The Tithe War (Irish: Cogadh na nDeachúna) was a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience, punctuated by sporadic violent episodes, in Ireland between 1830 and 1836 in reaction to the enforcement of tithes on subsistence farmers and others for the upkeep of the established state church – the Church of Ireland. Tithes were payable in cash or kind and payment was compulsory, irrespective of an individual’s religious adherence.

On 18 December 1834, the conflict came to a head at Rathcormac, County Cork, when armed Constabulary reinforced by the regular British Army killed twelve and wounded forty-two during several hours of fighting when trying to enforce a tithe order reputedly to the value of 40 shillings.[7][8]


In memory of the Tithe Massacre at the nearby farmyard of the widow Johanna Ryan, Ballinakilla, Gortroe (now Bartlemy) on the 18th December 1834.  In this final battle of the Tithe War nine people were killed instantly and forty-five wounded in consequence of which three died later.  Erected as a testament to an heroic stand by an unarmed people and as a memorial to these fallen twelve:

Michael Barry; Michael Collins; Michael Lane; William Ambrose

William Cashman; Patrick Curtin; Richard Ryan; John Cotter

John Collins: John Daly; William Twomey; Willian Ivis


The distraining party was met at Bartlemy, a crossroads hamlet, by a military escort. This comprised 12 mounted troops of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards under Major Waller; two companies (100 men) of the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot under Lieutenant Tait; and “a very small party” of the Irish Constabulary under Captain Pepper. A crowd of 250 locals began pelting the party with stones before retreating to the plot of Widow Ryan where a barricade had been built. Ryan owed 40 shillings in arrears and the party advanced to collect either the money or produce of equal value. The Riot Act was read and the soldiers advanced, but were beaten back by “spades sticks and stones” and sustained injuries for 45 minutes. Waller ordered them to open fire. Nine were killed at the scene and 45 injured. None of the distraining party or escort were killed, though many were injured by rocks, cudgels and pikes. The crowd dispersed and Ryan paid her tithe.