The Wyse Collection

Repository: UCC Library Archives Service

Identity Statement

TitleThe Wyse Collection
Archive ReferenceIE BL/EP/W
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1386-1471
Extent Medium3 items


Creator(s): Wyse, family, of County Waterford

  • Administrative History ↴

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

    In the 20th century the descendants of the Wyse family 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. This collection was acquired by UCC Library from the Waterford Museum of Treasures in 2012. The greater portion of the collection is in Waterford Museum of Treasures.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Wyse, family, of County Waterford ↴

    The Collection consists of 3 manuscripts written in Latin. Two items relate to the rectory of the parish church of Kinsale and its ownership, declared by Peter the Archbishop of Cashel, belonging to the Benedictine order of SS. Peter and Paul in Bath, England. The third item is a decree issued by the provincial synod of Cashel held at Clonmel threatening the excommunication of Cormac Macarthy (Cormac macTaidhg, Lord of Muskerry 1461-95) for damage caused during the unlawful occupation of the town of Baly In Legan (Legan, now Monkstown, Co. Cork) belonging to the Prior and Convent of Bath, England.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows:
    BL/EP/W/1 12 April 1386 Decree stating the rectory of Kinsale belongs to the monastery of Bath.
    BL/EP/W/2 12 April 1389 Recitation of six charters concerning the rectory of Kinsale and other possessions of the monastery of Bath in Cork Diocese between 1206 and 1388.
    BL/EP/W/3 20 July 1471 Decree stating that if Cormac Macarthy does not make reparations caused to the property of the monastery at Balynllegan he shall be excommunicated.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available by appointment with the Archives Service to holders of UCC Readers tickets.
Conditions Governing ReproductionBy application to the Archivist only
Creation Dates1386-1471
Extent Medium3 items
Material Language ScriptLatin
Finding Aids An item level descriptive list is available to search online Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteEmer Twomey, October 2013
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottowa: 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 Descriptions41548