Taney Parish

The Parish of Taney is a populous parish in the Church of Ireland, located in the Dundrum area of Dublin.

This article includes a list of general references, but it remains largely unverified because it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. (November 2020)
Christ Church, the main Parish Church

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Taney’s origins go back to the early Irish saint Nathi, who in the 6th century established a centre for monastic life. This centre may have been on what is now the site of St. Nahi’s Church in Dundrum. The derivation of the parish name, Taney, suggests that it derives from the Irish Teach Nahi or Nahi’s house. Another possible source is Tamhnach, meaning a green field or arable spot. While there are no details available, there seems little doubt that religious worship was taking place here for some considerable time before the Anglo-Norman Invasion of 1169-1171, which made use of a Papal Bull asserting Rome’s rights to all islands off the coast of Europe. The Rural See (seat of a Rural Bishop) of Taney is mentioned in a report of Cardinal Paparo in 1152. The next record is as “the Deanery of Tanhy” in a taxation list sent from Rome to the Diocese of Dublin.

When Henry II granted Leinster to Strongbow, Tacheny was one of two areas held back, being allocated to Hugh de Clahull, who later passed his Dublin lands to the Archbishop of Dublin. In a Papal Bull of 1179, there is a reference to “the middle place of Tighney” (annotated in the Liber Niger of a later Archbishop, Alen, as “alias Tawney”), with a church and three subsidiary chapels (at Donnybrook, Kilgobbin and Rathfarnham).

In 1235, the Rural Dean of Taney was J. Matthew. Archbishop Luke (1228–1255) established Taney as a prebend of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and until 1851, the Archdeacons of Dublin held the Prebendary and the post of Rector of Taney, and the parish was chiefly overseen by curates-in-charge.

At some point between the separation between Henry VIII and Rome and the reign of Elizabeth I, the parish became part of the State Church. The Roman Catholic heritage of the district eventually became part of a Union Parish, overseen from Booterstown (the Church of Ireland parish also spent much of the ensuing centuries as part of a Union, that of St. Peter’s in the south inner city). In a reference of 1546, there is mention of Taney Rectory, and annual rentals totalling 19 pounds, which formed the salary of the resident curate. By 1615, Archbishop Thomas Jones reported in a royal visitation record that there was a resident curate, Robert Pont (also taking services in Donnybrook and Rathfarnham), that the “Church and Chancel” (of St. Nahi) were in good repair, and that prayer books were available.

By 1630, when Richard Prescott became curate, the rentals had risen in value to 100 pounds a year but Archbishop Bulkeley reported in that year that the church was in poor condition and that there were only two attending householders (most of the local population still adhered to the Roman Catholic Church). The next curate was John Sankey, also responsible for Donnybrook, Rathfarnham, Kilgobbin, Cruagh and Whitechurch.

In 1753, one A. Archball became curate, moving from service in Howth and Kilbarrack, and Jeremy Walsh took office in 1758, supervising the rebuilding of Taney Church in 1760, as attested to by a chalice still held there, presented by Archdeacon Isaac Mann. The new building was consecrated on 8 June of that year.

Walsh was succeeded by William Dwyer (1787) and Matthew Campbell (1787–1814). The parish school appears to have been started during Reverend Campbell’s time, with references found to “the Charity School of Tanee” back to 1890. There is also reference to a George Horan as curate in 1792, possibly the first of a number of Curates Assistant. The earliest original parish records, deposited in the Library of the Representative Church Body,[1] and dating back to 1791, are useful for determining the population and activities of the parish over time.

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