The 1641 Depositions: The Development of Rebellion in County Louth

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As Protestant refugees fled from the Irish rebellion of 1641 and made their way to Dublin for protection, a commission was set up to take their statements. These statements were then called the ‘1641 depositions’. The original depositions are housed in Trinity College, Dublin and have been transcribed, catalogued and made available online. This resource provides an opportunity to reassess the rebellion; not only on its nature, but also with regards the plantations and interaction of settlers, and the social, cultural, political and economic landscape of the era. While it was customary to think that the rebellion of 1641 was a reaction to the Ulster Plantation, or ‘a straightforward tale of conflict between protestant and catholic’, wider …show more content…
The policies of the Lord Deputies appointed by Charles I also disgruntled the Lords and gentry of the Pale for some years before the rebellion. In particular, Viscount Thomas Wentworth, appointed in 1632, introduced to Ireland a more rigid administration and organised Protestant church, as well as plans for further plantation. Wentworth’s land policies created ‘tenurial insecurity’ amongst landowners as no one was assured of the future of their land titles. In the King’s favour, Wentworth also reorganised the Irish Parliament in order to extort more finances for the crown at a time of economic recession due to a series of poor harvests. But for the most part the Lords and gentry of the Pale wanted a right to hold office and to freely practice their religion. Yet, they continually claimed to be loyal to the King. Similarly, the Northern rebels sought freedom to practice religion and hold office but their reasons for rebellion were also, in part, due to the plantation of Ulster. Throughout the Tudor re-conquest of Ireland, Ulster remained outside the ‘royal writ’ of the Pale and the Dublin government until after the Nine Year War (1594-1603) and the Flight of the Earls (1607). Afterwards, the lands of the troublesome Gaelic Earls and chieftains of Ulster were confiscated

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