HomeSatireThe Papal Bulls for the Invasion of England and Ireland

The Papal Bulls for the Invasion of England and Ireland

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 predecessor, 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.” This statement throws a light upon the terms of the letter abusive of the Irish and fulsome to the Pope which John of Salisbury, a personal friend, presented to the Pope, and to which the Pope in his letter replied. The result was, to use John’s own words, “It was at my request that Adrian granted and gave (concessit et dedit) Ireland to Henry the Second, King of England, to be possessed by inheritance, as his own letters testify unto this day. For all islands, of ancient right, are said to belong to the Church of Rome by the donation of Constantine.” He also sent a gold ring set with an emerald, as a symbol of his investiture in the right of ruling Ireland. 1 Gerald of Wales also refers to this ring which Adrian sent by John of Salisbury to Henry in symbol of his investiture and which was deposited in the treasury at Winchester. 8 1 Metalogicus, lib. IV, last chapter; Giles, vol. V, p. 205: “investitura juris in gerenda Hibernia.” 1 Conquest of Ireland, Rolls, v, 314: “investiturae in signum.” 276 THE PAPAL BULLS FOR THE INVASIONS John has represented his master’s enterprise in the very best light, making him out as an enthusiast for the reformation of the lax moral and ecclesiastical condition of Ireland. It was a great opportunity for the Pope to follow up the work of II52, when four palls had been given to the Irish Archbishops at the Synod of Kells. Hadrian’s letter, which John speaks of, is undoubtedly the Bull Laudabiliter, commending Henry for ”his purpose to extend the bounds of the Church and to proclaim to a rude and untaught (indocti et rudes) people the truth of the Christian faith, and to extirpate_ nurseries of vice from the field of the Lord, and for asking “apostolic counsel and favour.” The Pope rings the changes on the pious Henry’s alleged intention of “correcting morals and planting virtues for the increase of the Church,” and emphasises “the right of the Roman Church to Ireland and all islands on which the sun of righteousness hath shone,” in justification of his approval. This was the very point mentioned by John of Salisbury in his narrative. This letter was intended to be shown to the Irish. For it says, “let the people receive you with honour and respect you as Lord (Dominus), reserving the rights of the Church and the yearly payment of Peter’s pence from each household.” The Pope acquiesced in the King’s project, but makes no feudal grant.l This Bull has been questioned by some Romanists and others, because it cannot be found in the Vatican. It is given by Gerald of Wales in the fifth chapter of the second book of the Conquest of Ireland (Rolls edition). Gerald came over as the secretary of Prince John and so had access to all the royal and state documents. He would hardly have forged a document in favour of a king he hated. 2 It is also to be found in the Book of Leinster (facsimile, p. 228), a twelfth-century compilation. Professor Stokes 3 pointed out that according to Theiner no document earlier than 1215, relating to Ireland, is to be found in the Vatican, and demanded, if this is to be urged as proof that no Bull relating to Ireland was issued prior to that year, ” what becomes of the papal claims to have ruled Ireland long before the English came at all ? Such arguments are suicidal.” Now Ussher’s (Sylloge, No. 48) gives the text of a Bull sent to Laurence O’Toole, Archbishop of Dublin, II79· ” The truth is,” as Dr. Stokes remarked, “we still possess many Bulls issued by popes about Ireland all through the reigns of Henry II and John, the originals of which have been lost from the Vatican.” He refers to Mason’s History of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Chartae, Privilegia et Immunitates, of the Irish Record Office, to Alan’s Register, the Crede Mihi, the Liber Albus and the Liber Niger of Christ Church for numerous Bulls extant in Ireland. It can also be easily proved that the papacy was accessory both before and after to the invasion. The statement of John of Salisbury, a con1 Henry had merely asked for his blessing and the sanction of his enterprise. 8 Arthur Ua Clerigh, Hist01’y of Ireland, p. 392, gives the Latin and a translation. a Ireland and the Anglo-Norman Church, p. 46. OF ENGLAND AND IRELAND 277 temporary writer, cannot be set aside. Bishop Creighton regarded it as alone sufficient to establish the case. The privilegium of Adrian was confirmed by a successor, Alexander III, in a letter the authority of which has been disputed. It is to be found in the Conquest of Ireland by Gerald of Wales (Book II, c. 5, also in his De principis instructione, ii, 19 (viii, 197, Rolls) where he says that “some deny its genuineness.” He would hardly have said this had he forged it himself). There are, however, three letters from the same pope in the Black Book of the Exchequer,1 addressed to the Irish prelates, Henry, and the Irish nobles, respectively, and written in II72. The Pope harps on the vices of the Irish, who had ” cast off the fear of God and the restraints of the Christian religion.” He expresses his unbounded joy over Henry’s “subjugation to his own sovereignty of that savage and uncivilised people, who know nothing of God’s law.” He commands the bishops to assist that noble prince in “keeping possession of the land and extirpating its filthy abominations,” and to pronounce excommunication upon all obstinate rebels. In his letter to Henry he refers to the letter which Irish bishops (under the papal legate) had sent to him from the Synod of Cashel full of abuse of the Irish, because they married within the degrees, ate meat in Lent and paid no tithes, and did not give sufficient respect to the clergy. The third letter commends the prudence of the nobles in submitting to Henry-” such a devout son of the Church.” That they are not found in the papal archives, which do not contain any original document relating to Ireland before 1215, does not invalidate the worth of these documents, for there are in those archives 2 notices of the approval of subsequent pontiffs of the action of Adrian and Alexander. Sir J. H. Ramsay says there is an unmistakable reference in one instance to the terms of the Bull Laudabiliter. 3 Dr. Stokes, Ireland and Anglo-Norman Church, p. 46, also draws attention to the fact that on the second page of Theiner’s Monumenta there is a letter of Honorius III dated January 17, 1217, headed with the words ” to the Archbishop of Dublin that he may compel the rebellious Irish to return to the obedience of the King of England” (ad obedientiam regis Angliae redire), and on the previous page there are equally strong notices of letters from Innocent III, especially Nos. 136 and 137· It is also stated by Giraldus that Vivianus, the papal legate, held a Synod in II77• in which he set sternly forth (protestatur) Henry’s rights (jus) to Ireland and declared that they were confirmed by the Pope, and anathematised all rebels.’ In the letter of complaint from the Irish 1 Liber Niger Scaccarii, pp. 42-8 (T. Hearne, Oxford, 1728) ; Rhymer’s Foedera, i, p. 45 (London, x8x6). 1 See Vetera Monumenta Hibernorum, A. Theiner (Rome, Vatican Press, 1864). 1 In The Angevin Empire, p. 6, he refers to Theiner’s Monumenta, i, 151, a passage from a dispensation of the thirteenth century. ‘Giraldus, Conquest, II, c. 19: “tam clero quam populo sub anathema tis interminatione injungens ne ab ejus aliquatenus fidelitate, ausu temerario resilire praesumant.” 278 THE PAPAL BULLS FOR THE INVASIONS chiefs to John XXII, 13!8, the miseries of Ireland are emphatically derived from Adrian’s Bull, the articles of which are referred to, and passages of which are cited. Adrian is censured for presenting Henry de facto with what he had no right to bestow and for his obsequiousness to an evil king. This letter sets out in dignified language the case of the Celtic chiefs against their Norman oppressors, and is an important piece of evidence for the BulL The Pope in his letter to Edward II referred to the grant Adrian made to Henry II, saying that he encloses a copy of his letter from the Irish, with a copy of the grant Adrian made to Henry. 1 In the Parliament Roll, j’th E.IV. (1467) a statute is to be found which refers in its preamble to this donation. “As our holy father Adrian was possessed of all the sovereignty of Ireland in his demesne of fee, in right of his Church of Rome, and with the intent that vice should be subdued, had alienated the said land to the King of England for a certain rent . . . ” 2 The Bull is referred to by contemporary annalists such as Dean Diceto (Imagines, x, 529). Another reference is made to this donation of Adrian in a consistorial decree of 1555, erecting Ireland into a kingdom of which the Kings of England, since they had secured the dominion of it through the Apostolic See, had merely been called lords 8 (domim). Adrian’s Bull had charged the Irish to regard Henry as their dominus. The instructions of Innocent X to Rinuccini, the papal nuncio, who came to Ireland in 1645, refer to the grant of Ireland made by Adrian to Henry.’ There was evidently a strong papal tradition 5 about this grant and letter to Henry which cannot be easily set aside, especially when confirmed by contemporary statements like those of Gerald of Wales, John of Salisbury, and the Book of Leinster. The fact that the Bull was given seventeen years before it was acted upon is explained by R. de Monte as due to the queenmother’s objection to her son’s undertaking so dangerous an enterprise, so “the strange crusade was dropped for the time.” There are striking parallels to the circumstances that led to and the steps that were taken in this invasion in the previous invasion of England. Stigand, Harold’s Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1058 had received the pallium from Benedict X (antipope) who was shortly afterwards deposed. This acknowledgment of an anti1 The words are: “We send your majesty enclosed in these presents the above-mentioned letter directed to the Cardinals above mentioned with a copy of the letter of grant which our predecessor Adrian addressed to Henry King of England.”-Theiner, Monumenta, p. 201. 1 Hardiman, Statutes of Kilkenny, p. 3· 8 Lingard, vol. V, p. 227 (Duffy) ; History of England. Bullarium R. Part V, p. 315. • Embassy in Ireland, xxvii, A. Hutton (1873). a Cardinal Baronius found a copy in the Vatican Archives which he transcribed. Dr. Gasquet (Irish Catholic, Feb. 12, 1909) withdrew his previous objections to the Bull. He said: “We shall here copy out of the Vatican codex the diploma given to Henry, King of the English.”-Eccles. Annal., xii, p. 418 (Antwerp, 1634). OF ENGLAND AND IRELAND 279 pope affected not only Stigand’s position, who was in consequence looked upon askance by many churchmen, but also the Church of England, which the reigning Pope regarded as schismatical. The position was aggravated by the hostility of the monks to the Godwin family, whowereongood terms with the secularcanons. The monks were a great help to William in consequence. Again in ro6r, Earl Tostig led a party to Rome to procure the pallium for Ealdred of York. This was refused by the Pope, and on leaving Rome the party was attacked and robbed. Tostig went back to the Pope and complained so :fiercely that the Pope gave the pallium, but did not forgive the insult.1 Freeman declared that the real crime of England was its independence of Rome, and it was to punish that crime that the crusade of William was approved and blessed. ” A land where the church and the nation were but different names for the same body, a land where priests and prelates were subject to the laws like other men, a land where the King and his Witan gave and took away the staff of the bishop, was a land which, in the eyes of Rome, was more dangerous than a land of Jews or Saracens.” 2 Accordingly, when William’s ambassador, Gilbert, Archdeacon of Lisieux, presented himself, and laid his master’s complaints against Harold and his claim to England before Alexander II, it was too good an opportunity for the extension of the powers of the papacy to be missed. The story of Harold’s oath of fealty to William made over a tub in which were concealed the relics of Saints, was told; William’s pious desire to teach the English obedience to the Pope and to secure the punctual payment of his dues was set forth, and his offer to hold of God and St. Peter the kingdom he hoped to win was emphasised ; as the Roman de Rou, rr446, has it, ” if God willed that he should conquer England, he would receive it from St. Peter.” 3 Such was the argument conceived by the subtle brains of William and his adviser, Lanfranc, which made it appear that William was really standing as the champion of the Roman Church, only desirous of reforming the evil lives and ecclesiastical abuses of ungodly islanders. So William of Poitiers 4 (124) declares that tt he intended not so much to increase his own dominion and glory as to reform Christian rites in those parts.” It is certain, however, for all his specious pleas and protestations, backed up by the eloquence and determination of Hildebrand, that there was strong opposition in the Papal Court to William’s projected enterprise. Hildebrand stresses this point in a letter he afterwards wrote as Gregory VII to William.8 “I endured great infamy almost from some of the brethren, who murmured against me that I was exerting myself with so much partisanship for the perpetration 1 William of Malmesbury, Gest. pont., 154. • Freeman, E. A., History of the Norman Conquest, iii, 284. a K’il Engleterre conquesist. De Saint Pierre la recevrait. ‘”Non tantum ditionem suam et gloriam augere, quantum ritusChristianos partibus in illis corrigere intendit.” s Ep. Gregory, VII, c. :xxxvi (Freeman, III, 320). 280 THE PAPAL BULLS FOR INVASIONS of so much slaughter.” 1 This shows that there were some honest Cardinals in the papal Court, who would not sanction the shedding of so much blood in the name of religion. But the horrors of an unprovoked war were not to be set against the interests of the papal see. Alexander issued a Bull declaring Harold usurper and William rightful claimant of the English throne. He also gave him a ring with a hair of St. Peter, and a consecrated banner. un gonfannon e un ancl Mult precios e riche e bel. (Roman de Rou, 11452.) It would also seem that the Bull declared that the English were excommunicated from the apostle and the church.2 It was a triumph of an unrighteous conspiracy when William invaded England with the papal blessing as the champion of the Roman see. Myriads of valiant men were slain in order that the Roman treasury should be replenished. The same story can be told of Roman ruthlessness among other peoples, for example, the massacres of the Waldenses, of the Huguenots, of the Irish, to say nothing of the Inquisition in Spain, and the tortures and slaughter of the Knights Templars in France, for which the Pope was responsible. The Irish nobles complained to the Pope that more than so,ooo men on both sides had perished by the sword because of Adrian’s Bull. Perish humanity provided Rome prevails.

Francis Ryan Montgomery Hitchcock, clergyman and Donnellan lecturer at Trinity College Dublin (1912), and his wife, Kathleen Hitchcock

Hitchcock, Reginald Ingram Montgomery (‘Rex Ingram’)

Contributed by

Geoghegan, Patrick M.

Hitchcock, Reginald Ingram Montgomery (‘Rex Ingram’) (1893–1950), film director, was born 18 January 1893 at 58 Grosvenor Square, Rathmines, Dublin, the elder of two sons of Francis Ryan Montgomery Hitchcock, clergyman and Donnellan lecturer at Trinity College Dublin (1912), and his wife, Kathleen Hitchcock (née Ingram). Educated first at Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Reginald (known as ‘Rex’) moved to Kinnitty, King’s Co. (Offaly), when his father was made rector. In 1905 he was sent to Saint Columba’s College, Dublin, where he excelled in boxing and rugby but often fell foul of the school authorities. The death of his mother in October 1908, and his subsequent failure to gain admittance to Trinity College, had a decisive influence on his life and he resolved to leave Ireland. He arrived in New York, 3 July 1911, shortly before his father’s remarriage, and never visited Ireland again.

In 1912 he entered Yale University School of Art, where he studied sculpture under Lee Lawrie. At that time New York was the centre of the nascent film industry. Ingram was introduced to Charles Edison, son of the inventor and part of the famous Edison Studios based in the Bronx, and he abandoned his studies for film (despite never finishing his degree, Yale conferred on him a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1921, the first academic recognition of film as one of the fine arts). Employed first as an artist, he drew titles and painted sets, but he was also employed as a script writer and performer on screen. Moving to the Vittagraph Company in 1914, he continued to act in films, where his dashing good looks photographed well, but his acting limitations were exposed. In 1915 he was hired by the Fox Company and changed his name to Rex Ingram in honour of his mother. Moving to Universal in 1916, he directed his first silent film, The great problem, and three more films followed that year. When the film industry relocated to Hollywood, so did Ingram, and he directed four films in 1917 before being dismissed by the studio. For the Paralta–W. W. Hodkinson Corporation he directed six more films between 1918–20.

Ingram was briefly in the Royal Canadian Signal Corps in late 1918, and apparently suffered an injury (not combat-related) that tormented him for the rest of his life. Having established a reputation for being brilliant but impossible to work with, he was hired by the Metro Picture Corporation (afterwards MGM) in 1920, where he was under the supervision of June Mathis, screenwriter and the first female executive for Metro/MGM. During the filming of Shore acres in 1920 he again fell out with his cameraman and was given the young cinematographer John Seitz to work with, which marked the start of a great collaborative partnership. With The four horsemen of the apocalypse (1921), based on the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibánez, Ingram created a cinematic masterpiece of enduring quality. Shooting began in July 1920 and lasted six months – unheard of since D. W. Griffith’s epics. Together with June Mathis, who wrote the screenplay for the film, he insisted on engaging an unknown actor, Rudolf Valentino, to play the lead, and made him an international icon in the process; Alice Terry played the heroine. Colonel Francis Clere Hitchcock (1896–1962), the director’s brother, advised on military matters, and the filming involved 12,000 people. The eleven reels of the finished film display Ingram’s mastery of the camera, his stunning narrative ability, and his visual audacity. A perfectionist, he always insisted that his cast say their lines in the language of the country in which a scene was set, even though the films were silent. The four horsemen was an international success, though on its opening in Dublin in January 1923 it was savaged by the press. It was followed by The conquering power (1921), which had the same leading actors and was greeted with more critical acclaim. Relations between Ingram and Valentino soured, however, and they never worked together again. More popular success followed in 1922 with The prisoner of Zenda, again starring Alice Terry. Determined to prove that he could make any good-looking actor a star, he took one of his players, Ramon Samaniegos and, changing his surname to Novarro, set out to make him as big a success as Valentino.

Disillusioned with the Hollywood studio system, and never afraid of voicing his criticisms, Ingram moved to France in 1923, determined to make his own films. He established himself in Nice, where he modernised the Studios de la Victorine de Saint-Augustin and directed Scaramouche (1923), Mare nostrum (1925), and The garden of Allah (1927; it is believed that he converted to Islam at this time). After some initial antagonism, he gained the friendship of the director Erich von Stroheim, and in 1925 was entrusted with the cutting of his classic film Greed; the film was afterwards further cut, despite both men’s protests. In 1926 he was awarded the Légion d’honneur francaise and in 1928 established the Ingram Hamilton Syndicated Ltd production company in London. In 1927 his MGM contract was not renewed, and he purchased the Nice studio for $5 million, though he later lost control (being erratic and unreliable when it came to business). He is said to have met the young British director Alfred Hitchcock in 1929 and advised him to change his name if he wanted to get anywhere. The three passions (1929) was his last silent film, and with the advent of sound he lost interest in directing. His only attempt at the new form was Baroud (1931), in which he played the lead himself, but it lacked the assurance of his earlier work and he decided to retire. In 1934 he moved to Egypt, before returning to Hollywood in 1936. He published two novels, The legion advances (1934) and Mars in the house of death (1940), both melodramas.

Ingram married twice: his first marriage (15 March 1917) to Doris Pawn ended in divorce; on 5 November 1921 he married his leading actress, Alice Frances Taaffe (Terry), whose father came from Co. Kildare. Ingram died in July 1950 in California, and was cremated; he had one adopted son, Abd-el-Kadar.

Arrogant, and with a reputation as a hedonist, Ingram was a controversial figure, but one of the true giants of cinema. A genuinely innovative director, he helped to define and develop the cinematic medium, leaving an enduring legacy for future directors; David Lean called him ‘my idol’, while Michael Powell insisted that he was ‘the greatest stylist of our time’ (O’Leary, x). Erich von Stroheim, who considered Ingram the world’s greatest director, said of him ‘He was a very proud man and wouldn’t have done the things I did. He never stooped, he never gave any publicity and was a little huffy—he was very Irish’ (O’Leary, 57). Perhaps the most fitting epitaph was given by James Joyce in Finnegans wake: ‘Rex Ingram, pageant master.’ For his contribution to the motion picture industry, he has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.


René Prédal, Rex Ingram, 1893–1950 (1970); Liam O’Leary, Rex Ingram: master of the silent cinema (1980); Ian Graham, ‘Rex Ingram: a seminal influence, unfairly obscured’, American Cinematographer, iv (1993), 74–80; Laurie Collier Hillstrom (ed.), International directory of film and filmakers, ii: Directors (1997); Boylan; Ruth Barton, Rex Ingram: visionary director of the silent screen (2014)



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