Saturday, 28 September 2013

Ulster Roll of Gaol Delivery, 1613-1618

Amongst the ancient Records of the Court of Exchequer which are deposited in the Exchequer Record Office, at the Four Courts in Dublin there is to be found a Roll, by which it appears that, between the years 1613 and 1618, the Justices of Assize and Gaol Delivery proceeded to try the criminals who were then confined in the gaols within the province of Ulster. [1] By this Record, which consists of 100 membranes of parchment, and which is written in contracted Latin, we are informed of the names of the jury appearing upon the Inquests, of the names of the delinquents and the crimes of which they were accused, of their acquittal or otherwise, and of the sentences which were pronounced by the Judges; but of the more interesting particulars of those proceedings, such as the examination of witnesses, the address of counsel, and the charge of the Judge, this document is entirely silent. Incomplete, however, as it is, we cannot but gather from it much insight into the sad state of society in Ulster at the period of time to which it relates, as well as the severity of the Executive in its desire to carry forward the then favourite scheme of the "New Plantation" in that province.

JAMES F. FERGUSON.

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No. 1.


On the 27th of February, 1613, an Inquisition was taken at Down, before Christopher Sibthorp, one of the Judges of the King's Bench, and John Beare, Sergeant-at-Law, the Justices of Assize, appointed by a Commission dated the 11th of February in the same year, upon the oaths of the following Jurors:
Christopher Russell, of Bright, Esq.
Edward Johnson, of Boyle, Esq.
Robert Yonge, of Newery, gent.
James Audely, of Audlyston, gent.
James Russell of Magherytenpany, gent.
Brian boy O'Gilmer, of Gregvade, gent.
Christopher Walsh, of Walsheston, gent.
John Savage, of Rathalpe, gent.
Robert Swordes, of Balledonell, gent.
William Morris, of Foynebrege, gent.
John Russell, of Killogh, gent.
John Barr, of Balleedog, gent.
Donell oge McDuiggin, of Mahheretuck.
Walter oge Olune, of Ballygygon.
Phelyme McDoaltagh Offegan, of Edenmore.

Who find that Tirlagh oge McBryne, late of Loghany, county Down, yeoman, on the 1st of January, 1613, with force and arms at Ballyhennocke took and carried away a mare of a chestnut colour, price £8, the property of Con O'Neile. When placed at the bar he pleads not guilty, and is acquitted. The said Jurors also find that on the 20th of January in the same year at Logheny, county Down, he carried away a cow price 20s. the property of Donnogh Carragh McKenan, of which he is also acquitted.

They also find that Murtagh Moder Magrane, late of Dromneknogher, county Down, yeoman, on the 20th of August, 1613, at Ballemullnany, stole a chestnut-coloured mare worth 40s. the property of John Prestly, of which he is found guilty; and the judgment of the Court is that he be brought back to the gaol by the gaoler and be disengaged from his chains, and that he be led from the gaol thro' the midst of the town of Down as far as the gallows, and there hung by the neck until he be dead, and the Sheriff of Down is commanded to carry this into execution.

The Jurors also say that Art Magenis, of Kilwarlin, gentleman, and Donnill Magenis of the same, yeoman, on the 20th October, 1613, at the woods of Kilwarlin and other places, waged cruel and open war, by burning, murdering, and spoiling the King's liege subjects, and that on the last day of the same month, Turlagh McGregory and Patrick McGregory aided and supported them and other false traitors; but the said Turlagh and Patrick are acquitted.

The Jurors also find that James McDavye of Little Deleing, yeoman, on the 31st October, 1613, at the fields of Balleclavars, took a black-coloured mare worth £4, the property of Patrick Oranton, and he is acquitted.

They also say that Murtagh O'Kerran with others, on the 9th of November, 1605, with force and arms about 12 o'clock at night broke into the mansion house of John Bellew, gent., putting him in bodily fear by threatening to kill him, or at least to spoil him of his goods and money; but he is acquitted.

They also say that on the 3rd of August, 1609, Owen Savadge of Ballindre, yeoman, at Rathlelan, carried away three mares price £10 each, the property of a person unknown; and he is acquitted.

They say also that Manus Offlyn, of Roowe, yeoman, on the 11th of February, 1613, at Rodony, carried away two sheep worth 10s. the property of John Mountgomerey and Michael Cragg of Rodony, yeomen, and he is acquitted.

That Owin Offegan, of Dromore, yeoman, on the 17th of November, 1613, at Dromore, broke into the stable of John Todd between 7 and 8 o'clock in the evening, and carried away a mare valued at £8, his property. Acquitted.

That Owin McConan, of Killwarling, yeoman, on the 26th of September, 1613, at the fields of Balligligor, carried away two brown coloured horses, price £4 each, the property of John Dunbarr. -- Acquitted.

That Patrick O'Corran, of Tallome, yeoman, on the 6th of November, 1613, at same place, carried away 4 pigs, price 3s. each, the property of Teige O'Brian. -- Not Guilty.

That Robert Edger, of Portferry, yeoman, on the 8th of December, 1613, at Ballycorog, stole a black heifer price 16s. the property of Richard Savage. -- Acquitted.

That he also on the same day, at Portferry, stole a black heifer worth 20s. belonging to Hugh McIniske. -- Acquitted.

That Teige McMullan of Evagh, yeoman, on the 12th of January, 1613, at the fields of Lisnacrewe, stole a black mare price 40s. belonging to Patrick oge O'Gerron, yeoman. -- Acquitted.

That Gilleduff O'Morgan, of Mourne, yeoman, on the 1st of February, 1613, at Tullaghomy, stole 4 pigs, price 4s. each, the property of [2] Gilleduff O' Morgan. -- Acquitted.

That Gilleduff O'Morgan, of Newery, yeoman, on the 6th of February, 1613, at Mullaghmore, stole 17 pigs worth 3s. each, belonging to William O'Dalye. -- Acquitted.

That Jane McCraken of Kunningburne, spinster, on the 1st of December, 1613, went to the mansion house of Dugald Craford, of Kunningburne, gent, and between the hours of 8 and 9 in the evening, with a lighted torch in her hand, of malice aforethought, set fire to a small heap of straw there, whence the house and Mr. Craford who was in it, were burnt. -- Acquitted.

That Edward O'Carr, of Drumkreigh, yeoman, on the 12th of August, 1613, forcibly at Tawnymoore, County Armagh, stole a mare, price £4, belonging to Patrick McTawny. -- Acquitted.

That Con Boy Magenis, of Evagh, yeoman, on the 16th of February, 1613, at Dromore, stole a chestnut-coloured horse price £3, the property of John Todd. -- Acquitted.

That James McWilliams of Downepatrick, yeoman, on the 27th of September, 1613, "apud Downe Patrick, in apertu loco vocato 'a cow-house' cujusdam Simonis Goffockes in quandam vaccam de bonis et cattallis dicti Simonis Goffockes adtunc et ibidem existente insultutn fecit, ac cum dieta vacca secleratissime felonice ac contra nature ordinem tunc ibidem rem habuit veneream, dictamque vaccam carnaliter cognovit, ac sic cum eadem vacca peccatum illud horribile ac hodomiticum (Anglice vocatum B******) adtunc et ibidem felonice comisit ac perpetravit." -- Acquitted.

That Teige O'Hoyre of Balleenlogh, yeoman, on the 13th of September, 1613, in the fields there "in quandam Rose ny Hanlon spinster virginem etatis duodecim annorum tunc et ibidem in pace Dei et dicti domini Regis existentem iusultum fecit, et tunc et ibidem candem Rose contra voluntatem ipsius Rose felonice rapuit et carnaliter cognovit." -- Acquitted.

That Barnard Turke of Arglas, yeoman, on the 16th of January, 1613, about twelve o'clock at night, entered the mansion-house of John St. Lawrence, at that place, and stole £3 in money there lying in a chest, his property. -- Acquitted.

That Patrick Groome McGennis of Dounoan, yeoman, on the 15th of December, 1613, in the fields of Belfast, County Antrim, stole a black horse worth £6, the property of John Maukin, of Belfast, yeoman. – Acquitted.

That Phelym Starky, and Owen Gilboy, of Down, yeomen, on the 18th of March 1612, at Cargaghnebeg, stole £3 in money, the property of Art McGilkenny. -- Acquitted.

That Laghlin Duffe O'Hanlon, of Omeathe, yeoman, on the 1st of February, 1613, entered the mansion-house of Art O'Bryn of Newery, between 10 and 11 o'clock in the evening, and stole a keg of butter worth 10s. He is found guilty, and the judgment given is the same as that which was pronounced in the above-mentioned case of Murtagh Moder Magrane -- namely, that he should suffer execution in like manner.

That Manus Moder O'Bryne of Magherhawle, yeoman, on the 20th of December 1613, at Leitrym, stole a sow worth 8s, the property of Patrick oge O'Rogan. -- Acquitted.

That Phelim O'Morgan of Newery, and Patrick Boy O'Morgan of same, yeomen, on the 1st of December, 1613, at Tallaquoyle, stole two horses price 40s each, belonging to Brian Roc Offegan, and Shane McIlchrewe. -- Acquitted.

That Donnell McGennis of Kilvarley, yeoman, on the 26th of March, 1606, at the woods of Clerant, insulted James Russell with "a darte" price 6d, which he held in his right hand, and struck him upon the head, giving him a mortal wound one inch broad and three inches deep, of which he then and there instantly died. -- Guilty. His sentence is that he be brought back to the gaol, his fetters or chains taken off him, and that from the gaol thro' the middle of Downepatrick he be led to the gallows and there hung by the neck "ac semimortuus ad terram prosternatum ac interiora et membra secreta ejus extra ventrem suum scindantur ipsumque adhue viventem comburentur, et caput ejus amputetur, quodque corpus ejus in quatuor partes dividatur et caput et quarteria illa disponantur ubi dominus Rex ei assignari velit."

That William Colt, of Roemoore, yeoman, on the 11th of February, 1613, at Rodine, stole two sheep, worth 10s each, belonging to John Mungemery and Michael Cregan, of Rodin, gentlemen. -- Acquitted.

That Owin Carragh O'Laurie of Tobbercorr, yeoman, on the 6th of February, 1613, at the fields of Erduach, stole a chestnut-coloured mare worth £6, the property of Owin O'Keynan of Kiltaghlin, yeoman. -- Acquitted.

That John Morris, yeoman, on the 5th of October, 1612, at Downe, stole a brown mare worth £3, the property of John Morghye of Downe. -- Acquitted.

That Knockor McCranewell of Clinconnell, yeoman, on the 2nd of November 1613, stole a pig worth 5s at Clinconnell, belonging to Neile McCasey, of Clancanby. -- Acquitted.

That Christopher Magyn, of Cloonagh, yeoman, Hugh O'Lawrye of Evagh, yeoman, and Hugh McGillvan of same, on the last day of August, 1613, at Dondrom, stole two mares worth £5 each, belonging to Richard Gerland of same. -- Acquitted.

That Edward and William Bettee of Duffrin, yeomen, on the 20th of February, 1613, at Foynebroge, carried away six cocks of oats worth 6s 8d each, the property of Edmund O'Mullan and Cowlogh O'Kelly. -- Guilty. -- To suffer execution in the manner above mentioned.

That Brian O'Carran of Ballemurphey, and Augly O'Carrane of Strangford, yeomen, on the 1st of August, 1613, at Portferry, stole a  ------------------------------- ["unum cramentum esis"] worth 10s. the property of Rowland Savadge. -- Acquitted.

That James Roneland of Randufferan, yeoman, on the 2nd of February, 1612, at Killelogh, stole a sheet ---------- ["unum lodisem"] worth 5s., the property of John Moore. -- Acquitted.

That Patrick Reagh O'Mackerrill of Lismore, yeoman, on the 5th of August 1613, in the fields of Dongannan, County Tyrone, stole a horse worth £5 belonging to Dermot O'Corran. -- Acquitted. -- That Robert Meaghan of Cloghmaghracat, yeoman, on the 2nd of June 1613, in the fields of Rasrillan, stole a brown-coloured cow worth 40s., the property of Robert Farrenan. -- Acquitted.

And that Brian McConnor Offegan, of Quibdell, yeoman, on the 8th of November, 1613, at Edengarry, stole a red-coloured mare ["unam equam colons rubeam"] worth £3 belonging to Thomas McNelekin. Acquitted.

To be continued...


[1]  Made no doubt in pursuance of Writs of Certioriari, which were issued by the Court of King's Bench, directing the Clerks of the Crown in the province of Ulster,  to make a return to that Court of ‘all treasons, and felonies, and the misprision thereof, therein committed.’

[2]  So in the original.


The above article is reproduced from the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, vol. 1, 1853.

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