Junior Maguires - 1801 to 1834

After the death of Hugh Maguire in 1800, his eldest son Constantine inherited the remainder of the family estate. The original lands of Brian of Tempo had now diminished to 1,325 statute acres. Born in c.1777, Constantine's early years were shared with his younger brothers Brian and Stephen and his five sisters. Though little is known about his early life at Tempo, evidently Constantine and Brian were spirited young boys. To practice their shooting skills each would place an apple on the others head and then shoot it off - William Tell fashion. Constantine grew up to become a well-educated and cultured gentleman. He served in the British army and became a Captain.

Constantine Maguire (c.1777 - 1834)

Though Constantine was brought up as a member of the established Church of Ireland, his lifestyle and behaviour often contradicted this Protestant tradition. Indeed all three Maguire brothers demonstrated a certain inclination towards the Roman Catholic Church. It was not uncommon, in this period of Irish history, for the male sons of old Gaelic families to be raised as Protestants while the daughters were brought up as Catholics. In the 1770s, the Penal Laws were relaxed making it possible for Roman Catholics to participate more fully in Irish society. Gradually Catholic churches were built and parishes re-formed. On mainland Europe and in North America, revolution and unrest were bringing about great change. Ireland too saw a renaissance of nationalism. The Society of United Irishmen under the leadership of Wolfe Tone attracted many Irish people, both Protestants and Catholics alike, into an organisation that sought a better deal for the entire Irish nation regardless of individual beliefs. When rebellion came in 1798, Fermanagh was not among the prominent counties involved though a number of skirmishes occurred. One such incident concerned Constantine Maguire and his brothers Brian and Stephen. The Church of Ireland minister in Tempo at that time was the Reverend Lucas Bell who owned a flax kiln in the area. During the unrest in 1798, the Maguire brothers set fire to the kiln and a large stack of turf. Constantine, armed with a gun, fired a shot at Bell during the fracas. All three brothers were arrested and Constantine was charged with attempted murder. At the Lent Assizes in Enniskillen, Constantine was found guilty and sentenced to three months imprisonment. The Grand Jury of the day were so incensed by his conduct that they entered the remark "ought to be hanged" alongside his name in the Grand Jury book.

In 1804 Constantine married Frances Augusta MacLean, sister of Sir Fitzroy MacLean, and the couple had one child, a daughter, Florence Elizabeth who was born in Athlone in 1805. At the age of twenty-six, Florence married Rev. Henry Brereton of Ballyadams on September 17th 1831 at St. Mary's Church, Donnybrook, Dublin. Constantine's marriage lasted until 1833 when his wife attempted to divorced him on the grounds of his adultery with Eleanor Gavan who had five children by him. Though they never married, Eleanor remained his devoted companion for the rest of his life.

In the 1820s, Constantine became involved in a land dispute with neighbouring families in the Tempo area. Some of the farmers tried to fence off Maguire land and claim it as theirs. When Constantine established his boundary with a solid wall, one of the trespassers named John Rutledge was bent on revenge. He ambushed Constantine and shot at him with a musket. After attempting to escape on board a ship bound for North America, Rutledge was apprehended in Cork by Constantine and the police. He was taken to Enniskillen where he was tried and found guilty of attempted murder. Although the jury recommended mercy, the judge Baron McClelland passed the death sentence and Rutledge was hanged in Enniskillen gaol in 1830.

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Stephen Maguire, Constantine's youngest brother, was born in 1784. After his early education was complete, he twice enrolled to study law at Kings Inns, Dublin. He eventually became a soldier like his two older brothers and died while still a young man.

A Pugnacious Maguire

Brian Maguire, second son of Hugh and brother of Constantine, was a boisterous youth and this wild streak in his character continued throughout his life. An expert with a gun and sword, he was always ready for a fight. Duelling was commonplace and Brian was no stranger to these affairs of honour.

In 1799 he joined the East India Company as a cadet and was shipped to Bombay where he spent six months. He was then send to Cochin, a former Dutch settlement, where he served with the 8th Regiment of native infantry. During a bar room brawl there, Brian defended himself with a "large black billiard cue" and left his unfortunate assailant, a sea captain named Thuring, for dead. The captain never recovered and died some weeks later from a fractured skull.

Though never charged with any offence, Brian left Cochin and eventually arrived in Bombay in February 1806. Here he met a friend that he had known in Cochin who informed Brian that two Dutchmen had accused him of seducing two Dutch women while he lived there. Unfortunately the Dutchmen were in Bombay and Brian's quick temper came to the fore. He decided to confront the men and "give them a good drubbing". Luckily, word reached the Dutchmen prior to Brian's arrival. They reported the matter to the Governor who ordered the immediate arrest of Maguire and his friend Mr. Cauty. They were brought to trial on a charge of conspiracy to assault, found guilty and sentenced to a years imprisonment.

Following his release from prison, Brian decided to return to Europe by sea. The ship docked at St Helena where he again became involved in a brawl in a local tavern. An army officer named Captain McDougall died in the incident, shot by Brian after the man had threatened him. Brian was tried for the shooting, claimed self-defence and was acquitted of the charge. After his acquittal he returned to London and eventually to Ireland.

On December 17th 1808 he married Honoria Anne Baker, daughter of James Baker of Ballymoreen, County Tipperary and the couple had three children. In 1811 he published his memoirs, which chronicled his exciting and dangerous lifestyle.

He later became embroiled in a lawsuit for his wife's fortune and as the case dragged on, he was reduced to extreme poverty. His eldest son George died in 1830 at the age of twelve but his father would not part with his body. Instead, he embalmed the corpse and kept it in his bedroom. As the family fortunes hit rock bottom, Margaret his daughter died from malnutrition. His remaining son Charles was Brian's only companion when he died in 1835 at Finglas, near Dublin. The mummified body of his son George was by his side. After the death of his father, Charles went on board a merchant ship and disappeared at sea.

Maguire Pedigree

But what of the senior Maguire family? Brian, the first Lord Enniskillen, fathered four sons - Conor, Rory, Brian and Thomas. After the execution of Conor in 1644 and the death of his brother Rory four years later at Carrick-on-Shannon, the leadership of the senior family passed to Rory's son Philip who sided with James II during the Williamite war. Philip's son Theophilus continued the line until his death. Theophilus' son Alexander then became the head of the family. He served in the French army as a Captain in Buckley's regiment in the Irish Brigade and died without an heir in 1801. Lord Brian's fourth son Thomas had a son called Thomas (Og) who in turn fathered Hugh Maguire who died childless.

From the genealogical evidence currently available, the senior branch of the Maguire family ended with Alexander in 1801. To underscore this position, the Chief Herald of Ireland, Sir William Betham investigated the pedigree of Alexander and Constantine Maguire and in 1830 issued a pedigree document, which concluded that Constantine, a junior Maguire and ancestor of Brian of Tempo, was head of the clan and Chief of his Name.

This document, still in the possession of the Maguire family of Charleston, was originally used by Constantine to assert his claim to the estate of the now deceased Alexander in Pau, France. Because Alexander died without issue, his estate would automatically go to the French government.

The Maguire pedigree document

The document reads as follows: -

"To all whom it may concern, I Sir William Betham, Knight, Ulster King of Arms and Principal Herald of all Ireland, do, by these Credentials declare and certify that the above written Pedigree of the ancient and noble family of Maguire, showing the descent of the late Alexander Maguire, commonly called Lord Maguire of Enniskillen, who died unmarried and without issue at Pau in the Kingdom of France in or about the month of February, Anno Domini, One Thousand Eight Hundred & One (1801), & of Constantine Maguire now of Tempo in the county Fermanagh, Esquire, from their common ancestor Thomas Mor Maguire, Lord or Prince of Fermanagh and Chief of His Name, has been gathered and compiled from authorities and documentary evidence of unquestionable authenticity, and is registered among the records of the office of Ulster King of Arms of all Ireland; and I do further testify by these Credentials that the said Constantine Maguire of Tempo, Esquire, an Officer in the service of his Britannick Majesty, is now the undoubted Chief of His Name, and the Head and Representative of that ancient and noble family. In testimony of all which I have subscribed these Credentials and affixed hereunto my seal of office this seventeenth day of May in the eleventh Year of the reign of our most gracious Sovereign, Lord George The Fourth, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King, defender of the faith and so forth, & in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty."

Before the issue was settled, Constantine was murdered at his home in Tipperary.

After the failed rebellion of 1798, the British Prime Minister, William Pitt, decided to abolish the Irish Parliament. On January 1st 1801, the Act of Union came into being establishing the new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland as a single entity. The Union did not bring peace to the country. In 1807, Daniel O'Connell, the son of a small Catholic landlord from Cahirciveen, County Kerry who had been educated in France and England, came to prominence as "The Liberator". In 1823 he founded the Catholic Association in an effort to win emancipation for Irish Catholics. Soon the new movement swept across the whole of Ireland. O'Connell was elected as Member of Parliament for Clare in 1828. The tide of change became unstoppable and the following year the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed. One of O'Connell's many strongholds was the heartland of Tipperary and indeed, the county saw many troubled years during the first half of the 19th century. Particularly hated were the landlords who owned most of the land and their agents who collected the rents from tenants, evicting those who would not or could not pay. Because absentee landlords owned most Irish land, the lot of the small, tenant farmer did not change even after Catholic Emancipation.

It was in this climate of unrest that Constantine Maguire, following the unsuccessful attempt on his life at Tempo, decided to leave Fermanagh for Tipperary. He sold most of the Fermanagh estate and moved to Kilmoyler Lodge near Cahir with his companion Eleanor Gavan and their five children Eleanor, Hugh, Philip, Elizabeth and Mary Anne. Even here he encountered land problems. In October 1834 one of his tenants named Patrick Keating was evicted for non-payment of rent.

At nine o'clock on the morning of Saturday, November 1st 1834, Constantine finished breakfast with his companion Eleanor and eldest daughter at their home in Tipperary. He left the house by the hall door to go outside and moments later the women saw two armed men rush past the window. Eleanor screamed to her daughter "They are gone to murder your father!" Constantine was found dead outside, his head smashed with the gun butts belonging to his assailants. The ferocity of the attack shocked the first witnesses to reach the body and resulted in the disintegration of the stock of the murder weapon, fragments of which were found near the murder scene. Back in his native Fermanagh on November 6th, the local newspaper "The Enniskillener" published a report on his death.

"Captain Constantine Maguire, a gentleman possessing some property, and on which he resided with his family, within two miles of Cahir, adjoining the highway between that town and Tipperary, had, it appears, recently ejected some tenants of his for non-payment of rent and had also been guilty of prosecuting at Petty Sessions some party for destroying a young plantation on his grounds. For these offences against "the powers that be," Mr. Maguire, had, it seems, become obnoxious to the self-elected legislators and consequently incurred the awful penalty of being hurried to his Maker, under circumstances the most appalling."

Following the gruesome murder, Edmund O'Ryan, a local magistrate, arrived with a party of police who conducted a search of the area for the culprits. Nobody was apprehended immediately and at the inquest held by a Captain Bradshaw, a verdict of "wilful murder by persons unknown" was returned. A large reward was offered in the Dublin Gazette. Initially the investigation led to the arrest of a suspect named Maher who was later released by the police. Eventually Patrick Keating Junior, nephew of Patrick Keating who had been previously evicted by Constantine Maguire for non-payment of rent, was identified as the murder suspect. A trial followed at which Constantine's companion Eleanor and her daughter testified.

At nine o'clock on the morning of Monday, March 14th 1836, the trial of Patrick Keating began at Tipperary Crown Court under the direction of Chief Justice Doherty. The tribunal lasted for most of the day with the case for the prosecution led by Mr. Scott K.C. Miss (Eleanor) Maguire, daughter of Constantine, was the first witness called. Though she had difficulty in speaking of the events, Eleanor recovered her composure and stated that, on the morning of the murder, she had seen two armed men running past the window of the breakfast room seconds after her father had left the house. Accompanied by her mother and a servant, she ran from the house in the direction that her father had taken. The women found Constantine dead near to the outside toilet or "privy" situated between the Maguire residence and the home of the Fitzgerald family.

Eleanor said that she saw two men running away "in a crouched position" immediately following her father's murder. She also stated that her father had evicted two of his tenants - Patrick Keating and Patrick Loughnan - for non-payment of rent about a week before he was murdered.

A neighbour, Ellen Fitzgerald, testified that she had heard a commotion from the Maguire residence between 8 and 9 o'clock on the morning Constantine Maguire met his death. She said that she too saw men running away from the scene.

The next witness called to the stand was Margaret Fitzgerald, daughter of Ellen Fitzgerald, who had been working as a live-in servant in the Maguire household at the time of the murder. She stated that she had been alerted to the awful event by her mistress and her daughter and had immediately rushed out of the house towards the murder scene accompanied by two other servant girls called Catherine Ryan and Margaret Eagar. Like her mother, she also said that she saw two men running from the scene. One man was running from the direction of the "privy" and had been facing her for a time. This man, she stated, had a dirty face, had grinned at her and had a gun in his hand. She then identified the defendant in the dock, Patrick Keating as the man she saw at the murder scene.

Next to testify was Eleanor Gavan, Constantine's companion, who was referred to as "Mrs. Maguire". She said that her husband habitually carried money on his person. Accompanied by her daughter and a servant, she ran in the direction her husband had taken and then said to the servant "I fear I cannot go any further." Addressing the Court, she stated that further recollections of the event were not clear from that moment onwards.

The servant girl, Margaret Eagar, when giving evidence said that she saw the men at the scene but could not identify either of them though she knew Patrick Keating well.

Other witnesses testified to having seen Keating near the Maguire home on the morning of the murder. One of them Michael Luddy, examined by Mr. Scott K.C., stated that "he remembered the morning Captain Maguire was murdered" and that while near the Maguire house he "heard a noise of feet coming towards him, raised his head and saw two men running." He said that both of the men were armed and that when he saw them "he knew the man at the front well." He identified this man as Patrick Keating, the defendant.

The next witness for the prosecution, Maurice Fitzgerald, when examined by Mr. Dickson K.C., said that he remembered the day Captain Maguire was murdered, as it had been a holiday and he was not at work. After leaving his home, the witness stated that he had met three men, two of whom he knew as Patrick Keating Senior and his nephew Patrick Keating, the defendant. The elder Keating had spoken to him and had not been armed but the other two men had been carrying guns. They were only yards from the Maguire residence.

The trial stimulated great interest throughout the area. Despite the defence case in which witnesses William Walsh, Edmond Kiely, Bridget Lonergan and Michael McCarthy were called on the defendant's behalf, Patrick Keating was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. On Wednesday March 16th 1836, Keating was executed by public hanging for the murder of Constantine Maguire. The Clonmel newspaper "The Advertiser" carried details of his execution in the edition dated March 19th.

"The unfortunate Keating, (the convicted murderer of Captain Constantine Maguire) expiated his crime on Wednesday last at the front of our county Gaol. He made no public confession of his guilt but after stating his adherence to the Church of Rome, and conjuring the assembled multitude to direct to Heaven their orisons for his soul, was confronted with his offended Deity."

Rumours circulated that the previous attempt on Constantine's life in Fermanagh, which led to the execution of John Rutledge, was connected with his murder. No proof has ever been found to substantiate this claim. Apart from the obvious motive of revenge and robbery, another theory has emerged as to why Constantine was killed. In a letter to his nephew Ronald Hugh Maguire, the late Charles Robert Maguire who died in China in 1936 states that his father ("Judge" Philip, son of Constantine) spoke of a conspiracy between certain French officials and two Irishmen hired by them to kill Constantine. This conspiracy is alleged to have been linked with the French government's involvement with the estate of Alexander Maguire in Pau, France. In the letter Charles Robert states that several years after the killing, an old and sick man was found dead at his home in Ireland with a confession of the murder in his pocket. Whether the conspiracy existed or the person was Keating's unidentified accomplice remains to be proved.

Because Constantine died before his claim to the estate of Alexander Maguire was settled the French government took possession of it. The historic reunion of the two branches of the Maguire family that had parted in the 15th century was thwarted by an assassin. The Master of Tempo was laid to rest in Toureen, County Tipperary.