The Irish and Scottish landed elites from regicide to restoration
Key to an understanding of the broad political developments in Ireland and Scotland in the 1650s is an appreciation of the relationship between the English governments of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate and the Irish and Scottish landed elites. Political power and landholding went hand in hand, and in the absence of large standing armies and a centralised administration, governments relied upon the support of regional power-brokers to maintain law and order in the localities. This thesis is a non-anglocentric study of the developing relationship between the republican regime and the Irish and Scottish landed elites during the Interregnum. As such it complements current research on the elite in the early modern period, and because of its integrationist approach to the three kingdoms, represents a useful addition to recent works on the New British and Irish histories in the seventeenth century. Scottish and Irish proprietors represented the standard bearers for the Stuart cause following the execution of Charles I. The thesis examines the process by which the policies the English parliament adopted to destroy the influence of the Scottish and Irish landed elites in the wake of its conquest of the two kingdoms came to be buried during the 1650s by other measures introduced simultaneously to promote peace and stability and efforts to increase the revenue and reduce the cost of government. Patronage and kinship networks also served to save many Irish and Scots from ruin and encouraged compromise. Grounded on the close study of surviving Irish and Scots estate archives as well as official sources the thesis adopts an approach in which the power and influence landowners retained during the English occupation is fully recognised and reveals a continuous process of accommodation between proprietors and the government, beginning as soon as the English army entered the countries.