Monday, December 30, 2013

Ballyhalbert and Portavogie, April 1797

On the run-in to what became the 1798 Rebellion, this account was published in The Northern Star in the 3-7 April 1797 edition:

'... in searching for arms in the Ards, on Friday, March 10, the soldiers sliced down a whole cheese and carried it off together with several articles both of provisions and apperall, at Mr Brown's (Portavogie). In the townland of Ballyhalbert, they tossed about three stacks of grain, belonging to Wm M'Whorter, and committed several other outrages. Almost every night since, an Ensign G- and Mr. P. G., seemingly intoxicated, accompanied by a few armed ruffians (not the military) paraded the town and country, to the terror of peaceable well-disposed people.

Widows, orphans, poor lonely women, and all others in unprotected circumstances, are the chief objects of their military vigilance and prowess. When their private orgies prevent their personal exertions, their emissaries rally forth in arms; scour the country at all hours of the night, force poor people from their beds, demand spirits or whatever else they choose, which, having devoured, they make off. If complaint is uttered they present cards or notes which they say contain orders from the aforesaid gentlemen for their proceedings.

On such occasions Master John H-, son to a gauger, is Captain Commandant, and Master John B-, son to the church clerk, Adjutant. It is expected that a sense of the meritorious exploits of the latter will recommend his father and family to the notice of the parish of Portaferry at next vestry. The Commissioners of Revenue will certainly promote the former. Any of the others whether higher or lower may be presented with more prominent features to the public, if their further merits call for notice. Let them be thankful at present ...'

Monday, December 02, 2013

An 1850s Massachussetts clock, via the Isle of Man, to the Ards


Above: Peel Harbour, 1893 // An old clock which was owned by my grandparents, and previous generations, has surfaced. The sellers label is from Joseph Clucas, Clock & Watch Maker, Peel (in the Isle of Man). Some Googling shows that his shop existed from 1850-1860, in Crown Street just off the main seafront beside Peel Castle and St Patrick's Isle. Peel is on the west coast of the Isle of Man, with many connections to east County Down over the centuries. Nearby Clucas' shop was a building called Thompson's House (see here).

According to a huge label inside, it was made by Jerome & Co, New Haven. Massachussetts. Again some Googling shows that the company went bankrupt in 1856, from a peak production level of 440,000 clocks per year. Their clocks are easily available on etc.

So, the story probably is that, in the early 1850s, some fisherman from the Ards was over in Peel and came home with a posh imported American gift for the wife. Pics to follow.