Royal Visitation of Dublin, 1615

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  • Royal Visitation of Dublin, 1615Author(s): M. V. RonanSource: Archivium Hibernicum, Vol. 8 (1941), pp. 1-55Published by: Catholic Historical Society of IrelandStable URL: .Accessed: 13/06/2014 11:35

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  • ROYAL VISITATION OF DUBLIN, 1615. (Reeves MS. 1066, T.C.D.)

    The returns of the Visitation of 1615 for the diocese of Dublin are disappointing, considering the elaborate instructions issued with

    the Commission. It will be seen that they confine themselves

    principally to recording the names of the prebendaries and incumbents, whether a

    * worthy preacher

    * or a

    * sufficient man," the state of the

    church and chancel, and sometimes the provision of books- They contain no references to the furnishings such as tables, sets, pulpits, or to

    * the state of the repairs of the houses of the parsons and other

    spiritual persons \

    The churches in repair in the diocese in 1615 may be compared with those in the archbishop's list of 1531, except in regard to the

    churches in the deaneries of Arklow and Wicklow where it is

    impossible to say how many were in working order in 1531: ?

    Deaneries 1531 1615

    City and suburhs. ..... 21 15

    Taney . ...... -J 43 31

    Swords . ...... ..... 32 21

    Ballymore ? ..... 28 12

    Bray . .J 28 13

    Wicklow and Arklow ?~ 46 14

    Castledermot and Athy . 62 11

    Leixlip . . ..... 13 6

    Total ..... 273 123

    M. V. Ronan.


    I. A Commission to the Lord Chancellor and others for a General Visitation throughout the Kingdom of Ireland (22 June

    1615. Col. S. P. Ire.t 1615-25, no. 140). Thomas Archbishop of Dublin, Chancellor of Ireland, Christopher

    Archbishop of Armagh, Primate, William Archbishop of Tuam, Demote Earl of Thomond, President of Munster, and George Bishop of

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    Meath and Clogher, Henry Lord Brian, Baron of Ibrackan, and Sir

    Thomas Ridgeway, Baronet, Vice'Treasurer at War, Sir John Denham,

    Chief Justice of the chief place, Sir Arthur Savage, Sir Oliver Lambert, Sir Henry Power, Sir Francis Ruske, Sir Francis Barkley, Sir Robert

    Digby, Sir Richard Morison, Sir Richard Boyle, Sir Richard Cooke, Sir John Jepson, Sir Adam Loftus, Sir John King, Sir Thomas

    Colclough, Sir Dudley Loftus, Sirr Parr Lane, Sir Richard Ayleward, Sir Thomas Rotheram, Sir Edmund Fettieplace, Sir Thomas Ashe, Sir Lawrence Esmonde, Sir Robert Nugent, Sir Robert Pigott, Sir

    Thomas Browne, Sir Oliver Shortall, Sir Robert Dillon, Sir Edward

    Harris, Chief Justice of Connaught, and Alexander Barrington and

    David Sirment, Esquires, are appointed commissioners with power

    (the said Archbishops of Dublin and Armagh and Tuam and the

    Bishop of Meath, or any two of them, being always present) to make

    a visitation of all dioceses, deaneries, archdeaneries, prebendaries, parsonages, vicarages, churches, chapels, and all other spiritual livings and dignities whatsoever, and of all the archbishops, bishops, deans

    6fc., and all other ecclesiastical persons whatsoever in Ireland, and

    for them, or any other of them, to inquire by the oaths of good and

    lawful men, and all other ways, how the cathedral churches and

    other churches, dignities, and spiritual livings in every diocese are

    supplied with meet incumbents. And what number of able

    preachers are in every diocese; and of the ability and sufficiency of

    all the clergy. And whether any archbishoprics, bishoprics, deaneries, or any other spiritual livings or dignities, are conferred

    upon any lay persons, or popish priests, or are held by them under

    colour of sequestration, or otherwise, and by whom, and how long held by them, and the yearly value. And whether any archbishop,

    bishop, $#c, or any other person, holds any spiritual living in his own hands by colour of sequestration, and how many any of them

    hold or enjoy, and by what title or colour ; and of the yearly value

    of every living. And the state of repairs of all churches, and

    whether furnished with tables, seats, pulpits, books, and other

    ornaments. And the state of repairs of the see houses, and the

    houses of the parsons, and other spiritual persons. And of all other

    things in the instructions to the commission annexed. With power to call before them, or any three or more of them as aforesaid, every

    such spiritual person detected of any notorious offence, determinable

    in any ecclesiastical or spiritual court, and to punish and correct by the censures of the Church, and to deprive or remove them from their

    livings and dignities, and to sequester all ecclesiastical livings,

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    churches, and rectories, as well impropriate as not impropriate, a* all

    persons who, as of right, ought to build and repair any churches,

    chancels, or chapels, until they be built or repaired. And after the

    commission executed to return a true and particular certificate of

    their proceedings.?Dated at Dublin, 22nd of Jun$ in the 13th year of the reign. Per breve de Privato Sigillo.

    II. Instructions annexed to the Regal Visitation of 1615 in the

    Prerogative Office.

    " The chiefe end of the Regall Visitation being the better regulation

    and administration of discipline in the Church and a more convenient

    and plentifull support of the Clergie as also of his Majesties revenue

    arising out of Ecclesiastical Benefices by a more equall and full tax

    it is thought convenient in order thereunto:

    1. That a strict enquiry be made by the Visitors in every Diocese

    according to the Cannons and the now Metropoliticall Article of

    Armagh by me newly published touching the lives and conversations

    of the Clergy their residence in their Benefices and dilligence in the

    dewe exercise of their function and offices to the intent they ma> receive encouragement or correction according to their respective


    2. That enquiry be made as aforesaid what livings are vacant and

    how long and to what uses the profitts thereof have been employed to the end that


    and full yearly value of every of them as alsoe the severall

    Improriations within the Diocess with ye true value thereof and all

    the names of every present reputed Impropriator.

    2Jy. You are to prepare a proposall in writing of all such parishes as you upon strictest enquiry and according to your best judjment

    you shall think fittest to be united and divided respectively haveing a

    dewe regard to contiguity and distance for the conveniency of the

    parishoners as also to comfortable and decent maintenance of the

    respective ministers.

    3rclJy. You are to sett downe in writing ye respective places and

    which you shall think most fitt to erect or settle parish churches in

    order to such unions and divisions having a carefull respect as well

    to an equall conveniency (as much as may be) to those who shall

    reside in the extremities of every of the parishes to be settled as allsoe

    to the best place of habitation ffor the Minister whom we are willing to seat as near the church as may be.

    4ly. You are also to give an exact accompt in writing of all the lands

    Gleabes and all other hereditiments belonging unto your see as alsoe

    of all the lands and Gleabes belonging unto whichsoever Ecclesiasticall

    person or persons in right of his or their Ecclesiasticall promotions or

    benefices together with a true yearly value and extent of everv of

    them respectively as alsoe an accompt of which of the said lands are

    leased with the respective terms and rents reserved to the see or any other Ecclesiasticall person.

    5ly. You are alsoe to give as a perfect list of all other Clergymen in

    your Diocess unbeneficed therein as also of all other persons who

    pretend to be minister and upon such pretences doe or have presumed to officiate as such.

    6ly. You are then also required to informe us of all persons who doe

    anyways officiate in the exercise of your Ecclesiasticall