William Magee (archbishop of Dublin)

William Magee (18 March 1766 – 19 August 1831) was an Irish academic and Church of Ireland clergyman. He taught at Trinity College Dublin, serving as Erasmus Smith's Professor of Mathematics (1800-1811), was Bishop of Raphoe (1819-1822) and then Archbishop of Dublin until his death.

The Most Reverend

William Magee

Archbishop of Dublin
Primate of Ireland
Thomas Kirk - William Magee bust.jpg
Bust of William Magee in the Trinity College library
ChurchChurch of Ireland
DioceseDublin and Glendalough
Appointed24 June 1822
In office1822-1831
PredecessorLord John Beresford
SuccessorRichard Whately
Consecration24 October 1819
Personal details
Born(1766-03-18)18 March 1766
Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Kingdom of Ireland
Died19 August 1831(1831-08-19) (aged 65)
Stillorgan, County Dublin, Ireland
BuriedSt Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
ParentsJohn Magee & Jane Glasgow
Previous postBishop of Raphoe (1819-1822)


He was born at Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Ireland, the third son of farmer John Magee and Jane Glasgow. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin (BA 1786, MA 1789, BD 1797, DD 1801), where he had been a Scholar (1784), and was elected fellow in 1788. He was appointed Erasmus Smith Professor of Mathematics (and Senior Fellow) in 1800, and in 1813 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society as a gentleman of high distinction for mathematical & philosophical knowledge & Author of several works of importance.[1] Thought not a research mathematician, he was a popular teacher at TCD and was well-liked by students.[2]

He had been ordained into the Church of Ireland in 1790, and two of his sermons (preached in the college chapel in 1798 and 1799) formed form the basis of his Discourses on the Scriptural Doctrines of Atonement and Sacrifice (1801), a polemic against Unitarian theology, which was answered by Lant Carpenter. In 1812 he had resigned from TCD to undertake the charge of the livings of Cappagh, County Tyrone, and Killyleagh, County Down.

In 1813 he became Dean of Cork. He was well known as a preacher and promoter of the Irish Second Reformation, and in 1819 he was consecrated Bishop of Raphoe. In 1822 the Archbishop of Dublin was translated to Armagh, and Magee succeeded him at Dublin. Though in most respects a tolerant man, he steadily opposed the movement for Catholic Emancipation. He gained notoriety for prohibiting the Catholic inhabitants of Glendalough from celebrating Mass "as they had theretofore done in their ancient and venerated cathedral of St. Kevin".[3]

He died on 19 August 1831 at Stillorgan, near Dublin. He had 16 children, of whom 3 sons and 9 daughters survived him. He was the grandfather of Archbishop William Connor Magee of York.


  1. ^ "Archive and Library catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  2. ^ Bartholomew Lloyd at the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
  3. ^ Casey, Christine (2005). Dublin: The City Within the Grand and Royal Canals and the Circular Road with the Phoenix Park. Yale: Yale University Press. p. 125. ISBN 0-300-10923-7.
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Magee, William". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 302.
  • Works of the Most Reverend William Magee, D.D., 1842.

External linksEdit

Religious titles
Preceded by
John George de la Poer Beresford
Archbishop of Dublin
Succeeded by
Richard Whately