Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - Blennerhassett - Contents


Thomas Lindsay

Thomas Lindsay, Chief Constable of Belfast.
Photo must be before 1861 since that is when he died.
See full size.
See other scan. Courtesy of Jackie Lindsay.

Thomas Lindsay, senior policeman,
born 1794,
from Tarbert, Co.Kerry.
He is listed in 1816 in [Vestry Minutes Book, Kilnaughtin].
He served for 4 years as a Sergeant in the Monaghan Constabulary.

Move to Belfast:
He moved by 1830 to the Belfast Town Police (also called "Belfast Borough Police"). This was a constabulary for Belfast, not the national constabulary.
There is no service record found for him in the national constabulary service records (only includes those who were serving in national constabulary in 1836 and later).
At retirement 1860 it is said he has 36 yrs service (since 1824). It is unclear if this is Belfast alone, or all police service.

Chief Constable of Belfast, 1830-60:
He became Chief Night Constable of Belfast in Jan 1830 [Griffin, 1997].
He mar 14 Oct 1830, Dromore, Co.Down [LDS], NOT Belfast, to Catherine Spencer [dau of William Spencer of Belfast], no issue.
She is "Catherine" in most records, but is "Catharine" on grave, which was erected by her husband.
Belfast Newsletter, Friday, 13 April, 1832, describes him as "Chief Constable of the night watch".
He became Chief Day Constable (i.e. Chief Constable) of Belfast.
He is listed in [Matier's Belfast Directory 1835-36] as "chief constable of police", living 7 Catherine St North (see map and streetview).
Rev. T.E. Lindsay says he is listed in list of voters for Belfast, 1835. (todo) See.
He is listed in [Martin's Belfast Directory 1839] as "chief day constable", living Catherine St North.
Freemans Journal, November 2, 1839, refers to a seizure of arms in Belfast by "Mr. Lindsay, chief constable".
He is listed with an office at Police Place (now Victoria Square, see map), in [Martin's Belfast Directory 1841-1842].
He is listed as living 7 Catherine St in [Martin's 1841-1842] and [Martin's 1842-1843].

He is listed as Chief Day Constable in [Henderson's Belfast Directory, 1843-44]. He is listed (and here) as living at Wills' Place, Belfast.
Wills' Place (or Will's Place or Wills's Place) was a row of houses at May's Fields, near St Malachy's church on Alfred St (see map).
He is listed as "chief constable of police" at Will's place, Belfast, in [Slater's directory, 1846].
He is listed in [Henderson's Belfast Directory 1846-47] at Will's place.
He is listed in [Henderson's Belfast Directory 1850] as having an office at Town Hall Offices, Police Place. He is listed (and here) as living at 4 Wills's Place, Belfast, in what seems to be a row of official houses. The Chief Night Constable is at no.1.
He is listed (and here) as "chief day constable, local police" at 4 Wills' Place, Belfast, in [Belfast and Province of Ulster Directory, 1852].
"Chief Constable Lindsay" is mentioned in Anglo-Celt, November 20, 1856.
Rev. T.E. Lindsay says he is listed in 1856 Belfast directory with residence at 2 Claremont place, Albertbridge Rd, Ballymacarrett, Belfast (see map).

The 1857 riots:
The Belfast police were involved in policing serious Catholic-Protestant sectarian riots in Belfast in July 1857, and various further disturbances that year. There were allegations that some police were sympathetic to Protestant rioters.
[Griffin, 1997] says the Belfast police were criticised as both partisan and unarmed, and on both counts poorly equipped to deal with the riots. They would be (after much debate) replaced in 1865 by the armed, nation-wide Irish Constabulary.
"Chief Constable Lindsay" is mentioned in the Nation, August 29, 1857, in an account of sectarian riots in Belfast, Aug 1857.
"Mr. Lindsay, Chief Constable" is mentioned in the Nenagh Guardian, September 9, 1857, in an account of sectarian riots in Belfast, Sept 1857.
There is meant to be mention of him in Belfast Newsletter, 15 Sept 1857, [NLI] microfilm, but can't see it.
The Nation, September 26, 1857, reports on the government inquiry into the Belfast riots. "Mr. Lindsay, chief constable of the local police" gave a statement in Belfast. He was asked: "Are any of the constables members of the Orange society; give your opinion?" He replied: "I do not know anything about it."
See also the Nation, October 3, 1857, and the Nation, October 10, 1857.

Thomas Lindsay, "Chief Constable, Police-Office, Belfast", is mentioned in a note about a robbery in The Times, October 10th 1857 (page 7). (todo) See.
He is listed in [The Belfast And Province Of Ulster Directory 1858-1859] as one of the "Masters in Chancery", for Chancery and Four Courts. He is listed (and here) in same as Chief Day Constable, office at 17 Police place, residence at 2 Claremont place.
Catherine dies, 1858:
Catherine died 18th Feb 1858, gravestone says died 14 Feb.
She was bur with her parents at Knockbreda church, just S of Belfast.
No admin found in [NAI].

Rev. T.E. Lindsay says Thomas is listed in 1860 Belfast directory at 2 Claremont place.
He retired July 1860. Obituary says he retired due to ill-health. He received an unusual pension equal to his full pay.
At retirement he was presented with a portrait of himself by Mr. Robie of Arthur St, Belfast. This must be James Robie, printer or compositor, Ballynafeigh, Belfast, who is listed (and here) in [The Belfast And Province Of Ulster Directory 1858-1859].
See short piece on the portrait, Belfast Newsletter, 28 June 1860, [NLI] microfilm.
Belfast Newsletter, 3 July 1860, [NLI] microfilm, has an account of Belfast Town Council meeting that notes his retirement. (todo) Is there more in this issue?
Belfast Newsletter, 7 July 1860, [NLI] microfilm, has a report of a presentation that was made to him on 5 July, and on p.1 prints an address given to him, and his reply.

He is listed at 2 Claremont place in [1861 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory].
[PRO.NI] describes him at death 1861 as "Gentleman" of "Mount Pottinger, Co.Down" (Mountpottinger, Ballymacarrett).
Catherine's sister Jane Spencer, spinster, was living with him at Mount Pottinger at his death 1861.
Thomas dies, 1861:
Obituary says he was suddenly struck on 18 Oct 1861 with paralysis, from which he never recovered.
His will dated 22 Oct 1861, written during his final illness. Mentions his other brothers but not William.
He died Wed morning, 30 Oct 1861, at his residence, "Mount Pottinger" [NAI], age 67 yrs.
See brief obituary in Northern Whig, 31 Oct 1861, [NLI] Hardcopy O.S.S.
See brief death notice in Northern Whig, 1 Nov 1861.
See obituary and short death notice, Belfast Morning News, 1 Nov 1861, [NLI] microfilm.
See short death notice, Belfast Newsletter, 1 Nov 1861, [NLI] microfilm.
See short death notice, Belfast Morning News, 2 Nov 1861, [NLI] microfilm.
He was bur 2nd November 1861 with wife at Knockbreda church, just S of Belfast.
His will survives in [PRO.NI], No. 1743, ID 2753.
Will proven 25th November 1861 at Belfast, amount under £1,500.
Jane Spencer was one of the executors of his will.

Thomas Lindsay, Chief Constable of Belfast.
This is the portrait by Robie of Belfast that was presented to Lindsay on his retirement in 1860.
This is not the original portrait but a large-size photo of it. So this image is a photo of a photo.
This portrait must flatter him by depicting him as younger-looking than he was (see photo above).
See larger, but black and white, shot.
Courtesy of Jackie Lindsay.

The old Belfast town hall

Victoria Square, Belfast, c. 1886.
The Cantrell & Cochrane factory was the Belfast town hall 1842 to 1871.
Thomas Lindsay had his office here.
This is now part of the Victoria Square development.
Posted here.

Victoria Square, Belfast, c. 1910.
The Cantrell & Cochrane factory (old Belfast town hall) is back centre.
Posted here.
See other version posted here.

Mount Pottinger, Ballymacarrett, just outside Belfast

Mount Pottinger in [Taylor and Skinner, 1777].

Mount Pottinger. 1829 to 1842 period.
From OSI.
This is the area of "The Mount" today. See map.

Knockbreda church, near Belfast

Knockbreda parish church (Church of Ireland), Newtownbreda, just S of Belfast (see map).
Catherine Spencer buried here 1858.
Thomas Lindsay buried here 1861.
Location of grave: Go into church from road. Go to LHS of church. Go to back a bit.

Knockbreda Church.
Click to rotate.
From Google Street View.

Grave of Thomas Lindsay, Knockbreda Church.
Photo 2018. See full size. See wider shot.
Photo shows rounded side part of church visible on LHS. This view is looking back towards the road and entrance.
See photo by Yvonne Russell. Used with permission. Small version posted here.

Grave of Thomas Lindsay, Knockbreda Church.
Photo 2018. See full size. See other angle.




An interesting unidentified "Thomas Lindsay" listed as keeper of the Bridewell at Tarbert in Sept 1830.
From Tralee Mercury, September 8, 1830.
Hard to see how this could be him.
He was meant to have started as Chief Night Constable of Belfast in Jan 1830.

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