Latest Volume of RCB Library’s Texts and Calendars Series Published
The ninth volume in the RCB Library’s texts and calendars series has been published by Four Courts Press. The Churchwardens’ Accounts of the Parishes of St Bride, St Michael Le Pole and St Stephen. Dublin, 1663–1702 have been edited by W.J.R. Wallace who for many years taught History and English Dublin’s High School. Ronnie Wallace is also the editor of Clergy of Dublin and Glendalough, Clergy of Meath and Kildare and of a history of The High School.
This volume complements Ronnie Wallace’s earlier edition of the vestry minutes of the parishes of St Bride, St Michael Le Pole and St Stephen which was published in 2011. Together they form a valuable source not alone for the study of Dublin parish life in the late 17th and 18th centuries but also for the ways in which the Church interacted with the life of the city of Dublin and beyond.
The churchwardens were the principal officers of the vestry, the committee which ran the affairs of the parish, and so their accounts, which had to be presented annually, provide a mass of information in a regular and structured fashion. The details in the accounts complement and enhance the understanding of the many policy matters which were discussed at the meetings of the vestry. Expenditure on the care, repair and furnishing of the church help to give a sense of a building which is no longer extant, while fees paid to the parish servants – the beadle, sexton, organ blower, and cleaners – provide useful detail about the parish community.
The civic responsibilities of the parish are also reflected in payments for such as poor relief, the care of abandoned children, the supply of coal and the maintenance of the stocks – important for maintaining public order. The accounts also complement the parish registers, the originals of which were destroyed in the fire in the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922, as the many entries relating to burials provide valuable information on social status.
St Bride’s was a small parish, in the patronage of St Patrick’s cathedral, which had been united to St Michael Le Pole and St Stephen in 1682. No trace of any of the three churches survives. The last church on the site if St Bride’s was demolished in 1896 to make way for the Iveagh Buildings.
The book may be obtained through bookshops or from the on–line store on the Church of Ireland website: www.store.ireland.anglican.org