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.
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:
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.
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.