- A copy of hand
painted portrait of Samuel Haughton from
Great Irish People website.
Samuel Haughton, Irish scientific writer, the son of
James Haughton (1795—1873), was born at Carlow on the 21st
of December 1821. to Sarah Hancock, whoes father was a
successful linen merchant in Lisburn. His father, the son of a Quaker, but
himself a Unitarian, was an active philanthropist, a strong
supporter of Father Theobald Mathew, a vegetarian, and an
anti-slavery worker and writer. After a distinguished career
in Trinity College, Dublin, Samuel was elected a fellow in
1844. He was ordained priest in 1847, but seldom preached.
In 1851 he was appointed professor of geology in Trinity
College, and this post he held for thirty years.
- The house where
Samuel Haughton was born on Burrin
Street. Carlow. Also in the picture is
the Burrin Bridge and the spire if St.
Marys C of I Church in Church Street.
the study of medicine in 1859, and in 1862 took the degree
of M.D. in the university of Dublin. He was then made
registrar of the Medical School, the status of which he did
much to improve, and he represented the university on the
General Medical Council from 1878 to 1896. He was elected F.R.S. in 1858, and in course of time Oxford conferred upon
him the Hon. degree of D.C.L., and Cambridge and Edinburgh
that of LL.D. He was a man of remarkable knowledge and
ability, and he communicated papers on widely different
subjects to various learned societies and scientific
journals in London and Dublin.
He wrote on the laws of
equilibrium and motion of solid and fluid bodies (1846), on
sun-heat, terrestrial radiation, geological climates and on
tides. He wrote also on the granites of Leinster and
Donegal. and on the cleavage and joint-planes in the Old Red
Sandstone of Waterford (1857-1858). He was president of the
Royal Irish Academy from 1886 to 1891, and for twenty years
he was secretary of the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland.
He died in Dublin on the 3rd of October 1897 at the age of
Source: William Haughton & Dr. Richard E.
- LL.D = Doctor of Law ...
from the Latin: Legum Doctor. The double "L" is
because plural abbreviations in Latin are formed by
the double letters.
- F.D.S. = Fellow of the Royal
- D.C.L. = Doctor of Civil Law
(Vol. 1) Last of the Betagii and
(Vol. 6) The Penology of Samuel Haughton are special.
The forgotten execution of the Catholic housewife, Mary
Daly, and her young Protestant lover, Joseph Taylor, in
1903, was not such a simple event in the criminal calendar
of ‘Queen’s County’, and (10.Vol. 1) Last of the Betagii
Coincidentally, Dr Samuel Haughton
was born within a few miles of where Mary Daly grew up. Of
Killeshin and Quaker origins, Haughton’s family straddled
the Carlow/Laois border. He lived in Burrin Street, Carlow,
where his house can still be seen. It stands in a line
between Carlow Castle and what was the old (and the new)
prison. But Haughton’s story is different. And it belongs
where we find it – right in the midst of the nineteenth
century struggle for a higher form of civilization. A
contemporary and adversary of Darwin, Haughton was one of
the great Victorians. (10.Vol. 6) The Penology of Samuel
Haughton is a short (unfinished) study describing the
great scientist’s preoccupation with capital punishment.
Haughton might well have been regarded as ‘Father of the
Drop’, had his endeavours not taken a tragic/comic turn.
The Carlow Calendar
The Carlow Calendar is a compilation of
executions occurring in Carlow County over the period of the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Inspired by friends, it
unearths in a potted way the concerns of past murderers and
how they were dealt with in what came to be – after the 1798
rebellion – one of the least disturbed counties in Ireland.
It started with a few fellows expounding on Lucy Sly, the
last hanging of a woman in Carlow, then a few other names
were being dropped in rapid inaccurate succession. The
upshot is the compilation of this record, which, if it
doesn’t do much else, it will help – one hopes – to keep the
Carlow is a small county, the second
smallest in Ireland. Its land is productive. It is sometimes
referred to (in a tongue-in-cheek manner) as the county with
more than its share of the "nearly famous." In years past
those fortunate enough to own large holdings were prosperous
and such people found time to devote their mental energies
to matters other than managing their estates. Many were
wealthy enough to employ professional managers while they
got on with their pet, often unconventional, projects.
Others, from the merchant class, in what was, and to a great
extent still is, a prosperous corner of Ireland, made enough
money to involve themselves in similar activities. Samuel
HAUGHTON, for example was one of the eccentrics who
abounded in Ireland in the Victorian era. Born in Carlow, he
was a scientist and mathematician and graduated in
mathematics from Trinity College before turning his
attention to medicine. He is best remembered for a discovery
which combined all three disciplines at which he was adept.
It took some time to work out, but in the end his formula
was of benefit to a tiny percentage of the population,
although is stopped short of saving their lives. He worked
out a mathematical, scientific and medical computation known
as "Haughton's Drop." The "drop" was not one of medicinal
liquid but an instruction to the hangman when dealing with
prisoners sentenced to death. Until this time, the
unfortunate wretches sentenced to be "hanged by the neck
until dead" usually suffered from a slow and agonizing
process of strangulation, something which the mob that
gathered for executions thoroughly enjoyed. "Haughton's
Drop," however, took the "fun" out of execution day. It
determined the precise length of rope; the exact depth of
fall which a condemned man of a certain weight required in
order to die instantly rather than linger half-alive in
front of his viewers.
Source: This 'N That -
Carlow, Jean R. c2008
Birthplace of Rev. Samuel Haughton, Burrin Street, Carlow
After the ceremony at Trinity College
“the remains were deposited in the hearse ….and the funeral
then proceeded to Kingsbridge Railway Terminus Dublin for
Carlow” the place of his birth. The train arrived at 1.30pm
in Carlow Town and “..the coffin was carried to the hearse
by near relatives of the lamented deceased. On route through
the town to the family burial ground at Killeshin the
business houses were closed and blinds drawn in private
dwellings as a mark of respect to the memory of one whose
name and family have been creditably associated with the
professional and commercial history of Carlow for
considerably over a century”.
Rev. Samuel Haughton was born at the
family home beside the River Burrin Bridge in 1821 to a well
known local Quaker family. He was “educated at Trinity
College, he distinguished himself as a student, especially
in science and mathematics and in 1844 at the age of 23 he
was elected a Fellow of the College. From 1851 to 1881 he
held the chair of Professor of Geology and in latter years
he was elected a Senior Fellow”.
- A plaque erected on the wall
outside the house in memory of Samuel Haughton F.D.S.
Professor David Spearman, Past President
of the Royal Irish Academy unveiling the Haughton Plaque in
Carlow on Sunday August 25th 2005.
“The interest which he took in the
Medical School of Trinity College will be best understood by
those who can appreciate the great improvements which have
been effected in connection with, chiefly at his suggestion.
He was the author of a number of interesting mathematical
and scientific papers … and of his more ambitious works,
perhaps, the best known is his book on “The Principles of
Least Action in Nature Illustrated by Animal Mechanics”.
His knowledge of science was invariably used as occasion
required to meet arguments of sceptics and to vindicate the
Carlow County Museum.
- The information contained in these
pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with
others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
- © 2001 County
Carlow Irish Genealogy Project. IGP
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