The Plantation Scheme 1610 - 1630

The rebellion by Sir Cahir O'Dogherty on 19 April 1608 led to the sacking of Londonderry and the use of Scottish levies from Ayr to take Carrickfergus - the first use of Scottish troops by the English for conquest abroad. The troops remained and became a further source of tenants. When Derry was granted to the City of London in 1610 among the South Western Scots who were compensated were Boyd, Patterson and Wray. In January 1609 proposals were made for the plantation of Tyrone which became the plan for the division of the escheated lands in the six Counties. The Proclamation of the Plantation on 8 March 1609  by the Scottish Council opened the doors for the settlement of thousands of Scots in Ulster under the Plantation Scheme.

Applicants for land tended to come from within 25 miles of Edinburgh. They were generally persons of substance and position and the applications were by way of family ventures with mutual action as cautioners' (guarantors). It was the urban middle class and petty gentry who were most enthusiastic. In all the Scottish undertakers received some 81,000 acres . 

scotland.jpg (58639 bytes) The nine baronies set aside for the Scots were mainly around the periphery of the escheated lands The Scottish Baronies  were Boylagh , Banagh and Portlough in Donegal ; Strabane and Mountjoy in Tyrone; Knockninny, Magherabov in Fermanagh; Clankee and Tullyhunco in Cavan ; and, the northern half of The Fews in Armagh.

The Scottish origin of the undertakers influenced migration and to a large degree the family location of many Scots. As a very broad indication the families dispersed -

Donegal - Cunningham, Campbell

Fermanagh - Home, Johnston, Armstrong, Elliot, Little, Irving, Beaty - all Border names.

Tyrone - Stewart, Hamilton, Elliott, Armstrong, Johnson, Graham, Scot, and Irving.

Antrim - Stewart, Boyd, Hamilton.

Down - In the1630 muster: 53 Montgomery's, 44 Hamiltons then Campbells (Ayrshire - Hamilton estates) Johnston, Kennedy, Scot, Bell, Maxwell, Gibson, Dixon, McKee - mainly from the vicinity of Ayr, Renfrew, Wigtown and Lanark.

The Muster Rolls of 1630 provide a basis for analysing the extent of Scottish migration. The extant Rolls provide a total of 13,147 adult males which suggests a total population in excess of 30,000,  of which about 60% were Scottish.

Orr in the Plantation

The earliest Orr found in Ireland is that of  Richard Orr of Clontarf who died ca 1563. Whether he was of Scots origin or otherwise can only be conjecture, however there are no doubts about  James Orr and Margaret McClement, from Ayrshire, who settled in Co Down in 1607 as part of the Montgomery settlement.

It is highly probable that there were a number of Scottish Orrs in the early influx of new settlers under the Plantation although documentation is quite another thing. There is one Orr listed in the early `denizens` (a form of naturalisation so that they could legally hold title to the lands granted to them ) this being James Orr, of Raphoe in County Donegal who was granted denization 20 November 1617. It is probable that this Orr originated from either Ayrshire or Galloway. It was from these regions that the Scots settlers in the County Donegal baronies of Boylagh and Banagh, and Portlough, originated.  There was a Thomas Orr in East Inishowen and a Donnell Orr in Raphoe in the 1630 Muster. By the time of the Hearth Tax Rolls in 1665 there were quite a few Orr families - William Orr in Conleigh; John and William  Orr in Letterkenny; John Orr in Castlefin; Alexander Orr in Beltany and Joseph Orr in Drumay .

Robert Bell in his "Book of Ulster Surnames" says that there were settler families in Co Tyrone in 1655. The Hearth Money Rolls and Poll Tax Returns for Co Antrim 1660 - 1669 show a reasonably well off William Orr in Antrim Town with 2 hearth taxes ( ie he probably had a house with two fire places) in 1666 and 1669. In the Parish of Raloo in 1669 there was a Robert Orr (townland of Ballyrickard More) and a Widow Orr (townland of Ballywillin) .In the Parish of Ballymoney there was a Pat Ore ( townland of Ballymoney) in both 1666 and 1669 Hearth Money Rolls. In the Parish of Dunluce a John Orr (townland of Ballybogy) in 1669. In the Parish of Larne John Oure (townland of Larne Parish & Town) in 1669. In the Parish of Ballinderry John Orr ( townland of The New Park) in 1669.

Tracing James Orr and Janet McClement

The Old Parish Registers of the Church of Scotland, most of which have been filmed by Latter Day Saints ( the Mormons) and included in the International Genealogical Index ( IGI ), only takes us back to 1682 or so in Beith which is adjacent to Lochwinnoch Parish in Renfrewshire.  The earliest dates for births, marriages and deaths in the Parish Registers for  Beith are - 1661,1659 and 1783 respectively. The earliest records for Lochwinnoch are 1718. This means that we have to turn to the Kirk Session records and the Commissariot Registers, the original church court testaments, in the hope of an entry. Both of these localities were in the Glasgow Commissariot. That far back in time one might expect to find something in the minutae of the Montgomery family papers - such as a list of tenants, rents, and workers, who went to Ireland. But as we have seen, William Montgomery could find no list of tenants in the family papers when he was writing the Montgomery Manuscripts in 1698-1704; so the chance of finding anything  three hundred years later is frankly nil.

But we can go forward from James Orr and Janet McClement thanks to the work of Gawain Orr of Castlereagh who spent a great deal of his life researching his family history and creating his " Ulster Pedigree ". This work provides information on about 2,800 individuals although the births, marriage and deaths information is rather lacking. A list of persons who married an Orr has been compiled from the Pedigree.



Orr Name Study Ulster Scots Reference material