Author: Murice Denham Jephson.
Some records of the Jephsons of Mallow
1964 Allen Figgs, Dublin
Transcribed by Jim Magner from a book by Murice Denham Jephson
Notes on Doneraile and District Whiteboys
The Whiteboys, an illegal organization, first came into being in about 1760. Its inception was due to the indignation caused by the action of landowners in enclosing common lands previously reserved for grazing by the country-people’s animals. Its activities were mainly concentrated on razing the fences erected by the landowners. Through the years, the movement gradually lost its impetus until, by the 19th century, it was at least quiescent in most districts. The Doneraile area was the exception. The origination continued in being and appears to have harassed such landlords and magistrates as were associated with undue harness in the maintenance of law and order. One of these magistrates, George B. Low, was particularly unpopular, and two or three attempts wee made to shoot him. Whatever the rights or wrong of the case, it was generally admitted that he was a rough and courageous man, and he was in no way deflected from what he believed to be the path of duty by the dangers to which it subjected him.
In 1829, the authorities believed that a plan was being prepared to shoot Michael Creagh, who had been High Sheriff the previous year, Rear Admiral Henry Evans and G. B. Low. The first two-named were also magistrates. Dr. Norcott’s carriage was fired on in mistake for that of Creagh, and two coachman and groom were badly wounded.
There is a unsigned and undated report, marked confidential, which was probably prepared about this time. “Jephson wrote on the back: “ Col. Hill. Suspected Places”. It reads as follows: “The principal places which the insurgents have assembled in numbers to the east of Mallow are:
The Village of Killavullen
Torpys Cross near Clenor
Grandy near Annakissy
Ballyversheen near Lisseniskey
Carrig Inch on the banks of the Blackwater
The Commons of Dromourne.
That frequent meetings of armed insurgents assembled at the above mentioned places is a unquestionable fact, and that nearly the whole population of the Lower Class including a great number of Cottier Farmers of the Parish of Monanimy, Carrig and Anakissy have been sworn Whiteboys is equally true, and there is evey reason to believe that number of Arms are in possession of the insurgents in those Parishes, and part of Rahan- but the system is not to keep the Arms in houses.
The house at Torpys Cross were constantly resorted to, and report states that two Schoolmasters who frequented there, Linnehan and Herlihy, and a Taylor from near Newmarket, were active Agents with the insurgents-.
The Doyles at Parknoe, Castlekevin cou’d give much information. Hasset, a labourer at Castlekevin, a very bad character. David Quilty, Labourer, on the road from Grandy to Carrig, the Roaches, farmers Clashnamoe near Lissanisky, the Finns of Lissanisky, are reported to have had their houses open to the insurgents. Also many inhabitants of Killavullen and Carrig-.
“Much alarm prevails at present amongst the insurgents, and few meetings are held. Saturday or Sunday nights the best for search”
The Police took action on 8th August. A contemporary copy of the orders issued to each party engaged is in Mallow Castle. The operation had as its objectives the arrest of two ringleaders. Both men escaped, but one was shot* in doing so (transcribers note* John Magner was shot in the back)
The matter must have been widely and adversely criticized, for Chief Constable Crossley, who had been in command of the police, wrote from Doneraile to Major Miller ten days latter.
“Since some observations made by Mr. Burgress Deane in the last Court of D’Oyer Hundred held at Cork, I beg to entreat you in the most earnest manner, to cause and investigation to be held into the conduct of the police in the morning that Magner was shot; it appears to me to be indispensable from the remarks that have been made.”
This request was acceded to, and the magistrates met at Doneraile on 19th and 26th September. Jephson was one of them, and his rough draft of their report reads:
“…. We regret to be obliged to give it as our opinion that the police concerned with transactions of the 8th Aug’t. failed to execute the duty given them in charge, but from the conflicting nature of the evidence before us, we are unable to affix the blame to any individual.”
Jephson’s notes of the evidence given at the enquiry and a rough sketch he made on the scene of the action show the close attention he gave the affair.
However, various other operations were evidently carried out during the following weeks. No fewer than twenty-one persons were rounded up and arranged before a Special Commission in Cork in October. The proceedings lasted eight days and resulted in the collapse of the prosecution. Its case had been based mainly on the evidence of informers, and it broke down under cross-examination.
The arrest of so many of their members, and the death of one man while attempting to escape, does not appear to have intimidated the Doneraile and District Whiteboys. A list of suspected persons, dated 1842, presumably drawn up by the police, shows that the organization was still very much in being. The list is damaged beyond repair and deteriorating. Because of its local interest, it is reproduced here as accurately as its condition permitted. It seems clear that in compiling this list, the use of informers was again resorted to, and Colonel Richard Hill, a magistrate, obtained evidence from such sources in spite of its failure, of which he was well aware, before the Special Commission thirteen years earlier.
LIST OF SUSPECT PERSONS, 1842
District in the Barony of Fermoy, Mr
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