The See of Dublin


ARCHIEPISCOPAL SEE of DUBLIN and GLENDALOUGH.—The See of Dublin comprehended both the dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough until the arrival of the Danes, who having settled themselves in the plain country on each side of the Liffey, on their conversion to Christianity established a separate bishop, who derived his spiritual authority from the Archbishop of Canterbury and acknowledged him as his superior. Donat, the first bishop of Dublin chosen by the Danes, built the conventual and cathedral church of the Holy Trinity, usually called Christ-Church, about the year 1038. His successor, Patrick, on his election by the people of Dublin, was sent to England to be consecrated by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. Gregory, the third in succession after Patrick, on proceeding to England on a similar mission, carried with him a letter from his flock, in which notice is taken of the animosity of the Irish bishops in consequence of their acknowledgment of the jurisdiction of an English prelate. In 1152 the see was raised to an archbishoprick by Cardinal Paparo, the Pope's legate, who invested Gregory with one of the four archiepiscopal palls brought from Rome. Laurence O'Toole was the first archbishop who did not go to England for consecration; the ceremony in his case was performed in Christ-Church by Gelasius, Archbishop of Armagh; and the custom of having recourse to Canterbury was never afterwards resumed. Archbishop Laurence proceeded to Rome in 1179, where he assisted at the second council of Lateran, and obtained a bull confirming that which had decreed the dioceses of Glendalough, Kildare, Ferns, Leighlin, and Ossory, to be suffragan to the metropolitan see of Dublin.

On the death of Laurence, Henry II. bestowed the archbishoprick on John Comyn, an Englishman, and granted him the temporalities with power to hold manor courts. The archbishops henceforward were lords of parliament in right of the barony of Coillach. On Comyn's consecration, Pope Lucius III. invested the see with sole supreme ecclesiastical authority within the province, whence originated the long-continued controversy between the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, which is fully detailed in the account of the former see. In the archiepiscopal investiture granted by Cardinal Paparo, the dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough are considered to be, strictly speaking, a single see; but in compliance with the wishes of the inhabitants of the mountain districts, which contained the latter, it was allowed to retain its name and a separate subordinate existence.

But King John, in 1185, granted to Comyn the reversion of this bishoprick on its next avoidance, and the charter to this effect was confirmed by Matthew O'Heney, archbishop of Cashel, the Pope's legate, at a synod held in Dublin in 1192. But though this union was legally effected about the year 1214, the mountain clans, who were still unamenable to English law, long continued to appoint their own bishops of Glendalough.

Henry de Loundres, the next archbishop, appears to have exercised the privileges of a peer of parliament in England, perhaps in right of the manor of Penkridge in Staffordshire, granted to the see by Hugh Hussey, founder of the Galtrim family in Ireland, and which long formed a peculiar of the diocese. The same prelate raised the collegiate church of St. Patrick, which had been erected by his predecessor, to the dignity of a cathedral, in consequence of which the diocese continues to have two cathedral churches. This circumstance afterwards gave rise to a violent contest between the two chapters as to the right of electing an archbishop. The dispute was terminated by an agreement that the archbishop should be consecrated and enthroned in Christ-Church, which, as being the more ancient, should have the precedency; and that the crosier, mitre, and ring of every archbishop, in whatever place he died, should be deposited in it, but that both churches should be cathedral and metropolitan.

There have been always two archdeaconries in the united diocese of Dublin and Glendalough, whose jurisdictions may have been formerly coterminous with their respective sees; but the long and intimate union of these, and the little use made of the archidiaconal functions, render it nearly impossible to define their respective limits with any degree of accuracy.

The records of Christ-Church inform us that it owes its foundation to Sitric, the son of Anlaffe, king of Dublin, who, about the year 1038, gave to Donat, bishop of that see, a place where arches or vaults were built, on which to erect a church to the honour of the Blessed Trinity, to whom the building was accordingly dedicated. It was originally the conventual church of a monastery of secular canons unattached to any of the cenobitical orders, who were changed by Laurence O'Toole, in 1163, to canons regular of the order of Arras, a branch of the Augustinians.

Sitric originally endowed this establishment with some small tracts on the sea coast of the present county of Dublin; and these possessions were greatly extended after the arrival of the English, when the successive augmentations of its revenue raised it to the rank of one of the most important priories in the island. Its privileges were confirmed by Henry II. and his successors; its priors were spiritual peers of parliament. This convent had anciently an endowed cell in the diocese of Armagh.

In 1541, Henry VIII. changed the monastic establishment into a dean and chapter, confirming its ancient estates and immunities, and making Payneswick, the last prior, its first dean on the new foundation, which consisted of a dean, chanter, chancellor, treasurer, and six vicars choral.

Archbishop Brown, in 1544, erected in this church the three prebends of St. Michael's, St. Michan's, and St. John's; and from the time of these alterations it has generally borne the name of Christ-Church, instead of that of the Holy Trinity. King Edward VI. added six priests and two choristers or singing-boys, to whom he assigned a pension of £45. 6. 8. per annum, payable out of the exchequer during pleasure. Queen Mary confirmed this pension, and granted it in perpetuity. James I. made some further alterations, and ordained that the archdeacon of Dublin should have a stall in the choir, and a voice and seat in the chapter in all capitular acts relating to the church.

Welbore Ellis, the eleventh dean, installed in 1705, was subsequently made Bishop of Kildare, from which period the deanery has continued to be held in commendam with that bishoprick. The gross annual revenue of the deanery, on an average of three years ending Dec. 31st, 1831, was £5314. 5. 11 ½. The cathedral establishment consists at present, therefore, of the dean (who is also Bishop of Kildare, and is guardian of the temporalities of the see during its vacancy on the death or avoidance of the archbishop), chanter, chancellor, treasurer, archdeacon, and the three above-named prebendaries, under whom are six vicars choral, six stipendiaries or choirmen, and six singing boys and a registrar.

The advowsons of the Dean and Chapter are (besides the three prebends already mentioned) the rectories of St. Mary, St. Paul, and St. Thomas, and the vicarage of Balscaddan, all in Dublin diocese; the alternate presentation to the rectory of St. George, Dublin, and the fourth turn to the union of Baronstown, in the county of Louth. For the repairs of the building and the payment of the inferior officers there is an economy fund, amounting on an average of three years ending 31st of Dec., 1831, to £2386. 8. 6. per ann., arising mostly from rents, tithes, and the dividends on about £10,000 funded property, including also the above-named pension.

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