Plantation Survey, 1622, Co. Armagh

Edited by T. G. F. PATERSON, M.A., M.R.I.A. published in Seanchás Ardmhaca/


In the reign of Elizabeth the First there were three vain attempts at the colonization of Ulster, the earliest of which had its location in County Armagh. There Captain Thomas Chatterton had a grant(1) bestowed upon him on October 5, 1572, of Orior, the Fews and Gallowglass Country, on condition that he should plant and possess it before March 25, 1579. He was, however, slain by the O Hanlons of Orior shortly after the date of his patent, and as a consequence his heirs refused to risk their lives in perfecting a settlement in those areas. Two later experiments, one in County Down, the other in County Antrim, were equally unsuccessful, but in the early years of her successor a much more ambitious project came into being.

The Plantation of James the First was chiefly the work of three several commissions in 1608, 1609 and 1610, of which there is an excellent digest in the preface to the Calendar of State Papers of Ireland for the years 1608-1610, and a mass of additional matter in the recapitulations themselves. With the Patent Rolls and Inquisitions they form a useful and conveniently accessible index to the social, military and economic history of the period under consideration. Data in the same sources appertaining to the earlier years of Charles I will also be found extremely informative.

The Survey of 1608 was taken at the Moyry Castle July 2, 1608,(2) before a jury consisting of Sir Marmaduke Whitechurch(3) and seventeen natives of the county, viz:

Brian McDonnell
Xfor Fleming
Hugh McGilleduff
Patric Mri
Hugh O Lappan
Neece O Quin
Carbery McCann
Cormick McTirlagh
Owen Hughes
Patrick Oge O Cor
Donnell Neale
Calleigh McDonnell
Donaldus Caseus
Donagh McMurehy
Neal O Callaghan
Rory McPatrick
Turlagh McTeyre

Plantation Commissioners present comprised Sir Thomas Ridgeway, Vice-Treasurer and Treasurer of War in Ireland,(4) Sir Oliver St. John, Master of Ordnance in Ireland, Sir John Davies, His Majesty’s Attorney-General,(5) Sir Tobias Caulfeild, Sir Edward Blany,(6) and William Parsons Esquire, Surveyor General of: all His Majesty’s Possessions in Ireland.(7). From the document in question we learn that the barony of Orior had already been dealt with at Mountnorris. This examination of the lands of the county formed the basis for the more general scheme authorized in July, 1609. The Commission of the latter year was by far the most important of the three. It left Dublin July 31, 1609, and returned thence September 30. It reached Armagh city on Monday, August 7, and immediately began an investigation of the escheated lands. For that purpose the county was divided into five baronial, divisions each of which contained various precincts. Toughrany was not available for planting being held in part by the archbishop and the remainder by Sir Henry Oge O’Neill. The barony of Armagh was largely in the hands, of the Church and Trinity College, whilst the barony of Fews was mostly the property of the Church and of Sir Tirlagh MacHenry O’Neill. There were, however 15,500,acres disposable in Orior, 16,500 in O’Neilland, 6,000 in Fews and in Armagh 4,500 – the, quantities of these: proportions ,were greatly in excess of the acreages shown above.

The most momentous meeting of the week took place on Friday August, 12, when 22 jurors, (all with one exception from the leading septs or families) assisted the Commissioners in a fairly exhaustive.enquiry regarding the Temporal and Ecclesiastical lands of the county (8)

Under that particular Commission maps were prepared showing the forfeited lands and by the spring of 1610 the successful applicants had been chosen and their proportions assigned, though actual possession did not take place until the summer and autumn. Almost a year after Sir George Carew (9) with a new set of Commissioners made a visitation of the undertakers who had received permission to go ahead. It was found that a few settlers had made earnest endeavours to fulfil their obligations but that many such had not troubled to set to work either personally or by agents. Those complying with the Articles of Plantation were encouraged but the indolent and the absentees were bluntly threatened with confiscation. This resulted in many grantees selling their proportions and returning to their native soils, a state of affairs prevalent not alone in Armagh but in other countries as well. Carew’s Report is the first account implying progress. The Plantation remained somewhat static in 1612 and 1613 so in 1615(10) King James Ordered Sir Josias Bodley (11) to examine whether undertakers were neglecting their plantation duties. It thus came to pass that Captain Nicholsa Pynnar was commissioned to make a more comprehensive survey (12) in 1618-1619. From his findings we learn that by then a number of the original proprietors had sold out and departed but that their successors were busily employed in completing castle or bawns or erecting new dwellings – tenants by then had increased considerably. There were however exceptions: undertakers whose intentions were possibly good but failed to materialize.

Pynnar’s Survey though better known than Carew’s Report is less informative. For instance, it takes no notice of fortifications at Mount Norris (erected 1602), the Moyry,(1601) or Charlemont (erected 1602).To procure a really comprehensive view of the county as it was then it becomes necessary to study the Patent Rolls and Inquisitions of James I and Charles I and other allied material.

In the class of undertakers termed “Servitors” a lengthy list of Irish names is recorded but practically no reference is made to such grantees. in the above surveys or indeed in that of 1622. Other missing items consist of monastic and conventual lands, the great acreage bestowed upon Trinity College, Dublin, the much less substantial endowment for the Royal School of Armagh, and the smaller portions allotted to the Boroughs of Armagh and Charlemont.

The portion relating to .County Armagh was surveyed by the same three Commissioners as Tyrone, hence the linked heading (see Plate I), the inspectors being Lord Caulfeild,(14) Sir Dudley Digges,(15) and Sir Nathaniel Riche(16) Its title “Divers Reports concerning ye state of the Kingdom of Ireland upon the View of certain Commissioners sent by King James in 1622” suggests perhaps a larger area than is actually covered. It shows, however, a steady increase in the number of settlers on Plantation “proportions” in the County, a fact substantiated by a Muster Roll of circa 1630 from which we can arrive at a reasonably accurate estimate of the Plantation population at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1641.

The Survey is preserved in the British Museum amongst the “Additional Manuscripts” and is numbered “4756.” The text is here reproduced without any alterations in spelling or punctuation. Capitals have been adhered to also, but contractions have been extended for the sake of easy perusal-examples of those occurring in the Armagh section are illustrated below.

addicon = addition.
comer = conunissioner.
condicon = condition.
direccons = directions.
leaseholdes =leaseholders.
LP = Lordship.
plantacons = plantations.
pporcon = proportion.
proporcons = proportions.
revercon = reversion.
Sd = said.
undertents = undertenants.
Michas = Michaelmas.
undrtents = undertenants.
occupacons = occupations.
weh = which.
pcells = parcels.
wth = with.
pforme = perform.
ye = the.
(Final-con(s) etc. has a wavy accent not reproduced here.

The actual investigation was undertaken at the instigation of the King who, besides desiring fresh news as to progress, wished to show his displeasure towards certain people who had chanced to offend him. This he achieved by banishing them to Ireland!

A warrant was issued March 16, 1622, authorizing the payment of commissioners assigned for the carrying out of the Survey. It gives the names and remuneration of the individuals engaged, all men of some eminence, but of the nine noted below we shall only take notice of a few. They were as under-

Sir William Jones (14)
Sir James Perro (15)
Sir Thomas Penruddocke
Thomas Crew (16)
Sir Dudley Digges
Sir Henry Bouchier
Sir Nathaniel Riche
Richard Hadsor and Theodore Price (17)

Each member received an advance fee of £100 and an allowance of £1 10s. Od. per diem dating from February 20 of that year, and for the transportation of “all the said Commissioners” Sir Dudley Digges received an additional £100.

On March 20 we find the Commission augmented by (18)
Sir Adam Loftus Lord Chancellor (19)
Christopher Archbishop of Armagh(20)

Viscount Grandison of Limerick (21)
Charles Viscount ; Wilmot
Toby Lord Caulfeild (22)
Sir Dudley Norton
Sir Francis Blundell
Bart. Sir William Parsons, Bart.
Sir John Jephson
of whom no .less than four had links with Armagh.

The actual inspection of the county was, however, the work of, the three Commissioners mentioned earlier, ‘Lord Caulfeild, Sir;Dudley Digges and Sir Nathaniel Riche, and to them we are indebted for this account of. the Plantation ;in .1622.


My thanks are due to Mr. B. Schofield, M.A., Ph. D., Keeper of the Manuscript Collections, British Museum, for permission· to publish this practically. unknown survey; to Viscount Charlemont for leave to use a print of the portrait in his possession of Sir Toby Caulfeild, 1st Lord Charlemont; and to my colleagues Miss Elizabeth Frazer and Mr. D.R.M Weatherup, A.M.A. for valuable and much appreciated assistance in reading proofs.


(1) From the Queen by indentures under the Great Seal of England dated October 5 and afterwards by Letters Patent. The grant having been enrolled in England there was no office found of the breach of contract until 1610. C.S.P.I. (1608-1610), pp. 552-9 “Sir John Davys on King’s title to lands in County Armagh.”

(2) Vol. 3, E. 3. 13 and No. 582 Trinity College Library. All the jurors signed by “mark” excepting Whitechurch, Caseus, McTeyre, Fleming: McMurchy and l\-lri. What is almost a counterpart of the above most interesting and detailed survey has been edited and published in Analeeta Hiberniea, No.3, 1931, from a Rawlinson MS. in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The Trinity version is, however. the more profitable in that it gives townlands of Precincts individually instead of acreages or balliboes within such divisions.

(3) Came to Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth. Present at the battle of the Yellow Ford in 1598. Died January 31, 1634. Buried Loughbrickland, Co. Down, in which county he acquired a considerable estate by purchase from the Magennis family. He also secured lands in Louth. Monaghan and Armagh in which county he received a grant of 6 balliboes of the lands of the Nunnery of Killevy.

(4) Born 1565. Served in Ire land and was knighted 1600. Vice-Tteasurer 1603-1606.
Treasurer. 1606-1616. Created a baronet l616. Advanced to the peerage as Lord Ridgeway of Gallen Ridgeway, Queens County 1616, and in 1622 to the Earldom of Londonderry. Assisted in the preliminary work of the survey of the escheated counties and with his brother George acquired lands in Tyrone. Died January 1631-32 . Complete Peerage.and. D.N.B.

(5) 1569-1626. Appointed Attorney.-General for Ireland, Received a grant of 2,000 acres in Tyrone, 1,500 acres in Fermanagh and 500 acres in Armagh. Died 1631-32. Complete Peerage D.N.B.

(6) Accompanied the’ Earl of Essex’ to Ireland in 1598. Governor of’ Mountnorris Fort 1601. Present at siege of Kinsale. Knighted 1603. Seneschal of Monaghan 1604. Lord Lieutenant of Monaghan 1613-1615. Created Lord Blayney of Monaghan 1621, in which county, he received grants in 1607 and 1611. . Died February; 11, 1629-30. Complete Peerage.

(7) 1570-1650. Ancestor of the extinct Earls of Rosse .. Settled ,in; Ireland about 1590 with his brother Laurence, ancestor of Earls of Rosse of the second creation. As. a Commissioner of Plantation obtained considerable grants from .the Crown. Became Surveyor-General 1602.Cpntinued in Government posts until.l643in which year he. was charged with. treason and. committed to prison with Sir Adam Loftus and others. Died. February;.l649-50. Complete. Peerage, and D.N.B.
(8) Patent Rolls, 17 ‘James I, and GLANCY, Seanchas Ardmhacha. ,Vol. I. No. I,
pp.:76·93,’for,.an’exhaustive ·examination of-the Inquisition in ,question.

(9)Came to Ireland with, his brother’ Peter and entered Irish service ‘under” his cousin Sir Peter Carew. Born 1555. Died, 1629. Very active in Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth I and James I. and friend of Lord Mountjoy. The celebrated Carew Manuscripts contain much material of Ulster interest. Creatod Baron. Carew of Clopton (May 1605) and Earl of Totnes (February 1625-26). See D;N.B. and complete Peerage. For his Survey of County Armagh see Calendar Carew Manuscripts 1603-1624.pp:·78. 225-226, and 229 .

(10) GSP.I. 1615′-1625″ p.’ 25, King’s letter to Chichester.

(11) A celebrated cartographer of those days. He served as Governor of Newry in 1601 land was present at the raid on Loughrorkan, County Armagh on Apri16 of that year.

(12) Printed in Harris’s Hibernica (1747), pp. 112-1l7; Carew Manuscripts (1603-1624) pp. 415-418; but perhaps more easily consultable in, Hill’s Plantations pp.; 555-572. Pynnar came to Ireland in 1600 as a Captain in the army. In.1610 he offered as a “Servitor” to take part in the’ Plantation and in 1611 was ,assigned 1,000 acres in Cavan Appointed November 28, 1618, to survey the escheated counties. The importance of his celebrated work has perhaps been over estimated as fresh inspection was necessary three. years after. He does not seem to have ever taken up his, Cavan proportion and his report of l619 gives no particulars as to his reasons for withdrawal.

(13) The very large but scattered granges of the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul of Armagh had already been acquired by Sir Toby Caulfeild. About the same time Francis Annesley acquired the sites, ambits and precincts of the late Nunneries of Templefartagh and Templebreed in Armagh city.

(14) Born 1565. Seneschal or Governor of County Armagh. Had a distinguished army career. Served Queen Elizabeth gallantly in Spain and the Low Countries before coming to Ireland where he eventually secured lands in the Counties Armagh, Tyrone, Monaghan, Derry, Louth, Cavan, Fermanagh, and Donegal. His estates contained every variety of landed property among which were the very extensive grange lands of the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul of Armagh and the Fort and town of Charlemont with 300 acres attached in 1607. These he acquired before the Plantation of Ulster was actually decided upon, afterwards receiving a further grant of 1,000 acres in South Armagh where the remains of a bawn raised by him may still be seen. M.P. for County Armagh 1613-1615. Commissioner for Escheated Estates in 1616. Created Baron Charlemont 1620 with special remainder to his nephew Sir William Caulfeild, 2nd Baron Charlemont, ancestor of the present Viscount Charlemont. Died 1627. D.N.B. and Complete Peerage.

(15) 1583-1639. Diplomat and judge. Came to Ireland to act as Commissioner in 1622. See D.N.B. and C.S.P.I. 1615-1625.

(16) Born circa 1585. Had a legal training. Admitted Gray’s Inn 1609·10. Devoted at first to politics but later engaged in mercantile pursuits. Carne to Ireland with Digges in 1622 as a Commissioner. Died 1636. D.N.B.

(17) 1566·1640. Knighted 1617 and in same year appointed Chief Justice of King’s Bench in Ireland. In 1620 resigned and returned to the English Bar. In 1621 became a judge of the Common Pleas and in 1622 selected a member of the above Commission with which he remained until 1623. Again in Ireland on a like Commission in 1624. Transferred from Common Pleas to King’s Bench and proceeded to England where he died December 9, 1640. D.N.B.

(18) 1571.1637. Politician. “Subjected to an honourable banishment to Ireland” as a member of the Commission. His opinions were by then an embarassment to the
Crown. Died February 4, 1636-7. D.N.B. -.

(19) 1565-1634. Politician. Incurred the King’s displeasure because of opinions expressed in Parliament, and as a consequence sent to Ireland as Commissioner. Returned to England and was chosen Speaker of the English House of Commons in 1623. Knighted 1624. Again selected as Speaker at first Parliament of Charles I (1625). Died February 1633-4. D.N.B.

(20) 1570·1631. .Prebendary of Westminister and holder of various benefices. As a member of the Commission he earned the praise of the King and with it a promise of advancement, but when the Archbishopric of Armagh became vacant in 1624 through the ueath of Archbishop Hampton he failed to secure the appointment despite the undoubted influence of his friends. Died December 15, 1631. D.N.B.

(21) C.S.P.I. 1615·1625, p. 345.

(22)C.S.P.I. 1615·1625, p. 346.

(23) Circa 1588·1643. Lord Chancellor of Ireland and as such included in the Commmissioners who inquired into the state of the church and completed the Ulster Plantation. Created Viscount 1622. Nephew of Most Rev. Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Armagh 1562-1567. Died 1643. D.N.B. and Peerages.

(24)Christopher Hampton, D.D., Archbishop of Armagh, 1613·1625.