Unusual Council Minutes

Drogheda Corporation's minute books have entries concerning all aspects of town life down through the years and every so often there are unusual entries concerning the "town fathers". In 1915 the Rev. Thomas Gogarty transcribes and published edited minutes of the Assembly Books from 1649 to 1804 which highlights some of these incidents.

For centuries, and at the time of the Assembly books, there was a single bridge linking North and South. There were however ferry services across the river to make up for this fact. One such ferry was run by a Mr. Jebb at the cost of a halfpenny each. In 1780 the latter's nautical enterprise was sanctioned when on the 6th October it was ordered that "David Jebb, Esq., have liberty to erect and use a Ferry for passengers only, from the Hide Market to the opposite shore of the River Boyne for one year from this Michaelmas Assembly at the rent of six pence sterling." (It was extended to twenty one years in November.)

The Hyde Market was situated where the Abbey car park is now, formerly the site of the Linen Hall.

On a different theme, Murdering Lane or "Muthering Lane" appears intermittantly during the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries when various individuals were granted leases on or near it. The delightfully curious title leaves little to the imagination with regards to its origin. The Lane itself no longer exists but its location is detailed in a petition dated 19th July 1805 when Alderman John Leland set forth:

"That he is in possession in his own right of a Dwelling House on the West side of Peter St., a house and back ground thereto adjoining in Fair St., also a strip of ground called the Murdering Lane, and a small garden called Teeling's Garden, all which premises lie together."

Like today, religion played no small part in matters matrimonial in the Eighteenth Century. With regard to mixed marriages concerning the Freemembers of the Corporation, we note the latter's blatant disregard for their Catholic Brethern in the following extract. Once again we see their fait-acompli approach as the solution to an otherwise complex issue:

At a General Assembly held on 13th July 1770 -
"This Assembly being informed that Mr. John Jones, Stonecutter, a Freeman of this Corporation is married to a Popish wife, it is ordered that unless he satisfies the next General Assembly of the contrary, or that his wife did within a year and a day after his marriage, conform to the Protestant Religion, and that she, since such conformity continues a Protestant, he shall be thenceforth disfranchised and stand deprived of his Freedom of this Corporation."

One can't imagine the Borough Council getting so involved in personal matters these days!

Extracts from "Some Minutes from Times Past" by Tom Reilly from the O.D.S. Journal 1994

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