As a landlord, magistrate, and loyalist in republican South Armagh, Meredith Chambre was flirting with death. Two armed bodyguards accompanied him wherever he went, for his way of life put him in constant danger.

On January 20th, 1852, he presided over the magistrates’ court, then set off for his home at Hawthorn Hill. At Drumintee, halfway along the route, Mr. Chambre and his bodyguards were ambushed by republicans. Two shots were fired, one knocking off the magistrate’s hat, the other slicing off the left side of his face.

The man who fired the shots was Francis Berry, 22, who was caught by police. After his arrest, food brought to him in his cell by his sister was wrapped in the newspaper used as wadding in the shotgun fired at Mr. Chambre. His footprints were also found at the scene.

Berry vigorously denied the charge at the July assizes. But, although the jury recommended mercy on the grounds that the victim had survived, he was hanged on Saturday, August 7th, 1852, outside Armagh Prison, becoming the last person to be executed for attempted murder in Ireland.

The magistrate lived on to a very old age, and there were no more attempts on his life.