Hugh Curwen

Last updated

The Right Reverend

Hugh Curwen
Bishop of Oxford
Church Church of England
Diocese Oxford
In office1567–1568
Predecessor Thomas Goldwell
Successor John Underhill
Consecration8 September 1555
by  Edmund Bonner
Personal details
Died1 November 1568
Buried St John the Baptist, Burford
Nationality English
Denomination Catholic 1528-1534; 1555-1558
Anglican 1534-1555; 1558-1567
Previous post(s) Archbishop of Dublin (1555–1567)
Alma mater Brasenose College, Oxford
Ordination history of
Hugh Curwen
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecrator Edmund Bonner
Co-consecrators Thomas Thirlby
Maurice Griffith
Date8 September 1555
Place London
Source(s): [1]

Hugh Curwen (c.1500 - 1 November 1568) was an English ecclesiastic and statesman, who served as Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1555 to 1567, then as Bishop of Oxford until his death in November 1568.


Previous entries, including the 1911 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, confused him with Richard Curwen, almoner to Henry VIII. [2]


Born in Bampton, Cumbria, he is thought to have been educated at Brasenose College, Oxford. He had at least two brothers, Christopher and James, who was the grandfather of Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury and 'overseer' of the King James Bible. [3]


His grandnephew Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury and 'overseer' of the King James Bible Richard Bancroft from NPG.jpg
His grandnephew Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury and 'overseer' of the King James Bible

In February 1528, Curwen gained a degree in Canon law, followed by a Master of Arts in 1532. In 1533, he was appointed Rector in the village of Ferriby, Lincolnshire. The following year, England broke with the Catholic Church and formed the Church of England, led by Henry VIII, rather than the Pope. [2]

In 1541, he became dean of Hereford, followed by a series of administrative posts; when Mary became queen in 1555, he conformed with the restoration of Catholicism. Nominated Roman Catholic Archbishopric of Dublin, he was consecrated on 8 September 1555 by Edmund Bonner. He was also appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and in 1557 served as Lord Justice of Ireland during the absence of the Lord Deputy of Ireland, the Earl of Sussex.[ citation needed ]

When Elizabeth succeeded in 1558, only five Irish bishops accepted the Religious Settlement, Curwen being one of them. He remained Archbishop and Lord Chancellor until 1567, but was accused of 'moral delinquency' by Hugh Brady and Adam Loftus, apparently for his reluctance to implement key religious reforms. [4]

Curwen suffered from palsy and poor health made it increasingly difficult to continue his duties; in 1564, he obtained a sinecure position for his nephew Richard Bancroft at St Patrick's, Dublin. [3] Apparently 'speechless and senseless', he was finally allowed to resign in June 1567, when he became Bishop of Oxford. He died at his home in Swinbrook in October 1568, and was buried at St John the Baptist, Burford. The diocese of Oxford remained vacant until 1589, when John Underhill became bishop. [5]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Bancroft</span> British Archbishop of Canterbury

Richard Bancroft was an English churchman, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1604 to 1610 and "chief overseer" of the King James Bible.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich</span> Lord Chancellor of England

Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, was Lord Chancellor during King Edward VI of England's reign, from 1547 until January 1552. He was the founder of Felsted School with its associated almshouses in Essex in 1564. He was a beneficiary of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and persecuted perceived opponents of the king and their policies. He played a role in the trials of Catholic martyrs Thomas More and John Fisher as well as that of Protestant martyr Anne Askew.

The Lord High Chancellor of Ireland was the highest judicial office in Ireland until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. From 1721 to 1801, it was also the highest political office of the Irish Parliament: the Chancellor was Speaker of the Irish House of Lords. The Lord Chancellor was also Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Ireland. In all three respects, the office mirrored the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.

Thomas Goldwell was an English Catholic clergyman, Bishop of Saint Asaph, the last of those Catholic bishops who had refused to accept the English Reformation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin</span>

The Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral is the senior cleric of the Protestant St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, elected by the chapter of the cathedral. The office was created in 1219 or 1220, by one of several charters granted to the cathedral by Archbishop Henry de Loundres between 1218 and 1220.

Thomas Young was a Bishop of St David's and Archbishop of York (1561–1568).

Sir Henry Neville of Billingbear House, Berkshire, was a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to King Henry VIII.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1622 in Ireland</span> List of events

Events from the year 1622 in Ireland.

Events from the year 1534 in Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Hotham (bishop)</span> 14th-century Bishop of Ely, Chancellor of England, and Treasurer of England

John Hotham was a medieval Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord High Treasurer, Lord Chancellor and Bishop of Ely. He was also effective Governor of Ireland for a time.

Events from the year 1492 in Ireland.

Richard Meredith was the Church of Ireland Bishop of Leighlin from 1589 until his death.

George Browne D.D. was an English Augustinian who was appointed by Henry VIII of England to the vacant Episcopal see of Dublin. He became the king's main instrument in his desire to establish the state church in the Kingdom of Ireland. An iconoclast, during the Protestant Reformation he is noted for destroying the Bachal Isu, one of the symbols of authority of the Archbishop of Armagh.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard West (Lord Chancellor of Ireland)</span>

Richard West was an English barrister, judge, playwright and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1721 to 1726. He served as Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1725 to 1726, succeeding Alan Brodrick, 1st Viscount Midleton.

Robert Weston was an English civil lawyer, who was Dean of the Arches and Lord Chancellor of Ireland in the time of Queen Elizabeth.

John Garnett (1707/08–1782) was an English bishop of Clogher in the Church of Ireland.

Events from the year 1605 in Ireland.

Events from the year 1573 in Ireland.

William Hughes was a Welsh bishop of St Asaph.

Hugh Brady, a native of Dunboyne, was Bishop of Meath from 21 October 1563 until his death on 13 February 1585.


  1. Archbishop Hugh Curwen
  2. 1 2 Walshe 2008, pp. Online.
  3. 1 2 Cranfield 2008, pp. Online.
  4. Murray 2009, pp. 242–245.
  5. "List of Bishops of Oxford from 1542 to the present". Oxford History. Retrieved 30 November 2019.


  • Cranfield, Nicolas S (2008). Bancroft, Richard (Online ed.). Oxford DNB. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/1272.
  • Walshe, Helen Coburn (2008). Curwen [Coren], Hugh. Oxford DNB. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/6966.
  • Murray, James (2009). Enforcing the English Reformation in Ireland: Clerical Resistance and Political Conflict in the Diocese of Dublin, 1534 - 1590. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0521770385.
  • John D'Alton, Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin (Dublin, 1838).
Political offices
Preceded byas Lord Keeper Lord Chancellor and Lord Keeper of Ireland
1555–1558 (as Lord Chancellor)
1558–1559 (as Lord Keeper)
1559–1567 (as Lord Chancellor)
Succeeded byas Lord Chancellor
Religious titles
Preceded by Dean of Hereford
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Dublin
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Oxford
Succeeded by
John Underhill appointed 1589