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Men and Arms: The Ulster Settlers, c. 1630

Men and Arms: The Ulster Settlers, c. 1630

R.J. Hunter

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British planters in early seventeenth-century Ulster were supposed to hold stocks of weapons so that they and their tenants could defend themselves in the event of an Irish uprising. In 1628 the government decided to find out whether the planters were meeting that obligation and what sort of weapons the British settlers in the province possessed. Lieutenant William Graham was appointed muster-master of Ulster in 1628 and from the spring of 1629 to the spring of 1633 he travelled around the province, inspecting the tenants on each planter’s estate and dutifully recording the name of each man and the type of weapon he presented or whether he was unarmed.

The muster roll that Graham produced is the nearest we have to a census of the British population of Ulster before 1650. The muster roll reveals where the 8,000 or so families who settled in Ulster lived, highlights differences in social status and wealth among the settler population, and provides insights into the movement of settlers between the planters’ estates. The information in the muster roll bridges the gap between the reports of the Jacobean commissions and the depositions made by survivors of the 1641 uprising and allows family relationships among the settlers to be tracked across three generations. Although parts of the muster roll have been published before, there has been no publication of the entire document.

Recognising the importance of the muster roll, R.J. Hunter began transcribing the document. Before his death in 2007, he had completed much of the work and had annotated the lists of names with biographical details from other sources, principally from records in the National Archives of Ireland. John Johnston has completed the transcription of the original document, collated Hunter’s notes, and added information from the online transcripts of the 1641 depositions to create a database of British settlers in early seventeenth-century Ulster that will be of interest for historians and genealogists alike.

Additional Information

Author R.J. Hunter
Publisher Ulster Historical Foundation
Publication date 27 Jan 2015
Format Paperback
ISBN/EAN 9781908448941

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