Peter Kirwan and the ‘Five Shilling Murder’

Posted: April 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

Divergent Paths

Peter Kirwan’s sojourn in Stafford could have been very short. In 1853 he was accused of involvement in Stafford’s most notorious killing of the Victorian age, the so-called ‘Five Shilling Murder’. He and two other Irishmen, Ned Walsh and Charles Moore, were charged with the murder of a farmer and his wife. In the end Kirwan escaped the hangman’s noose and ultimately the family survived in Stafford until 1884. They were one of the terminal families who just faded away.

Peter and Margaret Kirwan arrived in Stafford with their three children some time in 1852. Like many of Stafford’s Irish they came from Co. Galway. Peter Kirwan had probably worked in the Stafford area before the Famine, and now he survived on scraps of farmwork. He and his wife were already in their forties, however, and they earned a bit more money by running a lodging house in Plant’s Square…

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