The Dublin Liberties, 1600-1850

By Kenneth Milne

The 'liberties' are a familiar feature of Dublin. Indeed the term survives colloquially to denote the heartland of the old city. But what exactly were the liberties? How did these semi-autonomous urban jurisdictions come into being, and to what extent did they retain their prerogatives until well into the nineteenth century? This book examines the medieval origins of the manors of St Sepulchre and of Thomas Court and Donore, ruled respectively be the archbishop of Dublin and the earl of Meath, and of the two smaller liberties of St Patrick's and Christ Church, subject to the deans and chapters of the two cathedrals. Until modern times the lords of the larger liberties exercised legal jurisdictions comparable to those of the lord mayor (even to the extent of appointing constables and administering gaols), and in all four liberties to a greater or lesser degree they controlled the economic life of their territories through their market juries and by administering the assize of bread, the provision of public lighting and fire-engines.

55 pages

Publication Date: 10/15/2009
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781846821912