Ireland History 1590-1850

James I, King of England, settled large numbers of Scottish and British Protestants on "plantations" in Ireland in the early 1600's, especially in Ulster. The population prior to this was primarily Catholic. Ulster Catholics rebelled in 1641 and put to death thousands of Protestant settlers. The revolt spread to southern Ireland. In 1649 Cromwell landed at Dublin with his Puritan army and put down the rebellion with terrible cruelty. In 1654 he gave all the fertile lands east of the Shannon to his soldiers and drove the Catholic Irish westward to the bogs.

James II, relaxed the laws against Catholics. When he was driven from the throne, the Irish invited him to Ireland. William of Orange, who had succeeded James II to the throne in England, defeated the Irish under James II, in the famous battle of the Boyne (1690). For a century and a half after this battle the "Orangemen" of Ulster held most of the power in Ireland.

The Parsons came into Ireland as Protestants and for the most part belonged to the Established Church of Ireland (Protestant). There was considerable pressure on them to remain in the Church of Ireland. Only Protestants could own land and officials were required to swear an allegence to England. An example of this follows: "Exchequer Decree. Clarke vs James Parsons, 1752. Clonmackin, Co. Limerick. Catholic disability: accuse, James Parsons of being a Papist. J. P states that his mother was originally a Papist, but became a Protestant, and that he, James, was bred up a Protestant from his earliest infancy; and that moreover as an attorney he had subscribed to the oath." ... Ref B-2, p.148. The relationship of this James Parsons to others in this file is unknown but he may be descendent of the Fenton branch, many who lived in Limerick Co.

Photo of Parsons Crest
on chart in Parsons Castle

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