This is the sixth volume in the 1641 Depositions series. The papers of both these Tudor-plantation counties contain important ancillary material that helps to illustrate the way in which the Commission for the Despoiled Subject went about its business and to reconstruct the early history of the collection itself.
The body of evidence relating to Laois is greater and more broadly based than that for Offaly, largely because it was one of the two counties outside Dublin to which the Commissioners came to collect depositions, but in different degrees the records of both counties reveal, beneath the landowning surface, the continued presence of scattered settler communities composed of leaseholders, large and small, and craftsmen who supplemented their earnings with smallholdings. There is no evidence in either county of mass killings, but ill-treatment, flagrant disregard of terms of surrender and gratuitous murders are well-attested.
The testimonies document the loss of goods, military activity, and the alleged crimes committed by the Irish insurgents. 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.
About the series
The 1641 Depositions are witness testimonies, mainly by Protestants, but also by some Catholics, from all social backgrounds, concerning their experiences of the 1641 Irish rebellion. In total, 19,010 manuscript pages in 31 bound volumes held at Trinity College Dublin have been transcribed and arranged for publication in 12 volumes. The depositions are available online at https://www.1641.tcd.ie