County Louth Assizes

1775 - 1810




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Index to the County Louth assizes 1775-1810




These abstracts are taken from The Freeman's Journal, copies of which were researched on microfilm in the National Library of Ireland, on microfilm in the Library of University College Dublin (over one long summer) and lately added to, from the website of the Irish Newspaper Archives Ltd.



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County Louth Assizes

1775 - 1810


The Freeman’s Journal




Freeman's Journal

28 Mar 1775

Saturday last the assizes of Dundalk ended, where three several records of Nisi Prius, for non-payment of rent, were tried before the Hon. Mr. Justice Robinson, and a very respectable Jury, wherein Ephraim Stannus, Esq., was plaintiff, and William Sturgeon, Esq., was defendant, when, after a full hearing, three several verdicts were given for the plaintiff, with cost of suits. Dundalk March 27, 1775

Freeman's Journal

03 Sep 1776
Extract of a letter from Dundalk, dated August 31, 1776
This day came on before the Hon. Mr. Justice Tenison and a most respectable jury the trial of Daniel McNeale, Neale McNeale, John Eastwood and George Murdock, for the supposed murder of Matthew Warren, on the 1st of July last; when after a hearing of upwards of seven hours, they were most honourably acquitted, to the entire satisfaction of the court and country. The jury did not take three minutes to return their verdict. The counsel for the prisoners examined only four witnesses in order to show where the riot on that particular day began, and the occasion of it; the innocence of the young gentleman having fully appeared from the testimony of the witnesses produced on the part of the crown.

Freeman's Journal

13 Apr 1784
At the late assizes for the county of Louth, Mathew Doran, and James McMahon, were tried and found guilty of robbing the servant of Mr. Leigh, of Termanfecken, in the county of Louth, and were sentenced to be executed at Dundalk on Monday last - Doran was a daring offender, and was taken in the county Monaghan, after a pursuit of some hours, and lodged in Dundalk gaol by Norman Steel, esq; with a party of the Farney volunteers, whose alacrity and spirit on this occasion cannot be sufficiently commended and to whom the grand jury of the county of Louth returned thanks for the great service thereby tendered to the police of that county. On the information of Doran, two men were apprehended near Ardee, and committed to gaol, charged with the murder of Richard Dawson, esq., of that place, some considerable time since, the perpetrators of which inhuman act had remained undiscovered, notwithstanding the considerable reward then offered to bring them to justice.

Freeman's Journal

10 Mar 1785
Drogheda, March 8
Yesterday at the general assizes for the county of the town of Drogheda, held at the Tholsel, before the Hon. Baron Power, and the Hon. Justice Hallen, the following persons were tried and found guilty, viz.

James McMahon, for stealing a shirt, value six-pence, the property of Mrs. Coddigton, to be whipped on Saturday next, and to give bail for his good behaviour for one year.
Mary Casey, for stealing two purses, which contained about 6l. the property of Mr. Lahy, her late master, to be hanged.
John Turnbull, for counterfeiting his Majesty's coin, was found guilty, and received sentence of death, but was recommended by the jury as an object of mercy.
William Duff, a soldier belonging tot he 5th regiment, for assaulting Marks Murray, on the bridge of this town, was found guilty, and received sentence to be transported.
Several others were tried for various offences, and acquitted.
This day the Judges proceeded on their circuit for Dundalk.



Freeman's Journal

05 Apr 1788 

The following persons were severally tried before the Hon. Baron Power and the Hon. Mr. Serjeant Toler, Lords Justices of Assize for the North East Circuit of Ulster:

County of Louth – Dundalk

Patrick Gaffney, to be executed on the 21st of April, for stealing a mare.

Freeman's Journal

17 Jul 1788
At the assizes of Dundalk, which ended on Wednesday last, the 17th instant, the following persons were tried, viz. James Byrne, for robbing the mail on the 27th of February last, at Barronstown, between Dunleer and Drogheda, was convicted, and received sentence to be executed on Monday next the 21st instant.
Patrick Rooney, for the same crime, pleaded guilty, but it appeared that through his means the post-boy's life was preserved, and from some other circumstances in his favour, he was ordered for execution on the first day of November next.
Francis Smith, otherwise Cullen, (whose trial had been put off last Lent assizes by the crown), was acquitted of the same robbery, and William Connolly, John Toole, and Michael Doran, who also stood indicted for the above robbery, and had been transmitted from Drogheda to Dundalk, at the last Lent assizes, were discharged by proclamation.
James Doran, indicted for an assault, pleaded guilty, and was fined sixpence: and Daniel McCollister, convicted for a similar offence, was sentenced to be imprisoned a fortnight.
Michael Morgan, John Read, Anthony Malone, John Kennedy, George Byrne, and Bernard Egan, otherwise Dublin, charged with several felonies; and Charles Keogh, Bernard Byrne, John Dowdall, Christopher Burkell, Nicholas Burkell and Hugh Cary, indicted for several assaults, were all acquitted.

Freeman's Journal

04 Aug 1789
In the Crown Court, the following persons were tried before the Hon. Mr. Baron Hamilton: Bernard Egan, (commonly known as the nickname of Dublin) indicted for robbing the dwelling house of Martin Hoey of various articles of wearing apparel, found guilty to the value of two shillings - to be transported.
Same Bernard Egan, indicted for robbing the dwelling house of James Carroll of many articles of wearing apparel - acquitted.
James Devling, indicted for stealing articles belonging to cars and ploughs, the property of David Atkinson - acquitted.
James Miller, and John Lawson, presented by the Grand Jury as idle vagabonds, found guilty - to be transported.
John Murragh, James Murragh, and John Moran, for taking a forcible possession of the dwelling house in the possession of Laurence Hoey - acquitted.
James Kearon, Peter Carroll, for assaulting Bridget Lamb, and Patrick Lamb - acquitted.
Mathew Lorinan, Joseph Gray, John Pepper, John Barran and Edward Lorinan, for assaulting Thomas Garten - acquitted.
Mary Toole, indicted for privately stealing a guinea from the person of James Develin, and on the trial it came out to be what he agreed with her for a certain bargain - acquitted.
Francis Deane, and Nicholas Kearney, indicted for coining, the evidence for the Crown could not support the indictment - acquitted, but to give bail.
Same persons, indicted for assaulting Owen Cassidy - acquitted
William Fitzsimons, for stealing tallow, the property of Henry Manning - acquitted.
John McLaughlin, for assaulting Thomas Gribbs - acquitted
Richard Wallace, and Henry Wallace, for cow stealing, the property of James Brickle; Richard Wallace was found guilty - received sentence to be hanged. Henry Wallace acquitted.
Bernard McKinley, indicted for assaulting Miss Elizabeth Neill, with an intent to commit a rape, found guilty - and sentenced to be transported.
Michael Rogers (being a servant to Edward Hoey, of Castlebellingham) indicted for embezzling the sum of 6L. 15d 1½d the property of his said master - acquitted.
N.B. The Jury who were sworn on the trial of Murphy of Trim, were enclosed from Saturday evening until Monday morning, when they were brought to the verge of the county, and there discharged, as they had not agreed to any verdict.

Freeman's Journal

13 Apr 1790
The assizes for Dundalk ended the 12th of April instant, when the following persons were tried and found guilty before the Hon. Baron Power.
Patrick McParland, found guilty on the chalking act, but being recommended by both Grand and Petit Juries, judgment of execution was respited till further orders.
Grace Graham, Francis Finigan and Mary Finigan, for persuading Patrick Callon, and James Carragher to steal flour from their masters, fined each one mark, and imprisoned one month.
James Moore, for rescuing from custody John Bolton, who was arrested by virtue of a warrant under the hand and seal of the Right Hon. John Foster, for felony, but on Mr. Foster's humanely recommending him, the Judge only imprisoned him a fortnight, and ordered him to give good security for his behaviour for seven years.
Thomas Morgan, presented by the Grand Jury as a vagabond, (he being acquitted of several felonies) to be transported for seven years.
The following persons were acquitted: James Durnin, Peter Murphy, Margaret Maguire, Peter Woods, Daniel Kelly and James Moore, for felony.
Patrick Ward, for a riot.

Freeman's Journal

07 May 1791
William Barnwell, John Hitchcock, Daniel Hitchcock, for procuring a person unlawfully murder John Pentland, at Drogheda, on the [?] of February last. - Trial put off to the next assizes by the Crown, and said persons admitted to bail. [See 19 April 1792 below]
Robert Young, for taking out of the shop of Bridget Markey, six silk handkerchiefs, value [?] - to be transported for seven years.
Patrick Tierney, for assaulting Mr. Aungrim the assizes day at Drogheda - to be imprisoned [?] months and fined 20 marks.
James Keating, for assaulting James H[?] at Drogheda, on the 19th April last - fined [?]mark and imprisoned one month.
Same Keating, for assaulting Owen G[?], like punishment, after term of first sentence expires.
Elizabeth Reilly, Mary McDaniel, J[?] Murray, Peter Carroll, Thady Smith, Henry Reynolds - acquitted of various offences.

Freeman's Journal

18 Aug 1791
On the 17th inst. the assizes here, which was held before the Right Hon. Mr. Justice Kelly, when the following persons were tried: - John Donaldson, a Preventing-officer of his Majesty's Revenue, was indicted for the murder of Thomas Martin, a boy under the age of fourteen years.
On the prosecution it appeared in evidence that the prisoner having received information, that a quantity of smuggled goods were at the port of Dundalk, he the prisoner called upon a party of the the army, for his assistance; and on his way to the shore or strand of Dundalk, he was set upon and hooted at, by a number of small boys, who called him nick names - that the prisoner being enraged at such conduct, his passion overpowered his reason, and the result was, that he gave orders to the soldiers who accompanied him to fire, in consequence of which the deceased received a shot in the thigh of which he died.
The jury acquitted him of the murder, but found him guilty of manslaughter at large. The learned judge sentenced him to be burned in the hand and imprisoned for three months.
Patrick Carrol indicted for burglariously breaking open and entering a house in Dundalk - found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged on Monday the 14th November next.
Thomas McConwell and John Gregory, were indicted for the same burglary - acquitted.
John Kane was indicted for a felony at large - found guilty, and sentenced to be transported pursuant to the statute.
Ferdinanad McAlevy was indicted for assaulting James Hare - found guilty, and received sentence to be imprisoned for three months, and to give security for his good behaviour for three years.
It appeared in evidence on the trial of the traverser, McAlevy, that he is one of the desperate gang called "defenders, or tongue cutters", who have so long been a terror to the peaceable inhabitants of this county; and that he was tried and acquitted at Armagh the last Assizes, for a similar offence in company with many others of his desperate Associates.
Francis Bellew was indicted for committing a rape upon Anne Ward, and for a rescue - acquitted.

Freeman's Journal

19 Apr 1792
The King against William Barnwell, John Hitchcock, and Dan. Hitchcock.
That they, on the 21st of January, 1791, at Shop-street, in the county of the town of Drogheda, did wickedly and maliciously combine, together with several persons, to effect and procure the death and murder of John Pentland, and did there wickedly urge, encourage, advise and solicit one John Wall, to kill and murder the said John Pentland, and that he did wickedly urge, encourage, advise and solicit, by the offer of a reward in money, the said John Wall, to kill and murder the said John Pentland, by shooting him; and that they did wickedly advise, encourage, solicit and tempt, by the offer of fifty guineas as a reward, the said John Wall, to kill and murder the said John Pentland, by shooting him; and that they did wickedly invite and solicit the same John Wall, to kill and murder the said John Pentland, and did there propose to the said John Wall, that the said Daniel Hitchcock would hand over and pay unto him, the said John Wall, fifty guineas, if he, the said John Wall, would shoot the said John Pentland, contrary to the peace of the Lord the King, his Crown and dignity.
John Wall, the first witness for the Crown, proved, that about the time mentioned in the indictment, he worked as a labourer with William Leggat, at the Cross of Balgee, in the County of Dublin, and was about that time called on by the traverser, William Barnwall, who told him he had material business with him, but could not disclose it till he came to the house of John Hitchcock, of Gilbertstown; but upon their arrival there he was told he must go to Daniel Hitchcock's, Drogheda, (brother of the said John) where he would be informed of the business; accordingly he went with Barnwall to Drogheda, and on their leaving Gilbertstoen, the traverser, John Hitchcock, called after Barnwall, and desired him, to be sure to hit his mark before his return. On Wall and Barnwall's arrival in Drogheda, they went to the house of the traverser, Daniel Hitchcock, (who was till then a stranger to Wall) and having at some time in the parlour of Daniel Hitchcock, drinking punch, in company with him, William Barnwall, and a man with askew eye, the said William Barnwall told him that John Pentland, a revenue officer, had greatly injured the said Daniel Hitchcock, having made several seizures on him, And that it would be an easy matter to get shut of him, as there was no watch in Drogheda; that fifty guineas were then counted down to him on a table, which he was to get if he would shoot said John Pentland; and Daniel Hitchcock told him he would go with him into a narrow lane, (Bessexwell-lane) where Pentland had a stable, and that after he was shot, they could throw a gun over a wall which he, D.H. would point out, and so pass through the lane, and no one would be the wiser; and that he had provided a Queen Anne's musket, charged with swan shot, and that it would be easy to do the deed any night from nine till eleven, as Pentland often went to open the stable about those hours. Upon this proposal, Wall asked if that was the business for which he was brought to Drogheda, and peremptorily refused to be concerned in it, and immediately left the house and went back to Leggat's house, where he immediately communicated the transaction to Leggat, as also to several other persons, and in a few days afterwards, he left Leggat's, and went to Dunleary, where he continued till he was apprehended after Pentland had been shot.
William Leggat, who was mentioned by the last witness, proved, that the traverser, Barnwall, had called on Wall about the time mentioned by Wall, and that they both went off towards Drogheda together; he also proved, that on Wall's return, on the 3d day after, he questioned him as to the business that had brought him away, and observed, he believed it was not on a good errand. Wall replied it was not on a good errand, if, he would do it, and then told Leggat all that had happened, nearly as he before related. Leggat then said, that fearing he might be brought into trouble, he parted with Wall; and he also proved, that, he told what Wall had so related to a Mr. Knox, who lived in his neighbourhood, and requested Knox's advice, as to what should be done to prevent such a barbarous act from being committed, and in consequence an anonymous letter was written to Pentland, desiring him to be on his guard as his life was conspired against. Mr Knox proved Leggat's communicating the business to him, and that he in consequence wrote the letter above-mentioned to Pentland.
A brother of the deceased Pentland's was now produced, and proved the death of Pentland; that he was shot with swan shot in Bessexwell-lane, coming from his stable, in about six weeks after the transaction of which was had given the account. John Claudius Beresford, Esq; proved, that after the death of Pentland, he went to Drogheda to apprehend Daniel Hitchcock, by virtue of a warrant from the Right Hon. Lord Viscount Clonmel, and he found Daniel Hitchcock in bed in his own house about eight o'clock in the morning, and desired him to get up and come with him, telling him he had a warrant against him from Lord Clonmel, upon which D.H. said he could give bail to any amount, but upon Mr. Beresford telling him he could not take bail, D.H. said "It was very hard he should be taken for the murder of Pentland, when he was in company with some of the first people in Drogheda at the time the fact was committed." - These words, Mr. Beresford said, were made use of by the traverser, D.H. before he, Mr. Beresford, intimated, on the nature of the warrant; and Mr. Beresford said he conceived it as a self conviction.
Dr. Fairtclough, who accompanied Mr. Beresford to the house of Daniel Hitchcock, corroborated Mr. Beresford in his relation of the circumstances attending the arrest, and the words made use of by the traverser, D.H.
It appeared, as well on the direct as cross-examination, that Pentland, the deceased, had made some seizures on Daniel Hitchcock, as well as on several other persons in Drogheda.
Here the prosecution closed, and Counsel for the defence having mentioned that they would produce witnesses to shew the bad character of Wall, and that he was not to be believed on his oath.
Mr. Beresford, Counsel for the Commissioners of the Revenue, said he would save them that trouble; that he would admit that Wall was as infamous, and as bad a man as the Counsel, on the other side could wish to make him appear, as the more infamous Wall was, the more probable it was he should be applied to for a purpose of this nature.
In the defence, Counsel produced William Dillon, Esq., of the county of Meath, who swore that Wall was not a person to be believed upon his oath, and also that William Leggat was not to be believed upon his oath.
Mr. Dillon, on cross-examination, said that Wall was a riotous, quarrelsome, drunken man, and would beat any man for payment, or a belly full of whiskey; and he also admitted, that on a former trial relative to this business, where Mr. Dillon was also produced, he did not say any thing derogatory to the character or credit of Leggat.
Andrew Walsh, Esq; was also produced to the character of Wall, and proved him to be of bad character, as did some other gentlemen; and, Alexander Brown, of Dunleary, swore that Wall, very shortly before, had told him that he had never seen or did he know Daniel Hitchcock.
Here the evidence on both sides closed, and the Hon. Baron Power, with that perspicuity and clearness for which he is conspicuous, repeated the material parts of the evidence, accompanied with strong and pertinent remarks; and the Jury having retired, brought a verdict guilty, against all.
On Tuesday Morning, Baron Power came into Court before nine o'clock, and the traversers being called to the bar, they protested their innocence, and said that fine or imprisonment would absolutely ruin them, as they had families depending on their industry for support. The Baron then addressed them in a learned and elegant speech, in which he said, that as long as he had the honour of carrying his Majesty's commission, he never had the pain of experiencing a conviction of a similar nature with the present. The common law, he said, looked upon such abominable crime as next to impossible to be committed, and did not appoint any specific punishment, nor did the statute law take notice of it, and therefore it came under the general head of misdemeanours. He lamented, that it fell to him to annex a punishment to a crime in which no punishment (that he could in law inflict) would be adequate; as to a fine, he said, the noble and truly learned Lord who presided at the former assizes, (Lord Carleton), in measuring the bail for their appearance, had in some measure for what they ought to forfeit to the public in case they did not appear to take their trial, and therefore he could not impose a less fine that 200l. each, (which was the recognizance upon them) and an imprisonment of twelve months, which the law prescribed in cases of manslaughter, which fell far short of the present crime in iniquity, several of the less heinous nature having been by statute made capital.

Counsel for the prosecution - Marcus Beresford, Robert Johnton, William Saurin and Alexander Hamilton, Esrs.
Agent - George Pentland
Counsel for the treversers - Richard Sheridan, Richard Mayne, Francis Dobbs, and - Ewing, Esqrs
Agents - James Metcalf and Garret Byrne



Freeman’s Journal

12 March 1793

‘Dundalk Assizes commenced yesterday. A number of those infatuated wretches, called Defenders, are to be tried.

The Right Hon. the Speaker left town on Sunday morning, to be present at the assizes in Dundalk, where he is obliged to attend.’

‘A rescue of the Defenders to be tried in Dundalk being spoken of, a reinforcement of military from Drogheda was sent hither, whom those that marched from our barracks on Sunday morning are to replace.’



Freeman’s Journal

16 March 1793

Extract of a letter from Dundalk, March 14.

"At the assizes, yesterday, the Crown Court did not break up till seven o’clock at night. – Judge Boyd and Downes presided on the bench alternately, relieving each other in the fatigue of the business.

Three of the wretches called Defenders were capitally convicted before the first mentioned Justice, and two more before the latter. One of those found guilty before Judge Boyd, Peter McBride, was executed at eight o’clock last night, having went from the Court to the gallows, and the other two next day.

Those convicted before Mr. Justice Downes are not yet sentenced. At the beginning of the assizes, there were to be tried 120 persons, most of whom were Defenders.

It is imagined business will not terminate here until next week. The Judges have been so wearied, that they were obliged to write to the Lord Chancellor for aid upon the bench; in consequence of which, Counsellor Caldbeck arrived here yesterday with a commission of association, which was opened accordingly, this day, and six of the Defenders capitally convicted before him.

Yesterday, a bill of indictment was found against Napper Tandy, for dispersing about here a libellous paper called Common Sense, at the time the Rt. Hon. Speaker’s warrant was issued against him from the House of Commons. A special messenger set off from hence yesterday, with a Judges warrant, to bring him down here."’



Freeman’s Journal

18 Mar 1793

DROGHEDA, March 16

Monday, the Hon. Mr. Justice Boyde, and the Hon. Mr. Justice Downes, opened their respective Courts, swore the Grand Jury, and adjourned without proceeding on any material business till next day.

Wednesday, Peter McBride, Thomas Dowdall, and James Flinn, were tried under the Whiteboy Act, for entering Lord Clermont’s house, near Dundalk, and taking firearms thereout; they were capitally convicted, and received sentence of death. The trial was not over till near seven o’clock, and McBride was executed at nine. Dowdall and Flinn were ordered for execution on Thursday; When these unfortunate men were brought out in order to be executed, Flinn solemnly declared Dowdall innocent of the robbery, and through he humane interference of the Right Hon. The Speaker, he was respited.

George McDaniel, found guilty of administering the Defenders’ oath, ordered to be transported for life.

Bryan Smith, Charles McArdle, John Kirk, Bryan McClerney, and Mathew Gregory, were found guilty before Counsellor Caldbeck, under the Whiteboy Act, and received sentences of death; also, Arthur Boyle, Pat. Bollard, and Laurence Halfpenny, found guilty of robbing the house of Mr. Cobourne of fire-arms, received sentence of death, and ordered for immediate execution.

Friday, Thomas Rath, Samuel Slator, John Dungan, were tried for robbing his Majesty’s mail, near Flurry-bridge; Rath pleaded guilty; Slator and Dungan were capitally convicted on the evidence of James Devitt and – Quin, who were admitted approvers on the part of the Crown.

Same day twenty-one men were tried for administering unlawful oaths, fifteen of whom were convicted and sentenced to be transported for seven years.

The Court was sitting at seven o’clock on the trial of John Gilmor, Thomas Keean, and John Cunningham, for robbing John Flanagan, near this town, on the 23rd of February last.



Freeman's Journal

21 March 1793

A few mornings since a man was discovered by the coachman of one of the mail carriages, about a mile beyond Dundalk, lying murdered in a ditch. The perpetrators of this horrid deed acted with unusual barbarity, the unfortunate person having received three stabs in the belly, one in the breast, a wound over one of the eyes, an hand cut through, and, as a finishing stroke of savage inhumanity, his head nearly severed from  his body. A broken stick, with a carved head, was found near his mangled remains.

It is conjectured by the passengers in the coach that the ill-fated man was a steward, going from Drogheda to Dunleer, and being suspected to have received cash in the former place, was attacked and robbed by some merciless villains. He was of robust make, and seemed near fifty years of age.

Mr. McGuire, an inhabitant of this city [Dublin], one of the passengers, endeavoured to trace the murderers, (who appeased to have committed the cruel business a short time only before the arrival of the coach), but without the wished for success.


On the evening of the 16th instant, sixteen unfortunate men received sentence of death at Dundalk, we understand they are to be executed on the 25th instant, and 25th of April next. Upwards of twenty were sentenced for transportation; the greater number of whom are to be transported for seven years, for taking the Defenders' oath, and others for life, for administering the oath.- The assizes were adjourned to Thursday the 11th of April next, then to sit for the dispatch of business.



Freeman’s Journal

23 March 1793


Many erroneous fragments of the business transacted at the above mentioned assizes having appeared in some of the Dublin newspapers, we think it necessary to give the following particulars which may be depended upon as a true statement of the proceedings.

Arthur Boyle, found guilty of a burglary and felony in the house of Elizabeth McNeal, of Ballagan – to be hanged on the 22d of April.

A great number of Defenders, indicted in said burglary, are not yet taken.

John Gilmer, Thomas Keenan, and Pat Conyngham, (all Defenders) found guilty of highway robbery, on John Flanagan – to be executed on the 1st of April.

James Plunket, found guilty of a burglary in the house of Charles Cravan, Esq: - also, found guilty of three other capital felonies under the Whiteboy act – to be executed the 22d of April.

Thomas Dowdall, James Flinn, and Peter McBride, for a burglary in the house of Lord Clermont, and several other capital felonies; Peter McBride was hanged on the 14th instant, being the day he was found guilty, and the other two were ordered to be hanged the next day; but at the gallows, Dowdall confessed he did not go into the house at the time of the robbery, and the Speaker seeing he was very young, humanely interfered with the Judges, and had him respited. – Flinn was hanged.

Bryan Smith, Philip McArdle, Bryan McElerny and Mathew Gregory, found guilty of several felonies, under the Whiteboy act – to be hanged on the 1st of April.

John Kirk, found guilty for said felonies – to be hanged on the 12d of April.

Patrick Bollard, for several felonies, under said act – to be hanged the 25th of March.

Laurence Halfpenny, found guilty with him for said felonies – to be hanged on the 22d of April.

Samuel Slator, John Dungan, and Thomas Reath, for robbing the mail at Flury-bridge, county Louth, of eleven bags of letters; Reath pleaded guilty; the trials of the other two lasted the whole of the day – all to be hanged on the 25th of March.

Arthur Hagan, for assuming the name of Defender – to be publicly whipped through the town of Carlingford, and give security of his good behaviour for seven years.

George McDaniel, found guilty of administering the following oath to one Peter Mathews, ‘that he should be true to his brothers; be true to his Captain or Committee; never to defraud them, and to be ready at all calls to assist them,’ – to be transported for life.

Peter Mathews, Thomas Mathews, Peter Markey, William Taaffe, Henry Rider, William Johnston, Terence Lee, Francis Connor, James Mathews, William Hughes, James Murphy, Thomas Foggy, James Hinds, Pat Hoey, Thomas Coffey, all found guilty of taking the above oath, and ordered to be transported for seven years.

Five others were acquitted of taking the oath.

Laurence Harvey, found guilty of a most wilful perjury, whereby three persons escaped for murder – to be twice pillored, imprisoned three months, and afterwards transported for seven years.

Christopher Nugent, Stephen McGuigan, Thomas Finegan, Arthur Hagan, James Cravan, Edward McArdle, Bryan McArdle, Peter Crilly, Michael McCabe, Pat Wall, Barny Grimes, James Byrne, Pat Mathews, and Laurence Quigly – all acquitted of offences under the Whiteboy act.

All the prosecutions were carried on by the Crown, in which the Attorney and Solicitor Generals were indefatigable, and their conduct distinguished with great humanity.

There are a great number of persons yet untried, and the Judges have adjourned to the 11th of April, to finish the rest of the business.

The candour and impartiality of Mr. Justice Downes on the Bench are highly applauded. Mr. Caldbeck proceeds from Downpatrick of finish the business, during which, as a Judge, he has experienced the severity of very long sittings, from nine in the morning till ten at night, which he bore with laudable patience.’



Freeman’s Journal

30 March 1793


‘Monday, Samuel Slater and John Dungan were executed in Dundalk, pursuant to their sentence, for robbing his Majesty’s mail, near Flury-bridge: they were launched into eternity about four o’clock, and behaved in a manner truly penitent – also, Patrick Ballard, for robbing the home of Mr. Bailly, near Dundalk – Laurence Halfpenny, who was concerned with Ballard, in the above robbery was respited.

A respite for ten days was obtained for Thomas Reath, on of the parties in the mail robbery.’ [See Dundalk Assizes 23 March 1793]



Freeman’s Journal

13 April 1793

DUNDALK, April 11

‘This day, the judges sat here pursuant to adjournment, and proceeded to business, when James Napper Tandy was called to take his trial for publishing a libel, signed ‘Common Sense’, and he not appearing his recognizance was effected, and those of his bail, Mr. Arnold, of Usher’s-quay, silk manufacturer, and another person.

Pat Byrne, of Dundalk, Gent, who submitted to the indictment for said libel, has not yet received sentence.

Thomas Kirk, found guilty this day of taking the Defenders oath – is to be transported for seven years.’



Dublin Chronicle

18 April 1793

[ex. JCLAHS 1931, p.434]


Sentence of death was pronounced last Saturday at Dundalk on Twenty-one Defenders

Twenty-five Defenders were sentenced to be transported, and to be imprisoned for 18 months, for conspiracy to murder Mr. John Morgan.

Six were sentenced to be imprisoned for other offences.

Arthur Hagan and Patrick Munthirtrick were sentenced to two years' imprisonment for conspiracy to murder Mr. McNeal.

The same persons, for another conspiracy to murder Mr. McNeal, in conjunction with Devitt who robbed the mails, two years.

Patrick Byrne, Esq., for circulating a libel signed "Common Sense" was sentenced to two years imprisonment, and £1,000 fine.

W. Colman sentenced to two years, and fined £500.

James N. Tandy, Esq., for the same libel, did not appear. His recognizance was estreated.

Also several others were sentenced for various crimes as Defenders.

Thirteen persons were indicted for murder. Their trials were put off: and there are now Bench Warrants against eighty, who were indicted and have absconded.



Freeman's Journal

27 Jul 1793

At Dundalk Assizes, Mr. P. Byrne, a person of respectability, convicted at the last assizes there of circulating seditious papers, and sentenced to be imprisoned and fined 500l. - pleaded his Majesty's pardon for the imprisonment, but paid the fine and was enlarged.

There are no Defenders to be tried in Louth, or at Dundalk, but those that remained untried at those places at the last assizes.



Freeman’s Journal

1 August 1793



At Dundalk Assizes, Mr. P. Byrne, a person of respectability, convicted at the last assizes there of circulating seditious papers, and sentenced to be imprisoned and fined 500L – pleaded his Majesty’s pardon for the imprisonment, but paid the fine, and was enlarged.

There are no Defenders to be tried in Louth or at Dundalk, but those that remained untried at those places at the last assizes.’

‘The following persons were tried before Justice Crookshank, the 19th instant: Martin Fitzgerald, found guilty of robbing Mr. Blacker, of arms, and two other capital felonies, ordered to be executed.

James Trainer, found guilty of conspiring to murder Thomas Rogers, and of attempting to burn his haggard.

Patrick Hanratty, Peter Keenan, Michael Macloughlin, Martin Byrne; Henry, Margaret and Catherine Levins, Henry Magee, Francis Byrne, Catherine Murphy, Thomas Timey(?), and Thomas Andrews, acquitted of various offences.



Freeman’s Journal

8 August 1793


At the above assizes which ended on Thursday the first of August, the following persons were tried before the Hon. Mr. Justice Crookshank: -

Michael Clarke, found guilty of traitorously and feloniously setting fire to, and burning the house of Christophilous Jenny, Esq., at Park, on the 5th of January last – sentenced to be hanged, quartered, &c. on the 5th of August.

Martin Fitzpatrick, found guilty under the White-boy act, of taking arms from John Blacker, of Aulare – to be hanged on the 12th of August.

Mathew Connor, Manus McKevit, and M. Hamill, found guilty of taking arms from different people – to be hanged on the 12th of August.

Thomas Andrews, found guilty of taking arms out of the house of Pat. Reath, of Gluck, on the 25th of May – to be hanged on the 5th of August.

James Trainor, found guilty of conspiring to kill and murder Thomas Rogers, and also to burn his house – to be imprisoned two years and six months and to be pillored in Dundalk.

Thomas Coleman, who was found guilty last assizes of conspiring to kill Torquin Park McNeill, Esq., found guilty at the present assizes of another conspiracy – to be imprisoned one year, to commence after former imprisonment is out, and to pay additional fine of 100L.

Bryan Larkin, found guilty of taking an unlawful oath – to be transported pursuant to statute.

Owen O’Neill, found guilty of petty larceny, burned in the hand.

James Brennan, James Martin, and Bryan McMahon, found guilty of a riot and appearing armed – to be whipped, and imprisoned three months.

John Conly, found guilty of petty larceny – to be imprisoned four days, and burned in the hand.

The persons indicted for the murder of Mr. Morgan, made an affidavit to put off their trial, which the Court could not refuse; but imagining some trick was intended, adjourned to the 26th of August, to try them and other offenders.’

[At the subsequent trial - see below - on 26th August 1793 Thomas Carty otherwise Gartlany was found guilty of the murder. He was sentenced to death by hanging and to be ‘anatomised’].



Freeman's Journal

03 Sep 1793
Drogheda AUGUST 31.
At the adjournment of the assizes of Dundalk, held on Monday last, before the Hon. Justice Crookshank, two men of the name of Callen, father and son, were tried for setting fire to an out-house, and houghing cattle, the property of Mr. Morgan, of Lucan-green: the father was capitally convicted; an arrest of judgment was moved in behalf of the prisoner, and allowed by the Court, until the opinion of the Judges were taken.
- McCartney was tried for the murder of Mr. John Morgan, and capitally convicted. - The prosecutor, McKitterick, related the proceedings of this horrid murder with great clearness: the Counsel for the prisoner, however, moved an arrest of judgment, on the ground that the evidence of the prosecutor was not competent; he being himself convicted, for conspiring to take away the life of the late Mr. Morgan, which was allowed by the Court.



Freeman's Journal

05 Sep 1793

Dundalk, August 26

Adjournment of assizes.

The KING against THOMAS CARTY, otherwise GARTLANY, for the murder of JOHN MORGAN.

Judge, Mr. Justice Crookshank.

Very long account. The names included are as follows:

Mr. Dobbs, Counsel for the prisoner.

Peter McKittrick, the approver in the case.

Mr. Sheridan, one of the Counsel for the Crown.

Mr. Mayne, one of the Counsel for the Crown.

Jack Hardy, discharged his gun at Morgan [missed].

Bryan Dullaghan, shot his gun at Morgan [missed].

Richard Morgan, brother of the deceased.

Margaret Callan, witness.

Pat Callan [brother of Margaret], a prisoner.


Freeman's Journal

10 Sep 1793
Committed by the Mayor, on Wednesday night last, Thomas Cavanagh and Christopher Wogan, charged with having stopped Mr. Daniel Hitchcock, of Drogheda, grocer, on the high road, near Blackbuth-lane, in the county of the town of Drogheda, and forcibly and feloniously took from his person a pocket-book, containing a bill for 105l and another bill value 112l. 9s. 6d. a gold watch value ten guineas, together with some cash - which articles were afterwards found in their possession.



Freeman's Journal

18 Feb 1794

Drogheda, Feb. 15

Thomas Carty, one of the persons concerned in the horrid murder of Mr. John Morgan, near Lurgan-green, county Louth, in August 1792, and who was capitally convicted last summer assizes, is to be executed, pursuant to hi sentence, on the Commons of Dromiskin, on Monday next. It is hoped the magistrates and gentlemen of property will attend at the execution, in order to discountenance such atrocious acts, which have of late disgraced the county Louth.

Wednesday night last, Mr. Mayor, aided by Mr. John Linton, and a party of the 12th regiment, apprehended in the neighbourhood of this town, the following persons, against whom examinations for various offences are sworn, viz. John Magennis, miller; Mathew Collier, weaver; John Connolly, weaver; and James Inglisby, weaver, and committed them to the gaol of this town.

Yesterday morning the following persons were transmitted from the gaol of this town to Dundalk, under the escort of an officer's guard, James Magennis, James Meade, James Moore, Thomas Carvan, and Patrick Dooly, in order to abide their trials at the ensuing assizes of Dundalk, for robbery and other offences.

And this morning three prisoners, Pat. Murphy, John Callan, and Thomas Monks, were transmitted to Trim gaol, under a serjeant's guard.


Freeman’s Journal

25 March 1794


Monday se’nnight, the Hon. Justice Chamberlaine too his seat in the Crown Court, where the following persons were tried: -

William Smith and Patrick Grimes were tried and found guilty of robbing Messrs. Bamber and McCartney, on the high road near this town, in the June last.

Arthur Martin and John Maginnes were convicted of forcibly entering the dwelling-house of the Rev. Moore Smith, of Killincoole, and robbing the same of fire-arms.

The prosecution in this case was supported by the evidence of Mr. Smith and James Cravan, an approver, who gave a very clear and accurate account of his being at the robbery, and identified the prisoners.

Mathew Kirwan, Patrick Teernan, Patrick Kenny, James Morgan, Dennis McKenna, Thos Kirwan, Patrick McKenna alias Thomas McKenna, and Richard Kelly, were tried upon four indictments, for attacking the house of Alexander McClintock, of Newtown, on the 25th of December, 1792.

The evidence in this case, produced on the part of the Crown, were Mr. McClintock, who proved the attack, and of there having been several shots fired which broke the windows in his house, but could not identify the prisoners.

The next witness was Thomas Murphy, an approver, who swore he was with the prisoners at the bar and others, at the attack on the above night – that they were armed with guns and blunderbusses, and were all sworn Defenders, and determined to plunder the house of arms and ammunition; his testimony was in some respects not consistent and several gentlemen were produced, who gave evidence that he was not a person to be credited on his oath – and that they knew him to be guilty of several robberies. – The Jury after retiring for a few minutes, found the prisoners – not guilty.

The following persons were capitally convicted:

Christopher Kennedy and Mat McCunnin for a felony and burglary in the dwelling house of Ann Rogan

Philip Carrafher, Thomas Carry, James Martin, Silvester Carry, Patrick Hamill, for a burglary and felony in the dwelling-house of the Rev. Robert Levins. The former was recommended by the Grand Jury, it having appeared that he saved the life of Mr. Levins.

Edward Hughes, for a burglary and a felony in the dwelling-house of Peter Kirck.

James Walsh, for robbing the highway near Dundalk, James Dogherty, and John Thompson.

Henry Deary, John Morgan, and Michael McIlroy, found guilty of being Defenders and taking unlawful oaths, were sentenced to be transported for seven years.

Pat Clarke, James Shee, Thomas Burne, and Michael Fraghan, convicted of appearing armed as Defenders, were sentenced to be twice publicly whipped, and imprisoned three months – and James Boyce and John Cravan, to be punished in a similar manner for such like offences.

Dominick Davitt, for conspiring against the life of David Atkinson, Esq; a magistrate, very active in his duty, found guilty, and sentenced to be imprisoned three months, and fined 20L.

Patrick Murphy, for sheep-stealing, sentenced to transportation.

Tully Hart, for being a Defender, and appearing armed, to be twice whipped, and imprisoned six months.

James Fitzsimons, guilty of a riot and breaking windows at Ardee, to be imprisoned three years and give security.

James Fitzsimons, James Fee, and George Shevelan, were tried and acquitted for robbing the Ardee mail.

Hugh O’Berne, charged with publishing a libel signed Common Sense acquitted.

Eighteen persons charged with being Defenders, were acquitted.

James Dornin, acquitted of drinking seditious and treasonable toasts, the prosecutor having died a few days before the trial.

Counsel for the Crown in the above trials: The Attorney General, Mr. W.P. Ruxton, Mr. Saurin, and Mr. McCartney – Agent, Mr. Kemins.

Counsel for the Defenders Mr. Blackbourne, Mr. Mayne, Mr. Dobbs, Mr. Ewing, Mr. Ball, Mr. Saurin, and Mr. Pellew – Agent, Mr. Hartford.’



The Freeman’s Journal

08 April 1794

Drogheda, March 5

‘Committed by James Scholes, Esq., Thomas Rooney and John Callaghan – charged with having forcibly entered the house of Mary Collier, put her in fear of her life, and feloniously took thereout cash and goods to the amount in value of five guineas.

Alice Mollan and Jane Keenan were committed to goal, by the worshipful Mayor – charged with having stole out of a trunk, in the house of John Orson Esq, Fair-street, six hundred guineas.

The cook and two housemaids were concerned in the above robbery – one of the latter has turned approver, by which means 178 guineas have been recovered.’



‘The following unfortunate men are to suffer death in Dundalk, pursuant to their sentence at the last assizes:

James Martin, to be executed on Monday, the 7th inst.

Patrick Grimes, William Smith, and Thomas Carry, on Monday the 4th inst. Patrick Hamill and John McGuinness, on Monday, the 11th inst.

Edward Hughes, the 28th inst.

James Walsh, Philip Caragher, Sylvester Carry, Arthur Martin, Christopher Kennedy, and Mat McCuming, are to be executed on the 26th of May next.

Monday last, James Boyle and Tully Hunt, were whipt from the gaol of Dundalk to the bridge – they are to undergo the like punishment on the 28th inst.

Monday next, James Fox, Thomas Byron, and Michael Feehan, are to be whipt from the gaol of Dundalk to the bridge, and on the 5th of May next.’



The Freeman’s Journal

24 April 1794

‘At the assizes in Dundalk, held on Friday and Saturday last, Richard Mullen was found guilty with others, the house of (sic) John Dunkin of firearms; as was also Patrick Carney, for conspiring to take away the life of Brabazon Smith, Esq., several other prisoners were tried for slight offences and acquitted.’



The Freeman’s Journal

3 May 1794

[Dundalk Assizes]

'At the adjournment of the spring assizes, held in Dundalk, on the 18th inst., the following persons were tried:

Richard Mullan and John Coleman, for feloniously forceably (sic) and by threats and menace causing John Duncan to deliver to them a gun, to be executed on Monday next.

Alexander McCabe, for forcibly, maliciously and feloniously attacking the dwelling house of Pakenam Smith, Esq., to be hanged on Monday next.

James Mullen, for conspiring against the life of Joseph Coulter, to be imprisoned two years and give security for his good behaviour.

John McCourt for receiving stolen goods, to be imprisoned one year.

John Hanlon, for being a vagabond, to be transported for seven years, unless he gives bail for his good behaviour for seven years.

Christopher Verdon, for an assault, to be imprisoned three months.

Thomas Brannigan, for an assault, to be imprisoned six months.

James Gray, for an assault, fined 6d.'



The Freeman’s Journal

17 May 1794

'Mathew Reilie and John Kinlan, found guilty at an adjournment of the quarter sessions at the Thostal of street robbery, are to be executed in front of the New Gaol, this day, pursuant to their sentence.'



The Freeman’s Journal

20 May 1794

'Saturday last, Michael Reilly and John Kinlan were executed for street robbery, at the front of the New Gaol, pursuant to their sentence.'



The Freeman's Journal

25 Aug 1794

The following persons were tried before the Hon. Justice Boyd, at Dundalk assizes:

Owen Maguire, acquitted of a burglary and felony in the dwelling-house of Chichester Dowdall, and also of several other capital felonies; but found guilty of demanding arms for Defenders - to be transported for seven years.

James Kernaghan, found guilty of stealing ten guns - to be transported for seven years.

Pat. Kelly, found guilty for the same offence - to be transported for seven years.

Thomas Branigan, acquitted of a highway robbery, and also of a felony under the chalking act.

Mat. Farrelly and Pat. Berrill, acquitted of a burglary and felony in the dwelling house of Mat. Keapock.

Mat. Lennon and Thomas Callan, acquitted of the murder of Laurence McKenna.

Bryan McArdle, acquitted of a burglary and felony in the dwelling-house of Peter Keeran.

Catherine Baker, found guilty of a felony at large - to be transported for seven years.

Michael McDarnell, Peter McDarnell, Laurence McDarnell, and Jack Spring, acquitted of a felony at Dundalk.

Martin Maguiness, acquitted of a felony.

Pat. Byrne, Peter Leonard, James McArdle, and Pat. Conolly, acquitted of holding a forceable sessession[?].

Rich. Kelly, acquitted of several felonies under the White Boy act.



The Freeman’s Journal

20 September 1794

‘Drogheda Assizes

The following persons were on Thursday tried before the Hon. Justice Crookshank at the above assizes:

Thomas Murphy, found guilty of corrupt perjury. It was for swearing against messrs Bird, Hamill and Delahoyd, at the last assizes; he was convicted on the most clear and satisfactory evidence.

The above gentlemen gave evidence against him, and they swore in the most solemn manner, that the never countenanced Defenders but used every endeavour to suppress them.

Murphy ordered to be pillared on Saturday the 17th inst, his ears to be nailed to the pillar and, then, to be transported for seven years, pursuant to the statute. [See Dundalk Assizes 25 March 1794]

Michael Conly, acquitted of stealing a cow from Joseph Birch in the co. Dublin.

Richard Small, acquitted of endeavouring to seduce John McNally, a militia-man, to join in a robbery.

James Carran, acquitted of stealing a watch, the property of James Dogherty.

Matthew Farrelly, found guilty of perjury, in his examination before Ralph Smith Esq., Mayor of Drogheda – to be pillared opposite the Thostal on the 11th of October.

John Reid, acquitted of robbery on Bryan Halfpenny.



Freeman’s Journal

26 March 1795

‘Dundalk assizes ended on the 19th instant and the following persons were tried before Mr. Baron Smyth: Michael Callan, Peter Carroll, and John Smith, all found guilty of capital offences, received sentence to be hanged on the 12th of May next.

James Kirk, found guilty of several assaults and false imprisonment, as a crimp, to be imprisoned, six months.

George Magennis, found guilty of drinking a seditious toast, but being strongly recommended, was only fined a mark, and to be imprisoned for a week.

Thomas Dullegan, found guilty of petty larceny, burned in the hand.

Richard Boylan, Bernard Grimes and Owen Maguire, to remain till next assizes to stand their trial for murder.



Pat Dooley, for administering oaths.

Michael Conroy, for taking arms from Rev. Mr. Moore Smyth, and several other felonies.

James Whems, also for several such like felonies.

Thomas Monaghan, acquitted of ditto.

Bryan McArdle, for bottle stealing.’



Freemans Journal

21st April 1795

'The assizes at Drogheda ended on Thursday last – There were several persons tried at them, most of whom were acquitted. Daniel Hitchcock, confined on a charge of forgery, was ordered to remain in custody, until he give security, himself in 400L – and two sureties in 500L each, to stand trial for the same at the next assizes.'



Freemans Journal

11th August 1795

Richard Boylan, found guilty at Dundalk assizes of setting fire to the stable and barn of Mr. Joseph Morgan, at Moore-town, was executed yesterday, pursuant to his sentence.’

‘At the assizes of Dundalk last week, the following persons were tried before the Hon. Justice Crookshank: -

Bernard Grimes and Owen Maguire were found guilty of the murder of Thomas Wade, on the evidence of James Thornton – who was an accomplice in the murder, and turned approver.

The circumstances are nearly as follows: -

Grimes, Maguire, Thornton, and the deceased, went together on the night of the 20th of July 1794, in order to commit a robbery at Longstones. – They had previously concerted a plan to murder Wade, to prevent him from prosecuting some persons who were confined in the jail of Drogheda, at the following assizes. – When they came to the river of Drumthallen, Maguire knocked down Wade with a blunderbuss – and the other two held him under the water until he was suffocated. – They then took him out – each struck him on the head with large stones, and threw him into the river!

Some time after the murder was committed, Thornton was taken up in a robbery, of Mr. Gray, of Ardee, near Tullyhesker hill, and lodged in the gaol of Drogheda. He there discovered the murder and swore against Maguire; on his being transmitted to Dundalk, he implicated Grimes.

When the jury returned their verdict guilty, Grimes called on Maguire to declare the truth – and Maguire positively declared Grimes was not at the murder, but had given them arms to commit the intended robbery.

They were both executed on Thursday, and their bodies sent to the country infirmary, where they were dissected, and afterwards interred in the gaol yard.

Maguire acknowledged the crime for which he was to suffer; Grimes has left a confession after him, in which he solemnly denies his guilt as to the murder, but says he committed several robberies – and was led through malice to prosecute Messrs. Bird, Hamill, Delahoyde, Read, and others, for High Treason, at Drogheda, at Spring Assizes, 1794.’ [See 20 September 1794 - Drogheda Assizes and other references]



Freeman's Journal

15 Mar 1796

Drogheda, March 12

Tuesday last the assizes of this town commenced; the Hon. Baron Smith went through the entire business. - His Lordship went into Court before nine o'clock in the morning, and did not retire from the bench until after eleven at night. - Patrick Fear, corporal in the North Mayo Militia, was tried and found guilty of insulting George Evans, Esq., Mayor of this town, in the execution of his duty. The learned Judge was determined to inflict very exemplary punishment upon him, but Mr. Mayor humanely interfered with the Court - and after some very pointed remarks upon the danger of insulting a magistrate, particularly by men whose duty it is to protect the peace - his Lordship was pleased to mitigate his punishment to a fine of six-pence. The soldier afterwards asked Mr. Mayor's pardon, and returned him thanks for his humanity. There were three records and forty civil bills tried.


His Lordship proceeded on Wednesday morning to Dundalk, and swore in the Grand Jury of the county of Louth.


Thursday at the assizes of Dundalk, -- Clarke, of Ardee, was tried before the Hon. Justice Downes, for administering the Defender's oath to a drummer of the Donegall Militia, and found guilty.



Freeman's Journal

31 Mar 1796

Drogheda. March 15

Friday, at Dundalk, Jn. Campbell, a constable, was tried for murdering Roger Murphy, at Janesborrough, and capitally convicted. He was to have been executed yesterday - but from some favourable circumstances that came out on his trial, and Capt. Ogle giving him an exceeding good character, the learned judge has recommended him to the clemency of the Government.


Friday night last, two industrious weavers, at Ballymakenny, were robbed by a party of miscreants of five guineas each.



Freeman’s Journal

13 April 1797

‘At the assizes of Dundalk several persons were tried for various offences, and two convicted; one for attempting to administer the United Man’s [sic] oath to a serjeant of the Dublin Militia, and the other of cow stealing.’



Freeman's Journal

05 Sep 1797
Tuesday, Aug. 29
The King against Arthur Keys.
This trial was called on, on Monday, at three o'clock, before Lord Yelverton, who presided in the Crown Court. His Lordship, however, considering it a case of the last importance to the safety of the country, expressed his intention of trying the traverser, a Captain of the ARMAGH militia, and Serjeant Derham, of the same regiment, and Mr. English, a member of the Drogheda Yeomanry, with Serjeant-major Holmes, and Serjeant Fisher, of the same regiment.
The offence as to the three first was for assaulting Patrick Murphy, detaining him unlawfully in the guard-house, shaving one half of his head, drumming him through he town to the tune of the rogue's march, and pumping him at the Tholsel, all stated to have been done by the order of Captain Keys.
The case was stated by Mr. Bellew.
The Lord Chief Baron animadverted thoroughly upon the excesses of the military, and observed that it was high time to teach them how far they were authorised to go. For if they conceived, that the proclamation that altered the law, or given any new power to disturb the peace of the country, they should find themselves mistaken. He adopted the statement of Mr. Bellew in its extent, and upon the matter being fully proved to the satisfaction of the Jury and his own - he proceeded immediately to pass sentence.
An application was made by Mr. Macartney, on behalf of the Captain, stating the loss which the service would endure by the imprisonment of this officer, who was both a Captain and Adjutant of the regiment, and praying that he might rather be punished by a fine than imprisonment, and offering some arguments in mitigation.
His Lordship answered, that he would proceed to pass that sentence which the offence in his judgment merited. All this would be proper to state to the Government of the country. - Let them what would benefit the service, but sitting in a judgment seat, he could not pass over a transgression wherein an individual had arrogated to himself a power which neither the Supreme Court of Judicature, the whole Bench of Judges put together, had ever presumed to do; for he had made his own will the law, and had taken upon him, of his own authority, to imprison one of his Majesty's subjects, and to inflict an ignominious punishment upon him without the shadow of the law, without examination, evidence, charge or accusation, and without authority of any kind. He then sentenced all the parties, except Serjeant Derham, to three months imprisonment, and further sentences Captain Keys to pay the King a fine of 50 marks.
Serjeant Derham he discharged upon paying a fine of 6d. considering him an instrument acting under the orders and control of his officer.



Freeman’s Journal

05 September 1797


Thursday Aug. 31.

This day was nearly concluded the business of the town. The Attorney General came into Court and expressed his intention, which was, that no bill should be sent up against the several persons charged with treason and treasonable practices, and committed by Mr. Gattigar, of Dundalk, amongst whom were Hugh Reilly, Mr. James Kelly, Mr. Gossin, post-master of Fleury-bridge, Mr. Dowdall, Mr. Smyth, Mr. Derry, late Usher at Mr. Tindall’s school, and Mr. Maurety of this place. They had petitioned for their trial on the first day of the assizes, and had brought down Mr. Curram specially from Dublin, and retained Mr. Ball, Mr. Clelland, Mr. Sampson, and Mr. Chanlon; they are yet held to bail and bound to come forward at the ensuing assizes.

The only cause of importance or curiosity now remaining is the trial of Mrs. Elizabeth McGan, for persuading a soldier to become a United Irishman.’

September 1

‘This day the assizes concluded. The trial of the lady for seducing the soldier to become an United Irishman – did not go on.’



Freeman’s Journal

12 September 1797

‘At the Dundalk assizes, which terminated on the first of September, John McGarrity was found guilty of horse-stealing, and ordered to be executed on the 6th of November next. It was intended to recommend him an object of mercy, on condition of his going abroad.

Several other persons were tried for various offences and the trials of some were deferred to a future day, who were admitted to bail.’



Freeman’s Journal

16 September 1797


Ended on Friday, the 1st of September, when the following persons were tried and found guilty: John McGarrity, for horse stealing, to be hanged on the 6th of November next, the intention being to recommend him for mercy on condition of serving abroad.

James Corran, for assaulting a Revenue officer and a constable, to be imprisoned for a fortnight and give security for his future good behaviour; the sentence was made so small on account of the traverser having been in custody for five months before his trial.

Owen McGarrity, Christopher Keeran, and Pat. Lennon, for an assault at the fair of Mullacrew, to be confined a month.

James Keeran, for the same offence, to be imprisoned three months and fined forty shillings: this increase in his sentence beyond the others arose from his having produced on his defence three perjured witnesses.

Thomas Reynolds, for stopping and seizing a man on the highway, asking him was he up, and detaining him for half an hour, was not withstanding an able defence made by Counsellor Curran, convicted, and ordered to be imprisoned one month and to give security of the peace for seven years; it appearing by prisoner’s affidavit that he was poor, no fine was set on him.

James Naynor, a journeyman shoemaker, for combination, to be imprisoned six months.

The following persons were acquitted:

Patrick Byrne, and Bryan Duff, for murder; Felemy Hinchy, for the murder of his own bastard child; Peter Carroll, for burglary and felony; Arthur McCooey, and Silvester Mathews, for riots; Peter Callan, and John Gallagher, for stealing yarn; M. McDaniel, for combination; Daniel Laverty, a soldier in the Londonderry militia for the murder of Christopher Grant. It appeared in evidence that the soldier having a prisoner in custody, conveying him to justice, he was attacked by the deceased, who threw several stones at him from behind a ditch, one of which stones cut the soldier desperately on the head, upon which he pursued, and upon coming up to deceased stabbed him with a bayonet; Peter Fitzpatrick, for Grand Larceny.

The following trials were postponed:

Francis Donnelly for administering oaths; Nicholas Carroll, William Timmons, and John Maguire, for murder; John Mullan, for endeavouring to seduce a soldier from his allegiance; Bernard Dowdall, Hugh Reilly, Nicholas Gossan, Pat Dowdall, Edward Reilly, James Kelly, Bryan Smith, Joseph Mourity, Valentine Derry, Hugh Hagan: - These persons had been for some time on a charge of High Treason, and the Attorney Gen. having informed the Court, that he did not mean to prefer any bill of indictment against them at this assizes and that he consented to their being bailed; they were accordingly discharged on giving security to appear at next Assizes.’



Freeman’s Journal

23 March 1799

‘At Dundalk Assizes, Hugh Markey was found guilty of burglary, and felony in the house of Thomas Rafferty, and ordered to be executed on Monday the 8th of April



Freeman’s Journal

18 July 1799

‘At the assizes of Dundalk, there was little business, owing to the happy change that has taken place in the state of the country, but one person was capitally convicted, and that was for stealing yarn.’



Freeman’s Journal

25 July 1799


Began, and ended on the 15th July; there was no civil business.

Wm. Magenis was tried and found guilty of robbing a bleach-green and sentenced to be executed on the 8th August – On this man’s train it appeared from a witness produced by himself to his character, that he had committed a murder about two years since, and had absconded for it for some time.

John Kelly, a servant, for stealing yarn from his master’s ware-house, was ordered to be whipped through Drogheda, and imprisoned three months.’


Began Tuesday 16th, and ended on Wednesday the 18th, which Loughlin Duffy, alias Brady, found guilty of stealing a mare, was sentenced to be executed on the 2nd of September.

James Daly, a boy about 13 years old, for picking the pockets of three of his fellow-servants of money, was ordered to be transported for seven years, he appearing to be an adept at thieving.

Ann Smyth and Mary Lennon, for stealing linen cloth out of a market, ordered to be transported for seven years.

Terence Fegan, for receiving stolen goods, to be transported for life.’


Freeman’s Journal

12 April 1800

Trials at Dundalk

The assizes began on Thursday the 2d and ended on Saturday the 5th April last, when the following persons were tried and found guilty, viz: -

Edward Rourke, of the murder of his own child, about four months old, by throwing it into a bog hole, at Donaghmore, on the 5th of January last, by which means it was immediately suffocated.

Francis McElboy alias McEvoy of usury – ordered to pay treble the money lent

William Taaffe, of a riot, and seizing two horses: two cars laden with potatoes, cutting the sacks and letting the potatoes fall about the road.

Thomas Hoey of assaulting Pat. Hillard at Haggardstown, on the 11th Feb last; ordered to be imprisoned for a month.

Peter Durnin, of feloniously taking, on the 15th Oct last, sundry articles of wearing apparel, the property of Arthur Curry, ordered to be transported for seven years.

Felix Dawdly, of stealing hay, the property of John Dransfield, of Dundalk, sentenced also to be transported for seven years.

Patrick Hanratty of pig stealing.

The following persons were acquitted:

John Barlett, of the murder of Michael Cavanagh, a soldier.

Michael Connolly, of stealing fruit.

Thomas McCann of receiving a promissory note, which had been taken out of the mail.

Pat Hanratty for stealing a cow.

James Finigan, acquitted of feloniously taking £1 6s 0d in money.

Michael McDonald of receiving 20 gallons of whiskey which had been stolen.

Anne Casie of stealing potatoes.

John Lamb of carrying away a girl with intent to marry her.




28 March 1801

“The Notorious offender, Burne, well known in this metropolis, and who was of the gang on the north road that wounded Counsellor Bellew, will be executed at Dundalk, this day, for the murder of a man some time ago in that quarter, as he was in pursuit of Burne, and some of his confederates, after their committing some depredations.”




14 April 1801


Dundalk, Wednesday 25th March, 1801


This trial came on before Sir Michael Smyth, Bart. – it was an action of indebitatus assumsit, for money had and received by the defendant for plaintiff; the money sought to be recovered was the fees of office received by the defendant as Clerk of the Peace as Sessions, and the particulars of the case are as follow:

The Plaintiff claimed the office of Clerk of the Peace for the county of Louth, as appointed by deputation, bearing date the 1st day of December, 1800, under hand and seal of the Earl of Roden, the Custos Rotulorum, proved in Court by a subscribing witness. Lord Roden was appointed Custos Rotulorum of said county, by letters patent under the Great Seal, bearing date the 10th November, 1800, which was produced in Court. – The defendant was in possession since 1794. A commission of the Peace of the year 1783 was then produced, by which it appeared that Lord Roden was at that time Justice of the Peace for said county, by the name of Robert, Lord Jocelyn. Mr. Joy, Counsel for the defendant, then objected that it was not proved that Lord Roden took the oaths of office, or that he qualified according to law, without which, Mr. Joy insisted, that Lord Roden could not hold the office or appoint a deputy. This objection the Court over-ruled, but saved the point. – Mr. Thomas Johnston, Attorney for the Plaintiff, was next produced, who proved that he and plaintiff went to Ardee Sessions in January last, and there demanded of the Chairman and Justices to be admitted Clerk of the Peace under the above appointment, and that they refused. Defendant also, on application, refused to give up the records. It appeared on his cross-examination that the late Lord Roden died in 1797; a Commission of the Peace of the year 1796 was produced to him, by which it appeared that the present Lord Roden was not then in the Commission. Mr. Joy then insisted that it must from thence be inferred that Lord Roden was not a Justice of the Peace, at the time of the grant of said office of Custos, and therefore incapable of taking or holding the same, and that the patent, granting the office of Custos Rotulorum to Lord Roden was void. The Court was of opinion that the objection was fatal, and non-suited the plaintiff. It seemed admitted on both sides, that the Custos must be appointed from the Justices, and that not being the case in the present instance, that the office of Custos Rotulorum for the county is vacant.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Messrs. McCartney, Ball, Mayne, and McClelland. – For the defendant, Messrs. Joy, Ruxton, A. Dawson, and Moore.

The following persons were tried and found guilty:

Thomas Jordan, of Sheep-stealing, ordered to be executed on Monday the 4th May next.

Michael McArdle, Peter McArdle, Edward McArdle, John Morgan, and Hugh Morgan, of Burglary and Felony, in the dwelling house of Abraham Ball, at Darver, on the 6th March, instant; the three first ordered to be executed the 16th April, and the others the 17th.

Pat McAlanty, Wm. Fitzsimons, and James Fitzsimons, of burglary and felony, in the dwelling-house of Lau. McArdle, at Kilmurry. – McAnalty ordered to be executed the 20th; and the others the 13th April.

John Byrne, Thomas Devine, and Michael Smith, for the murder of Pat. Dougherty, to be executed on the 28th March.

Peter Carr, James Conroy, Henry Sorahan, and Mathew Hoey, for the burglary and felony in the dwelling-house of Pat. Ward, at Woodenstown, to be executed on the 27th April.

Several others were found guilty of lesser offence, and received sentence accordingly.




30 July 1801


The following persons were tried and found guilty at the above assizes. Held the said instant, before the Hon. Justice Chamberlain:

Edward Smyth, for stealing cows, the property of Denis Murray, on 23rd May last, sentenced to be executed.

Pat. MaGahon, for assaulting John Bellew, his father-in-law, ordered to be imprisoned a month, and fined 40s.

Bryan Kirley, for burglary and felony in the dwelling-house of Michael Carney, at Stonetown, on the 3rd of May last; ordered to be executed.

Thos. Terney, for stealing iron harrow-pins, the property of Pat. Clarke, on the 28th March last. [sic]

Several other persons were tried and acquitted.

In the case of Edward Smyth, for cow-stealing above mentioned, the Judge informed the Grand Jury that the had a power of presenting him as an object of mercy, but they, considering the many depredations of the kind that were lately committed, refused to intercede for him and declared they never would for any convicted of such a crime.




04 May 1802


Held before the Hon. Mathias Finucane, on the 23rd of April, the following persons were tried, and found guilty:

John Reilly, for cow-stealing, recommended by the Grand Jury, and ordered to be transported for seven years.

Andrew Callan, for stealing yarn, &c. at Ardee, on the 10th of November last, the property of Margaret Commons, ordered to be publicly whipped, and imprisoned a fortnight.

Catherine Moore, for stealing ticken, &c. the property of Thomas Kelly, at Ardee, on the 17th of December last, ordered to be privately whipped.

Thomas Pepper, found guilty of three assaults, fined £5 on each – ordered to be imprisoned six months.

Launcelot Stockwell, James Hogan, Patrick Hegarty, Patrick Young, and Simon McAleer, found guilty of three assaults. Those persons were concerned with Pepper in committing the assault, and ordered to be imprisoned three weeks.




Catherine Scilly was ordered to be transported for stealing Coating, the property of Richard Delahoyde, on the 1st of Dec. last.

Jas Smith, who was found guilty last Summer Assizes, for obtaining, by means of a false and counterfeited letter, purporting to be written in the name of Andrew McDonagh, to Casimer Delahoyde, a quantity of iron, the property of said Delahoyde – and was ordered to remain in prison till this Assizes to abide the judgement of the Court, was ordered to be imprisoned three months.




23 April 1803

Friday last, the assizes for the county of Louth commenced at Dundalk; on the following day. – Walsh was tried and capitally convicted of the murder of Mr. McConnon, of Ardee, butcher. It was through the activity of Major Sirr that this unfortunate wretch was apprehended in Dublin and brought to Justice. He was hanged and quartered at the front of Dundalk gaol on Monday morning.




25 August 1804


Ended on Saturday. – The only trial of moment which occurred in the Criminal Court was that of Francis Devlin, who was convicted of the murder of Stephen McConnon on the 19th of November, 1803, on his way (as six o’clock in the morning) from Ardee to Carlanstown fair.

It appeared in evidence that the deceased was shot and robbed by two men, who, after rifling his pockets, fled. – A countryman, who was travelling to the same fair, heard the shot fired, and upon coming up saw the deceased lying on the road. The deceased asked him for the love of God to come over to him, which the witness did when the deceased asked him if he knew him; the witness replied in the negative, upon which the deceased said to his name was McConnon, and that he was murdered and robbed by Frank Devlin, the stag. The deceased then prayed fervently to God for mercy, and desired the witness to tell the first person he met of the murder.

It further appeared, that on the day preceding the murder, the prisoner, and one White (since hanged for this murder) met in Ardee, where the prisoner sent a man (who was examined on this trial) to buy powder and shot, and desired him, if asked, to say it was for another person; upon the ammunition being bought, the prisoner said – “he would take snuff out of some person with that on the night; that it was a good night to rob, and that  Shedoge Bridge, on the Carlanstown road, was a good place,” (and it was where the deceased was found murdered). It further appeared, from the evidence of the prisoner’s uncle, and cousin, that he and White slept at the uncle’s house on the night of the murder, and left it at day-light; and never after returned, having fled the county, from which he absented himself till he was brought back from Cork, where he enlisted for foreign service. It appeared also that the prisoner was known I the country as stag Devlin, on account of his having, on a former occasion, turned approver against his associates in a burglary.

The Judge (Mr. Baron George) in passing sentence observed, that the hand of God was visible in detecting and bringing to light this abominable murder, the dead having just time to declare his murder to an entire stranger to both; and he besought the prisoner to make the best use of the few hours that remained to him to live, as the law commanded that he should be hanged on the day next but one after conviction, and that his body should be dissected and anatomized – which sentence was carried into execution on Saturday at three o’clock, previous to which the prisoner admitted the justice of his sentence, as well as his participation in various other murders and robberies.




23 February 1805

[Commission Court]

Thursday, the Commission Court, from the sitting at eleven o’clock until its rising at eight at night, was occupied in the trial of the trial of a very respectable Gentleman, Mr. Gerald Byrne, an Attorney, of the County Louth, upon an indictment preferred against him by Messrs. Godby, Scott, McEvoy, and Rogers, of Dundalk, for wilful, corrupt, and malicious perjury. Mr. Barrington stated the case on the part of the Crown at great length, and produced evidence. Mr. Egan stated the case on the part of the defendant, and examined witnesses, many of the most respectable characters of this country, among whom were John Ball, Esq. Barrister; the Rev. Doctor Bunbury, rector of the Parish near the traverser’s residence, gave testimony of the most upright, correct, and unblemished reputation of his general character. The case being closed upon both sides, it was the wish of traverser’s Counsel to let the matter go to Jury, but the prosecutor’s persisting in having Counsel to speak to evidence. Mr. Bushe on the part of traverser, addressed the Jury, to whom Mr. Curran replied. – Baron George charged the Jury with precision and pertinent legal observations, who without quitting the box, delivered a verdict of Not Guilty.




27 March 1806


Wednesday last, the General Assizes of Drogheda was held at the Tholsel. The Hon. Justice Day opened the Commission; on the Grand Jury being sworn, his Lordship addressed them at some length on the ruinous state of the Gaol, and recommended to their serious attention the erection of a new one, in a more eligible situation. – There were but two convictions, for shop lifting, and the parties were sentenced to six months imprisonment. His Lordship tried one record.

The Hon. Baron Smith presided in the Upper Court. A criminal information was tried, in which James Martin, Esq., of Balbriggan, was the plaintiff, and Jordan Roche, Esq., of the same town, defendant. The case was opened in a most able manner by Constable Dunn. After a considerable length, in which the Counsel on each side displayed great ability and zeal, the learned Judge charged the Jury, in a manner that reflected honour on his head and his heart, and after a short consultation, the Jury brought in a verdict – Not Guilty.




27 August 1806

Thursday, August the 21st, 1806.

This day the Assizes for the county of Louth were opened before Right Hon. Judge Fox, and the Hon. Baron McCleland. Judge Fox presided in the Criminal Court, and Baron McCleland in the Civil Court.

The attendance of the country gentlemen who were summoned as Grand Jurors was so bad, that only twenty-one were sworn upon the Grand Jury.

Henry Rob stood indicted for assaulting and committing a rape upon the body of Judith Collins. When she appeared upon the table to prosecute, she deposed that she knew the prisoner very well, and being asked if he was any relation of her’s, she answered he was her husband. – Acquitted.

James and Margaret Divine, for stealing one cow, of the value of £5, the property of Christophilus Garston, Esq. It appeared on the course of the trial that the cow was the property of the prisoners – that she had been grazing, and was taken away by the prisoners – that Mr. Garston owed and old man (his herd) four shillings, which he refused to pay till the herd made good the cow, and the herd prosecuted the prisoners for that purpose. – The learned Judge called for Mr. Garston, and having investigated the transaction, said he would lay a statement of the case before Government. – Acquitted.

Edward McEnery stood indicted for a burglary on the 12th of February last, and forcibly and feloniously carrying off, assaulting, and committing on the body of Mary Conlan. – Acquitted for want of prosecution.

Thomas and Owen Finnigan stood indicted for stealing three barrels of barley, and were acquitted; one of the prisoners was a child of 11 years old; and Mr. Justice Fox reprobated the manner in which these examinations had been so unfoundedly preferred.

Peter Hearty was indicted for a riot at Dundalk in March last, and for assaulting Catherine Johnston.

It appeared the prosecutrix, after giving evidence at the last assizes of Dundalk against Owen Hanratty for committing a rape upon her (of which he was acquitted), when retiring from the Court-house, was assailed by a riotous mob, one of whom she positively swore was the prisoner; he was found guilty, and sentenced to be imprisoned three months.

This same Catherine Johnston commenced a civil action against said Owen Hanratty, for a compensation in damages, laid at £500 and was tried at the present assizes before the Hon. Baron McCleland, when the Jury returned a verdict of 50s. damages.

Pat. Connolly stood indicted for wilful and corrupt perjury, touching two Grand Jury presentments, one for £12 and the other for £24 16s. for widening roads on Co. Louth, and was acquitted.

Edw. Mulligan, indicted for an assault and committing a rape upon the body of Rose Magrane, acquitted for want of prosecution.

Mathew Kelly, for an assault with an intent to commit a rape upon the body of Mary Downy, which he would have done but for a gentleman who came to her assistance. – Not Guilty.

Laurence McAnulty, for altering a forged and counterfeit bank note, purporting to be of the bank of Sir Thomas Lighton and Co. for five guineas – there was no person to prove the forgery, and he was acquitted.

Michael Rice, Michael Connor, and Patrick Connor, for assaulting, forcibly carrying away, and detaining for several hours on the 27th of April last, Sarah McArdel with intent to marry her. – Not Guilty.

Friday, Aug. 22

James Duffy and Christopher Nulty capitally indicted for the wilful murder of Peter Boden on the 20th of April. – Acquitted.

Catherine Marmion, stood capitally indicted, for having uttered and put off, as knowing it to be base and counterfeit, one guinea note, purporting to be a genuine note of the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland, in the month of July last, at Dundalk, with intent to defraud James Chapman; and also stood capitally indicted for offering as genuine, knowing it to be base and counterfeit, a one pound note purporting to be of the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland; she was found Guilty upon both indictments, and the Learned Judge in a most tender and pathetic manner, pronounced the awful sentence of the law for death and execution upon the unhappy young woman.




10 APRIL 1807


 Grand Jury

Right Honourable John Foster,

Honourable Thomas Henry Foster,

Honourable John Jocelyn,

Sir Edward Bellew, Bart.,

Wallop Brabazon, Esq.,

Francis Tipping, Esq.,

John McClintock, Esq.,

Philip Brabazon, Esq.,

John Straton, Esq.,

John Taaffe, Esq.,

William Filgate, Jun. Esq.,

Henry Sheils, Esq.,

Robert Thompson, Esq.,

Francis Manning, Esq.,

James Wolf McNeill, Esq.,

Francis Eastwood, Esq.,

Henry Brabazon, Esq.,

John Page, Esq.,

Thomas Craven, Esq.,

Torquin Parks McNeal, Esq.,

Thomas Lloyd, Esq.,

Alan Bellingham, Esq.,

Thomas Newcomen, Esq.,

Alexander Filgate, Esq. High Sheriff



Trials before Baron McClellan

Patrick Johnston stood indicted for assaulting James Magee and Philip Corgan, and for shooting and wounding said James Magee, with intent to murder him.

Philip Corgan and James Corgan were severally examined, and proved, that they were accompanying said James Magee on the road leading from Dundalk to CastleBellingham, on 13th December last, that they overtook the prisoner, who is a soldier in the Downshire militia; he was armed, having a musket on his shoulder and a bayonet at his side; that he asked Magee to shake hands with him; upon which the prisoner brought down his musket to the present[?] and put down his hand to the lock, whereupon said musket was discharged, and the contents were lodged in the thigh of Magee, who instantly fell. – Philip Corgan proved, that the prisoner, immediately on firing the shot, dropped his musket, and was making his escape, but witness caught hold of him, and the prisoner then struggled with him, drew his bayonet, and endeavoured to stab him. Witness’s brother, James Corgan, came to his assistance, and wrestled the bayonet from prisoner, they detained him until they gave him into charge of some yeomen at Lurgan-green, and James Magee was carried to a house in Lurgan-green, where he has lain over since; that he is yet unable to leave his bed, and could not with safety to his life be brought into Court this day to give evidence.

The Counsel for the prosecution tendered other evidence to the same effect, as also the surgeon who had attended Magee, and extracted the ball, which had entered his thigh; but the Court seemed to think the evidence so offered unnecessary, as the fact of Magee having being wounded by prisoner, was sufficiently clearly proved; But he Court expressed its opinion that the circumstance could not be attributed to malice in the prisoner, but must be considered to be the effect of accident, it having appeared, on the cross-examination of the witnesses, that the prisoner and Magee had not had any acquaintance with each other previous to said 13th December, and that on the occasion of their so meeting that day, they had not any quarrel by word or deed.

The Jury, in concurrence with the sentiments of the Court thus expressed, returned a verdict of acquittal, as to the indictment for shooting at Magee with intent to kill, but found the prisoner guilty of the several assaults upon Magee and Philip Corgan.

William Moreton was indicted for that he, being a layman, and pretending to be a clergyman of the Established Church, celebrated a marriage between James Ward, a papist, and Margaret Ball, a protestant; with a second count, for taking upon him to celebrate a marriage between said persons. The indictment also contained two other counts, same as the two first, save that in these it was laid, that the prisoner, being a layman, pretending to be a popish priest, celebrated said marriage. Margaret Ball, the prosecutrix, not attending, the prisoner was of course acquitted, and the recognizance of Margaret Ball, was estreated.

There were a few other cases of a minor kind, being merely assaults and petty larcenies.



Talon v. Bourne.

This case was tried at the last Assizes of Dundalk, before the Hon. Judge Fox. It was to try the right to the office of Clerk of the Peace for the Co. Louth. It appeared that the Defendant exercised the office since the year 1791, that the Plaintiff claimed by appointment from the Earl of Roden, as custos; a verdict of 5s was had for the Plaintiff, subject to certain points saved by the learned Judge. These points have been at an argument fort he two last terms in the Court of King’s Bench. The Court this day gave judgment for the Defendant, and were pleased to say that the Plaintiff ought not to have his action, but be non-suited: and the Plaintiff was non-suited with costs.

Counsel for the Plaintiff – Messrs. Holmes, and Blacker – Agent, Thos Johnson, Esq.

Counsel for the Defendant – Messrs. Scriven, Joy, Ruxton, and E. Pennefather, - Agent, John Bourne, in person.





“Sunday se’nnight, Andrew Hogg, tailor, of Julianstown, co. Meath, was murdered on the Dublin road, near the old turnpike gate in the county of the town of Drogheda. Monday morning an inquest was held on the body, and after a number of witnesses were examined, the Jury found, “That the deceased, Andrew Hogg came by his death in consequence of a violent blow of a heavy weapon on the head, near the right ear, which he received from John Farrell, of Drogheda, butcher.” Farrell has absconded – a reward of twenty guineas is offered for his apprehension.”





“Tuesday evening last, between 7 and 8 o’clock, the Rev. Wm. Coddington was stopped by three footpads on the North road, very near Drogheda, and robbed of his watch and money. The villains carried away the trunk, which was on the jaunting car, and ordered him to proceed to town – There are several idle vagabonds now lurking about the suburbs of the town.”




16 MARCH 1809


The Assizes commenced on Thursday before Mr. Justice Osborne, in the Crown Court and Mr. Justice Daly in the Civil.

No prosecutions of any one took place at this Assizes.

Ten Parishes were fines £50 each for unlicensed still found therein – James Fleming was convicted of using an unlicensed still – to be imprisoned two months and pay a fine of £50.




16 MARCH 1809


The North-East Circuit commenced o Wednesday last the 8th inst. at Drogheda. Mr. Justice Daly presided in the Crown Court. There was no civil business; and the Crown cases being heavier than usual, Mr. Justice Osborne assisted.

The following are the principal cases that that occurred.

Richard Harford was convicted of a highway robbery on Thomas Coyle, at Killineir, - To be hanged on 1st April.

James Quirkin, indicted for burglary and felony, was acquitted of the burglary, but convicted of the felony to the amount of 2s 6d. – To be transported for 7 years.

John Meehan, private in the Wicklow Militia, was indicted for the murder of James Johnston. It appeared by the evidence, that Meehan was stationed as centinel [sic] on the quay – Johnston had there a scuffle with some of the men of Meehan’s regiment; in the course of which he stripped off his clothes to fight, and gave his watch to a woman names Ann Henry. That after knocking off one of their caps, he went with it to the centinel (the prisoner), and complained of the abuse he had received – the centinel ordered him to be gone, he then turned on the centinel, who knocked him down with his firelock – He rose, and renewed the assault, upon which the centinel knocked him a second time down, which blow is supposed to have killed him, after lying motionless for about ten minutes, the centinel dragged him to the river and threw him in. – It also appeared that he prisoned and Ann Henry sold the deceased’s watch; and a confession of the prisoner acknowledging the murder was proved by one Mary Lynch. – Evidence was adduced of Johnston’s intoxication. Major Howard and others of the Wicklow Militia gave the prisoner a good character. After a very luminous charge from the learned Judge, the prisoner was acquitted.

Anthony Mallen was indicted for uttering a forged indorsement [sic] of a promisary [sic] note of Beresford’s bank. The witness not being able to identify the note prisoner was acquitted.

Denis O’Brien, indicted for uttering a forged promissory note of Beresford’s bank, was acquitted.

There were several other cases of minor note. – Two fines of £50 each were imposed on the parish of St. Peter. For unlicensed stills found there.




18 JULY 1809


Thursday last the Drogheda assizes were held. At half-past nine o’clock the Hon. Mr. Justice Fox went into the Court, and His Majesty’s Commission being read, the Grand Jury were sworn, the Right Hon. Col. Foster, M.P. Foreman. There were only three Bills, one of which was for an illicit  still – Only one criminal conviction took place.

One Record was entered – The Executors of Kelly against Duffy. It was principally a matter of account, and referred to three of the Jury, who found for the plaintiff, after deducting several items form the original demand. - A Town-land in the parish of Ballymakenny was fined £50 for a private still. – At two o’clock the learned Judge left town.




18 JULY 1809


On Friday last the assizes of Dundalk commenced. The Hon Baron McClelland presided in the Crown Court.




19 JULY 1809


The Hon. Baron McClelland opened the Court, in an eloquent address to the Grand Jury.

He then proceeded to trial of information on stills, when the townlands of Priorstown, Bellinfull, and Donnelly’s-town, were fines £50 each.

John Hickey, for robbing the mail on the 19th December, at Coolfore, containing letters from Collon to Dublin – Acquitted.

Pat. McGargan, found guilty of an assault in Sarah Duffy, to be imprisoned two months, and to give security. This put off at the last assizes, the prosecutor being unable from the abuse she got, from attending.

Pat. McGargan, for an assault on James Duffy, son of the said Sarah, fined 6d.

Nich. Hoey and Mary Cunningham, for stealing calico and cotton goods of Mr. Delahoyd and Co. – Hoey ordered to give security – Acquitted.

Bridget Johnston, for an assault on William Lee, Esq. Surgeon – Guilty: ordered to be imprisoned one month, and to give security. The prisoner in this case, was a patient in the infirmary, and thinking that Mr. Lee should have taken her advice as to prescription, and finding him on the head of the stair-case, threw him down the stairs.

Mary Munay, for stealing a purse and 10s. 10d. from Mary Googerty – Guilty. Pleaded Stat. and ordered to be burned in the hand, and imprisoned for four months.

James Curren and Hugh Beers, for feloniously taking out of the house of Pat. McGorish two pistols value £1. Goods of Pat. McEver, value 4s. 6d. having pleaded Statute – Curren ordered to be transported for 7 years, and Beers to be imprisoned 6 months.

Pat. Gorman, for cow-stealing – Acquitted: ordered to give security.

W. McEntagart, guilty of assaulting Peter Clarke, fined 6d. and discharged.

John Ginnity, acquitted of a rape on the body of Mary Crinion.

Hannah Smith, for stealing calico shawls, £2 value – Guilty. Pleaded Statute, and was ordered to be burned in the hand, and imprisoned 3 months.

Jane Johnston and John Rogers, acquitted of do.

Pat. Maginnis, for stealing calico, the property of John Delahoyd, acquitted, and to give security.

Patrick Rafferty, for burglariously entering the dwelling-house of Mary Clurky, with intent to murder Pat. Clurky, and also with intent to murder said Mary, acquitted; but found guilty of an assault on Bridget Clurky – ordered to be imprisoned 6 months, and to give security; also found guilty of an assault on said Pat. Clurky – ordered to pay fine of 6d. also assault of Mary Clurky, fined 6d.

Owen Waters, guilty of making use of a still without license, and of distilling spirits. Ordered to be imprisoned two months.

Patrick O’Neill, and eight others, were acquitted of a riot at Tullykeel.

In the Civil Court (among other Records of little moment) was tried that of Lord Clermont against Sharp, when the verdict was given for the defendant, with costs, subject to a further discussion on a point of law, &c.




12 AUGUST 1809


On Friday last, Patrick Jordan and Thomas Brady were executed at Worcester, pursuant to their sentence at the last assizes for that county. They suffered for having robbed and ill-treated Mr. Charles Bayley, on the highway between Broomsgrave, Lickey and Notbotheld turnpike. These unfortunate men were natives of Ireland, and were attended, after condemnation, till the time of their execution, by a Roman Catholic Priest.

Brady made the following confession.- He was 21 years of age, a weaver by trade, and born in the town of Louth, county of Louth, Ireland; had been in the army four years and a half, and deserted from various regiments. The following are the robberies which he acknowledges to have committed:- In London, in company with one Brogan, where he first became acquainted with him, he stole two watches from their lodgings, then went to Bristol, and enlisted in a  regiment there – afterwards went to Bury St. Edmonds, and became acquainted with two other associates; they bought pistols and ammunition, in order that they might go on the highway, which they did, and stopped two footmen, from whom they took £18 in notes. They did nothing more until they arrived at Warwick, soon after which they robbed a man on the Stratford road, of his watch, hat, and some copper and silver money – a week after the latter robbery, they went on the Birmingham road, and stopped two horsemen, but one of them having a spirited horse escaped, when Brogan shot at him; they then pulled the other off his horse, and robbed him of two guineas, which was all he had; a reward of 300 guineas was offered next day for the apprehension of the person who actually fired the shot. They next stole a sheep, after which three of the gang deserted, and attempted to rob a man near Wolverhampton, but he escaped, although Brogan, against the consent of his associates, fired at him. The next night they robbed a banker’s clerk of Wolverhampton, of 318, and a silver watch. The last robbery they committed was that for which they now suffered.”




12 MARCH 1810


The assizes of the North east Circuit, commenced on Thursday the 8th inst. at Drogheda, before the Hon. Luke Fox, in the Crown Court, and the Honourable James McClelland, Esq. in the Civil.

The following trials of prisoners and traversers were immediately proceeded on, being more numerous that generally occurs in the town.

Thomas McNally, indicted for horse stealing; not guilty.

Thomas Dougherty, indicted for stealing 112lbs. of hogs lard from a vessel on the quay of Drogheda; not guilty.

John Murray, for stealing 20lbs. of cotton yarn; not guilty

James McDaniel, indicted for receiving one volume of McNally’s Justice of the Peace, which had been stolen from Henry Pentlande Esq., Mayor of Drogheda, he knowing it to have been stolen. The evidence was, that the book alluded to, was found in his shop; but it appearing that it was constantly exposed in his shop with other books for sale , and no endeavour on his part to conceal it, corroborated by an excellent character given him by Dr. Lindsay; honourably acquitted.

Jane Rice, alias Jane Armstrong, for stealing six yards of calico, the property of Wm. Kegans; acquitted, the prosecutor not attending, and his recognizance estreated.

John Rice, indicted for having in his possession, with intent to utter the same, one piece of paper, with a counterfeit device and impression made thereon, to resemble the device kept at the head office of the Commissioner of Stamp Duties in Dublin, for charging on paper a duty of nine pence ; with a second indictment for having forged notes in his possession; not guilty – but from several unfavourable circumstances appearing against him on the trial, he was ordered to give security before the Mayor of Drogheda.

William Ryan, indicted for receiving a letter, containing half a Promissory Note, which had been embezzled: a second indictment for embezzling the said letter and half note from the Post Office of Drogheda; not guilty.

Hugh McKeever, alias Cahill, for passing forged notes of the Bank of Ireland; not guilty.

Terence Drum, for passing base two and sixpenny token, not guilty.




14 MARCH 1810


This day the assizes for the County of Louth commenced before Hon. Justice Baron McClelland in the Crown Court, and the Hon. Luke Fox in the Civil. – The following trials were immediately proceeded on:

James Deglan, found guilty of stealing turkeys.

John O’Neill, indicted for stealing two pigs, the property of James Brady: not guilty.

Walter Purcell, indicted for a burglary and robbery in the house of John Bashford, This trial was put off on the prisoner’s affidavit, and he ordered to remain to next assizes.

Robert Walters, found guilty of private distilling, imprisoned two months.

Charles Clark, for stealing £5 from Wm. Ferguson, not guilty.

James McGee, for assaulting Ann McGuire, with intent to commit a rape on her, and also for robbing her on the highway of a handkerchief: not guilty on both.

Owen Morgan, for stealing several Bank notes from one Ter. McShane, and for assaulting said McShane: not guilty.

Terence Cassidy, for horse stealing: acquitted

Pat. Ward, a road-maker, convicted of perjury in an account by him delivered to the Grand Jury, setting forth the particulars of the expenditure of a sum presented for repairing a road of which he was an Overseer; to be three times pillored, and imprisoned a year.

The business of the County very trifling.

The King against H. McKeever. – In the Drogheda abstract sent it was state, that McKeever was tried in three indictments and acquitted. There was however another indictment against him, for having a forged Bank of Ireland note in his possession, upon which he was convicted, and sentenced to 14 years transportation, under the act of last session, by which it is enacted, “that any person having a forged note in his possession, without lawful excuse for the same, and proof thereof shall be upon the party accused, shall on conviction be sentenced to transportation for 14 years”




10 AUGUST 1810

DROGHEDA ASSIZES, August 6, 1810

The assizes for the county of the town began this day, which was the commencement of the North East Circuit. Mr. Justice Fox presided in the Crown Court, Mr. Baron McClelland in the Civil.

The following are the trials of prisoners and traversers which occurred.

Wm. Gibson, for the murder of John Corbolly, by shooting him, guilty of manslaughter, to be imprisoned six months.

James Gallagher convicted of perjury, to be imprisoned three months.

Pat. Callaghan convicted of stealing yarn, to be imprisoned six months from 24th March last.

John Mullen, charged with picking the pocket of Lieut. Squair, on the 30th of May last, not guilty.

Charles Townley, charged with horse stealing, not guilty.

Thomas Donaghy, for robbing Henry Carroll, acquitted for want of prosecution.

But one record in the Civil Court.




27 OCTOBER 1810

BUTTER – The Chief Magistrate of Dundalk has detected a man of the name of John Doyle (who with his son, Peter Doyle, says he came from Dublin), in the act of making up a preparation, like butter, in the following manner: he boiled runnet [sic] to a curd, and melted a quantity of good butter over it – put it into bowls, and let it lie in water for a night, after which it looked remarkable well. On cutting it a quantity of water appeared in it, and on washing and newly dressing it 7lb. sold, turned out, but one pound and a half. A quantity of arranetra and some saffron were also found prepared for colouring it. They are both safely lodged in Dundalk gaol, to abide their trials next Assizes. No less a quantity than eleven parcels were found generally made into bowls of about 7lbs.



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The Freeman’s Journal

17 March 1815


Drogheda Assizes, March 15

‘Yesterday evening about four o’clock, the Hon. Justice Daly arrived in town.

The Hon. Justice Mayne arrived in town this morning; his lordship presided in the Record Court.

The following trials took place this day –

James Martin, for having forged stamps in his possession, with an intent to issue them and thereby defraud the Revenue – Not Guilty. John Taafe for stealing sugar the property of John McCan (sic), acquitted. The indictment by mistake, stated the sugar to be the property of McCann, instead of Coleman. James Coleman and Martin Moore for a conspiracy to rescue John McKenna, a prisoner in Drogheda jail – Not Guilty. But ordered to give bail for their good behaviour. – Michael Smith alias Rice, indicted for uttering several bank notes knowing them to be forged, Guilty – Death.

Joseph Kelly and Ann Dowdall, indicted for an assault on Mr. Benjamin Smith, and rescuing A. Thompson, William Roberts, and John Wilson, three soldiers of the 98th regiment – indicted for the murder of Thomas Bird – Not Guilty. Michael Gilligan, indicted for stealing butter, the property of Michael Bird, Esq. – Not Guilty. Joseph Martin indicted for stealing a pig, the property of Michael Mathews – Not Guilty.

DROGHEDA, March 15. – The Sheriffs have received a warrant for the execution of Michael Smith, alias Rice, convicted on Saturday last, for passing forged notes, knowing them to be such. Judge Daly, in passing sentence on the unfortunate culprit, stated, that if any favourable, or even doubtful circumstance had appeared in his favour, on the trial, he would have recommended him to mercy; but on the contrary, it turned out, that he was an old offender – that he had been arraigned at the bar, where he then stood, for an offence of the same nature, four years ago, and acquitted for want of prosecution; that his life had been one scene of inquiry. The wretched man made no declaration whatever, but begged a long stay. The execution is fixed for Saturday, the 8th of April.

Hickey and Callan, two of the villains who robbed Mornington House, and abused Mr. Brabazon, have been found guilty at the Assizes of Trim. It is rumoured, they are to be executed at Blackbush, but we have no certainty of the truth of the report.


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Index to the County Louth assizes 1775-1810





30 January 2013


¦  935 Genealogy of Gairbhith ¦ 976 Genealogy of Cinaeth Mac Croinghille  ¦ 1285-1932 Drogheda Mayors ¦ 1361-1918 Co. Louth High Sheriffs ¦ 1586 Camden's Louth ¦ 1649-1734 Drogheda Council Book Name Index ¦ 1654 The Down Survey Dundalk Barony ¦ 1659-1901 Surname Analysis of Haggardstown ¦ 1665-1882 Title Deeds of County Louth Index ¦ 1689-1927 Regiments based in County Louth ¦ 1692-1841 Dundalk Corporate Officers ¦ 1734-1758 Drogheda Council Book Folio Name Index  ¦ 1740 Corn Census of County Louth ¦1756 Commission of Array ¦ 1775 Collon Cess Payers ¦ 1775-1810 Assizes ¦ 1793 Louth Militia Officers & Men ¦ 1796 Flax Growers ¦1797 The Louth Militia Light Company  ¦ 1798 Louth Militia Officers & Men ¦ 1804 Militia Substitutes ¦ 1816 The Murders at Wildgoose Lodge ¦ 1822 Freeholders ¦ 1824 Freeholders ¦ 1830 County Louth Magistrates ¦ 1832 Dundalk Voters ¦1832 Dundalk: J.R. Eastwood Creditors ¦ 1833-40 Dundalk Union Ten Pound Valuations ¦ 1837 Dundalk Householders ¦ 1837 Dundalk Property Valuations ¦1837 Drogheda Householders  ¦ 1837 Lewis's Co. Louth ¦ 1837 Shareholders in Dundalk Western Railway ¦ 1839 Roden Tenants ¦ 1842 - The Montgomery Children, Dundalk ¦ 1842 Voters ¦ 1842 Thackeray's Louth ¦ 1848 WIlliam Torrens McCullagh ¦ 1846 Dundalk: The Long Panel ¦ 1851 Prisons in County Louth ¦ 1852 Thom's Directory - Co. Louth ¦ 1854 Patriotic Fund ¦ 1855 Ardee Convent ¦ 1855 Drogheda Poor Relief Fund ¦ 1855 The Louth Rifles - Recruits ¦1856/7 Emigrants ¦ 1858 The Wreck of the Mary Stoddard ¦ 1864 Map of Dundalk ¦ 1865 Voters ¦ 1868-1900 Haggardstown Internments Notified to Dundalk Democrat ¦1886 A Brief History  ¦ 1890 Tenants' Defence Fund  ¦ 1890 Dulargy Schools ¦ 1890 Louth Parish Church Fund ¦ 1890 St. Joseph's Dundalk Subscribers ¦ 1891 Bellingham Memorial ¦ 1891 Carroll Fund [Dundalk]  ¦ 1894 Monasterboice ¦ 1898 Tullyallen Subscribers ¦ 1900 Haggardstown Church Subscribers ¦ 1907 County Louth Through the Stereoscope ¦ 1908 Dundalk ¦ 1914-1918 The Returned Army ¦ 1915 Co. Louth Ambulance Fund  ¦  1917 Statistics of the County of Louth ¦ 1922-24 Civil War Period in Dundalk ¦ 1930-40 Newspaper Death Notices ¦ Miscellaneous ¦ The Annals of County Louth ¦ Baronies, Parishes and Townlands ¦ Burials ¦ Statistical Surveys ¦ Dowdallshill ¦ Links ¦ Monasterboice through the Stereoscope  ¦ Co. Louth Population ¦ What's New ¦ Louth Sources ¦ Books of Co. Louth Interest ¦ Memorial Inscriptions ¦ Name Index to County Louth Inscriptions  ¦ 1832 Some Co. Louth Antiquities ¦ Illustrations on this Web Site ¦ The Kingdom of Oriel ¦ Copyright Notice ¦

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