Biographies of notable figures in the Ulster Plantation will be added here.

James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Abercorn

James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Abercorn, was born in 1575, the eldest son of Claud, Lord Paisley. In 1598 James Hamilton was appointed a privy councillor and a groom of the bedchamber by James VI. He was rewarded for various services to the Crown by being created Earl of Abercorn on 10 July 1606. His home was at Paisley in Renfrewshire. Because of his position in The King’s inner circle Abercorn was drawn into the plans for the scheme of plantation and appointed chief undertaker in the barony of Strabane in County Tyrone.

At what stage he agreed to this is not clear, but by April 1610 he was aware of his association with Strabane. What persuaded Abercorn to accept this challenge is unknown, but it was a brave step by a man used to the lifestyle of a lowland Scottish aristocrat to forsake the comforts of his homeland and position at the royal court for the wilds of west Tyrone. A letter of January 1612 refers to him having been ‘induced’ by James to take part of the plantation as a ‘countenance and strength’ to others. Clearly he had been singled out by James to be the principal undertaker in Strabane barony.

Abercorn’s lands in Strabane barony comprised the great proportion of Dunnalong and the small proportion of Strabane, totalling a nominal 3,000 acres (in real terms, nearly 24,000 acres). Significantly, his grant included the site of Turlough Luineach O’Neill’s castle at Strabane and the demesne lands around it, a reflection of the continuity of centres of power. Abercorn proved one of the most active of the new Ulster landowners and took seriously his responsibilities to fulfil the conditions laid down on his by the government. He died in 1618.