Sir James Ware, Kt.

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James Ware

Birthplace: Dublin, County Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
Death: Died in Dublin, County Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
Place of Burial: Dublin, County Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir James Ware and Mary Ware
Husband of Elizabeth Mary Ware (Newman)
Father of James Ware; Rose Lambart; Robert Ware and Mary Crofton
Brother of Robert Ware; Anne Downing (Ware); Mary Conway; Mary Dille; John Ware and 6 others

Managed by: Peter James Herbert
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Sir James Ware, Kt.

James Ware (historian)

Sir James Ware (26 November 1594 – 1 December 1666) was an Anglo-Irish historian.

Born at Castle Street, Dublin, Ware was the eldest son of James Ware, who arrived in Ireland in 1588 as a secretary to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, FitzWilliam. His father was knighted by King James I, was elected M.P. for Mallow in 1613, and served as auditor-general for Ireland till his death in 1632, in which capacity he was succeeded by his son. James graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1616, having received a good education in Latin and Greek. Becoming interested in Irish history, he began assembling a very fine collection of Irish manuscripts, and made transcriptions from works held in other collections, including that of his close friend James Ussher, Bishop of Meath.

Knighted in 1629, Sir James was elected Member of the Irish House of Commons (M.P.) for the University of Dublin in 1634.[citation needed] In 1638 he, with Sir Philip Perceval obtained the monopoly of granting licenses for the sale of ale and brandy.[1]

Ware's first book, published in 1626, was Archiepisco Porum Cassiliensium & Tuamensium Vitae, followed by Caenobia Cistertientia Hiberniae and De Praesulibus Lageniae, both in 1631. In 1633 he published three edited works: Edmund Spenser's 'View of the State of Ireland'; Meredith Hanmer's 'History of Ireland'; and Edmund Campion's 'History of Ireland'. His book of 1639, De Scriptoribus Hiberniae was to be the last published for fifteen years, due to his involvement in Irish and British politics.

Ware was an ardent royalist during the 1640s, during the Irish Confederate Wars, which was part of the conflict known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which consumed much of Ireland and Britain during the 1640s. He was a strong supporter of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde. His activities led to his imprisonment in the Tower of London for a year; following his release he returned to Dublin, only to be taken prisoner and hostage on the city's surrender to Colonel Michael Jones in June 1647. He was expelled to England that year, returned, and was expelled again in 1649. He spent some eighteen months exiled in France before travelling to London where he spent most of the 1650s.

Ware's first new book since the 1630s was De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus eius Disquisitones, published in London in 1654, and in a second edition in 1658. This was followed in 1656 by Opuscula Sancto Patricio Adscripta.

Following the restoration of Charles II, Ware returned to Dublin where he was re-elected as M.P. for Dublin University. He remained on close terms with Ormond, who frequently visited him for consultations at his home in Castle Street.

1664 saw the publication of Venerabilis Bedae Epistolae Duae and Rerum Hibernicarum Annales ab Anno Domini 1485 ad Annum 1558. In the following year, which saw the publication of De Praesulibus Hiberniae Commentarius, he began a brief though fruitful collaboration with Dubhaltach MacFhirbhisigh. It was later stated that "He always kept in his House an Irish Amanuensis to interpret and translate the Language for him, and at the Time of his Death one Dubley Firbisse served him in that Office.

Ware's children include James (died 1689), Robert (died 1696) and Mary (died 1651). Mary married Sir Edward Crofton in 1647, he being a nephew of Thomas Crofton of Longford, Tireagh, Co. Sligo (another Thomas Crofton, of this family, killed Mac Fhirbhisigh in January 1671). A first cousin of Thomas Crofton of Longford was Catherine Crofton, daughter of John Crofton of Lisdorne, Co. Roscommon; Catherine was married to Reverend Joseph Ware, Dean of Elphin, who is believed to have been a younger brother of Sir James. James Ware junior had one daughter Mary (1651-1722) who married firstly Alexander Fraser and secondly Sir John St Leger, Baron of the Court of Exchequer (Ireland): she was described as a lady of great wealth and "questionable virtue".

Ware died on Saturday 1 December 1666, aged seventy-two years and five days. He was buried in St Werburgh's Church, Dublin.

His works were republished by his son Robert and by the husband of his great-granddaughter Mary – Walter Harris, the first serious historian of Dublin.



  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 59
  • Ware, James (1594-1666) by Norman Moore
  • WARE, Sir JAMES (1594–1666), Irish antiquary and historian, eldest son of Sir James Ware and his wife, Mary Briden, was born at his father's house in Castle Street, Dublin, on 26 Nov. 1594. His father went to Ireland as secretary to Sir William FitzWilliam (1526–1599) [q. v.], the lord deputy, in 1588, became auditor-general, a post in which he was succeeded by his son and grandson, was knighted by James I, and was elected for Mallow in the Irish parliament of 1613. He died suddenly while walking in Fishamble Street, Dublin, in 1632, leaving five sons and five daughters.
  • His son James entered at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1610, and graduated M.A. in 1616. James Ussher [q. v.] encouraged in him a taste for antiquarian pursuits. He married, after leaving the university, Mary, daughter of John Newman of Dublin. He collected manuscripts and charters, and became acquainted with some of the Irish hereditary men of letters, one of whom, Duald MacFirbis [q. v.], made many transcripts and translations of chronicles and other documents in Irish for him, and communicated to him much Irish historical learning. In 1626 he published in Dublin ‘Archiepiscoporum Casseliensium et Tuamensium Vitæ,’ visited England for the first time, and examined several English libraries. In 1628 he published in Dublin ‘De Præsulibus Lageniæ,’ and was knighted by the lords justices in 1629, so that there were two Sir James Wares living in the mansion in Castle Street. In 1632 he succeeded to his father's office of auditor-general; in 1634, 1637, and 1661 was elected member of parliament for the university of Dublin, and in 1639 was sworn of the privy council in Ireland. He was attached to Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford (1593–1641) [q. v.], to whom he dedicated his ‘De Scriptoribus Hiberniæ,’ published in Dublin in 1639. He was surety for government loans in October 1641, and in June 1643 assisted the Marquis of Ormonde in the treaty with the Irish. In 1644 he was sent by Ormonde with Lord Edward Brabazon and Sir Henry Tichborne [q. v.] to inform Charles I upon the state of Ireland. He spent much time in the Oxford libraries, and was created D.C.L. On the voyage back to Ireland a parliamentary ship captured his vessel, but he had first thrown the packet of the king's letters for Ormonde into the sea. He and his fellow envoys were imprisoned for the next eleven months in the Tower of London. On his release he returned to Dublin, and was a hostage on its surrender to the parliament in June 1647 and was sent to England, but soon after returned and lived in Dublin till expelled in 1649 by General Michael Jones [q. v.], the parliamentary governor. He went to France and stayed at St. Malo, Caen, and Paris for a year and a half. In 1651 he went to live in London, where he remained till the Restoration, and became the friend of John Selden, Sir Roger Twysden, William Dugdale, Elias Ashmole, and Edward Bysshe. He published there in 1654 ‘De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus ejus Disquisitiones,’ and in 1658 a second edition, with a frontispiece representing ancient Ireland as a lady with a leash of greyhounds standing in a wooded landscape with herds of cattle and of deer. In 1646 he published ‘S. Patricio adscripta Opuscula.’ He returned to Ireland in 1660, and was restored to his place of auditor-general. He was made one of the commissioners for lands, but gave most of his time to his favourite studies, publishing in 1664 ‘Venerabilis Bedæ Epistolæ duæ,’ and in 1665 ‘Rerum Hibernicarum Annales [1485–1558],’ Dublin, 1664, 4to, and in 1665 ‘De Præsulibus Hiberniæ Commentarius’ (Dublin, 4to). He printed Campion's ‘History of Ireland’ and the chronicles of Hanmer and of Marlborough, with Spenser's view of Ireland. He remitted the fees of his office to widows and made many gifts to royalists who had been ruined during the great rebellion.
  • He died at his family house in Castle Street, Dublin, on 1 Dec. 1666, and was buried in St. Werburgh's Church, Dublin.
  • The establishment of Irish history and literature as subjects of study in the general world of learning in modern times is largely due to the lifelong exertions of Ware, and Sir Frederick Burton in his fine drawing of the three founders of the study of Irish history and literature, has rightly placed him beside his contemporaries, Michael O'Clery [q. v.], the hereditary chronicler, and John Colgan [q. v.], the Irish hagiologist. Ware's portrait was also engraved by Vertue. The Earl of Clarendon, lord-lieutenant of Ireland in 1686, purchased his manuscripts, part of which are now in the British Museum (Clarendon collection) and part in the Bodleian Library (Rawlinson collection). A catalogue of them was printed in Dublin in 1688, and one in London in 1690.
  • His eldest son, James, who became auditor-general on his father's death, died in 1689.
  • His second son, Robert, married on 24 Dec. 1666, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Piers of Tristernagh, co. Westmeath. He compiled ‘The Hunting of the Romish Fox,’ an account of the change of religion and of the persecution of Roman catholics in England and Ireland, of which the title is borrowed from the book of William Turner (d. 1568) [q. v.] It was published in Dublin in 1683 by William Norman, bookbinder to the Duke of Ormonde. Ware defaced some of his father's manuscripts with controversial scribblings. He died in March 1696.
  • Walter Harris [q. v.], who married Ware's granddaughter, published ‘The Whole Works of Sir James Ware’ (Dublin, 1739–64, 3 vols. fol.).
  • [Life, prefixed to English translation of Ware's Works (most of which were published in Latin), London, 1705; Harris's edition of Ware; Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1588–1624; Works (of the editions there is a fine series in the Bradshaw collection in the Cambridge University Library); Catalogues Clarendon manuscripts and Rawlinson manuscripts; Publications of the Celtic Soc. Dublin, 1848.]
  • From:,_James_(1594-1666)_(DNB00)


  • A Compendium of Irish Biography by Alfred Webb
  • Ware, Sir James
  • Ware, Sir James, an eminent Irish antiquary, the writer on the antiquities, history, and biography of Ireland whose works have been most largely drawn upon by subsequent authors, was born in Castlestreet, Dublin, 26th November 1594. [His father, Sir James Ware, came to Ireland in 1588, in the train of Sir William Fitz William, Lord-Deputy. Amongst other appointments, he secured a patent for the lucrative post of Auditor-General of Ireland, which, with the interval of a few years during the Commonwealth, continued in his family for three generations. He was knighted by James I., and in the Parliament of 1613 sat as member for Mallow. "Having lived a very strict and truly religious life, he died suddenly (which was his constant wish for many years before) as he was walking home through Fishamble-street to his house in Castle-street, in 1632." The family mansion of the Wares stood in Castle-street, on the ground now occupied by Hoey's-court and the Castle steps.] Young James Ware was carefully educated by his father, entered Trinity College in 1610, remained there six years, took out his M.A. degree, and then resumed his home studies. His literary and antiquarian tastes were fostered by friendships with Dr. Ussher, then Bishop of Meath, and Daniel Molyneux, "a very curious antiquary, between whom the similitude of their studies had cemented a strict friendship." " At an early age," says Harris, " his father, thinking it convenient he should marry, procured him a match to both their satisfactions. It was Mary, the daughter of Jacob Newman of the City of Dublin, Esq. But this alteration in his condition did not in the least take him off from his beloved studies. He had begun to gather manuscripts, and make collections from the libraries of Irish antiquaries and genealogists, and from the registries and cartularies of cathedrals and monasteries, in which he spared no expense. … When he had gleaned all he could for his purpose at home, he resolved to take a journey to England, not doubting but he should reap a plentiful harvest by consulting the libraries both publick and private there." This tour, made in 1626, was the first of his many visits to England. It would be a mistake to suppose that Ware's life was devoted entirely to literature. He was knighted in 1629 by the Lords-Justices. His father was still living; so that there were two knights of the same name and surname residing together in one house at the same time, "they always living together." On his father's death, three years afterwards, he succeeded to the office of Auditor-General, which necessarily occupied a good deal of his time. At this period he was writing some of his most valuable works. We are told by Harris of his attachment to the Earl of Strafford during his government of Ireland. He was returned member for Dublin University to the Irish Parliament of March 1639. He closely attended to the business of the Council upon the breaking out of the Irish war in October 1641, and became one of the sureties for the loans advanced by private individuals to the Government. He advocated the cessation of arms with the Irish in 1643, and was one of the council of seventeen appointed to assist the Marquis of Ormond in negotiating the treaty with them. He was also one of the deputation sent over by Ormond to Charles I. [at Oxford, "to inform his Majesty of the posture of affairs in Ireland." Sir James spent all his spare time in the libraries at Oxford, where "he was complimented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law, and highly caressed by most of the considerable men at Oxford." The vessel in which he and his brother commissioners, Lord Edward Brabazon and Sir Henry Tichborne, were returning to Ireland, was captured by the Parliamentarians, and he suffered imprisonment for ten months in the Tower of London. On an exchange of prisoners of importance, he was permitted to return to Dublin, where he lived undisturbed until June 1647, when, on the surrender of the place to the Parliament, he consented to be sent to England as one of the hostages for the due performance of the engagements entered into by Ormond. The agreement being fully executed, he was licensed to return to Dublin, where he lived some time in a private condition, having been deprived of his employment of Auditor-General. Subsequently, Michael Jones, Governor of Dublin, objected to the presence of such a leading loyalist, and in April 1649, with his eldest son and one servant, Ware retired to France, where he resided two years, between St. Malo, Caen, and Paris. "The frequent conversations he had with the famous Bochart [in Paris] delighted him extremely; in whose company he could have been contented to have spent the residue of his life." In 1651 he was permitted to pass over to England, and ultimately to return home, where he resumed his antiquarian studies. After the Restoration he was re-instated in all his offices, and was again unanimously elected member for the University of Dublin. He was appointed on more than one commission in connexion with the settlement of the kingdom after the war; yet he is said to have refused both a baronetcy and viscountcy. His latter days were principally occupied with the literary pursuits in which he so much delighted. Of a charitable disposition, he devoted a good deal of time and money to relieving those in distress, especially the families of decayed cavaliers, and always forgave the fees of his office to widows, clergymen, and clergymen's children. Sir James Ware's works were all written in Latin. His first was: Archiepiscoporum Casseliensium et Tuamensium Vitæ, quibus adjicitur Historia Cænobiorum Cisterciensium Hiberniæ (Dublin, 1626). The following are those by which he is principally known: De Scriptoribus Hiberniæ (Dublin, 1639); De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus ejus Disquisitiones (London, 1654); ib. Ed. Secunda Emendatior et Quarta Parte Auctior, ac Rerum Hibernicarum Regnante Henrico VII. Annales (London, 1658); Rerum Hibernicarum Annales, ab 1485 ad 1558 (Dublin, 1664); De Præsulibus Hiberniæ Commentarius (Dublin, 1665). The second was printed in London, the art of printing being in a low condition in Ireland at that time, on account of the recent war. In 1656 he published his Opuscula Sancti Patricii; in 1644, Venerabilis Bedæ Epistolæ. He caused to be printed in 1633, for the first time, Spenser's View of the State of Ireland, and also editions of Hanmer's Chronicle and Campian's History of Ireland. O'Flaherty says that Sir James Ware "could make a shift to read and understand" Irish, but "was utterly ignorant in speaking of it." He was accustomed to employ an Irish amanuensis to interpret and transcribe documents, and at the time of his death had in that capacity the learned Duald MacFirbis, who in Sir James's house translated the Registry of Clonmacnoise, and other works. Sir James Ware died at his residence in Castlestreet, 1st December 1666, aged 72, and was buried in the vaults of St. Werburgh's, "without either stone or monumental inscription; but he had taken care in his lifetime to erect a monument for himself by his labours, more lasting than any mouldering materials. … He had a great love for his native country, and could not bear to see it aspersed by some authors, which put him upon doing it all the justice he could in his writings, by setting matters in the fairest light, yet still with the strictest regard to truth ." [1] [His eldest son, James, succeeded him in the office of Auditor-General, and died in 1689. His second son, Robert, was the author of numerous treatises, principally aimed against Catholics and their tenets. He made himself so unpopular with the large body of his countrymen that he saw fit to retire to England during the War of 1689-'91. He died in March in 1696. His granddaughter was the wife of Walter Harris.] Lord Clarendon took Sir James Ware's papers to England in James II.'s reign, and sold them to the Duke of Chandos, who was vainly solicited by Swift to restore them to Ireland. Some of them are now in the British Museum, a portion of the "Clarendon manuscripts;" and a still more valuable portion is in the Rawlinson collection of the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The first collected edition of Sir James Ware's works was published in Dublin in 1705: The Antiquities and History of Ireland, by Sir James Ware, now first published in one volume, 171 English, and the Life of Sir James Ware prefixed. It was translated chiefly by Sir William Domvile and Robert Ware, and contains the Antiquities, Annals, Writers, and Bishops, also Sir John Davis's Discovery, and several lists and historical documents relating to Ireland, added by the editors. Each division of the book has a separate title-page and is separately paged. [For Harris's expansion of Ware's Antiquities, Writers, and Bishops, see Harris, Walter, p. 244.] [1] [2]
  • Authorities
  • : 1.0 1.1 Ware, Sir James, Works: Walter Harris. 2 vols. Dublin, 1764.
  • Ware, Sir James, Works. Dublin, 1705.
  • From:,_Sir_James


  • Sir James Ware1
  • M, #324970, b. 26 November 1594, d. 1 December 1666
  • Last Edited=4 Dec 2009
  • Sir James Ware was born on 26 November 1594 at Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland.2 He was the son of Sir James Ware and Mary Bryden.2 He married, firstly, Elizabeth Newman, daughter of Jacob Newman, on 31 December 1620.2 He died on 1 December 1666 at age 72 at Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland.2 He was buried at St. Werburgh's, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland.2
  • He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin University, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland.2 He was invested as a Knight in 1629.2 He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) for the University of Dublin.2 He held the office of Auditor-General [Ireland] in 1632.1 He lived at Macestown, County Dublin, Ireland.3
  • Children of Sir James Ware and Elizabeth Newman
    • James Ware2 b. 9 Aug 1622, d. 6 May 1689
    • Mary Ware+3 b. 21 Mar 1625, d. 1651
    • Rose Ware+3 b. 10 Jan 1627, d. 29 Dec 1649
    • Robert Ware2 b. 23 Oct 1639, d. 7 Apr 1697
  • Citations
  • [S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 970. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • [S1042] Peter Wood, "re: Persse Family," e-mail message to Darryl Lundy, 26 February 2003. Hereinafter cited as "re: Persse Family."
  • [S37] BP2003. [S37]
  • From:


  • Sir James Ware1
  • M, #446581
  • Last Edited=4 Sep 2010
  • Sir James Ware married Elizabeth Windsor, daughter of Henry Windsor, 5th Baron Windsor and Anne Revett.1
  • Citations
  • [S22] Sir Bernard Burke, C.B. LL.D., A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire, new edition (1883; reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1978), page 591. Hereinafter cited as Burkes Extinct Peerage.
  • From:


  • Elizabeth WINDSOR
  • Notes: The Complete Peerage vol.XIIpII,p.800,note c.
  • Father: Henry WINDSOR (5° B. Windsor of Bradenham)
  • Mother: Anne RIVETT (B. Windsor of Bradenham)
  • Married 1: Andrew WINDSOR ABT 1621
  • Children:
    • 1. Dau. WINDSOR
    • 2. Andrew WINDSOR
  • Married 2: James WARE (Sir Auditor-Gen Ireland)
  • From: WINDSOR6


  • Sir James Ware
  • Birth: 1594 Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
  • Death: 1666
  • 17th-century Irish antiquary, historian and politician.
  • His image may be viewed at the Ulster Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, London.
  • Parents:
  • James Ware (____ - 1632)
  • Mary Brydon Ware (1566 - 1632)
  • Siblings:
  • Anne Ware Downing (____ - 1621)*
  • James Ware (1594 - 1666)
  • Peter Ware (1605 - 1659)*
  • Burial: Saint Werburgh's Church, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 115518079
  • From:


  • Name Sir James Ware, Auditor General of Ireland [1]
  • Suffix Auditor General of Ireland
  • Family Elizabeth [II] Windsor
  • Sources
  • [S149] #227 The History and Antiquities of the County of Hertford (1815-1827), Clutterbuck, Robert, (3 volumes. London: Nichols, Son and Bentley, 1815-1827), FHL book Q 942.58 H2c; FHL microfilms 899,855-899,860., vol. 2 p. 269.
  • From:


  • Name Sir James Ware [1]
  • Family Elizabeth Windsor, c. 30 Jan 1597, St. Olave, Silver Street, London, Middlesex, England
  • Sources
  • [S85] Pedigrees with index of London citizens, abt. 1600-1800, Boyd, Percival, (Manuscript, filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954), FHL microfilms 94515-94649., vol. 573 no. 57593, FHL microfilm 94646.
  • From:


  • Name Sir James Ware, Knight [1, 2]
  • Born 26 Nov 1594 Castle Street, Dublin, Dublin, Ireland [2]
  • Died 1 Dec 1666 [2]
  • Buried St. Werburgh's, Dublin, Dublin, Ireland [2]
  • Father Sir James Ware, Knight, b. Abt 1570, of, , Yorkshire, England d. of, Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • Children
    • 1. Robert Ware, b. Abt 1630, of, Dublin, Dublin, Ireland d. 1696 (Age ~ 66 years)
  • Sources
  • [S11] Peerage of Ireland, Lodge, John, -1774, (7 vols. Dublin: J. Moore, 1789), FHL 941.5 D22lo., vol. 2 p. 202.
  • [S344] Wikipedia, ( (Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)), James Ware (historian).
  • From:


  • Name Sir James Ware [1]
  • Born of, Macetown, Mulhuddart, Dublin, Ireland [1]
  • Family Elizabeth Newman
  • Children
    • 1. Mary Ware, b. 21 Mar 1625, of, Macetown, Mulhuddart, Dublin, Ireland d. 1651 (Age 25 years)
    • 2. Rose Ware, b. 10 Jan 1627, of, Macetown, Mulhuddart, Dublin, Ireland d. 29 Dec 1649 (Age 22 years)
  • Sources
  • [S3] #21 The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, or Dormant (1910), Cokayne, George Edward (main author) and Vicary Gibbs (added author), (New edition. 13 volumes in 14. London: St. Catherine Press,1910-), vol. 3 p. 117 (Reliability: 3).
  • From:



“James Ware, the grandson Christoper Ware,” … was born at his father’s house in Castle Street, Dublin, on the 26th November, 1594.” (His father, James was the younger of Christoper’s two sons.) ” At the age of sixteen he entered the university of Dublin as fellow-comer. Upon leaving college the peculiar bent of his mind, which was directed to the elucidation of Irish antiquities, recommended him to the notice and friendship of the illustrious Usher, then Bishop of Meath, who was gratified to find in the young student as active and enthusiastic mind, intent upon the pursuits congenial with his own.

Stimulated by so distinguished an encouragement , our young antiquary began to collect with the greatest zeal early Irish manuscripts, as well as to make historical and genealogical complications from the registries and cartularies of cathedrals and monasteries. He also visited London, where, through the medium of his friend Dr. Usher, then promoted to the Archbishopric of Armagh, he was introduced to Sir Robert Cotton, whose rich store of ancient manuscripts incited him to still further exertions in his patriotic attempts to rescue from oblivion the historical relics of the sister-island.

The first fruits of these exertions made their appearance in the form of three consecutive memoirs, which treated of the Archbishops of Cashel and Tuam, of the Bishops of Dublin, and of the Cistercian monasteries of Ireland. After publication of these works he revisited England, and, while he renewed his acquaintance with Sir Robert Cotton, whose library he made some valuable archaeological presents, he had also the satisfation of forming a useful friendship with the learned Selden. The contributions which James Ware was thus rendering the ancient ecclesiastical history of Ireland made a forcible appeal to the gratitude of the country.

In 1629 he received the honor of knighthood, even while his father, who possessed a similar title, the reward of past service, was living.

The younger Sir James Ware soon began to relax from the severity of his literary studies. The consideration of an increasing family brought him by his marriage with Miss Newman, the daughter of an influential citizen in Dublin, suggested to his attention the lucrative nature of state occupation; and when, in the year of 1632, by the death of Sir James Ware the elder, he succeeded to the office of auditor-general, so assiduously were its arduous duties performed by him, that upon the arrival in Ireland of the Lord Deputy Wentworth, afterwards Earl of Stafford, he was called to a seat in the Privy Council.

But, besides these distinctions for services rendered to the state, Sir James Ware appeared before his countrymen as a mild, prudent and affectionate son of the reformed church; which disposition was not lost upon the hierarchy of the establishment, who were also deeply impressed with the profound knowledge exhibited in his writings of the ecclesiastical affairs of Ireland; and hence their successful recommendations to the king that he should be appointed on of the commissioners for the settlement of certain impropriations in the possession of the crown on the resident clergy.

Although Sir James was thus variously occupied , his public functions did not so entirely engross his time as to leave him without any leisure for the prosecution of his beloved literary pursuits. He printed, from a manuscript which fell into his possession, Spencer’s View of the State of Ireland, a most valuable work, which he followed up by editing Meredith Hanmer’s Chronicle, and Campion’s History of Ireland. He also published, in 1639, his important bibliographical memoir, in tow parts, De scriptoribus Hibernise. These several labours were considered of such national importance, that the learned body most capable of appreciating it, returned him member of the House of Commons for the University of Dublin.

The great troubles of Ireland were now fast approaching. In 1640 the Earl of Strafford hurried to England to consult with his royal master, and, in the mean time, the Catholic party took advantage of his absence to impeach not only him, but like wise certain eminent individuals in the possession of the Lord Deputy’s confidence. If the earnest pleadings of the friends of the unfortunate nobleman eventually proved unsuccessful, a different result awaited the powerful and eloquent appeal made by Sir James Ware against the impeachment of Sir George Radcliffe and others, which caused the charge to fall to the ground.

Soon after this event, in the year 1641, the great rebellion broke out, when the cool advice of Sir James Ware is acknowledged to have greatly aided the numerous cabinet councils which were consequently held.

In 1643 he took a great share in the question entered into with the Irish insurgents toughing the expediency of a suspension of arms:and being appointed a member of the council of seventeen for arranging the terms of the armistice, the treaty being so disturbed with the numerous jarring prejudices and interests which it involved, that, eventually Sir James was appointed one of the three commissioners instructed to repair to the king at Oxford , and to confer with his majesty relative to a final peace with the confederated rebels.

It is to be presumed that Sir James Ware would now have at his command far less literary leisure than formerly: it is evident, however, that his favorite pursuits did not even then cease to hold an important influence over his mind and actions.

His detention at Oxford gave him full opportunity of conversing with many learned men, and he made numerous extracts connected with the early state of Ireland, from the manuscripts contained on the libraries of the university. The sense which Oxford entertained the national benefits of Sir James had conferred upon his country, were evidenced by the honorary degree with which he was complimented of doctor of laws.

His return home was followed by a serious disaster. Being taken prisoner at sea by one of the ships in the service of the Parliament, he was sent a prisoner to the Tower of London, where,to beguile a tedious imprisonment, he wrote an imaginary voyage to an Utioian island,which, having never been published, is now regarded as lost. At length, after a painful detention of ten months, an exchange of prisoners was agreed upon, which obtained the release of Sir James Ware, whose return to his native country was hailed with great satisfaction.

His excellent qualifications for public business were again called into requisition:–for although he lived at a period when party prejudices and feelings ran to a height unknown to Ireland even in her later times of trouble, his political conduct ever assumed a mild form, calculated, if not to completely resist, at least to soften down the asperities of the age. The first proof of the trust reposed in him was his being conjoined with two distinguished noblemen in a committee of enquiry relative to the Earl of Glamorgan, who, it was imagined had exceeded his commission in patching up a clandestine peace with the disaffected Irish.

In 1647 the Marquis of Ormond surrendered the metropolis of Ireland, in obedience to the King’s order, to the Parliament, when Sir James Ware, along with the Lord Richard Butler, afterwards Earl of Arran, the Earl of Roscommon and Colonel Arthur Chichester, became hostages or the faithful performance of the conditions of surrender. The consequent detention of Sir James in London, which did not perhaps exceed the term of one year, again allowed him literary leisure, and the society of the English savans.

Upon his return to Dublin he found that the reins of power has passed into the hands of rancorous enemies, and that his long and unshaken adherence to the royal cause had rendered him obnoxious to the new governor of Dublin, Michael Jones. He was deprived of his office of auditor-general, while well-known intimacy with the Marquis of Ormond, who had then entered into an union with the army of the supreme council, led to his banishment. He was ordered as an object of formidable mistrust, to transport himself beyond the seas to any countyr, save England, which suited his pleasure. To ordinary minds all exile in a foreign and distant land ever present a revolting aspect. But to Sir James Ware it was an exchange of troublesome functions for the still and soothing occupations of science, which ever afforded to his enquiring mind the most delightful of solaces. Accompanied by his eldest son, he set sail in the spring of 1649 for France, where St. Maloes, Caen and Paris, became his successive places of residence. In the French cities he cultivated an acquaintance with eminent literati, but more particularly at Caen, with a savant of kindred, archaeological pursuits, the ardent and indefatigable Bochart.

At the expiration of a four year exile, when the political horizon was considered more clear, Sir James had the liberty conceded to him, upon the urgent plea of his presence being indispensable to the well-being of his estates, to revisit Ireland. He had kept a written journal of his foreign exile, under the title of Itinerarium Gallicum,which was never published. It now holds a place in the shelves of the Cottonian Library.

The first care of Sir James upon his return, and after arranging his private affairs, was to add to his extensive collections of national and ancient manuscripts, for which he spared no cost; and, as he did no himself understand the speaking of the Irish language, though he could make a shift to read it, he constantly kept in his house an Irish amanuensis, of the name of Dudley Firbisse, to aid him in the translation of dubious passages. At length he was enabled to prepare for the press his master-piece,which he published under the title ‘De Hibernia of Antiquitatibus ejus disquisitones.’ Its success even advanced his reputation, high as it already was, in the republic of learning. Among other grateful effects, it recommended him to the intimacy of the English antiquary Sir William Dugdale. A second impression of this celebrated work being demanded, it appeared, at the expiration of five years, with an addition of records relative to the affairs of Ireland during the reign of HENRY VII. And, in 1656, he illustrated, with valuable notes, the ecclesiastical works usually ascribed to St. Patrick.

The restoration of CHARLES II, and the recall of the Marquis of Ormond to the vice-royalty of Ireland, under the title of Duke of Ormond, interrupted for a time these literary labours. Sir James, the tired and faithful adherent of the royal cause, and the confidential friend of the restored Lord Lieutenant, was invited to resume his former office as auditor-general. To this confirmed sentiment of public approbation the University of Dublin responded, by electing Sir James, for a second time, one of their representatives in Parliament. And, lastly, when the government appointed a chosen council for the peaceful settlement of the affairs of the kingdom, and for the satisfaction of the several interests of adventures, Sir James was, by the king’s special instructions, included in the quorum indispensible to the validity of every act of the royal commission. With this renovation,and even accession of political power entrusted to him, Sir James never allowed himself to be urges or betrayed to acts of harsh retaliation towards a fallen party.

An anecdote to this point is preserved: — a valuable dwelling house in Dublin, forfeited by an act of rebellion on the part of the deceased owner, had been gifted to him by the government. But he found that the acceptance of the grant would inflict upon a bereaved family a more than common degree of suffering; sending therefore, for the widow and children under affliction, he instantly replaced them beneath the tutelar protection of their family roof.

While his conduct, however, towards old and bitter opponents could only be manifested by acts of self-denial, his kind feelings towards his old political associates less fortunate than himself, whom the crown had neglected, or had not the means to reward, was not of a contingent, but of a positive character: it was systematically displayed in acts of solid friendship, or in the hospitality of a plentiful table, to which the decayed cavalier was ever made welcome. These generous acts could not fail to command the esteem of his fellow-citizens, whose frequent testimonials in his favour, were acknowledged by the corresponding solicitude which he evinced in promoting their municipal interests. When for instance, the chief magistrate of Dublin was dignified with the title of Lord Mayor,the influence of Sir James WAre, with the Duke of Ormond, procured from the crown a grant to the city of five hundred pounds per annum, for the support of the new dignity.

Amidst these varied political duties and avocations it may easily be supposed, that Sir James would find the opportunities afforded him for indulging in his usual literary occupations much diminished. He published, however, in 1662, the annals of Ireland,during the reign of HENRY VIII; to which, two years afterwards, he added those of the subsequent reigns of EDWARD VI and Mary.– As a reward for these immense labours political as well as literary, it was proposed to create Sir James a Viscount of the kingdom of Ireland; but, as he must have well known form experience,how incompatible is the formal splendour and the fatigue of rank, with the habits of the savant, it may be justly questioned, whether, under any conditions he would have been inclined to risk, from mere personal motives of ambition, the great object of all his worldly desires, which, to adopt his own expression, was ‘to enquire into the dark mazes of Irish antiquity, that the of them might spread, not only at home but abroad.’

Independently, however, of these considerations, there subsisted peculiar domestic circumstances affecting his prosperity, (to be explained hereafter), which alone furnished an irresistible argument for the refusal of the proffered dignity. Declining, therefore. the honor intended for him, yet anxious that his royal master should not misconstrue the motives of his refusal, he requested, in lieu of a Peerage,two blank patents of Baronetage, which he filled up with the names of two friends, whose posterity, Walter Harris assures us, have continued to his day to enjoy the hereditary distinctions.

The later contributions of Sir James Ware to the early history of Ireland, were confined to ecclesiastical affairs. He edited two epistles of the venerable Bede, in illustration of the more ancient customs of the British churches, and preparatory to the last commentary published by him, when he was seventy years old, relative to the bishops of Ireland, from the dawn of the Christian faith, down to modern times. And even when he was approaching still nearer to the very advanced term, beyond which human existence is rarely prolonged, he contemplated the publication of divers other researches connected with Ireland. These were frustrated by his decease, which took place on the 1st of December, 1666 in the seventy-third year of his age.

When CHARLES II was informed of his death, he was heard to exclaim, with much apparent feeling, that he had lost a faithful servant. But it is less for the political, than for the literary services which he has rendered to his country, that his name will be perpetuated among the worthies of the sister Kingdom. — He has been properly designated , The Camden of Ireland.

Sir James Ware, in his will, had directed that his body should be deposited under the tombstone in St. Werberg’s church, Dublin, where his father, mother, wife, and some of his children lay buried. This was done in the most unostentatious manner; neither stone nor monumental inscription marking the place where his remains were interred. ‘But he had taken care,’ remarked his biographer, ‘to erect a monument for himself by his labours, more lasting than any mouldering materials.’ “

Source: Biography by John Burke ESQ, from the “Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol IV.” It was published in London, England by Henry Colburn Publications in 1838. Transcribed by Vicki Cheesman at ______________________________

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Sir James Ware, Kt.'s Timeline

November 26, 1594
Dublin, County Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
December 31, 1620
Age 26
August 9, 1622
Age 27
Dublin, Dublin City, Dublin, Ireland
January 10, 1627
Age 32
December 1, 1666
Age 72
Dublin, County Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
January 10, 1947
Age 72
January 19, 1949
Age 72