Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jones, Thomas (1550?-1619)
JONES, THOMAS, D.D. (1550?–1619), archbishop of Dublin and lord chancellor of Ireland, younger son of Henry Jones of Middleton, Lancashire, and brother of Sir Roger Jones, knight, alderman of London, was born at Middleton about 1550, and was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.A. Having been ordained, he removed to Ireland, and there married Margaret, daughter of Adam Purdon of Lurgan Race, co. Louth, widow of John Douglas, and sister-in-law of Adam Loftus [q. v.], archbishop of Dublin. His marriage probably helped his advancement. His first preferment was the chancellorship of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, to the deanery of which he was elected in 1581; continuing, however, to hold the chancellorship in commendam as long as he lived. Sir Henry Wallop says in a letter to Walsyngham dated 6 Jan. 1581, that there were ‘but three preachers in the whole realm, viz. the Bishops of Dublin and Down, and Mr. Jones’ (Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1574–85, p. 279). During the short time he held the deanery of St. Patrick's, he injured the property of the church by granting improper leases (Cotton, Fasti Ecclesiæ Hibernicæ, ii. 97). One case, as endorsed by Dean Swift on the original document, was ‘a lease of Colemine made by that rascal Dean Jones and the knaves or fools of his chapter to one John Allen for eighty-one years, to commence at the expiration of a lease for eighty-one years, made in 1585, so that there was a lease for 161 years of 253 acres, within three miles of Dublin, for 2l. per annum, now worth 150l.’ Loftus, nevertheless, strongly recommended him for advancement to the archbishopric of Armagh on the death of Thomas Lancaster in 1584 (Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1574–85, p. 491); but John Long was appointed. In May following Jones was promoted to the premier bishopric of Meath by letters patent dated the 10th of the month; and immediately after he was called to the privy council of Ireland by the special instructions of the government to Sir John Perrot, lord deputy. For twenty years he presided over his diocese, and took an active part in public affairs. In November 1605 he was translated to the archbishopric of Dublin, which had become vacant by the death of Loftus, and was allowed to hold the prebend of Castleknock, in St. Patrick's, Dublin, and the rectory of Trim, in the diocese of Meath, in commendam. In the same year he was appointed, in succession to Loftus, to the lord chancellorship of Ireland, which office he held until his death. He caused very extensive repairs to be made in his cathedral of Christ Church. From the university of Dublin he received, in 1614, the degree of D.D. honoris causâ; and twice, in 1613 and 1615, he was one of the lords justices of Ireland. He died at his palace of St. Sepulchre's, Dublin, on 10 April 1619, and was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral, in the north aisle of which there is a fine monument with a kneeling statue of the archbishop, and with inscriptions in memory of him and his wife, Margaret (d. 5 Dec. 1618), daughter of Adam Purdon of Lurgan-Race, co. Louth, and widow of John Douglas. It was erected by their only surviving son Roger, who was raised to the peerage of Ireland in 1628 as Baron Jones and Viscount Ranelagh. The monument was restored in 1731 by Lady Catherine Jones, at the request of Dean Swift.
This prelate, who was undoubtedly severe in his treatment of ‘recusants,’ is thought to have been the author of ‘An Answer to Tyrone's Seditious Declaration sent to the Catholics of the Pale in 1596,’ manuscript copies of which are in Marsh's library, and in that of Trinity College, Dublin. He and his son were engaged in bitter disputes with Lord Howth; and the letters from both parties occupy a large space in the ‘Calendar of State Papers,’ Ireland, 1608–10.
[Sir James Ware's Works, ed. Harris, i. 156, 354; Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiæ Hibernicæ, ii. 20, 97, 116, 156, iii. 117, v. 222; D'Alton's Archbishops of Dublin, p. 250; Bishop Mant's History of the Church of Ireland, i. 388–90, 430; Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 1880, p. 1020; Todd's Catalogue of Dublin Graduates, p. 308; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography, p. 268; Smyth's Law Officers of Ireland, p. 26; O'Flanagan's Lives of the Lord Chancellors of Ireland, i. 296; Leeper's Historical Handbook of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, 2nd edit., p. 42.]