Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Bathe, William, 1564-1614, Jesuit priest
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
- Gulielmus Battaeus
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
12 April 1564-17 June 1614
Born: 12 April 1564, Drumcondra Castle, Dublin
Entered: 14 October 1595, Tournai, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: c 1602
Final vows: 02 December 1612
Died 17 June 1614, Madrid, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Mother was Eleanor Preston
Studied Humanities in Ireland, Philosophy at Oxford and Theology at Louvain
Was heir to Drumcondra Castle. Writer, Musician and Spiritual Director
Died as he was about to give a retreat to the court of Philip II of Spain
“Janua Linguarum” edited 20 times and in 8 languages
◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica” :
Son of John, a Judge and Eleanora née Preston
Heir to Drumcondra Castle
Writer; Musician; Spiritual Director; Very holy man
Studied Humanities in Ireland and Philosophy partly at Oxford and partly with his Theology at Louvain.
Admitted to the Society at Courtray (Kortrijk) by BELG Provincial Robert Duras, and Entered at Tournai
(Interesting mention is made of him in Irish Ecclesiastical Record March 1873 and August 1874.)
After completing his studies he was made Rector at Irish College Salamanca
He died at Madrid aged 50 just as he was about to give a retreat at Court of Philip II
His “Janua Linguarum” was edited about twenty times and once in eight languages.
(cf de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ” who enumerates his writings)
◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Elder son of John, of Drumcondra and Eleanor, née Preston, daughter of the third Viscount Gormanston.
He entered on his higher studies at Oxford but was prevented from graduating by the Oath of Supremacy. During his time at Oxford when he was still only twenty, he published ‘A Brief Introduction to the true Art of Musicke’. A Brief Introduction to the skill of Song' appeared a few years later. To these publications as well as his family's intimacy with Perrott, Lord Deputy of Ireland, William owed his reception at the court of Elizabeth 1. Eventually he renounced his inheritance in favour of his brother and determined to become a priest.
Studied for three years at Louvain before Ent 1595 Tournai
After First Vows he was sent to complete his studies at St. Omer and Padua and was Ordained priest c. Summer 1602.
1602 He was now named secretary to Mansoni, Papal Envoy to Ireland but the Irish defeats at Kinsale and Dunboy rendered Mansoni's Embassy superfluous. By early Spring 1603 he was in Spain. There were many requests for him to return to Irish Mission, but he remained in Spain until his death in at Madrid 17 June 1614.
He was the valued spiritual director of the Irish College, Salamanca and it was there he wrote in collaboration with Stephen White and others his “Janua Linguarum” which appeared in 1611. This book went into many editions in various European languages including English. The English version, which in turn went into many editions, was shamelessly pirated without reference to Bathe's authorship.
◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
by Seán P. Ó Mathúna
Bathe, William (1564–1614), diplomat, author, and Jesuit, was born in Drumcondra castle on Easter Sunday 1564, son of John Bathe (d. 1586), Irish solicitor general, chancellor of the exchequer, and grandson of James Bathe (qv), chief baron, and Eleanor Bathe (daughter of Jenico Preston, 3rd Viscount Gormanston, and Catherine Fitzgerald, sister of Thomas Fitzgerald (qv), ‘Silken Thomas’). He was educated privately in Dublin and at St John's College, Oxford; he left before graduation, probably on grounds of conscience. In 1589 he registered in Gray's Inn, one of the four inns of court in which candidates for the Irish bar were required to study. He attended the courts of Elizabeth and Philip II before commencing the study of theology in Louvain (1592), and entered the Jesuit order in Courtrai (1595). He acted as intermediary for O'Neill (qv) during the early stages of the nine years war. After ordination he was appointed adviser to Ludovico Mansoni, legate, later to Ireland. They reached Valladolid in December 1601 but did not proceed further after the fall of Kinsale.
Bathe never returned to Ireland. Two long letters written in June 1602, in Irish Jesuit archives, indicated keen support for fresh forces massing in northern Spain to free Ireland a jugo haereticorum (‘from the yoke of the heretics’). He maintained periodic contact with the court of Philip III. A brother, Sir John Bathe (qv), deeply respected in Old English circles, assumed the role of religious spokesman for his class for more than a quarter of a century; he too visited the Spanish court. A younger brother, Fr Luke Bathe, headed the Capuchin mission in Ireland in the 1620s and was a renowned preacher. William Bathe was spiritual director to expatriate students in the Irish College, Salamanca. He founded a sodality, ‘Congregación de pobres’, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the poor of that city, and gained a wide reputation for conducting retreats and days of recollection in monasteries and seminaries. He died suddenly in June 1614 while holding a mission for government personnel in Madrid.
His Brief introduction to the true art of music, published in 1584 while he was a student in Oxford (reproduced by Colorado College of Music Press, 1979), and A brief introduction to the skill of song (1596; new ed. by Boethius Press, 1982), were among the earliest printed texts in English on the theory of music and song, and highlighted the ambiguities in mutation from one hexachord to another in a melody with a range of more than six notes. Aparejos para administrar el sacramento de penitencia (1614) reflected his pastoral work. His main claim to fame, however, was Ianua linguarum (1611) with its long preface on linguistic theory. At least thirty editions of this work were published. The most elaborate, A messe of tongues (London, 1617), Ianua linguarum silinguis (Strasbourg, 1629), and Mercurius quadrilinguis (Basel and Padua, 1637), included English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, and German versions. He used short pithy sentences in parallel columns to enable mature students to learn several languages simultaneously. He allowed no repetition of the 5,300 different items of lexis. His multilingual presentation was adopted by Ian Amos Komensky for his Janua linguarum reserata series. Bathe's first cousin, Christopher Nugent (qv), 14th Baron Delvin, used a small number of colloquial phrases in parallel Latin, Irish, and English columns in his Primer of the Irish language for presentation to Queen Elizabeth (1562). The primer followed a system used by English-born wives in the Kildare household to learn Irish from the early fifteenth century. As such the method predated the Aldine Press and the Adagia of Erasmus.
E. Hogan, Distinguished Irishmen of the sixteenth century (1894); S. P. Ó Mathúna, An tAthair William Bathe, C.I, 1564–1614: Ceannródaí sa Teangeolaíocht (1980); id., ‘The preface to William Bathe's Ianua Linguarum (1611)’, Historiographia Linguistica, viii, no. 1 (1981); id., William Bathe, S.J., 1564–1614: a pioneer in linguistics (1986); id., ‘William Bathe, S.J., recusant scholar: “weary of the heresy” ’, Recusant History, xix, no. 1 (1988), 47–61
◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-5/
JESUITICA: First musical textbook
The first musical textbook in the English language, A brief introduction to the true art of musicke (1584), was the work of William Bathe, born in County Dublin, who became a Jesuit
in 1596. A genuine polymath, he had by that stage already taught mnemonics to Queen Elizabeth I, presented her with a harp designed by himself, and studied at Oxford, Gray’s Inn and Louvain. He invented a simple form of musical notation (presently being researched in Trinity by Sean Doherty), and as a Jesuit wrote a seminal book on linguistics, and was an important pioneer in popularising the Spiritual Exercises.
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father William Bathe 1564-1614
William Bathe was born on April 2nd 1564 in Drumcondra Castle, the grounds of which is the present day asylum for the male blind, now in the charge of the Brothers of Charity.
He was a fairly close relation of Elizabeth I of England. As a young man he was sent as a personal messenger to the Queen by the Viceroy of Ireland. He became a great favourite of hers and used amuse her greatly by his skill in playing all kinds of musical instruments. He also entertained her by teaching her mnemonics.
His skill in music was both practical and theoretic. He invented a “harp of new device”, which he presented to the Queen. He also wroteb a treatise called “A Brief Introduction to the True Art of Music”. His name was also renowned for his famous book “Janus Linguarum”, a method of learning Latin or any foreign language, which ran into hundreds of editions iun most European languages, and held its place as a teaching method for centuries.
But his greatest claim to fame, and his merit in the sight of God was, that having spent some years at Oxford with no little distinction, being such a favoutite of Elizabeth, with a glorious career in front of him in the world, he returned to Ireland, surrendered his rights to his father’s extensive estates and entered religion. He became a Jesuit at Tournai in 1596.
He spent 19 years of most usefiul work in the Society, working in the Irish Colleges on the continent. Inspite of repeated requests, and his own desire, he was not released to work on the Mission in Ireland.
He died with a great reputation for sanctity in Madrid on June 17th 1614, at the early age of 50 years.
◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BATH, WILLIAM, a native of Dublin. After studying at Oxford he grew weary of heresy, and retiring to the Continent entered the Novitiate at Tournay, in 1596. When he had finished his studies at Padua, he was ordered to Spain, and appointed Rector of the College of his Countrymen at Salamanca. To the regret of all who knew his merits, he was prematurely taken off by illness at Madrid, on the 17th of June, 1614, aet. 48. He has left :
- “An introduction to the Arte of Music”. 4to. London, 1584.
- “Janua Linguarum”, 4to. Salaman ca, 1611.
- “A Spanish Treatise on the Sacrament of Penance”. N.B. This was edited at Milan by F. Jos. Cresswell, in 1614. 4. “Instructions on the Mysteries of Faith, in English and Spanish”. F. More in p. 112 of his Hist. Prov. Angl. has inserted a letter of F. W. Bath, in praise of F. Person’s “Christian Directory”.
Functions, occupations and activities
Mandates/sources of authority
Access points area
Subject access points
Place access points
- County Dublin » Dublin City » Drumcondra
- Spain » Madrid
- England » Oxfordshire » Oxford
- Belgium » Leuven
- France » St Omer
- Belgium » Tournai
- Italy » Padua
- County Cork » Kinsale
- County Cork » Dunboy
- County Dublin » Dublin City » Drumcondra » Drumcondra Castle
- Belgium » Kortrijk
- Spain » Salamanca » Irish College (Salamanca)
- England » London » South Square » Gray’s Inn
- England » Oxfordshire » Oxford » St Giles » St John's College (Oxford)
Authority record identifier