The Dublin City Franchise Roll, 1468–1512
Colm Lennon & James Murray, editors
The Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin was edited by Sir John Thomas Gilbert and by Lady Gilbert and was published by Dublin Corporation in 19 volumes between 1889 and 1944. The Calendar contains transcripts and translations of documents from the city's archives for the period 1171 to 1841, including selected Dublin City Charters and extracts from the Liber Albus and the Chain Book of Dublin, together with Dublin City Assembly Rolls from 1447 to 1841. This magisterial work is the most extensive and important publication of original archival records undertaken by any local authority in Ireland.
The Dublin City Archives contain a number of medieval and early modern records which have never been published, or which have been published in incomplete versions. To mark the 800th anniversary of the municipality in 1992, Dublin Corporation decided to revive The Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin by launching a series of supplements, to bring these important records to a wider public in modern, scholarly editions.
This important medieval document provides a unique insight into the social and economic history of late 15th-century Dublin. The roll gives the names and occupations of 1425 people, both men and women, who were granted the right to vote in municipal elections during a period of political upheaval and change. Many of these newly-enfranchised citizens derived their right to freedom by birth or on marriage, and the roll gives the names of fathers, husbands and wives, allowing the researcher to build up a pattern of family and social connections, and providing the genealogist with valuable information from five centuries ago. The Dublin franchise roll also contains a unique series of wills and deeds which give topographical and social data not available elsewhere. This edition is accompanied by extensive indexes which are designed to make the information more accessible.
The Dublin City Franchise Roll is preserved by Dublin Corporation in the Dublin City Archives and is being published here for the first time in its entirety.
Colm Lennon is senior lecturer in modern history at NUI, Maynooth. Dr James Murray is administrator in the faculty of science at Dublin City University.