George Browne

d.1556. Archbishop of Dublin. Educated in an Augustinian friary at Oxford, he later became general of the Mendicant* Orders in England. He had attracted notice for his sermons, in which he ignored the invocation of the saints and exhorted his hearers to address their prayers to Christ alone. Thomas Cromwell* saw his potential usefulness to the king's cause and appointed him archbishop of Dublin, with the particular tasks of having the royal ecclesiastical supremacy recognized in Ireland, as it had been in England, and of suppressing the monasteries. Despite clerical opposition, Browne succeeded in having the Supremacy Bill passed. His suppression of the monasteries seems to have had in it more of a desire for spoil than for radical reformation; his destruction of images and relics failed to win the support of the people, who did not understand his sermons attacking idolatry, delivered in English to a largely Irish-speaking population. In the reign of Edward VI (1547-53) Brown was given the title of Primate of Ireland when the primacy was temporarily withdrawn from Armagh, where Archbishop Dowdall had maintained his allegiance to Rome. When Mary came to the throne, the title was restored to Dowdall, and Browne was set aside from his office as archbishop of Dublin.