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Ireland Gazeteer

County Meath in 1839

Ecclesiastical and Legal Divisions.

The county is for the most part included in the diocese of Meath; but small portions are comprehended in those of Armagh and Kilmore; all these dioceses are in the ecclesiastical province of Armagh.

The county is included in the home circuit. The assizes are held at Trim. The Easter and Michaelmas sessions for the two divisions of the county are held at Kells and Dumshaughlin; the Hilary and Mid-summer sessions, at Trim and Navan.

Before the Union Meath sent 14 members to the Irish parliament, two for the county, and two each for Trim, Kells, Navan, Athboy, Duleek, and Ratoath; at present it sends only the two county members, who are elected at Trim.

The police force of the county on 1st January, 1836, was, 1 magistrate, 7 chief constables, including subinspectors (of whom 5 were of the first and 2 of the second class), 58 constables, and 266 subconstables, with 9 horses. The cost of maintaining the constabulary for 1835 was £11,893 13 shillings 4 pence, of which amount £6,197 3 shillings 4 pence was chargeable against the county.

The county-gaol at Trim has been much improved, as respects the male side of the prison, but much is yet requisite to be done to bring the discipline of the prison to what it should be. It is clean; the prisoners generally are classified, and considerable advance has been made in the system of instruction in trades. There are two schools in the prison, and a treadmill.

The bridewells at Navan and Kells are both tolerably extensive prisons, containing sixteen cells, two day-rooms, and two yards; they have every means of classification required by the Prison Act. (Appendix to Fourteenth and Fifteenth Reports of Inspectors-Genera!, 1836.)

The number of persons committed for criminal offences in 1830 was—for offences against the person 85 (44 convicted, 41 acquitted or discharged); for offences against property committed with violence 28 (convicted 9, acquitted or discharged 19); for offences against property without violence 107 (convicted 54, acquitted or discharged 53); for malicious offences against property, such as arson, killing or maiming cattle, and the like, 4 (1 convicted, 3 acquitted or discharged); for forgery and offences against the currency 4 (2 convicted, and 2 acquitted or discharged); for other offences 105 (45 convicted, 60 acquitted or discharged) making a total of 333 persons committed, of whom 155 were convicted and 178 acquitted or discharged.

There was no person executed. Of the persons committed, 277 were males (1 of them under 16 years) and 56 females (1 under 16): 71 could read and write, 54 could read only, and 110 were entirely ignorant; of 98 the degree of instruction they had received could not be ascertained.

The lunatic asylum for the counties of Meath, Louth, Dublin, and Wicklow, is the Richmond Lunatic Asylum at Dublin. Of 284 patients in that institution on 1st January, 1837, 30 belonged to this county.

The county infirmary is at Navan, and there were, in 1833, fever hospitals at Kells and Navan, and nineteen dispensaries at different places in the county, supported in nearly equal proportions by private subscriptions and grand-jury presentments.