Repository logo

An English Bishop afloat in an Irish See: John Bale, Bishop of Ossory, 1552-1553

Accepted version



Change log


Tong, SN 


The Irish Reformation has traditionally been seen as an unmitigated failure. This is perhaps symptomatic of the historiographical trend to isolate the Irish Reformation from its English counterpart, and simultaneously to perceive the outcome of the Irish Reformation as a failure of English reformers to establish Protestantism at a popular level there as a foregone conclusion. On the other hand, Ireland has generally been ignored by English historians who take an Anglocentric view. Henry Jefferies has recently challenged these models by conceiving the sixteenth-century Irish Church as existing under the umbrella of the English Church. By following Jefferies’ lead, this essay seeks to understand the Irish Reformation from a contemporary English perspective, namely the autobiographical account given by John Bale in 'The Vocacyon of Johan Bale to the bishoprick of Ossorie in Irelande his persecusions in ye same & final delyueraunce' (1553). It will be argued that the appointment of English ministers to Irish bishoprics was consistent with efforts to expand the burgeoning Tudor ‘empire’ through extension of the English state’s religious policy.



Ireland, Reformation, John Bale, Edward VI

Journal Title

Studies in Church History

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Studies in Church History

Publisher DOI

Publisher URL