John Alen

(1476—1534) archbishop of Dublin

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Sir John Alen (d. 1561)


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(1476–1534), archbishop of Dublin 1529–34, an experienced lawyer and aggressive administrator. He was a close ally of Henry VIII's lord chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who secured his provision in September 1529 to Dublin, where he was consecrated on 13 March 1530. Using his dual position as lord chancellor and archbishop, Alen tried to reassert the authority and jurisdiction of the see of Dublin, compiling for this purpose a register of see records dating back to the Anglo-Norman conquest. But the fall of Wolsey early in his episcopate fatally undermined him, and left him exposed when Henry VIII imposed a large fine on him for infringing royal jurisdiction. Desperate to increase his income, Alen clashed with the influential Fitz-Gerald family. When the Kildare rebellion broke out, Alen sought to flee to England, but his ship ran aground at Clontarf and he was seized by Thomas FitzGerald, who ‘brained and hacked him in gobbets’.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.

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