Empire and enterprise

Money, power and the Adventurers for Irish land during the British Civil Wars

By David Brown

Empire and enterprise


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6378-3
  • Pages: 312
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.00
  • Published Date: May 2022
  • BIC Category: English Civil War, Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700, History, Irish History, Early Modern History, HISTORY / Military / Other, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Stuart Era (1603-1714), United Kingdom, Great Britain, Ireland
  • Series: Studies in Early Modern Irish History


This book is about the transformation of England's trade and government finances in the mid-seventeenth century, a revolution that destroyed Ireland. In 1642 a small group of merchants, the 'Adventurers for Irish land', raised an army to conquer Ireland but sent it instead to fight for parliament in England. Meeting secretly at Grocers Hall in London from 1642 to 1660, they laid the foundations of England's empire and modern fiscal state. But a dispute over their Irish land entitlements led them to reject Cromwell's Protectorate and plot to restore the monarchy. This is the first book to chart the relentless rise of the Adventurers and their profound political influence. It is essential reading for students of Britain and Ireland in the mid-seventeenth century, the origins of England's empire and the Cromwellian land settlement.


'[...] this is a thoughtful and innovative study that exploits a broad range of sources to achieve Brown's stated aim: to relate "the story of a singular group of English merchants" (1). It is quite the story indeed.'
The Seventeenth Century

'[...] will be essential reading for those concerned with a range of fields including Irish history, of course, but just as significantly the War of the Three Kingdoms, early imperialism, economic history, and Britain's expanding role in global trade including slavery. In this meticulously researched work, Brown argues confidently for an even greater appreciation of the deeply linked relationship between these areas, a relationship driven by the Adventurers. [...] Brown's study is organized chronologically in a groundbreaking and compelling narrative
that contributes significantly to this period's developments and fundamentally to the later course of British colonial policy and practice.'
Journal of British Studies


1 Atlantic Oligarchy
2 The Three Kingdoms
3 The Adventure for Irish land
4 Grocers Hall
5 Commonwealth
6 Republic
7 Restoration


David Brown is a research fellow at the Department of History, Trinity College Dublin

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