Bernard Adams, born in Middlesex [in] 1566, was at 17 years of age admitted scholar of Trinity College, Oxford; and elected fellow five years after. When master of arts, he was by favour of the lord-lieutenant, consecrated [Protestant] bishop of Limerick in 1604; and by a dispensation kept the see of Kilfenore with it to the year 1617, at which time he voluntarily resigned it. He is said to have been liberal and pious. Ob. 1625. He was buried in the cathedral church of Limerick where a monument was erected to his memory.
— Oxford Almanack, 1732.
Bernardus jacet hic en Adamus, Episcopus olim,
Omnia non visit Salamonis, at omni a vana.
A Bishop once here Bernard’s Bones remain;
He saw not all, but saw that all was vain.
Sufficient God did give me, which I spent;
I little borrow’d, and as little lent.
I left them whom I lov’d enough in store,
Increas’d this Bishoprick, reliev’d the Poor.
Nemo mihi tumbam statuat de Marmore, faxit
Urnula Episcopolo satis ista pusilla pusillo.
Angli quis vivus fueram et testentur Hiberni;
Coelicolae quis sim defunctus testiticentur.
To me, since I have met my doom,
Let none erect a Marble Tomb
Or Monument; this humble Urn
Will serve a little Bishop’s turn.
Let Albion and Hibernia Fair,
What I have been in life declare;
What I am truly since I fell
Just Heaven above can only tell.
Monument to Bernard Adams, Anglican Bishop of Limerick, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick.
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How ‘tranquillous’ this country is, there [are] none but know and ‘infinite’ rejoice at it. What certainty may be expected of the continuance, seeing many buzzing bees, crawling out of the old beehive of treasonous conspiracies, swarm here about daily, your watchful eye can easiest discern. Yet the multitude and presumption of ‘mistary’ priests (who, more than ever was usual, exercise all papal jurisdiction as confidently as if Italy were in Ireland: prescribe frequent masses almost openly: insolent pilgrimages of many thousands in an assembly, and some of them armed: procure secret offerings for unknown uses: publish toleration by suggestion of warrant from his Highness: proclaim penny pardons for sundry years past and to come: proscribe his Majesty in printed pamphlets to be no Christian), are prologues, as wisest prognosticators here affirm, of some consequences, the catastrophe whereof may prove a tragedy. These things I write but out of my study, and with silence pass them over, as being a mere divine and no politician, assuring myself that whilst the religious pillars of commonwealth stand, Holy Church can never miscarry. Therefore, fearing that these suspicions by the ‘understandinger’ sages may be called needless carefulness, I only solicit the all-ruling power for continual peace, and for your prosperity as one of the chiefest stays of true religious maintenance and the safety of God’s saints. Limerick, July 22, 1609.
Letter of Bishop Bernard Adams to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury.