Category: Intriguing Cases

Mrs Biggs Again, 1840-42

From the Waterford Mail, 21 October 1840:


A female of very showy exterior named Eliza Biggs, who resides at No. 5 Hardwicke Street, was summoned to answer the complaint of Mr Wilson, the respectable linen merchant of Sackville Street, for obtaining blankets, quilts and other articles from him, to the amount of £7 by means of false pretences.

Mr Wilson stated that on Wednesday last the defendant came to his shop and purchased goods to the above amount; they were sent home read more

The Lady Alleged to Have been Mad, 1836-9

A continuation of Wednesday’s post

From the Dublin Morning Register, 24 September 1836:

“On yesterday Mr Cummins, the governor of Swift’s mad house, came to this office, in consequence of a private letter written to him by Mr Cole, to give an explanation, as far as he could, with regard to a lady at present in Swift’s hospital, the particulars of which appeared in our paper of yesterday.  Mr Cummins came to the office shortly after two o’clock and stated to the magistrates read more

Husband Alleged to Have Had Estranged Wife Declared Insane to Avoid Paying Maintenance, 1836

From the Belfast Commercial Chronicle, 26 September 1836:

“HENRY STREET POLICE-OFFICE, DUBLIN. – Two ladies, of respectable appearance, came before the magistrates, and made the following statement:- They said, that some time in the month of July last, a lady of respectability came before their worships, at that office, to say that she dreaded her husband would send her to a madhouse, and requested advice of the magistrates.

Mr Cole said that he remembered the circumstances perfectly read more

Mother of Bride Dies of Apoplexy as Officer Groom Exposed as Fraudster, 1857

From the Carlow Post, 1857:

An extraordinary case just occurred in Kingstown [now Dun Laoghaire] Police Court. It appears that a gentleman who recently held a commission in the 95th Foot was about to be married to a lady in that town. On passing through Birmingham, last week, he purchased jewellery to the value of about £45 or £50, and gave a draft on a London bank, in the name of Lord Charles Hay, and then proceeded to Ireland. The draft, on being presented in London, was declared read more

Mayo Courtship Ends in Substantial Award of Damages, 1925

From the Evening Herald (Dublin), 13 May 1925







A farmer of 42 years, who sent emissaries to arrange a marriage with a girl half his age, figured as defendant in a breach of promise action in Ballina Circuit Court. He was ordered to pay £220 damages.  

One of the witnesses made the interesting statement that nine-tenths read more

Taken by the Fairies, 1840-1924

From the Freeman’s Journal, 2 February 1924:

“At a Special Court in Tullamore, before Mr Flanagan PC, Esther Smith, no fixed address, was remanded in custody on a charge of obtaining £3 and goods by false pretences and threats from Mary Murray, farmer’s wife, Moneyquid, Killeigh.

Mary Murray stated that Smith said one end of witness’s house was built on a ‘pass’ and that the other end of the house was the lucky end.  Accused said she was sent there by the ‘good people,’ read more

Derry Recorder Tests Lady’s Raincoat for Water Ingress, 1929

From the Derry Journal, 12 April 1929:





A barrister, two solicitors, the Court Registrar and the Court Caretaker spent fifteen minutes in Derry Courthouse yesterday testing the quality of a waterproof coat, a garment which was much on view during the hearing of a claim for £2 by Mrs Johanna Quinn, of Redcliffe, Dunfield Terrace, Waterside, against Messrs. Goorwitch Ltd., for alleged breach of warranty.

Mr read more

Bride Arrested for Shoplifting on Eve of Wedding, 1826

From the Dublin Evening Post, 26 August 1826:

A young lady, moving in a respectable situation in life, was on Thursday committed to Newgate, Dublin, on a charge of shop-lifting.  The circumstances of this case are rather curious, and possess in some respect a melancholy interest.  This lady was to have been married on the very day that consigned her to disgrace and imprisonment, to an ignominious trial and punishment – for of her guilt, I fear, there is little doubt.  read more

Barrister’s Son Returns from the Dead, 1896

From the Cork Constitution, 5 March 1896:


To-day the Master of the Rolls had before him a case which brought to light a modern Enoch Arden. In 1866 William Henry Boyle, son of a well-known barrister, emigrated to America, leaving his young wife at home. Fortune did not smile on him, and he did not send for his wife. He ceased to write, and for many years his family had heard nothing of him, and at length assumed that he was dead. In this belief his wife married again, read more

The Man of Many Wives, 1884-1895

From the Illustrated London News, 14 June 1884:

“At the Dublin Commission Court, before Mr Justice Lawson, on Saturday, Brian Denis Molloy, son of a magistrate for the County of Mayo, and who, on the death of his father, will become entitled to £1000 per annum, was indicted for bigamy.  The prisoner has married five times, the last person with whom he went through the ceremony being his own first cousin, a lady of about forty, Miss Robertina Greene, who has an income in her read more