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Ref No IE TCD MSS 809-841
Title The 1641 depositions.
Creation Dates 1641-1654
Extent And Medium 33 vols.
Level Of Description Collection
Scope And Content The 1641 Depositions comprise over 3,000 personal statements or 'depositions' of Protestant men and women of all classes, made following the outbreak of the rebellion by the Catholic Irish in October 1641. This material was collected by special commissioners between 1641 and the end of the war in 1654, and was used as evidence in the subsequent trials of rebellion leaders. The Depositions constitute the chief evidence for the contested allegation that the 1641 rebellion began with a general massacre of Protestant settlers.
The 1641 depositions are the papers of Rev Dr Henry Jones and seven other clergy who were instructed to record the losses and experiences of 'despoiled Protestants' by successive commissions of 23 December 1641, 18 January 1642 and 9 June 1642, together with copies of many of them made by their clerk, Thomas Waring, in the late 1640s; the papers of Rev Philip Bysse, who received a commission to collect similar information in Munster on 5 March 1642; and the papers of a second set of commissioners appointed in 1652 to collect evidence of atrocities and undertake the prosecution of offenders. The separate collections were brought together in the 1650s, initially to facilitate legal proceedings, but subsequently to provide information about the degrees of guilt of Catholic landholders who were being transplanted to Connacht. At that stage, they were called 'the books of discrimination' or 'the black books'. In later years they have been variously known as 'Henry Jones' papers', 'Barry's papers' (after Matthew Barry, the clerk of the Council who had custody of them after 1660) but they are mostly referred to as 'The 1641 Depositions'.
Arrangement The depositions are bound according to counties, but some counties are spread over several volumes, and some counties are bound together.
Binding Note Modern rebinding
Access Conditions Please contact mscripts@tcd.ie. Consultation on microfilm only.
Copyright Please contact mscripts@tcd.ie
Mgt Group Political
Language English.
Public Note A. Clarke, 'The 1641 Depositions' in Treasures of the Library, Trinity College Dublin (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy for Trinity College Library, 1986), pp. 111-122
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