Lynch: Cambrensis Eversus

Pdf Lucius, Gratianus, Cambrensis Eversus Vol II, Dublin: The Celtic Society, 1850
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Pdf Lucius, Gratianus, Cambrensis Eversus Vol III, Dublin: The Celtic Society, 1850
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Cambrensus Eversus by Gratianus Lucius or John Lynch (1599?-1677?) was written in three volumes, translated into English by Rev. Michael Kelly and published between 1848 and 1852. John Lynch was a Roman Catholic priest, historian and Archdeacon of Tuam Co. Galway . He claimed descent from Hugh De Lacy, a Welsh Norman adventurer who accompanied Richard 'Strongbow' De Clare's invasion for Ireland in 1169.

Cambrensus Eversus or 'Cambrensis Overthrown' refers to the works of the 12th century clergyman, Gerald of Wales (1146-1223) or Gerald Di Barri who was of both Welsh and Norman blood. De Barri was chaplain to the Norman King Henry II and accompanied him to Ireland following Strongbow's invasion.

Henry II feared Strongbow and his followers would establish an independent Norman kingdom in Ireland just as his great-grandfather Franco-Norman William The Conquerer had established himself as King of England following the Saxon defeat in 1066. Henry II who already ruled England , Wales , Scotland and part of France was keen to also control Ireland . Di Barri's works Tropographica Hibernica and Expuginatio Hibernica describe how Henry II and the Normans conquered Ireland with his justification that the Gaelic Irish were a barbarous race.

Lynch disputed Di Barri's account which he claimed was full of propaganda and deliberate distortions. In the Cambrensus Eversus he describes how the Gaelic Irish were an advanced Christian people and far from barbaric. He describes how Henry II's ambitions in invading Ireland were in fact about naked power. Nonetheless as an ancestor of the Old English Catholic elite who defeated the Gaelic Irish, Lynch was a defender of English rule in Ireland and opposed rebellion by Catholic Gaelic forces between 1641-1652.

The Protestant Tudor English monarchs following Henry VIII sought to reconquer Catholic Ireland. The Irish Gaels and Old English rebelled, were defeated and Protestants began to colonise the country. In 1607 following the departure of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, Gaelic Ulster was planted by the Anglican James I with English and Scottish settlers. In 1641, the Gaelic Irish rebelled massacring thousands of the Protestants newcomers. The Old English Catholics led by James Butler, 1st Earl of Ormonde and Royalist Protestants loyal to Charles II fought against this Catholic Confederacy until 1647.

Civil War in England led the Catholic Confederacy to join forces in 1648 with Ormonde and Royalist forces against the Parliamentarians led by Oliver Cromwell. The Papal Nuncio had attempted to sow division between Gaelic Irish and Old English Catholics because of European Catholic opposition to Protestant England. It was hoped by the Papal Nuncio that Catholic Ireland would a base for the conquest of England after a century of Protestant heresy. Catholics who made a deal with Ormonde were excommunicated. However defeats at the hands of the Parliamentarians led the Gaels to finally join forces with Ormonde and the Royalists prompting the Nuncio to flee Ireland .

In his Cambrensus Eversus Lynch defended Ormonde and condemned the actions of the Papal Nuncio and Gaelic Irish such as Owen Roe O'Neill who finally agreed too late to join the Royalists to prevent the disaster that followed

In 1649 Cromwell landed Parliamentary troops in Ireland and by 1653 both Catholic and Royalist forces were completely defeated. Catholicism was persecuted, Catholic clergy were put to death and Catholic lands except in the province of Connaught were handed over to Protestant Parliamentarians. Royalists were pardoned and were allowed to keep their lands or increased them at the expense of Catholics when they accepted the rule of the Lord Protector. Many of Old English Catholic families retained their lands by converting to Protestantism.

Irish and English Catholics and Royalist Protestants would continue to support the Stuart heir Charles II, following the execution of his father Charles I and during the rule of the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell's son Richard became Lord Protector before the English Parliament invited Charles II to return and restored the monarchy in 1660. His Catholic brother James II succeeded him in 1685 sparking a new religious war and yet another invasion of Ireland .


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