As admissions to the Order in England dwindled and native Irish were accepted in the Dublin Priory, the Augustinian house there experienced the political tension that existed in the surrounding community.
The problem of integrating Augustinians from the two cultures was a real one; there was the difference in language (English and Gaelic) and in political allegiance (to the English King or to the traditional Irish chieftans), etc
In 1455 the Augustinians and the other mendicant orders in Dublin were summoned before the (Norman-English) mayor and council of Dublin and for political reasons ordered to expel any community members with Gaelic surnames.
If carried out at all, the edict was certainly not enduring.
Extant records from soon after 1500 show Dublin Augustinians with surnames such as O’Connery, MacLeary and O’Cullen. (Patrick O’Cullen was Prior there in 1507, and recommended by the king in his appointment as Bishop of Clogher in 1515.)
The community gained a high reputation for learning, and a number of its members became bishops. One Dublin Augustinian, Geoffrey Shale (an Irish name, variously Schale, O’Sheil and O’Scahill) was the most distinguished Irish theologian of the Order.
He preached at Council of Constance (1414-1418), the council that drew the Great Western Schism to a close. He had a master’s degree from Cambridge, was regent of studies at the Augustinian convento in Dublin in 1421, and was still serving there as late as 1433.
As the conflict of Henry VIII with the Catholic Church reached its crescendo, George Browne, the ex-Augustinian who had been Provincial in England in 1532, was appointed by King Henry VIII as the first Anglican Archbishop of Dublin from 1536 to 1553.
Replacing a Roman Catholic bishop who had been murdered, Browne was barely accepted in that position, but one person who accepted him was Richard Nangle, an Augustinian who was then Prior of the Augustinian house in Dublin and who previously had been appointed as the Augustinian Vicar Provincial of Ireland in 1518.
Henry VIII rewarded Nangle with the appointment as Bishop of Clonfert in 1536, but the Pope had already appointed another candidate, and Nagle was expelled by the people. Browne then made him one of his Anglican suffragan bishops in Dublin.
(Continued on the next page.)
Main entrance of Augustinian Church of St Augustine and St John, St John's Lane (actually fronting Thomas Street), Dublin.