Thursday 22 May 2014

An Historic Tale: A Faithful Steed and a Devoted Wife.

T.O.W. Special -- Old Newry Series.
(From a photo by Mr. J. E. Connor).
In the great Volunteer movement of last century Newry played an important part, and to the Society of United Irishmen, founded in Belfast in 1791, Newry also contributed her contingent. In this connection we find it recorded that on the "28th of May, 1797, the following persons from Newry were brought to Belfast in a coach-and-four, escorted by a detachment of the 22nd Light Dragoons, viz.:-- Messrs. John Gordon, David Lawson, Isaac Glenny, Thomas Morris, Luke Babe and John Walker. Mr. Glenny has since, we hear, been admitted to bail, and Mr. Gordon expects also to be liberated upon the same terms." Four days later we are informed by a Belfast correspondent that, "since our last the following prisoners have been brought into the Artillery Guard-room, viz.:-- Peter Leacy, William Reilly, James Jones, Robert Brown, and Robert Maxwell, from Newry; and Hugh M'Evoy, Edward Fagan, Matthew Savage, Laurence M'Evoy, and Stephen Byrne, from Sheepbridge -- all charged with seditious practices." Immediately upon his arrest, the wife of Mr. John Gordon, well knowing the summary manner in which justice was administered in those troublesome times, and being ardently devoted to her husband, at once mounted her horse and started in pursuit of the escort which brought him and his fellow-prisoners to Belfast. There, we are told, she arrived close upon their heels, never having drawn rein, nor partaken of refreshment, from the moment she left her residence at Templegowran till she arrived in Belfast, where she immediately took steps, which proved successful, for the vindication and release of her husband. With the poor steed, however, it fared very differently -- next morning he was found a corpse. The memory of such a faithful servant was not, however, destined to perish. Mrs. Gordon shortly afterwards returned to Templegowran, accompanied by her husband and the tail of her gallant steed. Mr. Gordon remained at Templegowran up to his death, at the age of 84 years, on the 22nd March, 1833. Anne Gordon, his widow, survived him, and died in July, 1840, aged 80. As for the "tail," it has, so far as we can ascertain, been faithfully preserved at Templegowran up to the 14th of December, 1898, when it was presented to me by Mr. R. Cooper, the present occupier of the interesting old spot.

Francis C. Crossle. 

[We present our readers with a photo, of this historic tail. Dr. Crossle has had it placed in a neat frame, and the record of the event printed that it may be read through the glass, and will present it to the Town Commissioners for preservation in the Board-room of the New Town Hall. The tail is in an excellent state of preservation, and bound at the top with a fine leather band. It was a gallant ride. Templegowran lies east of Newry, about two miles, and Mrs. Gordon, who was then about 37 years of age, had to cover 32 Irish miles without halting for a single moment.] 

This article was originally published in "The Open Window Illustrated - Literary Annual and Year Book of Local Annals" in 1900 which was centred on the Newry area. 

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