Ulster Plantation
Home Page

About Ulsternationalist

Ancient Irish/Ulster history








Favorite Links

Contact Us



The majority of Scots who migrated to Northern Ireland came as part of this organized settlement scheme of 1605-1697. Plantation settlements were confined to the Province of Old Ulster, in the Counties of Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone, Donegal, Cavan, Fermanagh, and Londonderry. As many as 200,000 Scots crossed the North Channel to settle in Ulster in this approximately 90 year period. County Monaghan, although part of Old Ulster was not a Plantation county but it did receive Scots settlers in the 17th century as witness the First Monaghan Presbyterian Church in Monaghan Town which celebrated its Tercentenary in 1997. The Plantation of Ulster took place in two stages. The first stage was confined to the two eastern counties of Antrim and Down. The initiative was taken by Scottish fortune seekers.

Although the British Crown encouraged and co-operated with those responsible, it was fully a private venture. The second stage of settlement was far broader in scope, including six counties in Ulster. It was a project of the state, conceived, planned, and closely supervised by the British governments of England and Ireland. The plantations included settlers from England and Scotland, although Scots outnumbered those from England by a ratio of 20 to 1. The primary purpose of the plantation scheme was to populate the northern counties of Ireland with loyal British Protestant subjects, to counterbalance and dominate the Irish Roman Catholics. Scotland was only too willing to participate.

It was seen as a way to eradicate Scotland of the hordes of lowland Scots who in poverty had turned to a life of marauding and horse thievery, which had become an occupation in itself in the Scottish countryside. Hence in the early years of the Plantation, the majority of the settlers were mainly Lowlanders. Indeed, receiving landlords in Ireland encouraged the arriving Scots to bring as many horses and cattle as possible to the new colony, obtained by whatever means. Scotland found this a small price to pay to eliminate the larger problem.


Prior to 1707, Scotland was a distinct Kingdom from England, governed by its own laws, with its own manners and customs. To ensure that the arriving Scots could be kept under control from rising up in Ireland in support of their brothers in Scotland, they were required to take an oath of loyalty to the British Crown, as 'denizens' in Ireland.

For Scots to become English subjects in Ireland, it was necessary to obtain letters patent of Denization, pay a fine and take the Oath of allegiance.
As a denizen, the planter occupied an intermediate position between an alien and a native born subject. He had the privilege of purchasing land, but heirs born before the date of denization could not inherit the land on the denizen's death. A denizen could use the law courts, but was not qualified to hold any office of trust, civil or military.

'Naturalization' was a second step in the process, which could only be applied for after seven years of denization. It placed the alien in the same position as if he had been born a British subject. All the obligations and rights of citizenship applied. those who refused denization were essentially without rights to property or law.


The MacDonald clan from Scotland, who in addition to being mercenary soldiers in Ireland, settled much of County Antrim in the 1400s and gradually increased their holdings by strong-arm tactics. King James VI of Scotland had cultivated the Antrim MacDonald Chief, Sir Randal MacDonald, in order to deprive the rebellious MacDonalds of the Scottish Highlands of an obvious source of support, and to keep Irish power in the north of Ireland as weak as possible.

On becoming King of England in 1603, James gave the MacDonalds patent to their land in Antrim. MacDonald, although a Roman Catholic, immediately began settling his lands with Lowlanders from Scotland, the first arriving in 1607. By 1630 there were 800 Scottish males living on the MacDonald estates in Antrim. This would have meant a total Scottish population of about 3,000. In County Down, the two leaders of the Scottish settlement were Hugh Montgomery, a Scottish laird from Braidstone in Ayreshire, and James Hamilton, who had begun his career in Ireland as a school teacher in Dublin in 1587. The terms of the crown's grant to these two Scots were specified in 1605, and included an obligation to inhabit the lands with Scots and Englishmen.

The planning and settlement was left entirely in the hands of Montgomery and Hamilton. The first Scottish settlers arrived in 1605-1606. Their first task was to build cottages and booths out of sods and saplings, then the soil was tilled. By 1630, there were about 2,700 Scottish males on these two estates in County Down, of which about 80% were names commonly found in the south-western counties of Scotland. When females and children are added to the total, there would have been about 5,000 Scots settled in Down in 1630.


In 1610, the Crown developed an elaborate, detailed and rigidly controlled scheme for the settlement of Counties Armagh, Donegal, Cavan, Fermanagh, and Londonderry. Nine extensive areas in these six counties were assigned to Scots for plantation. These baronies, or precincts were then divided into lots of 1000, 1500, and 2000 acres, not including bogs and mountains. Those who received these lots were termed 'undertakers'. Over each barony was placed a Chief Undertaker, who was allowed to receive up to 3000 acres. Chief Undertakers were chosen by the King and included one Duke, one Earl, three Barons and four Knights.

Fifty ordinary Undertakers were then chosen by the Chiefs. All Undertakers were expected to be on their land by September 30, 1610. On every 1000 acres received, there had to be 24 able bodied Scots or Englishment over families (to minimize old clan allegiances). Two of the families were to be freeholders; three were to be leaseholders, and the remainder could be cottagers. Undertakers had to be prepared to muster their tenants twice a year and to provide them with weapons.

They were to be called on to fight any insurrections of the Irish. Undertakers were given three and one half years to erect fortifications, the type determined by the size of the lot granted. Men of 2000 acres, for example, were required to build a small castle of stone or brick, with a stone wall surrounding it. All Undertakers had to post bonds, as a guarantee that they would comply with the conditions. Failure to comply resulted in forfeiture of the land. Reporting requirements resulted in the production of countless muster rolls and maps, some of which have survived. Because of surviving muster rolls and maps, the names of most of the original planters can be determined. By 1622, there were between 3000 and 4000 Scottish adults on the land in these six counties.


After 1630, Scottish migration to Ireland waned for a decade. Indeed, in the 1630s, many Scots went home after King Charles forced the Prayer Book of the Church of England on the Church of Ireland, thus denying the Scots their form of worship. In 1638, an oath was imposed on the Scots in Ulster, 'The Black Oath', binding them on no account to take up arms against the King. Insulted twice, many returned to Scotland. Even worse, in October 1641, the native Irish broke out in armed rebellion, slaughtering defenceless men, women and children. The survivors rushed to the seaports and many went back to Scotland. In the summer of 1642, Ten thousand Scottish soldiers, many Highlanders, arrived to quell the Irish rebellion. Thousands stayed on in Ireland, replacing those who had departed thus expanding the Ulster gene pool to encompass families from all over Scotland.


The following is a list of Scottish surnames, contained on Muster Rolls and Estate Maps of the eight Plantation Counties of Ulster for the period 1607 - 1633, which was the initial phase of the plantation scheme. Surnames which occurred more than once in a County are indicated as x2, x3, x4, etc.


Adair, Agnew, Barr, Black, Blair x2, Boyd x4, Bozwell x2, Brown, Brisbane, Burns, Buthill, Colville, Cunningham, Dewar, Dickie, Dobbin, Dunbar, Dunlop x4, Edmonston x2, Ellis x2, Fenton, Fullerton, Futhie, Haldane, Hamill x2, Hamilton, Hutchins, Johnston, Kennedy x2, Kinnear, Kirkpatrick, Kyd, Laderdeill, Logan, Luke, Lutfoot, Maxwell, Melvin, Millar, Montgomery, Moneypenny, Moore, Macauley, Macawley, Mcgoogan, Mackay, McNaughton, McNeill, McPherdirish, McRobert, Niven, O'Greeve, Ritchie, Ross, Shaw x4, Stewart x13, Thompson, Todd, Trane, Tullis, Wallace


Acheson x2, Allen x2, Archeson, Arkles, Bell x2, Brown, Calte, Carcott, Carothers, Cunningham, Davidson, Deans, Douglas, Dowling, Elliot, Ferguson x2, Flack, Gamble x2, Gilmore, Granton, Greer, Grier x2, Grindall x2, Hall, Hamilton x5, Hope, Johnston, Kirk, Leitch, Maxwell, x2, Moffatt, McKernan, Parker, Pringle, Rae, Richardson, Ritchie, Shirloe, Sturgeon x2, Syne, Trimble, Watson, Walshe, Walker, Wilkie, Wilson


Anderson, Aughmooty x2, Bailie x5, Barber, Barbour, Coch, Creighton, Cutherbertson, Cavyson, Deans, Finlay x2, Hamilton x3, Kennedy, Lother x2, Miller, Musgrave, McCullagh, Price, Rae, Steele, Stevenson, Taylor, Tate, Udney, Wylie


Adair, Alexander, Allen x2, Arnett x2, Barkley, Barry, Bauld, Black, Blair, Boyd, Boyle x2, Brisbane, Brown, Bruce, Bryce, Buchanan, Burne, Calwell x2, Campbell x2, Carr x3, Cloggie, Colguhoun x2, Coohoone x2, Crawford, Cunningham x15, Dick, Donnell, Dougal, Dunne x3, Dunsayer, Ekyn, Ewart, Flemming, Forecheade, Fullerton, Fulton, Fyieff, Galt, Flabreth, Filmour, Glass, Glen, Gordon, Grynney, Hall, Hamilton x11, Harper, Henrison, Henry, Homes, Hood, Huggins, Hunter, Hutchins, Johnston, Julius, Kennedy, Kernes, Kilpatrick x2, Knox, Laycock, Leckie, Leitch, Leslie, Lindsay, Lockhard, Lodge, Machell, Machen, Martin, Maxwell, Montgomery, Moore, Moorhead, Murray, McAlison, McAuld, McCamuel, McClairne, McCullough, McErdy, McIlcheny, McIntyre, McKay, McKinney, McKym, McLintagh, McLoran, McMath, Nelson, Nesbitt, Orr, Patterson, Patoun, Patton, Peere (Perry), Pont, Purveyance, Rankin, Ritchie, Robin, Robson, Roger, Sawyer, Scott, Sempell, Semple x4, Simpson, Smelley, Smith x3, Smythe x2, Spence, Stephenson, Stevenson, Stevin, Stewart x4, Sutherland, Teyse (Tees), Thompson, Thomson, Valantyne, Vance, Watson, Wilson, Witherspoon, Wood x2, Young


Abercrombie, Adair x3, Adams, Agnew x2, Aicken, Allen, Anderson x2, Andrews, Bailie x2, Barkley, Barkie x3, Bayly, Beatty, Blackwood, Blair x5, Boyd x3, Brackley, Brown, Carlile, Carmichael, Carr, Carson, Cathcart x2, Catherwood, Chambers, Chermsides, Cooper, Cowper, Craig, Crawford x3, Crear, Cummings, Cunningham x13, Danielston, Davidson, Dick, Dickson, Dodds, Douglas, Drennan, Drummond, Dufferin, Dunbar, Dunleath, Dunlop x3, Echlin x4, Edmonston, Forsith, Frazer, Galloway, Galt, Galway, Gelston, Gemmil, Glen, Greenshields, Hamilton x14, Hare, Haper x2, Harvey x2, Hilton, Hogg, Howie, Howson, Hunter, Innes, Julius, Keevet, Kelly, Kelson, Kennedy x7, Kerr, Kilpatrick, Kirkpatrick, Kyle, Kylr, Leckey, Leslie, Lindsay, Lloyd, Logan x2, Magee, Martin, Mathyson, Maxwell x5, Millar, Monett, Moneypenny x3, Montgomery x18, Moon, Moore x7, Mowlane, Murray x2, McBurney, McBride, McCappin, McCartney, McCashin x2, McClelland, McCleery, McComb, McCrae, McCreedy, McCullen, McCurry, McDonnell, McDougall x3, McDowell x2, McEwen, McGarry, McGee, McGifford, McIllevrath, McIlveyne, McKay, McKee, McLarnan, McLellan x4, McLean, McMakene, McMaster, McMillan, McMullen, McNabb, Nesbitt, Nevin, Nugent, Orr, Patrick, Patterson, Peacock, Peebles, Pollock x2, Read, Reid x2, Reynolds, Robb, Ross x5, Rudd x2, Rutherford, Scott, Semple, Seton, Shaw x3, Spier, Stanehouse, Stanhouse, Stevenson, Stewart x2, Tate, Thomson x2, Trail, Waddell, Walker, Wallace, Wanchop, Wardlaw, Watson, Welsh, Williamson, Wilson x4, Wylie, Wyms, Young


Crawford, Cathcart, Creighton x3, Cunningham x5, Chambers, Cranston, Dunbar x4, Deinbone, Erving, Elliot, Gibb, Gibson, Greer, Hall x3, Hamilton x5, Heigate, Irwin, Johnson, Lainge, Lindsay, Mitchell, Montgomery, Patterson, Smellham, Somervell, Stewart, Watson, Weir


Anderson, Andrews, Bridger, Buchanan, Cahoon x2, Cawder, Colter, Coulter, Crawford, Crockett, Cunningham x2, Dyke, Edward, English, Forester, Fullerton, Grant, Handcock, Johnston, Keeland, Kennedy, Kyle, Lindsay, Logy, Lynne, Lyon x2, Magghee, Maxwell x2, Midell, Moncreig, Moore, Morton, Mure, McAlexander, McLelland, Mackclellane, Mackleland x3, McLornan, McNeile, Palmer, Patterson, Polk, Power, Redgate, Russell, Sempell, Thomas, Thompson, Thomson, Young


Abercorn, Acheson, Anderson, Andrews, Arnett x2, Barkley, Bean, Boyle, Burns, Carmichael, Carslow, Cathcart, Colville, Cooper, Craig, Creire (Greer), Crosby x2, Demstar, Donings, Crum, Drummond, Elpinstone, Ferry, Fingleton, Gamble, Gibbe Gibson, Granger, Grime, Gryme, Hamilton x15, Hatrick, Henderson x2, Hendrie, Hexburn, Highgate x2, Holmes, Karns, Kennedy x2, Kyle, Lawson, Lindsay x3, Love, Lynn x2, Mackerson, Maxwell x2, Means x2, Meens, Millar, Montgomery x8, Morne, Morrison, Morrow, Muntreeth, Murdogh, Murdruff, McAulay, McCreaghan x2, McCrery, McCullough, McGee, McGowan, McGraghan, McGunshenour, McIlmurry, McIntrye, McKaundy, McKean, McKittrick, Newburgh, Parke, Patterson, Pooke, Pringle, Reade, Richardson, Robinson, Saunderson, Sharpe, Simpson, Smythe, Spottiswood x4, Stephenson x5, Steward x3, Stewart x7, Symington, Wallace, Wilie, Wilson, Wood, Wooley, Wright, Young