Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Myler MacGrath: "Scoundrel of Cashel"

This wall tomb, in the cathedral at the Rock of Cashel, is reputedly the final resting place of Myler MacGrath, a clever man who managed to live a dual life. He was a Franciscan priest who, by 1565, was made Catholic bishop of County Down. Shortly thereafter (1567) Queen Elizabeth I made him Anglican Archbishop of Cashel. He held both the Catholic and Protestant bishoprics at the same time for a period of nine years.

It is alleged that he held as many as four bishoprics and several benefices, out of which he provided well for his wife Ane O'Meara, whom he had married in 1575, and their nine children. In 1580 the Catholic church removed him as bishop of Down for "heresy and other crimes". He died in 1622, having lived almost 100 years. His monument in the wall of Cashel cathedral bears an epitaph written by himself, giving his detractors reason to believe this was not his tomb.

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