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Marcus Despard


Edward Marcus Despard was born in Mountrath in 1751. He joined the British navy and served in the West Indies. He was made Superintendent of the Bay of Honduras from 1782 until 1790 when he was recalled to England on frivolous charges. He ended up in debtors prison from 1792-4.

In 1798 he was arrested and held without trial for three years. In 1802 he was named as a member of a conspiracy to seize the Tower of London and the bank of England and to assassinate King George. Despite the flimsy evidence he was found guilty and sentenced to  be hung, drawn and quartered. This was reduced to just hanging and beheading. On 21st of February 1803 he was hanged in front of 20,000 spectators.

The memorial is placed on the grave of Charlotte Despard in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. The inscription reads: Colonel Edward Marcus Despard, Co Laois, "A Friend to truth, to liberty to justice, Was hanged in London 21st February 1803 Alongside John MacNamara of Dublin, These supporters of Irish Revolution, Lie in unmarked graves. Erected by the National Graves Association.