A guide to trace your ancestors from Lurgan, County Armagh and from the County of Armagh

Lurgan (Lady Day) Riots – Death of John Savage 1879

The Lady Day Riots In Lurgan.

Another Death.

The Belfast News-Letter,
Saturday, September 27,


LURGAN, FRIDAY – Another death has resulted from the lamentable riots which took place in this town on Friday and Saturday, the 15th and 16th ult. It will be remembered that on the night of the 16th Edward Street was the scene of the most disgraceful rioting, and a large amount of property was destroyed by the mobs who had possession of the street. While this was going on an opposing mob congregated at the junction of Edward Street and Hill Street, with the avowed object of preventing the others from passing up into the latter street.
At a late hour on that night John Savage, a carpenter, residing in the townland of Tannaghmore West, was proceeding homewards through Edward Street. He, somewhat indiscreetly, attempted without taking any precautions to pass the Hill Street mob, at the time exasperated by what was taking place in Edward Street, and he was attacked by some of the persons who formed part of that mob. It has never transpired what was the cause of the attack – whether Savage was regarded as a spy, or provoked the attack by his conduct, or was attacked without any provocation whatever. But he was severely beaten by the mob, and left in an almost insensible condition. Some time elapsed before he was brought to a place of safety, but he was eventually conveyed to a house in Church Place, where he remained till next morning, when he was brought to his residence in Tannaghmore West on a car. There he has lain ever since in a pitiable condition, and been assiduously attended by Dr. McCorry, Lurgan; and Dr. Harman, Kilvergan. But notwithstanding all their efforts, erysipelas set in several days ago, and death put an end to the unfortunate man’s sufferings to-day.

Two of the local magistrates attended at Savage’s residence some time ago and took his depositions, but he was unable to give the names of any of the persons who attacked him. The deceased was 63 years of age, and leaves a grown up family. A month elapsed after the occurrence took place before any person came forward to give any information to the authorities about the matter. But on the 17th inst. a lad named McBride, who resides near the scene of the occurrence, and who on the previous day had been tried at the petty sessions on a charge of forming part of a stone-throwing mob and acquitted, while his brother was fined for the same offence, swore information against three Protestant young men, named Wiliam Quaill, Henry Walker, and William Walker, all residing in Hill Street, who, he alleged, first attacked Savage on the night of the occurrence, and then dragged him over to the mob.
They were accordingly arrested, brought before the local magistrates, and remanded to the Lurgan bridewell for eight days. They were again brought up on the 23rd inst., when some further evidence, which it appears was not of an important character, was given for the prosecution, and they were again remanded. The prisoners were finally brought up on remand at the Petty Sessions Office yesterday, before Messrs. James Malcolm, J.P., and John Johnston, J.P. The proceedings, as on the two previous occasions, were conducted in private. No further evidence was given, and the prisoners having reserved their defence, their Worships returned them for trial to the coming winter assizes on the informations which had been previously given, the charge being that on the night of the 16th of August the defendants (with others at present unknown) assaulted John Savage, doing him serious bodily harm, and thereby placing his life in danger on a public street in Lurgan. As Dr. McCorry was unable to certify that Savage’s life was not in danger, bail for the appearance of the prisoners at the assizes was refused, and they were accordingly lodged subsequently in the county jail at Armagh. It is understood that there is a formidable array of witnesses for the defence, and that under the peculiar circumstances of the case, an application will be made to the Court of Queen’s Bench to have the prisoners liberated on bail until the assizes.


This Newspaper Article has been reproduced by the kind permission of the British Newspaper Archive Limited, (

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