THE ULSTER PLANTATION*
FROM A.D.1608 TO 1620
SOME of the Irish Chiefs having adhered to the famous Hugh O'Neill, Earl
of Tyrone, in the war against Queen Elizabeth, six entire counties in
Ulster--namely, 1. Armagh, 2. Tyrone, 3. Coleraine, 4. Donegal, 5.
Fermanagh, 6. Cavan, all containing about 3,798,000 statute acres, were
confiscated. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, in the reign
of King James the First, these territories were transferred to some
English, but mostly Scottish, settlers, denominated "Undertakers,"
*2 and "Planters:" hence the project was called the Plantation of
Ulster. It should be observed, however, that four baronies of those
five escheated counties were reserved for the "Londoners' Plantation,"
namely, Loughinsholin, which had previously belonged to the county
Tyrone; whilst the other three baronies constituted the old county of
Coleraine, or the ancient and celebrated Irish territory of Oireacht-Ui-
Cathain (or "The Clan of the O'Cahans"). These several fragments, with
a small portion of the county of Donegal, including the island on which
the city of Derry stands, and a small portion of the county of Antrim
adjoining Coleraine, were united to form the present county of
Londonderry; and were handed over to the following named twelve London
Companies for plantation:
1. Mercers. 7. Clothworkers.II. CONDITIONS
2. Grocers (in part). 8. Merchant Tailors
3. Drapers. 9. Haberdashers.
4. Fishmongers. 10. Saltors.
5. Goldsmiths. 11. Ironmongers.
6. Skinners. 12. Vintners.
"The broadlands," writes Hill (at p.60 of his 'Plantation of Ulster')
"thus quietly abandoned to the planters by the flight of the northern
Earls (of Tyrone and Tyrconnell) were soon to receive vast additions.
These additions included Cavan--the 'country' of the O'Reillys;
Fermanagh--the 'country' of the Maguires; Coleraine--the 'country' of
the O'Cahans; the barony of Inishowen, which had belonged to Sir Cahir
O'Dogherty; the estates of Sir Niall Garve O'Donnell, stretching from
Lifford westward along the two banks of the Finn, and including the
beautiful Lough Esk; the territory of Clogher, which belonged to Sir
Cormac O'Neill, brother to the Earl of Tyrone; and last, though not
least in fertility or picturesque beauty, the 'country' of Orior,
reaching from Armagh to the vicinity of Dundalk, and owned by the
gallant old Sir Oghie O'Hanlon."
In a letter to the Earl of Salisbury, on the 5th of August, 1608,
Sir John Davys writes:
"The dispositions whereof (the six counties above mentioned) by
plantation of colonies is a matter of great consideration, which it is
not easy to lay down a good and sure project. There have been sundry
plantations in this kingdom (of Ireland), whereof the first plantation
of the English Pale (in the reign of Henry II.) was the best; and the
last plantation of the Undertakers in Munster was the worst.*3 The
plantation in Ulster, on the sea coast, by Sir John Courcy, the Lacyes,
and the Bourkes (De Burgos); the plantation in Connaught, by the Burkes
and Geraldines (the Fitzgeralds); in Thomond, by Sir Thomas de Clare; in
Munster, by the Geraldines, Butlers, Barrys, Roches, and other English
families, are in part rooted*4 out by the Irish; and such as remain are
much degenerated: which will happen to this plantation within a few
years if the number of civil persons to be planted do not exceed the
number of the natives, who will quickly overgrow them, as weeds overgrow
the good corn."
The King had become very much engrossed in the business from the
moment he heard of the actual "flight of the earls," and before the end
of the month in which that event occurred, he demanded that information
should be furnished without delay, "respecting the lands to be divided;
what countries are most meet to be inhabited; what Irish fit to be
trusted;*5 what English meet for that plantation in Ireland; what offers
are, or will be made there; and what is to be done for the conviction of
the fugitives, because there is no possession or estate to be given
before their attainder."
* Plantation: From 'The Plantation of Ulster,' by the Rev. George Hill (Belfast: McCaw, Stevenson and Orr, 1877). To that great work the reader is referred fo "Ulster before the Plantation," "The Project of the Plantation," "Doubts and Delays," "The Commissioners of Plantation," "Results and Arrangements," "The Londoners' Plantation," "Pynnar's Survey," etc.
*2 Undertakers: Hill also gives the nationality of each of those Undertakers, and the names of the townlands or parts of townlands which constituted his grant or estate in Ireland, under the Plantation.
*3 Worst: "This attempt at colonizing a portion of Munster," says Hill. "was the latest that had been undertaken prior to the time of the plantation in Ulster (temp. James I.). The object of the movement, in Munster was to place English settlers on the extensive lands left comparatively desolated during the war with the great Earl of Desmond. By the Articles of (A.D.) 1596, between Queen Elizabeth and the Undertakers of escheated lands in Munster, the latter received quantities varying from 6,000 to 24,000 acres, each. One part of the county of Limerick, with portions of Cork, Tipperary, and Waterford, were thus set out to Christopher Hatton, Edward Fitton, and Rowland Stanley, Knights, from Cheshire and Lancashire; the remaining part of the county of Cork, and parts of the county of Waterford adjoining, were let to Walter Raleigh, John Stowell, and John Clifton, Knights from Devonshire and Somersetshire. Sir William Courtney, Edward Hutton, and Henry Outred, esquires, were undertakers for the remaining lands in the county of Limerick. The county of Kerry was also included in that plantation, and several other undertakers, in addition to those above named, obtained grants of the Munster lands. The lands conveyed in these grants were generally too extensive to be properly managed; and, therefore, the whole plantation was swept away in years after its commencement. The Irish, when they assailed it, did not adopt any slow or halting process in rooting it out; during the one year above named they burned everything, even the deserted houses--permitting the new settlers, however, to decamp with their lives."
*4 Rooted out: Writing of these ruined English colonies in Ireland, Davys, in p. 150 of his 'Historical Tracts', closes up an account of their disasters in the following words:-- "Thus, in that space of time which was between the 10th year of Edward II., by the concurrence of the mischiefs before recited, all the old English colonies in Munster, Connaught, and Ulster, and more than a third part of Leinster became degenerate, and fell away from the Crown of England; so as only the four shires of the English Pale remained under the obedience of the law; and yet the borders of the marches therof were grown unruly, and out of order too, being subject to black rents and tributes of the Irish; which was a greater defection than when ten or twelve tribes departed and fell away from the Kings of Judah."
*5 "Fit to be trusted": "Human justice," says the Irish Fireside, "may pause and wonder why it was that the Irish race was not made the instrument of Divine vengeance on the wicked house of Stuart, to save the culprit, from his justly merited doom. Or why it was that on James II who, though by no means innocent, yet, with all his faults, was certainly the least guilty of his family, why on him fell the penalties of his predecessors . . . What more just than that the Scotchmen and Englishmen, so cruelly planted on the lands of the Ulster Irish by James Stuart the First, should by their descendants, expel James Stuart the Second, not only out of Ireland, but from Scotland, and from the very throne of England itself?" =========================================================================== The following is a copy of the "Collection of such Orders and Conditions as are to be observed by the Undertakers upon the Distribution and Plantation of the Escheated Lands in Ulster:"
"Whereas the greatest part of six counties in the province of Ulster, within the Realme of Ireland, named Ardmagh, Tyrone, Colrane, Donegall, Fermanagh, and Cavan, being escheated and come to the Crown, hath lately been surveyed, and the survey thereof transmitted to his Majesty: Upon view whereof his Majesty of his princely Bounty, not respecting his own profit, but the public peace and welfare of that Kingdom, by the civil Plantation of those unreformed and waste countries, is graciously pleased to distribute the said Lands to such of his Subjects, as well of Great Britain as of Ireland, as being of Merit and Ability shall seek the same, with a mind not only to benefit themselves, but to do service to the Crown and Commonwealth . . . It is thought convenient to declare and publish to all his Majesty's subjects the several Quantities of the Proportions which shall be distributed, the several sorts of Undertakers, the manner of Allotment, the Estates, the Rents, the Tenures, with other Articles to be observed as well on his Majesty's behalf, as on the behalf of the Undertakers, in manner and form following:--
First.-- "The Proportions of Land to be distributed to Undertakers shall be of three different Quantities, consisting of sundry parcels or precincts* of Land, called by certain Irish names known in the several Counties, viz.. Ballybetaghs, Quarters, Ballyboes, Tathes, and Polles: the first or least Proportion to contain such or so many of the said Parcels as shall make up a thousand English Acres at the least; the second or middle Proportion to contain such or so many of the Parcels as shall make up fifteen hundred English Acres at the least; and the last or greatest Proportion to contain such or so many of the Parcels as shall make up two thousand English Acres at the least; to every of which Proportions shall be allowed such Quantity of Bog and Wood as the country shall conveniently afford."
Secondly.-- "The Persons of the Undertakers of the several Proportions shall be of three sorts, viz.: 1. English or Scottish, as well servitors as others, who are to plant their portions with English, or inland*2 Scottish inhabitants; 2. Servitors of the Kingdom of Ireland who may take 'meer Irish,' English, or inland Scottish Tenants at their choice; 3. Natives of Ireland who are to be made freeholders."
Thirdly.-- "His Majesty will reserve unto himself the appointment in what county every Undertaker shall have his Portion. But to avoid Emulation and Controversy which would arise among them, if every Man should choose his Place where he would be planted, his Majesty's pleasure is that the Scites or Places of their Portions in every county shall be distributed by Lot."
Lastly.-- "The Several Articles ensuing are to be observed, as well on behalf of his Majesty, as of the Several Undertakers respectively."
* Precincts: The term "Precinct" in plantation speech is almost in every instance meant to denote a large sweep of land, in most cases corresponding in size to our modern "Barony."
*2 Inland: The 'lnland' as distinguished from the Highland Scots were then supposed to be a more loyal and desirable race for plantation purposes in Ireland. The term 'inland' in reference to Scotland has since given place to the more appropriate one of 'lowland.' =======================================================
THESE "Articles" refer to the English and Scottish Undertakers, who were to plant their portions with English and Scottish Tenants: subject to the following conditions:--
1. "His Majesty is pleased to grant Estates in Fee-Farm to them and their Heirs."
2. "They shall yearly yield unto his Majesty, for every Proportion of a thousand Acres, Five pounds, Six shillings and Eight pence, English, and so rateably for the greater Proportions, which is after the rate of Six shillings and Eight pence for every three score English Acres. But none of the said Undertakers shall pay any Rent, until the Expiration of the first two years* except the Natives of Ireland who are not subject to the charge of Transportation."
3. "Every Undertaker of so much Land as shall amount to the greatest Proportion of two thousand Acres, or thereabouts, shall hold the same by Knight's service in 'capite'; and every Undertaker of so much Land as shall amount to the middle Proportion of fifteen hundred Acres, or thereabouts, shall hold the same by Knight's service, as of the Castle of Dublin. And every Undertaker of so much Land as shall amount to the least Proportion of a thousand Acres, or thereabouts, shall hold the same in common soccage;*2 and there shall be no wardships*3 upon the two first descents of that land.
4. "Every Undertaker of the greatest Proportion of two thousand Acres shall, within two years*4 after the Date of his Letters Patent, build thereupon a Castle, with a strong Court or Bawne (or cattle-fortress) about it. And every Undertaker of the Second or middle Proportion of fifteen hundred Acres shall, within the same time, build a stone or brick house thereupon, with a Strong Court or Bawne about it. And every Undertaker of the least Proportion of a thousand Acres shall, within the same time, make thereupon a Strong Court or Bawne at least. And all the said Undertakers shall draw their Tenants to build Houses for themselves and their families near the principal Castle, House, or Bawne, for their mutual Defence or Strength. And they shall have sufficient Timber, by the Assignation of such Officers as the Lord Deputy and Council of Ireland shall appoint, out of his Majesty's Woods in that Province, for the same Buildings, without paying anything for the same, during the said two (or four) years; and to that End there shall be a present Inhibition to restrain the felling or destruction of said Woods in the meantime for what cause soever."
5. "The said Undertakers, their Heirs and Assignes, shall have ready in their Houses at all Times a convenient Store of Arms, wherewith they may furnish a competent number of able Men for their Defence,*5 which may be viewed and mustered every half year, according to the manner of England."
6. "Every of the said Undertakers, English or Scottish, before the unsealing of his Letters Patent, shall take the Oath of Supremacy, either in the Chancery of England or Ireland, or before the Commissioners to be appointed for establishing of the Plantation; and shall also conform themselves in Religion, according to his Majesty's Laws."
7. "The said Undertakers, their Heirs and Assigns, shall not alien or demise their Portions, or any Part thereof to 'meer Irish',*6 or to such Persons as will not take the Oath which the said Undertakers are bound to take in the former Article. And to that End a Proviso shall be inserted in their Letters Patent."
8. "Every Undertaker shall, within two years, plant or place a competent number of English and Scottish Tenants upon his Portion, in such manner as by the Commissioners to be appointed for establishing of this Plantation shall be prescribed."
9. "Every of the said Undertakers for the space of five years next after the Date of his Letters Patent shall be resident in Person himself upon his Portion; or place some such other Person thereupon as shall be allowed by the State of England and Ireland, who shall be likewise resident there during the said five years, unless by reason of sickness, or other important cause, he be believed by the Deputy and Council of Ireland, to be absent himself for a time."
10. "The said Undertakers shall not alien their Portions during five years next after the Date of their Letters Patent, but in this manner, viz.: one third part in Fee-Farm, another third part for forty years or under; reserving to themselves the other third part without Alienation during the said five years. But after the said five years they shall be at liberty to alien all Persons, except the 'meer Irish,' and such persons as will not take the Oath of Supremacy, which the said Undertakers are to take as aforesaid."
11. "The said Undertakers shall have power to erect Manors,*7 to hold Courts Baron twice every year, to create Tenures, to hold of themselves upon Alienation of any part of their said Portions, so as the same do not exceed the Moiety thereof."
12. "The said Undertakers shall not demise any part of their Lands at Will only, but shall make certain estates (or leases) for years, for Life, in Taile, or in Fee-Simple."*8
13. "No uncertain Rent shall be reserved by the Undertakers, but the same shall be expressly set down without reference to the custom of the country; and a Proviso shall be inserted in the Letters Patent against Cuttings, Cosheries, and other Irish exactions upon their Tenants."
14. "The said Undertakers, their Heirs and Assigns, during the space of seven years next ensuing, shall have power to transport all Commodities growing upon their own Lands, which they shall hold by those Letters Patent, without paying any Custom or Imposition for the same."
15. "It shall be lawful for the said Undertakers, for the space of five years next ensuing, to send for, and bring into Ireland, out of Great Britain, victuals, and utensils for their Households; "Materials and Tools for Building and Husbandry; and Cattle to stock and manure the Land as aforesaid, without paying any Custom for the same, which shall not extend to any Commodities by way of Merchandise."
* Years: But the time for freedom from rent paying was eventually lengthened from two to four years.
*2 Soccage: The tenure known aa "soccage"(soc.:French, "the coulter or share of a plough,") originally implied certain services in husbandry to be rendered by the tenant to the lord of the Fee. These services included not only ploughing, but making hedges, and carrying out manure to the fields. The more honourable but grievous system of Knight's service has been swept away, and the laws providing for its abolition have, according to Blackstone, done more for the freedom of property than Magna Charta itself. See Blackstone's Commentaries, vol II., p. 63.
*3 Wardships: Queen Elizabeth's well known Secretary of State has the following reference, in one of his books, to this great evil of feudal law: "Many men do esteem wardship by Knight's service contrary to nature, that a freeman and gentleman should be bought and sold like a horse or an ox, and so change guardians at first, second, or third hand, as masters and lords. The King having so many wards, must needs give or sell them, and the buyer has no natural care for the infant (the minor) but only for his the warder's gain; thus, he will not suffer a ward to take any great pains, either in study, or any other hardness, lest he should be sick and die before he hath married the buyer's daughter, sister, or cousin, for whose sake he bought him, and then all the money which he paid for him would be lost. The guardian doth but seek to make the most of his ward, as of an ox or other beast."
*4 Two Years: The time was afterwards extended to four years.
*5 Defence: In this matter of Arms, the servitors who would become undertakers were all right, being military officers, and having always been in the habit of having their dwellings well stored with weapons. The regulation, however, which was finally required on this important matter was, that each undertaker of 2,000 acres must have had in his house or castle twelve muskets and twelve calivers (or blunderbusses), to arm 24 men for defence; each undertaker of 1,500 acres was required to have in store 9 muskets and 9 calivers; whilst the undertaker of 1,000 acres was supposed to be sufficiently provided, if he had six muskets and six calivers.
*6 Mere Irish: From an early period of the English rule in Ireland, the "meer Irish" were prohibited from purchasing, although the oppressive law had no practical existence beyond the Pale. lt remained, however, on the Statute Book, to be used when and wherever it could be enforced. Though the English might take from the Irish, the latter could not, either by gift or purchase, take any from the English. In the year 1612, Davys framed an Act abolishing this distinction, but the prohibition against the Irish practically continued; for, by these Ulster Plantation "Orders and Conditions," the English and Scotch were forbidden to convey any lands taken from the natives, back to the native Irish. In the time of the Commonwealth this oppressive law was not only continued, but extended to the whole nation. After the war of 1690, the English Parliament further enacted that the Irish then were incapable of purchasing or holding even as tenants, any quantity of land greater than two acres.
*7 Manors: This word ia supposed to be derived from the Latin verb 'maneo', "to remain;" because the "manor" is one of the results of long and well-established settlement. The power of erecting lands into manors often conveyed to the grantees other privileges besides those mentioned in the above clause. In England there used always to be a Court Leet as well as a Court Baron in connection with every manor. The former (so called from the Dutch 'laet', "a peasant tenant") was the court in which copyhold tenants--the lease being a servile tenure--had justice administered; whilst the "Court Baron" was that in which the freeholders of the manor sought justice and protection from wrongs when necessary. The "Court Leet" is now everywhere superseded by other arrangements; and the "Court Baron," from the same cause, now only exists in name.
*8 Fee-Simple: By this 'Condition' it would appear that undertakers were prohibited from letting their lands for less than twenty-one years and three lives, because of their getting their grants on the very advantageous tenure of common soccage, instead of by Knight's service. In connection with this "Condition" also, it was urged by Chichester that the undertakers should be prohibited from "marrying and fostering with the Irish." =======================================================
THESE "conditions" refer to such Servitors in Ireland as were undertakers in the "Ulster Plantation," and had the power to inhabit their portions with "meer Irish" Tenants :
1. "They (the servitors) shall have estates in Fee-Farm."
2. "They shall yield a yearly Rent to his Majesty, of Eight Pounds, English, for every Proportion of a thousand Acres, and so rateably for the greater Proportions, which is after the Rate of Ten Shillings for sixty English Acres, or thereabouts, which they shall inhabit with 'meer Irish' Tenants; but they shall pay only five pounds six shillings and eight pence for every Proportion of a thousand Acres, which they shall inhabit with English or Scottish Tenants, as aforesaid; and so rateably for the other Proportions. And they shall pay us Rent for the first two years."
3. "They shall hold their Portions by the same Tenures as the former Undertakers respectively."
4. "They shall build their Castles, Houses, and Bawnes, and inhabit their Lands within two years, and have a competent store of Arms in readiness, as the former Undertakers.*
5. "They shall have power to create Manors and Tenures, as the former Undertakers."
6. "They shall make certain Estates (or Leases) to the Tenants, and reserve certain Rents, and forbear Irish Exactions, as the former Undertakers."
7. "They shall take the Oath of Supremacy, and be comfortable in religion, as the former Undertakers."
8. "They shall not alien their Portions, or any part thereof, to the 'meer Irish' or to any such person or persons as will not take the Oath, as the said Undertakers are to take, as aforesaid; and to that end a Proviso shall be inserted in their Letters Patent."
9. "They shall have Power or Liberty to transport, or bring in Commodities, as the former Undertakers."
* Former Undertakers: At an early stage in the Plantation movement, the Council in London forwarded the following List of Servitors who were considered as suitable persons to become undertakers, commencing with the Deputy (Chichester) himself:--"The Lord Deputy, Lord Audley, Mr. Treasurer (Sir Thomas Ridgeway), Mr. Marshal (Sir Robert Wingfield), Master of the Ordnance (Sir Oliver St. John), Sir Oliver Lambert, Mr. Attorney-General of Ireland (Sir John Davys), Sir Foulke Conway, Sir Henry Folliott, Sir Edward Blaney, Sir Toby Caulfield, Sir Richard Hansard. Sir Francis Roe, Sir Francis Rushe, Sir Thomas Phillips, Sir James Perrott, Sir Thomas Chichester, Sir Josias Bodley, Sir Richard Graham, Sir Thomas Coach, Sir Thomas Williams, Sir Edward Fettiplace, Sir Ralph Bingley, Sir William Taaffe, Sir George Graham his sons, Mr. Surveyor of Ireland (William Parsons); Captains Bourchier, Cooke, Stewart, Crawford, Hope, Atherton, John Vaughan, Trevellian, Brooke, Doddington, Richard Bingley, Gabriel Throgmorton, Francis Annesley, Cole, John Ridgeway, Eline (Ellis), John Leigh, and his brother Dan. Leigh, Anthony Smyth, Trevor, Atkinson, Fleming, Meeres, Pikeman, Southwoth, Lockford, Baker, Hen. Vaughan, Hart, Gore, Larken, Neilson, Edney, Harrison, Higgins, Henry Moy, Hugh Culme, Archie Moore; Lieutenants Cowell, Brian, Ackland, Devereux, Bagnall (son to Sir Samuel Bagnall), Brown, Parkins (Perkins), Atkins, Nicholas Doubdeny." Several of the Servitors here named failed in getting lands as undertakers in Ireland, being thought ineligible by the Lord Deputy; others of them did not covet the responsibilities which, as undertakers, they would have incurred.
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