John Lynch (c1832-1866)
John Lynch was a widower and publican who lodged in Cork City and became involved with the Cork City Fenians. He was convicted on the word of an informer, John Warner, who stated that Lynch was a colonel in the Fenian organisation in Cork. Lynch was convicted of treason and felony by Judge Keogh in December 1865. Overall the evidence used to convict Lynch was rather weak for the sentence of 10 years penal servitude.
Lynch was sent first to Pentonville. Later in December 1865, due to a chest infection, he was moved to the hospital in Woking Prison. Other inmates at Woking included Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, Captain Richard O'Sullivan Burke (retired from the US army), Captain Timothy Deasy (of the 9th Massachusetts Infantry Volunteers), Brian Dillon (a law clerk from Cork), and Charles Kickham (on the editorial staff of the Fenian newspaper The Irish People and author of the popular novel Knocknagow).
The National Monument in Cork City Evidence of Lynch's imprisonment at Woking comes via a number of letters smuggled out of the prison that were subsequently published by Jenny Marx in the French newspaper La Marseillaise under the pseudonym "J. Williams". Lynch succumbed to the regime of Woking Prison and died there on 2 June 1866.
He was subsequently buried in the Roman Catholic pauper section of Brookwood Cemetery on 6 June. The precise location of this area and his grave are unknown, but it is somewhere in the woodland beyond plot 134.
In 2002, Charles McLauchlan of the Hibernian Association & Institute, Manchester, contacted the Brookwood Cemetery Society for confirmation that John Lynch was buried in the cemetery. He also wished to confirm his date of death, which had otherwise been recorded as April 1866. In 2004 a stone plaque was fixed to the wall of the former Catholic chapel in Brookwood Cemetery. It was commissioned and paid for by the National Graves Association of Ireland (see photo at top of page). Prior to this, Lynch's only other memorial was on the National Monument on the Grand Parade in Cork City. The monument was erected to commemorate all Irish patriots who died during the period 1798-1867 (see photo above).
(This is an edited version of an article by Charles McLauchlan which appeared in The Brookwood Express in August 2002 and February 2005.)
Photographs © John Clarke and Cork City Guide
|Plaque commemorating the life of John Lynch on the former Catholic chapel|
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