Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

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Christ Church Cathedral

The Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin is the senior official of that church, the cathedral of the United Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough in the Church of Ireland, and head of the Chapter, its governing body. A Dean has presided over Christ Church Cathedral since around 1539, before which the cathedral was a Priory under Augustinian rules, headed by a Prior, back to the time of Archbishop St. Laurence O'Toole. Aspects of the cathedral administration are overseen by the Cathedral Board, which the Dean chairs (with both a regular and a casting vote).

The current Dean, the Very Rev Dermot, a former Roman Catholic priest, was involved in a high profile bullying case in 2012 when former Director of Music, leading conducter Ms Judy Martin, claimed she was 'unfairly treated, bullied and harassed' by Dean Dunne. Ms Martin, once described as "the greatest conductor of her generation", said she was the victim of anti-English bullying at the hands of Dean Dunne and Ms Martin also revealed that depression and anxiety caused by the bullying led her to make plans to take her own life. The Rev Dunne denied the allegations and the case was settled out of court


The Dean is appointed by the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin.

Priors and Deans of Christ Church Cathedral[edit]

The previous holders of the senior office of the Cathedral have been:


  • c.1171-c.1190 – Gervase (Gervasius), first formal record 1177
  • c.1190-c.1196 – Columbanus
  • c.1196-c.1201 – Thomas
  • c.1201-c.1205 – ?
  • c.1205-c.1208 – Robert
  • c.1208-c.1220 – W(illiam le Gros?)
  • c.1220-c.1225 – Bernard
  • c.1225-c.1235 – Roger
  • c.1235-c.1244 – Philip (de Cruce?)
  • c.1244–1252 – Robert de Stanford
  • 1252-c.1265? – John?

There may have been a Robert in office in 1260, and a Fulk around 1262

  • c.1265-c.1279 – William de Gran, first formal record 1270
  • c.1279-c.1292 – Adam de la More
  • c.1292-c.1296 – John de Exeter (or de Oxford?)
  • c.1296–1301 – Adam de Balsham
  • 1301–1313 – Henry de la War(r)e de Bristol
  • 1313–1320 – John Pocock? (or possibly a John Toppe around 1313, and Pocock or Pecock by 1317)
  • 1320–1326 – Hugh (le Jeune) de Sutton
  • 1326–1331 – Robert de Gloucester
  • 1331–1337 – Roger Goioun
  • 1337–1343 – Gilbert de Bolyniop
  • 1343–1346 – Simon de Ludegate
  • 1346–1349 – Robert de Hereforde
  • 1349–1382 – Stephen de Derby
  • 1382–1397 – Robert Lokynton, first formal record 1388
  • 1397–1409 – James de Redenesse
  • 1409–1438 – Nicholas Staunton
  • 1438–1459 – William Denys, first formal record 1443
  • 1459–1474 – William Lynton, first formal record 1463
  • 1474–1489 – Thomas Harrold
  • 1489–1499 – David Wynchester (or Winchester)
  • 1499–1519 – Richard Skyrrett
  • 1519–1537 – William Hassard
  • 1537–1539 – Robert Castle or Castell (alias Paynswick or Painswick)


The Reformation having reached Ireland, by Royal Warrant of December 12, 1539, the Prior and Canons of Holy Trinity were transformed into secular clergy, to be known as the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church. So, Robert Paynswick or Penswick, alias Castell, Prior, and Richard Ball, Sub-Prior, became Dean and Precentor respectively, whilst Walter White, Seneschal and Precentor, became Chancellor and Vicar-Choral, and John Moss, Sub-Precentor [Succentor] and Sacristan, Treasurer and Vicar-Choral of the new foundation. Thus the last Augustinian Prior (Robert Paynswick) became the first Dean of Christ Church, though the process of conversion actually continued in 1540 and 1542, finishing with a Chapter of eight clergy.

From this time the offices of Bishop of Kildare (endowment of 150 pounds yearly) and Dean of Christ Church (endowment of 5200 pounds annually) were held in commendam (by the one person, taken up at the same time, starting in 1688), until the union with St. Patrick's.

In 1846, the Diocese of Kildare was united to that of Dublin, and, until 1871, the office of Dean of Christ Church was united to that of Dean of St. Patrick's.

See also[edit]


  • Mervyn Archdall, Monasticon Hibernicum, ed. Patrick F. Moran (2 vols, Dublin, W.B. Kelly, 1873), ii, 15-16, 'A List of Deans of Christ Church'.
  • William Butler, The cathedral church of the Holy Trinity Dublin (Christ Church): a description of its fabric, and a brief history of the foundation, and subsequent changes (London, 1901), Appendix: 'List of priors and deans 1170-1901'
  • Poster headed Cathedral of Dublin: the ancient priory church of the holy Trinity commonly called Christ Church (Dublin, 1908)
  • J. B. Leslie, 'Fasti of Christ Church cathedral, Dublin' (Representative Church Body Library, Mississippi 61/2/2 [n.d., c.1939]), 56-71.
  • G. J. Hand, 'The two cathedrals of Dublin: internal organisation and mutual relations, to the middle of the fourteenth century' (M.A. and Travelling Studentship in History thesis, National University of Ireland, 1954), 147-9.
  • Kenneth Milne (ed.), Christ Church cathedral Dublin: a history (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000), 391-2.
  • Church of Ireland Church of Ireland website (August 2007).