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Thomas Olden, P. H. Ditchfield (ed), The National Churches – The Chuch of Ireland, 1892

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Originally published in 1892 and republished her in fully-searchable electronic format is Thomas Olden's The History of the Church of Ireland. Written by Thomas Olden (1823-1900), vicar of Ballyclough, member of the Royal Irish Academy, author of The Holy Scriptures in Ireland One Thousand Years Ago and contributor of many reviews for the Dictionary of National Biography, The Church of Ireland contains 465 printed pages and presents a thorough discourse of the Church in Ireland from its pre-Christian origins until is disestablishment in 1869. Presented in 21 chapters with 8 appendices and index, Olden recounts from a plethora of manuscript sources the development of the Christianity in Ireland beginning with an overview of the country before its conversion. Here he posits that the development of the Church in Ireland differed fundamentally from the rest of Europe due to the absence of the Roman influences experienced by the rest of Europe. From this starting point Chapter two records the arrival and spread of Christianity in Britain from the beginning of the 3rd century and the firm establishment of the Church from 314 and the Council of Arles before the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland and his conversion of Ireland. Following the mission of St. Patrick until the year 665 the history of the Church is divided into three distinct periods with saints associated with each period. Those, such as St. Brigit associated with the first period are deem to be most hold, those of the second as very holy and those of the third as holy. The period of the development of the Church if Ireland after the saints is introduced by Olden by an analysis of the Constitution of the Church before the arrival of the Danes and the origins of the Church in both Britain and Ireland, which arrived from the east rather than Rome giving both a distinctive character. This is follows by the arrival of the Danes in Ireland and the influence they had on Christianity in Ireland, not least through the construction of Round Towers, before they to converted to Christianity. There follows chapters on King Brian and the Christian Danes and the State of Religion in Ireland in the 11th century in respect to its governance prior to the development of Diocesan Episcopacy. From this point the history of the Church in Ireland is developed apace with the Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland, the issuing of Adrian's Bull and the Statute of Kilkenny leading up to the advent of Protestantism and the Reformation in Ireland. From this point onwards Olden's History of the Church of Ireland is pursued under regnal periods, the first spanning the reigns of Edward VI to James I, followed by James I to Charles II, Charles II to George I and concluding the discourse with George I to the reign of Victoria and the Disestablishment of the Church in 1869. For anyone interest in the development of Christianity in Ireland and more especially the creation and development of the Church of Ireland, Thomas Olden's History of the Church of Ireland will prove to be an invaluable aid and reference source book. 

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