Simington: The Civil Survey 1654-1656, County of Tipperary

Pdf Simington, Robert C. The civil survey A.D. 1654-1656: County of Tipperary. Volume 1. Dublin: Stationery Office, 1931
Size: 47.3M bytesModified: 10 October 2011, 14:36
Pdf Simington, Robert C. The civil survey A.D. 1654-1656: County of Tipperary. Volume 2. Dublin: Stationery Office, 1934.
Size: 50.8M bytesModified: 10 October 2011, 14:36

The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656: County of Tipperary edited by Robert C. Simington (1885-1976) of the Quit Rent Office was published in two volumes between 1931 and 1934. The mid 17th century survey consists of returns of the extent and value of lands forfeited by Catholic and Royalist rebels in County Tipperary following their defeat during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland .

Prior to the Norman conquest of Ireland in the 12th century an assortment of Gaelic Irish clans controlled Tipperary with Cashel as the seat of the Kingdom of Munster . County Tipperary was shired in 1253 and was part of the domain of the Norman Butler dynasty of Ormonde who had their seat in Kilkenny. Local Irish chiefs were allowed to keep their lands as long as they paid tribute to the Butlers and recognised the English monarch as Lord of Ireland.

However by the early 14th century the Norman Lordship of Ireland was reduced to the area around Dublin known as the Pale as Gaelic Irish chieftains and Norman lords became a law unto themselves. The English Reformation of the 16th century made matters worse as the Gaelic Irish and the Old English refused to renounce their Catholic faith. During the reign of the Tudors, a campaign of conquest and plantation began to subdue the Catholic Irish and replace them with British Protestant settlers. After the defeat of the Gaelic Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell at Kinsale in 1603, they fled to the European continent opening the path for James I's Ulster Plantation beginning in 1609.

The Ulster rebellion of 1641 led to the creation of the Catholic Confederacy, an alliance of the Gaelic Irish Catholic and the Old English nobles, based in Kilkenny led by James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde, that governed two thirds of Ireland independently until 1649. They supported the Royalists and King Charles I who was defeated by the Parliamentarians led by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. After the English King was executed in 1649, Cromwell invaded Ireland to punish the Irish Catholic rebels in particular for the massacre of Ulster Protestant planters in 1641.

There was fierce fighting in County Tipperary especially at Clonmel before all the major towns and castles were captured by the Parliamentarians. By 1653 organised resistance in Ireland was crushed and hundreds of thousands were dead due to massacre, starvation and disease. Thousands of Cromwellian soldiers took over confiscated Gaelic and Old English lands and became the nucleus of what later became the Anglo-Irish Protestant Ascendancy. Catholic ownership of land fell from sixty percent to less than ten percent due to the Act of Settlement 1652. Thousands of dispossessed Catholics were sold into slavery in the West Indies or fled to France and Spain . Others such as the Butlers of Ormonde who had converted to Protestantism and submitted to English rule retained their lands.

In 1660 the English monarchy was restored under Charles II, who was invited to return by the English Parliament after the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658 and a military coup overthrew his son Richard in 1659. Charles II removed many of the penal laws against Irish Catholics and was succeeded by his Catholic brother, James II. The Catholic Gaelic Irish and Old English nobles in County Tipperary supported James II but were defeated again at the Battle of the Boyne by the Protestant King William III of Orange .

Robert C. Simington and his colleagues at the Quit Rent Office were responsible for management of Crown estates, collection of quit rents and other royal land revenues before their duties were transfered to the Land Commission. The office kept copies of the Civil Survey, Down Survey, historical maps, deeds, records of emigration schemes which are of immense historical value because centuries of Irish records were destroyed by an explosion and fire at the Irish Public Record Office in 1922 during the Irish Civil War.

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