The Plantation in Ireland and Scottish migration

There had long been movement of Scots across the Irish Sea to the shores of Ireland by way of trade and as galloglass (mercenary soldiers). But there were also small settlements on the Antrim coast which increased in number when the authority of the Lords of the Isles was broken in the fifteenth century. The intrusion of the Scots was very unwelcome to the English government at the time and many attacks were made on them. However, it seems that by the late sixteenth century the presence of  the McDonnells in particular, led by Sorley Boy, was inevitable and in 1586 Queen Elizabeth granted him a large portion of Antrim in return for submission and acknowledgement of the Crown`s superiority.

As  a Scot Sir Randal MacDonnell was a favourite of  James VI/I and received the area called the Glynnes  and the Route in 1603. For his achievements as a planter he was made Viscount Dunluce, and then Earl of Antrim in December 1620. What this marked was the beginning of colonisation of Ulster. It meant also a greater direction in Irish affairs which until then had been more of a feudal dependency. The indebtedness of Earl of Antrim to the Crown is later reflected in the provision of troops to join with the Marquis of Montrose in his campaign against the Covenanters in 1644-5.

The principle of Planting peoples on sequestered land evolved from Henry VIII `s accession to the throne of Ireland in 1541 and it was under his policy of `Surrender and Regrant` of lands that the Irish princes received English titles. Con  O`Neill became Earl of Tyrone; Murrough O`Brien  the Earl of Thomond; and  Macwilliam Burke of Galway, Earl of Clanrickard. The significance of the policy is that having the land regranted to them meant that in any subsequent default of misbehaviour the lands were liable to seizure by the Crown. Under Edward VI a more aggressive policy led to seizure of lands in reprisal for insurrection and in 1556 under Queen Mary a plantation scheme for most of Leix and Offaly was declared with the counties being renamed Queens County and Kings County. The policy of seizure and grant to English landlords continued under Elizabeth I.

Montgomery and Hamilton

The Scottish migration to Ireland was initiated by the granting of land to two Ayrshire familes - Hugh Montgomery Sixth Laird of Braidstone, and Sir James Hamilton  from Dunlop. Both men were private adventurers before the formal Plantation scheme commenced in 1610.There was much wheeling and dealing after the first allotments were made in 1603; but by 1606 the situation was resolved and settlement began in earnest with both taking Scottish settlers with them to their lands in Counties Antrim and Down. Such a good job was done that these two counties were excluded from the Plantation scheme of 1610 having already accomplished the substantial Scottish / Protestant settlement that James I of England (VI of Scotland) desired.

Sir James Hamilton, later Viscount Clandeboye came from the Dunlop area of Ayrshire, where his father was the Rev Hans Hamilton. The family had owned lands in Raploch, Lanarksshire for some 400 years which they seemed to have lost at some stage hence James` enthusiasm for taking up as much he could in Antrim and Down. He was the eldest of six sons James, Archibald, Gawin, John, William and Patrick. He was largely tutored by James Ussher, later Bishop of Meath. Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland.

Hugh Montgomery was the eldest son of Adam, fifth Earl of Braidstane b ca 1560 made Viscount Montgomery of the Great Ards in 1622. The Montgomery lands and the lordship of Braidstane was in the bailliary of Kyle, county of Ayr. Until the middle of the 17th century the lands were within the Parish of Beith consisting of two divisions - Braidstane and Giffen. There were changes to boundaries after 1649.

The Montgomery Manuscripts, written as memoirs by William Montgomery, son of Hugh, 1680 - 1700 quotes some details of tenants who are mainly family. The manuscript goes on to record that in June 1606 settlers began to arrive including the brothers of Hamilton - Gawin and John. Other families included Maxwell, Rose, Barclay, More, Baylie

On the Montgomery lands settlers included John (or James) Shaw of Greenock, brother of Sir Hugh's wife (Elizabeth Shaw); Patrick Montgomery of Black House or Craigbowie (husband of Christian Shaw, sister of Elizabeth, and thus Hugh Montgomery's brother in law) and Cunningham of Glengarnock - related to the Shaws. George Montgomery, brother of Hugh, was appointed to bishoprics of Derry, Raphoe and Clogher in 1605.

Significantly (for the Montgomery`s) in 1607 tenants began to arrive to settle church lands. Proclamations in Glasgow, Ayr, Irvine, Greenock and other south western parts of Scotland, especially around Braidstone, declared leased land on easy terms. This drew numbers of Scots to Ulster and later many went to Donegal and what is now Londonderry.  On 4 September 1607 The Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel with 30 relatives and 60 friends and followers fled into exile. These included Maquire, owner of half Fermanagh, It was decided that all the lands of Shane O'Neill were forfeit, as a result large portions of Tyrone Donegal, Coleraine, Armagh, Cavan and Fermanagh became available for plantation. On 29 September 1607 The Privy Council approved the Plantation scheme.

Co. Antrim was the main centre for the Scottish settlers during the 17th century with settlement of the MacDonnell land in Antrim and the Baronies of Dunluce and Glenarm. In Co. Down the Hamilton and Montgomery estates were the main Scottish areas up to about 1614. Hamilton recruited tenants for his Cavan estates from Clandeboye while lands passed to tenants who themselves recruited Scots Thereafter further land disputes probably adversely influenced growth. This period also saw the Incorporation of Bangor, Newtown and Killyleagh to ensure there was a Protestant majority. Most of the burgesses came from the Lowlands with about 200 - 300 males in Co Down by 1614. In all it is estimated that some 10,000 Scotsmen were brought to Ulster by the Montgomery and Hamilton plantations.

Under the patronage of George Montgomery, more influence in the Church was exercised by the appointment of Scottish Bishops such as Andrew Know, Bishop of Raphoe, 1610. There were 7 ministers from Scotland in 1612 and 15 ministers of which 12 were from Scotland in 1622.  An interesting sidelight was the volume of denizations granted to Scots - denization was necessary in order to have the rights and privileges of an Englishman and therefore eligible to have title to land. Thus there were some 300 denizations approved and thus 300 families planted in 1619.                         

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