HMS Beresford in 1780, and 1797.

Henry Hewitt was described as the “Captain of the Beresford Revenue Cutter.” at the time of his daughter Jane’s marriage to Laurence O’Brien in Castletownsend in 1778. The following is from The Town and Country Magazine, and The Lady’s Magazine.

Domestic Intelligence.

21[August 1780] Captain Kearney, regulating captain at Corke, in a letter to Mr Stephens, of the Admiralty, incloses one from the master of the Beresford cutter to the collector of that port, of which the following is a copy.

Castle Townsend, Aug 13, 1780, Two O’Clock P.M.


By express this morning, we acquainted you with an engagement off the harbour, on which we sent out a hooker, which has since returned, and find the fleet seen off to be that which sailed from Corke for America yesterday, all safe. The engagement was between his Majesty’s ship the Biensaisant, and one of the frigates with her, and a French 74, which we have the pleasure to acquaint you is taken. They are now lying too off this harbour, shifting the prisoners on board the different ships. The French ship had 600 men, on hundred of which were killed or wounded, and eleven killed and wounded in ours:-  This is the account the officer that went out in the hooker brings us, but thinks it is the Compte d’Artois, but is certain she is a 74; and he towed a boat with some of the prisoners. Another ship, a privateer, was in fight with the Frenchman, but she is not now in fight


T. Hungerford, Surveyor

H. Hewitt, Master of the Beresford Revenue Cutter.

Castletownshend , co. Cork

To the Collector of Corke.

The Ambuscade was the frigate which is mentioned in the above dispatches.

From The Town and Country Magazine, Or, Universal Repository of Knowledge, Instruction, and Knowledge.  Volume XII, for the Year 1780, London. Printed for A. Hamilton Jnr near St John’s Gate.

The same report was in The Lady’s Magazine; Or, Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex Volume XI, 1780

and from the LONDON GAZETTE August 5 1797, the Beresford was still in action along the coast of Southern Ireland.

It’s unclear, but unlikely, as to whether Henry Hewitt was still in command. But, given his likely age, he almost certainly was not.  Assuming he was about 50 years old at the marriage of his daughter Jane in 1778 [ using a 25y/o+ 25y/o formula], he would have been born about 1728. So in 1797, he would have been 69 years old. If he had been the same age as his son in law’s father who was born in 1717, he would have been 80 years old. So, one hopes, the Irish Customs Service had managed to find a slightly more youthful Captain than Great Grandpa Henry…

Admiralty Office August 1 1797

Copy of a Letter from Vice Admiral Kingsmill,  Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s Ships and Vessels at Cork to Evan Nepean Esq. [ He was Secretary to the Board of Admiralty 1795-1804, and later Chief Secretary in Ireland, and later one of the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty]  dated  [HMS] L’Engageante, Cork Harbour July 5 1797


Please to inform my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that having Intelligence of a small Privateer being off Bally Cotton, I sent out Lieutenant Pulling, in the Mary Revenue Cutter, in Quest of her, and in a few Hours he fell in with the Beresford, coming from Waterford, just as she had captured the said Privateer, a chasse marée, named L’Acheron, of 28 Tons, out of Morlaix, carrying 1 Carronade Eight-Pounder and six Swivels, and 40 Men. She is just arrived here, and had taken Three Vessels, all of which I understand are recaptured.

I have, &c. R. Kingsmill.

The ship was decommissioned in 1819, and sold for scrappage in Plymouth, although the name lived on in more ships in the Royal Navy.

Hewitt – O’Brien March 20th 1778

Castletownshend, co. Cork

1778,  March 20th, at Castle-Townsend co. Cork, Laurence O’Brien, to Miss Hewitt, daughter of Henry Hewitt, Esq, Captain of the Beresford Revenue Cutter.

The Gentleman’s and London Magazine: Or Monthly Chronologer published in Dublin,  printed by John Exshaw in Dame Street.

Laurence O’Brien and Jane Hewitt are Henry Hewitt O’Bryen [1780-1836]’s parents, and John Roche O’Bryen‘s paternal grandparents, so in our case, great, great, great, great, grandparents. Jane Hewitt is also the reason for the Hewitt name occurring as a forename in the next four, or five generations

A Revenue Cutter was a Customs vessel and each cutter master was answerable to and received his sailing orders directly from the Collector of Customs of the port to which his ship was assigned. All crew pay, requests for supplies, arrangements for repairs to the cutter, and mission-specific tasking came directly from the port’s Customs House.

So great grandpa x 5 Henry Hewitt was a Customs Officer.

Eugene Macarthy, second indictment for bigamy – 24 July 1862

Dublin Evening Mail – Thursday 24 July 1862


Mr. Eugene Plumber McCarthy, described as a solicitor and notary public in Ireland, has undergone a lengthened examination, on two charges of bigamy and one of perjury, at Westminster Police-office, London.

Mr. Lewis, sen., was engaged for the prosecution.

Dr. John O’Bryan, of 17, Thistle-grove, Brompton, produced a certificate from the registry of the Rev. J. G. F. Shultz, in the Consistorial Court, Dublin. The prisoner was there described as Eugene M’Carthy, and the marriage which took place on the 28th of January, 1839, was between Catherine Creagh and Eugene M’Carthy. Witness also produced certificate the marriage of Mary Anne O’Bryan, in the parish church of St. Peter’s, in the county of Cork, to Eugene M’Carthy, on the 29th of June, 1844,

The first marriage was also proved by a witness who was present the ceremony. It was here explained that the clergyman question was what is called ” a couple beggar.”

Mr. Lewis pointed out that his marriages were valid, or they would not be registered in the Consistory Court

Mr. Ingleby Thomas Miller, solicitor, George-yard, Lombard-street, produced two letters from the prisoner, which were proved to be in his handwriting, dated the 5th and 9th of September, 1860, in which, in allusion to his first marriage, the prisoner urged that he was very young at the time; that Catherine Creagh had lived with him previously; that neither of them ever considered it as a valid marriage; that she left him shortly afterwards, considering that there were no marital obligations; that after he was married in 1844, at St Peter’s, to Miss O’Bryan, repeatedly saw Catherine Creagh in the streets, and, attaching no value to her marriage, she never sought him, or required anything of him, although his marriage with Miss O’Bryan had been published in the newspapers, and must have been well known to her. The question having been tried one of the courts of law, it had been determined by the authorities that marriages like the one spoken of were valid. The writer said he had seen Catherine Creagh in Cork as late as 1855.

Prisoner said that these letters were dated from Woolwich, and he never was there.

Mr. Lewis intimated that Catherine Creagh was alive now, and had given evidence a few days ago in the Court of Chancery respecting some property transactions.

Prisoner said that a woman had been brought from Ireland certainly.

Mr. Miller, on being cross-examined by the prisoner, said that about the time the letters were received there was some treaty about the raising of some money; the object was that the settlement should be set aside. He was about to lend Miss O’Bryan some money, and he wanted to be satisfied on some points relating to the prisoner.

A passage in one of the letters purporting be written by the prisoner was pointed out as showing that he well knew his first wife to be alive at the time of his marriage with Miss O’Bryan. It stated that Catherine Creagh resided at Cork in 1844; that she continued to live there, and that he repeatedly saw her.

Miss Mary Ann O’Bryan, who described herself as single woman, said that she was married on the 29th June, 1844, to the prisoner.

This was the evidence in support of the first bigamy, and the second was not proceeded with.

Mr. Lewis proposed that the evidence of the first marriage should copied upon the depositions in this case, and called

The Rev. W. Bell Mackenzie, incumbent of St James’, Hollowav, who stated that on the 22nd of May, 1852, performed the marriage ceremony with Eugene M’Carthy and Emily Verling. They signed the register, which produced.

Dr. John O’Bryan proved that the name of M’Carthy was in prisoner’s handwriting. Miss O’Bryan said that Emily Verling, unfortunately, resided in the same house with herself and husband; prisoner and Miss Verling left the house together.

It was stated that Miss Verling, finding she had been deceived, left the prisoner and went abroad. Mr. Arnold asked what evidence there was to show that in 1852 prisoner knew his first wife was alive?

Mr. Lewis said that the letter proved that he knew she was alive after 1854.

Mr. Arnold pointed out that he might have become acquainted with that fact in 1854, but might have been ignorant of it 1852.

A certificate was now produced in the third case against the prisoner, in which he had sworn, on his application for a licence to be married to Miss Verling, on the 19th May, 1862, that he was a bachelor.

Mr. Arnold observed that the question in this case would again arise, whether in 1852 the prisoner knew that his first wife was alive.

Miss O’Bryan was again called to supply the proof required, and her brother was also put into the witness-box to give secondary evidence of the contents of a letter written by the prisoner, which had been destroyed. It was addressed to Dr. O’Bryan, and was written after his connexion with Miss Verling, and stated that he had left his (Dr. O’Bryan’s)  sister because she was not his wife; that in 1839 he was married to Catherine Creagh, who died in 1851, and was buried at a cemetery described. At first he stated that he was married to Miss Verling, as he was at that time an unmarried man.

Mr. Arnold said that this evidence was not against the prisoner, but in his favour.

Mr. Lewis applied to have the depositions copied up for prisoner’s committal on all the charges, and asked for remand for witnesses from Ireland.

Mr. Arnold remanded the prisoner for a week, but said that at present he could only commit upon the first charge, as the others were not proved.

Eugene Macarthy, committed for trial at Bow Street, August 1862

The Times, Tuesday, August 26, 1862.

POLICE (Courts)

Bow Street Magistrates Court

Bow-Street.-A middle aged man, of gentlemanly appearance, named Eugene Macarthy, was brought up in custody of Inspector Scott, of the A division of police, the officer in charge at the Reading-room of the British Museum before the sitting magistrate, Mr. Henry, on a charge of stealing from the reading-room six books-viz., Dugdale’s “Antient Usage of Arms,” the “Historical Memoirs of the Irish Rebellion of 1641,”  Dod’s “Parliamentary Companion”, Lawless’s “Ireland,” Hegel’s “Philosophy”, and a work in the Irish language, the title of which in English is “Christians’ Instructions”

Mr Poland, the barrister, attended to prosecute for the Trustees of the Museum, and the prisoner was defended by Mr. Morgan, solicitor.

It appeared that the prisoner, who had practised as a solicitor in Ireland, was recently prosecuted for marrying Miss Mary Anne O’Brien during the lifetime of his former wife.

In the course of that prosecution he wrote a letter to Mr. Miler, Miss O’Brien’s solicitor, applying for certain books, papers, &-c., which he had left in her care at the time when they were living together as husband and wife. Mr. Miller submitted to her brothers, Dr. John O’Brien and Mr. Stephen H. O’Brien, tho prisoner’s letter, which was as follows:-

” 2, Caroline-street East, Camden-town, Aug. 7.

“Sir,- I venture to trespass on your kind indulgence to ask the favour of your either preferring the request yourself,or forwarding the request to 30, Westbourne-place, that certain books and MSS., with some other things, fairly mine, and of much moment to me, may be forwarded here by parcels’ delivery:- a hat-box and an old carpet-bag, both containing MSS., with a small writing-case,. I would have have asked this earlier of you, but severe illness prevented me till now. I apologize for addressing you, but really not knowing whom else to ask of, will excuse me. I am your obedient servant,”

“E. P. Macarthy.”

Book Stacks, British Museum Reading Room

Mr. Miller advised the Messrs. O’Brien, acting on behalf of their sister, to deliver up to Mr. Macarthy all books, papers, or other property belonging to him, but with the precaution that they should carefully examine such articles, and make a list of them. In the course of the examination which was made, in conformity with Mr. Miller’s advice,Dr. O’Brien discovered that among the books left by the prisoner in Miss O’Brien’s care were two which had evidently belonged to some library. These were the ” Historical Memoirs of the the Irish Rebellion of 1641” and Dugdale’s “Antient Usage of Arms” .It first struck Dr. O’Brien that these works were impressed with a crown on the binding, and were marked with certain numbers. Upon a closer scrutiny he came to the conclusion that they were stolen from the Reading-room of the British Museum. He at once proceeded to the Museum and submitted the books to the inspection of Mr. Rye, one of the principal assistants there. Mr. Rye identified the books as having been stolen from the Reading-room. [The Reading Room was officially opened on 2 May 1857 ] They had been given out in July, 1857, to a reader named Macarthy, and had never been returned. The were missed on the 1st of September, 1857. At that time the prisoner was a reader at the Museum. He became a reader on the 22nd of July that year, when he entered his name in the usual manner in the readers’ book, and that signature was proved, to be in his handwriting. His name was also entered in his own hand- writing on the fly-leaves of the books, and in one of them a label engraved with the Macarthy arms had been pasted over the Museum press mark. Upon this label the mottoes of the Macarthy family were written in Latin and in Irish, in the prisoner’s handwriting.

There was also found among the books left in Miss O’Brien’s care by the prisoner, four other books:-viz., Dod’s Parliamentary Companion, Lawless’, Ireland, Hegel’s Philosophy, and The Christians’ Instructions, all bearing the press mark, and all identified as having been missed from the Museum prior to the 1st of September. They were all marked with the prisoner’s signature and other memoranda, and marginal notes in his handwriting. Upon this information, Inspector Scott apprehended the prisoner at the Central Criminal Court, when he attended to take his place upon tho charge of bigamy. He was then taken to the station-house in Bow- street, but was not brought before the magistrate, as it was agreed, in order to leave him free to answer the charge of bigamy, that the present charge should be postponed until the other prosecution had been disposed of. He was convicted of the bigamy, and sentenced to a week’s imprisonment at the expiration of which period he was again apprehended by Inspector Scott, and brought up at Bow- street on the present charge.

Dr., Mr., and Miss O’Brien, Inspector Scott, and other witnesses, including Mr. Rye and Mr. Holder of the British Museum, were examined at great length in support of these charges.

Mr. Morgan, in cross-examining Miss O’Brien, asked her whether she had not herself held a ticket of admission to the Reading room of the Museum, and whether she had not signed her name in the readers’ book.

She replied to both questions in the affirmative.

Mr. Poland observed that he was glad those questions had been put, as it would enable him to show that Miss O’Brien was not a reader until after the time at which the books had been stolen.

The readers’ book, in which Mr. Macarthy’s signature had already been proved, was now again produced, and Miss O’Brien swore to her own signature as “Mary Ann Macarthy” (at that time she believed herself to be Mr. Macarthy’s wife). It was under the date 14th October,1857.

Mr. Poland called the magistrate’s attention to the fact that all these books had been missed from the Museum on the 1st September, being six weeks before Miss O’Brien had admission to the Reading room.

Mr. Morgan said,-After the evidence which we have beard, I think that the most prudent thing for the prisoner is to decline to say anything.

The prisoner was committed for trial, without bail.

Eugene Macarthy, third indictment for bigamy – 30 July 1862

The Times, Wednesday, July 30, 1862

Westminster Police Court-

Mr. Eugene Plumber M’Carthy, solicitor and notary public in Ireland, was charged on remand with double bigamy and perjury in making an affidavit to obtain a licence for his third alleged marriage. The evidence previously taken in support of the charges went to show that the prisoner was married on the 28th of January, 1839, to Catherine Creagh, at Cullenswood, near Dublin, by the Rev. J. G. F. Schultz; that he was again married on the 29th of June, 1844, to Miss Mary Anne O’Bryan, at St. Peter’s, in the county of Cork ; and again to Emily Reiley [sic. Actually Emily Verling]  at St. James’s, Holloway, on the 22d of May, 1852. The affidavit for the last marriage set forth that the prisoner was a bachelor.

Yesterday, upon the prisoner being again brought up, Mr. Wontner attended on his behalf, and the case was reopened, the validity of the first marriage being questioned. The proof of this marriage rested upon the testimony of Mr. Harrington, who was present when that ceremony was performed. Letters were written by the accused many years afterwards to Mr. Mellor, a solicitor, which were produced and repeatedly referred to. In one, dated the 5th of September, 1860, at 16, Eaton-street, Woolwich, he says:-” I could have wished that the recital of the marriage of 1839 should exonerate me from committing a deliberate fraud in tho marriage of 1844. It was some years subsequent to the latter date that the validity of a marriage, without bans or a licence, by a Dissenting minister, was recognized. All the circumstances attending the marriage of 1839 strengthen the conviction that it was worthless, until, to my consternation, the Courts decided otherwise. I was then a very young man. The woman lived with me previously, and a certificate was had only to save appearances. In 1839 we separated, the woman no more than myself viewed it as valid. She resided in the city of Cork. I also resided near it. She never sought me, and knew where I was residing. I was married by licence in 1844 at St. Peter’s, Cork. Frequently saw the woman in the street. Was never molested or accosted by her. Never made the least claim upon me,for she, as well as myself, attached no value to the marriage and I remained so contented until, as I have already said, the question was raised on circumstances similar, and the Courts decided their validity; hence I am fairly entitled to be absolved from any fraud in making the contract of 1844.”

A postscript adds,-” I need scarcely add, you shall find me ready to do any and every act you may deem necessary to secure Mrs. M’s rights; as recompense for an involuntary wrong it is justly due.”

The second letter is in the following terms, dated Woolwich, September 9, 1860:-

“The place of celebration of the ceremony of 1839 was in Cullenswood,a suburb of Dublin; the celebrant. the Rev.Mr. Schultz, a German Lutheran minister, at his residence. The register he keeps is in the Prerogative or Consistorial Court, Dublin, lodged or impounded there since his marriages were first questioned. I can afford no information of Creagh’s death. I did hear it occurred in 1855, but where I know not. It may have been Cork, the last place I heard of her. But persons of her class assume new names, and have aliases for every week of the year,- and it may be no easy matter to satisfactorily trace her. She was in London a considerable time after 1839, and in Dublin also as long. There can be no doubt that she was in Cork early in 1855, and no difficulty in proving it. The decision settling the validity of Schultz’s marriages is well known in Ireland, and I have no doubt many a heedless young man found himself snared by it as I did.” – The letter concludes with some remarks about the settlement deed before alluded to.

Miss Mary Anne O’Bryan, 30, Westbourne-place, Eaton. square, was cross-examined by Mr. Wontner. She said she was first acquainted by her brother, Dr. O’Bryan, with the prisoner’s first marriage in 1852. She did not then believe it. The witness was married in 1844 and continued to live with the prisoner until 1852, when he went away with Miss Railey.  [sic. Actually Emily Verling].  The witness fetched him back, but he went away again with her. She and her family sold off his goods. She could not say whether her brother took the prisoner’s position of notary at Queenstown. This was the first time she ever heard her brother was notary. She had heard Robert O’Bryan was practising there as notary, but this was mere hearsay. When married to the prisoner her property was not settled upon her; but, after being married seven or eight years, he settled it upon her in April 1852. In 1860 she was desirous of recovering the sole control of the property, and instituted a suit in the Irish Chancery Court. He wrote the two letters produced to facilitate her getting the money out of court. The witness and the prisoner were living together in 1860, when these letters were written. The witness did not read them before they were sent but posted them herself as the prisoner was lame. The witness continued to live with him after this, but left him when she found she could. It was June 12 months when she last lived with him; she had since corresponded with him in answer to his letters for money, and had seen him, but not frequently. He had lived in Belgrave and Warwick Places, and there being some arrears of rent an execution was put in, when she declared herself to be a single woman. She could not say her brothers gave him into custody on his coming to the house at that time for this bigamy.

Mr. Harrington, the only witness to the first alleged marriage, said he was present at Schultz’s when the prisoner and Catherine Creagh were there. He was present at the prisoner’s invitation. Schultz was a very notorious person; he performed marriages when persons had not time to contract them through the Church. There was a ceremony of some sort gone through, but he could not say what. Schultz read and spoke in some form, and witness believed the parties were married at that time. He saw no books used by either of the parties, and never saw such a marriage before. The prisoner said he was anxious to make Catherine Creagh reparation and marry her. He could not say whether Schultz  was in canonicals. He thought he saw the parties kneel, but could not say

An Irish policeman was called to prove that Schultz’s marriage had been acted upon as valid in the courts of law in that country.

Mr. Arnold thought that, with the letter and the evidence of Mr. Harrington of a ceremony, there was a prima facie case made out.  He committed the accused for trial upon the first charge of intermarrying with Miss O’Bryan while his former wife, Catherine (Creagh), was alive, but he offered to take one surety in £ 20,  as he thought it was not a case in which the prisoner should be locked up.

Eugene Macarthy – First indictment for bigamy July 1862

The Cork Examiner, 17 July 1862


CHARGE OF BIGAMY—A MAN WITH THREE WIVES.—Eugene P. M’Carthy, a solicitor and public notary in Ireland, described as having no fixed residence, was charged with intermarrying with Catherine Craigh, otherwise Cree, his former wife, Mary Jane O’Brien, being still alive.

Mr. Stephen O’Brien, brother of the second wife, residing at Queenstown, produced papers proving the second marriage in July, 1854, at Dublin, and he further stated that the prisoner subsequently married Mary Ann Bunning, at St. James’s Church, Islington. The first marriage took place on the 29th of January, 1839.

Dr. James O’Brien, brother of the prosecutor, corroborated the evidence.

The prisoner was remanded for the attendance of the witnesses to attest the respective marriages.

As ever, the Cork Examiner is enthusiastic, but fairly sloppy in its reporting, just like it was in Pauline Roche’s case four years earlier. It manages to get the third wife’s name wrong,  [they call her Mary Ann Bunning, she is in fact Emily Verling].  They also say the second marriage took place in Dublin, in 1854, when it actually took place in St Peter’s church in Cork in 1844. Finally they turn great great grandpa into James rather than John .

Eugene McCarthy – Bigamy conviction. Old Bailey 1862

Eugene Plummer Macarthy’s conviction for bigamy at the Old Bailey is very brief

THIRD COURT.—Friday, August 22nd, 1862.


Before Mr. Common Serjeant.

Reference Number: t18620818-888

888. EUGENE PLUMBER M’CARTHY (44) , Feloniously marrying Mary Ann O’Brien, his wife being then alive; to which he

PLEADED GUILTY .— Confined One Week.

Reference Number: t18620818-889

889. EUGENE PLUMBER M’CARTHY was again indicted for feloniously marrying Emily Verling, his wife being then alive.

No evidence was offered for the prosecution.



There has to be some significance in the sentence only being a week.

This goes with Eugene Macarthy’s trial at the Middlesex Sessions on September 2, 1862 for the theft of books from the British Museum. One of the questions from that was who are  “Miss O’Bryen”, the wronged wife,  “Mr O’Bryen” her brother, and “Dr. O’Bryen, another brother,”. as the principal witnesses; the defence barrister censures  “the conduct of the O’Bryens in imputing matters which had nothing to do with the case.” Are they members of the family, and if they are who exactly are they?

There are alternative spellings of names M’Carthy/Macarthy, O’Brien/O’Bryen/O’Bryan but some solid indications they may be John Roche O’Bryen, his only surviving sister Mary Anne O’Bryen, and one of their brothers. The Times report spells all their surnames O’Bryen in its September report of the theft trial, but as O’Bryan in the bigamy indictment report of July 1862. The Old Bailey transcripts has Mary as “Mary Ann O’Brien”.   and  “Emily Verling,”  the name on the second indictment which is interesting.  Ellen Verling was the O’Bryens’ great aunt [their grandfather John Roche’s sister] and had a daughter who was also called Ellen, as well as at least two sons, James Roche Verling,  a naval surgeon, and Bartholomew Verling. The Times however calls her “Emily Reiley”, and refers to their marriage at St. James’s, Holloway.

The circumstantial evidence is begining to build up, but more comes from Eugene M’Carthy’s indictment for trial at Westminster Police Court, as reported in The Times  in July 1862. But in the meantime, the Cork Examiner is enthusiastic, but fairly sloppy in its reporting, just like it was in Pauline Roche’s case four years earlier. It manages to get Mary Anne’s name wrong, the places both weddings took place wrong, and the bigamous second marriage date ten years later than it happened. As well as moving it from Cork to Dublin.

The Cork Examiner, 17 July 1862


CHARGE OF BIGAMY—A MAN WITH THREE WIVES.—Eugene P. M’Carthy, a solicitor and public notary in Ireland, described as having no fixed residence, was charged with intermarrying with Catherine Craigh, otherwise Cree, his former wife, Mary Jane O’Brien, being still alive.

Mr. Stephen O’Brien, brother of the second wife, residing at Queenstown, produced papers proving the second marriage in July, 1854, at Dublin, and he further stated that the prisoner subsequently married Mary Ann Bunning, at St. James’s Church, Islington. The first marriage took place on the 29th of January, 1839.

Dr. James O’Brien, brother of the prosecutor, corroborated the evidence.

The prisoner was remanded for the attendance of the witnesses to attest the respective marriages.

Bigamy, Theft, and the O’Bryens. 1862

This is one of those great stories that you stumble across every so often if you’re lucky. This has the intriguing addition of “Miss O’Bryen”, the wronged wife, and the help from “Mr O’Bryen” her brother, and “Dr. O’Bryen, another brother,”, as the principal witnesses; the defence barrister censures  “the conduct of the O’Bryens in imputing matters which had nothing to do with the case.” Are they members of the family?

Middlesex Sessions September 2, 1862

(Before Mr Serjeant GASELEE)

Eugene Plummer Macarthy, 44, a man of gentlemanly exterior, described in the calendar as “formerly a soldier”, with a superior education, was indicted for stealing six printed books, the property of the trustees of the British Museum.

Mr. Serjeant Parry (specially retained) and Mr. Poland (instructed by Messrs. Brae and Co, Great Russell-street, Bloomsbury) appeared for the prosecution; Mr. Ribton (instructed by Mr. Morris, of Beaufort-buildings, Strand) defended the prisoner.

This was a somewhat extraordinary case, and the facts, as detailed by the learned counsel who conducted the prosecution, appeared to be as follows :-

A short time ago the prisoner was tried at the Central Criminal Court on a charge of bigamy, there being two indictments against him he pleaded guilty to one of them, and there was no evidence offered in support to the other, and only a short term of imprisonment was passed upon him. At the termination of his sentence he was apprehended on the present charge, taken before a magistrate, and committed for trial The charge against the prisoner was for stealing six books from the British Museum about five yeas ago, he then having the privilege of admission as a reader to the reading-room. It  seemed that the prisoner obtained a ticket of admission to the building upon the recommendation of Mr. W. H. Gordon, of Princess- street, Cavendish-square, on the 22nd of July 1857, upon which day be attended and signed the book required to be signed by readers on their first admission. In the letter of recommendation he was stated to be a member of the Irish bar, and that he was desirous of prosecuting some researches into Irish history connected with his name and family, having for some years ceased to practise at the bar, and that in the interval he had been residing at Toulouse with Vicomte de Macarthy, his father,  and that his stay in England would not be protracted. He came frequently to the reading-room, and had the use of a great number of books and MSS., and it would seem that on the very day after his first admission a book which he had, entitled Christian Instruction, was missing from the library.

On the 23rd of June, 1858, he was expelled from the library for writing on a manuscript, but on his representing to Mr. Panizzi  [Sir Antonio Genesio Maria Panizzi (1797 – 1879). He was the Principal Librarian at the British Museum from 1856 to 1866, having been first Assistant Librarian (1831–37), then Keeper of Printed Books (1837–56). He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1869]  that he merely corrected an  error, and believed that he was rendering a service to future readers, he was re-admitted to the reading-room in the following month of July. The prisoner represented that he was collecting materials for biographies of his country-men engaged in foreign services, and that some of them had appeared in the Dublin University Magazine, and it was important to a certain degree, as five out of the six of the books which the prisoner was charged with stealing bore upon Irish history and titles of honour.

The Reading Room, British Museum

Three of the books were kept on shelves in the reading-room, from which readers were allowed to help themselves, and they were missed in 1858. The other three required a ticket to be filled up, with the title and reference to the museum catalogue, but it was supposed some fraud had been perpetrated in respect of the tickets for these books, so that they should not be produced against him. Since the prisoner was committed by the magistrates access had been obtained to his papers, and among them had been found a ticket upon which he obtained one of the books,but two other tickets were not forthcoming.

At the August Sessions, at the Central Criminal Court the prisoner was indicted for bigamy, in having married Miss O’Bryen, in 1844, his former wife being then alive. There was also a second indictment for marrying a third wife, the other two being alive, and when he was on bail on these charges, he wrote to Mr Miller the solicitor who was acting for Miss O’Bryen, a letter, requesting that some books which were in Miss O’Bryen’s possession, and belonging to him might be returned to him. When Miss O’Bryen discovered that she was not his lawful wife, she ceased to live with him, and the books and papers were kept in a bag ready to be delivered to the prisoner whenever he should apply for them. Upon the receipt of this letter an examination of the books and papers was made by Mr. O’Bryen, the brother of Miss O’Bryen .

On the 19th of August Dr. O’Bryen, another brother, being at the house in Westbourne place, observed on the table two books, the subject of these proceedings, which he immediately supposed to belong to some public library, and on a little further examination he was led to think that they belonged to the British Museum. On the same day he took these books to the British Museum, and, having shown them to Mr. Rye, the assistant-keeper of the printed books, he at once identified them as belonging to the Museum library. Mr. Rye on the same day went to Westbourne-place, and made a further examination, when other books belonging to the British Museum were found and identified. No doubt being entertained that the prisoner had become unlawfully possessed of the books in question, it was determined to institute a prosecution against him on behalf of the trustees of the British Museum, and he was arrested and charged with the theft, and after being remanded, Mr. Henry committed him for triaL.

Several witnesses having been called to substantiate these facts,

Mr. Ribton rose to address the jury for the prisoner, and said the first thing which would be for their consideration was,-Did the books in question belong to the British Museum, and if so were they removed by the prisoner ? If they were satisfied of that, the next and most important question they would have to consider was,-Were they taken away by him with an intention of stealing them ? That was a very important question to consider, for in point of law the mere taking of an article away was not stealing, unless at the time of taking it there was an intention of stealing it, and to deprive the owner of it altogether. The mere act of applying the article to his own use was not sufficient, and unless they were satisfied that there was an animo furandi, they could not find the prisoner guilty of stealing. Having paid attention to the facts of the case, he would ask the jury whether they could safely and conscientiously say, supposing Mr. Macarthy took these books from the British Museum, that he intended to steal them, by permanently depriving the trustees of the British Museum of them and appropriating them to his own use. There was every presumption that the prisoner intended to return the books, for he attended the British Museum for a legitimate and honourable purpose, for he had written an article called the O’Byrnes of Wicklow, inserted in the Dublin University Magazine, and sometimes wrote for newspaper and periodicals. He had no intention of felony, for when he took them he did so that he might carefully peruse them, and although it might be a breach of the regulations of the Museum to take books away, that was a very different thing from stealing them. Having censured the conduct of the O’Bryens in imputing matters which had nothing to do with the case, he said, even if the jury had a doubt in the case, the prisoner was entitled to acquittal at their hands, and he trusted the benefit of it would be cheerfully acceded to him.

Mr Serjeant Gaselee very carefully summed up the evidence.

The jury, after a few minutes’ consultation, returned a verdict of Guilty of stealing.

Mr. Serjeant Gaselee said it was painful to see a person in the position in life of the prisoner charged with such an offence, as from his education he ought to have set an example, and was not exposed to the same temptations as those they were in the habit of punishing every day. He could well understand that the prisoner felt his position painfully, but the Court had a public duty to perform, and to show that the administration of the law was equal with high and low, rich and poor, and, as the position in society of the prisoner made his offence the more heinous, it would be his duty to pass a severe sentence.

Prisoner.-Oh ! my Lord, I pray you to temper justice with mercy.

Mr Serjeant Gaselee said that was the feeling of the whole bench, but, having given the case the fullest consideration, they had come to a conclusion upon it, and the sentence of the Court was that he be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for 18 months.

Prisoner. –I did not expect so severe a sentence as that.

The prisoner was then removed to the cell.

The Times, September 3, 1862. p. 9

Cork Oath of Allegiance 1775

A List of several Papists who came before the Mayor of the City of Cork, took the Oath of Allegiance, with the Quality, Title, Place of Abode, and the Days on which the appeared:          16th August. 1775.

William Hally, Cork City, Gent.

William Curtin, Cork City, Merchant.

William Coppinger, Barry’s Court, Esq.

Herbert Baldwin, Cork City, Surgeon.

Stephen Coppinger, Cork City, Merchant.

John Fitzgerald, Cork City, Merchant.

Daniel Donovan, Little Island, Gent.

Nicholas Walsh, Cork City, Surgeon.

Richard Shepheard, Dougheloyne, Farmer.

John Moylan, Cork City, Merchant.

Andrew Drinan, Cork City, Merchant.

Timothy Scannell, Cooper, Cork City.

William O’Brien, Cork City, Doctor of Physic.

Patrick Donovan, Milltown, Gent.

Barth. Brady, Merchant. Cork City.

Henry Shea, Merchant.  Cork City.

Nicholas Hogan, Glover, Cork City.

John Callanan, Merchant. Cork City.

Jery Murphy, Merchant. Cork City.

Michael Mathews, Bookseller, Cork City.

William O’Brien, Publican,  Cork City.

James Meaghan, Publican, Cork City.

Thomas Roche, Merchant. Cork City.

James John Barrett, Cooper, Cork City.

William Coppinger, Merchant. Cork City.

John Callanan, Doctor of Physic. Cork City.

Silvester Ryan, Merchant, Cork City.

David Rochford, Gent, Cork City.

Cornelius Sullivan, Merchant, Cork City.

Daniel Tawmy, Publican, Cork City.

James Philip Trant, Gent, Cork City.

David Connell, Merchant, Cork City.

Charles Maguire, Linen Draper, Cork City.

Marcus Sullivan, Merchant. Cork City.

John King, Merchant, Cork City.

John Silk,Woolen Draper. Cork City.

Michael McDermott, Silversmith, Cork City.

Humphry Sullivan, Shopkeeper, Cork City.

William O’Brien, Shopkeeper, Cork City.

Charles O’Neill, Shopkeeper,  Cork City.

David Nagle, Merchant, Cork City.

John Newce, Shopkeeper, Cork City.

Florence Leary, Publican. Cork City.

Jery McCroghan, Merchant Taylor, Cork City.

Robert Ferguson, Surgeon. Cork City.

John Shea, Merchant. Cork City.

John Coppinger, Barry’s Court, Gent.

James Kelly, Merchant, Cork City.

Dominick Callanan, Apothecary, Cork City.

James O’Brien, Merchant, Cork City.

Patrick Crowley, Butter-Buyer, Cork City.

Daniel Daly, Shopkeeper, Cork City.

James Murphy, Butter-Buyer, Cork City.

Daniel Foley, Wollen Draper, Cork City.

Thomas Granahan, Woolen Draper, Cork City.

Michael Wolfe, Merchant. Cork City.

Henry Shea, Merchant. Cork City.

John Creagh, Jnr. Merchant. Cork City.

Robert Hickson, Merchant. Cork City.

Mathias Colbert, Surgeon, Cork City.

Walter Shea, Cooper, Cork City.

James Hogan, Shopkeeper, Cork City.

John Barry, Merchant. Cork City.

Joseph Goold, Cooper, Cork City.

Daniel Fanning, Cooper, Cork City.

Patrick O’Gunner?, Merchant. Cork City.

Francis Hore, Coach Maker, Cork City.

Michael Hore, Coach Maker, Cork City.

Owen McCarthy, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

William Brady, Shopkeeper, Cork City.

John McGrath, Merchant Taylor, Cork City.

David Fitzgerald, Merchant. Cork City.

Bartholomew Guynan, Merchant,  Cork City.

John Guynan, Merchant. Cork City.

Andrew White, Merchant. Cork City.

Terence O’Brien, Gent. Cork City.

William Shea, Merchant. Cork City.

Charles Mccarthy, Merchant, Cork City.

James Rourke, Cabinet Maker. Cork City.

John Tracey, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

Daniel Griffin, Tobacconist, Cork City.

James Hayes, Merchant. Cork City.

Philip Dynan, Joiner. Cork City.

Jeremiah Egan, Merchant. Cork City.

William Trant, Merchant. Cork City.

Daniel Coughlan, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

William Quinn, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

William Molloy, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

Robert French, Gent. Cork City.

Jeremiah Driscoll, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

Patrick Creagh, Merchant. Cork City.

Stephen Anster, Merchant. Cork City.

John Keane, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

Ignatius Trant, Merchant. Cork City.

Simon Donovan, Baker, Cork City.

Denis Desmond, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

Andrew Shea, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

John Hillary, Silversmith, Cork City.

Thomas White, Merchant, Cork City.

Philip Harding, Merchant, Cork City.

John Healy, Merchant. Cork City.

John Morrogh, Merchant. Cork City.

Edmond Barratt, Merchant, Cork City.

William Roche, Merchant. Cork City.

Owen Barman, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

John Doly, Butcher, Cork City.

Thomas Barrett, Shop Keeper, Cork City.

George Goold, Merchant, Cork City.

Henry Goold, Merchant. Cork City.


Popish Clergy. Cork.

Hon. John Butler,

Revd. John Finn.

Revd. Dr. Michael Shinnigh.

Revd. Dr. Edmond Synan.

Revd. Timothy Callanan,

Revd. James Bourke.

Revd. Dr. James Hennessy.

Revd. James Michael McMahon.

Revd. Patrick Casey.

Revd. John Lyons.

Revd. Florence McCarthy.

Revd. Denis Murphy.

Revd. Dr. Garret Fahan.

Revd. Dr. Patrick Shortal.

Revd. Arthur O’Leary.

Revd. Thomas Spennick.

Revd. Dr. Daniel Neville.

I certify the foregoing to be a true list, Dated Cork, 30th Jan. 1776.?

William Butler, Mayor.



A list of persons who have taken the Oath before us.

Robert Ronayne, Gent,

Robert Gofs, or Goss, Merchant,

Both of Youghall in the County of Corke,

William Jackson, Mayor of Youghall,

Matthew Parker.

Youghall, Feb. 4th 1776.

Cork:  Oaths of Allegiance 1775. As researched by the Ireland Genealogy Project.

Aghada Hall, co. Cork.

Aghada  Hall was, apparently, a large  Georgian house designed by the Cork architect  Abraham Hargrave (1755-1808); though it seems to bea comfortable gentleman’s residence rather than a vast mansion.” It was completed in 1808. John Roche was also responsible for the start of the Aghada National School in 1819.

It’s time to revise this post quite a lot, and I am extremely grateful for a Thackwell grandson for the photos of the house. For the purposes of clarity, I’m going to call it Aghada Hall. John Roche, (17??- 1829) who had it built referred to it as Aghada House, but it was later referred to as Aghada Hall. Tony Harpur, a local historian in Cork sent me the following:

“The first edition Ordnance Survey map names the house as Aghada House (c1840). The house was named in the Ordnance Survey map of the early 20th century as Aghada Hall and was noted as being ‘in ruins’ – this is probably some time in the early 1930s because although a major survey was carried out by the Ordnance Survey before 1914, additional information was added to the map from a survey of 1935-1938.”

Aghada Hall, side view

In the 1911 Irish census, Aghada Hall  was described as a first class house with 9 windows in the front, and 8 rooms occupied by the family, and 15 outbuildings. Edwin (or Edward – he used both) Penrose-Thackwell was also listed as the owner of a two room cottages, one three room, and one four room cottage, nearby.

The estate seems to be a substantial working farm. The main house had two stables, a coach house, harness room; three cow houses, a calf house, and a dairy. It also had a piggery, fowl house, boiling house, barn, shed, and a store. 

Fifty-four year old Edwin was living in the main house with a substantial staff, Thomas and Lavinia Buckley, who were married, were the butler, and housemaid respectively. They also had fifty-five year old Mary Flynn, the cook, and a dairymaid, parlourmaid, and kitchenmaid, all in their twenties.

In addition, to the main house, James Scanlon the gardener (48) and his wife were in the two room cottage. Ernest Jones (32), and his wife Gertrude (30) and their eight year old son were in the four room cottage, along with Gertrude’s twenty-five year old sister. Ernest was the chauffeur, and Ernie and Gertie had been married 11 years.  Finally, there were eight members of the Murphy family in the three room cottage. Edmond Murphy and his wife with three daughters, and three sons. All four men, Edmond (50), Denis (22), Edmond (16), and Patrick (15) are general labourers, presumably working on the estate.

The gardener and chauffeur’s houses, both had a shed and fowl house, and the Murphys had a piggery, and fowl house.

Aghada Hall, front

John Roche who built the house,  “amassed great wealth during the French wars”, according to “Barrymore Records of the Barrys of County Cork”  published in 1902. He was Ernest O’Bryen’s great grandfather, and made quite significant efforts to establish some sort of Roche dynasty to maintain the family name, and the house that he had built for himself.

There were three significant beneficiaries of John Roche’s will of 1826, with a later codicil. They were his nephews James Joseph Roche, and William Roche; they seem to be cousins rather than brothers. The third main beneficiary was John Roche’s eldest grandson, John Roche O’Bryen. The total estate amounted to about £ 30,000 when John Roche died in 1829, the modern day equivalent of £45,720,000.00.

The house and land was left to James, and his male heirs, first of all, and then William, who also inherited £ 10,000, “in case of his not coming into possession of the estate by the means before-mentioned,  I leave him  £6,000″ plus John’s grand-daughter, Jane O’Brien’s ……  £4,000 £4 per cent. stock ;” . Jane O’Bryen, John Roche’s granddaughter was married to his nephew William Roche, and their daughter Pauline Roche inherited their share as a one year old orphan. The final third was John Roche O’Bryen’s  £ 10,000, presumably in the expectation that a male Roche heir would inherit the house and land.

John Roche O’Bryen,  and Jane O’Bryen were Catholic. All their  five remaining younger siblings were Church of Ireland. JROB and Jane/William Roche are the only O’Bryen beneficiaries of John Roche’s estate. The O’Bryen siblings are John Roche’s only grandchildren.

John Roche also left  a series of £ 100 legacies (present-day £ 150,000)  to various sisters, and nephews and nieces, and “To the parish of Aghada, I leave the school-house, and £20 ( £ 30,000) a-year for its support, and also the chapel and priest’s house  I leave to the parish rent-free for ever, as long as they shall be used for such qualified purposes ; the five slate houses I built in the village, I leave to five of the poorest families rent free ; to David Coughlan I leave the house he now lives in during his life ; to my servant, James Tracy   I leave the house his wife now lives in;  and to my wife’s servant, Mary Ahearne, otherwise Finne, her house rent-free during their lives ; and to each of those three, viz.,David Coughlan, James Tracy, and Mary Ahearne,  otherwise Finne, I leave £10 (£15,000) a-year during their lives :”

Lower Aghada
Lower  Aghada

Aghada  is a small fishing town situated to the south-east of Cork city in County Cork, Ireland. Aghada parish consists of several small villages and townlands including  Rostellan, Farsid, Upper Aghada, Lower Aghada, Whitegate, Guileen and Ballinrostig.

The estate, and the provisions of John Roche’s will were part of a court case, and appeal in 1848, and 1849. (Hillary Term 1848, Mary O’Brien v James Roche and William Roche…lands of Aghada [Mitchelstown Cork]… and Roche v. O’Brien —Feb. 1, 2. 1849) following the death of James Joseph Roche in 1847.  William Roche had died in 1836, and James Joseph Roche, and his family were living there until James’s death in 1847. The house appeared to have briefly in the possession of Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Junior, one of the younger O’Bryen siblings in the early 1850’s.

The house and land were sold in July 1853 in the Encumbered Estates Court, as part of the estates of James Joseph Roche, and William Roche, with Mary (Maria Josepha)  and Eleanor Roche listed as owners, and Pauline Roche as ex parte.  [The Encumbered Estates’ Court was established  to facilitate the sale of Irish estates whose owners were unable to meet their obligations. It was given authority to sell estates on application from either the owner or an encumbrancer (somebody who had a claim on it) and, after the sale, distribute the proceeds among the creditors, granting clear title to the new owners.]  The house was bought by Major General Sir Joseph Lucas Thackwell in 1853, and remained in the Thackwell family until at least 1911. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen does still seem to be a significant landowner in the area, so may well have kept some of the land.

thumb_entrance-to-aghada-hall_1024Most traces of Aghada Hall seem to have disappeared, apart from signs of a walled garden, half  an entrance and a small gatehouse.  The old sheds and stables have apparently been converted into houses.

Major General Sir Joseph Lucas  Thackwell had married Maria Audriah Roche (from the Trabolgan branch of the Roche family) in 1825. She was the eldest daughter of Francis Roche of Rochemount, County Cork (an uncle of Edmond Roche, 1st Baron Fermoy). This, incidentally, made Maria Thackwell, a first cousin, five-times removed of Diana, Princess of Wales. They had four sons and three daughters.  She should not to be confused with Maria Josepha Roche, who was James Joseph Roche’s daughter, and one of the parties to the 1848/9 court cases.

In a final twist, The Cork Examiner,reported on the 25th January 1860, having picked up the story from the Illustrated London News that:

“The will of the late celebrated General Sir Joseph Thackwell, G.C.B., has just been proved. By a codicil, dated the day before his death, he deprives his eldest son, Captain (Edward Joseph) Thackwell, the author of the “Second Sikh War, in 184-89,” [sic] and now a barrister at law, of all the property left him in a former will, including Aghada Hall, Cork, and Conneragh House, Waterford, and gives it to trustees in trust for his grandchildren, who must be educated in the tenets of the Protestant religion. Captain Thackwell had been received into the Roman Catholic Church only a short time previous to Sir Joseph’s decease.”

There seem to have been about nine grandchildren; all either the children of Edward Joseph Thackwell (1827, d. 1903), or his younger brother Major-General William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834–1910).  Edward Joseph’s son, Lt.-Col. Joseph Edward Lucas Thackwell (1853-1886) had four sons, and one daughter, who seemed to be the major beneficiaries, or users of the Irish houses. His son Walter Joseph de Rupe Thackwell was described as “now of Aghada,” in Burke’s Landed Gentry in 1894, and a younger son Captain Edward Hillyar Roche Thackwell, was living at the house in Waterford in 1911.

However Major William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834-1910), and his wife Charlotte Tomkinson seem to have lived in Aghada Hall, at least some of the time until 1894. Their eldest daughter Katherine Harriet Thackwell (1866 – 1950) married Col. Edward (or Edwin) Rawdon Penrose  in 1891, and they celebrated their wedding there. Katherine, and Edward added Thackwell to the family surname by 1911, most probably after the death of Katherine’s father in 1910, becoming Penrose-Thackwell from then on.

Kitty Pope Hennessy

The only significant grandchild not to have a notable link to the house is William WR’s  only son Edward Francis Thackwell (1868 -1935) but that was most probably because he had married Kitty Pope-Hennessy on Feb 3 1894 at Rostellan Castle in Cork. She was a forty-four year old widow, and he was twenty six. He was a year older than her eldest son who died young, and three, and seven, years older than his step-sons.

It was probably a Catholic wedding, thus excluding Edward from the provisions of his grandfather’s will, but the pain may have been slightly ameliorated by his wife’s thirty room castle, with the sixty one outbuildings, including  seventeen stables, three coach houses, two harness rooms, and twenty cow houses. All of two and a half miles from Aghada Hall.

It is still not entirely clear when the house was demolished.