Some 66 years ago, in September 1948, the Irish government declared its intention of establishing Ireland as a republic, presenting the Church of Ireland with an interesting but awkward dilemma. For it was, as it remains today an all–
Ireland church, and up until that point the Book of Common Prayer (in use for daily liturgies by parish churches and individuals throughout the island) included prayers for the ruling monarch and the royal family.
These prayers had not presented a problem when both Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State remained part of the British Commonwealth, but once that situation changed, the Church had to respond accordingly.
This month’s online presentation by the RCB Library reveals the depths of the Church’s deliberations on this issue, through the lens of one particularly active campaigner against any change: Hugh Arthur Cornwallis Maude, of Belgard Castle, Clondalkin, County Dublin, gentleman farmer and prominent layman. As a member of both the General Synod and diocesan council for Dublin, Kildare and Glendalough, Maude had access to the channels of authority affecting decision–making within the Ch
In 1948, Hugh Maude was 44 years old. He had been educated at Malvern College, was unmarried and lived with his mother in Belgard Castle, Clondalkin, a few miles south of Dublin, his father having died in 1935. Following in his father’s footsteps, Hugh Maude became agent for a number of notable landowning families such as the earl of Arran. He was widely interested in agriculture, a breeder of pedigree cattle and even authoredThe farm, a living organization (Dundalk, 1943) – a series of lectures on agricultural matters. Maude had good social connections; his occupation ensured contact with many persons of note. His mother, Eva Emily Maude (died 1960) was the last surviving grand–daughter of the Most Revd Marcus Gervais Beresford, D.D. (1801–1906) archbishop of Armagh between 1862 and 1885.
Indeed, the papers that make up this collection were actually entrusted by him to the safe–keeping of the Rt Revd George Otto Simms, formerly archbishop of Dublin and Armagh, who in his retirement deposited them permanently in the RCB Library, and they provide a detailed insight to the thinking of a prominent lay member of the Church of Ireland during the 1940s and 1950s, and the crisis of identity faced by him and others during this unusual controversy.
The Archive of the Month presentation incorporates the work of Dr Miriam Moffitt, of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, who has scrutinised and brought to life the contents of Maude’s collection which reveals in detail his 18–month unsuccessful campaign to save the prayer for the monarchy, culminating in a final definitive decision at the General Synod of 1950.
A link to her scholarly essay “The Correspondence of Hugh A.C. Maude Relating to the State Prayers Controversy of 1948–50” is included online, together with a list of Maude’s papers and a detailed list of the correspondence with those who variously supported or opposed his efforts, in the process. As she comments: ‘The Maude papers contain examples of persons who were horrified at the distancing of southern Ireland from the Empire and the forced removal of the familiar prayers for the British monarch from the order of service, and also from those who were indifferent to the episode, and from yet more people who welcomed the political change’.
Speculating as to why Maude was so vehemently in favour of retaining the prayers for the British monarch and what motivated him to spearhead such a well–organised campaign she suggests ‘imperial affinities’ were ‘strengthened by war–time casualties’. Maude was the third and only surviving son his two elder brothers (Marcus Beresford Maude and Maurice Anthony Maude) having
been killed on active service with the British army in the Great War, aged 25 and 26 respectively. As well as the loss of his two older brothers, Maude lost a further 21 cousins in the service of the crown during the First and Second World Wars.
The online exhibition brings all of these issues to life, illustrated with carefully selected examples of the case both for and against the prayers, revealing some of the complexities of Church of Ireland identity at this critical juncture in the evolution of the modern state. Seewww.ireland.anglican.org/library/archive
For further information please contact:
Dr Susan Hood
Fax: 01–4924770E–mail: email@example.com