George Stone (bishop)

Last updated

George Stone

Archbishop of Armagh
Primate of All Ireland
Abp George Stone.jpg
Portrait by Allan Ramsay
Church Church of Ireland
Appointed13 March 1747
In office1747-1764
Predecessor John Hoadly
Successor Richard Robinson
Consecration3 August 1740
by  John Hoadly
Personal details
Born7 January 1708
Died19 December 1764(1764-12-19) (aged 56)
London, England
Buried Westminster Abbey
Nationality English
Denomination Anglican
ParentsAndrew Stone & Anne Holbrooke
Previous post(s) Dean of Ferns (1733–1734)
Dean of Derry (1734–1740)
Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin (1740–1743)
Bishop of Kildare (1743–1745)
Bishop of Derry (1745–1747)
Education Westminster School
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

George Stone (1708 – 19 December 1764) was the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh (Primate of All Ireland) from 1747 to his death.



Born in London, the son of Andrew Stone, a London goldsmith. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. Having taken holy orders, his advancement in the Church was very rapid, mainly through the influence of his older brother Andrew Stone. Andrew's connections with George II made him able to promote the preferment of his brother George, who went to Ireland as chaplain to Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset when that nobleman became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1731. [1]

In 1733 Stone was made Dean of Ferns, and in the following year he exchanged this deanery for that of Derry. In 1740 he became Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin, in 1743 Bishop of Kildare, in 1745 Bishop of Derry, and in 1747 Archbishop of Armagh. During the two years that he occupied the See of Kildare he was also Dean of Christ Church, Dublin. [1]

Primate of All Ireland

From the moment that he became Primate of All Ireland, Stone proved himself more a politician than an ecclesiastic. "He was said to have been selfish, worldly-minded, ambitious and ostentatious; and he was accused, though very probably falsely, of gross private vice." His aim was to secure political power, a desire which brought him into conflict with Henry Boyle, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, who had organized a formidable opposition to the government. The Duke of Dorset's reappointment to the Lord Lieutenancy in 1751, with his son Lord George Sackville as Chief Secretary for Ireland, strengthened the primate's position and enabled him to triumph over the popular party on the constitutional question as to the right of the Irish House of Commons to dispose of surplus Irish revenue, which the government maintained was the property of the Crown. [1]

When Dorset was replaced by the Duke of Devonshire in 1755, Boyle was raised to the peerage as Earl of Shannon and received a pension, and other members of the opposition also obtained pensions or places; and the archbishop, finding himself excluded from power, went into opposition to the government in alliance with John Ponsonby. These two, afterwards joined by the primate's old rival Lord Shannon, and usually supported by the Earl of Kildare, regained control of affairs in 1758, during the viceroyalty of the Duke of Bedford. In the same year, Stone wrote a remarkable letter, preserved in the Bedford Correspondence (ii. 357), in which he speaks very despondingly of the material condition of Ireland and the distress of the people. The archbishop was one of the "undertakers" who controlled the Irish House of Commons, and although he did not regain the almost dictatorial power he had exercised at an earlier period, which had suggested a comparison between him and Cardinal Wolsey, he continued to enjoy a prominent share in the administration of Ireland until his death, which occurred in London on 19 December 1764. [1] According to Horace Walpole, his death was due to ruining his constitution by an excess of food and alcohol.

Historical observations

Although this "much-abused prelate," as Lecky calls him, was a firm supporter of the English government in Ireland, he was far from being a man of tyrannical or intolerant disposition. It was due to his influence that in the anti-tithe disturbances in Ulster in 1763 the government acted with conspicuous moderation, and that the movement was suppressed with very little bloodshed. He constantly favoured a policy of conciliation towards the Roman Catholics, whose loyalty he defended at different periods of his career both in his speeches in the Irish House of Lords and in his correspondence with ministers in London. [1] Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield told him that he was the only man with the political skills to rule Ireland, but in a dig at his irregular private life, said that it would help if he became a clergyman.

Archbishop Stone, who never married, was a man of remarkably handsome appearance; and his manners were "eminently seductive and insinuating". Richard Cumberland, who was struck by the "Polish magnificence" of the primate, speaks in the highest terms of his courage, tact, and qualities as a popular leader. Horace Walpole, who gives a generally unfavourable picture of his private character, acknowledges that Stone possessed "abilities seldom to be matched", and gives him credit for charity, generosity and an absence of malice; and he had the distinction of being mentioned by David Hume as one of the only two men of mark who had perceived merit in that author's History of England on its first appearance. He was himself the author of several volumes of sermons which were published during his lifetime. [1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Stone, George". Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 957.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lord Lieutenant of Ireland</span> Title of the chief governor of Ireland from 1690 to 1922

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or more formally Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland, was the title of the chief governor of Ireland from the Williamite Wars of 1690 until the Partition of Ireland in 1922. This spanned the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1800) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1922). The office, under its various names, was often more generally known as the Viceroy, and his wife was known as the vicereine. The government of Ireland in practice was usually in the hands of the Lord Deputy up to the 17th century, and later of the Chief Secretary for Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire</span> 5th Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1756 to 1757

William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire,, styled Lord Cavendish before 1729, and Marquess of Hartington between 1729 and 1755, was a British Whig statesman and nobleman who was briefly nominal 5th Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was the first son of William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire and his wife, Catherine Hoskins. He is also a great-great-great-great-great-grandfather of King Charles III through the king's maternal great-grandmother.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset</span> British noble and politician

Lionel Cranfield Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset was an English political leader and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple</span> 18th-century British politician and first Lord of the Admiralty

Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple,, was a British politician. He is best known for his association with his brother-in-law William Pitt with whom he served in government during Britain's participation in the Seven Years War between 1756 and 1761. He resigned, along with Pitt, in protest at the cabinet's failure to declare war on Spain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford</span> 18th-century British statesman

John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, was an 18th-century British statesman. Bedford was a leading Whig political figure around the time of the Seven Years' War, and negotiated the Treaty of Paris which ended the conflict in 1763. He was also an early promoter of cricket and a patron of the arts who commissioned many works from artists, most notably Canaletto.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke</span> British lawyer and statesman

Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, was an English lawyer and politician who served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. He was a close confidant of the Duke of Newcastle, Prime Minister between 1754 and 1756 and 1757 until 1762.

Joseph Damer, 1st Earl of Dorchester was a country landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1741 to 1762 when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Milton. He was particularly associated with the reshaping of Milton Abbey and the creation of the village of Milton Abbas in Dorset, south-west England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset</span> English poet and courtier

Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset and 1st Earl of Middlesex, KG was an English poet and courtier.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Francis Dashwood, 11th Baron le Despencer</span> British politician (1708–1781)

Francis Dashwood, 11th Baron le Despencer, PC, FRS was an English politician and rake, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1762–1763) and founder of the Hellfire Club.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Bilson-Legge</span> English politician

Henry Bilson-Legge was an English statesman. He notably served three times as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1750s and 1760s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Robinson, 1st Baron Rokeby</span> Anglo-Irish cleric and peer

Richard Robinson, 1st Baron Rokeby, was an Anglo-Irish churchman.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave</span>

James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave, was a British politician who is sometimes regarded as one of the shortest-serving British prime ministers in history. His brief tenure as First Lord of the Treasury is lent a more lasting significance by his memoirs, which are regarded as significant in the development of Whig history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Fane, 2nd Viscount Fane</span> Landowner in Ireland and England

Charles Fane, 2nd Viscount Fane was a landowner in Ireland and England, a Whig Member of Parliament and the British Resident in Florence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Boyle, 1st Earl of Shannon</span> Anglo-Irish politician and peer (1682–1764)

Henry Boyle, 1st Earl of Shannon, PC, was an Anglo-Irish politician and peer who served as the speaker of the Irish House of Commons from 1733 to 1756. A prominent parliamentarian who sat for almost fifty years in the Parliament of Ireland, Boyle frequently defended Irish interests against British officials, eventually leading to a legal crisis which saw him step down as speaker in return for a peerage.

George Cromer was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland in the reign of Henry VIII of England, from 1521/2.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sir Thomas Robinson, 1st Baronet</span>

Sir Thomas Robinson, 1st Baronet (1703–1777), of Rokeby, Yorkshire, was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1727 to 1734 and a Governor of Barbados. He was an architect, collector and an extravagant character, whose life was the inspiration for numerous anecdotes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Carter (1690–1763)</span>

Thomas Carter PC was an Irish politician and MP who served as the Master of the Rolls, sat on the Privy Councillor and served as Secretary of State in Ireland. British nobleman and writer Horace Walpole described him as "an able and intriguing man".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elizabeth Germain</span>

Lady Elizabeth "Betty" Germain was a wealthy English aristocrat and courtier, a philanthropist and collector of antiquities, who corresponded with literary and political figures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James MacArdell</span>

James MacArdell (1729?–1765) was an Irish mezzotinter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marcia Arbuthnot</span>

Marcia Arbuthnot was the first wife of politician Charles Arbuthnot.


Religious titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Armagh
Succeeded by