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The Trial Of Col. Edmund Fennell

The Civil War (1641-1653), Contemporary Accounts

13. The Trial Of Col. Edmund Fennell
The following is a transcript of the trial of Captain Fennell in Cork for among others, the executions at Mountain castle.  As with the depositons of the Civil War, they were published for the first time in Fitzpatrick, Thomas, Waterford During The Civil War (1641-1653), Downey and Co. Publishers, (Waterford, 1912).  I include here excerpts from Fitzpatrick's work including his own comments and notes.

High Court Of Justice At Cork,
(December, 1652)

Trial Of Colonel Edmund Fennell.

At the Cromwellian High Court sitting at Cork 6 - 14 December, 1652, Justice Donnellan presiding, Edmund Fennell was arraigned on four capital charges:

(1) For the murder of Edward Croaker, and others at Ballanker, on Shrove Tuesday 1641-2.
(2) For the murder of Ensign Cole and others at Mountain Castle, near Cappoquin.
(3) For the hanging of two English maids named Plumer at Dungarvan.
(4) For murdering 20 English at Cappoquin.

'At ye private debate, the court found Fennell
(1) For the Ballianker murder - Guilty.
(2) For the murder of Ensign Cole, etc. - Guilty.
(3) For the murder of Two maids - Not Guilty.
(4) For the murders at Cappoquin - Not Guilty.

The notes of these trials and other trials at the same Assize, probably taken by, or for, the presiding judge, are preserved in Trinity College Dublin.  The manuscript is now worn and in fragile condition.  The writing is a rapid scrawl, much contracted and very difficult to decipher where not altogether illegible.  The Ballianker case is marked as the third murder case held on that day the 6th of December - so rapidly could they dipose of a life and death inquisiton in those times.  I subjoin the judges' notes so far as i have succeeded in making them out. It will be seen that some 'witnesses' are marked 'present', others not.  Those marked present were examined in court.  The others were represented by deposition formerly taken (in camera).

IIII Triall

Col. Edm Fenell for murdering
Ensign Cole
Ja. Burne, a butcher
Clement, a miller
Rich, Rely.


1 John Quarry (p'sent):
They inticed on promise of security by some of Fenell's party to goe to Mountain Castle during ye Cessation betrayed, and Fenel brought then. Qr promised, they taken and after hanged. This related by some of the prisoners then taken & released. This in time of cessation.

2 Stephan Bateman (p'sent):
In ye 9 days cessation of 1642, Edm Fenell with a party of horse fell on ye said parties, with whom was the exaat. Killed Ensigne Cole, ye butcher, & miller, & after hanged (notwithstanding Qr declared by his Lt) Richard Ryly & another, this exat being present. Fenell said that Richard Rely was hanged on some complaints then made agt him.

3 George Giles (p'sent):
Within the nine days cessation, Fenell then kild Cole, a butcher, & miller. Qr given, and declared to Fenell, & after hanged Richard Rely & Jo. Keogh, he standing by till they were deade. Ye exaat then of ye party and present Ye Philip Newman of Fenells had inticed ye said parties to goe into yt danger, he promising security, & believing it, being time of cessation.

4 Isaack Quarry (p'sent):
Yt ye 2nd day of ye 9 days cessation, invited to Mountain Castle to sell tobacco. They were comming away, and staid to drink. Then Fenell fell on them. Yt Richd Rely & Jo. Mc Wm (sic) were hanged, and others kild. This told by those who were present.

5 Mrs Mary Sanders:
Yt it was a time of cessation, & yt all her neighbours desired to go and sell tobacco.

6 Abraham Hill (p'sent):
Yt a cessation made by Inchiquin. Ye exaat did speak then at Tallow with Fenell; that during the time of cessation, those taken and kild.

7 Giffard Stoute (p'sent):
(no note)

8 Russell Finger (p'sent):
told by some of those present yt------------------(sic)

The Prisoners defence:
Denieth his knowing any cessation. Yt Rely has killed a priest neere Dungarvan after qr, for wch he hanged. Knoeth not of theire being invited out: yt he came thither vnexpectedly, some were kild by foote.
One said that Rely had no qr, thereupon he hanged him.
Ye order for Captn Fenell's goeing .........noe date appearing, being torne.
Croker's letter, without date, not proving no cessation.
A councell of warr for Ryly. This ordered by those present.

1 Jo. Mc Teige:
p'sent when Ryly hanged, being first examined by & charged for a priest at Dungarvan.

Col Fenell For Ballianker Murder Dec. 13 } Guilty

Author: Catherine and Liam Nugent

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