Adair, Archibald (d. 1647), Church of Ireland bishop, was fourth son of Ninian Adair and Helen or Elizabeth Adair (née Gordon) of Kinhilt, Wigtownshire, Scotland, and was thus connected to leading families in Scotland and Co. Antrim. He graduated MA from St Andrews in 1596 and became (c.1611) first protestant minister of Raphoe, Co. Donegal. Accounted a good scholar and preacher, he became dean of Raphoe (1617) and bishop of Killala (consecrated 9 May 1630), where he reclaimed church lands that had been alienated on long leases. However, in rebuking John Corbet, one of his clergy who had bitterly criticised the Scottish covenanters, Adair became suspected of supporting the covenanters against Archbishop Laud's attempts to reintroduce the prayerbook to Scotland. The court of high commission, controlled by Adair's enemy Lord Deputy Thomas Wentworth (qv), found him guilty of uttering seditious words (18 May 1640), despite support from Archbishop James Ussher (qv) and Bishop William Bedell (qv). On 18 June 1640 he was deprived of his see, imprisoned, and fined £2,000. However, on Wentworth's fall Adair was quickly released and Charles I nominated him (June 1641) bishop of Waterford and Lismore to succeed John Atherton (qv), who had strongly attacked Adair in the commission court but was hanged a few months afterwards for gross immorality. When the 1641 rebellion broke out, Adair fled to England; he died at Bristol in 1647. He married (1614) Jenet or Jeneta (née Houston), who died at Raphoe in 1618 aged 20; though so young, she had had two sets of twins. It is not known if Adair married again. At least one son, Archibald, survived to adulthood; the Adairs of Hollypark, Wicklow, were apparently descendants. Sir Robert Adair of Ballymena (d. 1655), an ardent presbyterian, was a nephew, as was the Rev. William Adair, one of the ministers sent by the Church of Scotland to administer the Solemn League and Covenant in Ulster in 1644.
Henry Cotton, The succession of prelates and members of the cathedral bodies in Ireland (1850), 4, 67–8; James S. Reid, History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland: a new edition . . . (1867), i, 264, 293; George Hill (ed.), The Montgomery manuscripts (1608–1706) (1869), 112; Burke, Peerage (1912), 68; James B. Leslie, Raphoe clergy and parishes (1940), 14; A. F. Scott-Pearson, The origins of Irish presbyterianism (1947); T. H. Mullin, The kirk and lands of Convoy since the Scottish settlement (1960), 83; NHI, ix, 231–2; William Roulston, ‘Memento mori: the seventeenth-century monumental inscription’, Familia, xiv (1998), 42; information from Shirley Walsh (family historian)