A PROJECT sent by Sir Oliver St. John, Kt., Deputy of Ireland, concerning the plantation of the county of Longford to the Lords of the Council in England.-- [Headed by Carew.] MS 613, p. 83 August 1618
MS 613, p. 83
Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts preserved in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth, ed. J. S. Brewer & W. Bullen (6 vols., 1867-73), vol. V, document 198.
The time of the year wearing away in the employment of the measures in the county of Longforde, I thought it agreeable to make known what I conceive will be the issue of the work of that plantation.
The work being great and requiring careful deliberation, my opinion is, that the best course is to settle Longforde this year, and, if time will permit, O'Carroll's country, and leave the country of Leitrim, McCoghlan's, and O'Mulloye's countries for the work of next year. Concerning the county of Longforde, whereof having carefully looked into the former proceedings and surveys of that county, I find that the whole county consists of six baronies esteemed at 50,000 acres.
I find that the lands of the bishop and clergy, the old glebes of churches, the abbey lands, and some patentees who have obtained grants in fee farm will not come within the compass of the escheated lands, but must be set apart from all distributions.
I find also two rents payable by that county, the one of 200l. to the heirs of St. Nicholas Malbye, being the ancient composition of that county, the other of 120 beeves being an ancient rent payable to the castle of Granarde. Those two rents are needful to be compounded for, and a compensation of land taken out of the whole county, otherwise the undertakers will be subject to the exactions and distresses of other men, which would be very inconvenient. It will be needful also that there be taken out some quantity of land, to be bestowed by his Majesty for the bettering of the livings of the poor incumbents of the parish churches, according to that which was allowed in the plantation of Wexford. And in like sort a portion of land must be bestowed upon a corporate town, and for the erecting and maintenance of a free school. All which must be deducted before I can give a guess what will remain for distribution. For albeit the King's officers are of opinion, that some of the grants of the patentees are questionable, yet I suppose his Majesty's purpose, for the most part of them, is not to have them questioned, but either to let them enjoy their lands, or to give them other lands in lieu thereof. The general content of the whole county, and the deductions formerly mentioned being thus compared, I am of opinion as well as upon consideration of the former survey taken in the late Lord Deputy's government, and by the former judgment of the success of this began measurement, that out of the remain there may be set by for the placing of undertakers 12,000 ac., being as I guess a fourth part and somewhat more.
In the distribution, I suggest that it will be needful that a moiety of all those lands which are to be disposed of to undertakers, should be bestowed here upon such servitors remaining in this kingdom as have well served in the wars, and have had no land at all given unto them; and those to be chosen and nominated by the Lord Deputy; not in great quantities, as was done in Ulster, and in the late plantation of Wexford, but in smaller proportions, as in 200, 300, 400 ac., and so increasing according to their several abilities and deserts; none to exceed 1,000 acres. By this manner of plantation the buildings will be more, the bodies of men in greater quantities, and consequently they and their posterity, by their continual residence, will be a surer countenance to the plantation, and a stronger instrument for the settling of peace and civility in those parts, and become more profitable for the commonwealth, and yet his Majesty's rents continue the same. Whereas if those lands could be distributed into greater proportions, as 1, 2, or 3,000 ac., the buildings would go on more slowly, the country would be left more weak by reason of the large wastes, the freeholders more scarce, and the Irish less kept in awe by them.
And, for the residue to be bestowed upon the British undertakers, I humbly propound that their portions may be smaller, the undertakers more in number than they were in Ulster and Wexford, for now Irish land is more valuable, and the county of Longforde, joining upon the English pale, more easy and commodious to be planted. And experience has taught us that [in] Ulster the undertakers' buildings have not been so readily performed as was expected, nor the British brought over in sufficient numbers to inhabit those great scopes; neither has that number of freeholders been placed in those lands as was covenanted by the undertakers; and such as have been made freeholders are held up at so high rents that they are not left able to do the service of freeholders. This making of lesser undertakers to hold of the Crown was the ancient manner of planting Irish countries, as may appear by the multitudes of castles in the English pale, and the counties of Tipperrarie, Limericke, Kilkennye, and all the countries where the old English do yet keep their footing; and that course was held in the later plantation of Leix and Ophalye, where many English undertakers had freeholds, granted unto them from the Crown, of small quantities of land. And their posterity continue freeholders still, and are very useful, as well in time of war as in time of peace; and it is very probable that in this very county of Longforde, the granting of too great proportions to the English, at their first planting there, was the principal cause it was so soon overrun again by the Irish.
I propound, as a matter of especial consideration in this work, that the undertakers be placed in the most uninhabited parts of the county; as towards the countries of Leyterim, Cavan, and Roscomman; and so leave the natives to inhabit in that part that lies near to the English pale, where their ancient borders still remain; and the rather for that the natives now inhabiting that part are reasonably reclaimed by civil education, and many of them have built good stone houses where they dwell.
And, for the full settling of those lands, I propound that he granted estates in fee farm as well to natives as undertakers; receiving from the native for every acre of 21 foot to the pole, 2d. st., and from the undertaker 1½d. st., in respect of the charge of his building. And where the towns or cartrons do consist for the most part of bog, barren mountain, and unprofitable wood, the surveyors shall have power, in the making up of their particulars, to lay those bogs, &c. as an addition to the towns, &c, and set a rent upon the same by the acre, at one rate to the natives, and at a lesser rate to the undertakers, according to the goodness and quantity thereof.
I propose that every proportion under 1,000 acres be held of the castle of Dublin, in free and common soccage, and every proportion of 1,000 acres or above to hold of the King in capite. For, in the old plantation of the English pale, all the undertakers and their heirs hold their proportions, be they greater or smaller, in capite.
Also, that every undertaker and native of 1,000 ac. and above be bound, within three years, to build a castle 30 foot in length, 20 in breadth, and 25 in height; the castle to be built of stone and lime, or brick and lime, and compassed in with a bawn, of 200 foot in compass, of stone and lime, or brick and lime. And every undertaker of 600 ac. and so to 1,000 ac., shall be bound to build a strong house of stone and lime, or brick and lime, within a bawn of 200 foot compass; and every undertaker of quantity under 600 ac., to build a good house of stone and lime, or brick with lime; the natives of these two last-named proportions to be left to themselves.
That every proportion of 1,000 ac. and above may have a manor and a court baron, and power to create tenures and a leet; and every proportion of 600 ac., and so to 1,000, to have a manor with a court baron, and power to create tenures The proportions under 600 ac. to have neither.
That among all the undertakers and natives there may be grants made of six market towns in the most convenient places, and no more, and fairs in as moderate a number as may stand with respect and conveniency, and rents to be reserved upon both.
That no native shall have granted unto him less than 100 ac., except very few, and upon good considerations; and none at all under 60 ac.
That every undertaker and native that is bound to build may have liberty to take a proportionable quantity of timber and other materials for his buildings, in any place within the plantation, by warrant from the Deputy, with a limitation of the time of that liberty.
That every ancient pretended possessor who shall be now made a freeholder, shall depart with at the least a fourth part of the land, he formerly possessed, for the accommodation of the plantation, besides a ratable proportion towards the compounding of the two rents before mentioned of Sir Nicholas Malbye and Sir Francis Shane. That every undertaker and native shall content himself to enjoy his proportion, according to the number of acres laid down by the now admeasurement, without any questioning of old. That every undertaker and native shall be bound that his under-tenants shall build together in town reeves, with a nomine poenæ for those that shall suffer their tenants to build dispersedly.
That the natives may be tied with a proviso of forfeiture not to sell their lands in fee simple or fee tail, or lease them above 40 years, or three lives, to any of the Irish, lest the old Lords should grow great again, and likewise not to enter in action of rebellion.
That the state may have power to place such of the inferior natives of the country as shall not have lands allotted unto them, upon the lands of any undertakers or natives who are to have leases for terms of 21 years, or three lives, at such reasonable rents as shall be set down by the Lord Deputy and Council, whereby such as cannot be made freeholders may be provided where to remain.
That every undertaker and native be bound to sow yearly a quantity of hemp, according to his Majesty's direction in that behalf, and that proportionably according to the quantity of such man's proportion.
That the Lord Deputy may be warranted to grant a quantity of land to each parish church, for the bettering of the livings of the poor incumbents, as was done in Wexford.
That a corporate town may be established in some convenient place within the plantation, and 100 ac. be allotted to the burgesses that shall undertake it, with a warrant to make a grant of a corporation with such name and such immunities and privileges as were granted to the new corporation in the escheated lands of Ulster, and that some land may be allotted for the maintenance of a free school.
That the natives be tied by a proviso of forfeiture neither to take upon them the name of O'Farrall, nor set up or maintain that name by giving of rent, cutting, or service, nor divide their lands by gavelkind. That the whole charge of admeasuring the county, and other necessary expenses for the finishing and settling of those lands, may be borne by the undertakers and natives by equal contributions.