Drew Benton Descendant of Robert FitzAlan

My niece, Drew Benton, descends from the Royal Stewarts.

Walter Fitzalan Stewart 3rd High Steward Of Scotland
Born: Abt 1180
Marriage: Beatrix Of Angus
Died: 1246 about age 66

General Notes:

Walter Stewart or Walter Óg (d. 1246), 3rd High Steward of Scotland and Justiciar of Scotia, was born before 1198 to Alan fitz Walter, 2nd High Steward of Scotland and his second wife Alesta of Mar. His maternal grandfather was Morggán, Earl of Mar.

His father accompanied Richard I of England on the Third Crusade in 1191. He died in 1204 and Walter succeeded him. Instead of taking the name “Walter FitzAlan” (son of Alan), Walter adopted the name of his hereditary office and became known as Walter Steward, which lated became Stewart.


Jon Presco

Copyright 2011

He was appointed Justiciar of Scotia in 1232.

Walter married Bethóc, daughter of Gille Críst, Earl of Angus and his wife Marjorie. Marjorie was reportedly a daughter of Henry of Scotland, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. They were parents of:

Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland. Also served as Regent of Scotland. Sir Robert Stewart of Tarbolten and Crookston. John Stewart (d. 1249). Killed at Damietta, Egypt during the Seventh Crusade. Walter Balloch (“the Freckled”) Stewart. He married Mary de Menteith and became Earl of Menteith. William Stewart. Beatrix (Elizabeth) Stewart. She married Maol Domhnaich, Earl of Lennox. Christian Stewart. Eupheme FitzAlan. She married Patrick, 6th Earl of Dunbar. Margaret Stewart. She married her cousin Niall, Earl of Carrick. They were the parents of Marjorie, Countess of Carrick who married Robert Bruce, 6th Lord of Annandale. Marjorie and Robert were the parents of Robert I of Scotland. Sybella Stewart. She married Colin Fitzgerald, 1st Lord of Kintail.

Abt 1616 

Abt 1648 
Succeeded as Second Baronet   [1] 
3 Sep 1650 
Killed at the battle of Dunbar, fighting on the royalist side against Cromwell.   [2] 
The Irish Times article of November 10, 1940, states “Sir Alexander, who succeeded as second Baronet, married, about 1648, his cousin Catherine, daughter of Sir Robert Newcomen, and was killed at the battle of Dunbar, 3rd September, 1650, fighting on the King’s side”. An article in “The Stewarts”, Volume VI, by Walter A. Stewart, September 1, 1933, pages 370 and 371, states that “Sir Alexander is chiefly known to history for having conducted the ‘First Siege of Derry’ in the year 1649, when the city was held for the English Parliament by Sir Charles Coote. On the failure of that operation, Sir Alexander proceeded to Scotland and was killed in the following year at the battle of Dunbar. He figures under the name of ‘Colonel Alexander Stewarte’ in the list of ‘Men of note killed at this dismal routte of ‘Dunbar’, given in the Historical Works of Sir James Balfour, Lyon King of Arms, 1630-1654 (see p. 98, Vol. IV of the edition published in London, 1825)”

“Sir Alexander Stewart, born about 1616, was “a military commander of considerable repute” and “a gentleman of great integrity and fervent in propagating the gospel interest in the districts around Derry,” said Patrick Adair. in his TRUE NARRATIVE OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN IRELAND”, 1623-1670. In 1648, when Oliver Cromwell had impounded King Charles I and made himself virtual master of England, the Presbyterian forces in Ulster, remaining loyal to the king, planned to drive Cromwell’s partisan, Sir Charles Coote, out of the city of Londonderry, which he was garrisoning, with 1,000 men. Sir Alexander Stewart, who had been left in command of the Lagan forces in northwest Ulster, brought his troops, to Derry and sat down before that city in March, 1649. His uncle, Sir Robert Stewart, joined him in the siege with a body of royalists, and Sir George Monro, with a commission from King Charles II – King Charles I was beheaded on Jan. 30,1649 – arrived with a contingent of Scottish highlanders and Irishmen. However, the siege petered out in August, after Lord Montgomery of Ards, hitherto a staunch Presbyterian, came to supersede Monro and the two Stewarts. There was just too much going on for a man of principle to ride out the storm.

Sir Alexander Stewart married Catherine Newcomen, daughter of Sir Robert, third son of Sir Robert Newcomen of Mosstown, County Longford. Catherine’s mother was Anna Bullein, a grandniece of the late Queen Elizabeth. Sir Alexander had become the second baronet of Rathmelton on the death of his father in 1646 and he felt a strong attachment to his sovereign as well as to his church. He went to Scotland and joined the Scottish Covenanter army fighting Cromwell for King Charles II. He was killed in the battle of Dunbar, in Haddingtonshire, fought on Sep. 3, 1650. His son William, who was to become the third baronet and heir to the greater part of the Stewart estate, excepting Fort Stewart, was born six weeks after his father’s death. Alexander’s widow Catherine married Sir Arthur Forbes, later created earl of Granard, who became the boy’s guardian. Alexander’s only son: William 1650; married Mary Coote daughter of Richard.” (Source – Stewart Clan Magazine, Tome H, Volume 37, Number 6, December 1959)

“Dunbar was the decisive battled in Cromwell’s war against royalty. The Scottish army, under General David Leslie, was well equipped, in fine fettle, and occuppied an impregnable position on their own home ground, while Cromwell was baffled, his soldiers sick and tired, a movement of retreat might prove disastrous. While Cromwell hesitated some chaplins or religious exhorters in Leslie’ camp had a stunning idea. Why not trust in God, who was on their side, and march down to glorious victory! This must have been sensible to Leslie, or the preachers had him bluffed, for look! boys, here they come! Just before the crack of dawn the whole Scottish army, like confused rabble, marched out to be murdered. Cromwell was quick to see the fluke, and he threw all his resources into the fight. Within less than sixty minutes 3,000 Scotchmen had been killed, 10,000 were trapped and taken prisoner, and a few hundred – including the preachers – ran back into the hills and escaped. This lucky break established Cromwell as a great general – and statesman – in the eyes of European diplomats and was a blow to Scottish national pride from which Scotland never recovered.’ (Source – Stewart Clan Magazine, Tome H, Volume 57, Number 6, December 1959)

“During the fall and winter of 1650 over 3,000 Scottish prisoners of war made a perilous 120 mile march from their defeat at the Dunbar battlefield in Scotland to Durham Cathedral in the North of England. From there most were sent to staff labor starved English colonial ventures in the West Indies, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, and Ireland. Sixty-two were sent aboard the Unity across the wintry seas of the Atlantic to the Saugus Ironworks in Lynn, Massachusetts.” (The Redtower, Clan Galbraith Association, Vol. XXII, No. 2, March 2001)
Person ID 
McKinney and Stewart of Clarion County, Pennsylvania
Last Modified 
16 Aug 2007 

Sir William Stewart,   b. Abt 1582, Wigtownshire, Scotland ,   d. 1646, Ireland  
Frances Newcomen 

Abt 1582 
Wigtownshire, Scotland   [1] 

Knighted   [2] 
2 May 1623 
Erected a Baronet of Ireland   [2] 
28 Jul 1647 
Will proven  

“Amongst the many branches of the Stewart family that have been transplanted out of Scotland, there have been few that have attained to the degree of wealth and influence which this line of Ulster Stewarts reached in the 17th and 18th centuries. The principal seat was formerly at Newtown-Stewart, County Tyrone, which takes its name from Sir William Stewart, 1st Baronet, who was its founder, and the ruins of the castle of his descendants, the Lords Mountjoy, in the Elizabethan style though not dating back earlier than the middle of the 17th century, are still a picturesque feature of this beautifully situated little Ulster town.

Sir William first went to Ireland, as Captain Stewart, in the year 1608, as evidenced by the following entry in the register of the Privy Council of Scotland:

June 21, 1608.

Letter from the Council to the Governor of Knockfergus: Having ressavit directioun from our most sacred Soveraigne, the Mngis Majestie, to send over tua hundreth men of warr for assisting and furthering his Majisteis service “in that Kingdome . . . we have accordingly sent thame unto you under the charge of thir two gentilmen, Capitane Patrik Craufurde and Capitane Williame Stewart”.

“In the following year Captain Stewart was strongly recommended by the King to the Lord Deputy of Ireland for special favour in the distribution of lands, at the Plantation of Ulster. A despatch to the Lord Deputy, in State Papers, Irish Series, bearing date 19th June 1609, conveys the message that His Majesty desires ” extraordinary respect to be shown to him (Captain Stewart) when the distribution shall come It so that . . . he may therein be regarded before another”.

Captain Stewart’s name was, accordingly, included in the list of ” Servitors ” (i.e., persons in the Government service) recommended for grants of land at the Plantation, and on 30th November 1610, he was vested by Letters Patent with a it proportion” of 1,000 acres along the western shore of the upper part of Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal. This property was erected into the Manor of Stewart’s Fort, and on it Captain Stewart constructed a fortified dwelling known by the name of Fort-Stewart,” which became the residence of his youngest son, Thomas Stewart, and the latter’s descendants till about the year 1780, when Sir Annesley Stewart, 6th Baronet, who had become head of the family in 1769, acquired a more commodious and modern type of residence, known as Brookehill, within a mile or two of the old fortified house. He changed the name of “Brookehill” to ” Fort-Stewart,” and this house remains the residence of his successor in the fourth generation, Sir H. J. U. Stewart, present and Ilth Baronet.

Captain Nicholas Pynnar’s Survey 1618 of the Land Grants in the year 1608 in the Barony of Raphoe list William Stewart, brother of Lord Garlies, as receiving 1,500 acres in the Precint of Boilage and Banagh. County Donegal on the Net, list William Stewart, Esq. as receiving a land grant in the year 1608 in the Barony of Boylagh, County Donegal. (I am unable to explain the descrepancy in dates, locations and acreage. (Note to File – JPRhein)

A further letter from the King recommending Captain Stewart to the special attention of the Lord Deputy is in State Papers, Irish Series, under date of 26th January 1612-13, and this led to his being granted an additional proportion of 1500 acres in the Barony of Strabane, Co. Tyrone, which had been surrendered by the original grantee. He subsequently acquired, either by grant or purchase, further lands of large extent in the counties of Tyrone and Donegal. To his lands in the Barony of Strabane, Co. Tyrone, he gave the name of Newtown-Stewart estate; those in the Barony of Clogher in the same county, became the Mount-Stewart estate; and those in the Barony of Kilmacrenan, Co. Donegal, were designated the Ramelton, Fanad, and Fort-Stewart estates. On the Mount-Stewart property he built the great castle of Aughentaine, which was destroyed during the disturbances which broke out in 1641. Mount-Stewart was officially renamed Fivemiletown about the beginning of the 19th century, and it figures under the latter name on present day maps. The ruins of Aughentaine Castle are shown a short distance to the north.

Captain Stewart was knighted at Royston in 1613, and was created a Baronet of Ireland in 1623. He played a large part in civil and military affairs in Ireland till his death late in 1646, and was a member of the Privy Council and a General in the army. He was succeeded as 2nd Baronet by his eldest son, Sir Alexander Stewart. The latter, besides being a military commander of considerable repute, wa’s a zealous Covenanter, and is described in Patrick Adair’s True Narrative of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 1623-1670, as ” a gentleman of great integrity and fervent in propagating the gospel interest in the districts around Derry.” Sir Alexander is chiefly known to history for having conducted the First Siege of Derry in the year 1649, when the city was held for the English Parliament by Sir Charles Coote.” (Source – The Stewarts, Volume VI, The Stewarts In Ireland, Walter A. Stewart, London, S.W. 3, September 1, 1933)

The Right Honorable Sir William Stewart, 1st Baronet of Newtownstewart, County Tyrone, and Ramelton, County Donegal, went over to Ireland in 1608 as Captain commanding a company of Scottish troops sent to serve in that country. ( See Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, June 21, 1608) He is stated by Douglas of Glenbervied in his “Historical and Genealogical Tree of Royal Family of Scotland and name of Stewart”, 1750 to have been a son of Archibald Stewart, 3rd laird of Fintalloch, who died around 1506 (On review this date may have been incorrectly copied by J.P. Rhein or it is incorrect. This will have to be checked further.) and whose family descended from Sir William Stewart, 2nd of Garlies (see Galloway Earl). (Source – Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage)

Sir William Stewart was in great favor with King James VI, who in 1610 granted him 1,000 acres in the barony of Kilmacrean in County Donegal, Ireland, for the plantation of escheated lands in Ulster. William was a member of the privy council of King James VI and of King Charles I. He was a very prominent man in northern Ireland. He led the Ulster forces during the Irish rebellion of 1641 and decisively defeated Sir Phelim O’Neill on June 16, 1642. Sir William resided at Aughentean and Newtown-Stewart, County Tyrone. Among his many possessions was a demesne of 300 acres in County Donegal, upon which he built in 1618 a four story castle, called Ramelton, and a town consisting of 45 houses. (Source – Stewart Clan Magazine, Volume XI-XV, 1933-1938, page 141)

Sir William Stewart in 1613 bought 1,500 acres granted in 1610 to James Haig, gentleman, in the precinct of Strabane, County Tyrone. (Source – Stewart Clan Magazine, Volume XI-XV, 1933-1938, page 118)

“William Stewart, 1st Baronet Ramelton, started out as Captain William Stewart of Whithorn. He was granted lands under the Plantation scheme as a Servitor rather than an Undertaker, in reward for his military service in Ireland under King James I of England. He was granted ‘Gortavagie’ by James and also he received ‘Ramelton’ which had originally been granted to Sir Richard Hansard. Shortly thereafter he also took over the lands in County Tyrone of James Haig, which eventually became known as Newtownstewart, and later still land in Clogher Barony; also in County Tyrone, which he renamed Mount Stewart and which is now known as Fivemiletown. He married Frances Newcomen, and was knighted in 1623. He was made a Baronet of Ramelton in 1623 and died in 1646” (Source – Mary Stewart Kyritsis)

“Sir William Stewart emigrated to Ireland during the planation of Ulster, in the time of King James VI of Scotland who inherited the English throne as James I of England. Sir William married Frances Newcomer, daughter of Sir Robert Newcomer of Mosstown, County Longford. He sat in the Irish parliament for County Donegal in 1613-1615, and was created a baronet on May 2, 1623. He served with distinction against the Irish rebels in 1641 and 1642. He had at least two sons.” (Source – Letter from Mary Hazeltine Cole)

“James I (of England) (1566-1625), king of England (1603-1625) and, as James VI, king of Scotland (1567-1625). Born in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, James was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots. When Mary was forced to abdicate in 1567, he was proclaimed king of Scotland. He assumed actual rule in 1581. Scotland was at that time divided by conflict between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics. James tried unsuccessfully to advance the cause of religious peace in Europe, but he repressed both Catholics and Protestants at various times. In 1586 James formed an alliance with his cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. He replaced the feudal power of the nobility with a strong central government, and maintaining the divine right of kings, he enforced the superiority of the state over the church. In 1603 James succeeded Queen Elizabeth as James I, the first Stuart king of England. His belief in divine right led to prolonged conflict with Parliament. James authorized a new translation of the Bible, generally called the King James Version. James I was succeeded to the throne by his son, Charles I.” (Source – The Encarta 99 Desk Encyclopedia Copyright 1998 Microsoft Corporation)

“After the first shock of the rebellion and the initial frantic defence measures, the Protestants began to hit back. For example, volunteers from the Laggan district, County Donegal, near Londonderry, launched a counter-attack in early summer 1642, organized by two brothers and professional soldiers, Sir William and Sir Robert Stewart. The Laggin men swiftly recaptured Strabane; relieved Lemavady, destroyed rebel bands in the Magilligan Peninsula, swept through Roe Valley and at the Gelvin Burn near Dungiven finally, relieving Colerain .” (Source – Ulster’s Defence Tradition by Robert K. Campbell)

“The plantation of Ulster was fully planned by the English and Scottish Privy Councils in 1610. Land was assigned to British undertakers during April and May. Undertakers had to be in residence by September 1610, and to have fulfilled their conditions of settlement by Easter 1613. The enterprise attracted those pressed hard by the cost of living, in Scotland as well as England.” (Source – Modern Ireland 1600-1972 by R. F. Foster)

“In 1600, Ulster was synonymous with wildness and untamed Gaelicism: separate by nature and geography, least inhabited, least developed economically, least urbanized. Less than two percent of the population of Ireland was of Scots or English descent; but by the early 1700s the proportion had soared to 27 percent.” (Source – Modern Ireland 1600-1972 by R. F.Foster)

See Links Section on this site for “An Historical Account of the Plantation in Ulster at the Commencement of the Seventeeth Century 1608 -1620”, by the Reverend George Hill. There is a specific reference to Sir William Stewart on pages 322,323,522,533,544 and 545. (Note to File -JP Rhein)

“The following excerpts are taken from The Adair Manuscript section: In May 1642, about 10,000 troops from the Scottish army were sent to Ireland by the Parliament of England. The Irish were rebelling and reportedly encouraged by “the Popish clergy and the Bishop of Raphoe”. The King committed the managing of the war to the Parliament of England. The Presbyterian ministers were attempting to administer the “solemn League and Covenant to the army,” but the Mayor of Derry sent a Captain Hepburn to the ministers to invite them to a conference in his chambers. “There he showed them a letter from the Parliament of England, recommending to them the taking of the covenant when it should come to the Scotch army and withal, a proclamation by those who then ruled in Dublin, prohibiting the taking of it and declared his great straits what to choose.” It appears that no decision was made and the ministers left him’ They soon “received another discouraging letter from Sir Robert Stewart, sent by Major Galbraith. It appears that the Presbyterian ministers continued to preach and administer the covenant to the people, which included many soldiers in the army. Mr. Phillips about Ballycastle (near Newtownlimabady), set himself against it, and did endeavor to dissuade the garrison thereabout from it. And Sir Robert Stewart, with Mr. Humphrey Galbraith, was using the same endeavours about Derry, having heard that the ministers were coming there. Afterwards the ministers went towards Enniskillen ‘without sight of the enemy. For the Irish, who were protected, hearing the covenant was coming that way, fled, because they heard that the covenant was to extirpate all Papists, and was against protecting them.”

They next went to Ramelton, where they received the rest of Sir William Stewart’s regiment, and many of Colonel Mervyn’s, contrary to his threatenings. also, one of those who opposed the covenant at Raphoe entered into it with apparent ingenuousness. From this place they returned to Derry, where Sir Robert Stewart, Colonel Mervyn and Major James Galbraith came now to hear the ministers preach and explain the covenant. A document dated on 14 December 1642, in the records of Fermanagh, Ireland: ‘The last true Intelligence from Ireland; Being a true Relation of the great Victory lately obtained against the Rebels by Sir William Stewart, Colonel Sanderson, Colonel Mervyn, and Sergeant Major Galbraith against the great O’Neales and MacGwires Forces, wherein they slew great numbers of the Rebels, took 900 cows, 500 sheep, and 300 horses from the Rebels in the County of Fermanagh. Sir William Stewart understanding that a party of Oneales in the Kirrilrs Woodes, sent out Captain Balfoure, a deserving soldier, with a hundred men, who skirmished with them, killing fifty rebels, and lost but four of his own men, and took away four hundred cows from the Rebels. Some four days after Sir William Stewart desired Lieutenant Colonel Sanderson, Lieutenant Colonel Audley Mervin, and Sergeant-Major James Galbraith to march from Newtowne to relieve Ageer and Aghatyan, with five hundred foot and a hundred horse.” (Source – The Redtower, Clan Galbraith Association International, Volume XX, No. 3, March 1999)

A copy of “The Stewarts” by Walter A. Stewart, 10 Durham Place, Chelsea, London, September 1, 1933, is filed in the research files of J. P. Rhein, Volume 4, Packet D. This is a 49 page detailed document dealing with these Stewarts in Ireland. It also contains several dissenting views as true line of descent of these Stewarts. (Note to file JP Rhein)

“GEORGE CRAWFURD (or Crawford), a Scottish historian with a bent for genealogy, whose works were published at Edinburgh in 1710 and around then, gave his opinion of the origin of the Mountjoy Stewarts in Ireland, several generations after those Stewarts were settled there. Apparently he got his information from conversations with fourth or fifth cousins of the Mountjoy branch-not from signed documents nor, of course, contemporary witnesses. Crawford named Archibald Stewart of Fintalloch, in Kirkcudbrightshire, but did niot trace his ancestry, because the descendants with whom he talked did not know it themselves. They dimly knew that they were cadets of the Stewarts of Garlies, because the earls of Galloway, who presented the eldest branch of that strain, were their super chiefs.

In the reigns of William & Mary and Queen Anne, when Crawford worked, the fame of the Lords Mountjoy, grandson and great-grandson of the first Sir William Stewart, was widespread. Anybody who could claim relationship to them was proud to do so. The Stewarts of Fintalloch whom Crawford talked with included particularly William Stewart of Culgruff, probably in Kirkcudbrightshire, secretary to the dukes of Queensberry, for it was he who first rook an interest in the Fintalloch ancestry and hired a genealogist, Rev. Andrew Symson, to look it up. This Willam Stewart of Culgruff was the eldest son of Archibald Stewart of Culgruff, second son of John Stewart of Shambellie, in Dumfriesshire. John was a son of John Stewart of Allans, son of John and Bessie (Newell) Stewart of Auchinleck. John was a younger son of Archibald Stewart, jr. of Fintalloch, second son of Archibald and Elizabeth (Kennedy) Stewart of Fintalloch. Archibald and Elizabeth’s elder son was William, called Black William: he inherited the lease of Fintalloch, married Janet Gordon but left no issue, and died July 24, 1595, at the court of Queen Elizabeth. His brother Archibald succeeded to Fintalloch: he married a daughter of McLellan of Bombie and had these children, as listed by Crawford – Richard, who succeeded to Fintalloch ; John of “Allans”, James, “ancestor of Archibald Stewart, the great Whig with the whiskers who lives in the Cowgate (Edinburgh)”; Robert, “ancestor of the Lords Mountjoy in Ireland”; and Archibald “of Heisilside. Crawford overlooked a son William and supposed that Robert, whose name, was quite as distinguished as William’s in the early settlement of Ulster, was the great-grandfather of the Lord Mountjoy of his (Crawford’s) time. He took a stab at it, and came as close as anybody could who depended on what he had heard.” (Source – Stewart Clan Magazine, Tome H, Volume 37, Number 6, December 1959)


The following excerpts were taken from Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research Volume 1, Repositories and Records, by Margaret Dickson Falley, B.S., published by Genealogical Publishing Col, Inc. 1981.

“On the whole, the Plantation and Settlement of Ireland carried out the principal object of the Crown and the English Government (including that of the Commonwealth) over a period of one hundred and fifty years, to eventually subjugate Ireland by confiscation, and plant the realm with new land-lords, loyal to the State, who would supply revenue to the Government, maintain English law administered by representatives from England, and furnish protection by locally supported military forces. Thus the forfeitures of individual estates by “enemies of the State” are a part of the series of Plantation and Settlement records which set forth the changes in ownership and tenure of Irish lands.

The Presbyterians in Ireland were largely Ulster Scots. During two and a half centuries after the first plantation of Scottish Presbyterian colonies in Ulster, ca. 1606, they maintained a close connection with their homeland, while they remained a race apart from their Irish and English neighbors. They were hated by the Roman Catholics of Ulster, whose land they had usurped. They were despised by the English, whose Government and Established Church inflicted persecution upon them due to religious non-conformity.

The Ulster Scots kept their racial strain pure in matters of intermarriage. They sent their sons to Scotland to be educated for the ministry, etc. Many of them married there before they returned to Ulster. Thus they remained under the influence of Scottish religion, philosophy, and family ties to their early and some later generations.

While the Presbyterians who settled in Ulster were almost solidly Scottish, there were many English Puritans of Calvinistic doctrine who settled in Dublin and the South of Ireland. The English type of Presbyterianism lacked the more severe theology and discipline of the Scottish Church. Their congreations in Leinster and Munster were the outgrowth of the English Puritans and Independents of the Commonwealth period, left there without organization after the Restoration. These two sects united in 1696 and developed the Southern Association of the Presbyterian Church. This became the Presbytery of Munster and a part of the General Synod.

Historians of Church and local off airs, and the genealogists, have preserved a wealth of published and manuscript records regarding Presbyterian families and individuals.

A few points which may puzzle genealogists will be clarified by a brief review of the history of the Presbyterians and their problems, due to the laws of the realm regarding dissenters from the Established Church of Ireland. This will show that less than half of the Presbyterian families were permanently settled in Ireland before 1650. The Penal Laws and other Acts of Parliament, depriving Presbyterians of religious and civil liberty, were during some periods more rigorously imposed in Scotland than in Ireland, thus resulting in a large emigration to Ulster. At other times the Ulster Presbyterians were more severely penalized, causing several ministers and many Church members to return to Scotland. At all times until well into the eighteenth century, the religious laws and practices resulted in the entries of many records of baptism, marriage and burial, in the Parish Registers of the Established Church.

The first wave of Presbyterian settlers come to Ulster as leasers of the numerous Scottish proprietors who were granted estates by James I, 1605-1625. By patent of 16 April 1605, the northeast quarter of County Down was granted to Hugh Montgomery and the northwest quarter was granted to James Hamilton. This represented two-thirds of the estates forfeited by Con O’Neill, who later was forced to sell his remaining lands to the benefit of Hamilton and Montgomery. The southern part of County Down remained in Roman Catholic hands. The new proprietors were required by the Crown to live on their estates, build houses, churches, and bring English or Scottish settlers as tenants, able to bear arms for the King, build houses and develop their land. Hamilton and Montgomery brought emigrants from the Scottish counties of Ayre, Renfrew, Wigtown, Dumfries and Kirkcudbright. They began coming in May 1606. By 1610, Montgomery could muster 1,000 men for the King and in 1614, the two proprietors mustered 2,000 men, representing about 10,000 Scots settled in County Down.

Sir Arthur Chicester received a large portion in the southern part of County Antrim. In 1603, he was granted the “Castle of Belfast” and surrounding property. He soon afterward acquired land along Carrickfergus Bay and to the north almost as far as Lough Larne. He at first settled an English colony around Belfast, but before long the Scottish settlers predominated throughout the lower half of County Antrim. The upper half had been in the hands of the Macdonnell clan since about 1580. Soon after 1607, the area was granted to Randall Macdonnell who, in 1620, became the Earl of Antrim.

Scottish tenants also spread through his estates, being required to bear arms for the King and develop the land. The flight of the Ulster Earls of Tyrone and Tyrcommel with their Chiefs who were confederates, on 14 September 1607, gave James I the opportunity to confiscate their lands for past and present treason. The six counties of Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone, were escheated to the Crown. This great confiscation, of some 3,800,000 acres, lead to the carefully planned “Plantation of Ulster” between 1608 and 1620. Of this land, about 1,500,000 acres were only partly fertile and largely bog, forest, and mountain country. This was restored to the Irish Roman Catholic natives. Extensive grants were reserved for the bishops and their incumbents of the Established Church. Trinity College, Dublin, and other Royal Schools received about 20,000 acres. Land was also set aside for the corporate towns, forts, etc. The remaining half million acres of the most fertile land was reserved for colonization by English and Scottish settlers.

King James at first chose fifty-nine Scotsmen of high social standing and influence and nearly as many Englishmen, together with fifty-six military officers or “servitors” and eight-six natives, as undertakers who were to receive estates of 2,000 acres of less, in all counties but Londonderry which was reserved for the Corporation of the City of London. Eventually, by 1630, some undertakers acquired as much as 3,000 acres, and estates in County Londonderry came into private hands.

Through the influence of John Knox, the foundations of the Presbyterian Church were laid in Scotland and the first General Assembly was called in 1560. James VI of Scotland who succeeded to the English throne as James I, in 1603, was determined to strengthen the Established Church in Scotland. Melville, the leading Presbyterian of the time, was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and the General Assembly was forbidden to function. Presbyterian ministers and their adherents alike were severely persecuted by the bishops, to bring them under Church control.

At the same time, King James was anxious for a large settlement of English and Scots in Ireland. The latter came to Ulster for new land but also for religious liberty, attracted by the tolerant attitude maintained there by the bishops. The new Confession of Faith, sanctioned by Parliament for the Plantation Settlements, reconciled the differences between Anglicans and Presbyterians. It was Calvinistic in doctrine and allowed Presbyterian ministers to serve as clergy in the parish churches according to their own practices and beliefs. This encouraged the Scottish ministers to follow their countrymen to Ulster.

The easy cooperation of the bishops in Ulster changed after 1625, and the ministers preached under increasing restrictions. This came about through the influence of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, over Charles I. They were determined to tighten the control of the Established Church and this was reflected in Ireland.

To make matters worse, Wentworth (Earl of Strafford) was appointed to the Irish Vice-royalty and arrived in Dublin in 1633. He and his government began a reign of terror for Roman Catholics and Presbyterians alike. He followed Laud’s policy to the letter. The earlier “Articles of Religion” were set aside and the ministers were required to adopt a Confession of Faith embodying the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. He further ordered the Act of Uniformity to be enforced against the ministers. This declared that every clergyman or minister celebrating any religious service other than that of the Established Church, every layman assisting at such a service and every person who opposed the liturgy of the Church, was liable on the third offense to confiscation of goods and imprisonment for life.

John M’Clelland, of Newtownards, was deposed but continued to preach, and was therefore excommunicated.

In 1636, Robert Blair, Robert Hamilton, John M’Clelland and John Livingstone organized a group of 140 Scottish settlers to emigrate to New England. They set sail in September, 1636, and when half way across, were driven back by storms. The ministers, to escape arrest, fled to Scotland, accompanied by many of their adherents. At this time Scotland had become a safe refuge.

The crowning blow to Ulster came in 1639 when the “Black Oath” was imposed. The clergy were required to read it from their pulpits and the people were forced to swear on their knees, if over age sixteen, to obey the King’s commands and to abjure and renounce the Covenant. The clergy were ordered to report on every Presbyterian in each parish. Some conformed. Landed proprietors such as the Hamiltons and the Montgomerys betrayed their faith and joined the persecutors. Great numbers, who could re-establish themselves in Scotland, returned there. As many as 500 at a time returned to Scotland for the Communion season.

This persecution and departure of many Scots from Ulster saved hundreds of lives during the Rebellion which broke out in 1641. The Roman Catholics, determined to exterminate the English, also hated the Presbyterians for settling on their forfeited land. They tortured and murdered thousands and drove others out of their homes to die of privation. Reprisals by the settlers, and a Scottish army sent to Ulster, were equally devastating.

Following the Rebellion, after 1652, the Presbyterians came from Scotland to Ulster in great numbers, owing to the unsettled conditions while Cromwell was attacking the Scottish Royalists. Some, who had fled Ulster during the early years of the Rebellion, returned after Scottish forces made their safety more assured. When peace was established, Cromwell at first held the Presbyterians suspect for having supported the Royalist cause. After a little time they were allowed to flourish and many of their ministers were permitted to preach under ecclesiastical control of the new State Church. By 1658, there were eighty congregations and seventy Presbyterian ministers organized into five Presbyteries and a General Synod.

The Presbyterians who were in Ulster in 1659, if settled in one of the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry or Monaghan, are listed in A Census of Ireland, circa 1659, edited by Seamus Pender, Dublin, 1939. Records for the counties of Cavan and Tyrone are omitted, due to the fact that the original documents were not preserved.

Following the restoration of Charles II, in 1660, he who had pledged his loyalty to the Presbyterian Church when Scotland crowned him king, soon after his father’s execution in 1649, now betrayed his word. He and his Parliament returned the Established Church to power. Its lands and churches, taken by the Commonwealth Government, were restored to the extent they were owned in 1641, and the bishops with their clergy regained their positions.”
Person ID 
McKinney and Stewart of Clarion County, Pennsylvania
Last Modified 
20 May 2010 

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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