Remember 1641…

HISTORY buffs should take a look at the digitised 1641 Rebellion testimonies; the Ulster depositions are the first online. According to the site, these controversial documents, rarely seen over the centuries

are witness testimonies mainly by Protestants, but also by some Catholics, from all social backgrounds, concerning their experiences of the 1641 Irish rebellion. The testimonies document the loss of goods, military activity, and the alleged crimes committed by the Irish insurgents, including assault, stripping, imprisonment and murder. This body of material is unparalleled anywhere in early modern Europe, and provides a unique source of information for the causes and events surrounding the 1641 rebellion and for the social, economic, cultural, religious, and political history of seventeenth-century Ireland, England and Scotland.

Propagandists, politicians and historians have all exploited the depositions at different times, and the controversy surrounding them has never been satisfactorily resolved. In fact, the 1641 ‘massacres’, like King William’s victory at the Boyne (1690), and the battle of the Somme (1916), have played a key role in creating and sustaining a collective Protestant/British identity in the province of Ulster.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Gonzo, thanks for the link, they are an amazing record espically considering how little survives from that period, really helps to paint a picture of everyday life up to the rebellion and what went on during it. Most historian are pretty good at reading between the lines and working out exagerations, plus with so many accounts it is easier to get a common narritive. BTW its not just a planters tale, many of the accounts are from “native Irish” who for various reasons did not rebel, so it is not completely one sided.

  • It’s good to see these and other records being digitised. I published David Gray’s deposition on NALIL blog back in 2007. There are still Grays living around Dunseverick.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Don’t forget the oppressed Catholics from 1600-til 1970s while you’re enjoying yourselves, eh.

  • Drumlins Rock

    yes brian we cant forget the “what abouts…” actually what I would like to know more about ATM is what life was really like here before the plantation and how much changed or stayed the same, as for oppressed peoples, the Presbyterians were treated much the same if not worse than the Catholics during much of that period.

  • DR, some of the placename and surname spellings differ from current forms eg Ballentoy and Neaven

  • Drumlins Rock

    I noticed nevin, might give us a little idea of how they spoke back then too. one example is a reference to mr askin of ogher castle, which is now mr erskine of augher castle.

  • Greenflag

    Drumlin Rock,

    ‘ I would like to know more about ATM is what life was really like here before the plantation and how much changed or stayed the same’

    Well to judge by the events of the past 100 years in NI not a whole lot;) There has of course been an upgrading from inter clan conflict to modern sectarian based tribal conflict .On the other hand dental care has improved as has general life expectancy and people are now eating more vegetables and fruits 😉 . Housing conditions have also improved 😉

    Seriously congrats to the people who have made this old tome available to people /researchers /historians etc etc . I haven’t yet had a chance to peek through the archives but I will have a gander in coming days .

    Thanks Gonzo .

  • Drumlins Rock

    the things that havnt changed struck me too, espically the underlying “they are our neighbours and we got on well, but you always knew you couldnt trust them”.