Old town records giving fascinating insight into history of Carrickfergus are now available online

Old town records for Carrickfergus are now available to view online thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

A page from the Dobbs records.
A page from the Dobbs records.

The records are an invaluable historical resource for any researcher and having become artefacts in their own right, they possess a fascinating insight into the management of the historic town.

Carrickfergus Museum holds original records dating back to 1765 and due to support from the Lottery fund through the Carrickfergus Townscape Heritage Initiative, some of these records have already been digitised.

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However, there were ‘ancient’ town records that no longer exist, having mysteriously disappeared in the early 1800s.

Fortunately, Richard Dobbs, Dean of Connor and Rector of the Parish of Carrickfergus transcribed them in 1785, describing events from 1569 to 1747, and adding some information on later years.

His efforts are our only way of knowing what the Town Corporation was up to in those days.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the corporation’s primary concern was the defence of the town, the regulation of trade and expenses relating to the corporation.

The Dobbs manuscript made its way to Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in 1936 (catalogue reference number T707/1).

With the agreement of PRONI's Deputy Keeper, J S Logan arranged for Margaret Clarke to make a typescript copy in 1982.

That copy has been recently scanned and digitised and is now hosted on the Carrickfergus Museum website at https://www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/OTR1569