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GUEST,Iains Lyr Req: Brig o Doon Today (7) RE: Lyr Req: Brig o Doon Today 01 Sep 20


Roddy McCorley was the son of a miller and was born near Toome in the parish of Duneane, County Antrim.
A letter published in the Belfast Newsletter a few days after McCorley's execution gave an account of the execution and how McCorley was viewed by some. In it he is called Roger McCorley, which may be his proper Christian name.

    "Upon Friday last, a most awful procession took place here, namely the execution of Roger McCorley who was lately convicted at a court-martial, to the place of execution, Toome Bridge, the unfortunate man having been born in that neighbourhood.

    As a warning to others, it is proper to observe that the whole of his life was devoted to disorderly proceedings of every kind, for many years past, scarcely a Quarter-sessions occurred but what the name of Roger McCorley appeared in a variety of criminal cases.

    His body was given up to dissection and afterwards buried under the gallows…thus of late we have got rid of six of those nefarious wretches who have kept this neighbourhood in the greatest misery for some time past, namely, Stewart, Dunn, Ryan, McCorley, Caskey and the notorious Dr. Linn."
The newspaper article quoted may well have a political motivation and be embellished in part as another source   below   suggests:

"The Newsletter report makes interesting reading. Obviously propaganda issued by the authorities, it nevertheless reveals that the reason for McCorley’s execution appears to have been that he was part of Archer’s gang that had robbed people in the Ballymena and Toome area over a period of time. There’s no mention of any connection with the United Irishmen whatsoever (nor am I aware of any other evidence that shows he was connected to them)."

The other thing to remember is that hardly any United Irishmen were sentenced to death, apart from a handful of well-known leaders (McCracken, Wolfe Tone etc). The rank and file were pardoned and the middle-ranking officers booted off to the colonies or America. So if he was a United Irishmen, he wasn’t likely to be sentenced to death for that anyway. It also explains why he was betrayed. (He was hiding in a cot on the banks of the Bann). The locals in Toome were sick of him. So there’s no evidence that he was a United Irishman at all. But we never let the facts get in the way of a good story or song in Ireland.."


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