An insight into the Riot /Sack at Listamlet ,Listamlaght and the later consequences

I’d like to give my insight into the “riot” or as some called it the sacking “of Listamlet on the 14th August 1880, what I have gathered from chatting to locals, and from reading through, the Tyrone courier and other papers like the Freemans journal, Irish Times  , Belfast morning news and The Manchester courier and Lancashire General Advertiser.

Listamlet is two miles from The Moy and one and a half miles from Killyman, in order to get to Killyman you have to pass through Listamlet today Listamlet has 13 houses, back in 1880 there were 40.

According to constable Thomas Bassett’s court account(and others), written by the Tyrone Courier, an Orange drumming party left The Moy, at 10pm, about 50 or 60 in total all of them worse of for the drink, he and another 9 police followed them, to keep order or at least try, the first contact the drumming party make, is when a local blacksmith Samuel Hugh Barker, gets beaten at Listamlet Hill by three Orangemen, the Police are attacked by the Orange crowd, windows in houses are broken, three injured Police are taken into William McCreely’s house, a constable is sent to The Moy for reinforcements, houses are wrecked both inside and out, a shot is fired at Fox’s, and they set fire to the house, the whole thing seems to last three-quarters of an hour, more Police arrive but they are too late, the damage has been done.

The Irish Times  reports .‘ The Orangemen were, however, gone when the constabulary arrived. The appearance presented by the village was at once curious and pitiable. In the dark, moonless night the people were gathered on the roadway in groups or were standing in front of their wrecked houses, while the women and children were brought up by fear to a high pitch of excitement. Not content with laying about, them and smashing everything breakable they could find, the midnight rioters, to complete the work of destruction, set fire to one of the houses, belonging to a man Patrick Fox; but the wind not being high, the flames were fortunately extinguished before the cottage was burned down’.

Joseph Dobson (Listamlet), Samuel Gates,(from Killyman)and Benjamin Malagh (from Seyloran)are remanded for trial, and at a later appearance are found not guilty.

What happens two days later has terrible consequences, an Irish Times reporting and Tyrone Courier, tells how on Monday the 16th August 1880, a Catholic parade carrying banners and wearing green sashes emblazoned with a crest of a  bloody hand of the AOH and other Irish societies to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption, took place in Dungannon and at Donaghmore field a few miles out of town, at around four o’clock on their homeward journey they marched from Irish street, up towards the square, and according to William O’Rourkes relative, he lead the parade as no one else was up for it, the parade then splits and The Police allow The Moy Divisions down Church Street, were windows are broken and people are beaten, they fear it’s in reprisal for the sacking of Listamlet, the church bell was rung, and Protestant people came to see, what was happening,( two weeks prior, on the 2nd of August, in Dungannon a Catholic drumming party, wrecked homes belonging to Protestants), the two parties, then took to firing stones at each other, with the Police in between, guns &revolvers were produced and shots fired, the riot continued to about six in the evening, in total 12 Police are hurt, and thirty civilians among them are John Doey, Daniel Devlin, Thomas Kelly, Owen Little, Thomas McCauley, Edward Tanney, Two Lennon brothers, James Keogh, Patrick Grattens, Joseph Cush, McCoey, and McGrath Tanney and one of the Lennons  in a critical state ,William O’Rourke from Creenagh near Coalisland (age 51), was shot dead at the square where it meets Thomas Street.


The inquest is held over the next three days, The Belfast Morning News, reports that three of Williams daughters are at the inquest of their father and that his son Owen is away annual training, with the  Royal Tyrone Fusiliers, Police and civilian witnesses, a Doctor Thomas Browne and Doctor Twigg, who attended William at the time after the shooting are questioned by the coroner a Dr Hamilton from Cookstown, they both along with a Doctor McParland representing the family conduct the post -mortem, it comes out the fatal shot may have been fired, from Simpson’s house in the square, and when Sub Inspector Webb, who was in charge of the Police during the riot, enters the court, a local baker called Donaghy, tells the coroner, that Webb should be in the dock, and tells him there would be no need for this inquest, only for that scoundrel, the jury found that William came to his death, from a gunshot wound to the groin, but were in no position to say, who fired the fatal shot, three men John Smith, Charles Hagan and Joseph McGurk are sentenced to two months imprisonment, with hard labour for rioting.

There was unrest in the town for nights after this,  shots were fired at the Police, members of the IRB , including Willie John Kelly &Thomas J Clarke, Easter Rising signatory, and Military strategist, were about the streets during the unrest and was because of this, they went on the run and finished up in America, came back to Britain for the Fenians dynamite campaign,  and the rest, as they say, is history, Willie John Kelly mentions the riot in his witness statements here 


The brutal consequences of the sack of Listamlet, didn’t finish there, Owen O’Rourke Williams son, sought the person who killed his father, (the O’Rourkes believe it was a man of the name of Simpson  ) the alleged killer fled to America, with Owen in pursuit, knowing that he was being followed, he set out at a river crossing with others, to have Owen murdered, Owen was killed in America in 1881 and never saw home again.

Robert Simpson and Patrick Fox and other people from Listamlet are awarded money for damage sustained in the sacking of Listamlet  and the later riot in Dungannon 




Sack of Listamlet  Tyrone Courier pdf

Dungannon riot Irish Times 18 August 1880 pdf

From Riots to Rights, Nationalist parades in the North of Ireland pdf


Bram Stoker “Cursed in the Act” by Raymond Buckland mentioning the sacking of Listamlet  here  on chapter 6 .taken from here 

6 thoughts on “An insight into the Riot /Sack at Listamlet ,Listamlaght and the later consequences

  1. Pingback: Sack of Listamlet | Listamlet ,Listamlaght

  2. Patrick Fox died 3 years later aged 43, on January 8th 1883 ,leaving behind a Wife, Eliza Jane , two children Ellen aged 5 and Daniel age 4 and according to his late Grandson ,Brendan McGrath,Daniel later joined the I.R.B


  3. It was told to me by wee Peter McKearney of Dree,that if people of Listamlet knew there was going to be trouble,with the Orangemen coming through,they would have left there homes,and slept in a drain out towards Grange Park ,


  4. Pingback: An insight into the Riot /Sack at Listamlet ,Listamlaght and the later consequences | Listamlet ,Listamlaght | Listamlet ,Listamlaght

  5. A small piece from the Irish Times into the sacking “Lady day in the North The Dungannon Riot (Wednesday 18th
    August,1880 )
    From our reporter Dungannon ,Tuesday
    All is quiet today in Dungannon.From morning till evening nothing has occurred to interrupt the ordinary
    quietude of the town and were it not for the broken windows ,shot and bullet marked walls and parties
    of constabulary continually passing through the streets or on guard in the market square nothing would
    remind one of the scene of riot and bloodshed yesterday enacted in this town. Business is resumed and
    looking on the peaceful picture of provincial life ,the change that within a few hours has come over the
    state of affairs seems as extraordinary as it undoubtedly is pleasing .Before describing the riot of
    yesterday it may perhaps be of interest to relate an extraordinary occurrence which took place on
    Saturday last at a little village in the townland of Listamlaght ,which may ,perhaps throw some light on
    the events of yesterday .It appears that a party of Orangemen where returning home about half past 11
    o’clock at night from a drumming expedition ,They were guarded by an escort of eight police .On their
    way they passed through Listamlaght ,which is principally in-habited by Catholics ,and as they were
    going along a shot was fired at them .Then commenced a scene which ,perhaps could never have been
    witnessed in any other civilized country .To use the words of my informant ,a gentleman of good
    position ,they simply “sacked” the village .Most of the inhabitants were in bed and quite unprepared for
    an attack ,and but small resistance was offered to the invading party ,They smashed the windows broke
    the doors and rushing into the cottages ,dealt destruction round them ,right and left ,on all the crockery
    and other articles easily broken .The police interfered but the wreckers brooked no interference .They
    turned on the constabulary and beat them ,driving them back towards Moy ,and dangerously wounding
    two .as soon as information reached Moy ,the Resident Magistrate (Capt L’Estrange) and Sub-Inspector
    Locke and subsequently Sub –Inspector Webb in command of a party of police arrived with rifles and
    buckshot and set out on cars to the scene of the outrage .The Orangemen were,however gone when the
    constabulary arrived .The appearance presented by the village was at once curious and pitiable .In the
    dark ,moonless night the people were gathered on the roadway in groups ,or were standing in front of
    their wrecked houses ,while the women and children were wrought up by fear to a high pitch of
    excitement .Not content with laying about ,them and smashing everything breakable they could find
    ,the midnight rioters ,to complete the work of destruction ,set fire to one of the houses ,belonging to a
    man Patrick Fox ;but the wind not being high ,the flames were fortunately extinguished before the
    cottage was burned down .The only arrests made in connection with the affair are those of two men
    named Dobson ,both residents of the village of Killyman .They were brought before Dr Elliott RM Moy
    yesterday ,Capt L’Estrange being absent in command of a party of Police at Benburb near Moy .They
    were remanded .By some it is supposed that the disturbance of yesterday was in retaliation for the
    attack on the village . rest can be read here


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