Papers of the Royal College of the Noble Irish, Salamanca

Repository: St Patricks College, Maynooth

Identity Statement

TitlePapers of the Royal College of the Noble Irish, Salamanca
Archive ReferenceIE SPCM/SP
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1595-1950
Extent Medium85 boxes


Creator(s): Irish College, Salamanca

  • Administrative History ↴

    The archives of the Irish College in Salamanca were deposited in Maynooth College in the 1950's. The archives include records from Irish Colleges in Santiago, Seville, Alcalá and Madrid and some records from the English College in Valladolid. Following the takeover of Ireland by the Protestant English state in the Tudor conquest of Ireland since 1534, several elements created a massive exile from the country. These Irish exiles were escaping both a political and religious oppression in their country along with the havoc of war and general economic dislocation. They exiled to the continent where they were able to find educational and economic opportunities and a better quality of life in general. One of the main groups of exiles coming from Ireland were those seeking religious refuge. They came to various European cities and towns seeking a place that supported the education and well being of Catholic seminarists. Quickly, a ‘network’ of Irish Colleges began to emerge in countrys such as France, Italy and Spain which educated both clergy and laity. These colleges also acted as a social focus for Irish mercantile and military populations on the European mainland. Salamanca was the first college to be founded in Spain and from there other colleges began to sprout up around various Spanish towns and cities. In the beginning these colleges were centres of education, politics and society. Supported by the Irish hierarchy and the Spanish monarchy the colleges had significant power in the political and social life of Spain. But as the decades went by this began to slowly change. The Irish College in Salamanca was the largest of the colleges and it was considered the principal college. In 1796 the Irish College in Santiago de Compostela and the Irish College in Seville were incorporated with the Irish College of Salamanca the main reasons being that they jus didn’t have enough resources to keep the colleges running. This was ordered by Charles III of Spain, under instruction from the Irish hierarchy, with the aim of establishing a single Spanish institution for the education of the Irish clergy. In 1785 the Irish College of Alcalá de Henares (founded in 1657) was incorporated with the Irish College of Salamanca despite opposition from its Rector and students. An Irish College was founded in Madrid in 1629 and it ceased to function as a seminary in 1692. With time Salamanca was the only Irish College that remained, all the rest having joined and incorporated themselves to it. In the latter part of its life and right up to when it closed its doors in 1951, the Irish College in Salamanca had very much shied away from Spanish life and society and had little or no connection with the social, political and economical life in Spain. A stark contrast to its former years.
  • Archival History ↴

    The archives of the Irish College in Salamanca were deposited in St Patricks College, Maynooth in the 1950’s when the college in Salamanca officially closed its doors and are now the property of the Irish Episcopal Conference.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Irish College, Salamanca ↴

    The Salamanca Papers contain the archives of the Irish colleges in Spain from 1592 to the middle of the twentieth century. The archive contains about 50,000 items. Much of the material is administrative in nature but there are also personal papers of college staff and students. It includes:
    Student oaths, rectors private records, particular accounts, private accounts, leases of property owned by the Irish College, receipts, book of income and daily expenses, correspondence, petitions, official ledgers, book of vows, patents and testimonials, bulls and briefs, royal documents, proclamations and decrees, title deeds, general accounts, book of profits and annual charges, execution of wills, papers concerning estates, rents and royalties, mortgages and annuities.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The archive collection is composed of 85 boxes in total and within these boxes there are approximately 50,000 single documents. When the collection was deposited in Maynooth College there was some sort of congruent order to it. An inventory/list of the archives had been manifested during the rectorship of Rev. William McDonald who saw the importance of keeping some type of order on this mass of material and arranged and referenced all the documents. This resulted in quite a detailed box list of all the documents which includes details of the type of document, subject and date. The original arrangement put in place by Rev. William MacDonald has been preserved along with the original reference numbers.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available by appointment with the archivist at St Patricks College, Maynooth
Conditions Governing ReproductionBy application to the archivist only.
Creation Dates1595-1950
Extent Medium85 boxes
Material Language ScriptSpanish English Latin Portuguese French
Finding Aids A full catalogue for the collection can be searched online Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteSusan Leyden
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000. National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.
Date of DescriptionsJanuary 2010-September 2013