In 1536 Cromwell chose Browne and a Dominican as royal commissioners to visit all mendicant houses and have each friar swear an oath of allegiance to the king, contrary to papal authority. That task was successfully accomplished.
Browne was awarded a doctorate from Oxford and appointed the Anglican Archbishop of Dublin from 1536 to 1553. He was an ignorant, blustering and overbearing person, whom even the King rebuked for his arrogance and inefficiency.
Indecent in life and manner, Browne neither won the adhesion of the English of the Pale nor that of the clergy and laity in the provinces.
One person who accepted Browne was Richard Nangle, an Augustinian who was then Prior of the Augustinian house in Dublin and who previously had been appointed Vicar Provincial in 1518.
Henry VIII rewarded Nangle with the appointent as Bishop of Clonfert in 1536, but the Pope had appointed another candidate, and Nangle was expelled by the people. Browne then made him one of his Anglican suffragan bishops in Dublin.
Browne's first duty in Dublin had been to proclaim the Act of Supremacy and force it through the Irish Parliament. Then followed the removal of all religious images out of the cathedrals and churches of his archdiocese.
He publicly burned a staff that tradition held had been used by Saint Patrick and that had been given to him by Christ.
The suppression of the monasteries came next.
George Browne outlived Henry VIII and his son and successor, Edward VI. When the Roman Catholic Mary Tudor succeeded to the throne in 1553, Browne, as a married man, was deprived of his See of Dublin. In March 1555 he was absolved from the sin of apostasy and from the censure for violating the law of celibacy by Cardinal Reginald Pole, who was a papal legate and the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury.
Not only did Browne receive general absolution, but, in addition, he was allowed to enjoy a benefice as canon of his former cathedral. Thus he ended his days around 1559 near Dublin in comparative comfort.
Rev Dr Michael Hackett O.S.A., who died in April 2005, published a history of the Austin Friars in Britain. On page 10 he stated: 'Prior to the Reformation, the English province of Austin friars provided some thirty bishops to the Church both in England and Ireland. Of these, the most prominent was Robert Waldeby. Waldbey held various bishoprics, including the see of Dublin, before being appointed Archbishop of York in 1397, and thus becoming Primate of England.'