The Eighteenth Century

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  • 1703-1711

    William Richardson (1) - MP for Hillsborough

    Between 1703 and 1711 William Richardson sat as MP for Hillsborough under the patronage of the Hill family. This followed a campaign by the government of the day to prevent him winning the Armagh seat.

  • 1709

    Birth of William Richardson (2) (1709-58)

  • 1727

    Death of William Richardson (1)

    William Richardson died in 1727, having once more been elected as member for Armagh. He was succeeded in Richhill by his brother John (1653-1744).

  • 1736

    Samuel Mackie issues his own currency

    A shortage of small change in Ireland led to Samuel Mackie of Richhill, a horologist, issuing his own 3d pieces.


    Threpenny piece issued by Samuel Mackie of Richhill.

  • 4th April 1737

    William Richardson (2) appointed High Sheriff of Armagh


    Derby Mercury, Thursday 28th April 1737

  • 1739

    William Richardson (2) elected MP for Co Armagh

  • 1741


    The Famine of 1740-41 (bliain an áir) is estimated to have led to the deaths of 300,000-480,000 people. There are no records extant that refer specifically to Richhill during this period, but it is highly unlikely that the village escaped unscathed.

  • 1744

    Death of John Richardson

    John Richardson left few records and was not an MP. He married Anne Beckett, daughter of a lawyer, and had four children. One of these, Mary, married Archibald Acheson of Markethill and the couple had ten children. Thereafter the two families were closely linked. Archibald later became the 1st Viscount Gosford.


    Archibald Acheson - 1st Viscount Gosford

  • 22nd October 1746

    Marriage of William Richardson (2) and Isabella Mussenden

    Isabella Mussenden was the daughter of a wealthy Belfast merchant. Her dowry of £5,000 was a welcome relief to the heavily indebted Richardson.

  • 1753

    Battle of Dettingen

    Coronet Henry Richardson, brother of William (2), fought bravely at the Battle of Dettingen - saving the colours of his regiment: Ligoniels' Horse.

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    Regimental Colours of Ligoniel's Horse

  • 1749

    Birth of William Richardson (3) (1749-1822)

    William Richardson was educated at Drogheda Grammar School and Christ Church, Oxford where he studied law. By 1775 he had moved to Dublin and was embarking on a career in politics.


    Christ Church, Oxford in 1742

  • 1753

    Linen Market House Opened in Richhill

    The market house provided a venue for weavers and buyers to meet. In 1837, following the decline in the linen trade, the market house was converted into St Mathew's Church.

  • 1754

    Birth of Dorothea (Dolly) Monroe

    Dolly Monroe

    Later Mrs. William Richardson

  • 1753

    Death of Isabella Richardson

    Isabella Richardson died from a "hectic fever" in December 1753, having a five-year-old son, William.

  • 1756

    Richhill Dragoons

    The Richhill Independent Troop of Dragoons was raised in 1756. It rode to Belfast under Colonel William Richardson and Lt Roe in order to help defend Carrickfergus from the French.

  • 21st February 1758

    Death of William Richardson (2)

    William Richardson MP died in Dublin leaving his young son in the care of his uncles; Colonel Henry Richardson and Sir Archibald Acheson. The two guardians quarrelled over the management of the Richhill estate, especially when Henry let out the Castle to the Archbishop of Armagh.

  • 1762

    John Wesley Preaches in Richhill

    John Wesley, the founder of Methodism preached in Richhill three times: in 1762,1765 and 1787.

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    John Wesley by George Romney

  • 1763

    Petition of the Linen Drapers of Richhill Published

    Some 254 drapers from Richhill, Newry, Armagh and elsewhere appended their name to ta petition, which asserted their intention to continue attending the market at Richhill despite Mr. Obins securing a patent for a brown linen market in Portadown.

  • 1771

    Publication of Batratariana

    Baratariana was a satire on the administration of Lord Townsend, the English Lord Lieutenant sent to Dublin to curb the power of local magnates and improve the government of Ireland. Baratariana was written by the Patriots Henry Grattan, Henry Flood and Hercules Langrishe. Dorothea Monroe and her family are included in the cast list. This work was the origin of the story that Lord Townsend had pretended to court Dorothea in order to gain the support of the Earl of Ely , her uncle. Recent research has shown this to have been highly unlikely.


    Frontspiece to Baratariana showing the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Townsend having his strings pulled by ministers in the English government..

  • 1763

    Hearts of Oak disturbances in Richhill

    The working classes in Richhill and other parts of Co Armagh rose up against the clergy and local landowners following the imposition of unduly harsh charges and taxes. Magistrates and the gentry were intimidated but the disturbances were largely peaceful. An official in Dublin Castle summarised the events thus:

    “In the beginning, any justice with two constables could have nipp’d it in the bud, but Brownlow, who was most concerned in it, being absent in England, it was no other person’s concern and nobody else’s business to step forth in support of an unpopular measure [...] Every barony is to be charged with the repair of its own roads. Mr. Brownlow’s barony in the county of Armagh is a small one. He got [...] £150 for making roads for the benefit of his own estate, which sum when it came to be levied on the inhabitants of the barony amounted to one shilling, some say eighteen pence an acre. The people refused to pay it and rose in a body to oppose it and they at first only swore the tenants in that particular barony not to pass the cess. After finding themselves strong they thought that whilst they were in the field they might as well redress some other grievances and thereupon they swore people not to pay the small dues to the clergy, etc. etc. They seem to direct their resentment against tithe gatherers, principally, and such justices of the peace who have issued any warrants against such people who have refused payment of the small dues. By all accounts they consist of people of all religions but are mainly Presbyterians. Undoubtedly the small dues have been exacted with rigour and gentlemen have gotten great sums [...] for jobs for themselves and I have often heard it said that in other respects the common people are treated with vast rigour and severity by the gentlemen. I never heard that they refused to pay hearth money or inland excise.”

  • 1771

    Construction of Catholic Chapel at Stonebridge

    St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church at Stonebridge in Richhill is reported by the surveyor Thomas McIlroy in 1837 to have been built in 1771.

    Others believe that it was built in 1775 at the instigation of Dorothea Monroe who, out for a drive with her new husband William Richardson, saw a group of Catholics celebrating Mass under a hedge in the rain. She prevailed on her husband to provide them with a chapel. This story does not seem consistent with the earlier construction of a chapel in Tamnavelton, which could presumably have been used by people from Richhill.

  • 9th May 1775

    William Richardson marries Dorothea Monroe

    They are reputed to have honeymooned in Italy. On their return, Dolly's pity for Catholics taking mass in the open air leads to her husband providing land for a chapel.

  • 1776

    Election in Co. Armagh

    William Richardson puts himself forward for election but almost immediately withdraws, realising he lacks the support required. In 1777 he is appointed High Sheriff of Armagh and in 1778 takes a commission in the Armagh Volunteers.

  • 1783

    William Richardson elected to Irish Parliament

    William Richardson beats the sitting MP, Thomas Dawson, and is elected member for Co. Armagh alongside Brownlow of Lurgan.

  • 1793

    Death of Dorothea Richardson

    Dorothea died childless and was buried in the Richardson family vault at Kilmore Parish Church.

  • 1793

    Construction of Richhill Quaker Meeting House


    Picture by Kenneth Allen

  • 1794

    Marriage of William and Louisa Richardson

    Louisa was a member of the prominent Waringstown family, the Magenisses, who had sent MPs to the parliament in Dublin and were related to the well-know philosopher, Bishop Berkley.

  • 21st September 1795

    Battle of the Diamond

    Inter-community friction between Catholics and Protestants in Co. Armagh grows throughout the 1780s and led to the establishment of secret gangs such as the Defenders (Catholics) and Peep-o-Day Boys (Protestant). A series of outrages by both sides led to open conflict at the Diamond in September 1795. Inhabitants of Richhill are said to have fought on both sides of this skirmish.
    Following the battle, Catholics were driven out of Co Armagh, many fleetng to Co. Mayo.

  • March 1796

    Formation of First Orange Lodge in Richhill

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    Orange Lodges were founded in Legacorry and Mulallelish in March 1796. The first minutes for a Lodge are from from Ballyleaney Purple Star LOL No. 11 and date back to 9th August 1796. Fifty-three men appended their names to the list of members, the first of whom was Brother William Jackson.

  • 1798

    United Irishmen Uprising

    A relative of William Richardson's late wife Dorothea, Henry Munro, commands the United Irishmen at the Battle of Ballynahinch. The rebels are defeated and Munro is executed outside his own linen shop.

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    Henry Munro at the Battle of Ballynahinch

  • 1799

    Birth of Elizabeth Richardson

    Elizabeth Richardson is the eldest daughter of William and Louisa (nee Magennis). William and Louisa had married in 1794, when he was 45 and she was 21.

  • 1800

    Act of Union

    The Kingdoms of Ireland and Britain are united and the Irish Parliament is dissolved. William Richardson opposed the Union but was elected to the British House of Commons in 1807 where he served until ill-health forced him to retire in 1820.