Aims and Scope

Launch of CIRCLE

CIRCLE offers users an accessible and accurate summary in English of letters that were issued under the great seal of Ireland and enrolled in the Irish chancery rolls between the reigns of Henry III and Henry VII.

The new internet resource was officially launched on 10 May 2012 by the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast (pictured below with members of the Irish Chancery Project team).

Official Launch of CIRCLE

Pictured (L-R): Professor Seán Duffy; Dr Peter Crooks, Principal Editor of CIRCLE; Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost; Professor David Ditchburn.

To mark the launch of CIRCLE a public lecture entitled 'Rediscovering Medieval Ireland' was delivered by Professor Robin Frame to an audience of over 200 people in the Thomas Davis Lecture Theatre, TCD. A recording of the full lecture is available here.

Sources for the reconstruction

The original rolls of the Irish chancery were destroyed in 1922. A principal source for the reconstruction of Irish chancery letters is a Latin calendar published by the Irish Record Commissioners in 1828 under the title: Rotulorum patentium et clausorum cancellariae Hiberniae calendarium, Hen. II–Hen. VII, ed. Edward Tresham (Dublin, 1828). This 1828 calendar is referred to throughout this website as RCH. All known sources of information that supplement RCH—whether printed or in manuscript—have been collated to create CIRCLE. These sources of substitute or supplementary information are listed at the foot of each entry. Further details of how the reconstruction work was carried out are available here.

CIRCLE is a calendar, which means that it offers a summary translation rather than a full diplomatic edition of each letter; consequently variant readings are not usually noted. Letters that do not have proper dating clauses have not normally been included.

Digital images

CIRCLE is linked to a digitized version of RCH and also to a companion volume produced by the Irish Record Commissioners entitled Chartae, privilegia et immunitates […] 1171–1395 (Dublin, 1829–30) [referred to throughout this website as CPI]. The latter volume provides full or near-full transcripts in record type of many letters taken from the original chancery rolls. The CIRCLE website also provides links to an unparalleled collection of sample images of manuscripts of engrossed letters patent from the collections of the National Archives of Ireland, National Library of Ireland, Dublin City Archives and the Huntingdon Library, California.

Caveat Lector

Users are advised that this is a dynamic resource. The calendar presented here is still in progress and, as such, is subject to change. We welcome feedback on the website and corrections to specific entries. Please contact us through our feedback form. The following list summarizes work that is on-going:

  • Indexing of Edward II and Edward III rolls

  • Correction of typographical errors 

  • Fuller calendars of surviving engrossed chancery letters and miscellaneous manuscript transcripts

  • Identification of place-names