The Perils of Personal Service, 1834

From the Wexford Conservative, 7 May 1834:

“[A]n unfortunate man appeared in the hall of the Four Courts on Thursday with his face and head swollen inflamed and lacerated in a most shocking manner. His nose was literally flattened, and covered with dressing plaster and his hair and clothes were besmirched with blood, and his whole frame was agitated by a feverish tremor. Why the poor creature chose to exhibit his wretched condition instead of being in hospital is unaccountable, but groups of persons gathered around him anxious to know how the dreadful injuries under which he was suffering had been inflicted.

He said he was a process server, and had been employed to serve three notices of ejectment on farmers, about half a mile from Courtown, the seat of Lord Cloncurry. He proceeded to their homes on Wednesday morning and, having left the notices… was waylaid and beaten by a number of men armed with bludgeons. the ruffians beat him until he became insensible, and when he recovered from the swoon into which they had thrown him he found himself alone. He added that he could identify some of the party if at any time they might be bought before him.”

Lord Cloncurry was generally perceived as a ‘good’ landlord; however ‘good’ in this context could be a relative term. Some tenants, of course, were just ‘bad’ in every sense of the word and, in the days before registered post, service on such persons could be dangerous!

Perhaps that is why the solicitor concerned decided to engage a Dublin summons server rather than carrying out this task himself? Maybe no local summons server would do it?

One hopes that this poor man’s disfigurement was temporary and that he did not suffer any post-traumatic stress following the incident!

Picture Credit

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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