Enfamished Peasantry march from Elphin to Frenchpark

7th October 1846

A large assemblage of persons, preceded by a man carrying a loaf of bread on a pole, marched from the neighbourhood of Elphin to Frenchpark, and having requested to see Lord De Freyne, handed his Lordship the following memorial –


“The humble and grievous memorial of persons from the parishes of Kilcolagh, Kilmacumsy, Creeve, etc, now assembled in the town of Frenchpark –

“ Showeth that, in respect to your lordship, they do not go  to your house, but send a deputation implore your immediate aid and strong representation to government as to their state of absolute starvation. They depend on your lordship’s exertions to procure them speedy relief in food and means of employment; they confide in you from knowledge how much you have done, and are inclined to do, to assist the poor and defend them against famine. They further call your lordship’s attention to the fact, that at the presentment sessions, held by order of the Lord Lieutenant, in this barony, on the 17th of last month, various presentments were passed for useful and important public works; but although the people are in a state of unexampled destitution, no steps any kind, from that time to this, have been taken by the Board of Works. Memorialists trust your lordship will forward this statement to government, and they will feel grateful always to yourself and family.”

Lord Freyne assured them that every exertion was making for them; that his brother was Dublin solely for the purpose of pressing the Government and Board of Works the state of the country, and the condition of the people, and that he confidently expected he should hear from him the next day’s post; that orders had been sent to commence the public works approved of for the barony of Frenchpark. He requested they would continue to conduct themselves as they hitherto had done, peaceably and quietly, and rest with confidence the wisdom of the nobleman the head the government, and the exertions of their natural friends and protectors—their landlords. His Lordship was loudly cheered, waving of hats, &c., and they went off, promising strictly to attend to his advice.

Three thousand persons got meal at reduced prices on the last market day, and milk is given out to the neighbouring inhabitants one day in the week, and soup another.


[Armagh Guardian 13 Oct 1846]