William Allen, Manchester Martyr – Personal Correspondence with Alison Stewart – August 2014

Thursday, 19 July 2012 >William Philip Allen This post is a continuation of the previous one, in which I explore the Protestant Allen families of Galbally, North Limerick and of southern Tipperary. http://alison-stewart.blogspot.ie/2012/07/anne-cuthbert-nee-allen-of-galbally.htmlRobert Allen, the father of our great-great grandmother, Anne Allen (who married the carpenter Henry Culbert/Cuthbert in Galbally in 1869) died in Park townland just east of Galbally, where the Protestant Allens seems to have settled.  There are so few Protestant Allens in this area, that I suspect a family between them, although researching the Allen family has thrown up few clues, so much of this is pure speculation for the moment. Galbally town sits right on the border of Limerick and Tipperary, and the evidence points to our Allen family as having originated a few miles north of Galbally in Co. Tipperary. The Protestant farmer, Edmond Allen of Park, Galbally, was murdered in 1886 at Shronell, Tipperary, and was the second cousin of the Manchester Martyr, William Philip Allen, ie: the fathers of both men were first cousins. William Philip Allen was born – most likely near Tipperary town –  in April 1848 to a Protestant father and a Catholic mother. His father, Thomas (Henry) Allen, moved the family from Tipperary to Bandon in about 1850, where Thomas was the Keeper of the Bridewell until about 1868. William was reared and educated as a Protestant in Bandon, but converted to Catholicism in about 1866 along with his only sister.  His four brothers, amongst whom were Joseph, James and Peter, remained Protestant, as did his father. William Philip Allen was educated to become a teacher in one of the Protestant school of the area, but eventually settled on an apprenticeship with a timber merchant and carpenter in Bandon, eventually working in Dublin, Limerick, Chester and Manchester. By 1867, the year of his execution, he had become involved with the Fenian movement which sought to liberate Ireland from British rule. A failed Fenian uprising in Chester led to the arrest of two men, Colonel Thomas J. Kelly and Captain Timothy Deasy, in Manchester in 1867.  It was while the two men were being transported in a police van on September 18th 1867 that a crowd of about 25 sympathisers surrounded the van in an attempt to free the pair.  During the ensuing chaos, a policeman by the name of Sergeant Brett, who was guarding the prisoners inside the van, was accidentally shot by one of the crowd who had taken aim at the lock on the van door. Kelly and Deasy escaped and were never recaptured. The authorities rounded up 29 men and eventually brought five of them to trial.  Two were released, but three of the suspects- William Philip Allen, who had almost been stoned to death by an angry mob during his arrest, Michael Larkin and Michael O’Brien – were sentenced to death by hanging. Allen said he regretted the death of Sergeant Brett, but that he was ‘prepared to die proudly and triumphantly in defence of republican principles and the liberty of an oppressed and enslaved people.’  He was only 19. The execution of the three men took place at the New Bailey Prison in Salford, Manchester. Two weeks later a symbolic funeral took place in Dublin in which 60,000 people followed three empty hearses to Glasnevin Cemetery. William Philip Allen, second cousin of the murdered Edmond Allen, had been born in Co. Tipperary in 1848 – some sources say his place of birth was Thurles, others that he had been born in a ‘well-known village’ outside of Tipperary town. Given that his second cousin, Edmond Allen, was known to have relatives in the area around Tipperary town, I went through the Allen landholders listed on Griffiths Valuation in 1851, although I’ve had no luck researching these people further. Griffiths Valuation, Tipperary Town, 1851 James Allen, house only in Mackanagh Upper, Clonbeg, south of the town. Paul Allen, Goat’s Lane, Tipperary town. House, small garden, and ruins. Thomas Allen, Bohercrow Street, Tipperary town, house. Samuel Allen, 132 acres in Greenrath, north of Tipperary town. Samuel Allen, Main Street, Golden, a house and yard – Golden is middway between Tipperary town and Cashel. Mrs. Judith Allen, landlady at Ballyryan West, north of Tipperary town, about 60 acres. Nicholas Allen, Fihertagh, south of Tipperary town, house and 10 acres. Further information about William Philip Allen can be gleaned from a newspaper reports of the era, published online on the Limerick City website, which reported upon the memorial march to commemorate the Martyrs in Limerick. Amongst the marchers were his sister, a Mrs. Hogan, and a cousin, Jonathan Allen.  Jonathan Allen, a schoolmaster of Boherbuoy, Limerick, and a prominent Fenian in the area, had been born in Newport, Co. Tipperary in about 1843 or perhaps later in 1851.  He was arrested for his political activities, and these arrests have been documented on the LDS site, but I could find no deeper information about him elsewhere. To be continued…..