1622 and 1630 Muster Rolls for Co. Londonderry

The undertakers who were granted land in the Plantation of Ulster were required to muster their tenants periodically - they had to "have ready in their houses at all times, a convenient store of arms, wherewith they may furnish a competent number of men for their defence, which may be viewed and mustered every half year". Whilst the early government surveys of the Plantation enquired into the amount of arms present on an estate and the number of British men present, there was no attempt made to draw up a muster containing a list of persons with the arms that each bore. In fact, it was 1618 before the government appointed two muster masters - Nicholas Pynnar and Captain George Alleyne.

The first to carry out an inspection in 1618 was Alleyne. Unfortunately there are no names of settlers listed in this survey. Pynnar carried out an inspection a year later but, once again, only statistics are available. His figures were similar to Alleyne, producing a total of  642 British men. The statistics of the 1618 survey for the 12 company estates throughout the county plus the city of Londonderry and the town of Coleraine are shown below. The estimate of the number of families was produced by dividing the number of men by 1.5. The source for these figures is Philip Robinson's book on The Plantation of Ulster (Belfast 1994) p. 222. Robinson suggests that the total figure for Pynnar's survey was probably somewhere between 800 and 900 men.

Estate 1618 Muster (Alleyn] No. of British Men Estimate of No. of Families
City of Londonderry 100 67
Town of Coleraine 100 67
Goldsmiths 49 33
Grocers 42 28
Fishmongers 31 21
Ironmongers 56 37
Mercers 17 11
Merchant Tailors 49 33
Haberdashers 20 13
Clothworkers 17 11
Skinners 28 19
Vintners 42 28
Drapers 23 15
Salters 16 11
Total 590 393

There were two further musters. The first of these was the 1622 muster. This was carried out by Sir Thomas Phillips and Richard Hadsor as part of a survey by commissioners appointed by the government. This muster produced statistics for all of the London Companies' estates. There are also 290 names extant for three of these estates - the City and Liberties of Londonderry, the town of Coleraine and the Vintners' estate at Bellaghy. It also produced estimates of the number of Irish men on each estate within the county. With the exception of the two main urban centres and the Haberdashers' estate, the number of Irish men on each estate outnumbered the British significantly - a point that Sir Thomas Phillips was continually making to the English government.

The next muster was carried out by the new muster master, Lieutenant William Graham during the period 1630 to 1631. Generally known as the 1630 Muster Rolls this is the best of the four musters and provides both statistics and names. However, there are neither statistics or names extant for the Salters' Estate or the Skinners' Estate. The muster for the City and Liberties of Londonderry includes the Goldsmiths estate, but the latter is not identified separately within the list of names. Apparently, only part of the Fishmongers' estate was mustered. - see R. J. Hunter "The Fishmongers' Company of London and the Londonderry Plantation, 1609-41" page 222 of Derry & Londonderry: History & Society, edited by G. O'Brien (Dublin, 1999) where he states:

" When, later, in c.1630 a muster was carried out for the purposes of militia organisation the names of 42 people who were present were recorded. That list is, however, somewhat deceptive because by then the estate had been split between two chief tenants, Higgins and Christoper Freeman, and these were the names of those who mustered under Freeman although not necessarily all exclusively from his part of the estate. A list drawn up by the company in March 1631 in answer to an anxious precept from the Irish Society contained a list of 69 names but this was probably somewhat generous towards itself."

The statistics for both of these surveys are shown below. The same conversion factor of 1.5 has been used to convert men to families.

Estate 1622 Muster [Phillips & Hadsor] No. of British Men Estimate of No. of Families No. of Irish Men Estimate of No. of Families
City of Londonderry * 171 114   0
Town of Coleraine** 124 83   0
Goldsmiths 63 42 84 56
Grocers 34 23 75 50
Fishmongers 23 15 243 162
Ironmongers 65 43 131 87
Mercers 52 35 145 97
Merchant Tailors 36 24 124 83
Haberdashers 123 82 125 83
Clothworkers 86 57 51 34
Skinners 12 8 348 232
Vintners 80 53 184 123
Drapers 16 11 186 124
Salters 27 18 128 85
Total 912 608 1824 1216

* 110 men within the city - a further 61 without.
** 100 men within the town - a further 24 without.

Source: V. Treadwell, The Irish Commission of 1622 (Dublin, 2006), pp. 609-636.

Estate 1630 Muster [Graham] No. of British Men Estimate of No. of Families
City of Londonderry 599 399
Town of Coleraine 356 237
Goldsmiths   0
Grocers 57 38
Fishmongers [69] 43 29
Ironmongers 123 82
Mercers 87 58
Merchant Tailors 48 32
Haberdashers 127 85
Clothworkers 65 43
Skinners   0
Vintners 100 67
Drapers 45 30
Total 1605 1070

This muster also includes men mustered on other "non-company" estates within the county, giving a grand total of 1931 names suggesting some 1287 families. The [69] is the figure for the Fishmongers own survey.

Source: PRONI: D1759/3C/2 and MIC637/10.

Not surprisingly, most of the names in the rolls are of Planter or British origin - a few native Irish names do appear. It is interesting to note that many of the names in the rolls are of English or Welsh origin. Not surprisingly, the greatest concentration of Scottish names is to be found on the estates of Sir Robert McClelland and his wife Lady McClelland. There were quite a few names in the Muster Rolls I do not recognise. This may be because of the way the name is spelt or it may be a name which has disappeared over the years.

Copyright 2010 W. Macafee.