Cromwell's Slaughter Houses

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXXI

A court was established for the punishment of "rebels and malignants;" the former consisting of persons who refused to surrender their houses and lands, and the latter being those who would not act contrary to their conscientious convictions in religious matters. These courts were called "Cromwell's Slaughter-houses." Donnellan, who had acted as solicitor to the regicides, at the trial of Charles I., held the first court at Kilkenny, October 4, 1652. Lord Louther held a court in Dublin, in February, 1653, for the special purpose of trying "all massacres and murders committed since the 1st day of October, 1641." The inquiries, however, were solely confined to the accused Catholics; and the result proved the falsehood of all the idle tales which had been circulated of their having intended a great massacre of Protestants, for convictions could only be obtained against 200 persons, and even these were supported by forged and corrupt evidence.[4] Sir Phelim O'Neill was the only person convicted in Ulster, and he was offered his life again and again, and even on the very steps of the scaffold, if he would consent to criminate Charles I.


[4] Evidence.—In a work written expressly to excite feeling in England against the Irish, it is stated that they [the Irish] failed in the massacre.—See Cromwellian Settlement, p. 5, for further evidence.