Who gained what from the plantation?

The Ulster Plantation counties
Courtesy of the Ulster-Scots Agency


In 1609 a commission of officials escorted by an armed force toured West Ulster. They were accompanied by surveyors who drew up maps which divided the land into two types - church land and king's land. All church lands became the property of the protestant church or Trinity College, Dublin.

The king's land was divided into estates of 1,000 acres, 1,500 or 2,000 acres. Three kinds of people were given these estates:

  • Undertakers: rich English and Scottish men who could afford to bring at least 10 families from England and Scotland. They were allowed to let the "native Irish" tenants farm their land. The rent for 1,000 acres = 5.33.
  • Servitors: English soldiers and some officials who had served Queen Elizabeth or King James in Ireland. They could take on a maximum of five native Irish tenants. Rent for 1,000 acres = 98.
  • The Deserving Irish: those who had not taken part in recent rebellions against the Crown. They, in turn, were allowed to have native Irish farmers on their land. Rent for 1,000 acres = 10.

Each undertaker and servitor had to agree to build defences; the standard was a bawn, or stone wall surrounding a courtyard. This was sufficient for a servitor. However, an undertaker with 1,5000 acres had to build a stone house inside the bawn; a settler with 2,000 acres had to also build a defensive tower. These buildings were intended as strongholds against any likely attacks and uprisings by the disgruntled native Irish.


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