Tuesday 1 October 2019

RCBL digitises 'The Parish of Mullingar C13th-C19th'

The RCB Library's Archive of the Month for October focuses on the parish of Mullingar in County Westmeath. In a collaboration with the parish, the Library has digitised a volume entitled a ‘Scrapbook of William Reynell relating to the history of the Parish of Mullingar, 13th – 19th cent.’

It was brought to the Library’s attention by a parishioner and keen local historian, Harry Haskin and has been expertly digitised by Informa. From today, this digital resource can be viewed free online, together with a supporting introductory text by Harry, illustrated by key archives within the volume. It should be of great value to family and local historians and others.

Revd William Reynell’s scrapbook includes his sketch
of Mullingar’s town seal, which bears the chief device
of a ‘mill wheel’. RCBLibrary P336.20.1 pg 18.
Several branches of the Reynell family lived in the Mullingar area for at least three generations before the Revd William Reynell was born in 1836. His great-grandfather Richard married Dorcas, daughter of Robert Cooke of Cookesborough, Co. Westmeath, another well-known family in the Mullingar area.

Further background about the parish’s history is provided in the online presentation. According to Mr Reynell, All Saints’ Church, Mullingar was first referred to in a charter of 1192-1202, which noted that the church had been given to the Augustinian priory of Llanthony Prima in Wales by Simon of Rochford, Bishop of Meath. The link with Llanthony was retained until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540 during the reign of Henry VIII.

The name Molyngar has received various interpretations. Among them, the mill on the left side of the stream, the dumb mill, the red mill and the short mill, but today the accepted translation is the left-handed mill. Mr Reynell’s volume includes his sketch of the town’s seal, now in the National Museum of Ireland, which bears the chief device of a mill wheel.

Additionally the volume contains many other antiquarian notes, sketches, cuttings and transcribed documents, documenting the evolutionary history of the parish and the town, all of which may be viewed in a page-turning viewer on the online exhibition and accompanied by the introductory text.

See the Archive of the Month feature here. Link to the online presentation is at the end.

Further information about Mullingar Union of Parishes is available at www.mullingarunionofparishes.net