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Burials in the Cathedral

May 26, 2016  Posted in: Cathedral History

.From churchmen to soldiers, lawyers to writers, people have been buried in the Cathedral since the 13th century.

Since its foundation in the 13th Century, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral has been a burial ground. Today, it is estimated that there are between 600 and 700 people buried, either in the building itself or in the grounds. Unfortunately, burials which occurred before the 17th century are often undocumented. It is therefore difficult to estimate how many, or indeed, where, people were buried. It was considered very prestigious to be buried within the Cathedral or its grounds, with burials usually reserved for members of the nobility or high-ranking clergy.

Saint Patrick’s does not have a crypt dedicated to burials owing to the high water table underneath the Cathedral. However, burials within the building can be located inside the walls or, more frequently, under the floor. There is also a graveyard in the grounds of the Cathedral.

The earliest known burial on site is that of Archbishop Fulk De Sandford who was buried in the North Choir Aisle in 1271. The last burial to take place within the building was in 1840 when Henry Richard Dawson, Dean of the Cathedral, was buried beneath the floor at the west end of the nave. A brass plaque can still be seen in the floor marking this spot.

Cathedral registers from 1677 up to the current day list every person to have been buried, baptised or married in the building.

Some of the more famous burials in the Cathedral include;

John de Sandford: Archbishop of Dublin, Dean of the Cathedral (1294)
Richard Talbot: Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Chancellor of Ireland and founder of Cathedral Choir School (1449)
Adam Loftus: first Provost of Trinity College, Dean of the Cathedral (1605)
Thomas Jones: Archbishop of Dublin, Dean of the Cathedral (1619)
Duke of Schomberg: killed at the Battle of the Boyne (1690)
Adam Loftus: grandson of Dean Loftus, killed at the Siege of Limerick (1691)
Narcissus Marsh: founded Ireland’s first library, Archbishop of Dublin (1713)
Jonathan Swift: satirist, poet, author, Dean of the Cathedral (1745)
Henry Dawson: Dean of the Cathedral (1840)

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