[Rev.] William Reeves (1815-92)

Life
Irish antiquarian; b. Charleville, Cork, ed. TCD; Berkeley medallist; BA 1835; MB, 1837; master of Church of Ireland diocesan school in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, where he worked on a life of St. Columba, using the Life by Adamnan which he collated by correspondence from the three existing MSS at Schaffhausen, St. Gall, and Munich; appt. Deacon of Hillsborough, 1838; issued Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, Connor and Dromore (1847); issued Acts of Archbishop Colton (1850) - concerning the prelate who visited Armagh;

appt. Vicar of Lusk after publication of Vita Sancta Columbae (Life of Columba or Colum Cille, 1857), a superior collection of materials of early Irish Church history which he edited with James Henthorn Todd, who had the living in his gift; contrib. articles to Swords Parish Magazine; ed., with Dr. Todd, The Martyrology of Donegal (1864); elected Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore, 1886; elected Pres. of the RIA 1891; ed. works of James Ussher; succeeded in securing the Book of Armagh for TCD and was engaged in the production of a diplomatic edition at his death, subsequently completed by Rev. John Gwynn, DD (RAI 1913);

there is a biography by Lady Ferguson (The Life of Rt. Rev. William Reeves, DD, 1893); his manuscript materials, including some in Irish, were donated to Marsh’s Library by Dean C. A. Webster of Ross in 1941; Lady Ferguson issued a life of Reeves (1893). DIW ODNB DIB DUB OCIL

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Works
  • Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, Connor & Dromore, consisting of a taxation of those dioceses, compiled in the year 1306, with notes and illustrations ( Dublin: Hodges & Smith 1847), xxiv, 436pp., 4°;
  • ed., Acts of Archbishop Colton in his metropolitan visitation of the diocese of Derry, A.D. MCCCXCVII [1397]: with a Rental of the See Estates at that Time, ed., from the original roll, preserved in the Archiepiscopal Record Closet of Armagh, with an introduction and notes, by the Rev. William Reeves (Dublin: For the Irish Archæological Society MDCCCXL [1849]; actually 1850), [4], xx, 149, [1]pp., 4°/24cm.;
  • Abbatial Succession in Ireland (1857);
  • ed., Vita Sancta Columbae: The life of St. Columba founder of Hy, written by Adamnan, ninth Abbot of Iona, edited from VIII [8th] Century codex, with notes and dissertations [for the Irish Archaeological and Celtic Assoc.] (Dublin University Press 1857), and Do. [new edn. ... prepared under the superintendence of the Bishop of Brechin, with trans. by A. B. Forbes, and notes arranged [i.e., rearranged] by W. F. Skene] (Edinburgh: Edmonton & Douglas 1874), clxxxiv, 385pp., 8°.;
  • ‘Hymnus Sancti Aidi [i.e., Aedn], on a Hiberno-Latin charm preserved in an MS [...] at Karlsruhe, from the Benedictine monastery at Reichenau, with the text [Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy] ([Dublin 1858], [offprint, 6pp.]
  • Memoir of the Church of St. Duilech, in the Diocese of Dublin [.. &c.] (Dublin University Press 1859), 12pp., 8°.
  • Notices of Certain Crannogs, or artificial islands ... in the Counties of Antrim and Londonderry (1860);
  • On Augustin, an Irish Writer of the Seventeenth [recte seventh] century [ascribing to him the treatise “De Mirabilibus Sacrae Scripturae” usually placed among the supposititious works of Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo] ... Read before the Royal Irish Academy, June 10, 1861, and reprinted from the Proceedings of the Society ([Dublin, 1861], 9pp., 8°.
  • “Memoir of Stephen White” [read before the Royal Irish Academy, 30 Nov. 1861 rep. from Proceedings] ([Dublin, 1861]), 10pp. [incls. copy of a letter in Latin from White to Fr. John Colgan; English and Latin];
  • The Culdees of the British Islands, as they appear in history, with an appendix of evidences [Dr. Reeves on the Culdees; Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, Section of Antiquities, Vol. XXIV] (Dublin: M. H. Gill 1864), xi, 163pp. [rep. in James Fred. Skinner Gordon, Ecclesiastical Chronicle for Scotland [Vol. 1, “Scotichronicon .. Bishop Keith's Catalogue of Scottish Bishops ... with Reeve's and Goodall’s treatises in the Culdees”] (Glasgow 1867).
  • Memoir of Octavian del Palacio (1875);
  • ‘An Irish Copy of the Creed of Athanasius’, in W. Lee, DD, The Athanasian Creed (1872) [q.p.].
  • Nendhrum - Mahee Island (1902)

See also Descriptive Catalogue of a collection of Manuscripts formerly belonging to and mainly the handiwork of W. Reeves ... Lord Bishop of Down ... and now deposited in the Diocesan Library, Belfast (Belfast: private circulation 1899), 15pp., 8°.

 
Sundry other titles listed in COPAC
  • Notice of a Record preserved in the Chapter-house, Westminster ... From the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (1851);
  • On Marianus Scotus, of Ratisbon ... Read before the Royal Irish Academy, Monday, April 9, 1860; extracted from the Natural History Review and Quarterly Journal of Science, for July, 1860.
  • ‘Early Irish Caligraphy’ [Illuminations and facsimiles from Irish Manuscripts in the libraries of Switzerland, Translated from the German of Ferdinand Keller
  • by W. Reeves, [..] orig. publ. as “Bilder und Schriftzüge in den irischen Manuscripten”, in Mittheilungen der Antiquarischen Gesellschaft in Zurich] (?Belfast 1860).
  • A Sermon preached at the Consecration of the Church of St. Patrick of Ardragh, in the Diocese of Clogher, on the 13th day of October, 1868 (London: Chiswick Press 1869), 35pp.
  • A lecture upon the history of the parish of Balrothery, ecclesiastical and civil, delivered at a meeting of the Young Man's Christian Association, Balbriggan, by H. A. Hamilton; compiled by P. Scrivan from notes by the very Rev. William Reeves (Dublin: J. Charles and Son 1876).
  • Colgan's Works [Irish Library. No. 1] ([S.l. : s.n., 1922?]), 8pp., 23 cm. [orig. in Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 1 (1853), pp.295-302]
  • Fleming's Collectanea sacra [Irish Library, No. 2] ([S.l.: s.n., 1923?], [253]-260pp., 23 cm.  [i.e., Patrick Fleming, 1599-1631; copy held in Edinburgh UL].
 
Query
  • The Apology of Tertullian (London 1893) [copy in Aberdeen UL];
  • A Sermon (1869).

Letters to David Laing (1793-1878) - held in Edinburgh UL
29 Oct. 1860, The Vicarage, Cork, [forwarded by Dr. Todd to Laing] 1860.
5 Aug. 1856, Ballymena
19 Nov. 1856, Ballymena
19 Dec. 1856, Ballymena
2 Feb. 1857, Ballymena
19 June 1857, Ballymena
6 Mar. 1861, The Vicarage. Lersk [i.e, Lusk], Co. Dublin.
25 Nov. 1863, The Library, Armagh.
24 Feb. 1864, The Library, Armagh.
29 Feb. 1864, The Library, Armagh.
5 Dec. 1864, The Library, Armagh.
11 Feb. 1865, The Library, Armagh.
25 May 1865, The Library, Armagh.
3 May 1869, Rectory, Tynan.
13 May 1869, 6 Trinity College, Dublin.
25 May 1869, The Library, Armagh.
—COPAC listed; for information on Laing, see Wikipedia - online.

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Criticism
  • Lady Ferguson, The Life of Rt. Rev. William Reeves, DD (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co. 1893), vi, 210pp. [with port. and a bibliography of his works incl. unpub. RIA papers]
  • [q.a.], review of William Reeves Ecclesiastical Antiquities [of Down, Connor and Dromore](1847), in Dubln University Magazine, Vol. 31 (Feb. 1848), pp. 207-77.

Samuel Ferguson: Ferguson refers to Reeves with approbation in the Preface to Congal where he writes: ‘It is in order and presentation of his facts that this great master of Scottish topographical history - using the word Scottish in its old acceptation - excels all who have gone before him.’ (Congal, 1867, p.154).

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References
Dictionary of Ulster Biography, ed. Kate Newmann (Belfast: QUB/IIS 1993), cites Reeves as rector of Tynan and librarian at Armagh in 1861-86, and purchaser of Book of Armagh for that collection. ODNB as in Life, supra.

Brian Cleeve & Anne Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985); ordained Derry, 1839; wished to practice medicine among the poor of his parish; L ife of Columba (1857), enthusiastically received by scholars throughout Europe, still remains the best and fullest collection of materials on the early Irish Church in one volume; Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, &c. (1847), narrower in scope but also an essential reference book for its subject.

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Library of Herbert Bell, Belfast, contains Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, Connor & Dromore [signed copy], 1847; also The Diocese of Derry [presum. Archbishop Colton] (Dublin 1850).

Belfast Public Library holds Abbatial Succession in Ireland (1857); Acts of Archbishop Colton on his Visit to Derry (1850); Dr. Reeves on the Culdees (n.d.); Memoir of Octavian del Palacio (1875); Nendhrum - Mahee Island (1902); Notices of Certain Crannogs, or artificial islands ... in the Counties of Antrim and Londonderry (1860); On Augustin (n.d.); A Sermon (1869).

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Notes
Book of Armagh: In 1855, through the intervention of William Reeves, the Book of Armagh was presented to TCD; see J. Gwynn, ed., Liber Armachanus (1913); and Richard Sharpe, ‘Palaeographical Considerations in the Study of the Patrician Documents in the Book of Armagh’, Scriptorium, XXXVI (1982) [contrib. Sharpe].

Portraits: A portrait of Reeves in included in Lady Ferguson, Life of the Right Rev. William Reeves, DD (1893), also a bibliography of his works incl. unpub. RIA papers [Hyland 219; 1995].

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Namesakes
William Reeves (d.1759), The gamester, a true story; on which the tragedy of that name, now acting at the Theatre Royal in Drury-Lane, is founded. Translated from the Italian (London: by W. Reeve[s] 1753), 20pp. [prob. derived from Edward Moore's namesake play].  

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William Reeves, chaplain in ordinary to Her Majesty, and Vicar of St. Mary's in Reading, issued The Nature of Truth and Falshood; with Some Motives to the Practice of Mutual Sincerity; A Sermon preached before the Queen (London: W. B. for Richard Sare 1712), 24pp.; also, as Rector of Craneford in Middlesex, The apologies of Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Minutius Felix[,] in defence of the Christian religion, with the Commonitory of Vincentius Lirinensis, concerning the primitive rule of faith translated from their originals: with notes, for the advantage chiefly of English readers, and a preliminary discourse upon each author[; t]ogether with a prefatory dissertation about the right use of the fathers [2nd edn.] 2 vols. (London: T. W. & T. S. for W. Churchill, [...] Pater-Noster-Row 1716), lxxx, 359pp., 379pp., and other theological works including Fatal Consequences of Bribery exemplified by Judas on the Occasion of the election of Members of Parliament (1733).

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W[illiam] Pember Reeves issued New Zealand and Other Poems (q.d.) [copy in LSE], The Long White Cloud (Ao tea roa). 3d edn. (1924), et al., and edited works on British Commerce (Rt. Hon. Frederick Huth Jackson, et. al., 1913) and prefaced another on New Zealand in Evolution: Industrial, Economic and Political (1909).

William Reeves (1779-1852) was a noted Methodist whose biography (The Methodist Class Leader) ran to two thousand copies.

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