Transcript: Letters concerning publicationof the Irish Bible

Scope and Content

Transcription by Denis Kelly of 18 letters from Rt Hon. Robert Boyle (1627-1691) to Rev. Narcissus Marsh (1638-1713), dated January 1681-November1685, respecting the publication of the Irish Bible, 1684;also of 3 letters from Hugh Reilly, the editor of the work, to Robert Boyle.

Administrative / Biographical History

Narcissus Marsh (1638-1713), Church of Ireland archbishop of Armagh, waseducated at Oxford and Cambridge. In 1679 he was invested as provost of Trinity College,Dublin and in 1683 he was consecrated bishop of Ferns and Leighlin. In 1685,along with others, he prepared transcripts for the printing of Bishop WilliamBedell's Irish translation of the Old Testament, edited by Hugh Reilly (orReily, fl. 1685-1695), which were then sent to Robert Boyle (1627-1691) for publication in London. Boyle, the famous chemist, was part of the group at Oxford that later became the Royal Society, but he refused the presidency of the society in 1680, as well as many other honors. His philanthropy was well known and he backed various projects such as that for the publication and distribution of the Bible in Gaelic, both in Ireland and in the Scottish highlands.

Location of Originals

Copied from the original letters in Archbishop Marsh's Library, Dublin.


See R. E. W. Maddison, 'Robert Boyle and the Irish bible', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol. 41 (1958), pp. 81-101.