Lurgan Coat of Arms The Armagh Guardian

20 November, 1869  


The Lurgan correspondent of the 'Northern Whig,' writing on Monday, says:-

I regret to inform you of a shameful outrage committed within a short distance of this town early yesterday morning, or rather early on Sunday morning. About a mile and a half from Lurgan, on the road leading to Gilford, and not far beyond Lakeview, the residence of Francis Watson, Esq., J.P., is a row of two cottages, neat and cleanly in appearance. In one lives William Asken, A decent quiet weaver, a Roman Catholic, with his wife and five children. In the other lives. Thomas M'Keown, a Protestant. A little before one o'clock yesterday morning, Asken and his wife were aroused by some noise on the road in front of the house and Asken on rising was able to discern a number of persons about his door, which they were endeavouring to prize up and force in. Not succeeding in this they smashed in the two front windows of the house, breaking the sashes and forcing in the frame work. Asken and his wife and children were greatly terrified, but wisely offered, no resistance. One of the persons on the road was heard to say, ' burn them to death ;' but his companions appeared to object to this, and the whole party passed on up the road without the least harm to M'Keown's house.

All this was done without any apparent haste, and the offenders when going off fired two shots and gave a cheer. —Asken had lived here during the past twenty-six years, has carefully avoided given offence to the Protestants, by whom he is surrounded, and has had no reason to complain of his neighbours till a night or two after the recent riot in Lurgan, when his windows were broken in an almost similar manner. From Asken's the rioters passed on about a quarter of a mile to a cluster of seven or eight houses, all with one exception, occupied by Protestants, and here they smashed in three front windows of a house occupied by James M'Corry, a Roman Catholic. M'Corry has a comfortable tidy house and garden, has four looms, is a married man, without family, and at the time of the occurrence was in bed, some of the glass being dashed in on him and his wife and their little nephew, a child of four years. M'Corry says the night was a dark one, and he cannot identify the offenders; but proof that they were prepared for mischief, and of the violence with which they did their wicked work, is afforded by the fact that M'Corry picked up, in his room, under one of the broken windows the 'tangs' or prongs of a grape or pitch fork, one of the prongs being bent, and a portion of the handle showing where the head had snapped off. M'Corry is well spoken of by his Protestant neighbours, who do not attempt to explain how it happens that their houses are untouched.

From M'Corry's the marauders proceeded a short distance towards Duckstown, till they reached the cottage of a poor young widow named Kelly, a Roman Catholic. Mrs. Kelly's husband died about five months ago, leaving her with four children — one an infant in arms. Even this poor creature's house, although surrounded on all sides by the houses of Protestants, was not spared. One window was forced in bodily, and two others smashed and broken by sticks. Of course persons will be found ready to make light of this and similar outrages. Only a few windows broken; no one hurt.' &c. but one can readily guess at the treatment Asken, or M'Corry, or the poor, inoffensive widow Kelly would have met with had they, or either of them, ventured out on the road.


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