Reeves (William)

  • 1815–1892
  • scribes, authors, scholars
Irish antiquarian scholar; bishop of the Anglican see of Down, Connor and Dromore; keeper of the Armagh Public Library
See also: Armagh, Robinson LibraryArmagh Robinson Library (formerly, Public Library)

Public library founded in 1771 by archbishop Richard Robinson.

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Charles P. Mac DonnellMac Donnell (Charles P.)
MacDonnell (Charles P.)
Irish scholar who has been identified as a “a member of the Royal Irish Academy [since 1847], the Irish Archæological Society, and the Celtic Society; from 1850 onwards he appears in Dublin directories as Pursuivant at Arms in Dublin Castle”.
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James Henthorn ToddTodd (James Henthorn)
James Henthorn Todd, Irish scholar known for his contributions to Irish studies.
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See also references for related subjects.
McDonough, Ciaran, “Investigating Irish antiquarianism: a comparative study between Protestant and Catholic antiquarian cultures, 1830 - 1876”, unpublished PhD thesis, NUI Galway, 2017.  
The aim of this study is to investigate the differences in and similarities between Protestant and Catholic antiquarian cultures in Ireland in the period 1830 to 1876. The thesis demonstrates that there were notable differences, which were largely due to matters of religion. It focuses upon a select group of scholars (John O’Donovan, Eugene O’Curry, James Henthorn Todd, William Wilde, George Petrie, Denis Henry Kelly, William Reeves, John Windele, Owen Connellan, James Hardiman, and Robert Shipboy MacAdam) from both religious confessions, who were the most prolific antiquarians of this time, and it examines their works and the contexts in which they were written. Using a new historicist methodology, this thesis highlights trends in antiquarian research, its dissemination, and modes of working and ascribes them to a particular religious community.This work is organised in three separate parts. In part one, a brief overview of the development of Irish antiquarianism from the early seventeenth to the late eighteenth century is presented in order to illustrate long-standing sectarian differences and their impact upon antiquarian pursuits in the nineteenth century.Previous scholarship has traditionally categorised the antiquarians studied in this thesis according to ethnicity (Gaelic Irish versus Anglo-Irish). Conversely, part two demonstrates that religion, and not ethnicity, was the greatest dividing social factor in Irish antiquarian circles in the first half of the nineteenth-century. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that emphasis on ethnicity and race only emerged after works had been published relating to that topic from the 1850s. Thus, part two is a comparative study between Protestant and Catholic antiquarian cultures in the nineteenth century, focusing particularly on the differences between the two in terms of subject matter and methodology employed.Part three traces the influence of antiquarian works on Cultural Nationalist ideology and thought at the end of the nineteenth century and in the first decades of the twentieth. In focusing specifically on the influence of antiquarian works on the images of ‘Irishness’ advanced by the Cultural Nationalists during this period, I determine that it was in fact Catholic antiquarian works that had a greater impact on the Cultural Nationalist discourse. – available after 2021-09-12: <link>
Sharpe, Richard, “King William and the Brecc Bennach in 1211: reliquary or holy banner?”, The Innes Review 66:2 (2015): 163–190.  
In his Rhind Lectures of 1879 Joseph Anderson argued for identifying the Monymusk Reliquary, now in the National Museum of Scotland, with the Brecc Bennach, something whose custody was granted to Arbroath abbey by King William in 1211. In 2001 David H. Caldwell called this into question with good reason. Part of the argument relied on different interpretations of the word uexillum, ‘banner’, taken for a portable shrine by William Reeves and for a reliquary used as battle-standard by Anderson. It is argued here that none of this is relevant to the question. The Brecc Bennach is called a banner only as a guess at its long-forgotten nature in two late deeds. The word brecc, however, is used in the name of an extant reliquary, Brecc Máedóc, and Anderson was correct to think this provided a clue to the real nature of the Brecc Bennach. It was almost certainly a small portable reliquary, of unknown provenance but associated with St Columba. The king granted custody to the monks of Arbroath at a time when he was facing a rebellion in Ross, posing intriguing questions about his intentions towards this old Gaelic object of veneration.
(source: Publisher)
UCD digital library, Online: University College Dublin, 2012–present. URL: <>.
[ivrla:7242] “John O'Donovan/William Reeves correspondence”
106 items from the period 1832-1860: “Correspondence between John O'Donovan (1809-1861), and, principally, William Reeves (1815-1892): eighty letters (1832-1860) and twenty-six undated note fragments.”
McGuire, James [ed.], and James Quinn [ed.], Dictionary of Irish biography, online ed., Online: Royal Irish Academy, Cambridge University Press, 2009–present. URL: <>.
Moore, Norman, and Nollaig Ó Muraíle [rev.], “Reeves, William (1815–1892)”, Oxford dictionary of national biography, Online: Oxford University Press, 2008–.
Thompson, John, “William Reeves and the medieval texts and manuscripts at Armagh”, Peritia 10 (1996): 363–380.  
The achievement of William Reeves as Armagh keeper can be closely associated with the changing mid-nineteenth-century fortunes of the Armagh library property. In the absence of a detailed survey of small Irish collections to match the example set by N. R. Ker’s magisterial Medieval manuscripts in British libraries, this study traces the crucial role played by Reeves in the history of several important manuscripts and early books now in Armagh Public Library.
Ó Cuív, Brian, “A seventeenth-century Irish manuscript”, Éigse 13 (1969–1970): 143–152.
Abbott, T. K., and E. J. Gwynn, Catalogue of the Irish manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, Dublin: Hodges, Figgis & Co, 1921.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
6–12   Abbott, T. K., “1069–1071; 1079; 1081–1085; 1089; 1104; 1106; 1112; 1115–1116; 1128–1132; 1135–1138”
MSS from the collection of William Reeves: TCD MSS 1069 (p. 6); 1070 (p. 6); 1071; 1079; 1081; 1082; 1083; 1084 (p. 7); 1085; 1089 (but see p. xx: “This number should be deleted”); 1104; 1106 (p. 8); 1112; 1115; 1116 (p. 9); 1128; 1129; 1130; 1131; 1132; 1135 (p. 10); 1136; (p. 11); 1137 (pp. 11-12); 1138 (p. 12).
patron:Reeves (William)
scribes:Reeves (William)
scribes:Reeves (William)

Reeves, William, “Les monastères celtiques aux VIe et VIIe siècles, d'après les usages de l'ile d'Iona”, Annales de Bretagne 9 (1894): 182–209.
Rennes – offprint: <link> Gallica: <link>
Reeves, William [ed.], and J. T. Fowler, Adamnani Vita S. Columbae, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1894.  
Based on the original edition by William Reeves, with introduction, glossary and notes by Fowler.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Reeves, William, “On the bell of St. Patrick, called the Clog an Edachta [read November 9, 1863]”, Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy 27 (1877–1886): 1–30.
Jstor – Open access: <link>
Reeves, William, “On the Céli Dé, commonly called Culdees”, Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy 24 — Antiquities (1873): 119–263.
JSTOR: <link>
OʼDonovan, John, James Henthorn Todd, and William Reeves [ed. and tr.], The martyrology of Donegal: a calendar of the saints of Ireland, Dublin, 1864.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Reeves, William, “On the Island of Sanda”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 8 (April 14, 1862, 1864): 132–135.
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Reeves, William, The Culdees of the British Islands, as they appear in history: with an appendix of evidences, Dublin: Gill, 1864.
HathiTrust: <link>
Reeves, William, “Memoir of Stephen White”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 8 (November 30, 1861, 1861–1864): 29–38.
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Reeves, William, “On SS. Marinus and Anianus”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 8 (February 23, 1863, 1861–1864): 295–301.
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Reeves, William, “[On certain Irish ecclesiastical bells]”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 8 (December 14, 1963, 1861–1864): 441–450.
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Reeves, William, and Charles P. Mac Donnell [quoted], “On Marianus Scotus, of Ratisbon”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 7 (1857–1861): 290–301.
Reeves, William, and Ferdinand Keller, “Early Irish caligraphy”, Ulster Journal of Archaeology (first series) 8 (1860): 210–230, 291–308.
Reeves, William, Life of St. Columba, founder of Hy, written by Adamnan, 1st ed., Dublin: Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, 1857.
CELT – edition: <link> CELT – translation: <link> Internet Archive – original print: <link> Internet Archive – 1874 reprint: <link> <link> View in Mirador
Reeves, William, “On the Irish abbey of Honau, on the Rhine”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 6 (1853–1857): 452–461.
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Reeves, William, “Irish library no. 2: Fleming’s Collectanea sacra”, Ulster Journal of Archaeology (first series) 2 (1854): 253–261.
Reeves, William, “Irish itinerary of Father Edmund MacCana”, Ulster Journal of Archaeology (first series) 2 (1854): 44–59.
Reeves, William, “The island of Tiree”, Ulster Journal of Archaeology (first series) 2 (1854): 233–244.
Reeves, William, “The Antiphonary of Bangor”, Ulster Journal of Archaeology (first series) 1 (1853): 168–179.
Reeves, William, and Eugene OʼCurry [tr.], “On an Irish MS. of the Four Gospels in the British Museum”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1st series, 5 (1853): 45–67.  
comments: Eugene O'Curry supplies the translation for the Irish poem beginning 'Aurilius humilis ard' (and others as well?).
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Reeves, William, “Saint Mura”, Ulster Journal of Archaeology (first series) 1 (1853): 271–273.
Internet Archive: <link>
Reeves, William, “Irish library no. 1: Colgan's works”, Ulster Journal of Archaeology (first series) 1 (1853): 295–302.
Internet Archive: <link>
Reeves, William [ed.], Acts of Archbishop Colton in his Metropolitan Visitation of the diocese of Derry, AD MCCCXCVII; with a rental of the see estates at that time, Dublin: Irish Archaeological Society, 1850.  
Contents: Introduction (i-xx); Visitatio metropolitica diocesis Derensis (1-86); Appendix: Additional notes (89-134): A. Episcopal styles; B. Reconciliation of churches; C. The church of Banagher; D. Rule of St. Columbkille; E. Revenue of the See of Derry; F. St Patrick's labours in the diocese of Derry; G. Secular distribution Tyrone; H. Parishes omitted in the Rentale; Index (135-149).
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Reeves, William, Ecclesiastical antiquities of Down, Connor, and Dromore, Dublin, 1847.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>