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 research has now proved these explanations to be oversimplified. There are also varying views on the involvement of the Lords and gentry of the Pale in the rebellion. Initially, this essay will briefly explore some of the background events which led to the rebellion. However, the primary concern will be to trace the outbreak and development of rebellion in county Louth, by using the depositions as a primary source. This will also include an analysis of the involvement of the Lords and gentry of Louth in the rebellion. Other primary and secondary sources will also be examined to support this analysis.

Louth had long been a region of the Pale, and most of the land was in tenure of the Anglo-Normans, or English who were ‘the older strata of colonists, who had remained Catholic’. Nonetheless, they were royalists and had ‘stood for the Crown in all previous rebellions’. However, in the rebellion of 1641, many of the Lords, landed gentry and even the High Sheriff of Louth joined the rebel forces...

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A letter of Sir Henry Tichborne, in Sir John Temple, The Irish rebellion, p. 179
D’Alton, The History of Drogheda and its Environs, p. 240.
D’Alton, The History of Drogheda and its Environs, pp 243-45.
D’Alton, The History of Drogheda and its Environs, pp 246-47.
Anon, ‘A glorious victory, obtained by S. Henry Tichbourne, and Captaine Marroe over therebels, at a place called Dundalke neere Dublin’, p. 1 (Printed at London: for John Wright, 1642.) Wing (2nd ed.) / G869, Thomason / 25:E.143[9] British Library, Source: EEBO Document Images, pp 1-2.
D’Alton, The History of Drogheda and its Environs, p. 253
D’Alton, The History of Drogheda and its Environs, p. 254.
D’Alton, The History of Drogheda and its Environs, pp 254-55.
D’Alton, The History of Drogheda and its Environs, pp 254-55.
D’Alton, The History of Drogheda and its Environs, pp 254-55.

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