The Irish Confederate Wars, also sometimes called the Eleven Years War (derived from the Irish language name Cogadh na haon deag mbliana), were fought in Ireland between 1641 and 1653. The Wars were the Irish theatre of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms - a series of civil wars in Kingdoms of Ireland, England and Scotland (all ruled by Charles I) that also included the English Civil War and civil war in Scotland. The conflict in Ireland essentially pitted the native Irish Roman Catholics against the Protestant British settlers and their supporters in England and Scotland. The war in Ireland began with the rebellion of the Irish of Ulster in October 1641, during which thousands of Scots and English Protestant settlers were killed. The rebellion spread throughout the country and at Kilkenny in 1642 the association of The Confederate Catholics of Ireland was formed to organise the Irish Catholic war effort. The Confederation was essentially an independent state and was a coalition of all shades of Irish Catholic society, both Gaelic and Old English. The Irish Confederates professed to side with the English Royalists during the ensuing civil wars, but mostly fought their own war in defence of the Irish Catholic landlords' interests.
The Confederates ruled much of Ireland as a de facto sovereign state until 1649, and proclaimed their loyalty to Charles I. From 1641 to 1649, the Confederates fought against Scottish Covenanter and English Parliamentarian armies in Ireland. They were loosely allied with the English Royalists, but were divided over whether to send military help to them in the English Civil War. Ultimately, they never sent troops to England, but did send an expedition to help the Scottish Royalists, sparking the Scottish Civil War. The wars ended in the defeat of the Confederates. They and their Royalist allies were crushed during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland by the New Model Army under Oliver Cromwell in 1649-53. The wars following the 1641 revolt caused massive loss of life in Ireland, comparable in the country's history only with the Great Famine of the 1840s. The ultimate winner, the English parliament, arranged for the mass confiscation of land owned by Irish Catholics as punishment for the rebellion and to pay for the war. Although some of this land was returned after 1660, on the Restoration of the monarchy, the period marked the effective end of the old Catholic landed class. (Read more...)
Sir William Bruce of Kinross, 1st Baronet (circa 1630 – 1 January 1710) was a Scottish gentleman-architect, "the effective founder of classical architecture in Scotland," as Howard Colvin observes. As a key figure in introducing the Palladian style into Scotland, he has been compared to the pioneering English architects Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren, and to the contemporaneous introducers of French style in English domestic architecture, Hugh May and Sir Roger Pratt.
Bruce was a merchant in Rotterdam during the 1650s, and played a role in the Restoration of Charles II in 1659. He carried messages between the exiled king and General Monck, and his loyalty to the king was rewarded with lucrative official appointments, including that of Surveyor General of the King's Works in Scotland, effectively the "king's architect". His patrons included John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale, the most powerful man in Scotland at the time, and Bruce rose to become a member of Parliament, and briefly sat on the Scottish Privy Council.
Despite his lack of technical expertise, Bruce became the most prominent architect of his time in Scotland. He worked with competent masons and professional builders, to whom he imparted a classical vocabulary; thus his influence was carried far beyond his own aristocratic circle. Beginning in the 1660s he built and remodelled a number of country houses, including Thirlestane Castle for the Duke of Lauderdale, and Hopetoun House. Among his most significant work was his own Palladian mansion at Kinross, built on the Loch Leven estate which he had purchased in 1675. As the king's architect he undertook the rebuilding of the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse in the 1670s, which gave the palace its present appearance. After the death of Charles II Bruce lost political favour, and later, following the accession of William and Mary, he was imprisoned more than once as a suspected Jacobite. However, he managed to continue his architectural work, often providing his services to others with Jacobite sympathies. (read more . . . )