British grantees


The undertakers, so-called because they agreed to undertake the ‘planting’ of British settlers on the estates they were given, received the largest allocation of land in the Plantation scheme, with some 161,500 acres. There were more Scottish undertakers than English – 59 to 51, but the average size of the Scottish-owned estates was smaller than the English-owned estates. In each barony there was to be one chief undertaker. He was allowed to have up to 3,000 acres of Plantation land. The ordinary undertakers were granted no more than 2,000 acres.

The individual blocks of land, known as proportions, granted to the undertakers were of three sizes – 1,000 acres, 1,500 acres and 2,000 acres (often denoted ‘small’, ‘middle’ and ‘great’). An undertaker could own more than one proportion so long as his total acreage did not exceed the stipulated amount. For example, the Earl of Abercorn, the chief undertaker in Strabane barony, owned the 1,000 acre proportion of Strabane and the 2,000 acre proportion of Dunnalong – 3,000 acres in total.

The undertakers were expected to introduce British settlers to their estates. For every 1,000 acres he received an undertaker was expected to ‘plant’ 24 men or at least 10 families from England or Scotland.


Servitors were men who had served the Crown in Ireland as soldiers or government officials. Altogether the servitors received nearly 55,000 acres in the Plantation counties. Most of them were given estates of 1,000-2,000 acres, but some of them received as little as 200 acres. The servitors were allowed to have both Irish and British tenants. Only two of the servitors were Scots – Patrick Crawford and Sir William Stewart – both of whom received lands in the barony of Kilmacrenan.