Submitted by Nicholas M. Sutton, The Moyne, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland
The Ancient Freedom of Dublin
The ancient Freedom of Dublin was instituted at the time of the Norman Invasion in the late 12th century. Holders of the Freedom were known as "Free Citizens" and were entitled to significant trading privileges and the right to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections.
Admission to the Freedom of Dublin was granted by the Dublin City Assembly at the great feasts of Christmas, Easter, Midsummer and Michaelmas. In order to qualify for the Freedom, it was usually necessary to have been born within the city boundaries, or "franchises," and to be a member of one of the Trade Guilds of Dublin. Members of "the Irish Nation" were excluded, but in practice many people with Irish surnames succeeded in obtaining the Freedom. Under the Penal Laws, Roman Catholics were excluded from the Freedom of Dublin from 1691 to 1793.
There were six main categories of admission to the ancient Freedom of Dublin:
1. Admission by Service (S) was granted to those who completed an apprenticeship in one of the Trade Guilds of Dublin.
2. Admission by Birth (B) was granted to sons, and sometimes daughters, of Free Citizens. Several generations of one family could hold the Freedom Of Dublin, and this makes the surviving Freedom Records important for family history.
3. Admission by Marriage (M) was granted to sons-in-law of Free Citizens and this is also of interest to genealogists.
4. Admission by Fine (F) was confined to prosperous professional men who were required to pay a substantial sum of money into the city treasury. Sometimes the Fine consisted of the presentation of a pair of gloves to the Lady Mayoress.
5. Admission by Grace Especial (G.E.) also known as Special Grace (sp. gr.) was the equivalent of the modern Honorary Freedom, and was reserved for dignitaries and craftsmen who were not in a trade guild.
6. Admission by an Act of Parliament (A.P.) to "Encourage Protestant Strangers to Settle in Ireland" was granted to French Huguenots and Quakers from England.
Under the Representation of the People Act, 1918, the ancient Freedom of Dublin was abolished to make way for a more democratic franchise. Nowadays all inhabitants of the city of Dublin who have reached the age of 18 are entitled to vote in municipal elections.
Lists of those admitted to the ancient Freedom of Dublin survive for the period 1225-1250, 1468-1512 and 1575-1918. These lists may be consulted at Dublin Corporation Archives, City Hall, Dublin 2. A computerized index to the lists is being prepared by the Dublin Heritage Group.
The Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin
The Honorary Freedom of Dublin was instituted under the Municipal Privileges Act, 1876, and is presently conferred under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1991. The founder of the Home Rule Party, Isaac Butt, was the first person to receive the Honorary Freedom of Dublin. Other illustrious recipients include Charles Stewart Parnell, George Bernard Shaw, John Count McCormack, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States of America.
The Honorary Freedom of Dublin is the highest award in the city's gift and is conferred very rarely. The recipient becomes an Honorary Citizen of Dublin and although no financial or other benefits are attached to the award, the prestige which it carries is immense. The conferring is usually marked by a reception in the Mansion House, where a commemorative illuminated scroll is presented to the new Honorary Citizen by the Lord Mayor of Dublin. On the death of an Honorary Citizen, the flags of the city are flown at half-mast as a mark of respect.
Name First Year Assembly Occupation Addr Right Derv Relation Addl Info Sutton David 1596 Mid 1596 Merchant - S.Ro.20 Usher, John Apprentice of Alderman Sutton Walter 1604 Mid 1604 Sword Bearer G.E. - - - - Sutton Lawrence 1620 Chr 1620 Merchant - S. - - - Sutton Robert 1622 Chr 1622 Haberdasher - G.E. - - - Sutton Thomas 1659 Mid 1659 Shoemaker - B. Sutton, Robert Son of ... Haberdasher, deceased Sutton Robert 1660 Mid 1660 Barber - Surgeon F.G.E. - - - Sutton Thomas 1720 East 1720 Goldsmith - S. Golton, Thom. Apprentice of Alderman Sutton Edmund 1724 Mid1724 Chandler - S. - - - Sutton William 1724 Chr 1724 Goldsmith - S. Bolton, Thom. Apprentice of Alderman Sutton John 1727 Mich 1727 Merchant - S.Qr. - - - Sutton George 1729 Mich 1729 Merchant - S. - - - Sutton John 1731 Mich 1731 Tanner - S. - - - Sutton Samuel 1754 Mich 1754 Carpenter - S. - - - Sutton George 1756 Mid 1756 Carpenter - G.E. - - - Sutton George 1764 Chr 1764 Merchant - B. Sutton, George Son of ... - Sutton John 1767 Chr 1767 Merchant - B. Sutton, George Son of ... - Sutton Thomas 1768 East 1768 Merchant - B. Sutton, George Son of ... - Sutton John R.H 1869 16 Jul 1869 - 22 Harcourt St B. Sutton, Frederick Son of... Sutton Frederick O. 1882 19 Jul 1882 - 22 Harcourt St B. Sutton, Frederick Son of ... - Sutton Charles James Edward 1884 18 Jul 1884 - 22 Harcourt St B. Sutton, Frederick Son of ... - Sutton George 1780 Mich 1780 Merchant - S. - - F.B. Mid 1780 Sutton Joseph 1789 Mich 1789 Carpenter - S. - - - Sutton Thomas 1797 East 1797 Merchant - B. - - F.B. Chr 1797 Sutton George 1797 East 1797 Merchant - B. - - F.B. Chr 1797 Sutton George 1806 Mich 1806 Carpenter - G.E. - - - Sutton James 1807 Chr 1807 Merchant - B. - - - Sutton Robert 1831 East 1831 Merchant - B. - - F.B. Mid 1820 Sutton Frederick 1835 Chr 1835 Merchant - B. - - F.B. 25 Jul 1835
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Last modified: November 22, 1995