After the Flight of the Earls from Ulster in 1607, a royal commission was set up to map lands to be seized in the counties of Donegal, Londonderry, Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Cavan and to be used in a Plantation by English and Scottish settlers (mostly army men and adventurers) of those counties of Ulster not already planted. (Antrim and Down had previously been planted.)

The commission had to produce their survey in a very short period of time so the normal methods of cartographic survey were dispensed with in favour of gathering oral testimony quickly about what townlands had previously been under the control of the fled Irish aristocracy. Here is the map produced of the area that includes present-day Markethill and District. A copy of the original is in the Public Record Office, Belfast (T/2543/1).

Plantation 1609 map.

Click on the above map to view a high resolution image of it.

Sir Josias Bodley to Lord High Treasurer Salisbury [24 February 1609-1610]

"Right Honourable my very good Lord,

It may please your Lordship, having been employed these six months past in the chorographical description of the northern parts of Ireland, as preparative to the intended plantation, I thought it my duty in these few lines, notwithstanding the information which your Lordship may have at large from others [Ridgeway and Davys], to give an account of our proceeding, for the better justifying our labours therein, if any way they should be open to exceptions.

It was required that these escheated counties should be so plotted [mapped], as that readily, and by the eye, the known boundary of every county might be discerned; the Church land distinguished from the temporal; the land already granted from that which was to be disposed of; the shares for undertakers to be laid out with their apparent limits, according to certain conceived proportions of different quantities; the goodness or badness of the soil; with the woods, mountains, rivers, bogs, and loughs; and other particularities importing that business, in their several places to be specified.

It was late in the year ere this service was set on foot and the shortest way for dispatch that might be was taken. To have gone to work by the strict rules of survey would have asked long time, and drawn on a deep charge, and yet, save in the matter of dimension only, but meanly have answered the points in charge. For which [reason] we thought it our readiest course that, whilst the Lord Deputy and commissioners in their inquisition concerning the Bishops' claims, bestowed their time in those counties, we should take unto us out of every barony, such persons as, by their experience in the county, could give us the name and quality of every balliboe, quarter, tathe, or other common measure in any the precincts of the same, with special notice how they butted, or meared interchangeably, the one on the other. By which means, and other necessary helps, we contrived those maps which are now transmitted to your Lordship; and therein the method we observed was such as might easily warrant us from any fraudulent dealing of our informers; whilst their least error or mistaking, by examination and conferring of the several parts, might presently he discovered.

Somewhat also it will make for our endeavours herein, that we have found many thousands of acres for his Majesty more than by any survey heretofore have come to light. And albeit we could not deliver the precise number of acres of every parcel otherwise than as they went in ordinary computation of the country, by which they exceed the acres mentioned in the printed book of articles by more than one half by reason of the difference of the perch here used and the statute perch there named, yet can it little disadvantage his Majesty, if it shall be thought fit, in contracting with the undertakers, that some clause be inserted of reservation to a more exact survey hereafter; which, whensoever, it shall take effect, there is no question but his Majesty's revenues from those parts shall be augmented by above a third. And thus much I have presumed, under your Lordship's favourable construction, to deliver concerning this business. Your Lordship's most bounden servant, Josias Bodley" From Hans Hamilton's edition of the maps prepared in 1865 for the Public Record Office, pp.1,2 (held in PRONI, T/2543/1). Also in George Hill's Plantation of Ulster, pp.194,195.

Articles for Instructions for the Plantation of Ulster [1609].

Appendix in Inquisitionum in Officio Rotulorum Cancellariae Hiberniae Asservatarum, Repertorium, Vol. II., n.p. [Ultonia]


FIRST.--That a generall care be taken that such orders, conditions or articles, as have bene lately published in print, or are to be printed or transmitted touchinge the plantation, be observed and putt in execution, as well by the commissioners as by the undertakers.

2.--That the said commissioners be readie to begin their jorney into our province of Ulster, for the execution of their commission, before thend of July next, or sooner yf it may be.

3.--The omissions and defects in the former survey of the escheated landes in Ulster, either for us or the church, are to be supplied and amended by newe inquisitions, and the ecclesiasticall lands to be distinguished from the lands belonginge to the crowne.

4.--The counties beinge divided into severall proportions, everie proportion is to be bounded out by the knowne metts and names, with the particular mention both of the number and name of everie balliboe, tath, polle, quarter, or the like Irish precinct of land that is contained in everie portion, and to give each portion a proper name to be knowne by, and in the proportions lyinge neere to the high waies, choyse is to be made of the most fitt seats for undertakers to build uppon, and such sorts as may best serve for the safetie and succour of the passengers; and also to allott and sett out by meares and boundes unto everie proportion, soe much bogg and woodd over and above his number of acres, as the place where the proportion shall ly, may convenientlie a≤ord, having respect to the adjacent proportion.

5.--Because the article of castinge lott discourageth many that are sufficient` and would be glad to dwell together: that therefore every countie be divided into greater precincts; everie precinct containing eight, ten, or twelve thousand acres, accordinge to the greatnes of the countie; and those precincts to contayne severall proportions, lyinge together, to the end that soe manie consorts of undertakers may here be appointed, as there are severall precincts, which beinge done, then theis consorts may cast lotts for the precincts, and afterwards divide everie precinct amongest the particular undertakers of that consort, either by agreement or by lotts; and this forme not to be concluded, but upon consideration, taken thereof by the commissioners there, whoe havinge reported back their opinions, some such course may be resolved, as to us shall be thought most convenient.

6.--To cause plotts to be made of everie countie, and in the said plotts to pricke out the severall precincts, and in the precincts, the severall proportions by their names.

7.--Such greate woodde as the commissioners shall make choice of, to be preserved for our use, are to be excepted out of the proportions, and to be reserved for the undertaker's buildings, and for such other purposes as to us shall be thought fitt.

8.--That in the survayes observation be made what proportions by name are fittest to be allotted to the Brittaines, what to the Servitors, and what to the Natives; wherein this respect is to be had, that the Brittaines be putt in places of best safety; the natives to be dispersed, and the servitors planted in those places which are of greatest importance to secure the rest.

9.--The commissioners are to limitt and bounde out the precincts of the severall parishes, according to their discretions, notwithstandinge the limitation of the project, wherein they may observe the auncient limits of the olde parishes, soe as the same breed not a greater inconvenience to the plantation, and to assigne to the incumbents of each parish a gleabe, after the rate of threescore acres for everie thousand acres within the parishes, in the most convenient places, or nearest to the churches. And for the more certentie to give to each gleabe a certaine name, whereby it may be knowne; and to take order, that there be a proviso in the lettres pattents for passinge the gleabes, to restraine the alienations thereof, saving duringe their incumbencie.

10.--It is fitt that certaine portions be allotted and laied out for townes in the places mentioned in the project, or in more convenient places, as shall seeme best to the commissioners, havinge regard that the lands be laid as neere to the towns as may be.

11.--The parcels of land which shall be allotted to the colledge in Dublin, and to the free schooles in the severall counties, are to be sett out and distinguished by names and boundes, to the end the same may be accordinglie passed by severall grants from us. The commissioners likewise are to sett out the quantitie of three great proportions, lyinge together in the countie of Ardmagh, to be allotted to the said colledge of Dublin, and sixe thousand acres to be taken out of the lands omitted in the last survey, (if soe much shall be founde); theis to be onely of our lands and not of the church land.

12.--That there lie sett out and reserved twelve thousand acres, either out of the proportions or otherwise, out of the lands omitted in the survey, in such counties and places, as to our deputy and commissioners shall be thought meete; the same to be disposed by us for the endowt of an hospital, to be erected for maymed and disseased souldiers, in such place and manner as we shall hereafter appoint.

13.--The commissioners shall, by the aucthoritie given them, heare and determine all titles and controversies, by finall order and decree, that shall be brought before them, concerninge any lands and possessions, the church lands only excepted; which, nevertheles they shall have alsoe power to order and decree (as aforesaid,) soe it be done with the consent of the lord deputie, the archbushopp of Dublin, and the nowe bushopp of Derry ; they shall alsoe compounde for titles betweene us and our subjects, or between partie and partie.

14.--And whereas complainte is made, that the scite of some cathedrall churches, the places of the residence of the bushopps, deanes, chapters, dignitaries, and prebends in Ulster, be passed away to divers, in fee farme, by lettres pattents, under pretence of monasterie lands, to the great detriment of those churches, the comissioners shall have authoritie to examine the same; and findinge the information true, to consider of some course to be taken, for restitution to be made to the churches from whence they were formerly taken; with such consideration to those that nowe hold them, as standeth with equitie, accordinge to the circumstances considerable; and further, wee are pleased that the escheated lands, out of which the bushopps have had heretofore rent, certentie of refections or pentions, should be esteemed ecclesiasticall, and be annexed to the severall seas whereunto they did pay the same, whereof the commissioners are to take particular notice, and to see the same effected accordinglye.

15.--You, our deputie, shall cause our judges and learned counsell to sett downe our titles to the severall lands lately escheated in Ulster, to see the records to be perfected, and to take care that they may safely be preserved and kept secret, and to transmit the cases hether, under the hands of our judges and learned counsell.

16.--All acts, orders, and decrees, resolved there to be recorded into two bookes, thone to remain there in some courte of record, and thother to be transmitted to our counsell here.

17.--It is alsoe to be considered what persons are fitt to be allotted to the mother of the late erle of Tirconnell, the mother of master Gwire, Katherine Butler, the late widdowe of Mulmorie O'Rely, and such others as clayme joinctures, and that the commissioners doe (if they have cause) allowe the same unto them duringe their lives, and the revertion to the natives, with condition that they observe the articles of plantation as other undertakers doe, or otherwise to assigne them recompence in some other place.

18.--The river fishing in loughes and rivers are to be allotted unto the proportions next adjoyninge to the loughes and rivers, wherein the said fishinges are, thone moytie to the proportion lyinge on the one side of the river or lough, and thother moytie to the proportion lyinge on thother side, unless by necessitie or inconveniencie it shall be found fittinge to be allotted to thone side, for which fishinge some increase of rent is to be reserved unto us as to the commissioners shall be thought fitt.

19.--That retorne be made of their proceedinges and doinges, by virtue of this commission and instructions before hallowmas next, that wee may have convenient time to resolve thereupon this winter, and to signifie our pleasure against the next springe.

See this document for the results of the 1609 enquiry into church ownership of townlands.

See this document for the references to Acheson townlands in seventeenth-century government land enquiries.