1877 – Irish nationalist and Land League organiser, Michael Davitt, was released from Dartmoor Prison.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

“To all my friends I leave kind thoughts, to my enemies the fullest possible forgiveness and to Ireland the undying prayer for absolute freedom and independence, which it was my life’s ambition to try and obtain for her”. –Extract from Michael Davitt’s Will

Michael Davitt was involved in a failed raid on Chester Castle to obtain arms on 11 February 1867 in advance of a Fenian rising in Ireland, but evaded the law. In the Haslingden area he helped to organise the defence of Catholic churches against Protestant attack in 1868. Having come to the attention of the police he was arrested in Paddington Station in London on 14 May 1870 while awaiting a delivery of arms. He was convicted of treason and felony and sentenced to 15 years of penal servitude in Dartmoor Prison; Davitt felt that he had not had a fair trial or the best of defence…

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