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Guild of St Anne (Dublin), 13th – 19th century

The medieval Guild of St Anne received charitable donations and bequests of property in Dublin. Its archival records are an important source for the history of the medieval city and county of Dublin.

The Guild of St Anne was established in Dublin in 1430, receiving a charter from King Henry VI (1422–61). Guilds or fraternities were associations that offered social solidarity and protection to particular interest groups in medieval cities. The Guild of St Anne continued to have a charitable role in the relief of the poor through to the late eighteenth century.

Through donations and bequests from its members, the Guild of St Anne became a wealthy organisation owning extensive property (lands and houses) in the city and county of Dublin.

Medieval guilds usually funded chapels within parish churches and paid for priests to sing masses for the benefit of their members. The chantry chapel of St Anne’s Guild was in St Audoen’s church, Cornmarket. St Audoen’s is the only remaining medieval parish church in Dublin. The chapel of the Guild of St Anne had become derelict by the eighteenth century but is now restored and accessible to visitors.

The Charles Haliday collection of manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy includes medieval documents relating to the Guild of St Anne. Many of the deeds preserved in the collection record transactions relating to the properties owned by the guild. They are an important primary source for the history of the city of Dublin. The earliest property deeds in the collection pre-date the granting of the royal charter in 1430 but they relate to properties later owned by the guild. The ‘White Book’ (RIA, 12 O 13) records many of the charitable activities of the guild.

The Guild of St Anne ceased to exist in the early nineteenth century. Medieval and early modern manuscripts relating to the guild were acquired by historian and book collector Charles Haliday, MRIA (1789–1866). After his death, the Guild of St Anne manuscripts were among the extensive collection donated to the Royal Irish Academy library in January 1867 by his widow, Mrs Mary Haliday.

Outline list of the Guild of St Anne collection, with current shelf-marks

  • 12 D 1 The Book of St Anne’s Guild. A volume of accounts and leases relating to St Anne’s Guild, Dublin, 1584–1817
  • 12 O 13 The White Book of the Guild of St Anne, Dublin, containing records of admissions and other proceedings, 1655–87, and copies of oaths to be taken by the master and wardens of the guild. This manuscript has been digitised.
  • 12 P 1 Accounts of the Guild of St Anne, Dublin, 1708–79
  • GSA: Deeds of the Guild of St Anne - medieval originals on vellum. These documents are now categorised as GSA, with the contents arranged chronologically, by reign of monarch. Former shelf-marks in the range 12 S 22–12 S 33 are no longer used

Contents are arranged chronologically, by reign of monarch.

[Box 1] GSA/Henry III (1216–72), Edward I (1272–1307), Edward II (1307–27), Edward III (1328–77)
[Box 2a] GSA/Richard II (1378–99)
[Box 2b] GSA/Henry IV (1400–13)
[Box 3a] GSA/Henry V (1414–22)
[Box 3b] GSA/Henry VI, 3–13 (1424–35)
[Box 4] GSA/Henry VI, 14–37 (1435–59)
[Box 5] GSA/Edward IV (1462–82), Edward V (1483), Richard III (1483–85), Henry VII (1485–1505)
[Box 6] GSA/Henry VIII, 1–30 (1510–39)
[Box 7]  GSA/Henry VIII, 31–8 (1539–47)
[Box 8] GSA/Edward VI (1549–52), Mary (1554), Philip & Mary (1558), Elizabeth I (1558–85)
[Box 9] GSA/Elizabeth I, 35–43 (1593–1601)
[Box 10] GSA/James I (1604–23)
[Box 11] GSA/Charles I (1626–39)
[Box 12] GSA/Commonwealth (pre-1653–56), Charles II (1664–74)
[Box 13] GSA/William & Mary, William III, Anne, George I, George II, and undated fragments
[Box 14] GSA/Paper documents (Box formerly labelled 12 S 32)
[Box 15] GSA/Paper documents (Box formerly labelled 12 S 33)

Over 250 medieval deeds in this collection (GSA) are individually catalogued in the RIA online catalogue of manuscripts 

Digital photographs of the collection of deeds were archived in 2013.

Later transcripts and summaries of the deeds of the Guild of St Anne

  • 12 G 10  Abstracts of deeds of the Guild of St Anne, Dublin, for the period 13th to 18th century. This is a 19th-century transcript (incomplete) of James Goddard’s abstracts of the deeds, the original of which was made in 1722 and is held in Dublin City Library & Archives, MS 246. The RIA copy contains transcripts of 841 deeds, not all of which now survive.
  • 12 B2 4  A volume of Latin copies and English translations of 13th to 15th-century deeds of the guild of St Anne. Copied by W.H. Hardinge, 1860. (See GSA for originals)
  • [12 S 33(a)]  Ludwig Bieler, Calendar of the deeds of the Guild of St Anne. Unpublished typescript in English, summarising the contents of the individual deeds.
  • 4 A 34  Transcripts of material formerly in 12 S 31, together with a short introduction by K.W. Nicholls (c.1964) (See GSA for originals). This item has been digitised.

Further reading

  • H.F. Berry, ‘History of the religious gild of S. Anne, in S. Audoen’s church, Dublin, 1430–1740, taken from its records in the Haliday Collection, RIA’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 25C (1904–5), pp 21–106
  • Ludwig Bieler, Calendar of the deeds of the Guild of St Anne. Unpublished typescript in English, summarising the contents of the individual deeds. RIA [12 S 33(a)]
  • Mary Clark & Raymond Refaussé (eds), Directory of Historic Dublin guilds (Dublin: Dublin Corporation, 1993)
  • Adrian Empey, ‘The layperson in the parish: the medieval inheritance’, in Raymond Gillespie and William G. Neely (eds), The laity and the Church of Ireland, 1000–2000: all sorts and conditions (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000), pp 36–41
  • Colm Lennon, ‘The chantries in the Irish Reformation: the case of St Anne’s Guild, Dublin, 1550–1630’, in R.V. Comerford, Mary Cullen, J.R. Hill, Colm Lennon (eds), Religion, conflict and coexistence in Ireland: essays presented to Monsignor Patrick Corish (Dublin, 1990), pp 6–25; 293–7
  • Colm Lennon, ‘The Fraternity of St Anne in St Audoen’s parish, Dublin’, in Salvador Ryan & Brendan Leahy (eds), Treasures of Irish Christianity: people and places, images and texts (Dublin: Veritas, 2012), pp 116–18
  • Colm Lennon, ‘Charitable property: the manuscripts of St Anne’s Guild, Dublin’, Royal Irish Academy, Library lunchtime lecture, 1 March 2017 (
  • Royal Irish Academy, Online catalogue of manuscripts 


March 2021

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