|[Preface] [Contents] [Bernards] [Index] [Depositions] [Maps] [Definitions] [Town/Parish Descriptions, 1835] [Pictures]|
HISTORY OF BANDON
“No. 84, OR THE ANTIENT BOYNE”, - JOHN WESLEY’S FIRST VISIT TO BANDON - LINEN MANUFACTURE - OUR OLD WATERMEN - OLD BANDON BRIDGE SWEPT AWAY - HOW THEY WOO’ED A HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
1738 - The first Masonic Lodge was established in Bandon. It was styled “No. 84, or the Antient Boyne”. Although, as we have just stated, it is numbered eighty-four, we must by no means infer that there are eighty-three lodges now in existence that were established before it; the fact being that it is the oldest fraternity in the kingdom with a few exceptions. Whilst so assiduous were the members in the performance of their various masonic duties, and so well did they appreciate each others friendship and society, that - saving the 27th of December, 1796, when the French fleet lay in Bantry Bay, and when a French army was hourly expected in Bandon - there is not a single recorded instance of the non-observance of a festival.
warrant constituting the lodge, appointing officer, &c., was issued by the
Grand Lodge, and was signed by the Earl of Tyrone, grand-master of
Matthew Adderly, Esq., master Mr. Thomas Wheeler
Mr. John Friar, deputy master Mr. Thomas Bourk
Richard Screech, senior warden Mr. William Norwood
Robert Morris, junior warden Mr. Robert Simmons
Rev. John Friar Mr. John Donnellan
entering into a subscription to pay for the warrant and other necessaries, they
made arrangements for duly celebrating the festival of
Bernard, Arthur. Harman, Thomas. Minnear, William.
Bennett, Thomas. Honner, Rober. McCarthy, Charles.
Cotter, Edward. Hammett, Richard. Rugg, Henry.
Ellis, Peter. Jarvis, Samuel. Tottenham, Cliffe.
Gillman, Stephen. Laone, John. Travers, John Moore.
Sixteen years after they first met, a member was guilty of some conduct unbecoming a Christian and a mason. It came to the ears of the lodge and they were determined that no stain should rest on the escutcheon of their fair fame. Accordingly “an emergency” was called, and the erring brother was expelled forthwith; and adds Moore Travers, the secretary, “there was not a member of this society present would vote in favour of him.”
In 1768, a bye-law was passed, “That upon the death of any member, the brethern shall apply to the friends of deceased to know if their attendance at the funeral will be agreeable ; if so, every member shall, at his own expense, furnish himself with a band scarf, gloves and aprons bound with black riband, and attend the funeral with the jewels, &c.” There are a number of resolutions on the books from time to time, directing that sums of money be given to various poor brethern.
1779, a lodge held in Kinsale had the presumption to
call themselves “The Boyne Lodge.” The
original Brothers would’nt stand this; they considered it an unwarranted invasion on
their exclusive right to “the
In 1790 a resolution was passed, to the effect “that no more than one bottle of wine, or a pint of rum in punch, shall be allowed each brother every lodge-day before the bill is called for and settled, except on the festivals.”
rare and interesting event,” says Dr. William Belcher, the secretary, “was
celebrated on the above day, by the brethern of 84
assembling at their lodge-rooms, Williams’s Inn, at ten a.m.; where they were
joined by the officers and deputations from the following lodges of Cork, Clonakilty, and Castle-Townsend:- Nos. 1, 3, 8, 27, 67, 71,
95, 156, 385; and the deputy provincial grand-master, the senior and junior
grand-wardens of Munster. The brethern, attired in ancient masonic
costume, marched to
Francis B. Hingston, W.M. Robert T. Belcher, S.D.
Adderly, Beamish, S.W. James Hamilton, J.D.
Richard Bailie, senior
Among the names on the master-rolls of this venerable fraternity are the following:-
Bandon, Francis, Earl of. Duntze, Sir John
Boothby, Colonel Garibaldi, General.
Bushe, Charles Kendal. Hindle, Capt., 6th Dragoon Guards
Blouden, Capt., 18th Light Dragoons Kinsale, John, Baron of
Blake, Lieut. Colonel,
Cox, Rev. Sir Michael Moore, Sir Emanuel
Cane, Capt., 12th Lt. Dragoons Quintin, Capt., 10th Hussars
Cunningham, Hon. John Warren, Sir Augustus
Coote, Lieut. -Genl. Sir Eyre Westmeath, George, Earl of
De Courcy, Hon. William Williamson, Major, Light Dragoons
Dyson, Capt. 3rd Dragoon Guards Younghusband, Capt., 7th Dragoon Guards
There were also a great many French officers admitted, who were prisoners in Bandon in 1746 and 1747, as:-
Comes, Jean Baptiste Du Roche, Francois Kersabie, Chevalier.
Cottin, Oierre. Fostain, Louis. Floronce, Pierre.
Du Portas, Jean, M.D. Guzeau, Louis. Du Roche, Francois.
Although the collars worn by this lodge are of orange velvet, yet they have no political significance whatsoever, as the orange was adopted by them sixty years before the existence of the Orange Society; and so well aware were the Roman Catholic brethern of this fact that, when a deputation- consisting of two Protestants and Roman Catholics - was sent to Cork by “84” some years ago, the Roman Catholics refused to wear any other colours than those of their lodge.
It appears that the deputation, being duly announced, presented themselves for admission; but were peremptorily refused on the grounds that they wore party emblems. They protested against this assertion, urging that orange was the colour worn by their lodge ever since its foundation; but it was of no avail, in they should not come until they were properly habited. Finding all remonstrations useless, the two Protestants uncollared, and prepared to comply; but the two Roman Catholics would not hear of it; they turned furiously on their brother deputies, and upbraided them in the most emphatic language, taunting them with deserting their colours, and exciting the feeling of the antient Boyners to such an pitch, that they flung from them the loathed blue, and, returning to their first love, they put on the orange collars, and indignantly left the room.
amusing stories are told in connection with the old “84”. An inquisitive
fellow, who said he caught the
years ago, a gentleman, whom we shall call Mr. B------, was ballotted
for , and accepted as a candidate for masonic honours. He was duly noticed to be present at the
Devonshire Arms on a certain day for initiation, and he attended. As he ascended the staircase, ominous knocks
and the mutterings of distant thunder caught his ear, and by no means helped to
allay the fears which had possessed him during the greater part of the previous
week. Arriving on the landing, he gently
“Keep off.” said the terrible Dick, as the bewildered candidate moved forward a step or two, “or before you can say domine salvun fac, I’ll run you through the gullet!”
Mr. B------, not caring to encounter so fierce-looking an opponent, went down stairs, and after strolling about for a little time, he sauntered into the kitchen. A roaring fire was down at the time, and the covers which lay on the various cooking utensils kept up a perpetual trotting-match with one another, as if to see which of them would be on the floor first; but the monstrous poker - more than half of which was thrust in between the bars, and which already looked soft and white with the glow of intense heat - fixed his attention at once.
“Ah! well, Johanna,” said the victim, addressing the cook in an assumed indifferent tone, “what do you want that big poker for?”
“Faith, sir” replied the latter, looking very thoughtful, “I’m afraid I’ll get into a scrape about that same poker!”
“Because, by some mistake, their own was taken up to the farm, and put as a prop under the loft where the master keeps the oats for the horses, and I suspect they’ll never be satisfied with this piece of wire!” looking contemptuously at the great poler.
“And who is it that - that - that wants such a thing at all?” falteringly inquired Mr. B----------.
“Why, the freemasons, sir, to be sure!” said the cook, “The doctor* ran down to me a while ago and told me to be quick, as they were going to make a mason immediately; and many is the one I reddened for them before; but I suppose they’ll kill me entirely now!”
“And why wouldn’t that poker do-do-them?”
“Yerra! is it that knitting-needle? Whisht! by gor, here they are!” as a door was heard to bang-to upstairs.
Pressing his hat on his forehead, the applicant for masonic honours shot out of the kitchen like a flash of lightning; and fleeing through the open door, he bounded down the limestone steps, and ran for his life.
“Come back!” roared the cook; “Hould him!” cried the boots; “Catch him!” shouted the waiter; but away he sped faster than before.
When the fellows who lounged outside on the steps, and who, to do them justice, were never averse to a bit of fun, got an inkling of what occurred, they gave tongue with a vengeance, and some of them even gave chase; but they might as well try to overtake a telegraphic message on its way to its destination along the wires. The affrighted candidate was soon out of sight; and, from that day to the present, no one has ever seen him in this locality.
Masonry has been much on the increase of late years. Men are more anxious than heretofore to congregate where they can enjoy one another’s friendship and society irrespective of creed or party; and where they can spend their evenings more profitably than taxing their ingenuity to discover a religious or political grievance.
Another excellent department of masonry is that devoted to charity. Out of their abundance there are few who do not give cheerfully to a fund, out of which a brother less fortunate than themselves can be assisted to get his legs again, and again, and again, to fight the great battle of life; and, should he fall in the struggle, a fraternal hand will tend his orphans, until they are ready to enter the great conflict, and battle for themselves.
* The late Dr. O----n.
So long as freemasons adhere to the divine precept which teaches peace and good-will among men - and it has been their guiding star ever since their venerable institution had a beginning - so long may they continue to smile at those tissue-paper thunderbolts which occasionally illumine the darkness of our daily press.
1739- This was known as the year of the great frost, which
was so intense in this vicinity, that potatoes are said to have been found
frozen in the middle of large balls of woollen
thread. All the rivers in this area were
frozen over; whilst such was the severity of the frost in
1748- The Methodists
regular post was first established, this year between
Wesley paid his first visit to Bandon. He
put up at the residence of Mr. Hawes, a very respectable man, who occupied a
house near the middle of the northern side of the
It is rather singular that the very pulpit from which old Browne used to fulminate his anathemas against his fellow Christians, the Wesleyans, was the very one used by them in the service in connection with the laying of the foundation-stone of the present Methodist chapel.
the August Assizes (1749), the persecuting spirit that had pursued the
Wesleyans in various parts of the county and city of Cork, was embodied by the
Grand Jury in a presentment as slanderous as it was lying and malignant. It is as follows:- “W
find and present Charles Wesley to be a person of ill-fame, a vagabond, and a
common disturber of his Majesty’s peace; and we pray he may be transported.” They also presented a similar request against
eight Wesleyan ministers, who had previously visited
these persecutions, not only here but throughout
admirers of Wesley consider themselves Church of England people; but the Church
of England people of that stamp who have worshipped within her walls before any
of her clergy and laity became infected with a passion for ceremonies and
baubles. They look upon themselves as
possessing that pure and healthy Protestantism which the church enjoyed before
Archbishop Laud endeavoured to seduce her from the
Faith of the Reformation, and lead her to
An anecdote is told here of Dr. Browne, the rector of Kilbrogan; and who, amongst other matters, was accused, as we have seen, by Wesley, of “making love such as it was.” In those days, however extensive a place morality may have occupied in a homily or discourse, practical morality was not the fashion with the clergy as it is now. It is said that a married lady left her liege lord, and that the doctor - perhaps, purely out of politeness - escorted the fair matron to her retreat. Be that as it may, an action-at -law was brought against him, and the injured husband recovered a thousand pounds damages.
The doctor determined to turn over a new leaf after this. He saw the error of his ways, and he made up his mind to atone for his misdeeds by devoting himself anew to the all-important duties of his calling. Meeting Captain Savage, the provost, one Sunday morning:-
“Well, captain”, said he, “how is it that I never see you in church?”
“Well, really I don’t know,” said Savage.
“Don’t know!” said Browne, who felt irritated at being treated so lukewarmly by our chief-magistrate. “Don’t you know anything? Come now, could you tell me how many commandments there are?”
“How many commandments there are?” said the provost, repeating the question and looking thoughtfully an the ground, then moving his lips as if repeating them, and counting on his fingers at the same time, “there are nine, doctor” said he, appearing quite pleased at being able to answer this great theological crux.
“Well, I always thought,” said the rector, rising to his full height, and looking quite triumphant with the easy victory he had gained over our great civic dignitary, “tat there were ten!”
“And so there were, too,” said Savage submissively; then looking innocently in his interrogator’s face, “but you know you broke one of them, and we have only nine ever since”.
The doctor suddenly recollected he had an appointment elsewhere, and left abruptly.
1749- About this time great efforts were made to introduce the linen manufacture into Bandon. Although the manufacture of linen was not as extensively entered upon as its promoters would wish, yet what did leave our looms was so highly valued, that one of our townsmen, John Starkey, was one of the few in Ireland who received a prize of fifty pounds; and Jonathan Tanner, another townsman, not only received another prize of fifty pounds, but an additional sum of forty pounds, on the grounds “that he had distinguished himself as a useful manufacture in that part of the kingdom.”*
* Vide the Gentlemen’s and Citizen’s Almanack, for A.D. 1751
principal article of our local trade at this period was camlet, which was a
coarse cloth, made of woollen thread, and dyed a bright
generally found a market in
The population of our town must have been by this year very considerable, as it contained no less than a thousand men amongst the manufacturing classes capable of bearing arms. Many of these used to parade in full regiments, consisting of a red coat, faced with black, knee-breeches. &c.
About this time watchmen were first appointed here. Their duty was to cry the hours at night, and to keep strict watch and ward from sunset to sunrise. Although they walked the streets after the sun went down, they did not give the regular cry until within an hour of . Then they began:- “A-pa-st e-le-ven oh-o-’clock!”
“Maids in your smocks, look at your locks;
Put out your fire and candlelight:
And so good ni-i-i-ght, good ni-i-i-ght!”
The injunction to unmarried ladies, who were presumed to be in a state of semi-nudity, to look to their locks, was a regular double entendre, and one which we are surprised to find the gravity of our forefathers and foremothers permitted to continue so long. It meant, that not only should they see that their doors were all duly secured, but that they should inspect their silken tresses before they sought the solace of Morpheus. In addition to calling the hours, they called the direction of the wind also:- “Wind from the Nau-au-aurth.” &c.; but if it blew south-west, or showed indications of rain from any point, they used to add, “and we-ll sure-ly have ra-in before maur-ning!” There was one old fellow, however, who was totally unacquainted with the four cardinal points, and instead of saying wind from the north or south, he would say:- “Wind blowing up Sea-ly’s Lane!” or down, as the case may be. If the wind was from the east or west, he’d be obliged to go on another tack. If from the east, he would say:- “Wind blowing a-gen me as I walk to Tom Laone’s cor-ner!” If from the west:- “Wind straight into my face as I goes up to where Bill Anstis lived before he went to Ameri-ky-ky-ky!”
The townspeople got so used to these announcements, that, as if by common consent, they fixed on a word or a term in each cry, and at once knew the course of the wind. Thus:- when they would hear “up,” they knew the wind was northerly, and “down,” southerly; “Tom Laone” told them that the wind was from the east, and “Bill Anstis,” that it was from the west.
1754 The first meat shambles was erected here. It was built at the northern end of the bridge (western side), and contained twenty-two stalls. These were in great demand by the butchers, who paid one pound annually for each stall, and occupied them on the opening day in the following order:-
1. William Moxley. 12. Cornelius Rickard.
2. Timothy Kencash. 13. John Reen.
3. James Harris and Will Tomson. 14. William Searls.
4. Richard Morgan. 15. Timothy Murphy.
5. Christopher Lisson. 16. William Moxley.
6. James Moxley. 17. John Searls.
7. James Moxley, junr. 18. Cornelius Forehane & Son.
8. Denis Murray. 19. Stephen Moxley.
9. Michael Hurley. 20. Robert Searls.
10. Thomas Wholehane. 21. John Lisson.
11. John Burchill. 22. Edward Drake.
new Parliament assembled in
1762 Alice Cambridge, the well known Wesleyan minister, was born in Bandon on the first day of this year. Her father was a member of the Established Church, and was a regular attendant; and her mother was a Presbyterian; but Alice, in making her choice, selected that system which appeared to her to combine the excellencies of both the previous ones, and the faults of neither - she was a Methodist.
Miss Cambridge was a woman of great energy and perseverance. Nothing daunted her. Although a preacher in petticoats was in her day almost as great a novelty as in our own, and though she knew her congregation often contained those who came to jeer and not to pray, nevertheless, she stood up in the pulpit unabashed, gave the little cap which she wore on the back of her head a twist, tightened her apron-strings about her waist, and entered becomingly on her discourse. She died in 1829, having enjoyed a long life, in which she did a great deal of good and no harm.
Upon the proclamation of war
between England and Spain, in the beginning of this year, a lot of disaffected
in this kingdom banded themselves together, and under various names - as
Fairies, Redboys, Whiteboys,
Levellers, &c. - they traversed the country,
principally between sunset and sunrise, attacking the houses of peaceable
inhabitants, and doing serious injury to life and property. Their avowed object
was to level the fences recently constructed round waste lands or commons in
various parts of
“Come cheer up, my lads, for your glory is near!
Away with all doubt, and away with all fear!
To freedom we call you - a Stuart shall reign -
Usurpation shall vanish -
accept aid from
Chorus. - Right royal is our prince, right royal our men!
In the cause we are ready - steady, boys, steady! -
We’ll fight till we die, or restore him again.
“No longer we’ll
wait for assistance from
Nor again shall they lead us a wandering dance;
Has the power and the will our rights to defend.
Shall never usurp or command our brave swords.
For the sword shall again be adorned by a king,
Of whose great ancestors our Druids shall sing.
“Come cheer up, my lads, for the time it draws near
When the land of all whelps and true-blues shall be clear;
When Prince Charles as king, my boys, toasted shall be,
And our bondage reversed into grand liberty.
“No blue-livered whelp, or Cromwellian black booy,
In grandeur shall ride, or in splendour shall move.
Of their titles we’ll strip them, and enslave ‘em, my boys.
Their sorrows we’ll heighten, and retrieve our own joys.
The loyalist party here had a poetaster, too; and he replied in a song of similar style and metre, and well known in this neighbourhood at that time:-
“Come cheer up, my lads, dear Protestant boys;
Let’s support well our rights, our religion, and laws;
In spite of the power of the hard-hearted crew’
Who their hands in our blood, would most gladly imbue.
Chorus.- The Protestant cause now calls for our aid.
To defend it be ready - now’s the time to be steady -
We’ll conquer or die ere slaves we are made.
“They say they’ll enslave us - Oh, subjects so rare!
More savage in nature than
The aid that must come is
For which they may hope and long wish for in vain/
Their treason they speak ‘gainst our gracious, good King;
And malice they went on his great noble kin.
For which they in time will most sadly relent.*
Their Prince Charles, they say, on the throne they will fix;
But can they forget the great year forty-six.
Then let rebels dare not think him to bring in,
For we’ll die before a Papist be king.
“My Protestant boys, the time is now come,
When we should be ready at the beat of the drum,
To support our good King, and the old English cause -
So famed for its rights, its religion, its laws.
In another loyalist ballad, which was very popular here, Prince Charlie is spoken of with great acrimony. Speaking of King George, it says:-
“And in his stead, to place on the throne
A vagabond, whose parents are unknown:
Pretender to three kingdoms not his own.”
“An epitaph for the Levellers (commonly called the White boys)” shows the bitter feelings entertained by the loyalists for these freebooters:-
“Now judgment passed by the great God of Heaven -
Die, die, you must, in numbers odd and even.
You purchase shrouds, Great George provides the rope
In spite of France, the Spaniards, and the Pope.
* “When are they going to be hanged,” is the remark made in a foot note of the old MS. copy which was kindly lent to us.
“In heaps within this hole, you lie together,
Rebellious crew - you birds all of a feather.
Secure them, devil; let you bolts be tight;
Loose them by day, but guard them well by night.
“Poor Satan thinks, perhaps, their number few;
But hundreds of them shall the same steps pursue,
Since living is the Light-horse and the Blue.
“They’re fixed with you for evermore to dwell.
All that I fear - not big enough is hell.”*
* We know of no species of composition more calculated to give one a correct idea of the feelings possessed by the contending parties than the popular ballads of the times. They were written when the blood was up, and they express in unmistakeable language what the writers thought and felt at the time.
1765 Scarce was this year a fortnight old when a great flood swept away old Bandon bridge. It appears that a large tree having fallen into the river at the park, was rolled down by the angry waters, and having, unfortunately, got across one of the main archways of the bridge, it lay there. It was not very long in its new position, when a rick of hay floated out of the kitchen- garden belonging to a widow woman named Barry - who lived in a house on the site of the premises occupied by the late Mrs. Anne Williams - and sidelong into the huge stream, was stopped in its downward course by the tree. The tree and the hay-rick were speedily supplemented by a host of other impediments, including bundles of faggots, branches of trees, strawstacks, &c.
The current being now greatly obstructed. back-water was the result; the vast volume of which was every instant on the increase. The old boundaries can restrain it no longer. Quickly reaching to their utmost height, it overtops them, and pouring down, the foaming waters rudely force every obstacle out of the course of their downward sweep, and soon a great portion of the town lies under water. Meanwhile, the old bridge firmly holds its ground; but after a little time it begins to tremble; a little later, and it shakes; later still, and a fissure appears; and another, and another, and a huge rent announces its impending doom. And now, as if conscious that its work was done - that its inevitable fate was at hand - it lowers its old historic front, and dropping slowly and silently into the grave of angry waters that are impatiently awaiting it below, it disappears; and in a few short minutes there was not a stump left to record where it stood.
The bridge was in excellent repair when this causality overtook it.
It was only the year before the old pavement was ripped up, as appears by an account furnished the corporation by John Harris; in which he charges six and sixpence for cash paid Daniel Dineen, Darby Dogane, Matthew Sullivan, and Teige Downey, three days each, for ripping up the pavement of the bridge.
This great inundation which
occurred on the 15th January made a breach in Innoshannon
bridge, which the Bandon corporation hastened to
repair at their own expense, “so as to make a communication for carriages to
and from the said town of
Robert Browne’s boy, five days at 16d
James Callahane, five days at 18d
Daniel Carthy, five days at 18d
Twenty six labourers at 6d
Robert Hai=== and horse, three days at 1. 1d
Dennis Connel and ====, three days, =====
James Hickey and ===, three days at 1. 1d
Two quarrymen a day ==== at 10d
Quayage for ====== four days at 6d
Bringing ========= to the bridge
My attendance five days at 2. 2d
(Signed) William Martin.
Week ending May ==th, 17==
The deed not only destroyed Bandon bridge, but it caused a great deal of suffering and distress in the town. To relieve this, a public meeting was held at South Market-house, in the month of February, under the presidency of Jonathan Tanner, the provost, at which it was resolved that:-
“Whereas, by the great inundation of the 15th of January last, a great part of the town of Bandon was overflowed, by which many of the inhabitants were great sufferers, and some so much distressed as to be under the necessity of accepting some public benevolence. We, therefore, in order to relieve such of them as are in greatest want of our assistance, do agree that the sum of sixty one pounds eight and sixpence shall be immediately borrowed from James Bernard, Esq., who proposed to lend said sum; and accordingly do pay the same to Jonathan Tanner, Esq., provost of said borough, to be by him given to the following persons, agreeable to the sums therein annexed.”
Another resolution providing a boat for the river also passed:-
“And whereas the bridge on the river Bandon was by said inundation carried away, and it is though necessary a proper boat should be provided to carry on communication from the north to the south side of the town. We do, therefore, agree and order that any sum not exceeding twenty pounds shall be expended in procuring a boat and other necessaries for conveying passengers over said river.”
1766 Upon the death of William Conner, Francis Bernard, of CastleBernard( familiarly known as Squire Bernard), and who had a seat in Parliament more than forty years before, having been representative for Clonakilty in 1725, was elected in his place.
1768 An immense fall of snow, which continued for several days. In many places it was six feet in depth. An old newspaper records the case of a gentleman who was riding from Bandon to Cork, and so firmly did his horse get embedded in the snow that spades and shovels were had recourse to in order to dig him out. Francis Bernard and Thomas Adderly elected to represent the town in Parliament.
1770 Block wheels were first introduced into the neighbourhood. They were composed of solid blocks of timber, about three feet and a-half in diameter, and from six to eight inches in thickness and were heavily bound all round the edge with iron. A carpenter named William Hennessy was said to be the first to bring them into notice here ; and so slowly did our public take to them, that the Red Strand, near Clonakilty - now famous as the daily resort of hundreds of sand-carts - only three vehicles made their appearance in the entire year.
1778 The new bridge over the river, in place of the one carried away, was completed and opened for traffic. The delay was owing to the largeness of the sum required, and the imperfect state of the Grand Jury laws, which rendered it a matter of great difficulty to procure the necessary funds. The sum required, however, was at length forthcoming, partly in assistance from the county, but principally from private subscriptions; and the bridge was formally thrown open to the public this year.
On a mural tablet in the battlement over the centre arch, and facing the roadway, is the following inscription:-
Johannes Travers, *
Prepo==== Anno Dom,
During the interval that intervened between the destruction of the old and the completion of the new, intercommunication was kept between both sides of the town by ferry-boat, for the procuring of which, as
* It was Mr. John Travers, who was provost in 1769, 1771, 1773 and, lastly, in 1775, who laid the foundation stone.
we have previously stated, were voted by the corporation. In ordinary week days this mode of conveyance was safe enough, but on market-days it was dangerous, owing not alone to the crowded state of the boat, but to the state of the boatman, one Tade Callaghan (Boskeen).
It happened that one market-day in particular, the boat was passing over more than usually depressed, while Tade, who was quite the other, being more than usually elevated, roughly laid hold of the oars; and scarcely had they arrived mid-way, when some by mischance he upset the boat and the passengers, and all were tumbled into the water. The river happened at this time to be much swollen after a prolonged fall of rain. and some of those who were thrown in never reached the banks alive. Amongst those who perished was the inebriated charm of the Bandon river - poor Tade Callaghan himself.
Abductions were very prevalent about this time. Many a fellow, when he took a fancy to a girl in those days, showed the warmth of his affection for her by stuffing a pocket-handkerchief, or an old stocking, or perhaps the torn-off sleeve of his shirt, half-way down his Dulcinea’s throat to stifle her cries; or knocking down her father; or, it may be, fracturing her brother’s skull in his efforts to make her his own. They did not understand the amenities and courtesies of civilized life in the country parts round here at this rude period. A rustic lover never thought of “seeking an introduction”; or even if he did become acquainted with his intended, he never took the trouble to try and create a favourable impression on her mind concerning him, by saying a few nice things to her, as he strolled with her along the boreen, or gently pressed her soft hand as he bid her good-night, or endeavouring to look as if he would die of a broken heart if she did not throw him a smile or two, so as to enable him to survive until he would see her again. He could not with any of these puerilities. When he became enamoured, ‘twas the might of Hercules* he called to his aid, and not the blandishments of Cupid.
* An advertisement appeared in one of our county papers about this period in reference to an abduction case in our own neighbourhood, in which a reward of twenty guineas was offered for the apprehension of Daniel McNamara of Enniskeane, distiller, and a similar sum for the apprehension of one Daniel Horrigan, a Popish priest, who married him to a young lady of thirteen years of age, “forcibly and against her will” carried away from her paternal roof.
On one occasion one of those pastoral youths tumbled head and ears into love at first sight. Now, if some charming little creature threw a (425) coy glance at him over the top of a fan, to fan the spark of admiration which glimmers with more or less intensity in the breast of every lord of the creation of the fair sex, into a blaze; or did she utter a pretty sentiment or two, or even say a kind word to him, one would not be much surprised to see the flames of love bursting through the combustible soul of a young man of two-and twenty. But no, gentle reader; when this refined rural first saw Bessie; when his heart for the first time beat quick, and then, as if ashamed of itself for being so foolish, suddenly almost came to a standstill; when he felt a kind of creamy, sugary sensation flushing all over him - she, industrious, sensible young woman as she was, had one end of a sugawn in her bronzed fist, whilst the other end was carefully secured to one of the hind legs of a pig, which she was endeavouring to sell to the best advantage at Bandon fair. Poor Bumkin looked, and he loved; and then of course he made up his mind that the loved one should be his wife. Accordingly, he collected a lot of his friends, and on the second night after he stormed his charmer’s abode.
The old man (her father), hearing a lot of voices shouting to Bessie to get up and dress herself, put his head out the window and asked what they wanted?
“We want your daughter, Bessie” cried the storming party, “and we must have her!”
“You shan’t!” says the old paterfamilias, as he shut down the window, and bolted it.
“Let us in this instant, or we’ll burn the house!” said the outsiders; but there was no answer. “We’ll burn it to the ground!” again shouted they; but there was still no answer, and all within was as silent as the grave. The they began battering at the door with their whiphandles, but there was no reply.
After some little consultation among themselves, two or three of the strongest of the party came forward, and putting their shoulders to the back-door, they forced it in; and rushing upstairs, headed by the intended husband - who had previously ascertained the room in which his intended wife slept - they entered Bessie’s apartment; and rolling her up in the bedclothes, and wrapping a huge frieze cloak round her, they brought her away.
The poor girl, who had heard everything that passed since the storming party surrounded the house was so overcome with fright that she could (426) make no resistance. She sobbed a little at first, but in such a low tone that she could scarcely be heard; and knowing that nothing could turn these cruel men from their purpose, she remained silent altogether, contenting herself merely with hiding her bashful young face from the gaze of those who surrounded her.
She was quickly lifted into a cart, which was ready for the purpose, and away they drove as fast as they could, escorting the storming party on horse-back. On they went at a gallop. Not a syllable was spoken - they did not even whisper to one another - as those who had been guilty of such a gross outrage were hurrying to get away from the sense of their guilt with as much celerity as possible. Bessie too was quiet as a mouse. Notwithstanding that she sighed occasionally, and exhibited other signs of suppressed feelings, she was calm and collected. On they sped, and on, until miles lay between the terrified daughter and her disconsolate parents.
And now the day was beginning to break. Bright beams of light shooting up from the east, and stretching across the cold morning sky, were fast dispelling the darkness. For some time previously the swain, who began to look upon his fair prisoner as now undoubtedly his, made up his mind that he ought to get a kiss - one at the very least - to console him for all he had gone through for her sake. If she would but allow him take one - even ever, ever so small a one - he would feel well satisfied for the risk he ran of having a foreign body, like a charge of duck-shot, or a musket bullet or two, impelled through the axis of his alimentary canal, by a discharge of a blunderbuss by her incensed father; or of being sent to rusticate among the flora at Botany Bay for the period of his natural life, by the judge of assize; or worse still, of being battered into a pancake at the next fair, by her indignant cousins.
Bessie resisted with all her might.
“Yerra! wouldn’t his own colleen do that for him, after all he went through for her?” But not a word did his own colleen permit to pass her lips. He must get it. “Bad luck to me!” says he, “if I’ll be fit to look at for a month of Sundays, if I don’t get - if it was only the least bit of a taste of a kiss. By gor! I’ll die dead entirely, entirely, if I-------” Forcing her hands and the hood of her cloak from her face, he looked; and lo! it wasn’t Bessie was there at all, it was her mother!
“Holy Mary!” yelled the distracted man, as with one bound he (427) sprang out of the cart upon the road, “for blooming Bessie to be changed into----’twas the fairies did it!” “Holy Mary!” roared he again, as he caught sight of Bessie’s mother, who now sat bolt upright in the cart, nightcap and all, and nodded familiarly at him - as much as to say, how are you Johnny; then dragging his hat down on his forehead, he took to his heels, and made off across the country.
It appears that when the old lady heard the stormers crying out for her daughter, a thought flashed across her mind; and instantly going to Bessie’s room, she made the young lady got to her father’s bed, whilst she took possession of her’s - previously taking the precaution of hiding the candle least it should be lighted, and the imposture discovered.
When the escort saw their leader make off, they naturally thought they were pursued; and putting spurs to their charges, they all endeavoured to save themselves by a precipitate flight. Meanwhile, materfamilias, seeing the coast was clear, leisurely turned the horse’s head round and steered it home where she duly arrived bringing the horse and cart with her, as trophies of her ingenuity, and the possession of which she retained unchallenged - the owner being afraid to demand them.
The unhappy lover was ashamed
to show himself. He kept lurking about the neighbourhood
for some time, and then reached
|[Preface] [Contents] [Bernards] [Index] [Depositions] [Maps] [Definitions] [Town/Parish Descriptions, 1835] [Pictures]|