The Murder of James Lawder in 1779

This is from ” The Gentleman’s and London Magazine: Or Monthly Chronologer, for January 1779 p.59.”James Lawder is the husband of a 1st cousin 8x removed; his wife’s grandmother was Catherine Goldsmith, the eldest sister of the poet, and playwright Oliver Goldsmith (1728 – 1774). 

On the morning of the 7th inst. [ Jan 1779] about the hour of two o’clock, a number of villains, with their faces blackened, and shirts over their clothes, broke into the house of James Lawder, Esq: of Kilmore, in the county of Roscommon, armed with guns, pistols, and other weapons, and immediately rushed into his bed chamber, and did then and there commit a most barbarous and inhuman murder on said Mr Lawder, by discharging a gun or pistol, or both, loaded with slugs or large shot into his left breast, of which he soon after expired. They robbed the house of cash to the amount of between four and five hundred pounds; [ the modern day equivalent is £755,000 to £944,000 ]  among which were five five guinea pieces, and two four-pound pieces. They also carried off with them a gun, and two pistols; one of which was mounted with silver, the other an old militia pistol.

Sligo Jan 15. We have the pleasure to hear that one M’Dermott, a butcher, in Carrick on Shannon, and his brother in law, were apprehended and lodged in the goal of Roscommon; and that there is a positive proof of the former’s being the villain who shot Mr Lawder. The first light it is said, thrown on that most abominable fact, was the taking up on suspicion, a servant man belonging to Mr Lawder, who confessed his being an accomplice, and turned approver.

From the Carrick on Shannon Schools Integration Project, we have the following written by someone called Malachy2. 

Kilmore Church, Roscommon

Kilmore Church is built on a dangerous bend. There is not much place to park. The building looks old and grey. Across from it is the Kilmore House. A tunnel is believed to have stretched from the church to Lowfield lake. My granny is buried in the church grounds.

There are many interesting memorial slabs inside the church. It is very dangerous in stormy weather. The hall is nearby. Next door is my Grandad’s house. My grandfather is the caretaker.

The Lawder memorial [ in Kilmore Church]  is the most interesting feature. A large white marble slab is fixed to the wall. It depicts the shooting of James Lawder on 7th January 1779. He was murdered in Kilmore House. The memorial was erected by his wife Mrs. Jane Lawder (neé Contarine). Mrs. Lawder’s mother was a first cousin of Oliver Goldsmith, the famous poet.  Jane Lawder died in Dublin in 1791. 

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