Clare Matrimonial Suit. (Bartons of Sallybank) July 7, 1915
Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives
Clare Index
Clare Newspaper Records
Contributed by Aileen Wynne


File contributed for use in Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives by:
August 28, 2021, 3:21 pm

The Clare Journal July 7, 1915
Clare Matrimonial Suit.



On Tuesday evening, Mr Justice Molony heard a matrimonial suit,  in which Mrs
Margaret Barton brought a petition against her husband, Patrick Barton, in which she
made application for a separation mensa et thoro.

The parties, who lived at Sallybank, Kilmore, near Broadford, are of the farming

Mr Fleming, K.C., with Mr E. J. Phelps, B.L. instructed by Mr H. O'Brien Moran,
solr., appeared for the petitioner.

Mr P. Lynch, K.C., with Mr Fitzgerald, B.L., instructed by Messrs. Connolly and Co.
Solrs. appeared for the respondent.

Opening the case for the petitioner, Mr Fleming said her application was made on the
grounds of cruelty and ill treatment by the respondent.  The parties were married on
the 14th of February, 1888.

His Lordship – That is a long time ago.

Mr Fleming – 27 years ago, my Lord.  They were married in Kilmore Catholic Church,
in the parish of Broadford.  The petitioner's maiden name was Margaret Crowe.  She
resided with her husband after the marriage, at his place at Sallybank, not far from
Kilmore.  There were eleven children of the marriage, nine of them were living, two
having died in infancy.  Of the nine children, two boys and a girl were in America.
James Barton, the last son who went to America, and the other six children, lived
with the respondent until 1914, at Sallybank.  The respondent was a man of very
violent temper, and especially within the last five years he conceived an unnatural
hatred against his wife and children.  During those years he frequently assaulted
her in a violent manner, he threatened to shoot her, and on no less than three
occasions he expelled her and his children out of the house at night.  They had to
seek shelter at night owing to the terror the respondent inspired in them.  In
addition he persistently assaulted and illtreated his children in her presence, and
in a manner calculated to wound a mother's affection for her offspring.  He would
indicate to his Lordship the sort of brutal conduct the respondent observed towards
his wife.  In 1909 he ill-treated and assaulted her and that systematic and
persistent ill-treatement was aggravated from the year 1908, and it culminated in
her having to leave the house on the 22nd August, 1914.  In 1908 he struck her and
he persistently called her children b____, and he made specific allegations against
her for which there was absolutely no foundation.  The petitioner was leading a
terrible life, as were also her children but the three eldest children having gone
to America, fortunately escaped his violence.  As time went on respondent's hatred
for his wife and children was daily and hourly increasing.  On the 3rd April, 1914,
he struck her with a horse's collar, knocking her against the wall.  On the 10th
February, 1914, he kicked and otherwise ill-treated her, and the poor woman, driven
to despair, had to issue a summons against him.

The case came before the magistrates at Broadford, when he was fined 10s 6d on the
3rd February, and he was bound to the peace for twelve months.  As one would
naturally expect, Father Kennedy, the respected parish priest, and Father Smith,
endeavoured after these proceedings, to effect a reconciliation: they made it up
between the husband and wife.  Of course it was the last resort for this poor woman
to have her home broken up.  She in fact submitted to tremendous violence and gross
insults in order to preserve the honour of her children and to preserve the
maintenance of her home, notwithstanding the brutality of her husband towards her
and her children.  Fr. Kennedy having come, she consented to make it up with her
husband, to forgive him for what he had done to her.  She shook hands with him.  But
what was the result of the priest's mediation?  The respondent broke through at
once, and made allegations against the moral character of his wife, told her she was
the mother of b____ and ____.  He actually struck her with a chair, and got a
revolver, which he kept loaded in his bedroom.  He used to fire shots about the
place to terrify his wife and children.  On one occasion he got one of his sons to
put up his legs towards his mother, and told him to put his heels through and split
the skull of his mother.

The poor woman's health was giving way under such terrible and brutal conduct.  As
his children grew up little boys and girls they had actually to fly from his
violence and seek refuge in a neighbouring house.  In fact, he locked up the food
from his wife and children.  On the 23rd of April he went into her bedroom, pulled
the clothes off her, and threatened to burn her to a cinder.

Shortly after she issued another summons against him for threatening and abusive
language.  On the 7th July the case came before the magistrates at Broadford petty
sessions, and of course they were unwilling in cases of the kind to do anything that
would be against promoting harmony.  The case was adjourned for a month to see if it
would effect a reconciliation between them.  The priest again visited them and got
them to shake hands.  He promised that he would mend his ways, but when the priest
had gone he turned on his wife, told her she had done her best, that she could not
go beyond bringing the priest to him and he adopted his old system of violence again
towards her.  On the 20th August he want into her bedroom, put his clenched fist up
to her head, and said that after a few months more he would give her reason to go to
Broadford that she never would forget.  Of course that was referring to the
proceedings she had taken against him.  By reason of that perpetual conduct she and
her children were put in terror of their lives.  She was but a shadow of her former
self.  As an indication of the regard in which he held his wife, she had only one
suit of clothes for Sunday, Monday, and every day of the week.

His Lordship – What is the extent of the farm?
Mr Fleming – 40 acres: he has nine or ten young stock and four milch cows.  The
annuity to the Land Commission was about £10 and the Poor Law Valuation was £18.

Continuing, counsel said on the morning of the 22nd August, the petitioner escaped
away to the house of her brother, James Crowe, who lived some distance away, and he
had to procure clothes for her.  Finally she was driven to take proceedings against
her husband very much against her will.  She made an application for alimony on the
21st September, 1914, but respondent never paid her a penny.  He sold everything off
his farm.  Two months before she left the house he drove two of his children, Martin
and Christy, from his house.  He starved his wife and children.  It was absolutely
impossible for the petitioner to live with him under such a reign of terror.
Counsel referred his Lordship to the respondent's reply to the petition, in which he
denied assaulting his wife, except when he found his dinner unprepared and his
clothes unwashed.

Petitioner bore out her counsel's statement.  She said she lived with her husband at
Sallybank.  The had eleven children by the marriage: two of the children died in
infancy: three of the eldest children went to America, and six continued to live
with her.  Her husband did not beat her until 1908 but her called her foul names.
In 1908 he struck her on the face with his hand and knocked her on the floor.  He
threatened to shoot her and said he would not let her alone until he put her into
the asylum, and out of the place by starvation or some other way.  During the year
1908 he used bad language towards her.  In 1909 he frequently used threatening
language, telling her he would hang for her, that he did not care what became of
himself so long as she was gone before him.

That language and threats were used towards her almost every week of the year.  He
also called her other names.  His conduct put her in fear and terror of her life.

Mr Lynch objected to the evidence on the ground that it was not stated in the

Continuing, petitioner said he continued threatening her and putting her in fear and
terror of her life every week in 1910: he used the same language towards her.  He
told her she was everyone's wife but his.  That was frequently repeated by him in
1909 and 1910.  In 1909 he also threatened and abused her: His language was even
getting worse in character and he was getting very violent towards herself and her

What effect had this upon your health?
When I told the priest he told me pay no heed to it.

What effect had it upon your health?
Petitioner replied that her health was declining.  She had grave fears for her
personal safety, being afraid of her life of him, and he nearly killed her one
night.  He continued that same conduct towards her in 1912, during which his conduct
got even more violent, with threats and abuse.  Twice that year she had to sleep out
of her house.  He threw chairs at her.  He threw her children out of the house at
night with herself, except the two young children who were in bed.  In 1912 he broke
what was in the house.

Mr Lynch again objected to this evidence, which was not mentioned in the petition.
He asked his Lordship to take a note of his objection to any evidence the petition
did not cover.

Continuing, petitioner said her husband broke the delph, and furniture, including
dresser and table.  He did that at 9 o'clock on a night in 1912.  He pelted things
at herself and the children. He threatened to drive bullets through her.

Do you remember his procuring firearms?

When was that?
In 1911, I think.

What sort of firearm did he get?
He got a double barrel gun.  He used to keep the gun loaded in the bedroom.

In addition to the gun did he buy any other firearm?
Petitioner said he bought a revolver.  Before and after he got the revolver the
defendant said he would put bullets through her.  On account of those threats she
had terrible apprehensions of her personal safety.  His conduce towards his children
was equally violent; he stated they were not his children and in her presence called
them names.  In 1913 her husband bit her arm, on which was the print of his teeth;
he first spat on her face.

In addition to those foul names he called you, did he call you anything else?

Petitioner replied her husband also called her "Kitty O'Shea”  Some of her children
were listening to that, and her children saw him catching her by the arm with his
teeth.  Her arm was very sore and there was a black lump on it.  Shortly after that
he beat her with a whip.

His Lordship – Where did he beat you with it?
Petitioner said he gave her three strokes on the side.  One those occasions of
assaults and attacks she used to scream.  Before he struck her with the whip he
followed her daughter Lizzie with it.  She went out the door to see if he was
beating her with it, and when at the door he beat herself with it.  Lizzie XXX the
time was going for a bucket of water.  In 1913 he was threatening to drive bullets
through her and she was afraid he would do so.  In January 1913 he struck her with a
horse's collar.  He told her he could not bear the sight of her in the house, that
he hated the ground on which she walked.  In 1915 he ran at her daughter Lizzie with
the door which he took off the hinges and threatened to split her open with it.
Lizzie was saying nothing to him and was doing the household work.

On the 10th February, 1914 he kicked her on the back and she was very much hurt.  He
knocked her down and while on the ground kicked her.  The children was [sic] roaring
and bawling.  When she took the proceedings against him he said if she came back
that night he would put twelve bullets through her.  That was the night she had to
sleep out with her daughter Lizzie.

Where did you sleep that night?
Petitioner replied she slept with her daughter in the stable under the cows' heads.
Before she instituted the petty sessions proceedings against her husband he put the
revolver to her face, saying he would swing for her.  At the time she was sitting on
a chair in the kitchen when he came in with the revolver in his hand.  He then
called her ugly names.  He asked "are you there, Kitty.  I have another day for it,
and I will drive what is in that through you and all belonging to you.”  He then
went to the door and fired two shots and told his children any man who would come
there in his absence to drive the bullets through them.  When he fired the shots she
and her children were in a frightful way with fear and terror.  She issued the
summons against him, and the case was heard at Broadford petty sessions.

Counsel read the order dated February, 1914, showing that Barton was convicted for
assaulting his wife, and was fined 10s with 1s 6d costs.  Fearing that the defendant
would repeat his violent conduct he was ordered to enter into recognisance in £5,
and two sureties of £2 10s each, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour towards
his wife and children.

Asked what did he do to her son, Martin, who was mentioned in the proceedings,
petitioner said her husband threw Martin outside the door and struck him at the same
time with his clenched fist, telling him never again to come inside the door.

He also threw her son Christopher outside the door.  After the petty sessions
proceedings Fr. Smith said that Martin should be sent for, to stop in the house.
Martin came, but on the following morning her husband hunted him again.  He would
not allow any of them to assist him at any work.  She asked that Martin should be
left in the house, to go to school, to do something for himself.  Martin was
fourteen years.  Father Smith came again, and he got her husband to shake hands with
her.  In the presence of Fr. Kennedy her husband promised to mend his ways towards
her and her children.  But the priest had not gone two hours when her husband called
her those foul names.  He said she had now gone as far as she could in having the
priest to come to him, that she got no satisfaction at the court and that she
brought the priest to settle it.  He then said he would shoot her, and would hang
for her.  He also threatened her daughter Lizzie.

What about your food?
Petitioner replied her husband locked up the meat, sugar, tea and potatoes from
them.  He started to lock up the food in June or July, 1914, but he always locked up
the meat from herself and her children who got none of it from him.  In April, 1914,
he came to the room where she was sleeping on the sofa, pulled the clothes off her
and threatened to burn her to a cinder.

He told her to never put her foot inside the bedroom.  She then had to make a little
bed in the sofa in the sitting room for herself.  When he came in one night one of
the children asked him would he have his supper, but he called the child a name, and
said when he wanted a supper he could pay for it.  But he came to to room to her and
said he wanted his supper: she told him his supper was on the table for him. There
were potatoes, meat, bread, and milk left for him.  He then took the bed clothes
from her, took them to his own room, and locked them there.  She had to sleep with
her daughter that night.  Her husband threatened to lock her up in a room and burn
her to a cinder.  His demeanour was getting worse towards her every day, and he had
nothing for her but that he would shoot her and hang for her.  His conduct towards
her children was equally cruel.  In the month of July, 1914, when she prosecuted him
for his threats the magistrates adjourned the case for four weeks to see if a
friendly arrangement could be made between them, as she was always willing to live
peacefully with him.

He told her he would not give her one hour's quietness while she was living under
the same roof.

Mr Lynch objected to this evidence on the same grounds.

Petitioner said in August, 1914, while in the sitting room her husband put his fist
to her face, saying she would remember the day she brought him to Broadford, as in a
few months time he would give her cause to remember it.  She then left her husband's
house, not being any longer able to stick it.

Her husband would cook his own meat, and lock it up when he was done with it, not
giving any of it to her or the children, to whom he gave no bread.  She used to make
butter for her children, but he prevented her doing this, telling her that if he
caught her at it again he would take in the shovel and put it on the land as top
dressing.  Before 7 and 8 o'clock on the morning of the 22nd August she left her
house and came to her brother, James Crowe.  She had not sufficient clothing, as
with the exception of one dress she got twelve months previously, she did not get a
suit of clothes for ten years.  She had not been assisting in the farm work, as six
years previously he prevented her doing any work: neither would he allow her
daughter Lizzie to assist him.  He hunted the little boy who used to milk the cows
four months before witness left, and before she left it was the youngest child used
milk the cows.  Lizzie, with the other three children, left her husband's house on
the 5th Oct and followed her to where she was.  There was an order made by the court
directing her husband to pay 10s a week for her support, but he said he would cut
his throat before he would give her a penny.  He had since sold all the stock,
including 22 head of cattle, and she understood he also sold the horse and mule.

If you wanted to go to Mass on the jennet and car would he allow you?
He would not.

Did you one one occasion ask you brother for the loan of his jennet and car?
I did: I wanted to go to Limerick, but he locked the gate against my brother and
would not let him in with the jennet and car.

When you left his house in what condition were you?
My health had fallen away and I was a different woman to what I had been.

In cross-examination by Mr Lynch, petitioner said her husband used to keep six milch
cows.  Three of her children had gone to America.  Neither she nor Lizzie did go to
Kilkishen to a first cousin: she was nearly 12 months away: she was about 17 years
at the time: she returned homt [sic] at Christmas, and she was at home in 1913.

Counsel questioned petitioner about a letter which Mr Moran, Solicitor wrote to
Elizabeth Barton in connection with her conduct towards her father.  She said she
was aware such a letter was written to her daughter in August, 1913.


In opening respondent's case, Mr Lynch described petition and her family as having
extravagant and nonsensical ideas: that they went on visits for twelve months at a
time, and had dances at the house.  His children were cycling about the road with
the result that the petitioner for the last six years had no assistance in the
working of his farm. The respondent did nothing whatever to justify the petitioner
leaving his house, and this was the most disgraceful petition that was ever brought
into Court by a wife against her husband.  If the machinery of the High Court was to
be put in motion against an unfortunate man like the respondent, after he and his
wife were reconcile by the priest, all he could say was that it was an abuse of the
process of the Court.  This woman left her husband's house on the 22nd August, after
getting a telegram from her solr., and she went into Limerick, and on that day the
petition was issued.  The petition should be treated in the only way that such a
petition like it should be treated.

Patrick Barton was examined.  Having giving [sic] evidence of the extent of the
carrying power, the annuity and poor law valuation of his holding, he said there was
no real difference between himself and his wife until he took his children from
Clonlara school which was four Irish miles from Sallybank where there was a school
at the end of his farm.  His wife objected to his taking his children form the
Clonlara school of which her brother was the schoolmaster.

Owing to the long distance her children had to go in winter time their health was
failing – one of them fell into a pond.  His eldest daughter, Delia, and his son,
James, went to America three years ago, and his daughter, Mary, had gone four years
ago  His wife had always the management of his money except 1s he might keep for
himself.  Before Mary went to America he objected to her going to school to
Limerick, as he could not afford to pay for her there.  In August, 1913 he had to
make a complaint about his daughter, Lizzie, for her conduct towards him.  For the
past two years things were going wrong: dancing and gambling carried on in his
house.  He objected to that.

Mr Fleming – The petitioner was not asked a word about dancing or anything of that

His Lordship – Not at all.

Responent said in August, 1913 when Mr Moran, at his instructions, wrote to Lizzie,
he was assaulted by his wife and daughter.  When he returned from Limerick he was
carrying in the tackling, when his wife met him in the door and asked him would he
abuse or strike them?  He told her to have sense and not have the people laughing at
her.  After bringing in the horse's collar to the kitchen he was followed to the car
by his wife who struck him on the head, and he was also struck by the daughter.
They both had sticks.

Questioned as to the assaults, of which evidence had been given by his wife and
children, respondent absolutely denied having assaulted his wife.  He never hit her
in the arm, not in any way ever laid his hands upon her.  He never threatened to
burn her to a cinder, but that was what the neighbours said should be done with her
and her children – neither did he spit in her face.  At the time he was bound to the
peace, he was not represented by a Solr, but his wife was.  He was refused an
adjournment to consult a Solr.  The second case was adjourned for four weeks in the
hope the priest would settle matters between them  The priest did come to the house,
and whatever difference was between himself and his wife, they shook hands and
decided to make the best of things.  At that time some of the children were away
from home, and though the priest told her to leave her children away, she took them
back: after his son, Martin, returned on Tuesday morning he asked him where he was
going, he said he was going to school to Limerick.  He asked Martin if he was coming
back again that night: he said he was, but respondent told him he could not afford
to pay for him at Limerick: he told him to go where he was for the last four or five
months; at the same time he caught Martin gently and put him outside the door.  When
his wife got the telegram from Mr Moran, sol, telling her to go in the next day, she
left his house to which she did not return since, and the next thing he heard of her
was when he was served with the petition.

In cross-examination by Mr Fleming, respondent denied everything sworn against him –
either that he assaulted or threatened his wife.

Do you deny you called her foul names?
I don't deny that.

What names did you call your wife – did you call her a ___?
I did not.

Did you call her a ____?
I did not.

Did you call her a _____?
I may through excitement.

Who were you referring to when you called your wife by the name of "Kitty”?
I was referring to herself.

And who is Kitty ___”Kitty O'Shea”?
No, sir. My wife's name is Margaret.

You did not call her Margaret, you called her "Kitty”?
I might say it, or Peggy as well.

His Lordship – He also called her by the full name, " Kitty O'Shea ” ?

MrFleming – Did you call her " Kitty O'Shea ”?
I did.

Who was " Kitty O'Shea ” ?
She was a Member of Par?iament's [sic] wife (laughter).

I suppose you heard about her ? I heard a share.

Enough I suppose. Were you an admirer of her?

Or of her conduct?
I may read a little about her conduct.

Did you hear of the charges brought against her ?
I did not pay much heed to them.

That is the reason you called your wife " Kitty, ” because of the raputation [sic] "
Kitty ” had ?
I might say many things there would be no harm in.

Further questioned respondent denied he ever abused his wife, or children; he never
raised a hand or foot to her during her life.

Counsel her referred respondent to the paragraph in his reply to the petition in
which he said he never used coarse or violent language towards her except on a few
occasions when he went home and found his dinner unprepared and his clothes
unwashed.  He was now contradicting himself on oath.

Respondent denied he bit his wife's arm.

He did not see her arm.  It was an invention.  That was a plot against him by all
his family for his being against the sending of his children to Clonlara school, and
for not allowing a open house for gambling and dancing.  His son, Christy, did not
return to his house, because when he asked him to put some litter under bonhams he
said "to h---- with you; I will not.”

John Boland, called as witness for the respondent, said he was a neighbouring
farmer.  He and his sons assisted the respondent in the working of his farm.

About the 10th Feb., 1914 he was in Limerick with the respondent.  When he returned
home, he heard him ask his wife to get a cup of tea, three times, but he got no
answer.  The respondent pulled the chair from under her, and she and Lizzie ran out
the door.  He never saw him strike her with the chair.  The petitioner attacked
witness because he would not take a false oath for her at Broadford  She thought to
put him outside the door, but he prevented her.

Mr Phelps – You were a witness for him at Broadford Petty Sessions, and the
magistrates did not believe you, because he was bound to the  peace?

John Boland, son of the previous witness, gave evidence he assisted the respondent
occasionally in the management of his farm. On the 24th April, when going into his
dinner she assaulted him, and told him never go there again.  None of the Bartons
assisted in the working of the farm.

Sergeant Dolan gave evidence that he was stationed at Kilmore barrack, which was an
English mile from where the Bartons lived.  Barton was a hard working, industrious

His Lordship – Did you get any complaint about him ?

Counsel was proceeding to read the letter, when Mr Fleming objected.

Petitioner – It is a false letter, my Lord.

Mr Lynch said it was a letter written by Mr Moran on the instructions of the
respondent to his daughter in August, 1913.  He submitted this was evidence.

His Lordship – It is not evidence.

Further questioned, petitioner said she was aware the letter was sent to her
daughter Lizzie.

She was asked in that letter "If you desire to go to America or elsewhere, I will
pay your passage.”

Petitioner replied Lizzie would have gone away at the time but for herself, as she
would not allow her to go being the only one she had to help her.  It would not be
true that when her husband went into Mr Moran to write that letter on the 5th
August, he had traces of violence on his head after her and Lizzie.  Neither
inflicted any injuries upon him on that or at any other time.

Would it be true his head was damaged in the month of August, 1913, as the result of
some assault upon him?

Petitioner said his head was damaged in this way – he was coming in the door with a
half sack of flour when he fell.

Did anybody assault him with a stick?

Petitioner said she assaulted him when he attacked her the time he bit her in the
arm.  She never before assaulted him with a stick or anything else.  When her
husband came home from Limerick he generally beat the walls with his knuckles, and
he would have rags tied around his hands for a fortnight.

You were so pleasant when he came home that he took off his coat and vest and
commenced to beat the walls?
He used to say there was arsenic and carbolic acid in his tea.

Further questioned petitioner said the police barrack was about one mile and a half
from the house.  She never showed the policeman the results of any marks inflicted
by her husband.  When she sent her daughter to school to Limerick her husband COULD
not not complain of her extravagance in doing so, as it was her uncle was paying for

She was first going to a National School, and she sent her to the Munster College in
Limerick to learn shorthand and typewriting which her uncle said she should learn
before she went to America.  He paid 25s a quarter for her for that part of her
education.  Only for her (petitioner's brother in America,  who helped her, she
would have neither house nor home.  She had a brother, Pat Crowe, who was
schoolmaster at Clonlara school, three miles from Sallybank  The National School at
Sallybank was quite close to her house.  She sent her children to school to her
brother at Clonlara, but that was not the cause of the trouble between herself and
her husband, who could have objected if her did not want the children to go to
school to Clonlara.  If he had any objection to sending the children so far to
school he could have kept them at home. [sic]

Petitioner was next subjected to a sharp cross-examination as to whether she got a
telegram from Mr Moran, solr, the morning she left her husband's house on the 21st
or 22nd August.

Petitioner said she could not say if she did get a telegram at that particular time
from Mr Moran.

Mr Fleming objected to this cross-examination, submitting she should not answer
anything relating to confidential matters between herself and her children.  It was
simply outrageous that such a question should be asked.

His Lordship directed petitioner not to answer any question concerning any
communication she had with her solicitor.

Counsel having repeated his question, petitioner said she got no telegram from her
solicitor either on the 21st or 22nd August.  She remained with her brother until
5th October.  She first went to Limerick on the 2nd August, and returned to her
brother's house.  She knew her husband was trying to sell his farm by public auction
since she started this petition  She complained of his not paying her the alimony
she was allowed.

Although you were with your solicitor to prevent his setting the land.

His Lordship – When was the auction?

Mr Lynch – In April, I think, my Lord.

His Lordship – Of the present year?
Yes, my Lord.

Petitioner, further cross examined, swore she could no longer reside with her
husband.  She knew a man named Boland who used work for her husband about the place.
 She prevented Boland from coming to the house.  She denied first she assaulted him,
but she told him not to be coming to the house, and seeing he did come she did put
her two hands to him and shoved him out the door, because her children said her
husband would not feed them and he was feeding Boland.  She was not living in
Limerick where one of her children was working.

Re examing [sic] by Mr Fleming, petitioner said her husband having cleared the land
of all his stock, advertised the grazing of the land on the 1st May.  That was the
auction she went to attend.

Lizzie Barton, who said she was 21 years of age, gave evidence in which she
generally corroborated the story of attacks and assaults committed upon her mother
by her father.  For the last five years there was no happiness whatsover in the
house.  She remained in the house with Pat, Joseph and Norah, after her mother left,
until 5th Oct.  He also assaulted herself.

Witness was cross-examined at considerable length by MrFitzgerald.  She said at
present she was in business in Limerick, and what she earned, she gave to her mother
 She got a letter from Mr Moran, Solr, in which her father asked her to leave the
house.  She admitted on 5th August, 1913, striking her father with a rod to save her
mother, whom he was assaulting at the time.  She denied she was persistently urging
her mother to make her father's life unbearable and unpleasant.

Martin Barton, a boy of 15 years of ago, gave a very intelligent account of the
attacks and assaults his father committed upon his mother.  He had been away from
the house, but the priest's visit to his father resulted in his being taken back
home.  He had to go to a neighbour's house, being afraid of his father's violence.
The next morning, after his return, his father told him he wanted him to do no work,
and threw him out the door on his face and hands.  He also kicked witness.  He
struck the door, and told him never to return to his house.

After firing two shots from the revolver out the door, he handed the revolver to
worness's brother, telling him to put the bullets through anyone who would come in
his absence, but his brother Pat would not take the revolver.  His father used lock
up the bread, of which he used to get but very little: sometimes he had to fast,
except from potatoes alone.   He and his brother used milk the cows.

In cross-examination by Mr Lynch, witness was questioned about having assaulted a
little boy named Boland.  Witness's father told the Bolands if he caught one of them
passing through their place to blacken them.  If the Bolands had a right to put them
out of their place, he did not see why he had not a right to put him out of their
place.  He was going to school to Limerick when his father took him away.

MrFleming – He is now cleaning bottles and carrying a publican's bottles, like David

James Crowe, petitioner's brother, said he lived about a mile and a half from the
respondent's place. On either the 21st or 22nd August his sister came to his house.
She was hardly able to walk, she was miserable and naked; his wife went to Limerick
and bought some clothes for her; he was still helping her.

In cross-examination, witness said the day of the petty sessions at Broadford he did
not get a party of men to attack the respondent; nor was he told not to do it by
Sergeant Doolin.

Mr Fleming stated he had other members of the petitioner's family to examine, but he
would not do so as their evidence was the same.

Witness replied on the 30th Jan., 1914, Mrs Barton complained she was assaulted by
her husband.  But he saw no sign of a mark upon her.  She said her husband hit her
on the neck and kicked her.

Mr Fleming – And did you find herself and the children sleeping out?
I did

And you never said a word about that?
I found them out in July, 1913

And you first experience of Barton was you found his wife and children out of doors

	⁃	at what hour on that night?
	⁃	One o'clock in the morning.
And where was Barton?
He was in bed.

I thought so, sleeping the sleep of the just, and his poor wife and children driven
out of the house.

Where did you find his wife and children?
In the laneway at the end of the house, standing.  The little boy and Lizzie were
with her.

Upon your oath what were they doing?
Standing in the laneway.  It was in response to a complaint made by one of her
children I went there.

Was there a complaint made about her husband upon that occasion?
There was.

Why didn't you tell that to my Lor in your direct evidence?  What was the complaint
she made to you when you found herself and the children outside her door at one
o'clock in the morning?
She said her husband hunted her out.

What did you do with her and her children?
Witness replied he took them into the house: he knocked at the door: Mr Barton asked
who was there: he opened the door and let them in; he asked him about the assault,
which he denied; Barton unlocked the door: it was under his protection that Mr
Barton and the children returned to the house; he heard he used fire shots out of
the revolver.

Did you ever hear he threatened to shoot his wife with it?
I got a complaint from one of her sons that he threatened to shoot his wife with the

Re examined by Mr Lynch, witness said on the night Mr Barton and her children were
out he found the back door was unlocked and open.

His Lordship – When did you see the back door open?
It was wide open, my Lord.

His Lordship – When you went in the front door did you see the back door was wide
Witness looked towards the Counsel for the respondent.
His Lordship – Don't look to the left or right for inspiration.  You say this man
Barton got up and opened the door that night?
He did, my Lord.

His Lordship – On entering the house did you then and there see that the back door
was open?
No, my Lord

His Lordship – When did you see the door open?
The next day, my Lord (aughter)[sic]

His Lordship – Is not that a brilliant effort from a member of the Royal Irish
Constabulary? Don't you think you ought be ashamed of yourself?

MrLynch – There is no lock in the back door? I found there was no lock in it.

His Lordship – Don't you think you ought be a little more careful about giving
I looked upon it as domestic troubles, my Lord.

Sergeant Brady, ClareCastle, was called to say he was stationed in Kilmore for two
and a half years.  During that time he knew Barton to be a hard working, industrious
man.  In the autumn of 1911, Mr Barton called to the barrack and complained that she
could not stand her hus and [sic] any longe . [sic]

His Lordship – Did she make a specific complaint?
That he was fighting and abusing her every night and returning home drunk.

His Lordship – Did she want you to take any proceedings?
No, my Lord.  She wanted me to come to see how they were getting on.

Witness said he visited the house later the same night.  They both made complaints
of each other.  He told them he could do nothing for them – it was not a case for
police interference.  On another occasion young Barton called to the barrack and
said his father was out of his mind and should be sent to the asylum.  He never saw
any signs of injuries inflicted upon Mr Barton or any member of the family by

Evidence having closed, his Lordship said this was one of those painful cases with
which he had to deal without the assistance of a Jury.  There were a few admitted
facts in the case.  Let them first take the respondent's view of his wife.  He said
for twenty three years she wad a good wife and that he had no fault whatever to find
with her; that she had actually the handling of his money except Is [sic] he might
keep for him self [sic]  He trusted her with everything. The children were grown up,
and she was anxious to have the children educated in a school at Clonlara, which
seemed to have been the school that was run by her brother.

On the other hand he was anxious to have the children educated at a school which was
a few hundred yards from his house, and it was apparently from that, to a great
extent, that  the family dissension arose.  Now, the position of affairs, according
to the petitioner, was that the incident of the school was but one incident in a
career of abuse and actual violence, which dated from the birth of her youngest
child in 1908 ; and if the accepted her evidence,  undoubtedly from that period she
had been subjected to a great deal of assaults and to a continuance of violence and
abusive language.  It was only right that one should understand the nature of
matrimonial cruelty, which in law entitled a wife to separation from her husband.
That violence may consist not only of assaults, but also of abusive language, or of
threatening language continued for such a period and in such a manner, as to
endanger, or tend to endanger, her health.  It might also consist of violence in her
presence to her children. whom she brought into the world, and who were parts of
herself. and it might also consist of attacks, unfounded attacks, upon her chastity
which to a woman of virtue, pained her more, hurt her more and effected [sic] her
more than did many of the acts of actual violence.  In this case they had it
admitted by the respondent that although this woman had been a good woman, a perfect
woman for twenty-three years, and that the only fault he had to find with her was
the difference of opinion as to where her children should go to school, he was in
the habit of calling her bad names which should never be used to any woman no matter
how bad she was, but which when used by a man to a woman who had borne him eleven
children, impressed upon his Lordship's mind the kind of man he was.  Were the marks
of this man's teeth upon his wife's arm?  The evidence of that incident showed he
was not satisfied with striking her, but he bit her arm.  When the boy, Martin
Barton, was examined he showed he bit his mother's arm on which was the print of his
teeth.  Respondent denied he ever struck his wife.  But on that point they had the
very striking evidence of his daughter, Lizzie, who who brought home to the
petitioner the act of physical violence – even acts of violence to herself and
constant abuse and bad language.  He should find in the evidence that the poor woman
was subjected to bad language, to actual physical violence, and to a continuation of
assaults.  and the insufficiency of food.

When she left her husband's house on the 22nd August, whether she left his
particular day in consequence of a telegram she received from her Solicitor, they
found that upon that day, according to the evidence of James Crowe, she came to his
house in " a wretched state -she was miserable and naked.  I had to provide her with
clothes.  She was living with me for six or seven weeks  I have ben helping her
since.”  In the evidence of John Boland he told of one transaction.  His Lordship
would say both parties might have been a little wrong upon that occasion.  If the
petition was based on that single incident, or of a series of incidents about which
he might have any doubt, he would not feel perfectly satisfied to give a verdict in
the case.  The only other evidence he had to deal with was that of the police.  His
Lordship felt bound to say that he did not at all feel satisfied with the way in
which Sergeant Peter Dolan gave his evidence.  Police had serious and responsible
duties to discharge-in most cases they did that with perfect truth.  But when the
came to cases of this kind, they must remember that their duty was to tell the
truth, and the whole truth, as was the duty of every member of the community.  The
police sergeant when asked about the door being open, said it was, and when it was
put to him afterwards he said he found it was not open until the next day!

His Lordship did not think that was either a candid or proper way for a policeman to
give evidence.  Perhaps the sergeant was not to blame; perhaps it might be an
accidental mistake of his But, continued his Lordship, "I do expect, and I am
entitled to expect, the very high standard to be observed by the Royal Irish
Constabulary when they come to give evidence : they are to assist the Judge in
finding out the whole truth : they are not to look to the right or to the left to
seek inspiration as to what evidence they are to give, but they are to endeavour to
assist wholly, solely, and entirely in the administration of justice.  I have no
difficulty in this case in finding that Patrick Barton has been guilty of
matrimonial cruelty to his wife, and I adjudge him to be so guilty, and I award a
decree of mensa et thoro.  Having said so much,” concluded his Lordship, " about the
sergeant, I don't wish anything more to happen about it.  It passes away from my
mind.  I have simply said what I did because I feel that the highest possible
standard must be maintained in the Royal Irish Constabulary.

Additional Comments:
This article was first published in The Clare Journal on 7th July 1915 on pages 3
and 4, then in The Saturday Record on 10th July.