Orders for the Ulster Plantation

The following is a copy of the “Collection of such Orders and Conditions as are to be observed by the Undertakers upon the Distribution and Plantation of the Escheated Lands in Ulster:”


“Whereas the greatest part of six counties in the province of Ulster, within the Realms of Ireland, named Ardmagh, Tyrone, Colrane, Donegall, Fermanagh, and Cavan, being escheated and come to the Crown, hath lately been surveyed, and the survey thereof transmitted to his Majesty: Upon view whereof his Majesty of his princely Bounty, not respecting his own profit, but the public peace and welfare of that Kingdom, by the civil Plantation of those unreformed and waste countries, is graciously pleased to distribute the said Lands to such of his Subjects, as well of Great Britain as of Ireland, as being of Merit and Ability shall seek the same, with a mind not only to benefit themselves, but to do service to the Crown and Commonwealth … It is thought convenient to declare and publish to all his Majesty’s subjects the several Quantities of the Proportions which shall be distributed, the several sorts of Undertakers, the manner of Allotment, the Estates, the Rents, the Tenures, with other Articles to be observed as well on his Majesty’s behalf, as on the behalf of the Undertakers, in manner and form following:—”

First.—“The Proportions of Land to be distributed to Undertakers shall be of three different Quantities, consisting of sundry parcels or precincts[6] of Land, called by certain Irish names known in the several Counties, viz., Ballybetaghs, Quarters, Ballyboes, Tathes, and Polles: the first or least Proportion to contain such or so many of the said Parcels as shall make up a thousand English Acres at the least; the second or middle Proportion to contain such or so many of the Parcels as shall make up fifteen hundred English Acres at the least; and the last or greatest Proportion to contain such or so many of the Parcels as shall make up two thousand English Acres at the least; to every of which Proportions shall be allowed such Quantity of Bog and Wood as the country shall conveniently afford.”

Secondly.—“The Persons of the Undertakers of the several Proportions shall be of three sorts, viz.: 1. English or Scottish, as well servitors as others, who are to plant their portions with English, or inland[7] Scottish inhabitants; 2. Servitors of the Kingdom of Ireland who may take ‘meer Irish,’ English, or inland Scottish Tenants at their choice; 3. Natives of Ireland who are to be made freeholders.”

Thirdly.—“His Majesty will reserve unto himself the appointment in what county every Undertaker shall have his Portion. But to avoid Emulation and Controversy which would arise among them, if every Man should choose his Place where he would be planted, his Majesty’s pleasure is that the Scites or Places of their Portions in every county shall be distributed by Lot.”

Lastly.—“The Several Articles ensuing are to be observed, as well on behalf of his Majesty, as of the Several Undertakers respectively.”


[6]Precincts: The term “Precinct” in plantation speech is almost in every instance meant to denote a large sweep of land, in most cases corresponding in size to our modern “Barony.”

[7] Inland: The Inland as distinguished from the Highland Scots were then supposed to be a more loyal and desirable race for plantation purposes in Ireland. The term “inland” in reference to Scotland has since given place to the more appropriate one of lowland.

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