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

Lurgan (Lady Day) Riots – Inquest on John Savage 1879

The Late Riots In Lurgan.

Inquest On The Body Of John Savage.

The Belfast News-Letter,
Monday, September 29,


LURGAN, SATURDAY – An inquest on the body of John Savage, the unfortunate man who died yesterday from the effects of a beating which he received at the hands of a mob during the riots in Lurgan on the night of the 16th ult. was held at the residence of the deceased, in Tannaghmore West, today, before Edward D. Atkinson, Esq., Coroner and the following jury : –

Mr. Nelson Ruddell P.L.G. (foreman); Mr. Arthur Malcomson,
Mr. Arthur Walsh, Mr. Arthur Walsh,
Mr. John McCann, Mr. Henry Lavery,
Mr. Edward McCann, Mr. James McAlinden, sen.;
Mr. Archibald Reid, Mr. Sinnamon Hughes,
Mr. Thomas Murphy, Mr. Paul Hennan,
Mr. John McCann, Mr. James McAlinden, jun.;
Mr. William Morrow, Mr. Matthew McCabe,
Mr. Richard McCann, Mr. Felix McAtamney,
Mr. John McIlduff, Mr. John Gilpin,
Mr. William Lyttle, Mr. John Lavery
Mr. Thomas McAtamney,  


Sub-Inspector Hayes conducted the proceedings on behalf of the Crown, and Mr. W. H. D. Moore, solicitor, appeared to watch the proceedings on behalf of Wiliam Quaill, William Walker, and Henry Walker, the three persons who have been returned for trial to the Winter Assizes on the charge of being concerned in the attack on Savage. The prisoners were not present.

WILLIAM McCOY, jun., was examined, and deposed – I am a shoemaker, and reside in Edward Street, Lurgan. On the night of the 16th August I was looking out of my window, at about twelve o’clock, and I saw a man knocking about the street in an apparently drunken state. He fell three times. I took pity on him, as the night was wet, and I went out and brought him to the police barrack. That man was the deceased John Savage. I had not known him previously. When I took him into the barrack I observed that he was cut and bleeding. The town was in a very disturbed state all that night, but the excitement had quieted down considerably after midnight. I did not see anyone touch him on the street. The police passed him on the street while I was watching him from the window. When I brought him to the barrack Sergeant Smyth asked his name, and he said his name was John Savage.
Sub-Inspector HAYES – Had you any conversation with him as to who had assaulted him ? Yes; he said he had been beaten in Union Street.
Did the police interfere with him as they passed him on the street ? No; I lost sight of him while the police passed.
Was he in the same place when you saw him again ? Yes; about the same place.
To the CORONER – There was a large number of police – I should say about a company.
To Sub-Inspector HAYES РAbout half an hour after that I went up to him and brought him to the barrack. He told me he was cold. In the barrack room I washed the blood of him.
Was the blood fresh on him then ? Some of it was fresh and some of it was dry. He was bleeding at the time, but the blood had dried on the hair.
While he was in the barrack did he receive every attention that he could have received ? No one but myself put a hand to him while I was there. I washed him, and then went home. The police gave me water and a towel, and I gave him a glass of wine to drink, as he was very weak, but I did not see him drink it.
The CORONER – Were you then of opinion that he was under the influence of drink ? Yes, he was, sir.
Was he so much under it as to account for the fall ? He was what you would call drunk.

Dr. McCORRY, Lurgan, deposed РI knew the deceased, John Savage, in his lifetime, and saw him on the morning of the 17th August. He was a widower, and a carpenter by trade. When I saw him he was suffering from several contused wounds on the head and a contused wound on one of his hands. The wounds were not deep, I think. I did not care to renew the bleeding by probing them. I dressed all his wounds, and he was then taken to his home, where I attended him till his death. I last saw him alive on Wednesday, and I believe he died yesterday. The wounds on his head got pretty well, but the wound on his hand caused inflammation of the whole hand and arm. There was a high fever and delirium with the inflammation, and consequent loss of appetite. Mortification set in, and an excessive discharge of mater carried him off. I had given up all hopes of saving his life long before he died, and if he had not been an exceedingly healthy man he could not have survived so long.  My opinion is that he died from the injuries he received on the 16th of August. These injuries might have been produced by kicks or blows of a stick, but could not have been by the hand. There was only one of the hurts which could have been caused by a fall. The wound which caused his death was a punctured wound on the back of the hand, and it could not have been caused by a fall.
Sub-Inspector HAYES – Did you ask him how he had received these injuries ? I asked him if he knew who beat him, and he said he did not. He gave me to understand that he was stunned by the first blow he received, and I did not ask him where he was assaulted.

MARGARET SAVAGE was examined, and deposed – The deceased was my father. He died at 1.35 yesterday. He left this house in good health on the morning of Saturday, the 16th August, and he never got better of the injuries he had sustained when he was brought home on the following day.
To Mr. HAYES – He stated that he had been beaten in Edward Street at McGrath’s gate, opposite Hill Street, but he did not know who beat him. He was attacked twice. They first beat him outside the gateway, and then they came back on him a second time, and having beaten him again they pulled him into the gateway. He remembered all that very well.
Did he ever accuse the police of having beaten him ? No, sir, he did not. That was said by others, but it can be proved to be false.
The CORONER – That should do you, Mr. Hayes.
Sub-Inspector HAYES – The police are said to have done it, and if they beat him I should be sorry to hide it.
The witness – Dr. Harman heard that too, but it was not the case.
Mr. HAYES – I heard a man state it yesterday.
The CORONER – said the constabulary did not propose to produce any other witnesses, and he believed the jury had sufficient evidence before them to show the cause of death. The deceased had died of injuries which must have been produced by violence – by sticks, or stones, or kicks – and could not have been produced by falls. If they believed that those injuries were inflicted by some person or persons unknown to the jury, then their duty was to find a verdict accordingly. The cause of death was all they had to consider. It was probable that the crime would be made a charge of murder in another place.

The jury retired to consider their verdict, and on their return.
The FOREMAN announced that they found that the deceased had died from the effects of injuries inflicted by some person or persons unknown.
The CORONER then submitted the following form of verdict to the jury : –

“That the deceased, John Savage, being a male widower, of 63 years of age, on the 26th day of September, 1879, in the townland of Tannaghmore West, in the parish of Seagoe, and County of Armagh, did die from the effects of injuries received in Lurgan, on the night of the 16th August, in the year aforesaid, which injuries were inflicted wilfully and feloniously and with malice aforethought by some person of persons to the jury unknown; and the jury believe that the said person or persons unknown did, wilfully and with malice aforethought and felonious intent, kill and murder the said John Savage deceased.”

The FOREMAN – There is no evidence of malice aforethought.
The CORONER – Nor is such necessary. The law implies malice, and the onus will rest upon anyone who may be accused to show that there was no malicious intent.
The FOREMAN – I can’t subscribe to any verdict stating that there was malice aforethought against John Savage. I believe that at the time anyone who staggered into either mob would have been beaten.
The CORONER РVery well; you can frame any verdict you please. I am not responsible; but it is my duty to put your verdict in a legal shape if possible, and if you believe that man was killed as described, the law infers the rest.
The FOREMAN РI would be very glad to see the guilty parties punished.
The CORONER – Well, well; you say the injuries were wilfully inflicted ?
The FOREMAN – Yes.
The CORONER – Then prepare it so; but it is only eschewing technical terms not to put the verdict in proper shape.

Considerable discussion then took place; but eventually a verdict was returned to the effect that the deceased came to his death by injuries wilfully inflicted on him by some person or persons unknown to the jury.

A JUROR suggested that they ought to record an expression of their opinion in favour of putting down all party processions.
The CORONER stated that they had nothing about party processions before them.
Another JUROR replied that a party procession had commenced the riots.
The CORONER said he would be glad to see all party processions put down throughout Ireland.
A JUROR – Fathers should not encourage their sons to attend these processions, which only create ill-felling in the country.
The FOREMAN – many young men whom I know would not attend the processions only for fear of the reproach they would have to submit to afterwards. If the people were all like Father O’Hare there would soon be no processions in the country.
The CORONER – Respectable people of all classes are strongly against them, and would be glad to see them all put down.
The proceedings were then brought to a close.


The Belfast News-Letter,
Tuesday, September 30,


THE LURGAN RIOTS – FUNERAL OF JOHN SAVAGE – Yesterday the remains of the unfortunate man who died on Friday last, from the effects of injuries he sustained in Lurgan during the recent riots, were interred in the Roman Catholic burial-ground at Derrymacash. A large concourse of people from Lurgan and other surrounding districts attended the funeral, but there was no disturbance.


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