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Irish adventurers and godly militants in the 1640s

  • Keith Lindley (a1)

Extract

This paper will attempt to shed some additional light on the background and motives of those who were to play a leading part in the scheme for the Irish adventurers. The focus will be upon those Englishmen, and Londoners in particular, who invested from 1642 onwards in the reconquest of Ireland in return for grants of Irish land once the island had been secured again. It will be argued that militants who regarded themselves as belonging to the chosen ranks of the godly — that is the minority of mankind singled out for salvation by God, and thus constituting his elect or saints — played a leading part in the scheme and were among its most committed participants, and that they later helped to shape English policy towards Ireland. These militants were also ardent advocates of reformation in church and state in England in the 1640s, and they viewed Ireland and the successful Catholic rising in 1641 from a perspective highly coloured by antipopery. They tended to see the struggle taking place in the mid-seventeenth century in Britain, Ireland and Europe generally in black-and-white terms, as a struggle between true religion (by which was meant a thoroughly reformed Protestant church) and the Antichrist as represented by the pope and the forces believed to be ranged under him in the Catholic church.

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1 For an excellent recent analysis of antipopery see Lake, Peter, ‘Anti-popery: the structure of a prejudice’ in Cust, Richard and Hughes, Ann (eds), Conflict in early Stuart England: studies in religion and politics, 1603–42 (London, 1989), pp 72106.

2 The standard modern authority on the Irish adventurers is Bottigheimer, Karl S., English money and Irish land: the ‘adventurers’ in the Cromwellian settlement of Ireland (Oxford, 1971).

3 Ibid., pp 40–42, 45, 54; Moody, T. W., Martin, F. X. and Byrne, F. J. (eds), A new history of Ireland, iii: Early Modern Ireland (Oxford, 1976), p. 295.

4 Bottigheimer, English money, pp 63–5; app. A, composte list of original investors in Irish land, pp 170–95.

5 Ibid., pp 52, 65, 85.

6 Lake, ‘Anti-popery’, p. 80; Seaver, Paul, Wallington’s world: a Puritan artisan in seventeenth-century London (London, 1985), p. 166.

7 Lindley, Keith, ‘The impact of the 1641 rebellion upon England and Wales, 1641–5’ in I.H.S., xviii, no. 70 (Sept. 1972), pp 143-76.

8 Among the examples to be found in parish records are a man who had had his hands ‘cut off by the rebels in Ireland’ and a number of women widowed by the rebels and left with children to support who gained relief from St Mary le Strand; a destitute woman from Ireland forced to find shelter in the porch of Westminster Abbey who was among those refugees relieved by St Margaret Westminster; and the numerous payments made to refugees in 1642–3 by Allhallows the Great (Victoria Library, Westminster, churchwardens’ accounts, St Mary le Strand, 1641–2, 1642–3; ibid., churchwardens’ accounts, St Margaret Westminster, E. 24; Guildhall Library, London, churchwardens’ accounts, 1642–3, MS 818/1).

9 Seaver, Wallington’s world, pp 83, 165–6.

10 Select committee of adventurers for Ireland chosen in London, 3 Sept. 1642 (B.L., Add. MS 4771, f. 3).

11 Bottigheimer, English money, p. 73; app. A, p. 194; app. B, adventurers who drew Irish land, p. 212.

12 Greaves, R. L. and Zaller, Robert (eds), Biographical dictionary of British radicals in the seventeenth century (3 vols, London, 1982-4), iii, 294–5; P.R.O., S.P. dom. 28/131/pt 3, f. 11; The true and original copy of the first petition which was delivered … to the Honourable House of Commons on Thursday the first of December 1642 (London, 1642) (Thomason, B.L., E. 130/26); Remonstrans redivivus (London, 1642) (ibid., E. 61/21).

13 Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 192; app. B, p. 211.

14 Greaves, & Zailer, (eds), British radicals, iii, 234 ; P.R.O., S.P. dom. 16/467/111; House of Lords Record Office, main papers, petition of the parishioners of St Duhstan in the East, 22 Mar. 1642; Commons’ jn., ii, 492; Liu, Tai, Puritan London: a study of religion and society in the city parishes (Newark, Del., 1986), pp 107-8.

15 Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 187; Farnell, James E., ‘The usurpation of honest London householders: Barebone’s Parliament’ in E.H.R., lxxxii (1967), pp 2830 ; Firth, C. H. and Rait, R. S. (eds), Acts and ordinances of the interregnum (3 vols, London, 1911), i, 914; Green, M. A. E. (ed.), Calendar of the proceedings of the committee for compounding (5 vols, London, 1889-92), i, 194, 378.

16 Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 183; app. B, p. 204; Cal. committee for compounding, i, 10, 162; Green, M. A. E. (ed.), Calendar of the proceedings of the committee for advance of money (3 vols, London, 1888), i, 105; Guildhall, London, MS 1013/1, ff 179, 182–4; The journal of Sir Simonds D’Ewes, ed. Coates, W. H. (Yale, 1942), pp 67 ; P.R.O., S.P. dom. 16/486/32; Lindley, Keith, ‘London’s citizenry in the English revolution’ in Richardson, R. C. (ed.), Town and countryside in the English revolution (Manchester, 1992), pp 20, 29, 31.

17 Lindley, ‘London’s citizenry’, pp 20–21; Corporation of London Records Office, journals of common council, vol. 40, ff 25, 174; Liu, Puritan London, p. 71. Floyd made a relatively modest investment of £192 in the adventurers’ scheme (just below the London average of £200), for which he drew 1,750 acres in Westmeath (Bottigheimer, English money, p. 66n.; app. A, p. 181; app. B, p. 203).

18 Firth & Rait (eds), Acts & ordinances, i, 223; Corporation of London Records Office, journals of common council, vol. 40, f. 174; Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 179.

19 Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, pp 181, 185; app. B, p. 205. Foot did not draw any Irish land.

20 Cal. committee for advance of money, i, 1–2; Pearl, Valerie, London and the outbreak of the Puritan revolution (Oxford, 1961), p. 253 . Foot was also appointed to parliament’s gunpowder committee in December 1642 (Two orders of the Lords and Commons … concerning a committee of citizens, chosen and appointed by parliament, to see that no gunpowder he conveyed out of London (London, 1642) (Thomason, B.L., E. 129/1)). Dethick was to leave money for the relief of deprived nonconformist ministers and preachers in his 1671 godly will (P.R.O., PROB 11/335/46 will of John Dethick).

21 Cal. S.P. dom., 1625–49, pp 651–2; Firth, & Rait, (eds), Acts & ordinances, i, 7073.

22 Commons’ jn., iii, 112; Liu, Puritan London, p. 83.

23 Pearl, London, pp 313–14; Woodhead, J. R., The rulers of London, 1660–89 (London, 1965), p. 41.

24 Commons’ jn., iii, 112. Hill invested £700 in the ‘sea adventure’ and drew 555 acres in Tipperary (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 184; app. B, p. 204).

25 Two orders of the Lords and Commons; The manuscripts of the House of Lords, new series, xi: Addenda, 1514–17¡4, ed. Bond, Maurice F. (H.M.C., London, 1962), p. 393 . Langham invested £700 in the adventurers but did not draw any Irish land (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 185).

26 Beaven, A. B., The aldermen of the city of London (2 vols, London, 1908-13), ii, 68, 181; Commons’ jn., iii, 408. Methwold invested £1,100 in the adventurers but drew no Irish land (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 187).

27 Greaves, & Zaller, (eds), British radicals, iii, 232 . Thomason adventured £700 and drew 1,166 acres in Queen’s County (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 192; app. B, p. 211).

28 See above, p. 6.

29 Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 194; House of Lords Record Office, main papers, petition of the parson, churchwarden and inhabitants of the parish of St Thomas the Apostle, 30 June 1641.

30 Guildhall Library, London, MS 5019/1, ff 76, 83–4. He invested £200 but drew no Irish land (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 188).

31 Richard Symonds, ‘The king’s army in 1643’ (B.L., Harl. MS 986, f. 21); House of Lords Record Office, main papers, petition of the parishioners of St Mary le Bow, 14 Feb. 1644.

32 Commons’ jn., ii, 851–2. Waldo invested £600 and drew 1,833 acres in Tipperary (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 194; app. B, p. 212).

33 P.R.O., S.P. dom. 23/251/88. Goodwin invested £300 and drew 875 acres in Kilkenny West, County Westmeath (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 182; app. B, p. 203).

34 Corporation of London Records Office, journals of common council, vol. 40, f. 153.

35 Firth, & Rait, (eds), Acts & ordinances, i, 912 ; Bottigheimer, English money, pp 52, 81–2.

36 Greaves, & Zaller, (eds), British radicals, iii, 167-8; Farnell, ‘The usurpation of honest London householders’, pp 29–30. Shute invested £300 in the ‘sea adventure’, having previously invested £200 in the original adventure (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 191).

37 Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 192; app. B, p. 211; Greaves & Zaller (eds), British radicals, in, 232–3.

38 Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 192; P.R.O., S.P. dom. 28/131/pt 3, f. 14; Firth, & Rait, (eds), Acts & ordinances, i, 914 ; Woodhead, Rulers of London, pp 161–2; P.R.O., PROB 11/366/64 will of William Thomson.

39 Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 179; Firth & Rait, (eds), Acts & ordinances, i, 9, 1254, 1261–2, ii, 524, 562.

40 Firth, & Rait, (eds), Acts & ordinances, i, 318, 1150. Vincent invested £1,300 in the adventurers’ project overall and drew a staggering 19,044 acres in Queen’s County, King’s County and Meath (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 193; app. B, p. 211).

41 P.R.O., S.P. dom. 16/486/32; Cai. committee for compounding, i, 10, 162; Cal. committee for advance of money, i, 105. Waring invested £1,000 in the adventurers and drew 4,444 acres in Waterford (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 194; app. B, p. 212).

42 Woodhead, Rulers of London, p. 44; Symonds, ‘The king’s army in 1643’, f. 8. Chamberlaine’s total investment in the project was £800, and he drew 2,165 acres in Limerick (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 178; app. B, p. 200).

43 Nagel, L. C., ‘The militia of London, 1641–9’ (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 1982), app. 3, p. 317 ; Firth, & Rait, (eds), Acts & ordinances, i, 1057, ii, 123; Commons’ jn., ii, 926; P.R.O., S.P. dom. 28/131/pt 3, f. 3. Willoughby and Pennoyer invested £200 and £500 respectively, but neither man drew any Irish land (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, pp 194, 188).

44 Aylmer, G. E., The Levellers in the English revolution (London, 1975), pp 26, 28–9. Rainsborough invested £500 in the adventurers but drew no Irish land (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 189).

45 Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 179; Pearl, London, pp 119, 121, 194; Certain informations, 18–25 September 1643 (London, 1643) (Thomason, B.L., E. 68/3).

46 Firth, & Rait, (eds), Acts & ordinances, i, 7073, 220; P.R.O., S.P. dom. 21/26/121.

47 Firth, & Rait, (eds), Acts & ordinances, i, 1147-66.

48 Zaller, Robert, ‘Maurice Thomson’ in Greaves, & Zaller, (eds), British radicals, iii, 233.

49 Ibid., 233–5; Hill, Christopher, The century of revolution, 1603–1714 (2nd ed., London, 1980), p. 32 . Brenner, Robert, Merchants and revolution: commercial change, political conflict, and London’s overseas traders, 1550–1653 (Cambridge, 1993), which appeared after the completion of this paper, contains much greater detail upon the colonial interests and activities of Maurice Thomson and many of his fellow London merchants who also became Irish adventurers. Brenner stresses the colonial interests of a significant cross-section of the original London backers of the ‘sea adventure’ (pp 400–10), yet he inexplicably fails to draw upon Bottigheimer, English money.

50 Greaves, & Zaller, (eds), British radicals, iii, 232-3.

51 Farnell, ‘The usurpation of honest London householders’, pp 28–30; Brenner, Robert, ‘The Civil War politics of London’s merchant community’ in Past & Present, no. 58 (Feb. 1973), p. 93 and note.

52 Greaves, & Zaller, (eds), British radicals, iii, 167-8; Farnell, ‘The usurpation of honest London householders’, pp 28–30.

53 Lords’ jn., ix, 50; ‘The manuscripts of the House of Lords’ in H.M.C, rep. 7 (London, 1879), p. 31; Brenner, ‘Civil War politics of London’s merchant community’, p. 94.

54 Brenner, ‘Civil War politics of London’s merchant community’, p. 94; P.R.O., Exchequer 122/196/24; Woodhead, Rulers of London, p. 44; Beaven, Aldermen of London, ii, 181.

55 P.R.O., PROB 11/301/213 will of Richard Floyd.

56 Oliver Cromwell had himself invested £300 in the original scheme and a further £300 in the ‘sea adventure’ and drew 1,257 acres in King’s County (Bottigheimer, English money, app. A, p. 179; app. B, p. 201).

57 Gentles, Ian, The New Model Army in England, Ireland and Scotland (Oxford, 1992), pp 375, 381, 382–4.

58 An earlier version of this paper was read on 17 October 1992 at a symposium organised by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Confederation of Kilkenny. I am extremely grateful to my colleague, Mr R. J. Hunter, for his advice and comments.

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Irish adventurers and godly militants in the 1640s

  • Keith Lindley (a1)

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