Chapter 17: Rise and Progress of the Protestant Religion in Ireland; with an Account of the Barbarous Massacre of 1641 (7/9)

At Casel they put all the Protestants into a loathsome dungeon, where they kept them together, for several weeks, in the greatest misery. At length they were released, when some of them were barbarously mangled, and left on the highways to perish at leisure; others were hanged, and some were buried in the ground upright, with their heads above the earth, and the papists, to increase their misery, treating them with derision during their sufferings. In the county of Antrim they murdered nine hundred and fifty-four Protestants in one morning; and afterwards about twelve hundred more in that county.

At a town called Lisnegary, they forced twenty-four Protestants into a house, and then setting fire to it, burned them together, counterfeiting their outcries in derision to the others.

Among other acts of cruelty they took two children belonging to an Englishwoman, and dashed out their brains before her face; after which they threw the mother into a river, and she was drowned. They served many other children in the like manner, to the great affliction of their parents, and the disgrace of human nature.

In Kilkenny all the Protestants, without exception, were put to death; and some of them in so cruel a manner, as, perhaps, was never before thought of.

They beat an Englishwoman with such savage barbarity, that she had scarce a whole bone left; after which they threw her into a ditch; but not satisfied with this, they took her child, a girl about six years of age, and after ripping up its belly, threw it to its mother, there to languish until it perished. They forced one man to go to Mass, after which they ripped open his body, and in that manner left him. They sawed another asunder, cut the throat of his wife, and after having dashed out the brains of their child, an infant, threw it to the swine, who greedily devoured it.

After committing these, and several other horrid cruelties, they took the heads of seven Protestants, and among them that of a pious minister, all of which they fixed up at the market cross. They put a gag into the minister’s mouth, then slit his cheeks to his ears, and laying a leaf of a Bible before it, bid him preach, for his mouth was wide enough. They did several other things by way of derision, and expressed the greatest satisfaction at having thus murdered and exposed the unhappy Protestants.

It is impossible to conceive the pleasure these monsters took in exercising their cruelty, and to increase the misery of those who fell into their hands, when they butchered them they would say, “Your soul to the devil.” One of these miscreants would come into a house with his hands imbued in blood, and boast that it was English blood, and that his sword had pricked the white skins of the Protestants, even to the hilt. When any one of them had killed a Protestant, others would come and receive a gratification in cutting and mangling the body; after which they left it exposed to be devoured by dogs; and when they had slain a number of them they would boast, that the devil was beholden to them for sending so many souls to hell. But it is no wonder they should thus treat the innocent Christians, when they hesitated not to commit blasphemy against God and His most holy Word.

In one place they burnt two Protestant Bibles, and then said they had burnt hell-fire. In the church at Powerscourt they burnt the pulpit, pews, chests, and Bibles belonging to it. They took other Bibles, and after wetting them with dirty water, dashed them in the faces of the Protestants, saying, “We know you love a good lesson; here is an excellent one for you; come to-morrow, and you shall have as good a sermon as this.”

Some of the Protestants they dragged by the hair of their heads into the church, where they stripped and whipped them in the most cruel manner, telling them, at the same time, that if they came tomorrow, they should hear the like sermon.

In Munster they put to death several ministers in the most shocking manner. One, in particular, they stripped stark naked, and driving him before them, pricked him with swords and darts until he fell down, and expired.

In some places they plucked out the eyes, and cut off the hands of the Protestants, and in that manner turned them into the fields, there to wander out their miserable existence. They obliged many young men to force their aged parents to a river, where they were drowned; wives to assist in hanging their husbands; and mothers to cut the throats of their children.

In one place they compelled a young man to kill his father, and then immediately hanged him. In another they forced a woman to kill her husband, then obliged the son to kill her, and afterward shot him through the head.

At a place called Glaslow, a popish priest, with some others, prevailed on forty Protestants to be reconciled to the Church of Rome. They had no sooner done this than they told them they were in good faith, and that they would prevent their falling from it, and turning heretics, by sending them out of the world, which they did by immediately cutting their throats.

Foxe’s Book of the Martyrs, Chapter 17

Leave a Reply

Search the ESV Bible


(e.g., John 1 or God's love)