Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Pat Purcell Papers

By kind permission of Michael Purcell & Turtle Bunbury


By kind permission of Michael Purcell & Turtle Bunbury

Case of Mr. Knaresburgh 1791

Mr. Knaresburgh, the gentleman some time since convicted of a rape at  Carlow, in Ireland, and for which he received sentence, has, we hear, by the interference of his friends, got his punishment of death commuted for a voyage to Botany Bay.' (The Times, August 31, 1791, p. 3).

Note: Up until 1828, the punishment for rape generally seems to have been either death or transportation for life (perhaps commuted to 14 yrs) ... the death penalty for rape was abolished by the Substitution of Punishments for Death Act 1841, when 'transportation for life'. And when transportation was abolished by the Penal Servitude Act 1857, the penalty became 'penal servitude for life'.

Source: Turtle Bunbury

Death sentence for Rape did not always apply with Lord Norbury (The Hanging Judge) sitting on the Bench....on many of the "Calendar of Prisoners" records we witness Lord Norbury issuing a prison sentence when dealing with rape cases but "Horse Stealing" warranted death penalty.

Examples from one Calendar for Carlow reproduced in Volume 3 of "Carlow in old picture postcards" by Michael Purcell reads :

Joseph Kelly, Rape, 19th August 1814, "Sentence" Three months Gaol.
James Nowlan, Rape, 15th July 1814, "Sentence" One months imprisonment.
Laurence Kavanagh, 10 July 1814, taking a young girl against her will, "Sentence" 12 months Gaol.
Danial Cary, Horse stealing, 19th July 1814 - "Sentence" To be Hanged.
Elland Kinselagh, House Burning, 21 August, 1814 "Sentence" Death.
Thomas Ward, Robbery, 3 Oct. 1814 "Sentence" Death.
James Bergin, Charged with taking a Girl against her will, 29 March 1815 "Sentence"  To be Hanged.
Elsewhere on same Calendar we read:
Michael Wall, Haughing a Horse, 16 Jan. 1815 "Sentence" To be Hanged.
(haughing? the cutting off a horse's or cow's hooves).
Byran Doyle, Rape, 22nd Feb. 1815 - "Sentence"  One months imprisonment.
James Maguire, Robbery, 9th March, 1815 - "Sentence" To be Hanged.
Pat Duffy, Robbery, 9th March 1815, "Sentence" To be Hanged.
Edward Mogan, Horse Stealing, 14th Jan. 1815 "Sentence" Death
The above is a true and accurate transcript of the original document.
Transcribed by: Michael Purcell  & Turtle Bunbury c2012

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