Duel at Wimbledon Common: Merton Memories Photographic  Archive


This article is from The Spectator 8th February 1832 p.7

I am reproducing it here because I purchased at a book fair in Dublin today an old book about London co-authored by William Carleton’s biographer DJ O’Donoghue. It contained a few paragraphs about Wimbledon Common as a spot famous for duels. Putney Heath was also used for duels.

On Monday, a duel was fought at Wimbledon Common, by Major- General L. Moore and Mr. Miles Stapylton. General Moore was brought in the course of the evening to rnion Hall, in custody; wheu a gentleman named Harris gave the following account of the duel. “As he was proceeding to Godalming on the outside of the stage- coach, about four o’clock on Monday afternoon, in passing the road which crosses Wimbledon Common, he beard the report of a pistol ; and on looking towards the spot from whence it proceeded, he observed a gentleman fall. The coachman, who also heard the report, imme- diately pulled up ; when lie and a Mr. Self, who was sitting next him, alighted, and mu to the place, which was a short distance from the road- . side. Seeing the gentleman lying on the ground, and blood upon the breast of his shirt, he went towards the General, who had a pistol in his hand, and told him that he must consider himself in custody. The General offered not the slightest resistance, and immediately gave up his fire-arms. During time period that elapsed from the time that the wounded gentleman fell, until Mr. Harris spoke to the General on the subject of his apprehension, the seconds and some other persons as- sisted the wounded man off the ground, and placed him in a carriage which was in waiting, and immediately drove off towards town. – dr. Harris and Mr. Self conducted General Moore to Kingston’ and gave him into the custody of Walters, the constable there.” Mr. Self men- tioned, that on approaching Mr. Stapylton, that gentleman exclaimed, ” I am mortally wounded.” A certificate was read from Mr. Surgeon Guthrie, which simply stated that Mr. Stapylton was in great danger. The prisoner was remanded until Tuesday next. – The Daily Papers give a history of the causes of the duel, which we subjoin, without vouching for its accuracy. ” The hostile meeting,” they say, “between General Moore and Mr. Stapylton, took place, in consequence of a letter which the General addressed to his antagonist on the subject of a young lady of great beauty and accomplishments, a near connexion of the gallant officer, and to whom Mr. S. devoted much of his attention during a recent sojourn of the parties in Italy. Mr. Stapylton, we are told, on the receipt of the General’s communication, whilst he was staying at his seat near Richmond, in Yorkshire, ordered post-horses and travelled with all possible expedition to the metropolis, and called on General Moore for an explanation, which demand, it would appear, not being complied with, the meeting took place.” Mr. Stapylton was conveyed in a carriage to Long’s Hotel in New Bond Street, where he still is. The ball is not extracted. ‘He passed a restless night on Monday; but on Tuesday was pronounepd a • little better, and was enabled to converse with his second, Major Fan, court. The accounts yesterday Were rather more favourable. raffair of honour took place on Saturday morning at Wormwood Scrubs between Mr. F. Banvis, a gentleman of fortune residing at Bayswater, and a Captain in the Army. The Meeting, it seems, arose “from an apprehension in Mr. B. ‘s mind that the Captain was guilty of a violation of courtesy towards himself and daughter on re- tiring from Covent Garden Theatre.” The parties fired’ together, , and the Captain received Mr. Barwis’s ball in the pistol-arm ; when a reconciliation ensued, and they shook bands.



I am in Dublin today with a group from the William Carleton Society based in the Clogher Valley and Monaghan to mark the 144th anniversary of the death of the famous 19thC Irish author from County Tyrone. Carleton grew up as a Catholic, but would later convert to Protestantism in the Anglican church. He was the youngest of fourteen children born to a small farmer in  Clogher.  He came to Dublin in 1819 with 2s 9d in his pocket and after trying various occupations, became a clerk in the Church of Ireland Sunday School Office.

Our coach party departs from Enniskillen at 7:30am and is picking up passengers at Maguiresbridge, Clogher, Aughnacloy and Monaghan (at the entrance to St Macartan’s College. 8:15am) for the trip to Dublin. Dr Frank Brennan a member of the Executive Committee will be our guide on reaching Castleknock.

“Frank Brennan will conduct a tour through Phoenix Park with its numerous historical monuments and associations going back hundreds of years, travel along Dublin’s quays, Four Courts, Guinness’ brewery, Dublin Castle, the two cathedrals, Jewish area and into Ranelagh which developed as a genteel middle class suburb after the Act of Union. At Sandford Church we will be addressed by a local teacher, who is a member of the congregation, on the history of Sandford church and its connection with Carleton. The Ranelagh Arts Society will then provide a talk by Susan Roundtree, an architectural historian, on the development of 19thC Ranelagh and the connection with the Plunkett family, who played a major role in Irish history.

We then go to Mount Jerome cemetery for a short ceremony (2pm) to commemorate the 144th anniversary of William Carleton’s death. A member of the Ranelagh Arts Society will then conduct a short tour of the graveyard. We travel to lunch (4pm) at O’Briens at Sussex Place, Upper Leeson Street, one of Patrick Kavanagh’s haunts, which as a 1900’s grocery and bar reminded him of Carrickmacross. The journey to lunch will take us through Dublin’s two Georgian squares  and past Government Buildings. Finally after lunch (which participants will pay for themselves) Frank Brennan will bring us past the Grand Canal Theatre, National Convention Centre, and some other of the better relics of the Celtic Tiger before our return home.”


Sandford Church, Ranelagh

Sandford Church, Ranelagh

Those joining the event in Ranelagh should assemble at the church at Sandford Road Ranelagh (junction with Marlborough Road) around 12:30pm. The group from the bus is hoping to walk from the site of Carleton’s now demolished former residence at Woodville, Sandford Road (beside the entrance to Milltown Park) to the church, weather permitting. In his latter years Carleton was friendly with a Jesuit priest Fr Robert Carbery, who was based at Milltown Park.  In the last weeks before his death in January 1869, the priest offered through Carleton’s wife Jane to give him the last rites of the Catholic church. In response, in one of his last communications, the author told the Jesuit:

“For half a century & more I have not belonged to the Roman Catholic religion. I am now a Protestant and shall will die such”     (LA15/319 DJ O’Donoghue papers, UCD Archives)

Milltown Park looking towards area where Carleton used to live

Milltown Park looking towards area where Carleton lived

Our thanks to the Reverend Sonia Gyles, Rector of Sandford and St Philip’s Milltown, for making the church available. Admission to the talks is FREE but membership of the William Carleton Society (€5) will be available for those interested. There is no charge for the tour at Mount Jerome cemetery. Participants will pay for their own lunches.

Woodville Ranelagh

House at Sandford, in which Carleton died

It promises to a be stimulating and interesting day.  The coach will return to Enniskillen by 9pm.  The William Carleton Society is a partner in the Shared History, Shared Future project run by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council through the EU funded South West Peace III Partnership Programme and this activity is being delivered through it.

DSTBC LogoSWPeaceIII_logo_options_2berdfimages




Plaque at Ledwidge Cottage

Plaque at Ledwidge Cottage

My journey this evening took me along the N2 heading Northwards from Dublin and past a sign indicating “Ledwidge Country” outside Slane in Co. Meath. It’s a good staring point as I mentioned it at the end of yesterday’s blog about Maev Conway-Piskorski. Her mother Margaret (Maighréad Uí Chonmhidhe) had given a lecture at the folk school in Bettystown in 1966 about the poet-soldier Francis Ledwidge. I quote from the book “Seanchas na Midhe” (eds. Ní Chonmhidhe Piskorska & Brück 2009):

“Margaret Conway remembered meeting the poet when she was a young girl in Colga, when he visited her brothers and “fellow poets” at their home. Her painting of the Maiden Tower at Mornington, reproduced on the cover of this booklet, depicts a scene romantically associated with Francis Ledwidge and with Ellie, the young woman who inspired many of his poems” 

Meath Lore

Meath Lore

Ledwidge was born in Slane in 1888 and after joining the Volunteers in 1913 enlisted in the British Army the following year in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was killed at the battle of Ypres (Ieper) in Flanders in July 1917.

In 1982 a museum was opened by the Omagh writer Benedict Kiely in the cottage where Ledwidge was born. There is a plaque in his memory attached to the front wall of the cottage. It states that it was erected by the Slane guild of Muintir na Tíre on September 9th 1962. A copy of the plaque is set in stone at the approach to the bridge over the River Boyne at Slane.

Ledwidge Cottage & Museum

Ledwidge Cottage & Museum

Continuing past Slane I stopped in County Louth close to the county boundary with Monaghan, where the province of Ulster begins. I watched another Tyrone writer and journalist Martina Devlin being interviewed on the RTÉ Nationwide programme about her home town of Omagh. Talking about the education she received at Loreto primary school, she mentioned the influence of the local poet, novelist and writer, Alice Milligan, whose background is very interesting. From a Protestant family and educated at Methodist College, Belfast, she went on to become an Irish nationalist and a leading figure in the Irish literary revival, who mixed with people like Yeats, Casement and James Connolly. She edited a magazine produced in Belfast at the end of the 19thC, Shan Van Vocht and was an organiser for the Gaelic League. Born at Gortmore, outside Omagh in September 1866, she died in April 1953 and is buried in the Church of Ireland cemetery at Drumragh.

Grave of Alice Milligan

Grave of Alice Milligan

DJ O'Donoghue & George Sigersondiscussing memorial

DJ O’Donoghue & George Sigerson
discussing memorial

While researching William Carleton in the UCD Archive I found a number of letters from Alice Milligan then living at University Road Belfast (near Queen’s University) written to the biographer DJ O’Donoghue (librarian at University College). One of the letters enclosed five poems (LA15/1149). She also agrees to contribute to the Mangan memorial fund, a project which O’Donoghue was working on with George Sigerson to provide a memorial to the poet at St Stephen’s Green. The photo of the two men chatting about the Mangan project is copyright © IVRLA  (Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive)  and is reproduced with the kind permission of Professor Helen Solterer  from an original in  UCD Library Special Collections. The bust of James Clarence Mangan can be seen if you are walking through St Stephen’s Green not far from Newman House and near the middle of the park.

James Clarence Mangan

James Clarence Mangan

UPDATE: Thanks to Charles Fitzgerald for having read the above and sending in the following quotation from a Ledwidge poem (Ceol Sidhe):

“And many a little whispering thing
Is calling the Shee.
The dewy bells of evening ring,
And all is melody”.

The poem and other works by Ledwidge can be found here.


Cllr Kenneth Reid & Michael Fisher

It promises to be an interesting four days in the Clogher Valley in August. The William Carleton Society’s summer school programme was launched at a reception kindly hosted by the Mayor of Dungannon & South Tyrone Cllr Kenneth Reid (who opened last year’s school) at the Council offices in Dungannon. Once again we are please to have booked Corick House Hotel in Clogher as the venue for 2012. The school will be officially opened on Monday 6th August and the keynote address by Professor CORMAC Ó GRÁDA is on the subject of “Carleton & others on famine’s darkest secret”. Dr MELISSA FEGAN (Chester) will speak about Carleton & the famine era. In the afternoon I am due to give a lecture on Carleton’s biographer DJ O’Donoghue, based on my researches at the UCD archive. The afternoon is rounded off on a lighter note with a reflection by County Tyrone native BARRY DEVLIN on life after Horslips. Tuesday’s events will start with a talk by the Society’s Vice-Chair FRANK McHUGH on Carleton’s Australian relatives. JOSEPHINE TREANOR from Knockatallon, Co.Monaghan, who joined us on the walk last year, will talk about her distant relation, Anne Duffy, the miller’s daughter (mentioned by Carleton). The Leitrim poet JOHN F. DEANE will give a reading from his works before lunch. The afternoon session begins with a performance by LAURENCE FOSTER (Dublin) of his one man show on Charles Dickens, who was born 200 years ago. For this year’s literary symposium we have invited CARLO GÉBLER from Fermanagh and MARY GUCKIAN a poet originally from Leitrim who attended the Carleton commemoration in Dublin in January. They will be joined by Monaghan native MARY O’DONNELL, a writer and poet, whose work has appeared in a number of collections. On Wednesday 8th August Dr SOPHIA HILLAN will speak on Jane Austen’s Irish nieces. Professor OWEN DUDLEY EDWARDS, the summer school honorary director, will give us his own unique insights into the work of William Carleton. Committee member LIAM FOLEY has once again adapted one of Carleton’s works for a reading: this year it will be “Phil Purcel the Pig Driver” followed by a discussion. The final act of the summer school will see CHRISTOPHER FITZ-SIMON, a former artistic director at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, reflect on “Carleton on the stage: forgotten popular plays adapted from Traits & Stories”. Thursday 8th will be the day for a tour of the local area led by JACK JOHNSTON, Society President. The theme will be Carleton & his contemporaries, including Archbishop Hughes of New York. There will be a visit to his birthplace beside the border with Co.Monaghan and to Omagh.

UCD Archive COPYRIGHT Photograph of D.J.O’Donoghue (left) and George Sigerson (right) beside the pond in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, when choosing a site for the Mangan Memorial.

The evening events include: Monday:  Rathmore Bar Clogher Maguire family (traditional music); PJ Kennedy, poet (Belturbet) 9pm. Tuesday: Walk & talk Carleton with the Clogher Valley walking club to Fardross forest  & Music by The Mountain Lark (Tydavnet) & reception at caravan park  8:30pm Wednesday: Concert with Fermanagh Choral Society (conductor Don Swain) at  St Patrick’s church Clogher 8pm. More details at:   http://www.williamcarletonsummerschool.org