Peter Lombard

Peter Lombard (c.1555-1625)

Born at Waterford, about 1555 of a wealthy and respectable Old English family. Following his early education in Waterford, he attended at the University of Oxford. At the university in Louvain he graduated as Doctor of Divinity in 1594, and was ordained priest. He then went on to become professor of philosophy and theology. In 1594 he was appointed provost of the cathedral at Cambrai.

He was a major Irish figure in the Counter-Reformation. Dr Hiram Morgan suggests that Lombard was Hugh O'Neill's agent in Rome while on university business in 1598-99 and wrote De regno Hiberniae sanctorum insula commentarius to encourage papal support. The Pope of the day, Clement VIII, was impressed with Lombard and made him archbishop of Armagh in 1601 instead of O'Neill's Ulster candidate. Lombard was never to take up the post in person in Armagh itself, the penal laws in force then in Ireland would have meant execution; local administration was carried out by David Rothe, his former secretary and later bishop of Ossory. Pope Clement also appointed Lombard as his domestic prelate.

From then on until his death he lived in Rome. For some time he was president of the “Congregatio de Auxiliis”¹, charged with the duty of pronouncing on Luis de Molina's work (Concordia liberi arbitrii cum gratiæ donis, divina præscientia, providentia, prædestinatione et reprobatione (Lisbon, 1588)) and settling the controversy on predestination and grace which followed its publication. He was involved in the condemnation of Copernicus' heliocentric theory (1616), and the approval of nativist conversion techniques in India (1623).

After his death, the Commentarius was published in 1632. This work gave such offence to Charles I that he ordered Thomas Wentworth, 1st earl of Strafford, his Irish viceroy, to have it suppressed.


  • 1632, De regno Hiberniae sanctorum insula commentarius apud viduam Steph. Martini, Lovanii; edited by P. F. Moran 1868, James Duffy, Dublin. Table of Contents
  • 1604, an unedited work addressed to James I in favour of religious liberty for the Irish (Alphons Bellesheim, Geschichte der Katholichischen Kirche in Irland, vol. 2 (Mainz, 1890), 323-25, and passim.
  • A work on the administration of the Sacrament of Penance.

— Margaret Lantry

¹ A commission established by Pope Clement VIII to settle the theological controversy regarding grace which arose between the Dominicans and the Jesuits towards the close of the sixteenth century.

Sources used in compiling this brief biographical sketch were: Dictionary of National BiographyThe Oxford Companion to Irish History and The Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Work in progress at the CNLS

Seán de Bhulbh, working towards an M.Phil., is translating the Commentarius.


This bibliography is presented in an incomplete state as a work in progress. Much research needs to be done, especially in the Vatican archives, to ascertain the extent of Lombard's writings.

Primary sources


  1. 1600: De Hibernia Insula Commentarius Stromaticus, Romae Conscriptus, et Oblatus Sanctissimo Patri et D.N. Clementi Papae Octavo Anno Sancto Seculari MDC a Petro Lombardo Hiberno, Artium & Sacrae Theologiae Doctore, ac nuper Professore in Universitate Louaniensi; nunc verò pro eadem Commissario ad sedem Apostolicam. Rome, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana MS Barb. Lat. 2466. 161 fol.
  2. 1600: De Hibernia Insula Commentarius Stromaticus Romae Conscriptus et Oblatus Sanctissimo Patri et D.N. Clementi Papae Octavo Anno Sancto Seculari MDC a Petro Lombardo Hiberno Artium, & Sacrae Theologiae Doctore, ac nuper Professore in Universitate Louaniensi: nunc verò pro eadem Commissario ad sedem Apostolicam.Rome, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana MS Vat. Lat. 6386. 165 fol.
  3. Adhuc alia valis sese est in Parliamento congregatio de decima .... Fragment; 8 leaves paginated 411-18, part of his work on anti-Catholic laws in England [see MS Barb. 2949]. Killiney, MS B.27(1). f.411r-418r
  4. 1601: copy of De Hiberniae Insula Commentarius, contains strident additions, some of the text is not in Moran's edition of 1868 of the Barberini MS dated 1600. Killiney, MS B.27(2). f.1r-145r
  5. Letter to Pope Clement VIII. Killiney, MS B.27(3). f.142r-145r
  6. 1607: Letter to Fr Florence Conry, 10 November. MS State Paper Office (see Moran 1868, p.xxvi-xxvii)
  7. 1607: Letter to Lord Maguire, 10 November. MS State Paper Office (see Moran 1868, p.xxvii-xxviii)
  8. 1607: Letter to Lord O'Donnell. MS State Paper Office (see Moran 1868, p.xxviii)
  9. 1607: Patent granting faculties to Fr. Moriarty Dowley, 21 August. Dublin, MS Trinity College E.3.13 (see Moran 1868, p.xli)
  10. 1609: Letter of appointment of David Rothe to the position of Prothonotary-Apostolic by Lombard. Dublin, MS Trinity College E.3.15 (see Moran 1868, p.xxxviii-xl)
  11. 1612: Copy, in Latin, of a letter of Archbp. Lombard to Paul V. on the appointment of bishops in Ireland. Rome, MS Archivio Vaticano, Fondo Borghese, Ser. II.: Vol. 23 (pubd. "Archbishop Lombard re appointing Irish bishops to Pope Paul V", Archivium Hibernicum 3, p. 284-99 (MS Borghese Collection, series II, vol. 23, fol. 220))
  12. 1613: Paper dated 9 September 1613 in which Lombard refers to his connection with the Congregation de Auxiliis. Rome, MS St Isidore's College (see Moran 1868, p.xvi footnote)
  13. 1613: "Letter of Dr Lombard, Archbishop of Armagh, to the King of Spain, 9 September, 1613". Rome, MS St Isidore's College (see Moran 1874, p.126-7)
  14. 1614: Patent of faculties granted to Rev. James Lattin. 3 July. London, MS Public Record Office, Ireland vol. 232 (see Moran 1868, p.xli-xlii)
  15. c.1616: "Ad Quaestiones XII propositas presbyteris in castro Wisbicensi in Anglia ..., dedicated to Cardinal Peter Aldobrandino". Rome, MS Barb. lat. 985 (see Silke 1955, Irish Theological Quarterly 22(2))
  16. c.1616: "Ad Quaestiones XII propositas presbyteris in castro Wisbicensi in Anglia ..., dedicated to Pope Paul V". Rome, MS Barb. lat. 986 (see Silke 1955, Irish Theological Quarterly 22(2))
  17. 1617: Certificate by Archbp. P. Lombard that James Talbot has been appointed Vicar Apostolic of the Diocese of Kildare. pridie Cal. Nov., 1617. (Hist. Mss. Comm. Rep. Franciscan Mss., 1906, p. 72)
  18. Document, in Latin, by Archbp. Lombard on the benefits of Anglo-Spanish marriage, undated. Rome, MS Archivio Vaticano: Fondo Borghese, Ser. II.: Vol. 20 (pubd. c.1617: "Archbishop Lombard on the Proposed Spanish Marriage", Archivium Hibernicum 3, p. 319-24 (MS Borghese Collection, series II, vol. 20, fol. 22))
  19. 1622: Petition to Pope Paul V. to return to Ireland, 13 March. Rome, MS Archives of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda (see Moran 1868, p.lxviii-lxix)
  20. Letter, in Latin, to the Pope of Archbp. Lombard on a controversial work (De mortis Christi efficacia by J. Windeck) examined by him. Rome, MS Archivio Vaticano, Fondo Borghese, Ser. III. Vol. 11AB
  21. De momento ac modo definiendi controversiam illam celebrem de Auxiliis divinae gratiae &c., presented to Pope Paul V. Rome, MS Barb. 2949 (see Moran 1868, p.xix footnote)
  22. Epistola commonitoria Petri Lombardi ad Catholicos Hiberniae Rome, MS St Isidore's College (see Moran 1868, p.xxv)

Printed works

  1. 1575: Carmen heroicum in Doctoratum Nicolai Quemerfordi (see Moran 1868, p.viii)
  2. c.1575: Carmina in laudem Comitis Ormoniae (see Moran 1868, p.viii)
  3. 1604: Jesuit Archives. Episcopion Doron. Addressed in 1604 to James I. by Peter Lombard, Archbp. of Armagh (incomplete). (Hist. Mss. Comm. Rep. 10, App. 5, 1885. pp. 364-8
  4. 1624: Casus circa decretum Clementis Papae VIII de Sacramentali confessione et absolutione non faciendâ in absentiâ, printed in Aegidius [Gilles] de Coninck Responsio ad dissertationem impugnantem Absolutionem Moribundi sensibus destituti (Antwerp: Ex officina Martini Nutii, 1625)
  5. 1632: De regno Hiberniae sanctorum insula commentarius apud viduam Steph. Martini, Lovanii


  1. 1600: "A statement presented by Archbishop Lombard to the Pope, on behalf of the Irish chiefs", Archivium Hibernicum 2, p. 297-300 (MS Borghese Collection, series III, vol. 124c)
  2. c.1604: "Letter to King James I & VI Episcopion doron", Archivium Hibernicum 3, p. 273-84 (MS Borghese Collection, series I, vol. 18b, fol. 52)
  3. 1604: an unedited work addressed to James I in favour of religious liberty for the Irish (Alphons Bellesheim, Geschichte der Katholichischen Kirche in Irland, vol. 2 (Mainz, 1890), 323-25, and passim.
  4. 1606: "Archbishop Lombard to Pope Paul V", Archivium Hibernicum 3, p. 237 (MS Borghese Collection, series III, vol. 11b, fol. 39)
  5. c.1617: "The Penal Laws under James I", Archivium Hibernicum 3, p. 324-59 (MS Borghese Collection, series III, vol. 124C, fol. 93-113)
  6. 1699: draft of Papal Bull prepared by Lombard for the Congregatio de Auxiliis. In Serry, J. H. Historiae Congregationum: De auxiliis divinae gratiae, sub summis pontificibus Clemente VIII et Paulo V. Libri quatuor ... (Moguntiae, Typis Heredum Joannis Baptistae Schônwetteri), appendix, XII (see Moran 1868, p.xviii)
  7. 1868: De regno Hiberniae, sanctorum insula, Commentarius: authore illustriss. ac reverendiss. Domino, D. Petro Lombardo, Hiberno, praeposito ec. cath. cameracensis, etc. edited by Patrick F. Moran (Dublin: James Duffy)
  8. 1930: The Irish war of defence, 1598-1600: extracts from the De Hibernia insula commentarius of Peter Lombard, Archbishop of Armagh edited, with introduction and translation, by Matthew J. Byrne (Dublin and Cork: Cork University Press)

By others than Lombard

  1. 1599: "O'Neill to Archbishop Lombard, urging him to procure subsidy, etc.", Archivium Hibernicum 2, p. 283-4 (MS Borghese Collection)
  2. 1602: "Internuncio to Sec. of State: Archbishop Lombard resigns benefice", Archivium Hibernicum 3, p. 249 (MS Borghese Collection)
  3. 1607: "Rector, Louvain University, to Paul V, praising Archbishop Lombard", Archivium Hibernicum 4, p. 238-9 (MS Borghese Collection, series III, vol. 126a, fol. 12)
  4. 1622: "O'Neill to Sec. of State repeating petition made six years before, and complaining of adverse influence of Archbishop Lombard", Archivium Hibernicum 4, p. 308-09 (MS Borghese Collection, series III, vol. 85d, fol. 159)
  5. 1622: "O'Donnell ditto", Archivium Hibernicum 4, p. 309-10 (MS Borghese Collection, series III, vol. 85d, fol. 158)
  6. 1625: "Extract from letter of the Bishop of Ossory to Dr. Lombard, Archbishop of Armagh, 17 September 1625", Moran Spicilegium Ossoriense, p. 137-8 (MS St Isidore's College)


Secondary sources

  1. Anthologia Hibernica (1793) vol. 1, p.33, 119
  2. Bellesheim, A. (1890) Geschichte der Katholischen Kirche in Irland (Munich), vol. 2, p. 231-4, 322-5
  3. Brenan, Michael J. ([1864]) An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, from the introduction of Christianity into that country, to the year M.DCCC.XXIX (Dublin: James Duffy), new ed., revd., p.490-2 (p.276-7 in 1848 edition)
  4. D'Alton, E. A. (1910) "Peter Lombard" in The Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. Charles G. Herbermann, vol. 9, p. 336 (London: Caxton Publishing Company)
  5. Hagan, J. (1913) "Some Papers relating to the Nine Years War (Vatican Archives: Borghese Collection, Series III, Vol. 124 C)" Archivium Hibernicum 2, p. 274-320
  6. Hagan, J. (1914) "Miscellanea Vaticano-Hibernica, 1580-1631 (Vatican Archives: Borghese Collection)" Archivium Hibernicum 3, p. 227-365
  7. Hagan, J. (1915) "Miscellanea Vaticano-Hibernica, 1420-1631 (Vatican Archives: Borghese Collection)" Archivium Hibernicum 4, p. 215-310
  8. Hagan, J. (1915) "Brief Calendar of Borghese Papers (in Archiv. Hib., vols. 2, 3, 4)" Archivium Hibernicum 4, p. 311-18
  9. Franciscan Fathers, Killiney (1957) Father Luke Wadding: commemorative volume (Dublin: Clonmore & Reynolds), p. 234 (n.11), 298 (n. 17)
  10. Le Blanc, Augustino [pseud.: Jacques H. Serry] (1700) Historia congregationum de auxiliis divinae gratiae: cum summis Pontificibus Clemente VIII et Paulo V... libri quattuor (Louvain: apud Aegidium Denique) [on Lombard and publishes two of his writings on grace]
  11. Leerssen, Joseph T. (1986) Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, Its Development and Literary Expression prior to the Nineteenth Century (Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co.)
  12. Lowndes, William T. (1858) The bibliographer's manual of English literature, containing an account of rare, curious, and useful books, published in or relating to Great Britain and Ireland, from the invention of printing ... (London: H. G. Bohn), p.1385
  13. Lynch, John (1672) De Praesulibus Hiberniae, ed. John F. O'Doherty Irish Manuscripts Commission (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1944), vol. 1, p. 137, 253, 380
  14. McCarthy, Muriel and Caroline Sherwood-Smith, eds. (1994) Hibernia resurgens: Marsh's Irish books (Dublin: Archbishop Marsh's Library)
  15. Moran, Patrick F. (1874) Spicilegium Ossoriense: being a collection of original letters and papers illustrative of the History of the Irish Church from the Reformation to the year 1800 (Dublin: W. B. Kelly), vol. 1, p.126-7, 137-8
  16. Renehan, Laurence F. (1861) Collections on Irish church history ... Vol. 1: Irish archbishops, ed. McCarthy, Daniel (Dublin: C. M. Warren and Thomas Richardson), p. 20-24
  17. Ryan, Richard (1821) Biographia Hibernica: a biographical dictionary of the worthies of Ireland, from the earliest period to the present time (London: J. Warren), vol. 2, p.380
  18. Silke, J. J. (1955) "Later relations between Primate Peter Lombard and Hugh O'Neill" Irish Theological Quarterly 22 (1), pp 15-30
  19. Silke, J. J. (1955) "Primate Lombard and James I" Irish Theological Quarterly 22 (2), pp 124-50
  20. Silke, J. J. (1975) "The Irish Peter Lombard" Studies 64, pp 143-55
  21. Smith, David (2000) "Peter Lombard 1554-1625: prelate, politican, pragmatist" Decies 56, pp 35-53
  22. Stuart, James (1900) Historical memoirs of the City of Armagh, ed. Coleman, Ambrose (Dublin: Browne & Nolan/Gill)
  23. Ware, James (1764): The History of the Writers of Ireland, in two books, ed. Harris, Walter (Dublin: R. Bell & J. Fleming), p.103

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