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Scottish Undertakers Map
---Monea Castle------Rathmullan Castle------Derry's Walls------Dunluce Castle------Springhill------Killyleagh Castle---
Monea Rathmullan Derry's Walls Dunluce Springhill Killyleagh
Built by Malcolm Hamilton, a Scottish minister, who later became the Archbishop of Cashel. Monea is generally regarded as the finest surviving Plantation castle and has many Scottish architectural features. In the early seventeenth century Andrew Knox, bishop of Raphoe, converted part of the former monastic buildings in Rathmullan to a private house. He left his mark on the building through the corbelled corner turrets, the tall chimneys and the doorway with
its carved stone frame.
Begun in 1613 in the same year that the town of Derry was renamed Londonderry, the walls were completed in 1618. Today the walls survive almost intact and are the most important surviving 17th-century fortifications in the British Isles. Built over a lengthy period, the man who left his mark on it more than any other was Sir Randal MacDonnell who became the 1st Earl of Antrim. He built an English-style manor house within the walls as well as other important additions. Home to the Lenox-Conyngham family for more than 250 years. It was built in the 1690s by William Conyngham in a style that represented a break from the defensive buildings of the past. Today it is managed by the National Trust and is one of the most popular homes in Northern Ireland open to the public. Built by Sir James Hamilton in the early 1610s. In 1614 it was described as ‘ane vere strong castle, the lyk is not in the northe’. In 1666 a second tower was added to give the front of the castle a more symmetrical appearance.

---Landowners--- ---Ministers---

A total of 59 Scottish landowners (or undertakers as they were known) received lands in the Plantation of Ulster. Most were minor lairds, though others, such as Ludovic Stewart, Duke of Lennox, and James Hamilton, Earl of Abercorn, were aristocrats and held important positions in the Scottish government. Many of the original grantees sold out early on. Some never even made it as far as Ireland. Others took their responsibilities seriously and built fortifications and introduced the required number of settlers to their estates. Brief outlines of the activities of two undertakers are given below.

Sir George Hamilton of Greenlaw was a younger son of Lord Claud Hamilton of Paisley, near Glasgow. In 1610 he and two of his older brothers, the Earl of Abercorn, and Sir Claud Hamilton of Shawfield, received grants of land in Strabane barony in north-west County Tyrone. Right from the start Sir George proved to be an energetic planter. He differed from most of the settlers who came to Ulster from Scotland in the early 17th century in that he was a Roman Catholic.

Sir Robert McClelland of Bombie was born about 1592 in Kirkcudbright in south-west Scotland. He was still a teenager when he was appointed the chief undertaker in the barony of Boylagh and Banagh in the west of County Donegal. These lands were mainly mountainous and Sir Robert showed little interest in developing them, selling out in 1616. He did not abandon his interest in Ulster, however, for within a couple of years he was leasing two estates in County Londonderry (right) and had introduced over 200 settlers to these lands.

Many Scottish ministers came to Ulster in the early 17th century and played an important role in religious life in the province. Some were here for only a few years before returning to Scotland, while others spent most of their lives in Ireland. Among the Scottish bishops was George Montgomery, (left) brother of Sir Hugh Montgomery, who was bishop of the dioceses of Clogher, Derry and Raphoe, all at the same time.

The next bishop of Raphoe after Montgomery was Andrew Knox. He was minister in a number of parishes in Scotland before becoming Bishop of the Isles. Knox converted a former monastery in Rathmullan, County Donegal, to his own private house. He died in 1633 and was succeeded by John Leslie who lived to be 100 years old. Leslie built a large castle in Raphoe, the ruins of which can still be seen today. In 1621 James Spottiswood became bishop of Clogher. He rebuilt the cathedral and tried to establish a town at Clogher.

Dozens of Scottish ministers served in Ulster in the early seventeenth century. Archibald Adair was dean of Raphoe. In 1622 he was described as ‘an eloquent scholar and good preacher of God’s Word’. Men such as Robert Blair of Bangor and John Livingstone (right) of Killinchy were ministers with Presbyterian convictions. For a time they were tolerated within the Church of Ireland, but in the 1630s were forced out by less sympathetic bishops.

---Settlers--- ---Life---

Most of the people who came to Ulster in the early 17th century were not lords and sirs, but ordinary folk who were hoping for a better life through farming or trade. They mainly came from places such as Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and Lanarkshire. Surnames associated with this area include Crawford, Cunningham, Hamilton and Montgomery. Other settlers came from the Borders area of south-east Scotland including the Armstrongs, Beattys, Elliotts, Grahams and Johnstons. Here are brief biographies of two men who lived quite close to each other near Strabane.

Hugh Hamilton of Lisdivin was from Priestfield in Blantyre near Glasgow. In the early stages of the Plantation, he, together with his brother William, moved to the Strabane area where he worked as a merchant. In 1615, he was granted the townland of Lisdivin by the Earl of Abercorn. His rent was to be either £6 in cash or a cask of French wine, one pound of good pepper, four pounds of loaf sugar and a box of marmalade.

Ultimately of Italian origin, the Algeo family lived in Paisley near Glasgow. Robert Algeo (gravestone left) came to Ulster in the early years of the Plantation and helped Sir George Hamilton of Greenlaw to manage his estates. In 1622 Robert Algeo prepared a report of Sir George’s estates for government officials investigating the Plantation. Robert Algeo was a Catholic, making him different from most of the Scots coming to Ulster.

The government wanted the settlers to live together in villages on each estate and not scattered here and there. It was thought that the settlers would be safer if they lived close to each other. However, in reality most of the settlers did not live like this. Most of the farmers preferred to live on their farms rather than in a village. They did not want to have to spend time each day walking several miles from a village to their farms, perhaps having to cross a river or boggy land.

One of the big changes brought about by the Plantation was the establishment of towns. In County Tyrone the Earl of Abercorn established a town at Strabane. Many of the landlords were not wealthy enough to establish a town and so founded a village on their lands instead. In County Armagh the Acheson family founded a village that was later to become Markethill.

Those granted land were required to build a fortification on their lands. The simplest type of fortress was known as a ‘bawn’ (from the Irish for ‘cow fort’). A bawn was a courtyard surrounded by strong walls and was usually square or rectangular. The most important of the new landlords were expected to build a strong castle as well as a bawn. Scottish settlers needed places to gather for public worship. Some times they repaired an existing church and on other occasions they built a completely new church.

The Abercorns: a Scottish Dynasty

In the early 17th century three brothers from Scotland – James, Claud and George – were granted estates in Ulster. They were the sons of Lord Claud Hamilton of Paisley, near Glasgow, who had been a prominent supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Duke of Abercorn descends. The oldest of three brothers, James was a leading Scottish courtier and close friend of the King. In 1606 he was created Earl of Abercorn. It is from him that the present

In the 17th century the Irish estates were confiscated on a number of occasions on account of the support given to the Stuart royal family by a number of family members, some of whom were also Catholic. However, under the 6th Earl of Abercorn the estate was enlarged to some 76,000 acres in counties Donegal and Tyrone.

The 8th Earl was the great consolidator of the estate. He was known as ‘His Taciturnity’ on account of his reserved nature. This was in contrast to his flamboyant nephew and heir, the 1st Marquess of Abercorn, who was known as ‘Don Magnifico’.

In 1868 the Marquess’s grandson was created the 1st Duke of Abercorn. The magnificent stately home of the Abercorns at Barons Court was first constructed c.1780 and has been remodelled several times since then. Today it remains the private home of the 5th Duke of Abercorn and his family.