William Bedell

William Bedell

William Bedell was born in Black Notley in Essex in 1571 and was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He took orders in 1597 and was appointed chaplain to Sir Henry Wooton, English ambassador in Venice. In 1616 he was appointed to the rectory of Horningsheath (near Bury St Edmunds) where he stayed for twelve years.

In 1627 he became provost of Trinity College, Dublin and was consecrated bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh on 13 September 1629 in Drogheda. He started to reform the diocese, encouraged the use of the Irish language and commissioned the translation of the Bible into the Irish language. The translation was undertaken by the Protestant Rector of Templeport, Muircheartach O Cionga. He resigned the See of Ardagh in 1633 to concentrate on developing Kilmore further and oversaw the renovation of neglected church buildings and held a synod in 1638 for all Anglican priests within the diocese to discuss lax discipline. He supported his Catholic neighbours, was a man who led a simple life and often walked miles on foot to visit distant parts of the diocese.

When the 1641 rebellion broke out Bedell did not flee to England but remained with his flock. Bishop Bedell gave refuge to those seeking shelter from the rebellion at his house at Kilmore but when he refused to banish these people, the O’Reillys (local warlords) seized him and imprisoned him in Cloughoughter castle. He was detained here for several weeks before being released into the care of his friend Rev. Denis Sheridan. Cloughoughter castle was draughty and damp and William Bedell contracted typhus and died on 7 February 1642. He is buried beside his wife Leah in the grounds of Kilmore Cathedral.


Leabhair an Tsean Tiuomna ar an dTarrtuing on ugharrach go gaidhlig tre churam agus saothar1852
A Letter to Mr James Waddesworth1827
The Life of William Bedell1685
A true relation of the life and death of the Right Reverend Father in God1872

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