Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Bunbury Papers extracts in
 the Pat Purcell Papers
Round 2.
Watters vs Beresford

By kind permission of Michael Purcell

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Watters vs. Beresford


Landlordism in Borris. (surname now Watters)

On Monday last Mr Jameson, Sub-Sheriff of Carlow, accompanied by a force of twelve police under the command of Sub-Inspector Joy, proceeded to Borris to sell a horse the property of Mrs Anne Watters of Kilcloney, which had been previously seized. The seizure was made to realise a sum of 10 pounds which at the request of the landlord R.W. Pack-Beresford granted at the Courthouse, Carlow.

The history of Mrs Watters' persecution by the landlord ever since she dared to go into the land court to have a fair rent fixed is extraordinary, and shows an insane desire by the landlord to ruin a respectable, industrious tenant.

In the year 1884 Mrs Watters had a fair rent fixed on her farm.

In 1885 Mrs Watters offered the half year's rent due but it was refused by the agent Mr Fitzherbert of Abbeyleix and payment was demanded of the old hanging gale which had been running on the farm for upwards of 200 years.

Mrs Watters and her son Michael refused to yield to this unjust demand, and in the month of April their cattle were seized and sold by the sheriff.

In 1886 a year's rent was again demanded and the tenant refused to pay that amount on account of the hanging-gale which had been extorted.

Legal proceedings were again taken and the interest in the farm was put up for sale in March of this present year. The farm was bought in for the tenant by another person and a years rent paid to the sheriff. The sheriff's costs amounted to 10 pounds to recover this cost a horse was seized on the understanding that it would be sold at a sale in Borris.

The horse, which is a fine animal, was ridden by a boy into Borris. Both horse and boy were profusely decorated with green ribbons. Immediately behind the horse was led a donkey bearing on his back a grotesque figure dressed in full hunting costume. The figure was designed to typify lardlordism but many said the makers of the figure were too flattering to that group.

The rider of the horse and his queer-looking companion were met outside the town by the Borris Brass Band and escorted up and down the street.

Meanwhile news was received that the sheriff and auctioneer, Mr George Wilson, had decided to sell the horse at a sale to be held on the farm at Kilcloney. On hearing this Rev. W. P. Bourke and Michael Watters and a large crowd proceeded to Kilcloney to demand that the sale be held in Borris. The sale was then cancelled.

The gathering was then addressed by Rev. W. P. Bourke who was received with cheers. He said that he had been out all morning although he was suffering from a severe cold. He said that Beresford was only hurting himself by making such an unjust demand for a hanging gale that was not called for, for 40 or 50 years before.

All opposition must be directed against "Hanging-gale Beresford" he declared. Mr P. Murphy proposed thanks to Mrs Anne Watters and her son Michael for having so courageously, now for the third time, faced the greedy landlord "Hanging-gale Pack-Beresford".

Mr J.C. Breen said the name Pack-Beresford sounded bad and if ever a name stunk in the nostrils of any right thinking Irishman it was the name of Pack-Beresford for he had attempted to sell out Mrs Watters farm and make her family quit the country.

Michael Watters then addressed the meeting, he thanked all present for their support and the countrymen in America and Australia who were sending over large sums of money to the National League to support the downtrodden for victory.

If there was one spot more than another in all Ireland where the people should be united for the overthrow of landlordism it should be in Carlow. There is not a place in Ireland that has suffered so much from landlords. It was here that the saddest scenes ever witnessed were made manifest. They could all recall the days of Charley Doyne who spread desolation over the entire country, he drove thousands of souls out without a home or shelter. From the hillsides of the White Mountains, to St. Mullins and Marley and through Slyguff and Kilcloney.

Today we have another Charley - Mr Charley Thorpe to do the landlords dirty work.

The meeting then broke up but before doing so they dragged the "landlord effigy" from the donkey and after being deluged with paraffin oil was set fire to and reduced to ashes.

The above is a true and accurate transcript of the original document.

Transcribed by Jean Casey, January 2010

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2001 County Carlow Irish Genealogy Project. IGP