Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

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

Priors and Deans of Christ Church Cathedral

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.

  • 1539-1543 - Robert Paynswick
  • 1543-1565 - Thomas Lockwood, previously Archdeacon of Meath
  • 1565-1595 - John Garvey
  • 1595-1618 - Jonas Wheeler
  • 1618-1634 - Randolph (Ralph) Barlow
  • 1634-1639 - Henry Tilson
  • 1639-1644 - James Margetson
  • 1644-1644 - Patrick Cahill
  • 1644-1661 - William Berrey
  • 1661-1666 - Robert Mossom
  • 1666-1677 - John Parry
  • 1677-1688 - William Moreton, became Bishop of Kildare, 1681

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.

  • 1688-1705 - Alexius Stafford
  • 1705-1731 - Welbore Ellis
  • 1731-1743 - Charles Cobbe
  • 1743-1745 - George Stone
  • 1745-1761 - Thomas Fletcher
  • 1761-1765 - Richard Robinson
  • 1765-1790 - Charles Jackson
  • 1790-1804 - George Lewis Jones
  • 1804-1846 - Charles Dalrymple Lindsay

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

  • 1846-1864 - Henry Pakenham, Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1843-1863
  • 1864-1872 - John West, Dean of St. Patrick's, 1864-1889
  • 1872-1884 - Richard Chenevix Trench, Archbishop of Dublin, 1863-1884
  • 1884-1887 - William Plunket, 4th Baron Plunket Archbishop of Dublin, 1884-1897
  • 1887-1908 - William C. Greene, Canon
  • 1908-1918 - James Hornidge Walsh, previously Rector of St. Stephen's, and Canon from 1893
  • 1918-1921 - Harry Vere White
  • 1921-1938 - Herbert Brownlow Kennedy
  • 1938-1962 - Ernest Henry Cornwall Lewis-Crosby
  • 1962-1967 - Norman David Emerson, 1900-1966
  • 1967-1989 - Thomas Noel Desmond Cornwall Salmon (Only living former Dean).
  • 1989-2004 - John Thomas Farquhar Paterson, previously Vicar of St Bartholomew's Church, Dublin and Dean of St Brigid's Cathedral Kildare, died 2005
  • 2004-2007 - Robert Desmond Harman, a Canon since 1991, and Treasurer since 2002; ordained in 1967, Rector of Sandford and Milltown (and chaplain of Alexandra College, Bloomfield, Westfield, New Lodge and the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook) since 1986
  • 2008- Present - Dermot Patrick Martin Dunne, previously Archdeacon of Ferns, and prior to that a Roman Catholic priest

See also


  • 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, MS 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).

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