Monday 2 September 2013

RCBL highlights extraordinary commonplace book

The Representative Church Body Library’s ’Archive of the Month’ for September features the commonplace book of the Revd Alexander Lamiliere.

Commonplace books were popular with ladies and gentlemen in Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were a convenient way of recording useful and improving pieces of knowledge such as copies of letters, poems, recipes, excerpts from scripture or prayers. Some were substantial, some were slight but all were unique in reflecting the interests of their creators.

Alexander Lamiliere, the creator of this commonplace book, came from French Huguenot stock. He spent his entire ministry in Cork City, being successively Chancellor of Cork, Vicar of Holy Trinity. Archdeacon of Cork, and Vicar of St Peter’s, between 1774 and his death in 1800. He is buried in St Nicholas’ graveyard.

The contents of his commonplace book include an account of the Lamilliere family, written in French, by Lamilliere’s grandmother who was a member of the de Proisy family, copies of letters written to the Cork newspapers reflecting local concerns, and prayers composed by Lamilliere. The volume is likely to be of interest to those concerned with Irish Huguenot families, the Church of Ireland in the late 18th century, and, especially events in the city of Cork.