William de Rodyard

William de Rodyard ( died c. 1349 ) was a judge and cleric in fourteenth-century Ireland. He held office as Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas and Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral. He is perhaps most notable as the first Chancellor of the Medieval University of Dublin, (which is not to be confused with Trinity College, Dublin).


Little is known of his background or his early life, although his name may suggest that his family had a connection with Rudyard, Staffordshire. He is first heard of in Dublin in 1307 as Treasurer of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin;[1] he was elected Dean of St Patrick's in 1312 [2]and apparently served in that capacity until his elevation to the Bench in 1329.

He became a Doctor of Civil Law in 1320. In 1325 he was sent to Kilkenny to sit as one of the judges at the trial of the celebrated Witch of Kilkenny, Alice Kyteler.[3] He became Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas in 1329, but served for only two years. He was dead by 1349.[4]

Medieval University of Dublin

Main article: Medieval University of Dublin

Pope Clement V issued a Papal Bull in 1311 for the foundation of a University in Dublin, but the project was hampered from the beginning by inadequate funds, and the University did not actually open until 1320.[5] From the beginning it was closely associated with St Patrick's Cathedral, and de Rodyard, as Dean of St. Patrick's, was an obvious choice as the first Chancellor. Although a number of Chairs were endowed, the University, for lack of proper support, never flourished, and it was suppressed at the Reformation.[6]


  1. Ball F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.1 p. 69
  2. Ball p.69
  3. Ball p.69
  4. Ball p.69
  5. Cardinal Newman "The Ancient University of Dublin" in The Rise and Progress of Universities (1872) pp.207-212.
  6. Newman pp.207-212
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