Originally published in London by Hodder and Stoughton, Some Worthies of the Irish Church was written by George Thomas Stokes, D.D., who by many in Irish ecclesiastical circles, could be viewed as a worthy of the Irish Church, but perhaps not in the same league as the subjects of his lectures. At the time of writing his lectures on which Some Worthies of the Irish Church are taken, Stokes was, apart from being a practising clergyman - he was vicar of All Saints', Blackrock - was also Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Dublin and Keeper of what is now known simply as Marsh's Library in Dublin and the author of a number of successful histories on the Irish Church, including Ireland and the Celtic Church and Ireland and the Anglo-Norman Church. Published posthumously in 1900, Some Worthies of the Irish Church is based on a series of lectures given by Stokes in the Divinity School of the University of Dublin during the winter of 1897-8 and the impetus for the publication of the lectures as a memorial to Stokes was led by the Guardian. Some Worthies of the Irish Church contains some 352 printed pages representing the nineteen lectures given by Stokes, which treated upon only a handful of his so-called worthies, namely Richard Lingard, Dudley Loftus, Narcissus Marsh, William King and St. Colman, with and additional lecture on sources of local history. By far the largest portion of the book, some 140 pages and eight lectures, was given over by Stokes to Archbishop William King, who was born in Scotland, according to his own writings in 1650, before being brought to Ireland, where he was educated in Co. Tyrone. In his series of lectures on Archbishop King, Stokes provides an intimate portrait of a man he believed to be the true builder of the modern Church in Ireland, but who had by the time of his lectures been sadly forgotten. The lectures on William King include his early career as Chancellor and Dean of St. Patrick's and as Bishop of Derry, his writings on both ecclesiastical and historical subjects and a lecture on his views and relationships with two of his well-known contemporaries, Boulter and Swift. An enduring theme of Stokes' lectures is that of 'history' in its broadest sense. Stokes was an ardent antiquarian and local historian, and was keen to reveal the parts his subjects played in both recording the ecclesiastical history which they played a part, but also the role they played as recorders and keepers of the earlier history of the Irish Church in Ireland, which might have long been forgotten without them. The original publication of Stokes' Lecture Series is fully indexed and annotated by its editor, Hugh Jackson Lawlor, D.D., and is full-searchable in this republication. Some Worthies of the Irish Church must appeal to those with an interest in the Irish Church during some of its most troubled times as revealed through the portraits of some of its leading figures.
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