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Two new Archives of the Month kick–start the RCB Library’s outreach for 2022

The Representative Church Body Library’s first two Archives of the Month for 2022 feature the growth in its collections of parish registers, over the course of the last two years, and a rare archive relating to architecture in Armagh – both the city and the county – in Victorian times.

Since the Covid–19 pandemic began back in March 2020, accessions to the Library’s archival collections have continued at an extraordinary pace, with significant transfers from the local custodies in which they were created to the permanent safe–keeping of the Library’s custody.

A total of 54 ‘new’ parish collections that previously were not among the Library’s holdings have been transferred and accessioned during this period – each assigned with their own unique identity numbers, with the result that the Library now holds no less than 1,214 individual parish record collections.   Many other parishes which already had transferred records to the Library carried out impressive tidy–up work during the prolonged lockdown periods, with several local clergy and conscientious parishioners transferring additional materials to the Library.

The title page for the online colour-coded List of Church of Ireland Parish Registers.
The title page for the online colour-coded List of Church of Ireland Parish Registers.

In 2020, parishes were particularly busy sorting historical records, and tranches of parish record materials from no less than 91 parishes came in. These included a large consignment of records from parishes in the dioceses of Ardfert, Emly, Killaloe and Limerick, and including some of the city parishes in Limerick, all of which were transferred from St Mary’s cathedral by the Dean of Limerick. During 2021, among the significant new collections were those for the Ballybay group in County Monaghan, and also both St Eunan’s Cathedral, Raphoe, and St John’s Cathedral, Sligo.

Alphabetical lists of the parish records accessioned during 2020 and 2021 respectively are available to view as PDF documents. Additionally, the colour–coded summary list of baptisms, marriages and burials accounting for each of the 1,214 collections in the Library’s custody has been updated, with the live links to PDF lists guiding people to what is available in its custody and also the details of copies, transcripts and indexes for records kept locally and in other locations.

The Archive of the Month for February 2022 a features an unusual and indeed rare set of building specifications and related materials concerning various church–related properties and other premises in the city and county of Armagh during the mid–19th Century. 

These were found in records from St John’s Cathedral, Sligo, and after some investigation, it has transpired that all of the materials relate to properties in Armagh, and most were executed by or for John Farr, Builder, The Mall, Armagh. The collection includes estimates and specifications for specific named buildings and works such as a new shambles for the city, a school house for St Mark’s parish, and repairs of the Precentory building attached to the Cathedral.  Other items in the collection include a fascinating workman’s account book detailing workmen’s names, hours and payments per day on works at various locations in the city – the Northern Bank, 1845; the Work House, 1846 and ‘Works Generally’, 1846.

Specification of works for school house at St Mark's Parish, in the city of Armagh, to be completed by John Farr, Builder, RCB Library MS 1116/1/9.
Specification of works for school house at St Mark's Parish, in the city of Armagh, to be completed by John Farr, Builder, RCB Library MS 1116/1/9.

For further information please contact:

Church of Ireland Press Office 
Church of Ireland House 
61–67 Donegall Street 
BT1 2QH 

Tel: (028) 9082 8880 – from Northern Ireland & Great Britain

Tel: (048) 9082 8880 – from Republic of Ireland

Email: Press Office

Peter Cheney

Press Officer 07774 295 369

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