The Plantation Era, Donaghmore Parish, Co. Tyrone

Published in Seanchas Ardmhaca – Journal of the Armagh Dioscescan Society, 1958, Vol. 3, No. 1

Under the first of the Plantation Commissions issued on 19th july, 1608, Chichester and the other members of the Irish Council conducted a survey of the six Counties of Ulster destined to be planted (Cal. S.P.I., 1608-10: An. Hib. 3, pp. 151-218). Based on this survey the scheme for Plantation was completed in 1609. In that same year a second Commission was issued authorizing Chichester and his colleagues to carry out a new survey of the escheated counties, divide the counties into proportions, make maps illustrating the divisions, and generally to take all necessary measures for furthering the Plantation. By the spring of 1610 the work was completed, and then a further commission enabled Chichester and the others to give possession to the successful applicants of the proportions of land assigned to them. The Plantation proper began in the summer and autumn of 1610.

The scheme was complete in all its parts, and if it was not to be completely successful in its object of wiping out the native stock in large tracts of the escheated counties, it was not the fault of the planners. With wonderful magnanimity they decreed that the old inhabitants be allowed to stay on their lands “till May next 1611” so that they might plough and sow the land for the next year, “and for such corn as they shall sow from henceforth until May next, they are to sell the same to the undertaker at that time or sooner, if the undertaker shall so require, at such rates as by two indifferent men agreed upon. And thereupon they shall depart immediately from the said lands.”

It all looked beautifully simple on paper but many snags were to present themselves. In the original version of Chichester’s Notes of Remembrance we read that, “many of the natives claim to be freeholders, and albeit their demands are not justifiable in law, yet you know how hard it is, and almost impossible to displant them, wherefore I wish that a consideration be made for some few of them albeit they were all in the late rebellion, and have now hearts and minds alike, and the rest of the lands to go to well-
chosen Undertakers and Servitors.”

Furthermore, provision had to be made for the Bishops and clergy of the now established Church, and hence Chichester recommends the establishing of lands for these. No more simple solution could be found than to appropriate for them the lands anciently held by the now dispossessed Catholic Church. When this is done, Chichester said, “no great care need be taken of the inferior natives, for they will all settle themselves and their dependancie either upon the Bishops Undertakers, or on the Irish who shall be established by His Majesty’s gracious favour, for most
of them are by nature inclined rather to be followers and tenants to others than lords and freeholders themselves.”

From the inquisition taken at Dungannon, 23 Aug., 7th James I (1609) before a jury of twenty four, twenty two of whom were of old gaelic stock, and at least two of whom, James O Shele and Edmond Oge O Hagan, were to become possessed of land in the parish, we learn that the Barony of Dungannon contains the Parish of Donaghmore, which contains.:-
Donaghmore – one ballibetagh
Ballimacahill – one ballibetagh
Clonivertie – one ballibetagh and 14 balliboes
Ballydonnelly – 24 balliboes
Ballymagullaght – 7 balliboes
Dungannon – 4 balliboes
Ballisallagh – one sessiogh
Ballygowen – 3 balliboes
The Carra – 8 balliboes
Ballydonnellyetra – 4 balliboes.

It is a sad reflection that the native jurors who gave this information, attended the Dungannon Inquisition because of their hostility to Hugh O’Neill. John Leigh, whose brother Daniel was one of the two non-native jurors, was Sheriff of Tyrone in 1608. He has left a short account which is preserved in the Carew MSS., and which tells us that he had noticed several kindred septs of the O Neills who were bitterly opposed to Tyrone.
“All that sept of the O Neales called the Sleughte Artes do deadly hate Tyrone’s sept.” In Clogher are two distinct septs, one of which are the sons of Shane, and their followers, who hate Tyrone.” The first juror on the list is Shane’s son, Henry; the second Sir Arthur’s eldest son, Turlough. We can take it that the other native jurors on the list were followers of these and friendly to the English party.

On the authority of these well-informed native jurors we have listed the old Celtic territorial divisions of land that made up the parish of Donaghmore in 1609. To set them down in this way, however, does not take us very far, for all but two of them – Donaghmore and Dungannon – are unknown in present-day nomenclature. Reference to the maps of the escheated counties for the Barony of Dungannon will show the letter press of most of these names, stretching in a rough and ready way over the balliboes and ballibetaghs they are intended to represent. The spelling in the documents and on the maps follows many vagaries. It is the work of English scribes and cartographers, and Irish official tradition is represented only by the oral testimony of the old inhabitants taken at the various Inquisitions.

Ballimacahill, though an extensive territory, is not marked on the 1609 map. It lay along the Donaghmore-Pomeroy road, and still remains as Ballymacaul. On Plate 3, 11, there is a townland in this district called Mallateecahell, which represents the Ballymacaul of to-day, but the Ballimacahill of the above list was a much more extensive territory. It is fairly certain that like Clonivertie, and Ballymagullagh, it contains some very ancient name.

Clonivertie, the next name on the list, is a very interesting one. The 1608 Inquisition gives it as Clonevarty; the 1609 one, Clonivertie. Dr. S. Ó Ceallaigh, in the Bulletin of the Ulster Placename Society, Vol. I. part 3, identifies it correctly as Clann Fhoghartaigh, and this identification brings us back to the Topographical Poems of Ó Dubhagain c. 1372 where we read :- .
“O Maoil Fhothartaigh, agus O hEodhosa, et O hOgain ar Chenel Tighearnaigh,”
or if you prefer it in verse :

“Ar Ceinel Tighearnaigh dteann
O Maoil Fhothartaigh airmheam
Maith a n-eolas-(s)a is a n-agh
Ui Eodhosa is Ui Ogain.”

The letterpress “Clonivertie” on Plate 3 ,II, covers much of what is now called the Gallbally district of Donaghmore Parish, but the exact location of the Clann Fhoghartaigh, or at least the strongpoint of their territory, is probably to be found in the placename “Lisferty.”

The Ballymagullagh of the above list enshrines a very ancient piece of nomenclature. It is represented on Plate 3, II, by the remarkable letterpress mac-eu-illah, and covers a number of townlands between Dungannon and Donaghmore. A 17th century scribe of the “Martial Career of Conghal Clairingheach” (Irish Texts Soc.) tells us that Conghal came to “Carn Maccu Buachalla in the centre of Ulster which is today called Ballydonnelly.” The editor of this tale, from an examination of the language, the writing, and the paper comes to the conclusion that his text is to be dated about 1650, and this opinion is endorsed by Thurneysen. The latter also tells us in Die irische Heldensage that the identifications of this text are very unreliable. But this much we have learned – that an unnamed 17th century scribe knew of a Cam Maccu Buachalla in Baile Ui Dhonnghaile. We do not know if the unknown scribe’s identification is correct, but it is exciting to find the place he refers to, in this piece of letterpress on Plate 3, 11. If we put the ‘béim’ on the second element, we can even hear the ring of the northern Irish as it was repeated by some Donaghmore ‘seanchaidhe’ for the English cartographer. It should be emphasized, too, that a mid-17th century scribe regarded Cam Maccu Buachalla, the Ballymagullagh of the above list, as being part of Ballydonnelly. The name still survives in a mangled form. The mangling process had begun as early as 1608. In the Inquisition of that year (Rawlinson A 237) we find it as Bally McWillagh containing ‘vi balliboes.’ The 1609 Inquisition, quoted above, gives it as Ballymagullaght, and it still lives in local speech as Ballymaquillagh, the name of the bridge on the railway-line between Dungannon and Donaghmore, on the title deeds of a number of farms in the district, and as the name of the Fort on the farm of Mr . Joseph Donaghy. With this Fort we reach the actual Carn of the Maccu Buachalla that is mentioned in the “Martial Career of Conghal Clairingheach” and the Táin. It is surprising to find a piece of Tain nomenclature so deep in the centre of Ulster .

Ballisallagh no longer exists as a placename, but then it was only one sessiogh or twenty acres. It is remarkable to find it listed at all, but at the time it must have been considered a place of importance.

Ballygowen, too, has disappeared but at least we can trace it. In the Inquisitions we find that it contains three balliboes that are named, Lissagoan, Mullachacrevey and Gallanagh. Lissagoan and Gallanagh have disappeared, and would seem to be absorbed in the large present-day townland of Mullaghcreavy.

Perhaps the most fascinating name on this list of fascinating names is “the Carra.” In this form which looks like an Irish nominative plural, it is now completely lost. We shall see a further reference to it later and show how it survives to the present time.,

Sufficient has been said already of the two Ballydonnellys. The last name on the list still survives in the rarely-used Clagganballydonnelly, now simply called Claggan, near the Rock.

An ancient territorial division of land in the Parish of Donaghmore, Ballymakaur, by accident or design was omitted from the above list. We shall meet with it again in the lands granted to Sir William Parsons, the Surveyor General of the Plantation.

The Parish of Donaghmore, then, according to the Old Irish jurors who attended the Dungannon Inquisition of 1609, and who must surely have attended in hope of getting some of the spoils, was an extensive place indeed. Embracing all the present parish, it included a number of townlands now in Dungannon, extended as far as. Baile na Carraige or the present Rock, took in nearly all the parish of Pomeroy, and ten or twelve townlands now in Killishell. It was therefore an extensive place, which, however, the Jury notes, has only a Vicar, the parish being impropriate, belonging to the Prior and Vicars Choral of Armagh, and 2/3 part of the tithe being the right of the parson, and 1/3 of the Vicar. It has a house, garden, and six acres of glebe land called Farrensagirt.

These Old Irish jurors were certainly well informed on ecclesiastical affairs. We have already shown how the rectory of Donaghmore became impropriate to the College of the Culdees, now with the Plantation called the Prior and Vicars Choral of Armagh. We must marvel at the audacity of the new lords who thus took over the old Catholic scheme of things and used it for their purpose. This audacity is all the more remarkable when we remember that in the parish of Donaghmore in 1609, there was scarcely a single Protestant. More than a year would pass before the first batch of tenants for the new landlords would arrive.

An extensive pre-Reformation parish like Donaghmore might well be expected to have extensive Church or erenagh lands. The jurors of the 1609 Inquisition knew very well what these were, and falling in line with the Plantation scheme found that the protestant Archbishop of Armagh, “is seized in his demesne, as of fee, in right of his see, of the following rents, custom, and services out of the erenagh lands in Dungannon Barony :-i.e. out of the erenagh lands of Donaghmore, containing 13 tullaghs, every tullagh containing one balliboe and one sessiogh, every sessiogh containing 1 of a balliboe, a yearly rent of £2, with 6s. 8d. Irish for every bloodshed, with a cosherie on the Archbishop’s visitation if he comes in person,” etc. Thus, by statute, the ancient church lands of Donaghmore were passed to the Protestant Archbishop of Armagh, and when we remember that all the erenagh lands of all the ancient parishes were given to him, we can realise what a wealthy potentate he became.

When we come to define the exact lands that were granted to him, we must quote from a later Inquisition, for the account of the termon and erenagh lands of the 1609 Inquisition is amplified by a more explicit list given in Pat. Rolls 18 Jas. I (Mar. 1620-Mar. 1621). This grant was made to Christopher, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and it lists “the following erenagh lands in the parish of Donaghmore :-
Mullarewe Drombarne
Agharanny Tullydergaigh
Lehardan Ballybreagh
Mullamore Gavagh
Tullynure Tullaleagh
Rathlough Tullneegall
Tannagh Knocktemple,
excepting thereout one house, one garden and three acres of glebe land for the Vicar.

It seems likely that the Vicar’s glebe, the Farrensagirt of 1609, was in Knocktemple where the church was. There is however no trace of the name to-day. The name Knocktemple is now also unknown, though it remained in its native dress as Cnoc an Teampaill till recent times. Lehardan (Leath-Ardan) though marked on the O.S. is no longer used. All the other balliboes of erenagh land still remain and surround the ancient church on the hill. From time immemorial they had been farmed by the O Loughrans and even as late as the Hearth Money Rolls 1666, the chief tenant in each was a member of this ancient family.

We have already seen that one of the territories that made up the parish of Donaghmore in 1609 was “The Carra” containing eight balliboes.

It is exciting to find in the Inquisition of 1618 (Pat. Rolls Jas. I, Part II) that Christopher, Lord Archbishop of Armagh got a grant of the erenagh lands of Donaghcarr, containing the following :-
Lisgawan Mullyrudden
Agherahin Kilgawne
Drumconner Newhahill
Creve Fallerla
All these townlands are within the present parish and are in fact contiguous with the erenagh lands of Donaghmore already listed. Donaghcair it is fairly clear, gives under another form the Carra .of the 1609 Inquisition. We can go further and say that the name is still preserved in “Carland,” an indeterminate district, and the centre of a small, but proud and loyal Catholic community in the parish of Donaghmore.

Here then we have a lost Domhnach that at some stage had a proper parochia of its own. It is not mentioned in the medieval Episcopal Registers, nor is it noted in the Papal Taxation of 1302, and must therefore have been absorbed in Donaghmore at a very early stage. The Domhnach element points to a very early and even a Patrician foundation. It seems fairly safe to conclude that this was the place where the Fir Gabrae of the Vita Tripartita rejected St. Patrick, but St. Patrick predicted that they would come after a time, to his church, presumably Donaghmore, with their cíos and in winter. “Quod impletum est”

A piece of corroborative evidence for this conclusion might be forth-coming from an entirely independent source. It must be remembered that we are dealing with a time well before the advent of Cineal Eoghain or surnames. We are dealing with people-groups like Ui Tuirtre, Ui Niallain etc., groups that were pushed about in the subsequent centuries, but that nevertheless left their marks on the territories they inhabited.

If we turn to the list of Coarbs of St. Patrick (Bk. Lein., Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies 1954, p. 199) we find that the 13th entry on the list gives us a piece of remarkable information. It states :-
“Caurlan iiii o Domnuch meic hu Garba d’Uib Niallain.” In other words, Caurlan, the 13th Coarb of St. Patrick ruled in Armagh for four years. He was from the Domhnach of the “Meic hu Garba” in Ui Niallain. Could the Mic Ui Garba of the list of Coarbs be the same as the Fir Gabrae of the Tripartite, the men, who at first rejected St. Patrick but soon came to the fold? It might be objected that the Ui Niallain, which we have come to associate with the Kilmore-Loughgall district, did not extend so far north as to include the present parish of Donaghmore, yet no one has ever suggested a people-group to fill the gap between the Ui Niallain and the Ui Tuirtre in these early Christian centuries. In these early times the Ui Niallain and the Ui Tuirtre must have been contiguous, and one is tempted to suggest that “Carland” of today derives its
name from Caurlan, the 13th Coarb of St. Patrick. Formerly called Domnach Meic hu Garba, we can readily understand how it would change its name in honour of a distinguished member of that sept who reached the very highest position in the Irish Church. The Domhnach Meic hu Garba had its adjacent ,: Claggan, “the Clagganbally-donnelly already mentioned, and a relic of the ancient sept would seem to be preserved in the town land name, Mullnagore, which as late as Plantation times was called Mollagh Gaura. The fantastic etymology that talks of goats must be discarded.

There is nothing unusual in finding a member of the Mic Ui Garba reaching this position. Many of the Coarbs of St. Patrick about this time came from these two peoples of Ui Niallain and Ui Tuirtre. The man who succeeded Caurlan was Ecchaid Mac Diarmata of Domnuch Rigdruing, which may be one of the seven churches mentioned in the Tripartite Life as having been founded by St. Patrick in Ui Tuirtre. Several too were of the Ui Niallain.

This suggestion, put forward tentatively, may not be acceptable, and, coming back to the Inquisition of 1609, it does not explain “The Carra” or the second element of Donaghcarr. Perhaps the true explanation of the word is to be found in Cormac’s Glossary which gives the following :-
Carr 1. cam donither fair agus dichned derid fuil ann (a heap, carn, is made on it and there is an apocope, scil. of n, there). What makes the equiparation so cogent in the present case is the existence of a well-preserved “Carn” in Carland topped by a remarkable standing stone called “cloch corr” which gave its name to a subdivision of the townland of Lisnagleer.

So far we have dealt with the two parcels of erenagh lands, of Donaghmore and Donaghcarr , all of which are contained in the modern parish. In the Inquisition taken at Dungannon 16 Sept. 9 Car. I. (1633) the sub-denominations of these towns of erenagh land are given, fascinating place-names, almost all of which have completely disappeared, but all of which were well known when Chichester was implementing his iniquitous scheme of Plantation. That so many ancient placenames in Ireland have been preserved is indeed remarkable, but more remarkable still is the extermination from the local memory over the past three hundred years of so many interesting placenames. Out of his own mouth Chichester stands refuted, for even the findings of one of his own inquisitions rebut the notion that civil administration under the Gaelic Chiefs was at a low ebb. “Natives running up and down the country with their creaghts” could never have retained the memory of the identification and boundaries of so many minute parcels of land. And what names they are, ‘ag teacht chugainn aniar as óige an tsaoil!’ Now they are completely forgotten by the people who were reduced by Chichester and his successors “to a state of civility.”

“The territorie of Donaghcarre doth contain eight balliboes of land and is in the possession of the said Archbishop and his tenants, and doth lie in the said barony of Dungannon and county of Tyrone and is called by the several names of :

Mullaghruddon being one balliboe conteyning in parcells Coleleene, Knocknesparran, Mullaghneloghoge and Cavannecroe ;
Chrewe, 1 bb. conteyning in parcells (-) Dreemenoer and Dormdevenaghe;
Dromconnor, 1 bb. conteyning in parcells Aghnameghinmyneith, Rossenemee, Crewgort;
Coghfye al’Neheleylee, al’Lysnegleere, 1 bb. conteyning Mennerfeaghe and Cloghcorre ;
Aghcany conteyning in parcels Agheranbegge, Agheranmore, and Knockycackey;
Fallerea at’ Fautrey conteyning in parcels Tawnaghcantyn, Knockycanhvey, and Tawnavally;
Lysboy al’ Killagawragh conteyning Cavannasmeddyn, Cooleshannagh, Lysadowne and Achytyrconnell;
Lysgowe al’ Lysgawne 1 bb. conteyning in parcels Cavannebrannan, Knockydehalye, and Lysnesheeragh.

The said Archbishop and his tenants are possessed of the territorie of Donaghmore lying in the barony and county aforesaid and called by the several names of :-
Mullaghrea al’ Mullaghcrewe, 1 bb. conteyning in parcels Lysagoan and Gallanagh;
Laorton al’ Leaghhardan, 1 bb. conteyning Coolenacranaghan, Cavannaghcuran and Tawnaghleeve;
Ballenewre, 1 bb. conteyning Seleredan and Knockyquill;
Drombarne, 1 bb. conteyning Mullan and Karrerun;
Tullaghleege, 1 bb. conteyning Tullaghleaghe, Teenagh, Dromnedarogh, Mullon and Feagnagh ;
Recloghe al’ Rathelough, 1 bb. conteyning Aghencloghan, and Knock-macmahon;
Monneycronnatt, 1 bb. conteyning Knocksdarron and Mullaghanekege;
Tullaghnagall, 1 bb. conteyning Freaghbegge and Mullanbrack;
Garvaghye, 1 bb. conteyning Aughtenkilliagh and Mannadoone;
Ballebragh at’ Ballereagh, 1 bb. conteyning Ardoslogh, Lysnesky and Nalsky;
Tullaghedera al’ Tullagheddergeaghe, 1 bb. conteyning Cavannecarre and Aghennemanie;
Annagh al’ Enagh al’ Tannagh, 1 bb. conteyning Reaske-bullye and part of Tullylustre;
Agheranye, 1 bb. conteyning part of Tullylustre and Mullaghmore, is in the Lord Primate’s patent but in whose possession it is the Jury know not. There is a parcell of land called Knocktempell called Clagganlands about the Church of Donaghmore in the Archbishop and his Tenants’ possession.

The most diligent investigation has revealed the survival of only a few of these subdenominations. Cloghcorr, as already mentioned, still survives. A green hillock in the bog along the Donaghmore-Pomeroy road is still known as Knockstarn and is remembered in local tradition (recorded by Alfred McLean) as the place where the men of ’98 did their drilling.

Reaske-bullye may find an echo in the inelegant Bull’s Bray. Of the rest only a trace or two can be found. The spelling of these names in the Inquisition is helpful for anyone who tries to restore them-to their original gaelic forms. Tullydraw, for example, might baffle re-gaelicization but for its alias as given above, Tullagheddergeaghe, which gives us immediately Tulach-idir-dha-ath, a perfect description of this hill between two fords. Some of these names like Aghnameghinmyneigh, for which we would suggest Achadh-Cheim-an-Fhiaidh, have a very ancient appearance; others, like Achennemainie, Achadadh-na-Manach would seem to have an ecclesiastical origin. Has Achadh na Manach some connection with the Cross we have seen in this townland in pre-Plantation times?

The alias for Lisboy, i.e. Killagawragh pins down for ever the elusive Fir Gabrae of the Tripartite Life and it is surely a legitimate speculation that in Lysadowne (Lios a’ Domhnaigh) a subdivision of Lysboy we have the exact site of Donaghcarr, thus showing that Toponymy is indeed the handmaid of History. Chichester’s scheme not merely robbed us of our property; it eventually succeeded in corroding our minds.
References:The sources of this history are numerous and abound in information, and the principal ones may be listed as follows :-
1. The Ulster Plantation Papers 1610.
2. Maps made for the purpose of Plantation.
3. The various Inquisitions taken at Dungannon.
4. The Manor Court Rolls (1625-1627).
5. Leabhar Cinn Lae Uí Mheallain, 1641-1653.
6. The Armagh and Tyrone Depositions (same period as 5).
7. The Civil Survey, 1653.
8. The Down Survey, 1655-7.
9. The Books of Survey and Distribution.
10. The Hearth Money Rolls, 1666.