30 August-Feargus O’Connor

Feargus O’Connor who was a native of Co Cork, Ireland, was one of the leaders of Chartism in England. Chartism, which took its name from the People’s Charter of 1838, was a working class movement which sought political reform in Great Britain. Other people from Ireland who became involved in Chartism at the time included James O’Brien, a lawyer from Longford and John Tyndall, a scientist from Carlow.

Feargus Edward O’Connor was born was born at Connerville, his family’s estate in west Cork on July 18th 1796. His father, Roderick O’Connor was an Irish Nationalist politician who traced his descent from the 11th century high king of Ireland, Roderick O’Connor. Feargus O’Connor was educated at Portarlington Grammar School and Trinity College Dublin. He was called to the Irish bar but became involved in politics. He was elected MP for Cork in 1832 as one of Daniel O’Connell’s supporters.

In 1835 O’Connor lost his seat and turned to agitation in England. He became the most popular and the most feared of the Chartist leaders. The reforms sought by the Chartists included, the secret ballot, a vote for every man over twenty-one years old and payment for members of parliament. Chartism, which existed from 1838 to 1868 did not immediately bring about reforms. However most of the reforms it sought were eventually implemented. Secret voting was introduced in 1872, payment for members of parliament was introduced in 1911 and every man over 21 and every woman over 30 was given the vote in the 1918 General Election.

Feargus O’Connor advocate for Irish rights, supporter of the Repeal movement and leader of the Chartist movement in England died in the year 1855 On This Day.

Heronsgate Chartist Settlement 1847

Heronsgate Chartist Settlement 1847




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