Royal Canal drawbridge

According to the Freeman’s Journal of 5 April 1837, Henry Garnett was

superintendent or agent to the èxtensive and highly respectable firm of Purcell and Jameson, coach proprietors.

Their offices were in Sackville Street. On Sunday 2 April 1837 Mr Garnett had been on his way home to [Royal] Canal Terrace when

as he ascended the hill at the bend of Upper Dominick-street he met a man habited in a dark cloak, and having a cap on his head, who, after looking him steadfastly in the face, opened the cloak, and fired at him.

The man was not more than a yard away, so close that the powder scorched Garnett’s hand, but the bullet struck a suspender button, wounding but not killing the victim.

The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime [OSI ~1840]

William Cagburn heard the shot and also heard Garnett calling out

I am shot — stop the murderer, he has run in the direction of the aqueduct.

Cagburn gave chase:

He instantly pursued, crossed the draw-bridge, and came under the aqueduct, when he saw the prisoner running along the Phibsborough road.

Cagburn and the watchman seized the man; the watchman took two pistols from him and another witness found a third, discharged, pistol nearby on the pathway.

The prisoner, Christopher Clanchy, had been a road maker for eight years. The Freeman’s Journal said:

While a contractor for repairing part of the Ashbourne road, in the employment of Messrs Bourne, he [Clanchy] was allowed to travel free by Mr Purcell’s coaches, and Mr Garnett in the discharge of his duty having occasion to withdraw this privilege, hence proceeding his desire to be revenged. […] We are happy to state Mr Garnett is not likely to suffer any inconvenience from the injury.

But of more interest for this site is the route taken by William Cagburn. What or where was the drawbridge he crossed?

Foster Aqueduct

Upper Dominick Street and the Foster Aqueduct [OSI ~1840]

I haven’t come across [or at least I haven’t noticed] any previous mention of a drawbridge in this area. I presume that it was across the canal. And, looking closely at the map extract above …

Possible site of drawbridge

Possible drawbridge [OSI ~1840]

… I see what might be a bridge just to the left of the F of Foster. It shows up more clearly on the black and white OSI map. At Clanchy’s trial before the Commission of Oyer and Terminer, reported in the Freeman’s Journal of Monday 26 June 1837, the bridge was said to be a wooden bridge; George Cayburn [probably the William Cagburn named in the earlier report] described it as “the swinging bridge”.

Perhaps Mallet’s Insistent Pontoon merely replaced an old nuisance with a new.

Clanchy, incidentally, was found guilty: there were suggestions that he was insane, but the jury rejected them. Baron Richards said [Freeman’s Journal 1 July 1837]

The court had no discretion but to pass the extreme sentence of the law, that he should be hanged by the neck […].

Purcell, Garnett’s employer, had requested a commutation of his sentence; Richards said that it was open to Clanchy to memorial for a commutation, and the court would put no obstacle in his way; indeed it hoped he would meet the mercy “which he would have denied his intended victim”. I do not know what happened to Clanchy.

Update December 2016

The Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail of 26 September 1835 mentions the bridge:

Monday night a respectable looking elderly man fell into the Royal Canal Basin, at the Broadstone, on the Dominick-street side, within a few yards of the draw bridge.

A canal employee called Keybourne hauled Mr White out within a few minutes, but he was DOA at the Richmond Hospital.

This seems to confirm that the bridge was moveable and was where the OSI map suggests.

From the BNA

My OSI logo and permit number for website

2 responses to “Royal Canal drawbridge

  1. I can see “The Royal Under the Railway” 2nd edition in gestation.

  2. Maybe “The Royal under the Road”? bjg

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