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NAMES: John CUNNINGHAM; James McGRAIN; George McGUSTY, Esq. of Skyhill; Robert GETTY; John SCOTT; John Thomas DICKIE; Andrew Coulter BRADFORD; James CRAWLEY; William PAGE; William HUDSON; Terence COLEMAN; James PARKS; John KNOWLES; Robert GODBY; Patrick WYRE; Peter O'HARE; Mr. STAPLES, KC.; Mr. SCRIVEN; Priest MURPHY; Patty MOONEY of Newtownhamilton; Thomas BURNS of Corcreechy; Matthew MAGENNIS of Newry; James McPARLAND of Markethill; David MONEYPENNY; Mr. MAYNE; Lennox BIGGER; Mr. CROWE; Peter HENEY; Capt BARKER; Arthur McGEOUGH; Owen McPARLAND; John ROCK; O'CALLAGHAN; Peter CAMPBELL; Patrick HAGAN; Samuel GILMORE; Dr. GOODWIN; Peter McANENY; Patrick CUNNINGHAM; McKITTRICK; James CUNNINGHAM; Rev. Gervaise TINLEY; Mr. FOSTER. OTHER PLACES: Crossmaglen, Creggan, Ballsmill, Forkhill, Carrickastuck.
Sharon Oddie Brown. August 22, 2009
NOTE: This is just a rough cut at annotating this news article. Hopefully other readers can tune me up here and I will be able to add more information to the names that are currently blank and perhaps also correct any errors that I may have made.


1828 Jul 22

Saturday July 10



John CUNNINGHAM[1] and James McGRAIN[2] were indicted for willingly and maliciously setting fire to, and burning a certain dwelling house, the property of George McGUSTY[3], Esq., at Skyhill[4], on fourteenth January last. They were given in charge to the following Jury:

Messrs Robert GETTY[5] (Foreman), John SCOTT[6], John T. DICKEY[7], Andrew BRADFORD[8], James CRAWLEY[9], William PAGE[10], William HUDSON[11], Terence COLEMAN[12], James PARKS[13], John KNOWLES[14], Robert GODBY[15], and Patrick WYRE[16].

Peter O'HARE[17], (an approver,) examined by Mr. STAPLES[18], KC -- remembers going to Mr. McGUSTY ‘s house -- it was shortly after last Christmas -- it was at night -- the house was situated at Skyhill, there were 300 people went along with him -- met a party at Crossmaglen[19] and Creggan[20], and the second party at Ballsmill[21] -- it was about cock-crowing when witness and the party left the house -- witness pulled a knife, flint and tow, out of his pocket, and lighted the tow by touch-paper and flint -- another man lit a sheaf of straw, and stuck it in another part of the house -- witness remained an hour, until the house took fire -- it was an empty house -- there was a party at both front and back of the house -- knows some of the persons that were with him on that night -- identifies the prisoners at the bar as being there -- knows CUNNINGHAM since he was a child -- did not know McGRAIN  before that night -- saw John CUNNINGHAM holding tow for another man, and when the sheaf was lighted he stuck it in the house -- McGRAIN was doing nothing -- the crowd parted at Sky Road -- the house was well on fire before they left it -- it was a large house.

Cross examined by Mr. SCRIVEN[22]. -- Was not sorry after he did it -- Was sorry at Easter. Was it when you were sleeping in bed or lying awake that you felt sorry for it? Witness -- it was when I was when I was walking alone by myself, along with myself, on the road, that I was sorry, for I felt that my soul would suffer. Counsel -- as you were walking by yourself, along with yourself and talking to yourself, yourself said, Arrah, sure my poor soul will suffer! -- (A laugh) -- witness was taken prisoner at Forkhill[23] on Easter Friday, for picking a man's pocket of a sovereign -- offered seven shillings to the gentlemen he was taken to, to let him go, confessed first to Priest MURPHY[24] about the burning -- told the Police about it the day he was taken -- remained a few days after the burning at his stepfather’s, and then went to a friend’s house in Newtonhamilton -- cannot recollect his name. -- The witness being pressed for the name, hesitated for some time, and at last said it was one Patty MOONEY’s[25], who lives below Newtownhamilton[26] a bit, in a little moss[27] -- went past the pound[28] to this house, and turned to his right -- was working at MOONEY’s -- cannot tell what distance the house is from the pound -- heard that the prisoners had confessed -- knows Thomas BURNS[29] -- went to his house, at Corcreechy[30], a short time before Easter, with a letter, to get 40 men, or at least, 20 -- took a letter from BURNS to Matthew MAGENNIS[31] at Newry[32], for some money for BURNS, but got none -- MAGENNIS did not tell witness to his face that it was a forgery -- told MAGENNIS that BURNS was one of the party -- BURNS was the third man witness informed against -- was in the North after this. Knows James McPARLAND[33] of Market Hill; was there on Christmas Day -- McPARLAND's father-in-law[34] gave him a watch and he took it away purposely -- was not going to sell it, but to raffle it -- McPARLAND sent to witness for the watch, but he refused giving it unless he was paid eight shillings which he owed them; did not give it without the eight shillings. Cross examined by Mr. MAYNE[35] as counsel for McGRAIN -- witness after much hesitation acknowledged having taken a coat of a man named CAMPBELL[36], which he had kept four weeks when CAMPBELL met him in Dundalk, made him prisoner, and took it from him, and shortly after he charged the said CAMPBELL with the burning.

Lennox BIGGER[37], Esq. examined. Had taken down the confessions of prisoners at the bar. He read the confession of CUNNINGHAM, which had been signed by the prisoner and which agreed in some respects with the evidence of the informer. An objection was made by Mr. SCRIVEN against the confession being given as evidence, as he understood the turnkeys of the jail had had a conversation with Cunningham previous to his going before Mr. BIGGER. After much argument between the Council on the part of the crown, and Mr. SCRIVEN, the latter was allowed by the court to examine the turnkeys, and Mr. CROWE[38], the governor of the jail, when it appeared that they had no conversation whatever with CUNNINGHAM respecting the burning. The confession was at length handed in as evidence. Mr. BIGGER was proceeding to read Mr.

McGRAIN’s confession, when Mr. MAYNE objected, in as much as the confession was not read to him when committed to paper, and as McGRAIN had afterwards retracted; and would not sign it. Mr. BIGGER said he read the confession to McGRAIN, paragraph by paragraph, as he took it from him; and when he had finished, McGRAIN said it was true. The reason Mr. BIGGER did not make McGRAIN sign it was, that it was late in the evening when he finished, and the Magistrates had left the bench. Mr. MAYNE held his objection as good, and cited two cases in support of it. It was however overruled by the court. Mr. BIGGER than read McGRAIN's confession, which was nearly similar to CUNNINGHAM's; it was also handed in as evidence.

George McGUSTY, Esq., examined by Mr. MOODY. -- had a house at Skyhill -- was there on 16th January last -- the house was totally consumed -- it was burned on the night of the 14th, or morning of the 15th January -- it was a thatched house, and occupied -- Peter HENEY[39] was the last tenant that lived in it.


James McPARLAND[40] examined by Mr. SCRIVEN -- saw the man called O'HARE on the table -- he was a servant to witness at one time -- witness lives convenient to Market Hill -- O'HARE came to live with witness on first December, and remained in service until 24th of January -- O’HARE was employed working in witness’s farm -- never knew him to be absent from the house, except one day he went to Armagh to buy the making of a shirt, during all the time he was with them -- witness never gave a watch, nor sent them for any -- O'HARE got witness’s father-in-laws watch on the day he went away -- witness acquainted Capt. BARKER[41] -- got a warrant and gave it to Arthur McGEOUGH[42], his father's servant man, to execute -- was not indebted any wages to O'HARE when he went away he was paid in full.

Cross examined by Mr. STAPLES -- O'HARE did not sleep in witnesses house at night.

Arthur McGEOUGH examined by Mr. MAYNE -- lives with Owen McPARLAND[43], father to last witness -- does not know Skyhill -- went once through Ballsmill -- knew O'HARE -- remembers him coming to James McPARLAND’s, in December last -- he slept in the room with witness for seven weeks and five days -- O'HARE was in his bed every night; never knew him to be away day or night except one day in Armagh, and he returned at two o'clock -- witness went after him with a detaining warrant to take him taken prisoner; witness got him a mile beyond Carrickisticken[44] and in his stepfather's -- witness asked him for the watch; he said he would not give it; took him prisoner; when on the road O'HARE gave witness the watch; witness did not give him any money.

John ROCK[45] examined by Mr. SCRIVEN -- knows Owen and James McPARLAND -- was in the employment of Owen in December last -- knew Peter O'HARE -- he came to live with James McPARLAND on first December last and left him on 24th January; witness has a note of the dates for he has to keep an account of the men employed -- O’HARE slept in the room with the McGEOUGH -- never knew him to be absent but one day he was an Armagh, and he returned about two o'clock.

David MONEYPENNY[46] examined by Mr. MAYNE -- Is father-in-law to James McPARLAND, knew O'HARE -- gave him his watch on 24th January last -- O’HARE told witness that his master had sent him for the loss of his watch as he was going from home, and that his own was not going -- witness gave him the watch.

_____ O'CALLAGHAN[47], Esq. -- knows the prisoner CUNNINGHAM since he was a boy -- never heard anything laid to his charge before -- always considered him to be a good character -- he is but a young lad now .

Peter CAMPBELL[48] examined by Mr. MAYNE -- knows prisoner McGRAIN -- he was in witness’s service in January last -- he was hired with witness from 17th last November to 17th May -- heard about the burning of Mr. McGUSTY’s house -- thinks it was 14 January last -- McGRAIN lay on the loft over where the witness lives -- he had to go through witness’s room and then up the loft -- he generally went to bed between eight and nine o'clock -- Larry GOODMAN and Patrick HAGAN slept with him on this night.

Cross examined by Mr. STAPLES witness lives half a mile from Skyhill -- there is one of the witness’s sons in jail, and three of his relations are charged with this burning[49] -- they were charged in April last -- McGRAIN had been absent from witness’s house several days -- knows that he was at home on this night, for he heard of the burning the next morning.

Patrick HAGAN[50], examined by Mr. MAYNE -- witness is a billman -- knows Peter CAMPBELL -- has slept often in his house -- slept there in January last -- was sleeping with GOODWIN and McGRAIN the night Mr. McGUSTY’s house was burned -- is positive McGRAIN did not leave the house that night, for witness was much distressed with the toothache, and was often awake.

Cross examined by Mr. GILMORE[51] -- McGRAIN went to bed between eight and nine o'clock -- GOODWIN went after him -- witness lives half a mile from CAMPBELL's -- the reason of witnesses stopping there in that night was, on account of his leaving a coat he had borrowed from CAMPBELL's wife[52], and she pressed them to stop -- CAMPBELL called McGRAIN out of bed in the morning.

Dr. GOODWIN[53] (a real specimen of quackery) examined by Mr. MAYNE -- Witness follows the business of bleeding does other things besides bleeding -- remembers the night of the burning -- slept with HAGAN and McGRAIN on that night -- saw the house burning next morning.

Cross-examined -- Lay between witness and HAGAN -- often sleeps in CAMPBELL's -- slept there the week before -- it was Peter CAMPBELL that applied to him to give evidence.

Peter McANENY[54] examined by Mr. SCRIVEN remembers hearing of the burning -- remembers when Patrick CUNNINGHAM[55] was married -- it was on the 12th January -- was at McKITTRICK[56]’s wake, in the town land of ---------------, on the Monday night following -- both Patrick and James CUNNINGHAM[57] were there until daylight, and they supped on potatoes and herrings.

One or two other persons, whom witness mentioned as being at the wake, swore to the same effect.

The defence being concluded, the Judge charged the Jury at some length, (we regret we have not space for his Lordship's address today,) when they retired. They remained closeted for more than an hour and returned with the verdict of acquittal.

The prisoners were afterwards arraigned for the maiming and stabbing of a horse, the property of Rev. Mr. TINLEY[58], at Forkhill. The prisoners were told that this case was not ready to be tried at present, and they would have to remain in custody until next Assizes.

The crowd was so great in the Court-house during this trial, that part of the gallery nearly gave way; many of the people were put out. While the jury were closeted, the Counsel for the Crown applied to the Crown to keep in custody the remaining prisoners, charged with the burning, until next Assizes, as they were not ready to prosecute. Mr. SCRIVEN urged that they should get out on bail -- the Council on the other side having acceeded to this, the court then left it to Mr. FOSTER[59] and Mr. BIGGER to regulate the bail. To be continued.


[2] James McGRAIN

[3] George McGUSTY, Esq.,

[4] Skyhill. In terms of family connections, the COULTERs lived at Skyhill. SEE Coulter family tree. NOTE: More will likely be added in the near future. Skyhill is in the townland of Drumbilla, Parish of Roche, Co. Louth. It is a couple of km south-east of Ballsmill, or slightly less than 4 km north-east of Cavananore.

[5] Robert GETTY

[6] John SCOTT

[7] John T. DICKEY aka John Thomas DICKIE (1787-1876) of Clonaleenan (aka Clonaleenaghan), Parish of Creggan, Co. Louth. He married firstly, Elizabeth McCULLAGH and then secondly Jane WALLACE with whom he had 12 children. He himself was one of the 9 children of Robert DICKIE and Mary REID.

[8] Andrew BRADFORD. I assume this would be Andrew Coulter BRADFORD (1788-1847) a substantial farmer from Cavananore, Upper Dundalk, Co. Louth.

[9] James CRAWLEY. His mother was Margaret M'CULLA: Source: Kane Burials: Erected by James Crawley of Coolderry in Memory of his Mother Margaret Meculla who departed this life March the 29th 1801 Aged 42 years.

[10] William PAGE

[11] William HUDSON

[12] Terence COLEMAN

[13] James PARKS

[14] John KNOWLES

[15] Robert GODBY

[16] Patrick WYRE

[17] Peter O'HARE

[18] Mr. STAPLES, KC

[19] Crossmaglen a town in the Parish of Creggan, Co. Armagh. The Description in Lewis Topographical Dictionary describes what it would have been like at this time: a village, in that part of the parish of CREGGAN which is in the barony of UPPER FEWS, county of ARMAGH, and province of ULSTER, 8 miles (N. W.) from Dundalk, on the road to Newtown-Hamilton; containing 545 inhabitants. It comprises about 100 houses, of which several are large and well built, and has a penny post to Dundalk: the surrounding scenery is strikingly diversified. In the vicinity is a small lake, called Lough Maglen, or Magherlin; and there are numerous others in the surrounding district. The slate quarries here were formerly worked to some extent, but they are now in a declining state, A market for provisions is held on Friday; and there are fairs on the last Friday in every month for black cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs. A constabulary police station has been established in the village; and a spacious and handsome R. C. chapel has been recently erected, which is the parochial chapel of a very extensive district, called Lower Creggan. A dispensary was built by subscription in 1830.  SOURCE: http://www.libraryireland.com/topog/c7.php

[20] Creggan. There are two townlands in the Parish of Creggan. Creggan Duff is on the northern border of Creggan ban glebe. The latter is on the eastern border of the townland of Urcher. I would suspect it is this townland area which is referenced as there was a cluster of houses around Creggan Church.

[21] Ballsmill, Co. Louth. A small settlement just south of Cavananore on the Glassdrummond Road. Thomas BALL was first granted land here in the 17th century

[22] Mr. SCRIVEN

[23] Forkhill

[24] Priest MURPHY

[25] Patty MOONEY

[26] Newtownhamilton

[27]a little moss” – this expression is new to me. In the OED, one of the definitions under “moss” is: “To roof with moss (i.e. to put moss between or under the slates or tiles”. It can also refer to a “bog, swamp or morass; a peat-bog”.

[28] Pound – I don’t know where this was.

[29] Thomas BURNS

[30] Corcreechy

[31] Matthew MAGENNIS of Newry. He may have been related to the Newry Stationer, Edward Augustus MAGINNIS.

[32] Newry

[33] James McPARLAND of Market Hill

[34]David MONEYPENNY was  McPARLAND's father-in-law. NOTE: A Thomas  MONEYPENNY from  Markethill was in the Mullabrack Church registry in 1775.

[35] Mr. MAYNE


[37] Lennox BIGGER, Esq. (1769-1857) He was agent for Lady Joslin in Carnacally townland and  resided near Dundalk in 1836. SOURCE: Ros Davies. He died at Richmond House outside Dundalk. According to the Parliamentary Papers, he was a “weighmaster and taster” in 1822 as well as a freeholder. MEMORIAL:  In a vault beneath this sacred edifice rest the mortal remain of Lennox Bigger, esqr of Richmond, Dundalk. For more than thirty years magistrate  of the Co Louth where he was universally respected and esteemed he was born the 3rd of May 1769 and departed this life the 10th of Jany 1857 also that of his wife Charlotte daughter of John Eastwood of Castletown Castle, Esqr who died the  8th of June 1850 aged 89 years . This tablet is erected in grateful affection by their granddaughter. SOURCE:  Journal of the Society for the Preservation of Memorials of the Dead Vol. IX No. 2 (1917)

[38] Mr. CROWE, the governor of the jail,

[39] Peter HENEY

[40] James McPARLAND, son of Owen McPARLAND

[41] Capt. BARKER

[42] Arthur McGEOUGH

[43] Owen McPARLAND father of James McPARLAND

[44] Carrickisticken aka Carrickastuck, Parish of Phillipstown, Co. Louth. 229 Acres. It is on the south-eastern border of Cavananore and on the north-eastern border of Clonaleenaghan.

[45] John ROCK


[47] _____ O'CALLAGHAN, Esq

[48] Peter CAMPBELL

[49] one of the witness’s sons in jail, and three of his relations are charged with this burning – I do not know who they might be.

[50] Patrick HAGAN was a billman. I assume this meant that he collected rents. Perhaps someone can help me here.

[51] Mr. GILMORE It is quite likely that this would be Samuel GILMORE (1795-1868) of Liscalgot who married Jane COULTER. They had 9 known children.

[52] Peter CAMPBELL's wife,

[53] Dr. GOODWIN

[54] Peter McANENY

[55] Patrick CUNNINGHAM married January 12, 1828.

[56] McKITTRICK – his wake would have been  January 14, 1828


[58] Rev. Mr. Gervaise TINLEY (-1841) In 1808, he was Rector of Fauqhart. — Gervais Tinley, coll. May 5 (D.B.). Master of Dundalk Grammar School, and also C. Dundalk, q.v. Married (1) July 24, 1788, Miss Mary Eastwood, who d. in 1813 and was bur. at Creggan, Dec. 1, 1813 ; (2) 23 May, 1815, Letitia, sister of John Page, of Dundalk. He died in 1841...  (Parishes of Faughart and Forkill. ) Rev. Gervais Tinley contributed a Survey of this parish to Mason's  Parochial Survey (see Vol. II., p. 207). He spent " £3,000 on a farm of 20  acres and a house (Forthill), but it could not be made a glebe house, for as  it was only leased for 999 years and not in perpetuity, this could not legally  be done ! " (Rep. of 1836).  ... The following extracts are taken from the Vestry Minutes in P.R.O. :  " 20 Sep., 1815 — The Reverend Gervais Tinley, Rector of the parish, who  built the church read the Service to a most respectable and crowded  audience." " 8 Aug., 1815 — £100 reward offered for information leading  to the conviction of the person or persons who on the night of Monday,  31 July, dared to commit most wanton sacrilege, by breaking and destroying  the windows of our church." " Schoolhouse to be completed, Schoolmaster to be a guard to our church."
The Communion Plate, now in Baronstown, includes a silver chalice  inscribed : " Presented by the Revd. Mr. Tinley to the Parish of Faughert,
1815." SOURCE: Armagh Clergy and Parishes. James B. Leslie pp301-302. He lived at Fort Hill in the Parish of Faughart, Co. Louth. SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837) by Samuel Lewis.

[59] Mr. FOSTER



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