Timeline 1642: The Great Rebellion in Ireland

Timeline 1642

(Julian dates have been adjusted to modern time frame)

Although the depositions of 1641 have since been proven exaggerated at best or, at worst, false – they were designed to provoke a sensational response from the Parliament in London. By 1642, Owen Roe O’Neill had reigned in the worst sectarian elements in Ulster and regularised the civilian mobs into disciplined militias under his control. The New English response to these falsified reports drove the Old English into the arms of the Confederacy – an alliance of the ‘Old Gaelic’ lords and some but not all of the (Catholic) ‘Old English’ lords.

Owen Roe O’Neill acknowledged Lord-General of Irish Confederate forces at the Ulster provincial assembly

Owen Roe O’Neill acknowledged Lord-General of Irish Confederate forces at the Ulster provincial assembly. Born at Armagh in Ulster, Owen Roe (“Red Owen”) was the son of Art MacBaron O’Neill (c.1548–1618) and the nephew of Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone (1540-1616). Owen Roe was educated by Franciscan monks but also trained for war from an early age, joining his uncle, father and brothers in the Nine Years War (1594-1603) against the English occupation of Ulster. Around 1605, he joined the Spanish army, enlisting in an Irish regiment raised for the Spanish service that was known as the Earl of Tyrone’s regiment and was commanded by Owen’s cousin Henry O’Neill. For more than thirty years, O’Neill led a distinguished career in the Spanish army. He served mainly in Flanders where Spain was fighting against the United Provinces of the Netherlands – he distinguished himself at the sieges of Bergen-op-Zoom and Breda. He was commissioned colonel of a newly-raised Irish regiment in 1634 and achieved his most celebrated feat of arms in the Spanish service during Spain’s war against France when he defended the frontier town of Arras with 1,500 troops against overwhelming odds during July and August 1640.

January 1

  • The Irish Uprising spreads to Co’s Antrim, Limerick and Clare
  • King Charles denounces the Irish insurgents as traitors
  • The King offers the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer to John Pym, which he refuses

January 2

  • The King appoints Sir John Culpeper as Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Viscount Falkland appointed Secretary of State

January 3

  • At the King’s command, Attorney-General Sir Edward Herbert indicts five members of the House of Commons for treason

January 4

  • King Charles I ordered the attorney-general to indict for treason the five members of the House of Commons and one member of the House of Lords who were most prominent in Parliament’s attempt to transfer control of the armed forces away from the Crown.
    • The Five Members were: John Pym, John Hampden, Denzil Holles, Sir Arthur Hesilrige and William Strode. Lord Mandeville (the future Earl of Manchester) was also to be arrested
  • The King believed that these members had encouraged the Scots to invade England in the recent Bishops’ Wars and that they were intent on stirring up riots and tumults against him in London.
  • The King fails in his attempt to arrest the Five Members regarded as his leading opponents in Parliament
  • A rumour that they were planning to impeach Queen Mary for alleged involvement in Catholic conspiracies prompted Charles into taking drastic action

January 5

  • The King addresses the Common Council at the Guildhall and demands that the Five Members be handed over to answer the charges against them. His coach surrounded by hostile crowds on his return to Whitehall

January ?

  • The Irish uprising spreads to counties Antrim, Limerick and Clare.
    • King Charles I denounces the insurgents as traitors

January 10

  • Popular support for Parliament forces the King and royal family to leave London
    • The King and Royal Family leave Whitehall for Hampton Court
  • Irish insurgents before Drogheda proclaim Sir Phelim O’Neill general of their forces and governor of Co Meath

January 11

  • Parliament appoints Sir John Hotham governor of Hull with orders not to deliver the town or its magazine without Parliament’s authority.
    • His son, Captain Hotham, sent north to secure Hull and await Hotham’s arrival
  • Sir Charles Coote defeats insurgents at the Battle of Swords, in north Co Dublin
  • A plan to infiltrate Drogheda is thwarted and a number of Irish insurgents taken prisoner

January 12

  • The King moves from Hampton Court to Windsor Castle
  • Parliament orders George Goring to hold Portsmouth against any demands made by the King
  • Lord Digby and Sir Thomas Lunsford attempt unsuccessfully to seize the arsenal at Kingston-on-Thames in Surrey for the King

January 15

  • Parliament accuses Digby of treasonous conduct. He flees to the Netherlands to escape arrest
  • The Scottish commissioners in London call for the abolition of episcopacy in England

January 17

  • Sir Thomas Onslow musters the Surrey Trained Bands and secures the arsenal at Kingston-on-Thames for Parliament

January 18

  • Revised commission issued to extend the inquiry to murders, traitorous words, and apostasy.

January 19

  • Parliament authorises the recruitment of two new regiments of London Trained Bands

January 20

  • King Charles offers to conciliate with Parliament

January 21

  • The first of a series of executions of Roman Catholic priests takes place in London

January 24

  • The House of Commons will negotiate with the King on condition that he appoints Parliament’s nominee as Lieutenant of the Tower. The House of Lords does not support this motion
  • Parliament agrees to a Scottish proposal that 2,500 Scots already in arms should be sent to Ireland immediately, but refuses to grant forfeited Irish estates to the Scots as a reward

January 30

  • Captain Hotham and the East Riding Trained Bands secure the port and arsenal at Hull for Parliament

February 1

  • The Earl of Ormonde burns Newcastle, Co Dublin

February 3

  • The Earl of Ormonde re-captures Naas, Co Kildare, from the insurgents

February 8

  • Sir Phelim O’Neill proclaimed a traitor by the government in Dublin.
    • A reward of £1,000 placed on his head.

February 12

  • Parliament submits a list of approved lords-lieutenant to the King, but he refuses to give up control of the Militia

February 13

  • The King assents to the Bishops’ Exclusion Act, which excludes bishops from the House of Lords

February 15

  • The Royal Family at Dover where they are joined by Prince Rupert of Bohemia, who offers his services to the King
  • The Irish Uprising spreads to Co Kerry

February 20

  • Irish insurgents attempt to scale the walls of Drogheda but are driven back

February 21

  • Colonel Monck arrives in Dublin from England with 1,500 foot and 400 horse

February 23

  • Accompanied by Prince Rupert, Queen Henrietta Maria sets sail for the Netherlands to raise troops and supplies for the Royalist cause

February 28

  • The Irish Uprising spreads to Co Cork.
  • Viscount Muskerry joins the insurrection
    • Donough MacCarthy was the second son of Charles MacCarthy, 1st Viscount Muskerry, and his wife Margaret, daughter of Donough O’Brien, Earl of Thomond.
      • Following the death of his elder brother Cormac, Donough became heir to large estates in the province of Munster, which he inherited as the second Viscount Muskerry when his father died in 1640.
      • Around 1641, Muskerry married Eleanor, the daughter of Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles, and the sister of James Butler, Earl (later Marquis) of Ormonde
      • Muskerry was among the Catholic Irish noblemen who presented grievances to King Charles I in 1640, but on the outbreak of the Irish Uprising in October 1641, he protected Protestant refugees from the fury of the Catholic insurgents
        • By joining the rebellion, MacCarthy is fighting against his father-in-law (the Commander of Royalist Forces in Ireland)
        • In collaboration with Garret Barry, a veteran of the Spanish army of Flanders, Muskerry took command of the insurgents in Munster

March 1

  • Deposition of Roger Puttock
  • The House of Commons makes a final attempt to persuade the King to accept the Militia Bill; upon his refusal, the Commons resolve to pass the bill as an ordinance, without the King’s assent

March 3

  • Deposition of Henry Jones

March 5

  • Deposition of William Aldrich
  • Supplementary commission for depositions to be taken in Munster by Archdeacon Philip Bysse and ad hoc commissioners
  • Despite the King’s objections, the House of Lords issues a declaration proclaiming the power of Parliament to act for the good of the nation’s defence independently of the King.
    • The Militia Ordinance passed, giving Parliament control of the county Trained Bands

March 7

  • Deposition of John Watson
  • Deposition of Randall Adams

March 9

  • King Charles at Newmarket.
  • Lords Holland and Pembroke reach him with the text of Parliament’s declaration, which he vehemently rejects

March 10

  • The Earl of Ormonde raises the siege of Drogheda and occupies the town with 3,000 foot and 500 horse

March 15

  • Parliament appoints the Earl of Warwick Admiral of the Fleet against the King’s wishes

March 19

  • Henry 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 1642.
  • The English Parliament passes the Adventurers Act, pledging land in Ireland to those who invest in the army raised to suppress the uprising
  • Having lost support in London, King Charles I sets up his court at York
    • The city becomes the King’s base for gathering supporters and preparing for war, and remains the main Royalist stronghold in the north after his departure in July
  • The town of Galway declares for the insurgents

March 22

  • The clergy of Armagh meet at Kells to discuss the Irish Uprising.
    • A national synod at Kilkenny proposed for 10 May

April 1

  • Lord Inchiquin captures and plunders Rochfordstown near Cork, headquarters of Viscount Muskerry

April 2

  • The Earl of Ormonde advances from Dublin into Co Kildare to relieve beleaguered British garrisons

April 3

  • Major-General Robert Monro lands at Carrickfergus with 2,500 Scottish troops.
  • A further 7,500 Scottish troops cross to Ireland later in the month and during the summer months

April 5

  • Three commissioners (Adams, Puttock and Sterne) go with the government army from Dublin to Queen’s County, collecting depositions at Athy and Maryborough between 5-12 April

April 6

  • 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)

April 10

  • Ormonde sends Sir Charles Coote with a detachment of six troops of horse to relieve garrisons at Birr, Burris, and Knocknamease, which he achieves without the loss of a single man

April 15

  • Earl of Ormonde defeats the Leinster insurgent army at the Battle of Kilrush
  • The Leinster Army is commanded by his kinsman Viscount Mountgarrett

April 23

  • Sir John Hotham prevents the King and his entourage from entering Hull, the site of England’s main northern arsenal

April 27

  • Major-General Monro advances into Co Armagh

(End of April)

  • The siege of Cork is lifted.
  • Viscount Muskerry besieges Limerick Castle.
  • Sir Charles Coote relieves Castlegeasal of Castlejordan, Co Laois (Queen’s County)
    • then captures Philipstown, Co Offaly (King’s County)
    • then captures Trim, Co Meath

(Early May)

  • Sir Phelim O’Neill forced to retreat from Armagh to Charlemont by Major-General Monro


  • Roger Puttock dies sometime after 26 May 1642

May 3

  • Scottish troops recapture Newry from Irish insurgents; survivors massacred

May 5

  • Parliament appoints a committee at York to present the protestations of Parliament to the King and to report on the King’s actions. Commissioners include Lord Howard of Estrick, Lord Fairfax, Sir Philip Stapleton and Sir Hugh Cholmley

May 7

  • Sir Charles Coote killed when insurgents attempt to re-capture Trim in Co Meath
  • Lord Leven commissioned to command the Scottish army in Ulster

May 9

  • A bill for the calling for an Assembly of Divines brought before the House of Commons
  • This was a very important issue for English Protestantism insofar as to discuss ‘reform’ of the Church of England
    • A reforming synod was first proposed in the Grand Remonstrance of November 1641.
    • A bill authorising an Assembly was passed by both Houses of Parliament in June 1642 but King Charles withheld his assent.
    • A year later, with King and Parliament openly at war, Parliament passed an ordinance on 12 June 1643 calling the Assembly under its own authority
      • The Assembly first met against the background of Parliament’s negotiations for a military alliance with the Scottish Covenanters who sought the unification of the churches of England and Scotland under a Presbyterian system of church government

May 10

  • A national synod of Irish Catholic clergy meets at Kilkenny and lays the foundations of the Confederation of Kilkenny.
    • The Oath of Association framed and a manifesto towards a provisional government of Ireland issued.
    • The synod remains in session until the end of May.

May 25

  • The Scottish Privy Council ignores a petition by Royalist nobles and lairds that it should take the King’s side against Parliament

May 28

  • The Lords-Justices in Dublin forbid all communication with the Catholic Confederates

May 31

  • Covenanters at Edinburgh petition the Scottish Privy Council not to offer help to the King but to mediate between the King and Parliament

June 1

  • The Nineteen Propositions passed by Parliament, requiring the King to give up control of the militia and the right to appoint ministers

June 6

  • The King issues the first Commissions of Array
    • The issuing of commissions of array was a medieval method of raising troops, originally introduced during the reign of Edward I, by which the King could grant the lords-lieutenant of counties powers to raise military forces in times of emergency.
    • The statute was allowed to lapse at the end of the reign of Elizabeth I but had never been repealed. King Charles I revived commissions of array during the summer of 1642 after Parliament passed the militia ordinance.
    • Although the commissions were criticised even by some Royalists as a dubious and antiquated device, the King urgently needed a means of calling the nation to arms without going through Parliament
    • The question of whether to obey Parliament’s militia ordinance or the King’s commission of array became an early test of allegiance for nobles and gentry

June 11

  • Edward Piggott appointed to replace Puttock and a third commission issued

June 12

  • Captured Irish insurgents Lord Maguire and Hugh MacMahon imprisoned in the Tower of London

June 16

  • Insurgents defeated at the Battle of Glenmaquin by the Lagan Army
    • The Lagan Army secures Donegal and north-west Ulster

June 20

  • Lord Montgomery threatens the Irish stronghold of Charlemont but is unable to continue his attack owing to a shortage of ammunition

June 21

  • The Dublin Parliament excludes all members who refuse to take the Oath of Supremacy
    • Forty-one Catholic members expelled
  • Viscount Muskerry and General Barry capture King John’s Castle and the town of Limerick

June 26

  • Colonel James Clotworthy captures Fort Mountjoy on Lough Neagh from the Irish insurgents

July 3

  • The King sets up his court at Beverley in the vicinity of Hull.
    • The Royalist army of 3,000 foot and 1,000 horse quartered around the village of Anlaby

July 8

  • Owen Roe O’Neill arrives in County Donegal to fight for Ireland and the Catholic faith
    • O’Neill landed at Castledoe, County Donegal, in July 1642 with a cadre of Spanish-trained officers and a supply of arms and ammunition.
    • He was received warmly and acknowledged lord-general of Confederate forces, but he was disappointed not to be recognised as Earl of Tyrone and chieftain of the O’Neills, the title being disputed by his kinsman, Sir Phelim O’Neill
  • O’Neill’s ally (and rival) Thomas Preston arrives in Wexford about the same time
    • Thomas Preston (later 1st Viscount Tara) was the younger son of the 4th Viscount Gormanstown, a Catholic “Old English” nobleman of Dublin.
    • In 1605, Preston joined Henry O’Neill’s Irish regiment in the Spanish army.
    • He fought in the Spanish Netherlands and the Palatinate until 1625 when he left the Irish regiment on the outbreak of war between Spain and England.
    • Preston’s reluctance to fight against King Charles was probably the cause of his quarrel with Owen Roe O’Neill, his acting regimental commander.
    • Preston rejoined the Spanish service when peace was signed between England and Spain.
    • He recruited his own regiment in Ireland and fought for Spain against the Dutch and the French until 1641
    • Through the influence of his kinsman the 6th Viscount Gormanstown, he was appointed commander of the army of Leinster, one of four regional Confederate commands

July 10

  • The first military action of the English Civil War takes place when a Royalist raiding party approaches Hull to burn down buildings outside the town walls, but is driven away by gunfire from the defenders

July 12

  • Parliament resolves to raise an army “for the safety of the King’s person, the defence of both Houses of Parliament, and of those who have obeyed their orders and commands; and for the preservation of the true religion, the laws, liberties and peace of the kingdom”.
    • The Earl of Essex commissioned Captain-General of Parliament’s army
  • Street fighting in Manchester between Royalist and Parliamentarian supporters when Baron Strange (later the Earl of Derby) attempts to prevent the execution of the Militia Ordinance; Richard Perceval, a linen weaver, becomes the first fatal casualty of the English Civil War
  • At The Hague, the Queen gives Prince Rupert his commission as General of Horse in the King’s army

July 14

  • The Earl of Bedford appointed Lord-General of Horse in Parliament’s army

August 4

  • Action at Marshall’s Elm in Somerset.
    • Eighty Royalist cavalry and dragoons under Sir John Stawell and Lt. Col. Henry Lunsford rout six hundred Parliamentarian infantry under John Pyne MP marching to join Colonel Strode at Shepton Mallet
  • The Earl of Leven arrives in Ulster to command the Covenanter army against the Irish rebels

August 8

  • The Royalist Earl of Northampton seizes the magazine and artillery stored at Banbury in Oxfordshire and marches to besiege Warwick Castle

August 13

  • Accompanied by his kinsman Sir Phelim O’Neill, Owen Roe O’Neill arrives at the stronghold of Charlemont in Co Armagh


  • The King’s nephews Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice land at Tynemouth and set out to join the King

August ?

  • The outbreak of civil war in England diverts military resources away from Ireland

August 22

  • Lord Brooke defeats the Earl of Northampton’s forces at Southam, near Warwick, to lift the siege of Warwick Castle and secure Parliamentarian control of Warwickshire

August 25

  • Insurgents defeated at the Battle of Liscarrol
    • Lord Inchiquin secures Munster for the King

August 29

  • Owen Roe O’Neill acknowledged Lord-General of Irish Confederate forces at the Ulster provincial assembly at Clones

August 30

  • King Charles raises the Earl of Ormonde to the dignity of a Marquis

September 17

  • Deposition of John Sterne

September 24

  • The Earl of Essex’s army occupies Worcester. The mayor is arrested, the cathedral sacked

October 5

  • General Thomas Preston routs Colonel Monck at Timahoe, Co Laois (Queen’s County)

October 19

  • The House of Lords passes a bill for the calling of an Assembly of Divines to discuss reform of the Church of England

October 23

  • The battle of Edgehill.
    • The armies of the King and the Earl of Essex meet in the first major battle of the English Civil War.
    • Both sides claim victory

October 24

  • The first Confederate General Assembly meets at Kilkenny to represent the interests of Roman Catholics in Ireland
  • This Assembly meets annually until 1648

October 25

  • The Earl of Essex withdraws to Warwick, leaving the road to London open for the Royalist army.
  • Prince Rupert leads a successful attack on the Parliamentarian baggage train

October 28

  • Citizens mobilise to defend London amidst rumours of the Royalist advance
    • Prince Rupert plunders Broughton Castle, the seat of Lord Saye and Sele.
    • Prince Rupert and the Earl of Forth urge the King to advance on London

October 29

  • The King enters Oxford in triumph
  • The House of Lords proposes to re-open peace negotiations with the King

November 2

  • The House of Commons consents to the re-opening of peace negotiations with the King, on the understanding that there should be no slackening in the preparations for the defence of London

November 3

  • The King leaves Oxford to continue his advance on London
  • Skirmish at Aylesbury between units of Essex’s army and the Royalist army

November 4

  • The King enters Reading.
  • He receives Sir Peter Killigrew sent by Parliament to request safe conduct for Parliamentarian commissioners empowered to negotiate a treaty

November 5

  • The Confederate Assembly issues a mandate to all clergyman to administer the Oath of Association throughout Ireland

November 11

  • The King proposes that Windsor Castle be surrendered to him as a place in which peace negotiations might be carried on.
  • Meanwhile, Prince Rupert is ordered to attack the Parliamentarian garrison at Brentford

November 12

  • The Royalist army musters on Hounslow Heath. Prince Rupert and the Earl of Forth storm Brentford and sack the town

November 13

  • The Earl of Essex’s army, reinforced by the London Trained Bands, faces the Royalist army at Turnham Green.
  • The King decides to withdraw

November 14

  • The Confederate Assembly elects a 24-member Supreme Council in Kilkenny

November 15

  • Sir John Morley and other Royalist gentry seize Chichester in Sussex for the King

December 9

  • The Royalists settle on their winter quarters around Oxford

December 14

  • Lord Grandison surrenders Winchester to Sir William Waller.
    • Parliamentarian soldiers sack the town
    • Waller’s soldiers break down the doors of Winchester Cathedral, which they pillage and desecrate
  • The King issues a proclamation to establish the Royal Mint at Oxford

December 17

  • Officers of the English army in Ireland issue a remonstrance complaining of lack of pay and other grievances

December 18

  • A detachment from the Earl of Newcastle’s army under Sir John Henderson occupies the stronghold of Newark in Nottinghamshire, ensuring that Royalist lines of communication between Oxford and the north are kept open

December 20

  • Deposition of Edward Piggott

December 22

  • Prince Rupert sets out from Oxford to counter a Parliamentarian attack on Banbury

December 23

  • Parliamentarians withdraw from the siege of Banbury as Prince Rupert approaches
  • Colonel John Lambert besieges Skipton Castle in Yorkshire

December 30

  • General Thomas Preston and the army of Leinster capture Burros Castle, Co Laois (Queen’s Co)

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