Clonleigh Crime, Co Donegal

Extracted from the Strabane Morning Post

The following articles were transcribed & compiled by Len Swindley and form part of the Donegal Genealogy Resources Website

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April 3 1832

State of the Country

(From the Ballyshannon Herald)


Horrid Outrage --- On Saturday, the 17th inst. four men from Bundoran, who were served with crown summonses to give evidence at the Assizes of Lifford, respecting the armed body of men that paraded through this town on the 9th ult., were way-laid on their return home, about four miles from Stranorlar, and one of them, Thomas Moffat XE "Moffat" , (steward of Colonel Johnston XE "Johnston" , of Bundoran,) was beat in a most savage manner, having received several desperate cuts in his head, and his left arm fractured. From the prompt assistance afforded by Mr. Holmes XE "Holmes"  and Mr. Greer XE "Greer" , of Stranorlar, the poor man’s life has been miraculously preserved; he lies, however, in a very precarious state ever since. Col. Johnston XE "Johnston"  has had communication with the government on the subject, and the Lord Lieutenant promptly ordered a reward to be offered of One Hundred Pounds, for the apprehension of the offenders.


Last week, a turf stack belonging to Lieutenant Rennick XE "Rennick" , H. P. residing near Pettigo, was maliciously burnt, and on the same night, the walls of a house, which was building by David Robinson XE "Robinson" , of same place, were levelled, it is supposed, by the same party. No cause can be assigned for these outrages as Mr. Rennick XE "Rennick"  and Robinson XE "Robinson" , are peaceable men.


A few days ago, Henderson XE "Henderson" , a process-server, was followed by a number of people near Pettigo, while in the act of serving processes; on overtaking Henderson XE "Henderson"  they searched him, and after examining the processes, they selected such as were for the tithe due the Rev. Mr. Richardson XE "Richardson" , which they destroyed, and gave the other back to him; they then cautioned Henderson XE "Henderson"  against serving any processes for tithe in future, adding that they would send him to hell to collect the tithe of that Bishoprick.


Tuesday, September 23, 1834


A large quantity of flax, the property of TASKER KEYS, ESQ., of Broomfield, in the parish of Lifford, was by some evil-disposed ruffians, set on fire during the night of Sunday last and totally consumed. We understand, that a large reward will be offered for bringing the perpetrators to justice, for this unprecedented act of incendiarism in a hitherto peaceable part of the country


October 14 1834

The following Magistrates, James Sinclair XE "Sinclair" , Esq. B. G. Humphrey XE "Humphrey" , Esq. and Captain Taylor XE "Taylor" , held a meeting on Wednesday last, in the Court House of Lifford, for the purpose of investigating the cause of the numerous outrages which have been lately committed in the neighbourhood of Lifford, and which have now become very alarming. The result of their consultation we do not know, as the proceedings were strictly private; but, from the well known zeal and intelligence of the Gentlemen who composed the meeting, we would hope that their endeavours to protect the peaceable and industrious, and to bring the guilty to justice, will be successful. The outrages which led more immediately to the meeting, were the following:


The house of a man named Shannon XE "Shannon" , a shoemaker, in the neighbourhood of St. Johnston, was set on fire at an early hour last Sunday morning and totally consumed. It was without inmates at the time, the owner, Shannon, having slept at a neighbour’s on the preceding night. It is supposed that the outrage was perpetrated by some individuals with whom Shannon XE "Shannon"  had previously quarrelled, in the hope that he might thereby have been destroyed. An investigation of the circumstance was made by Captain Taylor XE "Taylor" , on Thursday last, the result of which we have not learned.


A few nights ago several ricks of turf, belonging to Mr. John Keys XE "Keys" , of Mullinagung, near Lifford, were set fire to, but, owing to the timely assistance, the fire was extinguished before much damage was sustained. On Tuesday night fire communicated to the stack-yard of Mr. Thomas Wilkey XE "Wilkey" , of Cunningham’s town, near Ballindreat, and a rick of flax, three of oats, and one of peas, were totally consumed. The country having been alarmed, the fire was got under, but not until much damage was sustained. With the greatest difficulty the houses in the town were saved. This occurred between the hours of nine and ten o’clock; had the hour been later, it is probable the whole town would have been consumed.


Tuesday, February 3, 1835


We are sorry to have to record another instance of wilful burning in the Parish of Lifford, hitherto one of the most peaceable districts in the north of Ireland. Two houses on the lands of Braad, in the parish of Clonleigh, the property of the REV. WILLIAM. KNOX, Rector, were maliciously burned on Saturday night last. The tax to be levied off the inhabitants of the Barony of Raphoe, for malicious burnings, will be very heavy after next Assizes. Five Petitions were approved of by the Justices and Cess Payers, at the late Road Sessions in Lifford, which will, of course, fall on that Barony


Tuesday, December 29, 1835


We are sorry to record a daring and savage outrage, which occurred at Glencosh, in the parish of Clonleigh, on Christmas night last. It appears, that persons of the names of Carland and Moore had a dispute at a Cammon Match, which, however, had been made up: but in the evening, the Carlands, with 50 or 60 others, went to the house of Moore, and having desired the father to send out his son, they immediately attacked him, beat and cut him in a desperate manner, with scythe hooks, so much so, that little hope is entertained of his recovery.  The Moores resisted and were all less or more injured. Some of the Carland party were also badly injured, particularly by a dog of the Moore’s, which tore one of them very severely.

Four persons have been taken since and are lodged in the Lifford Gaol. The police have been very active on the occasion, having followed two of the prisoners, who were taken at Castlederg


Tuesday, September 6, 1836


We are sorry to state an instance of incendiarism, very rare in this part of the country. On the evening of the 28th ult., some evil-disposed persons set fire to the premises of Mr Andrew Blair, at Orr’stown, in the parish of Clonleigh. Six head of cattle and one horse perished in the flames – a cow house, stable and turf stack were burned to the ground. The proprietor (Mr. Orr) is a decent, kind-hearted and honest farmer; and we are at a loss to conceive how any person could have been guilty of such a diabolical deed, he having always lived in the greatest harmony with his neighbours. We understand he has served the requisite notices on Mr. Spence, the Secretary of the Grand Jury, in order that the damage may be laid on the Parish. We have no doubt, from the strict look-out after the perpetrators that they will be brought to justice


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Lindel Buckley

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