The virtual reconstruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland has offered a timely opportunity to reconstruct the early deeds of Christ Church cathedral, Dublin. The Christ Church deeds were the oldest collection of material in the Public Record Office of Ireland. During the restoration of Christ Church, Dublin, in the 1870s, the cathedral authorities felt it wise to deposit the cathedral’s vast collection of medieval and early modern materials for safekeeping in the newly established Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI), established in 1867. This research has been undertaken in partnership with Dr Stuart Kinsella, Christ Church cathedral archives, and the Representative Church Body Library.
The Christ Church deeds were listed or ‘calendared’ by the PROI in the late nineteenth century by Michael J. McEnery, who began work in 1883. McEnery’s listing was almost complete by 1884. He published the deeds as English summaries in the appendices to the reports of the deputy keeper in 1888, 1891, 1892, with an index in 1895 up to the year 1602. An unpublished calendar of material from 1605–99 was not considered important enough to print at the time. This calendar survived the 1922 fire.
Using these English summaries as a base line, the first 467 of the 1,952 Christ Church Deeds are now accessible in this curated collection. The curated collection is enhanced by interlinking the catalogue with fuller surviving manuscript transcripts, scattered printed publications, as well as photozincographs and lantern slides of some of the original manuscripts.
None of this would have been possible however without the work of generations of archivists who have preserved this collection over what is now almost a thousand years.