Dunleer was an important monastic centre from earliest times. Richard Chapel in ‘The Charter of Dunleer Corporation’ published in the Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Dec., 1921), pp. 49-57 explains that ‘Dunleer was a town, whether of Irish or Norman foundation, in the early part of the thirteenth century. The "vill" of Dunleer is referred to in A.D. 1227, and a weekly market and a yearly fair of three days duration (24th-26th March) were established by royal grant in 1252. The Manor of Dunleer was granted by the king – Henry III – to the family of De Audley in 1227. It had been part of the fee of Hugh De Lacy, Earl of Ulster’.
Dunleer Corporation was formed quite late, in the year 1682, during the reign of Charles II. It was the last of the Irish boroughs to receive corporate status. The Cromwellian Confiscation in the 17th Century saw 1,046 Irish acres in the townland of Dunleer assigned to soldiers under the Act of Settlement to Colonel William Legge, a supporter of Charles I and Charles II. Colonel Legge (d1672), was rewarded by Charles I for assisting him in his battles with a grant of estates in England, property in Dunleer, the Manor of Kilsaran, the Manor of Templetown in Cooley, 616 acres of land in Dunany and Draghanstown, 123 acres of land in Termonfeckin, and lands in Galway, Roscommon, and the county of O Failge.
In 1682 Charles II created Colonel Legge’s son, George, Baron Dartmouth of Devon in England, erected his Dunleer property into a Manor together with additional lands in other parts of the county (such as Rathbrist (Tallanstown), Haggardstown, etc) and made Dunleer a Corporation by Letters Patent dated 3rd August, 30 Charles II, 1678 AD, under the style of the sovereign, burgesses, and freemen of the town and borough of Dunleer and by Charter in 1683 with Lord Dartmouth (d1691), lord of the manor of Dunleer, as its patron.
The title and properties were passed on through Lord Dartmouth’s son to his descendants. However, as the family resided in the south of England, the Fosters of Dunleer were the local family most closely connected with the Corporation for a century after its constitution. The Tenisons of Thomastown Castle (Knock Abbey) also became connected with it in 1722 until 1773. The Coddingtons of Oldbridge, who intermarried with the Tenisons, and to whom the Earl of Dartmouth sold the Manor in 1698, first appear in the Corporation about 1750. The Coddingtons remained its owner and patron of the Borough and often its Sovereign and one of its representatives in Parliament till the Union.
According to the 1833 ‘Reports from Commissioners on Municipal Corporations in Ireland’ a Sovereign was elected annually by Dunleer Corporation from the period of the Union until 1811, but ceased to meet after that date as it had no business to do and no Parliament to which to send Members. The Coddingtons sold the Manor estate to the Counts De Salis, and afterwards to Lord Bellew's family of Barmeath.
Archival History ↴
The minutes from the formation of Dunleer Corporation in 1683 until 1709 have not been preserved and the minute book for 1709 – 1773 is the only Corporation record remaining. Richard Chapel in 'The Charter of Dunleer Corporation' published in the Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Dec., 1921), pp49-57 where a copy of the text of the charter is reproduced, explains that ‘the Minutes are apparently not the original entries, as the handwriting is the same all through. The Report of the Municipal Corporation Commission, 1833, mentions that Mr. Coddington, the late proprietor of the manor, had retained the books of the Corporation. Probably this book passed to the De Salis family with the estate. It is marked in ink on the cover "R De Salis" who may have handed it over to the Bellews on selling the property. Mr. Gaskin has pencilled "Lord Bellew" in the fly-leaf. He evidently received it from Lord Bellew, and Miss Garstin gave it into the custody of the Archaeological Society after his death’. The minute book was deposited by the County Louth Archaeological & Historical Society in Louth County Archives Service in 2001. See also PP00025/.
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Dunleer Corporation ↴
This collection contains one minute book of Dunleer Corporation, dated 1709 – 1773 (DC/MB/001).
Appraisal Destruction ↴
Further accruals may be expected
There is currently one item in this collection.
Conditions of Access & Use
Open Access by appointment
Conditions Governing Reproduction
Bound volumes cannot be photocopied. Contact Archives staff regarding alternative means of copying.
1 bound volume
Material Language Script
Characteristics Tech Req
Bound volume. Good condition.
Careful handling required.
Descriptive list can be found on on-line catalogue available at http://www.louthcoco.ie
Archive Web Link →
Some digitised documents may occasionally be found on http://www.louthcoco.ie
IE LHA PP00025/ Dunleer Corporation: Notes by JR Garstin
- 'The Charter of Dunleer Corporation' by Richard Chapel in Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Dec., 1921), pp49-57
- 'Minutes of Dunleer Corporation' in Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Dec., 1922), pp121-126
- 'The Foster Family and the Parliamentary Borough of Dunleer' by APW Malcomson in Journal of the County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society, Vol. 17, No. 3 (1971), pp156-163
Descriptive Control Area
Louth County Archives Service
ISAD(G): General International Standards Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions