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History of Province Munster


To address recent postings concerning the 1653 Transplantation Certificate, a number of people have asked about the reason for the certificate, and for the need to move. 

Here's a bit from the 1998 "Oxford Companion to Irish History", pp. 128-29, 549.

Although the Act for Adventurers ( Cromwell's Invasion ) had raised only £306,718, the
Cromwellian conquest of Ireland had cost an estimated £3.5 million. Other state creditors, and arrears of pay due to 35,000 soldiers, had thus to be satisfied out of Irish land.  The first object under the 1652 act for the settling of Ireland was to identify 'rebel' landowners for clearance. 

The most guilty, including 105 named chief rebels, were subject to execution, banishment, or transportation, while others who had not shown 'constant good affection' to parliament were subject to variou levels of forfeiture and transplantation to Connacht.

In September 1653 the English parliament set aside four counties (Dublin, Kildare, Carlow, and Cork) for the government, and ten counties (Armaghg, Down, Antrim, Laois, Offaly, Meath, Westmeath, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford) for division between the adventurers and
soldiers, with more land to be provided out of other counties if necessary. 

A tripartite Civil Survey, by jury inquisition, 'gross' estimation, and mapping supervised by William Perry, was ordered.  In January 1654, 1,500 adventurers began dividing their halves of the ten counties by lot.  In this way 1,043 adventurers were eventually assigned 1.1 million acres, 5 per cent of total profitable land, the biggest beneficiaries being London merchants who had recently bought out other investors at knock-down prices.  The 33,419 debentures issued to
disbanding soldiers, theoretically convertible into Irish land at the same 'act-rates' as the adventurers' share-out....... (Paragraphs omitted intentionally-CDF)

Under the Cromwellian land settlement, landowners who had not shown 'constant good affection' to parliament during the Confederate War forfeited their estates.  However, those not responsible for massacre or aggravated rebellion were to be removed to the counties of Galway,

Roscommon, Mayo, or Clare, where they would receive, depending on their degree of 'guilt', the equivalent of two-thirds, one-third, or one-fifth of their former lands. 

Proposals to remove the Catholic population as a whole, leaving most of the island free for British settlement, were supported by army radicals but successfully opposed by spokesmen for the 'old Protestants' (i.e., pre-1641 settlers) who recognized the economic dislocation that would result.

Transplantable landowners were required to remove themselves, with their servants and other dependants and any moveable goods, by 1 May 1654 (extended to 1 March 1655).  Another commission at Athlone checked levels of 'guilt' while a second, at Loughrea, allocated land.  Allocations became increasingly arbitrary as the administrative resources available proved
inadequate to the scale of the operation. 

In June 1657 the process was declared complete, even though many had got less than their entitlement and some nothing at all.  Some proprietors originally deemed liable to forfeiture had used bribes or personal influence to obtain land in Connacht; others eligible to transplant had refused to move, despite threats of punishment, along with 1,130 landowners transplanted within
Connacht itself, received a total of 700,000 acres.

[This from R.C. Simington's "The Transplantation to Connaught, 1654-58" [1970}

It is my personal opinion that during the laborious trek from their previous homes, a number of families found the going very difficult, and quietly slipped away during the nights, and offered themselves to nearby land owners seeking willing workers for their lands.

The Certificate displayed by the County Clare Library showed a landowner and 131 of his heads of families, (with physical descriptions, i.e. flaxenhaired, middle (height), farmer,) and their moveable goods such as cattle, swine, garrons (horses), etc.  

It would nice to learn more about how many lasted the whole journey and whether any of the three Fitzgeralds with familiar given names were among those who left at night while marching through Tipperary.

Regards,  Charles FitzGerald


BATTLE OF KINSALE, Christmas 1601 (County Cork)

But, in spite of the pleas of the Palesmen, Mountjoy refused to budge from Kinsale, and eventually O'Neill and O'Donnell had to march their armies from Ulster down almost the full length of Ireland, across hundreds of miles of mud and bog in the middle of November. The long march was celebrated by the poet Aubrey De Vere : -

O'er many a river bridged with ice,
O'er many a vale with snow-drifts dumb,
Past quaking fen and precipice
The princes of the North are come.
Lo! those are they who year by year
Roll'd back the tide of England's war;
Rejoice Kinsale, thy help is near,
That wondrous winter march is o'er.

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