As By Law Established

The Church of Ireland since the Reformation

Edited by: Kenneth Milne , James McGuire , Alan Ford

Publication Date: January 1995


As By Law Established: The Church of Ireland since the Reformation edited by Alan Ford, James McGuire and Kenneth Milne

‘As the churches decline, interest in their history paradoxically increases.’

These sixteen essays in ecclesiastical history, selected from research papers presented at the 1993 UCD Conference on the Church of Ireland, constitute the best of recent and current research in the field. Together they form a coherent chronological and thematic account of the development of the Church of Ireland across five centuries, as perceived by a new generation of historians from Ireland, England and America.

They touch upon four main areas:

  1. Historical controversy:the failure of the Reformation in Dublin; Protestant bishops and the Church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
  2. Comparative frameworks: the Churches of Ireland and England; puritanism, German pietism and social reformation.
  3. New sources for a history of Irish Protestantism: printed catechisms; early nineteenth-century educational policy; the Protestant working class and popular religion.
  4. Theory and historiography: sectarianism and denominational history; the roles of myth, memory, identity and intolerance in Ireland.

As by Law Established is a stimulating gathering by leading scholars from the universities of Maynooth, Dublin, Belfast, Cambridge, Oxford and Florida, interrogating the ‘often edifying but as often contested past of religious history’. While its concerns are those of contemporary Ireland and varieties of Protestantism therein, it affords a magisterial overview of its subject which will persist into the twenty-first century.

‘These essays superbly illustrate the breadth of historical study with erudition and freshness.’R. Barry Levis, Church History

‘A well-presented and valuable collection which will undoubtedly stimulate further research.’Peter MacDonagh, Eighteenth-Century Ireland

‘Required reading for anyone seeking to understand current thinking on the subject.’Jacqueline Hill, Search


  • ‘Standing one’s ground’: religion, polemic and Irish history since the Reformation – Alan Ford
  • The vertical and horizontal in religious history: internal and external integration of the subject – Patrick Collinson
  • Ecclesiastical justice and the enforcement of the reformation: the case of Archbishop Browne and the clergy of Dublin – James Murray
  • The Church of Ireland, 1558-1634: a puritan church? – Alan Ford
  • ‘The necessary knowledge of the principles of religion’: catechisms and catechizing in Ireland, c.1560-1800 – Ian Green
  • The religion of Irish Protestants: a view from the laity, 1580-1700 – Raymond Gillespie
  • John Bramhall and the Church of Ireland in the 1630s – John McCafferty
  • Policy and patronage: the appointment of bishops 1660-61 – James McGuire
  • ‘That’s no good religion that disturbs the government’: the Church of Ireland and the non-conformist challenge, 1660-88 – Richard L Greaves
  • Improving clergymen, 1660-1760 – Toby Barnard
  • Reformers and highflyers: the post-revolution church – S.J. Connolly
  • Did Protestantism fail in early eighteenth-century Ireland? Charity schools and the enterprise of religious and social reformation, c. 1690-1730 – David Hayton
  • Principle or pragmatism: Archbishop Brodrick and church education policy – Kenneth Milne
  • The Church of Ireland and the problem of the Protestant working-class of Dublin, 1870s-1930s – Martin Maguire
  • The problem of sectarianism and the Church of Ireland – Joseph Liechty.


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Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 156 × 234 mm

Hardback, 288pp

Publication Date

January 1995