James Coigly

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Father James Coigly (Rev. James Quigley) born in Kilmore, Co. Armagh (c.1761 – 7 June 1798) was a Roman Catholic priest and United Irishmen leader who was executed in Kent, England.


Rev. James Coigly, sometimes falsely referred to as James O'Coigly [1] was ordained in 1785 in Armagh, lived briefly in Paris and then returned to the Armagh diocese. A United Irishmen, he worked at improving Catholic and Presbyterian relations. Coigly travelled to England and Paris, where he was involved with the United Britons and with James Napper Tandy.[2] While travelling to France, he was arrested alongside four other United Irishmen, one being Arthur O'Connor, a leader of the Rebels of Leinster. Upon his arrest, English authorities discovered a letter by the United Britons addressed to the French Revolutionary Government calling for an invasion of England, hidden in Coigly's garments.

Coigly asked permission for a Catholic priest, and his jailers delivered a 'Castle-Catholic' reverend, loyal to the British Crown. They ordered him to refuse the last sacraments to Fr. Coigly unless the Rebel priest would give details concerning the United Irishmen. Father Coigly would not talk and the visiting priest left with no sacraments dispensed. He was hanged at Penenden Heath, Maidstone on 7 June 1798.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ p. 70, A Patriot Priest: The Life of Father James Coigly, Dáire Keogh, Cork University Press, 1998
  2. ^ [1] Coigly at Princess Grace Irish Library. Retrieved Oct. 09, 2007.