Something Wicker This Way Comes: Laughter in Court at Child Noise Nuisance Case, 1853

From the Evening Freeman, 18 April 1853:


Mangan v Tuthill

This was an appeal from a decree of St Sepulchre’s Court for £9.

Counsel for Mr Tuthill stated that his client lived in No 6 Rathmines Road, and the appellant in No 5; that his client had been greatly annoyed for several months by the appellant’s children, who were in the habit of rolling cars through the empty rooms of their house, which caused such a dreadful noise that his client would be unable to live in his house if the nuisance was not abated.  Mr Tuthill had made remonstrances, but finding these ineffectual, he had brought the matter before the court as a nuisance.

Mr Tuthill was examined, and proved that the noise caused by appellant’s children rolling these cars was so great, that although he had expended 600l on his house he would be obliged to leave it, as he could not live in it if the noise was persisted in, and also, that it frequently commenced at seven o’clock in the morning, and sometimes did not cease till nine o’clock at night.  It was louder than thunder (a laugh); he had got double doors in his house, but it did not keep out the noise.

A 19th century image of the Manghan-Tuthill premises at Rathmines Road

Mr Ferguson Henley was examined by Mr Curran and stated that he lived next door to Mr Tuthill, through the house he could hear the noise, which he considered an annoyance; he would compare it to the noise of a train over a railway bridge; the noise was so bad in Mr Tuthill’s house that he would not take a present of it if he had to live in it; on one occasion he went to Mr Manghan to complain of the nuisance; Mr Manghan did not open the door, but kicked at the inside, and shouted ‘Go out of that,’ witness asked if Mr Manghan knew to whom he was speaking, he said ‘I suppose you are that fellow, Mr Tuthill,’ witness said, ‘No, it is Mr Henley,’ Mr Manghan then said ‘Well, you are a friend of his, and if you don’t go out of that, I will kick you down the steps.’

Mr Curran – I believe they are going to make a nuisance of your lordship’s court (laughter)

[Here a small wicker work car was exhibited in court as one of the cars that caused the nuisance]

A wicker car built to contain multiple children, advertised for sale in Dublin around the same time. It appears to have been an early form of pram or buggy.

Judge Crampton – Well, roll it along?

The car was rolled along the court amidst much laughter, and certainly made rather a loud rattling noise.

Mr Coffey said his client would not wilfully cause any annoyance to his neighbours, but there were small cars in which his children were rolled, and he ought not to be prevented from amusing his children for two or three hours in the day.

Mr Manghan was next examined, and stated that he had seven children, and that he never had directions that these cars should be ruled so s to be a nuisance to his neighbours.  he heard complaints of this noise from Mr Henley, after which he did not order the noise to be continued.

Mr Curran – Or discontinued (a laugh)

Mr Manghan – the noise did not annoy him reading in his drawing-room.  It was not a fact that these cars were rolled in the morning except in the yard.

[cross-examined by Mr Curran] – When Mr Henley called, I did not say ‘I would kick him down the steps,’ I merely said he would ‘see him down the steps.’ (a laugh)

The court affirmed the decree of the court below, restraining the respondent from putting it in execution so long as the noise complained of was discontinued, the appellant entering into an undertaking that the noise should not be carried on any longer.”

A 21st century photo of the premises

A century and a half old it may be, but the central issue in Tuthill v Manghan has never been more relevant – how to keep the younger members of the household amused while not annoying the neighbours!  Satisfying to read that an amicable resolution was achieved – always the best outcome for neighbour disputes! 

I wonder what happened to the seven noisy Manghan children?

Image Credit: (top)

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

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

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