Conditions of the Plantation of Ulster

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Conditions of the Plantation of Ulster


What the English and Scottish planters understandably desired was to get rich on Irish land with the least risk, inconvenience, or discomfort. What the government desired was that English and Scottish settlers should be numerous, hard-working, public-spirited, and attentive to the conditions of plantation which they had accepted in return for Irish land. These two sets of desires were immediately and enduringly in conflict.

SEE ALSO Land Settlements from 1500 to 1690

Conditions to Be Observed by the British Undertakers of the Escheated Lands in Ulster, etc.

1. What the British Undertakers Shall Have

First, the lands to be undertaken by them, are divided into sundry precincts of different quantities.

Every precinct is subdivided into proportions of three sorts, great, middle, and small.

The great proportion containeth 2000 English acres at the least.

The middle proportion containeth 1500 acres at the least.

The small proportion containeth 1000 acres at the least.

Unto every of which proportions such bog and wood shall be allowed, as lieth within the same, for which no rent shall be reserved.

The precincts are by name distinguished, part for the English, and part for the Scottish, as appeareth by the table of distribution of the precincts.

Every precinct shall be assigned to one principal undertaker and his consort, as will appear by the table of assignation of the precincts.

The chief undertakers shall be allowed two middle proportions if they desire the same; otherwise no one undertaker is to be allowed above one great proportion.

They shall have an estate in fee simple to them their heirs.

They shall have power to create manors, to hold courts baron twice every year and not oftener, and power to create tenures in socage to hold of themselves. . . .

2. What the Said Undertakers Shall for Their Parts Perform

They shall yearly yield unto his majesty for every proportion of 1000 acres, five pound six shillings eight pence English, and so rateably for the great proportions; the fist half year's payment to begin at Michaelmas 1614.

Every of said undertakers shall hold the lands so undertaken in free and common socage, as of the castle of Dublin, and by no greater service.

Every of the said undertakers of a great proportion, shall within 3 years to be accounted from Easter next, build there-upon a stone house, with a strong court or bawn about it; and every undertaker of a middle proportion shall within the same time build a stone or brick house thereupon, with a strong court or bawn about it; and every undertaker of a small proportion, shall within the same time make thereupon a strong court or bawn at least.

Every undertaker shall within three years, to be accounted from Easter next, plant or place upon a small proportion, the number of 24 able men of the age of 18 years or upwards, being English or inland Scottish; and so rateably upon the other proportions; which numbers shall be reduced into 10 families at least, to be settled upon every small proportion, and rateably upon the other proportions, in this manner, viz. the principal undertaker and his family to be settled upon a demesne of 300 acres, two fee-farmers upon 120 acres a piece, three leaseholders for three lives or 21 years upon 100 acres a piece, and upon the residue being 160 acres, four families or more of husbandmen, artificers or cottagers, their portions of land to be assigned by the principal undertaker at his discretion.

Every of the said undertakers shall draw their tenants to build houses for themselves and their families, not scattering, but together, near the principal house or bawn, as well for their mutual defence and strength, as for the making of villages and townships.

The said undertakers, their heirs and assigns, shall have ready in the houses at all times, a convenient store of arms, wherewith they may furnish a competent number of men for their defence, which may be viewed and mustered every half year according to the manner of England.

Every of the said undertakers before he be received to be an undertaker, shall take the oath of supremacy. . . and shall also conform themselves in religion according to his majesty's laws; and every of their undertenants being chief of a family, shall take the like oath. . . . And they and their families shall also be conformable in religion, as aforesaid. . . .

The said undertakers, their heirs and assigns, shall not alien or demise their portions or any part thereof to the mere Irish, or to such persons as will not take the said oath of supremacy. . . .

Reprinted in Irish Historical Documents, 1172–1922, edited by Edmund Curtis and R. B. McDowell (1943), pp. 128–131.

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Conditions of the Plantation of Ulster

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