Navigating the CIRCLE website


Browsing CIRCLE

Medieval Irish chancery letters were organized according to the 'regnal year' of the reigning monarch. By clicking on the Browse CIRCLE button on the home page or the Browse CIRCLE tab in the Navigation Column you can access a list of the regnal years of the kings of England between Henry III and Henry VII. By following the links you can view whole chancery rolls (patent and close rolls) for specific regnal years.

Searching CIRCLE

If you wish to search CIRCLE using a place- or personal name, you can do so in two ways.

  • By using a quick search box which appears in the top right of the webpage.
  • By using the Advanced Search functions, which provides search facilities for 'persons', 'places' and free text searching.

Letter Locator

If you already have a reference to a specific chancery letter and wish to go to that letter directly, you can do so using the 'Letter Locator' function. This gives you two options.

  • CIRCLE item number. If you know the CIRCLE citation details you will be asked to choose the type of roll (patent/close), the regnal year, and the item-number of the letter in question. The website will bring you to the relevant letter in CIRCLE.

  • RCH item number. If you know the citations details from the Latin calendar published in 1828 (RCH) then you can enter the page and item number from that volume. The website will bring you directly to the corresponding letter in CIRCLE.


Free Text Search

The search works in the following manner:

  • All free text searches are case insensitive.

  • Keywords James Butler: returns records that contain both the word "James" and the word "Butler" but not necessarily beside each other. This is the most commonly used method.

  • Keywords James + Butler: exact same but a bit slower because of the operator.

  • Keywords James AND Butler: exact same but a bit slower because of the operator.

  • Keywords "James Butler": returns records that contain the phrase "James Butler" - words are beside each other in record.

  • Keywords James -Butler: returns records that contain the word "James" but not the word "Butler".

  • Keywords James OR Butler: returns records that contain at least one of the words "James" or "Butler". The records matched may contain both words, but don't have to.

Viewing Images

Manuscripts and Facsimiles

CIRCLE provides access to an unparalleled collection of digital images of Irish chancery engrossments and facsimiles of the original rolls made before their destruction in 1922. You can access these images by clicking on the Sample Images button on the home page of the website or choosing the 'Sample Images' tab on the navigation column. You will then be brought to a list of chancery engrossments in tabular form with links to the images, which are arranged according to repository.

Printed Volumes

Part 3 of the 'Sample Images' section includes links to two books that were digitized as part of this project, referred to in this website by the abbreviations RCH and CPI. The full bibliographical information for those volumes is as follows:

  • Rotulorum patentium et clausorum cancellariae Hiberniae calendarium, Hen. II–Hen. VII, ed. E. Tresham (RCI, Dublin, 1828) 
  • Chartae, privilegia et immunitates, being transcripts of charters and privileges to cities, towns, and other bodies corporate, […] 1171–1395 (pr. for RCI, Dublin, 1829–30; published, 1889)
Linking to images while viewing CIRCLE

Images can also be accessed when viewing the letters in CIRCLE by clicking on links which appear in top right-hand corner of letters. The most commonly occurring link is to RCH, but where possible links are also provided to original manuscripts, facsimiles or the volume of transcripts known by the abbreviation CPI (=Chartaeprivilegia et immunitates).



MyCIRCLE enables users to append personal research notes to the letters in CIRCLE and also save letters to a favourites page. Your MyCIRCLE page is private and accessible only using a username and password, which you create at the time of registration. After you have logged in, you can access your MyCIRCLE account from any page of the website by clicking the MyCIRCLE link which appears in the footer at the bottom left.