Robert Knox (bishop)

Last updated

Robert Knox

Archbishop of Armagh
Primate of All Ireland
Abp Robert Bent Knox.jpg
Church Church of Ireland
Elected11 May 1886
In office1886-1893
Predecessor Marcus Beresford
Successor Robert Gregg
by  George Beresford
Consecration1 May 1849
by  John Beresford
Personal details
Born(1808-09-25)25 September 1808
Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland
Died23 October 1893(1893-10-23) (aged 85)
Armagh, County Armagh, Ireland
Buried Holywood, County Down
Nationality Irish
Denomination Anglican
ParentsCharles Knox & Hannah Bent
SpouseCatherine Delia
Previous post Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore (1849-1886)
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin

Robert Bent Knox (25 September 1808 23 October 1893) was the Church of Ireland Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore from 1849 to 1886, and then Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1886 until his death.


Early life

Born in 1808 at Dungannon Park, County Tyrone, the country seat of his grandfather, Thomas Knox, first Viscount Northland (d. 1818), Knox was the second son of the Hon. Charles Knox (d. 1825), archdeacon of Armagh, and his wife, Hannah, the daughter of Robert Bent MP. [1] His niece was the writer Kathleen Knox

Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts at the age of twenty-one, [2] then graduated MA in 1834. He was also awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws by Cambridge in 1888. [1]


In 1832, Knox was ordained deacon and priest by Bishop Beresford of Kilmore. On 7 May 1834 he became chancellor of Ardfert. On 16 October 1841 he was collated as prebendary of St Munchin's, Limerick, by his uncle Edmund Knox, Bishop of Limerick, who also made him his domestic chaplain. [1]

In 1849 he became a Doctor of Divinity and was appointed Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore. In 1886, he was created Archbishop of Armagh. [2] He was succeeded in Down, Connor and Dromore by William Reeves.

Knox was nominated to the see of Down, Connor, and Dromore by George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, at the time Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Samuel Wilberforce later reported in his diary for 26 August 1861, some gossip about this appointment; James Henthorn Todd had said of Knox that he was "…very foolish, without learning, piety, judgment, conduct, sense, appointed by a job, that his uncle should resign Limerick", while Anthony La Touche Kirwan (Dean of Limerick, died 1868), said that Knox "…used, when made to preach by his uncle, to get me to write his sermon, and could not deliver it". [1] [3]

Nevertheless, Knox was the author of various ecclesiastical and secular works. [2]

Knox made no secret of his view that disestablishment in Ireland was inevitable. As Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, he hoped to build a new cathedral in Belfast, but abandoned this plan in favour of another, to increase the number of churches of the united diocese. He founded the Belfast Church Extension Society in 1862 and through it achieved forty-eight new or enlarged churches. He organized diocesan conferences and founded a Diocesan Board of Missions. In 1867, in the House of Lords, he proposed a reduction of the hierarchy of the Church of Ireland to just one archbishop and five bishops. In person, he was quiet and restrained, pragmatic and frank, and an able administrator and an effective speaker. [1]

Following the death of Marcus Gervais Beresford, Archbishop of Armagh, on 26 December 1885, Knox was chosen as his successor. As president of the General Synod of the Irish church he was seen as fair and moderate. He died at the archbishop's palace, Armagh, on 23 October 1893, and was buried on 27 October in the old ruined church at Holywood. [1]


On 5 October 1842, Knox married Catherine Delia FitzGibbon, daughter of Thomas Gibbon FitzGibbon of Ballyseeda, County Limerick. They had three sons, including Charles Edmond Knox, who became a lieutenant-general of the British Army, and also two daughters. [1] [2]

Selected publications


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Gordon, Alexander, "Knox, Robert Bent (1808–1893)", rev. David Huddleston, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004). doi : 10.1093/ref:odnb/15789 (subscription required for online access). Retrieved on 19 December 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Archbishop Robert Knox Obituary in New York Times 24 October 1893 (attached to article DEMOCRATS SUPPORT SCHIEREN) (pdf file)
  3. Wilberforce, R. G., Life of the right reverend Samuel Wilberforce… with selections from his diaries and correspondence (1882), vol. 3, p. 25.


Church of Ireland titles
Preceded by
Richard Mant
Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore
Succeeded by
William Reeves
Preceded by
Marcus Beresford
Archbishop of Armagh
Succeeded by
Robert Gregg

Related Research Articles

Robin Eames Anglican Primate of All Ireland, 1986 to 2006

Robert "Robin" Henry Alexander Eames, Baron Eames,, is an Anglican bishop who served as Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh from 1986 to 2006.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Down and Connor diocese of the Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Down and Connor, is a Roman Catholic diocese in Northern Ireland. It is one of eight suffragan dioceses in the ecclesiastical province of Armagh, subject to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Armagh. The incumbent is Bishop Noel Treanor.

The Anglican Archbishop of Armagh is the ecclesiastical head of the Church of Ireland, bearing the title Primate of All Ireland, the metropolitan of the Province of Armagh and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Armagh.

Donal McKeown Roman Catholic bishop

Dónal McKeown is a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop of Derry in Ireland. He previously served as Titular Bishop of Cell Ausaille and auxiliary bishop in The Diocese of Down and Connor.

The Synod of Kells took place in 1152, under the presidency of Giovanni Cardinal Paparoni, and continued the process begun at the Synod of Ráth Breasail (1111) of reforming the Irish church. The sessions were divided between the abbeys of Kells and Mellifont, and in later times the synod has been called the Synod of Kells-Mellifont and the Synod of Mellifont-Kells.

Diocese of Connor (Church of Ireland)

The Bishop of Connor is an episcopal title which takes its name after the village of Connor in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The title is currently used by the Church of Ireland, but in the Roman Catholic Church it has been united with another bishopric.

John Crozier (archbishop of Armagh) Irish bishop

John Baptist Crozier,, was a Church of Ireland clergyman who served as Lord Bishop of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin (1897–1907); Lord Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore (1907–1911); and Lord Primate of All Ireland and Lord Archbishop of Armagh (1911–1920).

Bishop of Down Wikimedia list article

The Bishop of Down was an episcopal title which took its name from the town of Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. The bishop's seat (Cathedra) was located on the site of the present cathedral church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in the Church of Ireland.

Diocese of Down and Dromore

The Diocese of Down and Dromore is a diocese of the Church of Ireland in the south east of Northern Ireland. It is in the ecclesiastical province of Armagh. The geographical remit of the diocese covers half of the City of Belfast to the east of the River Lagan and the part of County Armagh east of the River Bann and all of County Down.

The Bishop of Down and Dromore is the Ordinary of the Church of Ireland Diocese of Down and Dromore in the Province of Armagh. The diocese is situated in the north east of Ireland, which includes all of County Down, about half of the city of Belfast, and some parts of County Armagh east of the River Bann.

William Reeves was an Irish antiquarian and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore from 1886 until his death. He was the last private keeper of the Book of Armagh and at the time of his death was President of the Royal Irish Academy.

Charles DArcy Irish bishop and theologian

Charles Frederick D'Arcy was a Church of Ireland bishop. He was the Bishop of Clogher from 1903 to 1907 when he was translated to become Bishop of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin before then becoming the Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore. He was then briefly the Archbishop of Dublin and finally, from 1920 until his death, Archbishop of Armagh. He was also a theologian, author and botanist.

Dean of Belfast ecclastical office

The Dean of Belfast is the senior official of St Anne's Cathedral in the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland and head of the Chapter, its governing body.

Robert Gregg Irish bishop

Robert Samuel Gregg MA, DD (1834–1896) was a 19th-century Anglican Archbishop.

Dr. James Dillon (1738–1806) was an Irish Roman Catholic Bishop of Kilmore from 1800 to 1806.

Robert Knox (1791–1862) was a Scottish surgeon, anatomist and zoologist.

The Dean of Armagh in the Church of Ireland is the dean of the Anglican St Patrick's Cathedral, the cathedral of the Diocese of Armagh and the metropolitan cathedral of the Province of Armagh, located in the town of Armagh.

Dean of Connor Wikimedia list article

The Dean of Connor is based at Christ Church Cathedral, Lisburn in the Diocese of Connor within the Church of Ireland. The chapter is however known as the Chapter of St Saviours, Connor after the previous cathedral church in Connor.

Archdeacon of Armagh

The Archdeacon of Armagh is a senior ecclesiastical officer within the Anglican Diocese of Armagh.As such he or she is responsible for the disciplinary supervision of the clergy within the Diocese.