John Lynch was a
widower and publican who lodged in Cork City and became involved with the
Cork City Fenians.
He was convicted on the word of an informer, John Warner, who stated that
Lynch was a colonel in the Fenian organisation in Cork. Lynch was convicted
of treason and felony by Judge Keogh in December 1865. Overall the evidence
used to convict Lynch was rather weak for the sentence of 10 years penal
Lynch was sent
first to Pentonville Prison. Later in December 1865, due to a chest
infection, he was moved to the hospital in Woking Prison. Other inmates at
Captain Richard O'Sullivan Burke (retired from the US army), Captain Timothy
Deasy (of the 9th Massachusetts Infantry Volunteers), Brian Dillon (a law
clerk from Cork), and
Charles Kickham (author of the popular novel Knocknagow).
Evidence of Lynch's
imprisonment at Woking comes via a number of letters smuggled out of the
prison that were subsequently published by
Jenny Marx in the French newspaper La Marseillaise under the
pseudonym "J. Williams". Lynch succumbed to the
regime of Woking Prison and died there on 2 June 1866.
He was subsequently
buried in the Roman Catholic pauper section of Brookwood Cemetery on 6 June.
The precise location of this area and his grave are unknown, but it is
somewhere in the woodland beyond plot 134.
National Graves Association of Ireland
commissioned a stone plaque which was fixed to the wall of the former
Catholic chapel in 2004. Prior to this, Lynch's only other memorial was on
the National Monument on the Grand Parade
in Cork City. The monument commemorates all Irish patriots who died during
the period 1798-1867.