James Usher, an Irish prelate, born in Dublin, Jan. 4, 1580, died in Reigate, Surrey, March 21, 1656. He was educated at Trinity college, Dublin, was ordained priest in 1601, and soon after was appointed " Sunday afternoon preacher before the state" in Christ church, Dublin. In 1603 and 1606 he visited England and became acquainted with Sir Thomas Bodley, Sir Robert Cotton, and other distinguished persons; and from this time he often visited the English libraries. In 1607 he was chosen professor of divinity in his college, and became chancellor of the cathedral of St. Patrick. In 1620 King James nominated him to the see of Meath; in 1623 he was made a member of the Irish privy council; and in January, 1624, he was raised to the archbishopric of Armagh and the primacy of the Irish church. While he was visiting England in 1641, his house was destroyed by the rebels, with nearly all he possessed, and he did not return. Charles I. conferred upon him the bishopric of Carlisle, to be held in commendam.
In 1647 he was chosen preacher to the society of Lincoln's Inn, and served in term time for nearly eight years. He published Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti (2 vols fol., 1650'54), in which he set forth the system of sacred chronology which has been largely adopted, and is printed in the margin of the English Bible. He also wrote works on the incarnation, British ecclesiastical antiquities, variations of the Hebrew text, etc. A complete edition of his works has been published by the Dublin university in 17 vols. (1841-'64).