The secret so heavily guarded by Rev William John Burke, was that Mrs Burke was pregnant. It would have appeared that in May 1844 she gave birth shortly after their marriage. This was true however, the couple were married for the first time the previous year, in another church.
He and his wife kept the pregnancy a secret especially after the violent suffered by Rev Burke when he renounced his faith a few weeks previously. It is impossible to keep a secret in a small town and word go out about the condition of Mrs Burke. When his wife took ill in the late stages of pregnancy Rev Burke sent for medical help. He tried to swear the doctor, apothecary and midwife, all of who attended his wife to secrecy. Of course the word got out..Very soon Rev Burke found himself in the dock at the Galway Assizes.
Limerick Reporter 11 June 1844. P 3