Sunday, July 14, 2019

Hyde’s Coffee Shop

Hyde’s Coffee Shop – corner of Palace Street and Dame Street

The convicted United Irishman, Rev William Jackson (1737-1795), was staying at Hyde’s Coffee Shop on the night he was arrested for treason on April 28th, 1794. The precise location of this Coffee Shop and its overnight rooms had not been clear to me. I wanted to nail it down. My hope was that it might help to answer questions, such as: Why did he stay there? Was he related to the owner? Did friends live nearby? My initial clue was that Hyde’s Coffee Shop had been on Palace Street, a short stub of a street which ends at Dame. That narrowed the search.

The Commissioners for making Wide and Convenient Ways, Streets and Passages of Dublin aka the Wide Streets Commission had set up a numbering system for Dame Street which would have been helpful except that I had no access to the actual maps. Even so, it narrowed down the time frame for where I might find a likely record. Although the Wide Streets Commission work had begun in 1757, it wasn’t until 1777-1782 that the work on Dame street had begun.

In those five short years, many existing buildings were demolished and the newly created bare lots were offered up at a not inconsiderable cost – often an annual rental of £100. New buildings funded by new owners sprouted up almost overnight. Many of the deeds recorded for Dame Street between 1777 and 1782 describe either a plott of ground – meaning that the land was yet to be rebuilt on - or a new brick building. It was a boom time for bricklayers, masons and land developers.

It was a decade after Dame Street was widened to its new width of eighty feet, that William Cope Esq. leased a property on the south side of Dame Street to Robert Hyde.

COPE-HYDE A dwelling house corner Palace Street in Dame Street. Dame Street
ROD: 439-36-284205. 1791 Aug 11.
A Memorial of a deed 11 Aug 1791 btw William COPE of City of Dublin Esq. of 1 pt & Robert HYDE of said City Gent of the other pt. COPE granted dwelling house & Messuage & tenement in Dame Street at corner of Pallace Street containing in front to Dame Street 25’ and in the rere 16’ and in depth from front to rere 54’ bounded on the West to Palace Street on the east by Mr. HUTCHINSONs holding on the south to Thomas DUIGNAMs holding on the North to Dame Street to hold for lives of Robert HYDE his son George Robert Loftus HYDE and [lives of royalty] for term of 100 years to Robert HYDE & his heirs. WITNESS: Henry BIRKETT & Thomas SWEENY both of City of Dublin Gent

Because this lease shows that this lot was bounded on the west by Palace Street. this means that it had to be on the easterly corner of the intersection of Palace and Dame but the question remains: Was this the same lot where Hyde’s Coffee Shop was located? Did Robert Hyde own more than one lot? The next couple of deeds, when taken together, provide the answer:

ROD: 691-467-474942. 1815 Mar 13
BTW Robert HYDE of Mount Eagle Co. Dublin Esq. of 1st pt and Elizabeth HYDE otherwise WHITHORNE his wife of the other pt. and William HYDE of Hollybrook Co. Dublin & William WHITTHORNE jun of City of Dublin Esq. 24 Aug 1814 re: marriage of Eliza HYDE otherwise WHITTHORNE with the said Robert HYDE [marriage portion] dwelling house Messuage or tenement known as No. 7 Dame Street situate on the corner  of Palace Street by virtue of a lease 11 Aug 1791 made by William COPE of City of Dublin Esq. for term of 3 lives or 100 years … [other lands elsewhere] … And further reciting that Robert HYDE was then also possessed by a lease dated 14 Nov 1795 made to him by Michael HUTCHINSON of all that and those certain apartments that is to say the back kitchen and three back rooms part of the Dwelling House wherein the said Michael HUTCHINSON lately resided in Dame Street City of Dublin next door to said first recited premises for term of 86 years from 1 Nov inst and reciting the said Robert HYDE had a pressing occasion for the sum of £700 had applied to the said Trustees to lend and advance him the same out of the fortune of said Elizabeth …

In December 1794, four months after the arrest of Rev. William Jackson, Robert Hyde subleased to Valentine Downing. This adds the final confirmation of the location of Hyde’s Coffee Shop. NOTE: Jackson’s arrest may or may not have had triggered Hyde’s need to sublease. The record is silent on this score.

ROD: 500-132-12379. 1794 Sep 1 Palace Street
BTW Robert HYDE of City of Dublin Coffee House Keeper of 1 pt & Valentine DOWLING of City of Dublin of other pt. Reciting that in Consideration of £250 paid by DOWLING, HYDE assigned to DOWLING in his actual possession… the house known by the name of Hyde’s Coffee No. 7 Dame Street the Corner of the Palace Street with the appurtenances and several articles of Household furniture .. for three lives of 100 years subject to the payment of rent… WITNESS James O’BYRNE of City of Dublin Esq. & Mr. Daniel Mark CONNER of Beresford Road

Thanks to Dowling’s involvement, we learn that for some time both prior to and after this lease, that Hyde’s coffee shop had been in the business of offering more than coffee and rooms. The Parliamentary papers note:
Memorialists further show, that another common Gambling House has been for several years, and still is, suffered to exist, under the management and the direction of one Valentine Dowling, in Palace-street, and within a very few yards of the entrance of the Castle-yard.
Later Dowling was referred to as bankrupt. The Hyde family held onto the lease for a couple of more decades until things came to a similar sorry end for them.

George Robert Loftus Hyde, the eldest son of Robert Hyde Esq. of Mount Eagle Co. Dublin, was mentioned in ROD: 697-55-478289 as one of the “lives” relating to the lease of Lot No. 7. He was likely the son of the first Robert Hyde. He became an undischarged bankrupt in 1818. and lost the lease to Lot No. 7 as a result. The first mention of his financial issues was in ROD: 691-467-474942. It mentions Hyde’s pressing occasion for the sum of £700 [and that he] had applied to the said Trustees to lend and advance him the same out of the fortune of said Elizabeth … This money would have come from his wife Elizabeth’s marriage jointure which was mentioned in other deeds. As the next deed shows, this did not end well.

ROD: 735-23-500958. 1818 Dec 5
BTW William WHITTHORNE sr & William WHITTHORNE jr of 1st pt. Robert HYDE of City of Dublin Gent & Elizabeth HYDE otherwise WHITHORNE his wife of 2nd pt. & Michael HUTCHINSON of Dame Street City of Dublin [Assee?] of the estate and effects of Robert HYDE an insolvent of 3rd pt. Reciting deed of 13 Mar 1815 btw Robert HYDE of Mount Eagle Co. Dublin Esq. of 1 pt & William WHITTHORNE sen & William WHITTHORNE jy of the other part set to them the dwelling house known by No. 7 Dame situate at the corner of Palace bounded as therein described … and lands of Ballymonehan Commonly called Murphystown … apartments in the Dwelling house wherein the said Michael HUTCHINSON formerly resided that is to say the back kitchen and the 3 first back rooms part of said dwelling house together with several articles of furniture stock & farming utensils … Robert HYDE was by order of the Court of Common Please discharged as an insolvent debtor and returned said mortgage in his schedule and made the usual assignments of his property and further reciting that by an order 18 June that said insolvent should be reexamined and upon such examination said insolvent was by the order of the court remanded into the Custody of the Sherriffs of the City of Dublin … [more detail]

As for the possibility of any ancestral and/or business connections of Robert Hyde to Rev. William Jackson, there is nothing mentioned in the deeds. Although the Hyde ancestry links back to the Gethins of Sligo, the same Gethin family which was also related to Rev. William Jackson, the known family ties seem to be too distant to be meaningful. I have posted thirty pages of notes on related deeds on my website for anyone who wants to dig further, so perhaps others will stumble across links that I have missed. Sometimes this kind of work does require the efforts of an entire village.

United Irishmen.

Even though there seems to be no familial or business connection between the Hydes and the Jacksons, there are some United Irishmen connections worth noting. Two United Irishmen, Thomas Addis Emmet and his brother Robert Emmet, owned land just across the street on Palace Street. Almost a decade after Rev. William Jackson’s arrest in 1794, Robert Emmet (1793-1803) was captured, tried and convicted of high treason. He was only twenty years old when he was executed in 1803. His older brother, Thomas Addis Emmet, was a close friend of Theobald Wolfe Tone. Like Rev. William Jackson, the two Emmet brothers had families with powerful and multilayered ties to the legal and financial upper-crust of Dublin. Robert Emmet sr, their father, had initially held title to this lot on Palace Street but I cannot say for sure whether he or either of his sons actually lived or stayed there. Even so, it would have been a handy location given Robert Emmet’s plan in 1803 to attack the nearby Castle.

ROD: 494-65-320682. 1795 Dec 24
BTW William McKANE of City of Dublin Gent of 1 pt & Robert EMMETT Esq. of the other. Reciting that Catherine ALLEY of City of Dublin widow owned for her natural life an undivided moiety or half part of a lot of ground and premises at Castle Lane otherwise Palace Street City of Dublin described in deed of lease and release 8 & 9 July 1794 to William McKANE who demised to Robert EMMETT the one undivided a Moiety half part share of ground with the dwelling house and office erected on the West side of Castle Lane now called Palace Street formerly in possession of John NUTT deceased and now in tenure and occupation of John WILLIAMS public notary. Containing in front to Castle Lane 18’ 9” In the rere 18’ 8” and in depth front to rere on the south side 65’ 4” and on the North side 65’. Bounded on the East to Castle Lane on the west to ground and houses belonging to Walter REDFORD Sadler on the south by a dwelling house and premises in possession of William EDWARDS gun maker and on the North by a dwelling house and premises in possession of Mrs. Ann COTTON. To hold to Robert EMMETT his heirs and assigns for life of Catherine ALLEY. WITNESS: John WICKS of City of Dublin attorney & Mr. Thomas FLEMING of same City Gent.
ROD: 652-384-448328. 1806 Jan 14
BTW Thomas Addis EMMET of New York USA Esq of 1st pt Robert HOLMES of City of Dublin Esq. of 2nd pt. & John WILLIAMS of City of Dublin Esq of 3rd pt. … parcel of ground with dwelling house & Offices on West side of Castle Lane now called Palace Street in City of Dublin formerly in possession of John NOTT [NUTT?] deceased & now in tenure & occupancy of John WILLIAMS containing in front to Castle Lane 23:18:9 and in rere 18:8 in depth from front to rere on South side 65’ and on the north side 65’ bounded on East to Castle Lane & on west to houses belonging to Walter REDFORD sadler and on south by a dwelling house in possession of Mrs Ann COTTON … for life of Catherine ALLEY … to hold the said premises unto the said John WILLIAMS his heirs and assigns for and during all such [?] & Inheritances thereof as Robert EMMET therein mentioned was entitled to in his life time under and by virtue of recited articles of agreement 17 Aug 1800 which said deed and this Memorial are witnessed by William MAZIERE & Peter Ferdinand WEBER both of City of Dublin Gent.

One last tidbit of interest with respect to connections with the United Irishmen involves the William Cope who first leased Lot No. 7 to Robert Hyde in 1791. I suspect that he was the same William Cope who was a silk merchant. If he was, then he would have been the one who had convinced Thomas Reynolds, a silk weaver from Dublin to disclose to the government what the key players in the United Irishmen were up to. Reynolds had served as a Colonel in the United Irishmen and then had second thoughts about it all. It was Reynolds’ testimony that was used to convict several men who had counted themselves as friends or supportive business associates. Lord Edward Fitzgerald, William Byrne & Oliver Bond. It is also likely that he was also the same William Cope who was on the jury that later convicted James Weldon of high treason for his role with the United Irishmen. Clearly, this William Cope was someone with a lot to answer for when it comes to the eventual trajectory of Irish history.

Today, from the vantage point of a window table at Beshoff Bros, Seafood Restaurant, you can look across the street towards the corner where Hyde’s once existed. These days, there is a bank there, a branch of the Allied Irish Bank built in 1872. The Munster and Leinster Bank had preceded it in that spot.

It is a sad irony that on this site, where once revolutionary fervor had been imbibed along with the coffee, there is now a bank – and even worse, that it is one that had to be nationalized. Its bad loans had helped to trigger the collapse of the Celtic Tiger in 2008 and threatened to put the finances of the whole country under water. This was definitely not the vision of an independent and sovereign Irish state that the United Irishmen fought for a little over 200 years ago. 

We have no National Government—we are ruled by Englishmen, and the servants of Englishmen, whose object is the interest of another country; whose instrument is corruption; whose strength is the weakness of Ireland; and these men have the whole power and patronage of the country, as means to seduce and subdue the honesty and the spirit of her Representatives in the Legislature

Substitute the word Englishmen for bankers - specifically ineffectively regulated bankers - and it seems that little has changed when it comes to those whose instrument is corruption; whose strength is the weakness of Ireland.  As Mark Twain allegedly said: History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes.

PS. Lot No. 7 was also a near neighbour to numerous gun manufacturers and booksellers and printers - a combustible convergence in late 1700s politics if there ever was one.

Some on-line sources: