Archbishop of the primatial See of armagh (schismatical 1543–52, and papal 1553–58); b. Drogheda, Ireland, 1487; d. London, Aug. 15, 1558. He was employed in archdiocesan court c. 1518 to 1520, and joined the crutched friars in Ardee Priory c. 1522. He surrendered his priory to Henry VIII in 1539, became an official of Archbishop Cromer's court in the winter of 1539 to 1540, after the papal suspension of Cromer, and was consecrated archbishop of Armagh, on Henry's mandate, Nov. 28, 1543. He reported to Government on March 22, 1550, the "sedition" of his rival Robert Wauchop (papal archbishop March 23, 1545 to Nov. 10, 1550). He was removed from office by Government for rejecting Edwardian liturgy. After he had emigrated, he was appointed primate and archbishop by Julius III, March 1, 1553. Mary Tudor, still acting as "Head of the Church," recalled him to the see March 12, 1554, and appointed him to her commission of reform in April 1554. Her instructions to the Lord Deputy April 17, 1556, proclaiming papal supremacy, reconciled Dowdall's titles in papal and English law. But, protesting against the deputy's despoliation of Armagh in October 1557 during war with the Irish, Dowdall was summoned Feb. 7, 1558, to appear before Mary in London. He died there six months later.
Bibliography: a. gwynn, The Medieval Province of Armagh, 1470–1545 (Dundalk, Ire. 1946).