The Projects Aims

The Ussher Project

ushher1The aim of the Ussher Project is to produce a scholarly three-volume edition of the correspondence of James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh (1625-1656). Ussher has justifiably been described as Trinity College Dublin’s greatest scholar and one of the most influential intellectuals of early modern Europe. His correspondence reflects his political and ecclesiastical role at the head of the Church in Ireland at a crucial time of forging its identity as a separate enclave from the Church of England but it is his scholarly network which reveals his pivotal role in Irish, British and European intellectual life.

Throughout his long career, Ussher carefully constructed a circle of correspondents that spread all over Europe and which crossed religious boundaries and disciplinary fields. Roman Catholics writers such as David Rothe, Bishop of Ossory, and William Malone, the noted Jesuit controversialist, were as anxious as the Calvinist clientele of Trinity College, Dublin, to avail of his renowned historical research, not to mention the extensive library he amassed as archbishop of Armagh. In Britain he corresponded with the leading scholars of his day: famous historians such as William Camden, Robert Cotton, and John Selden; celebrated mathematicians and scientists such as Thomas Lydiat and John Bainbridge and the radical educational and ecclesiastical reformers John Dury and Samuel Hartlib.
In Europe he actively engaged in intellectual disputes about the identity of the ‘true church’. His connections ranged from the Low Countries to France, Switzerland and Germany and his correspondents included scholars such as Louis de Dieu, Louis Cappel, Constantine L’Empereur and Johannes Buxtorf. Thus at the heart of the Ussher Project lies the conception of Ussher’s identity, as an Irishman, a British subject loyal to the Crown, and an European intellectual.

© Elizabethanne Boran, 2005.


This Project is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Ussher Board: Dr. Elizabethanne Boran, The Edward Worth Library; Professor Ciaran Brady, TCD; Professor Aidan Clarke, Professor Emeritus, TCD; Professor David Dickson, TCD; Professor Mordechai Feingold, Professor of History at the California Institute of Technology, USA; Professor Jane H. Ohlmeyer, Erasmus Smith Professor of Modern History, TCD; Dr. Helga Robinson-Hammerstein, Senior Lecturer, TCD.

Last updated 6 August 2014.

Editor of the Ussher Correspondence:
Dr. Elizabethanne Boran,
The Edward Worth Library,
Dr Steevens’ Hospital,
Dublin 8.

Contact: or

Scroll to Top