1641 Depositions Timeline

Date Event


22 October 1641 The plot to seize Dublin Castle is revealed by Owen Connolly to Lord Justices Sir William Parsons and Sir John Borlase. (MS 809, fols 13r-14v) Sir Phelim O’Neill seizes Charlemont Fort (County Armagh)
23 October 1641 The lord justices and council issue a proclamation declaring a state of rebellion. Rebellion spreads in Ulster
4 November 1641 Sir Phelim O’Neill publishes a forged commission from King Charles I
29 November 1641 Government forces defeated by the rebels at Julianstown, County Meath
23 December 1641 The lord justices issue a ‘Commission for the Despoiled Subject’ to eight clergymen, headed by Henry Jones, who are to record the losses of those dispossessed by the rebels. (Copy MS 812, fol. 1r) Commissioners: Henry Jones; Randall Adams; John Watson; William Aldrich; John Sterne; Henry Brereton; Roger Puttock; William Hitchcock.
30 December 1641 The Commission begins work with deponents from Cavan (MS 833 f.34r Lewis) and Fermanagh (MS 835, f. 245r Hipkiss)


18 January 1642 Revised commission issued to extend the inquiry to murders, traitorous words, and apostasy. (Copy MS 812, fols 1v-2v)
1 March 1642 Deposition of Roger Puttock (MS 816, fols 132r-133v)
3 March 1642 Deposition of Henry Jones (MS 809, fols 1r-4v)
5 March 1642 Deposition of William Aldrich (MS 832, fols 173r-v)
5 March 1642 Supplementary commission for depositions to be taken in Munster by Archdeacon Philip Bysse and ad hoc commissioners
7 March 1642 Deposition of John Watson (MS 812, fols 41r-v) Deposition of Randall Adams (MS 817, fols 42r-v, 45r-v)
19 March 1642 Jones presents a report of the commission’s preliminary findings to the English House of Commons. This is published as A remonstrance of divers remarkeable passages concerning the church and kingdome of Ireland (London 1642). The cut off point for material used in the Remonstrance was 8 March.
5-12 April 1642 Three commissioners (Adams, Puttock and Sterne) go with the government army from Dublin to Queen’s County, collecting depositions at Athy and Maryborough
6 April 1642 Special commission to four clergymen to collect depositions in Ulster. No evidence that they collected any. All that survives was published in A New Remonstarnce from Ireland (London, July 1643)
May – June 1642 Roger Puttock dies sometime after 26 May 1642
11 June 1642 Edward Piggott appointed to replace Puttock and a third commission issued (Copy at MS 812, fols 3r-v).
17 September 1642 Deposition of John Sterne (MS 814, fols 199r-200v)
20 December 1642 Deposition of Edward Piggott (MS 830, fols 130r-v)


July 1643 Philip Bisse wounded and later dies after an encounter with rebels on the road between Cork and Youghal. Munster commission lapses. Last deposition taken on July 9.
15 September 1643 Cessation between confederates and royalists in Ireland
5 November 1643 A ‘Discourse’, prepared by the commissioners as a sequel to the Remonstrance (B.L.,Harleian MS 5999), presented to the Irish council.
13 November 1643 Ormond appointed lord lieutenant


February 1644 Lord Inchiquin brings the Bisse depositions to court at Oxford, England
June 1644 Thomas Morley publishes A remonstrance of the barbarous cruelties and bloody murders committed by the Irish rebels…collected out of the records at Dublin (London, 1644) using depositions


12 October 1645 GianBattista Rinuccini, papal nuncio arrives in Ireland
9 November 1645 Henry Jones consecrated as bishop of Clogher
September 1645 – January 1646 Thomas Waring, clerk to the Commission makes copies of the Depositions


April 1646 Sir John Temple publishes The Irish Rebellion (London, 1646), making use of depositions taken up to 23 April 1644
30 July 1646 First Ormond Peace proclaimed in Dublin. An article of this peace provided for the destruction of the depositions. This date also saw the last recorded deposition to be copied by Waring. As the peace did not take effect depositions continued to be taken.
October Depositions secretly conveyed to England by Thomas Waring


7 June 1647 Henry Jones’s brother, Colonel Michael Jones, with civil commissioners and a parliamentary army, arrives in Dublin to assume control of the government. Henry Jones becomes his secretary and the Commission ceases to act on 30 September.
30 September Last deposition taken by Dublin commissioners


30 January 1649 King Charles I executed
9 May 1649 English council of state orders the publication of the depositions.
2 August 1649 Battle of Rathmines
15 August 1649 Cromwell lands at Dublin


March 1650 Publication of A brief narration of the plotting, beginning & carrying on of that execrable rebellion and butcherie in Ireland. With the unheard of devilish-cruelties and massacres by the Irish-rebels, exercised upon the Protestants and English there (London, 1650) by Thomas Waring, announcing the forthcoming publication of the depositions.
1650 Henry Jones becomes Scout Master General to the Commonwealth Army in Ireland


April 1652 At a meeting of the commissioners of parliament at Kilkenny Jones presents abstracts of massacres reported in the depositions. This is published in May
May 1652 An Abstract of some few of those barbarous, cruell massacres and murthers of the Protestants and English in some parts of Ireland, committed since the 23 of October 1641 collected out of the examinations taken upon oath by persons of trust in the beginning of the rebellion, by vertue of severall commissions under the Great Seal of Ireland (London, 1652) by Henry Jones
6 July 1653 Jones and Brereton present the Waring copies to the mayor of Dublin
12 August 1652 Act for the settlement of Ireland
8 September 1652 Seventy commissioners appointed by parliament, any twelve to constitute a court empowered to order the examination of witnesses, try cases and impose punishment. Such examinations were already being conducted in some counties by Justices of the Peace.


10 March 1653 Sir Phelim O’Neill executed (MS 836, fols 167r-170v)
24 September 1653 Act for the speedy and effectual satisfaction of the Adventurers for land in Ireland, and of the Arrears due to the Soldiery there; and of other public Debts, and for the encouragement of Protestants to plant and inhabit Ireland.
December 1653 Bisse depositions introduced in court in evidence against Lord Muskerry. Thomas Waring testifies to having received them from the Council of State and to having edited them for publication.


March 1654 –
March 1655
Thomas Waring, Henry Brereton and others employed to prepare indexes and extract depositions concerning murders, robberies and massacres for the ‘Athlone commissioners’, in connection with the adjudication of the claims of ‘innocents’ to receive land in Connacht


1741 Depositions presented to TCD in commemoration of the centenary of the rebellion