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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Mansion House honours original owner... with sugar

Tara Whitley (direct descendant of Joshua Dawson), Lady Moira Moyola, widow of Joshua Dawson’s direct descendant, Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke and Mary Clarke, city archivist.
Tara Whitley (direct descendant of Joshua Dawson), Lady Moira Moyola, widow of Joshua Dawson’s direct descendant, Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke and Mary Clarke, city archivist.

IT is 300 years since the residence of Dublin’s Lord Mayor was sold by its original owner to the city.

Joshua Dawson (inset), who also lends his name to the famous Dublin street on which the Mansion House stands, sold the residence back in 1715.

Relatives of the famed merchant were honoured at the site of their ancestor’s original home by current Lord Mayor Christy Burke yesterday.

Lady Moyola, the widow of direct descendant Major James Dawson Chichester-Clark and her daughter Tara Whitley were presented with a loaf of double refined sugar, a condition of the original sale that occurred 300 years ago.

Sugar was a luxury item at the time, which meant that this was a substantial request; however, neither Dawson nor his family ever asked for the sugarloaf in the end.

The original 300-year-old deed of sale was also on special display at the Mansion House along with a copy of a portrait of Joshua Dawson and a silver cup he owned at the time of sale.

Direct ancestor Tara Whitley said it was “a very special day” and that she was “honoured” to celebrate the memory of her famous ancestor.

Joshua Dawson was one of the first people to realise that Dublin had the potential to expand eastwards of its medieval core, and, in 1705, he purchased a tract of land from Henry Temple to the east of Grafton Street, which was described on a map dated 1685 as “a piece of marshy land without even a lane crossing it”.

This land is now where the Mansion House stands.

In 1715, he sold it to the then-named Dublin Corporation for £3,500 in addition to an annual rent of 40 shillings and an agreement to provide two fat male hens and a loaf of double refined sugar weighing six pounds at Christmas.

In return, he agreed to build on an extra room which could be used for civic receptions, and which is still used for this purpose today.

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