Pre 1800, — January 5, 2010 9:37 — 0 Comments

Gallows Hill

The Ancient Britons (a Welsh regiment) and Becker’s Yeomanry ( native Irish volunteers) next burned two more farmhouses to the ground and seized eight men at random to take as prisoners back to Newry.  The year was 1797.

Even today, the Hill on which Heather Park is located is known as Gallows Hill. If you search carefully there you will come upon a cellar-like cavern sunk into a hill that is grilled off from entry. This led from the Courthouse to the place of execution. 


Three of the prisoners were sentenced to hang. On his way to the place of execution John Morgan managed to get his hands free from his bonds. Making a desperate attempt for freedom he raced into the open street (Bagott Street today). 


He knocked down two of the soldiers guarding him and was struggling with a third when another trooper behind him ran his sword right through his body.


The desperate young man collapsed upon the street and died in indescribable agony. 


The remaining two condemned men, Patrick McEvoy and Edward McGovern were led then to Gallows Hill and ‘hanged, drawn and quartered’. 


Crowds were forcibly assembled to witness this cruel spectacle and the Yeos and soldiers monitored them carefully to prevent any expression of sympathy for the dying men. 


The bodies of the two victims were decapitated and the heads set upon spikes outside the News Room on Hill Street as a warning to others.

The following year (1798) the United Irishmen Rebellion broke out.  There was considerable support (though no open rebellion) in the Newry/South Down/Armagh area, perhaps because of – perhaps despite – the excesses of the Yeos and Ancient Britons.


reaction recounted later …

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