“Dicky in the Yeomen”

Author: probably by "Zozimus" (Michael Moran) (c.1794-1846) (Source: Zimmermann)
Earliest date: 1830s (Zimmermann)
Keywords: violence death Ireland political

Description

Yeoman cobbler Dick McClane and his Orange wife live "at the end of Dirty Lane." He was with Beresford, at Castlepollard and Weavers' Hall upon the Coombe. Finally, "he shot an ass ... going to mass." But now he has to beg "Like all black-hearted Yeomen"

Notes

"Following an affray at Loughgall in Co. Armagh in 1795 the Orange Order was founded, while the Yeomen were also established in June 1796. These were made up mainly of men from the Orange Lodges." (source: _The 1798 Rebellion_ on the Hogan Stand site)

Zimmermann: "John Beresford was one of those who organized the repression in 1798."

Zimmermann: May 21, 1831 - "Seventeen people were killed by the police at Castlepollard ... in one of the bloodiest affrays of the Tithe War. An inquest followed but the policemen were finally acquitted of the charge of murder." See also "The Castlepollard Massacre."

The Charter of the Weaver's Guild, dedicated to "the Blessed Virgin Mary," was granted 1446. A weavers' hall was built by the Guild in the Lower Coombe, Dublin. Irish Catholics were excluded from guild membership and Catholic weavers operated illegally. The guilds no longer had a monopoly and the Municipal Corporations Act of 1840 ended the guild system in Ireland. The Weavers's Hall was demolished in 1965. (source: _The Weavers' Guild, The Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dublin 1446 to 1840_ by Veronica Rowe at The Irish Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers web site.

For all that, I haven't yet found anything about a battle at Weavers' Hall or any loss there of Croppy lives.

Donkey's have a cross-shaped patch of dark hair on their back. In political ballads this mark is taken as a sign that donkeys are Roman Catholic. - BS

There are two Beresfords who might be the subject of this song, though I suspect the reference is to the younger, John Claudius.

John Beresford (1738-1805) was the second son of the Earl of Tyrone, and the depiction of him as strongly opposed to Catholic rights is quite accurate. MP for Waterford, he also held a revenue commission post, and gave vigorous support to the Act of Union.

His greatest influence on Irish history may well have come in 1795. In January of that year, the Second Earl of Fitzwilliam was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, which brought "prospects of Catholic Emancipation" (Jim Smyth, _The Men of No Property_, p.108). Beresford protested vigorously, and in the squabble that followed, it was Fitzwilliam, not Beresford, who fell.

I can't find any references to deaths at Weaver's Hall, either, but there were riots in Dublin in 1795. During the riots, John Beresford's son John Claudius Beresford fired on the crowd outside the Customs House (Smyth, p. 150). Beresford the younger was also a leader of the Dublin Orange Lodge (Thomas Pakenham, _The Year of Liberty_, p. 352). So he is a likely target of the denunciation in this song. - RBW

References

  1. Zimmermann 47, "Dicky in the Yeomen" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  2. ADDITIONAL: Gulielmus Dubliniensis Humoriensis [Joseph Tully?], Memoir of the Great Original Zozimus (Michael Moran) (Dublin,1976 (reprint of the 1871 edition)), p. 23, "Dickey and the Yeoman" [only the first verse]
  3. BI, Zimm047