England and the 1641 Irish Rebellion

England and the 1641 Irish Rebellion

Joseph Cope


Boydell Press



The study shows how the 1641 Irish Rebellion played an integral role in politicizing the English people and escalating the political crisis of the 1640s.
The 1641 Irish Rebellion has long been recognized as a key event in the mid-17th century collapse of the Stuart monarchy. By 1641, many in England had grown restive under the weight of intertwined religious, political and economic crises. To these audiences, the Irish rising seemed a realization of England's worst fears: a war of religious extermination supported by European papists, whose ambitions extended across the Irish Sea. England and the 1641 Irish Rebellion explores the consequences of this emergency by focusing on survivors of the rising in local, national and regional contexts. In Ireland, the experiences of survivors reflected the complexities of life in multiethnic and religiously-diverse communities. In England, by contrast, pamphleteers, ministers, and members of parliament simplified the issues, presenting the survivors as victims of an international Catholic conspiracy and asserting English subjects' obligations to their countrymen and coreligionists. These obligations led to the creation of relief projects for despoiled Protestant settlers, but quickly expanded into sweeping calls for action against recusants and suspected popish agents in England. England and the 1641 Irish Rebellion contends that the mobilization of this local activism played an integral role in politicizing the English people and escalating the political crisis of the 1640s.

JOSEPH COPE is Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Table of Contents

Prelude: Survivors and Victims
Introduction: Irish Relief and British Problems
Distress and Great Necessity: The Experience of Survival in 1641
The Hand of God and the Works of Man: Narrations of Survival
Imagining the Rebellion: Atrocity, Anti-Popery and the Tracts of 1641
A World of Misery: The International Significance of the 1641 Rebellion
Many Distressed Irish: Refugees and the Problem of Local Order
Local Charity: Contributions to the Irish Cause
Hard and Lamentable Decisions: The Distributions and Decline of Irish Relie f


A well-argued thesis that will become the starting point for future work on relations between the various groups in early modern Ulster. (A) valuable. THE HISTORIAN

Provides useful insight into the social and cultural history of the rebellion. AMERICAN HISTORY REVIEW

(A)nother splendid addition to the consistently fine Boydell Studies in Early Modern Cultural, Political and Social History series. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

This is a useful study that explores an important series of aspects of the relationship between England and Ireland. (...) Overall, this book works as a fine set of case studies with an interesting argument, while calling out for further reconsideration and exploration. It is a book to be commended. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES

An extremely useful and suggestive book. It is a substantial addition to the existing historiography of the "Wars of the Three Kingdoms," and will have to play a significant part in any future attempt to make sense of the cataclysm of 1641 and its contested legacy. H-NET

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