The first charter granted to Castlebar by King James I 400 years ago has been translated in full into English for the first time. The task of translating the 1613 grant of incorporation was undertaken as part of a body of research by Noel Campbell for his forthcoming book on local government in Castlebar 1613-2014.
The town’s two charters, dated 1613 and 1689, are believed to have been destroyed in the burning of Four Courts during the Civil War, but after exhausting avenues Mr Campbell sourced full transcripts of both Castlebar charters in the Royal Irish Academy’s (RIA ) headquarters in Dublin. The RIA’s transcripts were compiled from the original charters in the 19th century and provided another challenge for Mr Campbell as they are in shorthand Latin which required a certain expertise to decipher.
The earlier charter established Castlebar as a legal entity in itself and entitled the town to certain benefits. The charter also named Castlebar’s first mayor, John Gardener, and the borough’s first councillors. The translation of the charter was presented to Castlebar’s last mayor Cllr Noreen Heston and the town councillors at the council’s monthly meeting on Thursday September 19 by Mr Campbell. Castlebar Town Council will publish the finished work next year to mark the dissolution of the authority.