Bishop Alexis Stafford

Published in Early Modern History (1500–1700), Issue 4 (Winter 1996), Letters, Letters, Volume 4

Sir,—I was intrigued to read Richard Roche’s letter concerning AlexisStafford in the summer 1996 issue of History Ireland. During theturbulent struggle between James II and William III, Dublin city wasunder Jacobite control under the so-called ‘patriot parliament’ in1689. A Roman Catholic priest, Alexius Stafford, was ‘intruded into theDeanery by James II and seems to have been in possession for a shorttime’ according to Canon J.B. Leslie’s unpublished Fasti of ChristChurch Cathedral (a typescript is preserved in the RepresentativeChurch Body Library). Masses were said and, interestingly, thetabernacle and candlesticks used have survived in the cathedral crypt.
Stafford has been described as a ‘scholar-warrior’ by KennethMilne, who has been researching this period for a proposed cathedralhistory to be published in 2000. Another source refers to him as ‘thecelebrated Doctor Alexius Stafford, doctor of the civil and canon laws,dean of Christ Church, master in chancery, member of parliament, andpreacher to the King’s Inns, likewise chaplain [to King James’s RoyalRegiment of Irish Foot Guards]’. He died at the battle of Aughrim ‘withcrucifix in hand…loudly calling on his fellow soldiers to secure theblessings of religion and property by steadiness and attention todiscipline’.
A particularly interesting manuscript which survives in thecathedral records in the RCB Library is what both Henry Cotton andCanon Leslie in their respective Fasti refer to as the ‘Acts of AlexiusStafford’. This man was, without doubt, an interesting character aboutwhom I am sure we will find out more in the continuing researches atChrist Church.—Yours etc.,

STUART KINSELLA
(Hon. Sec. of Contributors)
Christ Church Cathedral,
Dublin 8.

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