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NAME: Wyse Collection               Item Description                Back to list of Collections 


Reference code:  IE BL/EP/W
Title:  Wyse Collection
Dates:   12 April 1386 – 20 July 1471
Level of description:    Item
Extent:    3 items


IE BL/EP/W is Wyse-related material held in UCC Library. The Collection consists of 3 manuscripts in Latin acquired by UCC Library from the Waterford Museum of Treasures that relate to Cork. The greater portion of the collection is in Waterford Museum of Treasures.

The Wyse family of Waterford have been intimately linked with the Reformation and Counter Reformation movements in Ireland and the struggle of the Catholic community for religious equality. Family tradition holds that the first Wyse came to Ireland with the Anglo-Normans and quickly established the family as one of the leading families in Waterford, owning land at Gaultier, Islandkane, Ballinacourty and Knockmahon, and holding office in both Waterford city and in the national administration at least as early as the 15th century.

The two priories dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, at Waterford and “beside the bridge of Cork”, each with an attached hospital dedicated to St. Leonard, were founded by King John before he became King, while he was Count of Mortain and Lord of Ireland, probably in 1189-98. After he had become King in 1199, he had fronted them to the Benedictine cathedral priory of Bath in England, of which they thus became dependencies. The Cork priory possessed a large landed estate, the manor of Legan, corresponding to the civil parish of Monkstown.

William, later Sir William, Wyse, the head of the Waterford family, had a successful career in the court of King Henry VIII, who gave him various grants of Irish lands, including in 1539, after the dissolution of the monasteries, the priory of St. John at Waterford with all its possessions, including those in the county and city of Cork. This grant brought to the Wyses all the archives relating to the two priories. The Cork priory was subsequently conveyed to the Ronayne family, and the lands at Monkstown to the Archdeacons. The Wyses continued to hold the Waterford priory, which became the manor of St. John’s.

In 1821 Sir Thomas Wyse married Letitia Bonaparte, a niece of the Emperor Napoleon I, and the family then became Bonaparte-Wyse.

The Wyse family continued to play a leading role in city and national politics and in the commercial and cultural life of Waterford throughout the following centuries.

In the 20th century their descendants in England believed that all the archive had been destroyed in the 18th century, except for a few late copies, but in 2011 a large collection of medieval and early modern documents relating to the Wyse family and the priories came to light in France, and were subsequently sold by auction in Dublin in February 2012. The collection was acquired by Waterford Museum of Treasures, under an arrangement that the three documents relating to Co. Cork would be transferred to the Boole Library in University College Cork.

All biographical information supplied with thanks by www.askaboutireland.ie (Bonaparte-Wyse Family entry) and Kenneth Nicholls (retired, School of History, UCC)


The material consists of 3 handwritten vellum manuscripts in Latin with seal attachments; the actual seals no longer exist. They are described in date order. All descriptions and notes have been provided, with thanks, by Kenneth Nicholls.


Access: Available by appointment with the Archives Service to holders of UCC Readers tickets.

Language: Latin

Finding Aid: Item Description (see below)


1.  12 April 1386

Decree of Peter [Hacket], Archbishop of Cashel given in the church of Kinsale, recording the evidence of four canons of Cork Cathedral, two other priests of the diocese, and eight burgesses of Kinsale that the rectory of Kinsale belongs to the monastery of Bath, O.S.B. Description follows:

Deed of Piers [Peter] [Hacket], Archbishop of Cashel, Recording than on his metropolitan visitation of the Diocese of Cork, he recorded in the parish church of Kinsale, on 12 April 1386, the evidence of four canons of Cork Cathedral [Master Thomas Went, William Wynchedon, John Whyte and Gerald Corre], two priests of the diocese (Adam O Molgryn and Michael Kenfek) and eight burgesses of Kinsale (Patrick Galvy, Philip Dowagh, David Durragh, William Blankept, Henry Boly, Robert Mancheler, Nicholas Whyte and Thomas Sparhawk) that the rectory of the parish church of Kinsale belonged to the monastery of Bath in England. Witnessed by Master John Penrys and Richard Barry, clerics of the diocese of Cloyne and Cork.

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The prefix ‘Master’ was only given to those who had received the degree of Master from a University.

The surname Wynchedon was later transformed into Nugent.


2.  12 April 1389

Notarial instrument issued in the church of Kinsale on the instructions of Peter, Archbishop of Cashel, reciting six charters concerning the rectory of Kinsale and other possessions of the monastery of Bath in Cork Diocese between 1206 and 1388. Description follows:

On the instructions of Piers [Peter, Hacket] Archbishop of Cashel, who in the parish church of Kinsale, during his metropolitan visitation of the diocese of Cork, heard the charters recited below in favour of the Prior and convent of the priory of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, which he had heard read by Thomas [Seylton], monk of the Benedictine order and proctor of the said prior and convent.

(1) A charter of Horencius, Bishop of Cork, by which he grants to God, SS. Peter and Paul and the monks of the “Black Order” (the Benedictines) of Bath, the church of Kynsale with all its appurtenances. Witnessed by David, Bishop of Waterford; Gilbert, Archdeacon of Waterford [illegible], Archdeacon of Cork; John, Dean of Cork; Richard Magnus [le Grant]; Gilbert [Sweteman]; Roger de St. John, chaplain of the said Bishop [David]; is the prior of St. Katherine’s [Waterford]; and Walter Le Ferrir.

Horencius, [Finghín] Bishop of Cork, was hitherto unrecorded. He must have been the immediate successor of Bishop Murchadh Ó’hAredha, who died in 1206, as David, Bishop of Waterford was killed [by O’Faoláin of the Decies] in 1209. The names of the witnesses suggest that the charter was issued at Waterford.

The description of the Benedictines (the “Black Monks”, to distinguish them from the Cistercians) as the “Black Order” (nigri ardinis) in an official document is interesting.

(2) A letter of John, Dean of Cork, and the chapter of Cork Cathedral, confirming the grants of the church of Kynsale by Horencius, and its confirmation by Mauricius, former Bishops of Cork. Dated Monday after the Feast of the Purification, 1280 (by modern reckoning, 5 February, 1281)

Marinus O’Brien, Bishop of Cork before being transferred to the archbishop of Cashel in 1224, is sometimes called Mauricius in English records.

(3) A charter of Gilbert, Bishop of Cork, by which he confirms to God, SS. Peter and Paul and the Benedictine Priory of Bath, the donations of his predecessor [Horencius] and his donation of the church of St. John the Evangelist next the bridge of Cork. He grants also the ecclesiastical benefices of Culmor and Balyfogleth. Witnessed by Sir Richard de Cogan; Master Gilbert Rufus [le Rous], Dean of Cork; Master David, Archdeacon of Cork; Cornelius, Precentor of Cork; Master Henry de St. Florence; Richard the Chaplain; John the Chaplain; Osbert Niger (Black); Robert Dundon; Richard de Staunton; John Durdon. (The following additional names of witnesses which had been accidentally omitted are entered at the foot of the instrument: Maurice the Chaplain; Jordan son of [Darthe]; Stephen Copiner; Luke Cornubiensis (the Cornishman); Mathew Elich; Syman de Balychat; Elyas the Clerk).

The title ‘Master’ indicates that the person held the degree of Master from a university. ‘Chaplain’ by itself simply denotes a priest.

Gilbert was bishop of Cork 1225-38.

The church (and priory) of St. John the Evangelist stood to the South East of Southgate Bridge, between the bridge and Cove Street. After being granted to William Wyse in 1539 it disappeared from the records of the Dublin administration, which probably explains why from the 17th century on it was constantly confused with the Knights Hospitallers’ church of St. John the Baptist in Douglas Street.

Culmor and Balyfogleth (Ballyfouloo in Monkstown parish) had been granted to the Priory of St. John the Evangelist by King John as Lord of Ireland, before he became king, at its foundation. In 1226 they were being claimed against the Priory by Philip de Prendergast, the secular lord of the district. Since there is no record of [Coolmore] in Carrigaline Parish belonging to the Priory, it is possible that this Culmor was an obsolete name for part of Monkstown. The ‘ecclesiastical benefices’ were the tithes and spiritual dues owed to the church, which again suggest that this Culmor was in Monkstown, whose tithes belonged to the Priory.

(4) Charter of Marinus (O’Brien), Archbishop of Cashel, confirming the donations by Bishop Honencius of the church of St. John the Evangelist next to the bridge of Cork, and those of Bishop Gilbert of the church of Kinsale and the ecclesiastical benefices of Culmor and Balyfogleth. Witnessed by: Gilbert, bishop of Cork; Master Gilbert Rufus, Dean of Cork; Cornelius, Precentor; Sir Richard de Cogan; Master Henry de St. Florence; Jordan son of [Darthe]; Stephen Copiner; Robert de [Keedif]; Mathew Elich, etc.

(5) Charter of Gerald (de Barry), Bishop of Cork, confirming the letter issued by John, the dean and the chapter of Cork (no. 2 above). Dated 10 March, 1388 (by modern reckoning 1389).

Gerard de Barry was bishop 1359-93. Note that in this charter he describes himself as bishop ‘by divine permission and the grace of the apostolic sec’ demonstrating the increased control of the Papacy over the appointment of bishops. Horencius, Gilbert Reginald and Marinus had been simply ‘by the grace of God’.

(6) Charter of Milo de [Cansy], by which he quit claims for himself and his heirs to the prior and convent of Bath and to Thomas de [Duna], their proctor in Ireland, all his rights to the church of Kinsale. Given the common place of Cork, on Wednesday before the feast of St. Laurence the Martyr (8 August) 1274. Witnessed by: Reginald, bishop of Cork; Sir John de Cogan, Sir John le Poer, former sheriff; Sir Patrick de Cogan; Sir Gilbert Cole; Michael de Rupe (Roche); Henry de Capella (later Supple); Henry de Rydesfford.

The Coles were the family who left their name in Ballincollig and Ballincolly. The surname Ridesfford, later became corrupted into Rochford; whence Rochfordstown, Co. Cork.

The Instrument of 1389 is witnessed by Master John Carrik, Official of Cashel; Thomas Snell, Vicar of Fydarthe (Fethard, Co. Tipperary), John Yonge, Notary Public ‘by apostolic authority’; and John Galvy (Galway) and Patrick Galvy, Burgesses of Kinsale.

The “Official” was the judge of the Diocesan court.

With certification and notarial sign of William de [Putton], Cleric of Lichfield diocese, Notary Public by apostolic and imperial authority.

Notaries Public played an important role in Roman and Canon Law procedure. They were appointed either by Papal authority alone, or by both the Papacy and the Holy Roman Emperor. Each had his sign by which as here, he authenticated the document.

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3.  20 July 1471

(Johannes) Decree of a provincial synod of Cashel held at Clonmel on the complaint of John Northon, O.S.B. the proctor of the monastery of Bath at Waterford, against Cormack Maccarthy, who has committed damage to the property of the monastery at Balynllegan (Legan, now Monkstown, Co. Cork). The synod decrees that unless Cormack makes reparation for the damages within twelve days, he should incur excommunication. Description follows:

Record of a provincial council held in the parish church of Clonmel on 17 July 1471 by John [Cantwell], Archbishop of Cashel, Robert [Poer], Bishop of Lismore and Waterford, and Gerald [FitzRichard, Geraldine] Bishop of Cork and Cloyne.

Brother John Northon, a monk of the Benedictine Order at Bath, England, appeared before the Council as Proctor of the Prior and Convent of Bath, Rectors of the church of Kinsale, with the complaint that Cormac son of Tadeus son of Cormac Macarthy (Cormac macTaidhg, Lord of Muskerry 1461-95) had, contrary to the liberties of the church, occupied a town called Baly In Legan (Legan, now Monkstown) belonging to Bath Priory. Since it was proven by testimony and by documents that that town belonged to the Prior and Convent of Bath, and that neither Cormac nor any other temporal Lord had any right to impose on it burdens, exactions or tributes, by whatever name they might be called, he is ordered to desist within twelve days, failing which he and his accomplices would be excommunicated, to be proclaimed publicly at Mass. If he and they ignored this, then after another twelve days all his localities, lordships and lands, his subjects, servants, and tenants, would be laid under interdict.

Interdict involved the suspension of all religious services, including the sacraments.

Originally the document had attached the three seals of the archbishop and bishops, but only the seal-tags remain. It exhibits the extreme repetitiveness characteristic of legal proceedings under Canon Law.

Its particular interest is that it shows that the MacCarthys of Muskerry had tried to take over the barony of Kerrycurrihy, which the Earls of Desmond had acquired from the Cogans in 1439, during the disputed Desmond succession following the execution of Earl Thomas in 1467. They succeeded in doing so, during another Desmond succession dispute, for a few years following 1535.

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Last updated: 08 March 2016

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