Walter and Roland de Jorse Primates of Armagh

Apr 2nd, 2014 | By | Category: Of Ancient Times


From Historical Memoirs of the City of Armagh by James Stuart 1819

Primate Taaf was succeeded by Walter de Jorse, (or Joyse,) who was consecrated archbishop by Nicholas cardinal of Ostium in 1306.  He is described by Antonius Sinensis, in his “Chronicle of the Dominicans,” as a man of exquisite learning and great gravity.  Various works were written by De Jorse amongst which were the following, viz. “Promptuarium Theologiae, lib.2. – De Peccatis in genere, lib. I. – Questiones Varias, Lib, I.   He resigned the see in 1311, and was succeeded by his brother Roland de Jorsey (or Jorse,) a Dominican friar, who also resigned the archbishopric, on the twentieth of March 1321.

In the days of walter and Roland de Jorse, a very violent contest took place betwixt those prelates and the archbishop of Dublin, concerning the primatial right and the power, exercised by the primate of Armagh, of having his crosier borne before him, in the diocess of Dublin.

On Saint Augustine’s day, in May 1315, Prince Edward Bruce, brother of the celebrated hero king Robert Bruce, invaded Ulster, with a considerable army.  That spirited warrior miserably wasted the see of Armagh and reduced its archbishop, De Jorse, to a state of extreme poverty, by the reiterated incursions of his troops.  Active, hardy and adventurous, Bruce fought many battles, and performed various hazardous exploits, which cannot be narrated in this present work.  During the residence of this valiant adventurer in Ireland, the people were afflicted with the complicated miseries of faction, war and famine.  How wretched must that situation have been which the annalist in Camden thus describes :-

“Many were so hunger-starved, that, in church-yards, they took the bodies out of their graves, and in their skulls boiled the flesh and fed thereon:  yea and women did eat their own children for stark hunger.”

This most calamitous famine, which seems to have pervaded the whole province, is gravely attributed, by the annalist Pembridge, to the wickedness of the people who dared to eat flesh in Lent.  It is probable that this account of the effects of the famine is highly exaggerated.  If the people were redced to the neccesity of using human flesh for food, it is not likely that they would have increased the disgust which  they must naturally have felt for such diet, by ising the skulls of their deceased countrymen as boilers.

In the year 1318, Primate Jorsey was present at the great battle near Dundalk, (between that town and Foghart,) in which the valiant Scot, Edward Bruce, was defeated by the British Army under Sir John Bermingham.

“To this conflict there came,” says Christopher Pembridge, “on the part of the Scots, Lord Edward Brus, (who named himself king of Ireland,) the Lrd Phillip Mowbray, the Lord walter Soulis, the Lord Allan Stewart, with his three brethren; also sir walter Lacy, Sir Robert and Sir Aumar Lacy, John Kermerdyne, and Walter White and about three thousand others.”  On the English side, “the Lord John Bermingham, Sir Richard Tuit, Sir Miles Verdon, Sir Hugh Tripton, Sir Herbert Sutton, Sir John Cusack, Sir Edward and Sir William Bermingham, and the primate of Armagh.   Besides these, Sir Walter Larpulk and some choice soldiers from Tredagh, (Drogheda) under the command of John Maupas,” joined the English.

The primate of Armagh assoiled (says Pembridge), that is absolved, the chieftains of the British Army.  Leland states that he took a most active and conspicuous part in this battle, moving from rank to rank, bestowing benedictions on the soldiers, stimulating them to deeds of valour, pronouncing a plenary absolution of sins to all who should die combatting in so honourable a cause.  Doubtless such zealous and animated conduct must have had a powerful effect on the minds of the  soldiery, who probably deemed that the powers of heaven would be thus engaged in their behalf, and that, if they survived the battle, victory and triumph would be their glorious reward; but if they fell in the field of fight, immortal happiness awaited them in paradise.

The battle closed “The English,” says Pembridge, “gave the onset.”    John Maupas and Edward Bruce fought hand to hand.  The valiant Scot fell before his opponent, who, pierced with mortal wounds, sank, a victor in death, on the dead body of his prostrate enemy.  After a desperate contest, the Scottish army was totally routed with the loss of two thousand men…

Roland de Jorse who had resigned the see, on the twentieth of March 1321, was succeeded in 1322 by Stephen Seagrave, rector of Stepney church, near London…

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Skip to toolbar