Church of St. Nicholas Within, Dublin

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Coordinates: 53°20′33.25″N 6°16′17.54″W / 53.3425694°N 6.2715389°W / 53.3425694; -6.2715389

St. Nicholas Within
The church in 1786.
Location Nicholas St./Christ Church Place, Dublin
Country Republic of Ireland
Denomination Church of Ireland
Membership 184 (in 1867)
Former name(s) St. Nicholas
Authorising papal bull Pope Celestine's Bull of 1191
Founder(s) Bishop Donat
Dedication St. Nicholas of Myra,
Dedicated 11th century
Completed Rebuilt 1707
Closed 1867
Parish St. Nicholas Within

St. Nicholas Within is a former Church of Ireland parish church in Dublin city, Ireland. It was located at the corner of Nicholas St. and Christ Church Place, where part of its entrance may be seen next to the Peace Park. The term may also refer to the civil parish in the barony of Dublin City which was one of nine and a half baronies in the old County Dublin.[1]

The church[edit]

The original church was built in the 11th century by Bishop Donat and was dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of sailors. It received its name during the episcopate of Alexander de Bicknor (1317–1349), when the parish of St. Nicholas was extended outside the city so as to include the Manor of St. Sepulchre and the Deanery of St Patrick. The parish was divided into two parts: St. Nicholas Within the Walls and St. Nicholas Without.[2]

The church fell into disrepair in the 17th century, and was rebuilt in 1707. By 1835 it was again having problems, and it was unroofed, although a chapel in the church, St. Mary's, continued to be used until 1847. It was planned to demolish the church and build a new one. However, this was never done, and the parish united with that of St. Audoen in 1867.[2]

The parish[edit]

The parish is mentioned in Pope Celestine III's Bull of 1191, listing prebends.[3] The parish was the smallest parish in Dublin, measuring 5 acres (20,000 m2), 11 perches. At the time of its unification with St. Audoen's the population of the parish was 1,838, of which only 184 belonged to the established (i.e., Church of Ireland) church.[4] The parish corresponded to the civil parish of the same name.

The cemetery[edit]

The greater part of the graveyard was taken over by Dublin Corporation when building the Tholsel nearby. All that remained was a passage to the vaults. The names of those interred are available in the parish registers.[2]

Alexander Montgomery (1686–1729), soldier and politician from County Donegal, was buried here on 22 December 1729.[5]

Chantry of St. Mary[edit]

Remains of the entrance to the church.

In 1469 Edward IV gave the Earl of Worcester permission to found a chantry in honour of God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and to have masses said for the benefit of the founders and all the departed. It was established in St Nicholas Within in the chapel of St. Mary and was under the authority of the Provincial of the Augustinian Friars of England. After the dissolution of the monasteries chantries in parish churches in England were abolished, but no act was passed to abolish them in Ireland and some continued to function according to the use of the Church of Ireland, and in this way the chantry of St. Mary continued to function, as a sinecure, until 1882.[6]

Notable parishioners[edit]

During the Interregnum (1650s), Daniel Hutchinson, Thomas Hooke, John Preston and Richard Tighe, all served as alderman, were all Mayors of Dublin, and all worshipped at Dr Samuel Winter's independent congregation meeting at the Church of St. Nicholas Within (Hooke like Hutchinson was an elder of the church).[7]

Jonathan Edwards (1615–1681), from Denbighshire, Wales became curate at this church in 1661. He went on to become Archdeacon of Derry.[8]



Further reading[edit]

  • Craig, Maurice (1969), Dublin: 1660-1860, Dublin: Allen Figgis 
  • Gilbert, John (1854), A History of the City of Dublin, Oxford: Oxford University