Coolkenno Petty Sessions By Colum O'Rourke History of Coolkenno
AN EVICTION AT LISCOLMAN - In August 1885, an eviction took place at Liscolman; an act that was occurring widespread across the country due to people's refusal to pay extortionate rent rates to absentee London based landlords and also in their support of The Land League. The following story sadly somewhat reflects a continuation in contemporary Ireland. Even though the Coolattin Estate was not a hotspot for rife agrarian action due to the liberal views of the Fitzwilliam clan, evictions clearly still occurred. On 28th August 1885, one such eviction at Liscolman had some drastic results for some ageing evictees. The Coolkenno Petty Sessions notes state the disturbing time in detail -" At Coolkenno Petty Sessions on Monday, before Mr. McLeod, RM (in the chair), Mr. Pillsworth Whelan (Rath House), and Mr. Ralph F. Lawrenson (Munny House), Joe Swaine, a recently evicted tenant on Lord Fitzwilliam's estate, was charged with having on the day of the eviction (the 28th August) taken forcible possession of his former holding. Thomas Morton, sheriffs bailiff, deposed that he went to Swaine's house, accompanied by six constables, three gamekeepers, and a man named Robert Hammond, to take possession of Swaine's holding. When Hammond asked to be admitted Swaine said that his wife was sick in bed and that he would not admit them. Witness forced open the door with the assistance of Hammond and the three gamekeepers. He then removed all that was inside the house to the roadside. Jane Swaine was sick in bed. Witness wrapped the bedtick around her and lifted her into a cart and took her to the roadside. He then removed the window casing from the upper room, and made a larch bolt for the door with a hatchet, and secured it with stones. He then returned through the window and left it as he got it. Acting-Constable Williams proved the service of summons on the 2nd of September. After consultation, the Chairman informed the defendant Swaine that the court had come to the conclusion that he was guilty of an offence which compelled them to send him forward for trial, but considering his advanced age they would deal leniently with him and accept two securities in £10 each and himself in £20. The defendant declined to enter into bail, and said he would go to jail, for he wanted his home, and had offered all the money that he owed except the £2 law cost. Mr. McLeod - "We will give you until this day month to find bail, and if you do not we will send you from this court to jail." Swaine replied, "I won't find bail nor look for it, but I'll go to jail." Unfortunately, it is unknown what happened to Joe Swaine and his sickly wife.