Ussher, James, Archbishop of Armagh (1581 -1656)
James Ussher was the second, but eldest surviving son of Arnold Ussher, Clerk of the Irish Court of Chancery, and Margaret, daughter of James Stanyhurst, Recorder of Dublin and Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. He was educated at the Free Latin School in Schoolhouse Lane, Dublin and at Trinity College, Dublin, being one of the first pupils in the college in whose foundation both sides of his family had been involved. He took his B.A., probably in 1597. His father intended him for the legal profession and arranged for him to pursue his studies to that end in London, but his father's died in 1598 and he inherited the family estates. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1599, and took his M.A. in 1601, was made catechist at the College, first Proctor, and one of the ordinary preachers at Christ Church Cathedral. The officers of the victorious English army at Kinsale gave £1,800 to Trinity College for the purchase of books for the College Library, and Ussher and his fellow Proctor, Luke Challoner, were sent to England to buy them. This was the first of many trips to England which Ussher took throughout his life to buy books, and during which he made the acquaintance of Sir Thomas Bodley, Sir Robert Cotton and others who shared his antiquarian tastes. By special dispensation he was ordained deacon and priest in December 1601. In 1605 he was made Chancellor of St Patrick's Cathedral and Rector of Finglass in County Dublin, and resigned his Fellowship. He took his B.D. in 1606, and was at once elected the first Professor of Divinity at Dublin. In 1614 he married Phoebe, only daughter and heir of Luke Challoner. They had an only daughter, Elisabeth, who married in 1641 Sir Timothy Tyrrell, of Oakley in Buckinghamshire. In 1620, Ussher was made Bishop of Meath and Clonmacnoise, and in 1624, Archbishop of Armagh. In March 1640, Ussher went to England and, the Revolution of 1641 playing havoc with his Irish estates, was unable to return. Charles I made him a grant of revenues of the Bishopric of Carlisle in commendam, and under the Parliament he took refuge with his old friend Lady Peterborough and was Preacher at Lincoln's Inn for a time. His extensive library was purchased by Oliver Cromwell for £2,200 and sent to Dublin and kept at Dublin Castle for the use of the projected New College. At the Restoration it was presented to Trinity College Dublin by Charles II. His principal publication is his Britannicarum ecclesiarum antiquitates, a number of copies of which he had bound for presentation with his arms on the covers.