Waterford & The Royal College of Physicians

An exploration of archives can lead to interesting finds and new connections. A researcher exploring Bonmahon and its rich mining heritage will come across an interesting find when looking into the ownership of the land in Templeyvrick and in the surrounding Bonmahon area. A check of Griffith's Valuation for County Waterford will lit the Immediate Lessor or Landowner in this case as the College of Physicians. How did the College of Physicians come to own lands in County Waterford?

The lands in County Waterford were part of a bequest to the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland from Sir Patrick Dun (1642-1713). Sir Patrick Dun was a fellow of the College of Physicians in Dublin and in 1681 he was elected President of the College of Physicians. When Sir Patrick Dun died he left his property to his widow for her lifetime (provided she did not remarry) and in trust to the College after her death. He left instructions that the money be used to found a school of medicine in Dublin. His collection of books and mansucripts were also left to the College and now form part of the Library at the College of Physicians, known as Dun's Library. You can find out more about Sir Patrick Dun from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

The inheritance of these properties required the Royal College of Physicians to keep a record of these lands and among its archive collections there are trust accounts and rentals for the County Waterford properties. It would appear a careful account was kept of the rental incomes and two sets of accounts and rentals for the period 1825-1864 were maintained. As a result, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland has very kindly deposited a set of these accounts and rentals with Waterford City and County Archive in Dungarvan to allow people to access the records in Dungarvan.

However, there were records of these lands also held in Waterford City, where an 1811 survey of the lands was kept. The survey is titled "A Survey of the Estates of King and Queen's College of Physicians of Ireland" and was presented by Arthur Nevill, junior to Doctor Edward Hill, Professor of Physic at Trinity College Dublin.

Archives can sometimes pop up in unexpected places so going exploring in archives can yield unexpected rewards. For more archive explorations check out www.learnaboutarchives.ie, www.iar.ie, or www.exploreyourarchive.org.