11 November 1634 – Following pressure from Anglican bishop John Atherton, the Irish House of Commons passes An Act for the Punishment for the Vice of Buggery.
In 1630 John Atherton became prebendary of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Dublin, chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Killaloe in 1634, chancellor of Christ Church Cathedral and rector of Killaban and Ballintubride in 1635.
In 1636, under the patronage of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, he became Bishop of Waterford and Lismore in the Church of Ireland under the protests of the Roman Catholic majority in his see.After the Buggery Act 1533 was found in 1631, during the Mervyn Tuchet, 2nd Earl of Castlehaven case, to not apply to Ireland, Atherton pushed for the enactment of “An Act for the Punishment for the Vice Of Buggery” in 1634.
In 1640 Atherton was accused of buggery with a man, John Childe, his steward and tithe proctor. Even though his fellow clerics attempted to prevent his trial to save the reputation of his Church, they were the first to have been tried under the law that Atherton himself had helped to institute.
Photo: John Atherton (1598-1640) (from the title page of the anonymous booklet The shameful ende of Bishop Atherton and his Proctor Iohn Childe, published in 1641). John Atherton, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, was hanged for sodomy under a law that he had helped to institute. His lover was John Childe, his steward and tithe proctor, also hanged.