An Inquiry into the 'State of Popery'
‘These Masshouses are generally mean thatched cabins; many, or most of them, open at one end, and very few of them built since the first of King George the First.‘
These words are from the official return made to the Irish government in December 1731 by Henry Maule, Bishop of Cloyne in the Established Church (Church of Ireland). The Irish House of Lords had ordered an inquiry into the ‘State of Popery’ in Ireland and each bishop was required to submit detailed returns. The House of Lords wished to know how effective the Penal Laws enacted since 1693 had been in curtailing the practice of Catholicism.There were a number of restrictions imposed by these laws. Catholics couldn’t build a place of worship that looked like a church, it couldn’t be located in sight of a church or beside a main road, and it couldn’t have a bell or belfry.
Labels: Ecclesia Hiberniæ