat in a rat-infested and disease-filled prison for about one year, separated from his loved ones and from members of the Church he loved so dearly.
Of the various sources that mention James Dowdall, four are contemporaneous with him - Rothe (1619), Copinger (1620), Molanus (Mullan) 1629 and Worthington (1614). Not long after James’ martyrdom, Broudin was published in 1669. Other works stating that James was from Wexford instead of Drogheda were written in the 1700s and 1800s. These later works appear to have taken information from Rothe, Copinger, Mullan and Broudin, but in some instances do not list his correct home town. Some secondary sources listed James as ‘N Dowdall’, perhaps because records were difficult to read, or word of mouth changed some details. Some writings cite these references while others just mention James’ martyrdom. Somewhere during the distance of time between Bishop David Rothe, who was a contemporary of James Dowdall, and Fr Denis Murphy's Our Martyrs which was published in 1896, James’ place of origin was sometimes incorrectly referred to as Wexford or Waterford instead of his native Drogheda. Evidently this was one of the details which resulted in his name being deferred in the Apostolic Process of Irish Martyrs. Since Bishop Rothe was a contemporary of James Dowdall and was from County Kilkenny, he would have had correct knowledge of James’ place of origin, which he confirms in his writings to be Drogheda. In addition, County Louth was the home county of the Dowdall family, and Drogheda was home specifically to the merchant mariner branch of the Dowdall family.
This article will clarify (i) that James Dowdall was a native of Drogheda, (ii) that he was martyred for his faith, and (iii) that he was not the same James Dowdall referred to as James Dowdall of Athboy who was imprisoned for sheltering priests. The confusion between these two men has been a contributing factor which resulted in James of Drogheda being omitted from the list of Irish martyrs for beatification. With the clarification of these three points it will be evident that James Dowdall's name should go forward with the cause of other Irish martyrs who are to be beatified.
James Dowdall came from one of the leading noble families of County Louth. It is in such a manner that Oliver Plunkett referred to the Dowdall family in his report on the Diocese of Armagh in 1671.1
The Dowdall family was well established in several locations in Counties Louth and Meath, and to a lesser degree in County Westmeath. The first recorded Dowdall in Ireland was Walter de Duevadal in 1215. The family settled in Dundalk and Castletown Cooley, County Louth. They managed the de Verdun family estates. From Dundalk and Castletown Cooley they established themselves in Termonfeckin, Drogheda, and Glaspistol, expanding to Athlumney, Monkstown, Causetown, Brownstown, Ardee, Dublin and numerous other locations. As they continued to gain influence and power they intermarried with leading Pale families, including the Earl of Fingal (Plunkett), Baron of Louth (Plunkett), Baron of Skrene (Marwart), Baron of Slane (Flemming), Barnewall, Bathe, Cusack, Nangle and many other influential families.
The Dowdalls were devout Catholics and throughout the centuries provided the Irish Church with many priests. Three of these were renowed: Richard FitzRalph (a Dowdall cousin), Archbishop of Armagh (‘St Richard of Dundalk’, d.1360); Archbishop George Dowdall O. Cruc. of Armagh (d. 1558); and another Dowdall cousin, St Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh (d. 1681).
The following is a list of some Dowdall clerics in Armagh and Meath dioceses.
It is evident from this list of Dowdall priests that service to God and faith was an integral part of the Dowdalls’ lives. This same dedication also played an important role in the lay members of the Dowdall family. Many of them risked their lives to help shelter priests or to affirm their Catholic faith: James Dowdall of Athboy, James of Drogheda, the Dowdalls of Athlumney and Glaspistol, to name only a few. In the Athlumney Castle in Navan, County Meath there is a secret staircase which leads down to a hidden room, evidence of the shelter the Dowdalls of Athlumney gave to priests. It is believed Oliver Plunkett, himself a Dowdall cousin, was one of those priests who found shelter there. The Glaspistol Dowdalls also sheltered Oliver Plunkett on occasions when he ordained priests.
There is an intriguing reference to a Dowdall in the Catholic Record Society.
Addressed. – To the Right Honorable and my singular good Lord my Lord Tresorer of England.
Endorsed. – 14, April, 1582. Mr. Recorder to my Lord, with a box of popish stampes.
It would be interesting to find out if the ‘Dowdale’ in this letter could be identified with the John (r. James), an Irish merchant, and a native of Wexford (r. Drogheda) who was quartered at Exeter in August 13, 1599, for religion, of whom very little is known, and whom our martyrologists have taken from Worthington, Catalogus, III, 1614, and I. Molanus, Idea Togatae Constantiae Appendix, p. 92.28
In 1582 William Cecil (Lord Burghley) was Lord Treasurer of England and was Elizabeth’s chief advisor.29 If this Dowdall is James Dowdall the Martyr from Drogheda, it would be a strange twist of fate that William Cecil received a report about James in 1582. It accused him of selling bibles and then in 1599 his son, Robert Cecil, ordered James’ execution.
The Drogheda Dowdalls were merchant sailors. By the late 1500s when James was involved in maritime commerce, Drogheda was one of the leading ports in Ireland. Unfortunately to date we do not know the names of James’ parents and one can only assume that he had a wife and children. There were several Dowdalls living in Drogheda at the same time as James, but the names of immediate family members have yet to be established. One of the following listed below could be his father, brother, uncle or a cousin. There is no doubt they were all closely related to James. He may have been a younger son and that could account for the difficulty in locating his records. The Christian name James is a common Dowdall family name.
Philip Dowdall was Mayor of Drogheda in 1578 and Patrick Dowdall was Mayor in 1581.30 There was also a Philip Dowdall, son of Patrick Dowdall who had at least two brothers, Matthew and George, all were merchants of Drogheda. Patrick was the son of Stephen Dowdall.31
Lawrence Dowdall and his son Lawrence were both merchants of Drogheda. There is a Lawrence Dowdall who was Sheriff of Drogheda around 1586. There is another Patrick Dowdall, who was a merchant in Drogheda in 1569, whose father was Walter. Also found in Drogheda at the same time is a Nicholas Dowdall.32
John Dowdall a merchant in Drogheda in 1598 is probably the same John Dowdall mentioned in the Calendar of Salved Chancery Pleadings in 1597. The Admiralty Records also mention John Dowdall in 1592, about 23 years of age, and Philip Dowdall of Drogheda. Their merchandise was transported on ships which were confiscated by the French. One ship was recaptured by an English captain and the goods were sold in Padstow Helford on the northern coast of Cornwall.33
There is a third Patrick Dowdall of Drogheda whose father was George.34
In 1592 there is a petition by Henry Dowdall of Drogheda regarding merchandise confiscated upon his return from trading with Spain.35
I am hopeful that eventually records will be found giving more details of James Dowdall’s immediate family, but as can be seen there were numerous Drogheda Dowdall relatives who were contemporaries of James. There is also a James Dowdall of Drogheda mentioned in the Chancery Inquisitions in 1627. Could this be James the Martyr’s son?36
One reason given for deferring James Dowdall’s (Drogheda) cause was that there was some confusion about James Dowdall of Drogheda and James Dowdall of Athboy. They are definitely two separate people. James of Athboy was first cousin once removed to Archbishop George Dowdall. The Dowdalls of Drogheda were also close cousins of the archbishop. James Dowdall of Athboy had an uncle, Walter Dowdall of Drogheda, whose son Patrick was probably the same Patrick who was Mayor of Drogheda in 1581.
There are two entries in Rothe’s Analecta which clearly state there was a James Dowdall of Athboy and a James Dowdall of Drogheda. James of Athboy died in 1603,37 after being imprisoned several times in Dublin for sheltering priests. Dean Stephen Dowdall of Athboy was probably James of Athboy’s brother. James of Athboy could have been imprisoned for sheltering his own brother. The following is Rothe’s entry about James Dowdall of Athboy.
James Dowdall, one of the leading men of Athboy, since his outstanding confessionof the Catholic faith was so great that he was accustomed to offer hospitality to priests, he was often summoned by the Chancery of the kingdom to Dublin and thrown into prison; in these diverse misfortunes he suffered patiently for many years and, since he was a high-minded man and could not be induced to fall in with the times nor abandon his determination of patient suffering, at last the enemies of religion, as they often did with others, dismissed him for a time, when he returned home and peacefully rested in the Lord about the year of Our Lord …38
Although it is implied that he died a natural death, it is probable that James Dowdall of Athboy suffered greatly while imprisoned in Dublin and died as a result of the mistreatment he received there.
To further prove James of Athboy and James of Drogheda were two separate people, one turns to the original Devon Assize Record which still exists. It records the arrest of James of Drogheda, his continued incarceration for treason, and finally his death sentence. James of Drogheda refused to sign the Supremacy Oath claiming Elizabeth’s spiritual supremacy above the pope’s authority.
The Devon Record Office gives the death record of James Dowdall of Drogheda. He was executed in 1599 in Exeter, England. A letter sent by William Bourchiers, the Earl of Bath, gives further proof that the two Jameses are distinct. The Earl and the local Exeter officials did not know what to do with James of Drogheda so they wrote to Robert Cecil requesting instructions.
The Dowdall family demonstrated its faithfulness and devotion to God in an extraordinary way. The various Dowdalls mentioned in this article reflect lives of dedicated service. One is not surprised that the Dowdall family contributed three martyrs for their faith: Fr John the Baptist, James Dowdall of Athboy and James Dowdall of Drogheda.
James Dowdall's final departure from the port of Drogheda in 1598, could possibly have been on the Mary Bonaventure or the Saviour of Drogheda. Both these ships were used by the Dowdall family to transport their merchandise to France and Spain in the 1590s.39
The Dowdalls along with other Drogheda merchants shipped various goods such as hides, beef, tallow, linen cloth, oil, butter and wax. The return journey home was usually laden with wine, an important export and import item at that time. They traded regularly with Calais, La Rochelle, St Jean de Luz and Bayonne in France, as well with other ports in Spain and probably to a lesser degree with ports in England.
In the early 1590s, the Lord Deputy of Ireland had prohibited the Irish from trading with the Catholic League and Henry IV’s supporters in France. Even with this prohibition the Irish were able to work around it in various ways, securing safe conduct passes, by carrying cockets for their cargoes to minimize confiscation or by ignoring the restrictions.40
Merchant captains ranged in age from their early twenties to their fifties. John Dowdall is listed as about 23 in 1592, so possibly James Dowdall of Drogheda was also similar in age, but at this time his birth date is not known.
It is easy to explain why some writers refer to Wexford as James’ home town. Wexford was a major port and ships from Drogheda sometimes stopped there before crossing to England, France and other destinations. Even though no official trade routes were used by Irish and French ships during this period, they would often stop at various ports to pick up or sell goods, thus establishing an informal trade route. Some of the secondary sources probably assumed, since some Irish ships crossed to England from Wexford, that James came from Wexford. There is documentation of Waterford ships taking from two to sixteen days to reach France. This demonstrates that the ships stopped at various ports via their trip to France.
In Our Martyrs, Fr Murphy mentions that when James refused to take the Supremacy Oath his merchandise was confiscated. This leads us to the question - was he captain on his final voyage? The members of the Drogheda Dowdall family were not only merchants but mariners so it is very probable that James captained his final tragic voyage. The Admiralty Records also support this idea.
James traded during a very treacherous time in history. The English government was on the look out for Irish merchant ships ‘because in them passes the treasure of the Jesuits of that nation…’41
The Devon Assize Records of 1598 and 1599 tell the courageous story of James Dowdall of Drogheda. James could have taken an easier path and signed the Supremacy Oath proclaiming Queen Elizabeth’s spiritual supremacy over the authority of the pope. James had an inner light which guided him to speak up for his faith and religion. His faithfulness, devotion and love for God were more important than the pain he suffered at the hands of his torturers. To survive the agony of his year in Exeter Castle Prison, he must have had an essential quality, one of patience and a listening heart. It would have been this quality that strengthened him during the lonely horrifying times of his imprisonment and torture. His constant fidelity greatly perplexed William Bourchiers, Earl of Bath and the local authorities. Bourchiers wrote to Robert Cecil, Elizabeth’s Secretary of State, seeking advice on what to do with James Dowdall.
William, Earl of Bath to Sir Robert Cecil
1599, June 18
I have sent my certificate of the forces of Devon. About a year since I signified to my lords that I had apprehended one James Dowdall, an Irishman, whose examinations I then sent, finding thereby that he had been reconciled to the church of Rome, for which he was committed to the common gaol. Now that our gaol delivery will be shortly, I pray you to direct me what shall be done with him.42
Within two months of Bourchiers’ letter, James Dowdall was hanged, drawn and quartered.
The following is taken directly from the Devon Assize Court Records. James Dowdall was mentioned in three separate sessions.
1. At the end of the gaol calendar for the Midsummer Sessions (1598): ‘Jacobus Dowdall Rem. p. mandat. Counlii pr.vati’. (‘James Dowdall remains by order of the Privy Council’.).
There is no Assize calendar at the end of the Michaelmas (1598) sessions and no mention of James Dowdall in the minutes.
2. The gaol calendar at the end of the Epiphany session (1599)
has an entry: ‘Jacobus Dowdall rem. q. iudic. p. prod.’ (‘James Dowdall remains because condemned for treason’)43
June 18, 1599, William Bourchiers the Earl of Bath writes to Robert Cecil asking what to do with James Dowdall.
3. The last gaol calendar with James’ name on it was from the Midsummer term, dated the last day of July (1599): ‘Jacobus Dowdall S etc p. prodicoe.’44 (‘James Dowdall let him be hung for treason’.)
There are various dates given for the execution of James Dowdall, but it appears from the entries in the Devon Assize Court records that 13 August 1599 is the probable correct date of James’ execution. A few of the secondary sources give 13 September 1599 as the date of execution. Another source gives 1600 as the date of James’ execution. The year 1600 is clearly not the correct year of James’ death. Once the order from Robert Cecil was received there would be no reason to delay the execution. According to an expert in the Devon Record Office the execution would have taken place shortly after the sentence of death was pronounced. What was unusual about James’ situation was that the officials in Exeter did not know what to do with James and that is why the Earl of Bath wrote to Robert Cecil in London requesting instructions.
In a strange twist of fate, Robert Cecil’s father, William Cecil (1520-98), Chief Spokesman and Secretary-Lord Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth, wrote The Execution of Justice in England in which he attempted to justify the use of torture. He minimized the extent it was used, stating the rack was used only for cases of treason. He said that people were not tortured and put to death because of their Catholic faith. It is chilling to read his rationalization of the barbaric treatment of Catholics.. The following is one of the blander passages.
…the truth of Her Majesty’s actions and the falsehood of the blasphemous adversaries: that where the factious party of the Pope. The principal author of the invasions of her Majesty’s dominions, do falsely allege that a number of persons, whom they term as martyrs, have died for defense of the Catholic religion, the same in very truth may manifestly appear to have died (if they so will have it) as martyrs for the Pope but yet as traitors against their sovereign and queen in adhering to him, being the notable and only open hostile enemy in all actions of war against Her Majesty, her kingdom and her people.45
Cecil dismissed those who said Catholics were executed because of their religion, and since they recognized the Pope’s supremacy he called them ‘slanderous libelers’.46
Touching the rack and torments used to such traitors as pretended themselves to be Catholics upon whom the same have been exercised, it is affirmed for truth and is offered upon due examination so to be proved to be as followeth, First, that the forms of torture in their severity or rigor of execution have not been such and in such manner performed as the slanderers and seditious libelers have slanderously and maliciously published.47
It is absurd that Cecil thought people would accept his idea that torture was done without causing much pain and that there was a mild way to torture people.
The authorities attempted many times to break James Dowdall’s fidelity by torturing him on the rack. Such torture was excruciatingly painful; it caused the dislocation of the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and wrist joints. It is hard to think of James having to endure this horrific torture knowing that his broken body would not receive any comfort or medical aid. God’s divine presence watched over James and strengthened him for the ordeal to come.
Fr George Oliver’s History of the City of Exeter gives us a glimpse into Exeter Prison around the time James was imprisoned. Most prisoners died from starvation or disease. The prison was located beneath the Assize Court. Gaol fever was so rampant that many of the judges and jurors contracted the fever (typhus) and died.
By permission of the Dukes of Cornwall, the Courts of Assize and General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the county of Devon were held within the castle of Exeter from an early period. ‘The county jail lay just below it, a living tomb – a sink of filth, pestilence, and profligacy’.48 The situation was so dangerous even for the judges and jurors that funds were finally raised in 1607 to move the court.
There are several historical works and catalogues which tell of James Dowdall’s martyrdom, most of which are secondary sources. These works, copied from the primary sources of Rothe, Molanus and Copinger, properly reflect James Dowdall’s home town as Drogheda.
Fr George Oliver compiled a list of important catalogues dealing with English Martyrs; those that mention James are listed in his article. James was included with the English Martyrs because his place of execution was Exeter, England, and this lent some confusion as to whether he was beatified with the Irish martyrs or the English martyrs. To date he was not beatified with either the Irish or English martyrs.
Full documentation about James Dowdall is found in the Informative and Apostolic Process for the Beatification of the Irish Martyrs. Unfortunately the Dublin Diocesan Archives does not have a complete set of this report and what they have is not indexed. The portion of the report referring to James Dowdall cannot be located.49 The Informative and Apostolic Process for Beatification of the Irish Martyrs in its entirety is in the Vatican Archives and I have been unsuccessful in obtaining these records.
David Rothe (1573-1650), Bishop of Ossory, has left us a valuable historical gift which relates the details of the Irish Martyrs. His Analecta was published in 1619, not long after James Dowdall was martyred. He was a contemporary of those he wrote about. He served in various influential capacities such as Vicar-General of Armagh Diocese and Vice-Primate of Ireland. He was privy to details and information that other writers did not have access to. Importantly Rothe was the beneficiary of Bishop Cornelius O’Devany’s (Bishop of Down and Connor) remarkable notes about those who were martyred or exiled during Elizabeth’s reign. Rothe was in correspondence with Bishop O’Devany before this holy man died a martyr’s death in his eightieth year. Rothe would also have spoken with eye witnesses. Most of the works which include James Dowdall are secondary works and are derived directly from Rothe’s work. Thus, since Rothe would have known the home town of James, all records containing information originally given by Rothe would have been correct.
a) The Analecta by Bishop David Rothe.
Rothe states that James Dowdall traded with England, probably with the English Catholic merchants on the north coast of Devon. James was taken to Exeter, the county seat, where the court and prison were located. Rothe suggests that the grave site of James is known. There was no cemetery inside the walls of Exeter Castle when James was executed and James’ remains were not buried in traditional fashion as when martyrs were hanged, drawn and quartered.
James Doudall a merchant of Vadipont (Drogheda), while he had crossed over to England to carry out some business, was examined first on the royal oath, and entrapped with snares of examinations by torture, and because he was not afraid to profess his mind and Catholic faith openly, he was put to death in the city of Exeter and it is said that his monument shines with stars to this very day.50
b) Catalogus Martyrum pro Religione Catholica in Anglia Occisorum ab Anno Domini 1570...ad Annum 1612. (The catalogue of Martyrs killed for the Catholic religion in England from the year of Our Lord 1570 to the year 1612. Also known as Worthington III.
Fr Worthington (born in England, 1549-1627) was the third president of the English College in Douai. Although his work was published in 1614 before Rothe, he did not have the advantage of living in Ireland, and must have relied on word of mouth for his information about James Dowdall. It is understandable how he incorrectly identified James as ‘N. Dowdall’. James is from Waterford according to Worthington but we know the correct town is Drogheda.
1599 – N. Dowdale Hibernus Mercator Washsildensis, ob negatum Reginae primatum in causis Ecclesiasticis occisus est Exonis 13. Augusti. (N. (r. J.) Dowdale Irish Merchant of Waterford was killed for denying the primacy of the queen in ecclesiastical affairs. Exeter 13, August51
c) Collectanea, by Fr Christopher Grene, S.J.
Fr Christopher Grene spent about the last twenty years of his life until his death in 1697 at the English College, Rome, transcribing records about the English martyrs. He wrote two catalogues, Collectanea and Martyres Angliae. The information in these two catalogues was based entirely on Worthington’s (III) work, which he called Catalogus Duacenus. Since Grene copied his information from Worthington it is not surprising that James’ name is incorrectly shown as ‘N. Dowdale’. What is interesting is that Grene lists Wexford as the home town while Worthington mentions Waterford as the home town:
N. Dowdale of Wexford, and Irish merchant, at Exeter for denying the primacy of the Queen, Aug. 13, 1599 Catal. Duacensus 52
d) Congregation for the Causes of Saints Prot. No. 114, Diocese of Dublin.
Cause for the Beatification and Canonisation of the Servants of God. Dermot O’Hurley, Archbishop, & Companions who died in Ireland in defence of the Catholic Faith, 1579-1654.
James Dowdal, a layman from Drogheda, is briefly mentioned. It states that even though Copinger did not say that he used Rothe as his source, it appears that the information about James Dowdal and some other martyrs was taken from Rothe’s work.53
e) History of the Catholic Religion in the Counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, and Gloucester. In two Parts, Historical and Biographical. With Notices of the Dominican, Benedictine, & Franciscan Orders in England by Very Rev. George Oliver, D.D. Canon of the Diocese of Plymouth.
The Trinity College copy of the 1629 Molanus work does not list a date of execution for James Dowdall. The date of 1598 shown in Fr Oliver’s book is probably a misprint and should read 1599. The Earl of Bath’s letter asking what to do with James Dowdall was not written to Robert Cecil until June 18, 1599.
The only victim I have met with in Devonshire was Mr. James Doudal, an Irish merchant, and a native of Wexford. For denying the queen’s spiritual supremacy, he was thrown into Exeter Jail. When I examined the calendars of the prisoners in September 1824, I found this minute at the autumn assizes of 1598:- Jacobus Dowdall remanet in gaola per mandatum Concilii Privati. At the following Lent assizes he is thus noticed: - Jacobus Dowdall remanet quia judicandus pro proditione. At the autumn assizes: Jacobus Dowdall suspendatur, &c, pro proditione. His execution took place on 13th August, 1598, according to John Mullan’s Idea Togatae Constantiae, an octavo volume printed at Paris in 1629.54
f) Idea Togatae Constantiae & c., cui adjungitur tripartita Martyrum Britannicarum Insularum Epitome by Joanne Mollanus/John Mullen.
Molanus states that James’ grave site is illuminated with miracles. The article about James Dowdall in the 1629 Molanus work is almost a word for word copy of the Rothe work which was published in 1619.
James Doudal a trader from Vadipontanus (Drogheda) while he had gone across to England to carry out business (as he was accustomed) was closely examined on the oath of royal primacy in the church; caught in the net with the intricacies of questioning under torture, he was not afraid to openly confess his constancy and his Catholic faith, he was affected with capital punishment in the city of Exeter; whose monument is said to shine with stars by divine providence to this very day.55
g) Index Martirum qui in Anglia ab Ignition Regni ab Elizabeth Suscepti Pro Fide Catholica Pasi Sunt, Una Cum Causis Mortis Singulorum et Scriptoribus Qui De Eisdem Mentionem Faciunt. (The Index of Martyrs who were captured and suffered (death) for the Catholic Faith in England from the Beginning of the Reign of Elizabeth, Together With the Cause of Death of Each One, and With the Writers Who Mentioned Them.)
Fr Oliver refers to this catalogue as the ‘Paris Catalogue’ which was compiled by the scholars of Douai. Written above the name of N. Doudale is Worthington’s name. There is no date given for this manuscript but it is obviously copied from the Worthington Manuscript.
N. Doudale, Exeter, August 13, 1599. Cause of death: for denying the primacy of the Queen in spiritual matters.-Worthington Catalog (III)56
h) Memoirs of Missionary Priests, & Other Catholics of Both Sexes, that have Suffered Death in England on Religious Accounts, from 1577-1684, by Right Rev. Bishop Dr Challoner.
Fr John Knaresborough incorporated part of Richmond's work into his own book, Sufferings of the Catholicks in the early 18th century. Bishop Challoner then transcribed Knaresborough's account as part of the appendices to his own Memoirs of Missionary Priests57
Bishop Challoner was concerned that the English Martyrs were in danger of being forgotten, so he published two volumes about the martyrs who were executed between 1577 and 1681. His work is considered to be a groundwork on the Catholic English Martyrs.
In 1599 – This year, also I find two of the laity executed for religious matters, viz: Mr. John Lion, who was hanged, bowelled, and quartered, at Okeham in Rutland, July 16, for denying the queen’s spiritual supremacy. And Mr. James Doudal, an Irish merchant, native of Wexford, who for the same cause, was hanged, bowelled, and quartered, at Exeter, August 13. Whose burying place, says his countryman, John Mullen of Cork, is said to be illustrated with divine miracles to this day.58
i) Martyres Angliae, by Fr Christopher Grene, S.J.
This is the second catalogue written by Fr Grene. What is interesting about this entry is that no first initial or name is given, and in the Collectanea manuscript Fr Grene wrote Worthington’s name above the name N. Dowdale, almost as if he had some indication that the initial ‘ N ‘ was not correct.
Dowdale Hibernus. 13 Aug. exonia59
j) Memorial of Those Who Suffered for the Catholic Faith in Ireland in the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries by Myles O’Reilly, B.A., LL.D.
O’Reilly carefully studied the lists of martyrs and includes only those who suffered directly as a cause of their faith. It is important that he included both James Dowdall of Drogheda and James Dowdall of Athboy.
(i) James Dowdall of Athboy
One of the leading men of the municipality of Athboy, was frequently summoned to Dublin by the chancellor to answer for his profession of the Catholic faith, and chiefly because he harboured priests. He was several times thrown into prison, where he patiently spent many years. At length, as the noble-minded man could neither be induced to bend to the times nor abandon his determination of patient endurance, the enemies of the faith let him go for a time, when he returned home, and peaceably died there about the year…
(ii) James Dowdall (Another)
this day for favours obtained there.60
k) Our Martyrs by Rev. Denis Murphy, S.J., LL.D., M.R.I.A.
(From Broudin’s Propugnaculum, p. 467.)
He was a Drogheda merchant, and when returning from France to Ireland he was driven by contrary winds into a harbour in the south of England. The Mayor questioned him about the spiritual supremacy of Elizabeth. Dowdall answered, as a Catholic should, that he recognized no other as Head of the Church than the Roman Pontiff. Because he had spoken thus, his merchandise was confiscated, and he was taken to Exeter, his hands bound behind his back as if he were a robber. There after being put to the rack, he was hanged and his body was cut into four parts; and in this way, in return for temporal goods, this very wise merchant got in exchange eternal life. He suffered September 20, 1600.61
Also documented in Fr Murphy’s book are the works of Challoner and Fr Oliver. These two works regarding James Dowdall of Drogheda have been cited in their entirety in this article.
l) Propugnaculum Catholicae Veritatis by Rev. Anthony Broudin.
Broudin includes more information about James’ arrest; there is a flair to his writing. Even so the information is the same as the original sources with one exception; the date of 1600 should read 1599 as shown in the Devon Assize Records.
In the year of salvation 1600, the 42nd year of Elizabeth’s reign…
James Dudal a merchant of Pontanens (Drogheda) in Ireland, returning to his own country from France with the wind against him, forced into a certain port in the south of England, was suddenly examined by the heretical prefect about the Papacy and Elizabeth. Dowdall answered as a Catholic, that he recognized no head of the church on earth except the Pope in Rome; on saying which, his merchandise was confiscated and with his hands tied behind his back like a robber, James was sent to prison in Exeter where having survived torture, he was hung with rope, & cut into four parts; and so the most wise merchant Dowdall exchanged his worldly goods for eternal life, 20th September in the year 1600.62
m) Sufferings of Catholicks by Fr John Knaresborough.
Fr Knaresborough was a scholar of Douai. His manuscript was written between 1705-1720 and incorrectly names James Dowdall as N. Dowdall.
The only sources that name James Dowdall as ‘N’ Dowdall are secondary sources and all are associated with Douai. Thus far I have not been able to confirm if Fr Grene also studied at Douai. Since Fr Grene also identified James as N. Dowdall I assume he used the Douai manuscripts as sources.
The name of the Priests and Lay Catholicks Who Suffer’d Death for Religious Matters in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. 1599
N. Dowdale Merchant, place of execution, Exeter and date of execution August 13, 1599.63
n) The Theatre of Catholique and Protestant Religion by I.C. (Rev. Fr John Copinger).
Fr Copinger was a priest living outside of Ireland. Fr George Oliver mentions the manuscript was written by John Colleton, but it can be verified that the manuscript was written by Fr John Copinger. The manuscript is in the possession of the Bodleian Library. What contributed to the confusion over the name is that the author used his initials J.C.
Iames Dudall of Drodart merchant, coming out of France was by contrarie windes driven to the South coast of England, unto whom the oath of the Queens supremacy was tendered; and for he refused the fame, he was sent to Exeter Gaol, and there was hanged drawn and quartered in the year of 1600.64
o) The Devon Book of Days, by Todd Gray
The Devon Library and Information Services (Local studies service), included James Dowdall in this book probably because the execution of Catholics in Exeter was not a common occurrence; this travesty of justice usually occurred in London.
August 12. 1599. James Dowdall, an Irish Catholic, was hanged, bowelled and quartered at Exeter.65
Another Dowdall – not related
For those who might come across the name of Captain John Dowdall in connection with the martyrdom of Fr Daniel O’Duillian (O’Neilan) O.S.F., in Youghal, County Cork, a brief explanation is needed. Captain John Dowdall was commander of Youghal in 1569 (possibly 1580) according to Conygham, Mooney and Fr Murphy. I will refer to this holy martyr as Fr O’Duillian instead of O’Neilan because Conygham gives a detailed account of Fr O’Duillian’s martyrdom and does not use the name of O’Neilan. Captain Dowdall singled out Fr O’Duillian to be used as an example to put fear into other members of the religious community.
It is important to point out that Captain John Dowdall was not related to the County Louth, Meath or Westmeath Dowdalls. Captain Dowdall was from Shirwell Parish, Devon, England. Sir Arthur Chichester was from Shirwell Parish and one of his principal tenants was John and Johanne Dowdall. It appears their son James went to Ireland and settled in the town of Dungannon, County Tyrone. Captain John Dowdall was probably the youngest son. He joined Elizabeth’s army and served thirty years in Ireland.
James Dowdall has left a great legacy, not only to his family but to all of us. The year of his birth and his parents’ names may yet be discovered. However, his deep intense love of God and faith are the essential qualities that have preserved James’ spirit in the pages of history. James and the other Irish martyrs who suffered ordeals had a common bond, their hearts were joined in a deep personal love for Christ. They welcomed death with courage and peace within their hearts.
James did not choose the religious life. He was a layman and one assumes he was a husband and father. He possessed moral integrity. He did not abandon his Catholic faith and did not accept the Supremacy Oath. To learn more about him is to share his peace, healing, joy and light. This places us in the presence of God’s love and forgiveness. It is important to reopen the cause of James Dowdall for beatification.
One can imagine that courage and forgiveness wrapped him warmly in the damp, cold, and filthy dungeon of Exeter Prison. The vibrancy and sparkle of James Dowdall’s life is retold in the many works about the Irish martyrs. It is said that his grave was illuminated with miracles. May the illumination of his life bless our turbulent world and bring us close to God.
The kindness and generous spirit of so many wonderful people has been overwhelming. It is through their graciousness that the research and writing of this article has been possible. There are many people I want to thank. The most important are my parents, Elizabeth Dowdall Smith and Patrick William Smith, who blessed me with a deep love for my Irish heritage and Irish history.
Ireland: Mgr John Hanly has encouraged and given me much information including the name of Mgr Patrick J. Corish. Without Mgr Corish I would not have known where to start the research journey for James Dowdall. Fr Ignatius Fennessy O.F.M., has unravelled the meaning of the many initials and Latin phrases concerning the Franciscan Order and added more Dowdall priests to the list, as well as helping with Latin translation. I have been very honored to receive support and help from Fr Hugh Fenning, O.P., Fr Benignus Millett, O.F.M., and Fr Richard A. Lyng. Their assistance has been very much appreciated. I learned certain fascinating history about some Dowdall priests from Fr Michael Murtagh.
Harold O’Sullivan generously shared Dowdall family material with me which has been an enormous help with historical information about County Louth during the 1500 and 1600s. I am most grateful to him for all his kindness. I have learned valuable information from Noel Ross and Crónán Ó Doibhlin, of the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Library. Liam Reynolds is a wealth of information about the Dowdall family and took myself and my daughter to the various Dowdall homes in Counties, Louth, Meath and Westmeath. He is always ready to share more incredible Dowdall information. Michael Reilly of the Drogheda Library has generously spent time locating and copying many articles over the years as well as contributing much moral support. Dr Jane Lyons is always looking for Dowdall information when she does her research. Through Jane’s research I learned the names of two Dowdall ships in the 1590s. Jane’s help over the years has been invaluable. I am grateful to Charles Benson of Trinity College for his help. James MacGuiggan has spent many hours in PRONI locating Dowdall documents over the years. His support and help has been an important part of my research.
Mgr Réamonn Ó Muirí has generously answered many questions over the years and never fails to patiently answer more questions sent via email. I cannot thank Mgr Ó Muirí enough for his gracious help and support throughout the years. His encouragement has been very important to me. He kindly consented to publish James’ article in Seanchas Ard Mhacha so that James’ story can be told.
England: Dr Evan Jones spent time listing several shipping sources for me. This was especially valuable since Drogheda shipping records from the 1500s have not survived. There have been many coincidences during my research; one of the articles Dr Jones recommended, mentioned John Dowdall of Drogheda. I have received invaluable help and support from Susan Harris of the Bodleian Library, Michael Gandy, Dr Alistair MacGregor, Ushaw College, David Knight, Stonyhurst Archivist, Helen Roberts, Archivist Brynmore Jones Library, Hull University, and Rev. Ian Dickie, Westminster Diocesan Archivist
When I requested the Devon Assize Records, Susan Laithwaite was the Archivist who responded and we immediately became good friends. Susan has been an integral part of the research for James. I have relied upon her Latin expertise and she has laboriously translated many Latin documents. She photographed the streets leading to Exeter Castle as well as the areas of Exeter Castle which existed in James’ day so that I could see where James spent his last days. We share another connection, her husband’s ancestor; Fr Thomas Laithwaite S.J. was also arrested for treason and imprisoned in Exeter Prison a couple of years after James Dowdall’s death. Thankfully Fr Laithwaite’s death sentence was commuted and he was exiled.
United States: Fr Paul Murphy, Pastor of Holy Eucharist Parish, Corralitos, California, has been wonderful and given me much support. He is always so gracious and kind; his knowledge of church history, Latin and Irish has been most helpful. The Staff at Orradre Library, Santa Clara University has been a big help over the years. The library has over 3,000 Irish volumes. Cindy Borkenhagen of Orradre Library has been an enormous help during the past six years and very patient about all the books I keep checked out. My computer room has become a satellite branch of the Orradre Library. John Sweeney, David Fletcher, Janice Goody and all the staff at the Santa Cruz Family History Center have been an invaluable source. Over the years I have received a tremendous amount of help from members of the various Irish research lists on the Internet. I would like to thank Ted Meehan for his help and support. My family has been very patient and supportive throughout the years and I would like to thank my husband Kristo, son Mato, sisters, Sister Marilyn Smith SND and sister Patricia. My daughter Kristen was always willing to listen to the new pieces of information gathered over the years. Whenever another book was needed she would interrupt her studies at Santa Clara University and make another trip to the Orradre Library. She also generously offered to edit this article.
I have been very blessed with people who were kind and gracious in their help. Please forgive me if anyone has been overlooked. Míle buíochas as an chabhair iontach a thug sibh dom!
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Admiralty Records, A Calendar of Material relating to Ireland, from the High Court of Examinations, 1536-1641, ed. John C. Appleby, Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1992.
Alban, O.Carm., Kevin J., George Rayner - An Elizabethan Carmelite, first published in Carmelus, Vol. 46, 1999, http://www.carmelite.org/chronology/rayner.htm, May 20, 2004.
Broudin, Rev. Anthony, Propugnaculum Catholicae Veritatis,Prague, 1669.
Burke, WP, Irish Priests in the Penal Times 1660-1760, 1914 (received this source from Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Library).
Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Most Hon. The Marquis of Salisbury, K.G., Historical Manuscripts Commission, Preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, Part ix; Printed for His Majesty’s Stationary Office by Mackie & Co. LD; London, 1902. A copy is housed in the National Library of Ireland, Manuscripts Department.
Catholic Encyclopaedia, Richard Challoner, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03564a.htm, May 20, 2004.
Cecil, William, The Execution of Justice in England and A True Sincere, and Modest Defense of English Catholics by William Allen, ed. Robert M. Kingdom, Folger Shakespeare Library, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1965. Cecil’s book was originally printed in 1583.
Challoner, Richard, Right Rev. Bishop Dr V.A.L., Memoirs of Missionary Priests, & Other Catholics of Both Sexes, that have Suffered Death in England on Religious Accounts, from 1577—1684, Vol I; published by John T. Green; Philadelphia 1839.
Chancery Inquisitions, Meath, Car. I, No. 97, Sept’ 1634.
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Collectanea Hibernica, No. 8 (1965).
Collectanea Hibernica, Nos. 36 and 37 (1994-5).
Congregation for the Causes of Saints Prot. No. 114, Diocese of Dublin, Cause for the Beatification and Canonisation of the Servants of God. Dermot O’Hurley, archbishop, & companions who died in Ireland in defence of the Catholic faith 1579-1654. Roma, 1998.
Conyngham, D.P., Lives of the Irish Saints: and Martyrs, Introduction by the Rev. Thomas S. Preston, D. J. Sadlier & Co., 31 Barclay Street; Montreal: Cor. Notre Dame and St Francis Xavier Street, 1870.
Copinger, Fr John, The Theatre of Catholique and Protestant Religion by I.C., St Omer, 1620.
County Louth Archaelogical and Historical Journal, xiv.
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Devon Record Office, Gaol Calendars of Assize Prisoners 1598-1599.
Dowdall Deeds, ed.Charles McNeill, D. Litt. and A. J. Otway-Ruthven, Ph.D., Dublin Stationery Office for the Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1960.
Dowdle, M.A., PhD., Harold L., ‘Robert Dowdle Sr. and his Descendants’, Stevenson’s Genealogy Center, 230 West 1230 North, Provo, Utah, 1990.
Fennessy O.F.M., Fr Ignatius, ‘News from Rome, 1691: Books and Friars’, Collectanea Hibernica, No. 41 (1999).
Giblin O.F.M., Cathaldus, ‘A List of the Personnel of the Franciscan Province of Ireland, 1700’, Collectanea Hibernica, No. 8 (1965).
Gray, Todd, The Devon Book of Days, http://www.devon.gov.uk/library/locstudy/almanack.html, May 20, 2004.
Grene S.J., Fr Christopher, Collectanea (fols. 34-42), Stonyhurst, 1697 (?).
Grene S.J., Fr Christopher, Martyres Angliae, Stonyhurst, 1697 (?).
Gwynn S.J., Rev. Aubrey, The Medieval Province of Armagh 1470-1545, W. Tempest, Dundalgan Press, Dundalk, 1946.
Herber, David, ‘Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury’, Britannia Biography, http://www.britannia.com/history/r-cecil.html, May 20, 2004.
http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/WilliamCecil(1BBurghley).htm, ‘William Cecil, (1st B. Burghley)’ June 22, 2004.
Index Martirum qui in Anglia ab Ignition Regni ab Elizabeth Suscepti Pro Fide Catholica Pasi Sunt, Una Cum Causis Mortis Singulorum et Scriptoribus Qui De Eisdem Mentionem Faciunt. Paris, written by the scholars of Douai. AAW B. 28; the manuscript is now preserved in the Westminster Diocesan Archives.
Knaresborough, Fr John, Sufferings of Catholicks, 1705-1720. Located: Ushaw College & also Brynmor Jones Library, University of Hull, England.
Leslie, Rev. James B., Armagh Clergy & Parishes, Dundalk: William Tempest, 1911.
Longfield, Ada Kathleen, Anglo-Irish Trade in Sixteenth Century, George Routledge & Sons, Ltd. Broadway House: 68-74 Carter Lane, E.C., 1929.
Lyons, M.A., ‘Maritime Relations between Ireland and France, c. 1480 - c. 1630’, Economic Social History, xxvii, 2000.
Mac Phóil, An tAth. Donnchadh, ‘The Clergy of Blessed Oliver Plunkett’, Seanchas Ard Mhacha, Vol. iii, No. 2.
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Martyrs of England & Wales 1535-1680, The. C.T.S. London, April 1979.
Meehan, C.P., The Rise and fall of the Irish Franciscan Monasteries, and Memoirs of the Irish Hierarchy in the Seventeenth Century, University Press of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, 2001 (originally published: 1877).
Millett, Fr Benignus, O.F.M., ‘Catalogue of Irish Material in Vols. 140-43 of the Scritture originali riferite nelle congregazioni generali, in Propaganda Archives’, Collectanea Hibernica, No.13 (1970).
Molano/Molanus, Joanne (John Mullan of Cork), Idea Togatae Constantiae & c., cui adjungitur tripartita Martyrum Britannicarum Insularum epitome. Published 1629.
Moran, Cardinal Patrick Francis, Persecutions Suffered by the Catholics in Ireland under the Rule of Cromwell and the Puritans, M.H. Gill & Son, 50 Upper Sackville Street, Dublin, 1884.
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9. I first learned of Fr James Dowdall from Liam Reynolds, Clogherhead Historical Society. I was able to visit Fr Dowdall’s grave in 2002. Further details about Fr Dowdall can be found in Declan Quaile’s , ‘The Priests of Termonfeckin Parish’, Termonfeckin Historical Society Review 2001, p.20.
13. Moran, Cardinal Patrick Francis, Persecutions Suffered by the Catholics in Ireland under the Rule of Cromwell and the Puritans, M. H. Gill and Son, 50 Upper Sackville Street, Dublin, 1884, pp. 386-387.Cardinal Moran took the information from Noticia Historica Ord. Cappuc. in Hibernia, Printed in Rome.
15. Millett, O.F.M., Fr Benignus, Catalogue of Irish Material in Vols. 140-43 of the Scritture originali riferite nelle congregazioni generali, in Propaganda Archives, Collectanea Hibernica, No.13 (1970).
18. Fr Dowdall could be the priest mentioned in Collectanea Hibernica, Vol. viii, 1965, p 48. A Fr Dowdall was involved in a dispute in 1707 when he was appointed Vicar Capitular by the senior suffragan bishop, Patrick O’Donnelly, Bishop of Dromore; he also was supported by the Dean of Armagh, Brian McGurk and the majority of the priests.
21. Rothe, David, The Analecta of David Rothe, Bishop of Ossory, Edited with Introduction by Moran, Bishop Patrick, Bishop of Ossory, M.H. Gill and Son, 50 Upper Sackville Street, Dublin, 1884, pp. 391-2.
23. Fenning, O.P., Fr Hugh, ‘The Vestry-Book of the Irish Dominicans in Rome, 1727-1796’, Collectanea Hibernica, No.10 (1967).
24. Giblin, p.55
25. Fennessy O.F.M., Father Ignatius, “Franciscan Guardians in Co. Kildare 1629-1872”, Journal of the Co. Kildare Archaeological Society, 1994-95, Vol XVIII (Part II)
29. http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/WilliamCecil(1BBurghley).htm, ‘William Cecil, (1st B. Burghley)’ June 22, 2004
33. Nicholls, K.W., ‘A Calendar of Salved Chancery Pleadings Concerning County Louth’, CLAHJ,
Vol. xviii, No. 2, 1974, p. 112; Dowdall Deeds No. 595; Dr Jane Lyons located the Admiralty Records for me. ‘A Calendar of Material relating to Ireland, from the High Court of Examinations, 1536-1641’ ed. John C. Appleby, Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1992.
42. Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Most Hon. The Marquis of Salisbury, K.G., Historical Manuscripts Commission, Preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, Part ix; Printed for His Majesty’s Stationary Office by Mackie & Co. London, 1902. A copy is located: National Library of Ireland, Manuscripts Department.
43. Abbrevation 'p. prod.' is 'pro proditione' ('for treason').
45. Cecil, William, The Execution of Justice in England and A True Sincere, and Modest Defense of English Catholics by William Allen, ed. Robert M. Kingdom, Folger Shakespeare Library, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1965, pp. 14-15. Cecil’s work was originally printed in 1583; there is no original date given for Allen except 1647, which was in reference to a copy of the article owned by Roger Twysden. The original Allen work would have been published circa the Cecil work.
49. Letter dated 20 December 2001 from David C. Sheehy, Dublin Diocesan Archivist.
50. Rothe, David, Bishop of Ossory, The Analecta, ed. with Introduction by Cardinal Patrick F. Moran, Bishop of Ossory, M. H. Gill and Son, 50 Upper Sackville Street, Dublin, 1884 (originally published, Cologne, 1619).
53. Congregation for the Causes of Saints Prot. No. 114, Diocese of Dublin, Cause for the Beatification and Canonisation of the Servants of God. Dermot O’Hurley, archbishop, & companions who died in Ireland in defence of the Catholic faith 1579-1654, p.108. Fr Ignatius Fennessy kindly sent me this reference.
54. Oliver D.D., Very Rev. George, Canon of the Diocese of Plymouth, History of the Catholic Religion in the Counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, and Gloucester. In two Parts, Historical and Biographical. With Notices of the Dominican, Benedictine, & Franciscan Orders in England, Charles Dolman, 61 New Bond Street; & 23 Paternoster Row. 1857, London, pp. 2-3.
55. Molanus, Joanne/Mullan, John, Idea Togatae Constantiae & c., cui adjungitur tripartita Martyrum Britannicarum Insularum Epitome, Publisher: Widow of Peter Chevalier, under the sign of D. Peter, James Street, Paris, 1629. I received a copy of the title page and the article from Trinity College.
56. Paris Catalogue, written by the scholars of Douai. AAW B. 28, p. 319. The manuscript is now preserved in the Westminster Diocesan Archives. Permission to use this work was given by the Archbishop of Westminster, January 15, 2003, in a letter written by Rev. Ian Dickie, Westminster Diocesan Archivist.
57. Alban, O.Carm, Kevin J, George Rayner - An Elizabethan Carmelite, first published in Carmelus, Vol. 46, 1999, http://www.carmelite.org/chronology/rayner.htm, May 20, 2004.
58. Challoner, V.A.L., Rt Rev. Dr, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, and Other Catholics of Both Sexes that have Suffered Death in England on Religious Accounts, from the Year 1577-1684, Vol. i, C.M. Warren, 21 Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin, 1874, (originally published in 1741), pp.197-8.
60. Reilly, Myles, Memorial of Those Who Suffered for The Catholic Faith in Ireland in the 16th, 17th, 18th Centuries, Collected and Edited from the Original Authorities, The Catholic Publication Society, 126 Nassau Street, New York, 1869, p. 223
61. Murphy, S.J., LL.D., M.R.I.A., Rev. Denis, Our Martyrs, Fallon & Co., 16 Lower Sackville Street, Dublin, 1896, pp. 207-8 .
63. Knaresborough, Fr John, Sufferings of Catholicks, 1705-1720. Fr Oliver lists this manuscript at Ushaw College. Dr Alistair MacGregor of Ushaw College, states: ‘It is a complex document spread over four large octavo volumes, each containing probably over 200 pages. It is a copy of the original manuscript, written in several hands. There is no index’. The original manuscript which is the property of the Duke of Norfolk was housed in the County Record Office of the East Riding of Yorkshire. The manuscript is now held by Brynmor Jones Library, University of Hull, England. The manuscript is too fragile to be photocopied. Reference - DDEV /67/1-4.
65. Gray, Todd, Devon Library and Information Services (Local studies service), The Devon Book of Days,
http://www.devon.gov.uk/library/locstudy/almanack.html, May 20, 2004.