Papal bull defining the rights of the English king in Ireland. john of salisbury states in his Metalogicon (1159) that on the occasion of his visit to adrian iv at Benevento between November 1155 and July 1156, the latter, at his request, granted to Henry II of England the "hereditary possession" of Ireland; he proceeds to mention documentation then in existence as proof of this as well as a ring of investiture, preserved in the public treasury, which he, John, had conveyed from the pope to the king. Historians do not question John's veracity, and giraldus cambrensis later published in Expugnatio Hiberniae (2.5) a papal bull, Laudabiliter, which he states was the document given to John. Its contents have been summarized by M. P. Sheehy: "To the King of the English, Pope Adrian IV sends his approval of the king's intention to enter Ireland for the purpose of improving the state of religion. While propagating the faith the king should respect the rights of the Apostolic See— particularly her rights over islands—and the rights of Irish Church leaders." The science of diplomatics shows that the document is no forgery and points to its having been issued during the reign of Adrian IV. The bull, however, does not grant to Henry II "hereditary possession" of Ireland. Nevertheless, in the succeeding centuries, when reference is made to Henry's sovereignty in Ireland, Laudabiliter is the document cited. Although the bull is frequently mentioned in official documents issued in Rome, it is clear that the papal chancery knew of it only by report and neither confirms nor denies its existence. Most modern historians believe that some such document conferring hereditary possession did exist, although it has been since lost.
Bibliography: Laudabiliter et satis, ed. m. p. sheehy, in Pontificia Hibernica (Dublin 1962) 15–16. m. p. sheehy, "The Bull Laudabiliter: A Problem in Medieval Diplomatics and History," Galway Archaeological and Historical Society Journal 29 (1961) 45–70. j. watt," Laudabiliter in Medieval Diplomacy and Propaganda," Irish Ecclesiastical Record 87 (1957) 420–432. j. f. o'doherty, "Rome and the Anglo-Norman Invasion of Ireland," ibid. 42 (1933) 131–145. p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum 1198, ed. s. lowenfeld (Graz 1956) 10056. a. eggers, Die Urkunde Papst Hardians IV. für König Heinrich II. von England über die Besetzung Irlands (Berlin 1922).