Drogheda; the walled town | Discover Boyne Valley Meath, Ireland

Drogheda; the walled town

  • Region: Drogheda ,
  • Drogheda

Sir Arthur Aston's golden leg: Drogheda was obviously an important defensive location as a bridging point and a port. This is evident in the walled town's history and none more so than when Oliver Cromwell and his forces laid siege to the town in 1649. The unfortunate Sir Arthur Aston had been made Governor of Drogheda a year earlier. It was supposed to be an easier assignment for the career soldier who had served military campaigns in Europe and the English Civil War. He had lost his leg in a riding accident and so he was appointed to Drogheda to ease into retirement. Alas the timing was poor and Cromwell, an excellent military leader and strategist but ruthless man had other plans for Sir Arthur and Drogheda. Cromwell whipped his troops into frenzy before the siege telling his men that Sir Arthur's false leg was made of gold. Needless to say on storming the town Cromwell's men sought out Sir Arthur Aston and torn his leg from his body. On discovering it was a wooden leg the mob proceeded to bash his brains out, perhaps in the belief that there still may be gold inside the wooden leg. The brutality didn't end there though. As a lesson to rest of Ireland Cromwell ordered the massacre of the town's civilians.

The legend of Ann Hardman: On a more upbeat note there is the legend of Ann Hardman. Visitors today can visit her tomb at St. Peter's Church of Ireland in Drogheda. Ann died in 1884 and was buried in a tomb on her request as oppose to a conventional grave. This decision was to prove a rather wise one. She was buried with ample amounts of her jewellery, something that didn't go unnoticed by her servants. One of the servants decided to break into the tomb the night she was buried and collect his inheritance. He amassed all the jewellery in the tomb except the rings on Ann's fingers. Undeterred and ever greedy the servant decided to cut off her fingers to remove the rings. It was during this gruesome act that Ann Hardman raised from the dead. The frightened servant, so shocked, bolted and boarded the first ship to Liverpool. On his arrival in Liverpool he noticed that his hair had turned white from the shock. Meanwhile Ann Hardman returned to her house where she had the unenviable task of convincing her family that she wasn't a ghost. They came around eventually and Ann was treated for loss of blood from her severed finger. Remarkably Ann went on to live for a further twenty years before she was returned to the infamous tomb.

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