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764BOOK REVIEWS enced those in Spain, and reflected rather the results ofa Christian Humanist reconsideration of scripture. Such independent and spontaneous dissent is at first linked to vestiges of late medieval Christian heresy in the Iberian peninsula, for initially the impact of converso culture is made marginal, as indeed are the alumbrados as such. But after extended treatment of dissidents who were condemned within Spain, whether considered here as truly Protestant or not, and of exiles, the influence of converso tradition re-emerges in appropriate cases. Adriano Prosperi has recently reminded us that, for the Italian sixteenth century , Cantimori distinguished between Protestants and 'heretics' among the Italian exiles. But here the contribution of converso thought to native Iberian dissent is seen not in respect of ritual orthodoxy but in the genesis of a freethinking stance later epitomized outside Spain by Spinoza. A. D.Wright University ofLeeds Priests and Prelates ofArmagh in the Age ofReformations, 1518-1558. By Henry A. Jefferies. (Dublin: Four Courts Press. Distributed by International Scholarly Book Services, Portland, Oregon. 1997. Pp. 213. $49.95.) This is a solid contribution to the current debate on the reasons for the failure of the Reformation in Ireland. Jefferies has combed the registers, "broken" but invaluable, of Primates Cromer and Dowdall, draws upon valuations and inquisitions , and works in the findings of archaeologists and economic historians. He provides, in fact, an outline of socio-economic conditions in the Armagh archdiocese from the mid-fifteenth to the early seventeenth century, so that his work is wider in scope than the title indicates. But its main thrust is to challenge the prevailing view that the late medieval Irish church was in decline. Archiépiscopal rule was effective, whether exercised directly within the "English " portion (Co. Louth) of the archdiocese or indirectly, through dean and chapter, in the larger Gaelic area. Here Conn O'Neill's firm control was a support for the Church (as was O'Donnell control in Tir Conaill—the present reviewer 's 1995 study indicating this appeared too late for Jefferies to make use of); while priestly training at Armagh and other centers was satisfactory. Jefferies has read Duffy, Haigh, and other recent historians ofthe English church to effect, but a study of Scottish work, particularly that of McKay and Donaldson, might have prompted him to pursue parallels within Gaeldom. A surprisingly dense network of churches and chapels, staffed by a priesthood for the most part Gaelic (even within the Pale) and often very poor indeed , provided a pastoral care satisfactory to the laity, who supported the building and improvement of churches. The primates made effective use of annual synods (combining, it might be said, the elements of both modern diocesan retreat and in-service training), visitations, and consistorial courts. David Dumville has recently stressed the importance of councils and synods for main- BOOK REVIEWS765 taining Christian standards in Gaeldom in the early and central Middle Ages.Jefferies ' findings indicate that they continued valuable to the end. Limited in power of collation, archbishops by inquisitions could "screen" candidates. Concubinage seems to have been at about the general European level, the higher the more remote from the archbishop's glance. Primates in dealing with it hewed, of course, to the Roman line. Religious appear in ancillary role, especially as preachers. Given the Irish monastic tradition and the work of friars (e.g., in Dowdall's friary ofArdee) in providing poor and sick relief, something might have been made of direct pastoral care by the orders. The understanding one had from Gwynn of Cromer as reluctant reformer and of Dowdall (this supported by Bradshaw) as good conservative Catholic is here confirmed. Edwardian Protestantism did not appeal to the laity, whose willingness to build and repair churches had, however, been sapped. Beneficiaries of monastic spoils were reluctant to invest in a Catholic restoration that might not last. Jefferies' study does not extend into the Elizabethan period, but he stresses two important factors which prevented the Reformation from making progress in Armagh: failure by the crown (itself a large impropriator) to finance churches and livings, and the lack of attraction these poor livings held for Protestant missionaries. But the inherent strengths of the pre...


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