Cos. Tyrone, Donegal, Londonderry & Fermanagh Ireland Genealogy Research

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An Historical Overview of Land Ownership & Protestant Churches in Aghaloo Parish & Surrounding Area, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland

Compiled to assist research in my Henderson, Davidson, Edwards, Mitchell, and Oliver Ancestors
Transcribed, Compiled and Submitted by Gwen Barry
Books by Gwen

This manuscript is not to be published in whole commercially for profit, however you are free to quote any individual portions for your own genealogical purposes, as long as you quote your sources, including the authorship (as above), and the source (website) from which you obtained it.


An overview of the geographic area, land ownership, and Protestant churches in existence from the 1600s onward are included in this Overview, as well as some information on sources for genealogical records for Aghaloo Parish, and some of the surrounding area. This information is useful for genealogical research, in order to determine which estate records, and which church records might be relevant for your ancestors in various periods. It is material that I have collected, in order to better research my Henderson, Davidson, Edwards, Mitchell, and Oliver ancestors of Aghaloo Parish, County Tyrone, and Tynan Parish, County Armagh. The history of land ownership, Protestant churches, and record sources included here for Aghaloo Parish is fairly thorough, but is a bit thin on the ground for the surrounding area.



Under Land Ownership:

Armstrong, Alexander, Bart, Boyd, Boyle, Caulfield, Constable, Craig, Dopping, Dory, Echlin, Galbraith, Gash, Hamilton, Harrison, Hovendon, Maxwell, Montgomery, O’Hugh, O’Neill, Skelton, Stronge, Travers, Wingfield

Under Protestant Churches:

Abernathy, Atkinson, Brownlow, Congreve, Hobson, Horner, Wesley, Williamson





THE O’NEILLS: (1400s-1653)

Kinnard (village), formerly known as Drummurogh, and later known as Caledon (village), Aghaloo Parish, County Tyrone had been the residence of a minor branch of the Irish O’Neill tribe since at least the late 1400s. Until the late 1500s, the British had not yet been successful in conquering Ulster. Hugh O’Neill –Earl of Tyrone was the Gaelic Overlord of Ulster. He assigned Chieftainship for different parts of Ulster to his relatives and friends who would be loyal to him. To his son-in-law, Henry Oge O’Neill (Oge = the younger, or junior), he assigned the territory of Minterburn, which took in almost all of Aghaloo Parish, County Tyrone, and parts of Tynan Parish, Co. Armagh. During the Nine Years War of 1594-1603, the Earl of Tyrone and his chieftains fought against encroaching English rule in Ulster, but were defeated. The English marked the Earl as a hunted man. Some of the Earl’s Chieftains, including Henry Oge O’Neill of Minterburn, resented the O’Neill Earl’s Overlordship, and passed information on to the British on the his whereabouts, and on his dealings with Spain, in the hopes of getting rid of the Earl of Tyrone, and then being regranted their lands directly from the English Crown. In 1604, for Henry Oge O’Neill’s services to the Crown, he was knighted, and in 1605 he received a grant from the Crown for the Minterburn Territory, as well as becoming High Sheriff of County Armagh. In September 1607, the Earl of Tyrone and those followers and their families who had remained loyal to him fled to Spain, in what was known as ‘The Flight of the Earls.” Henry Oge O’Neill and his oldest son Tirlogh died in 1608, while serving in the English Army. (Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 9-12.)


In 1613, initially, the Crown divided the Minterburn Territory into pieces, and regranted it in parts to Henry Oge’s two brothers, to the wife of the deceased Tirlogh (now remarried to Robert Hovendon), and to Tirlogh’s younger brothers, and Tirlogh’s children. However, under protest by Sir Phelim O’Neill, the oldest son of Tirlogh who was the oldest son of Henry Oge O’Neill, in 1629 the Crown re-granted all of Henry Oge’s Minterburn Territory to his grandson Sir Phelim O’Neill. It should be noted that, with Ulster now conquered by the English, the Plantation of Ulster with Scots, English and Welsh planters began in 1608. However no planters were settled into the Minterburn Territory. In the 1630s, Sir Phelim O’Neill turned his Irish tenants off his Minterburn lands, and took in English tenants. One ejected Irish tenant explained the reason for this as: “They (the English) were able to pay much greater rents, and more certain to pay the same.” (Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 13-14.) He also had some Scottish tenants. O’Neill’s 1630s tenants were acquired from elsewhere in Ulster, probably from the Barony of Dungannon, and/or from the Barony of Armagh, both of which had planters of the 1608-1622 ilk. Some of the planters sons, now of age, may have been looking for placement. Sir Phelim may also have acquired tenants directly from England and Scotland, but not under the Plantation Scheme.


By 1640, the Irish of Ulster were fed up with English rule, the loss of their land to Planters from Scotland, the Protestant Church of England supremacy in Ireland, and the encroachment of Puritans and Presbyterians. A plot was hatched for an armed rebellion. Sir Phelim O’Neill had been living the high life at Kinnard (Caledon), with his Minterburn Territory seriously encumbered with various mortgages, judgements, and statutes registered against him by the Crown. And so, he joined the 1640 Rebellion, which if successful would free him from paying his debts. The headquarters of the Irish gentry leaders of the rebellion were at Sir Phelim’s manor at Kinnard. The plan was to attack Dublin castle. However, in O’Neill’s absence on other nasty rebellion business, about twenty of his former Irish tenants went out of control. On October 22nd 1641, they disarmed some of the English and Scottish inhabitants in Kinnard and for a few miles around, pillaged their homes, and stole their best horses. (Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 15-16.) Either in December 1641 or January 1642, again with Sir Phelim O’Neill absent from Kinnard, his Catholic tenants of the O’Hugh sept massacred at least 32 of his Protestant tenants, including 20 adults and 12 children. An account of the massacre was told by several witnesses, as follows:

. . .What was unusual about the massacre at Kinnard is that it was Sir Phelim’s tenants who were killed. William Skelton worked as a husbandman for Sir Phelim before the rebellion. He described how the protestants then lived peacefully on Sir Phelim’s land and were on good terms with their Irish neighbours, and differed not in anything. . .save only that the Irish went to Masse and the English went to the Protestant church in Tinan [St Vindic’s, Tynan, Co. Armagh]. He described how the rebellion started and the Irish led by Nocher O’Hugh began robbing and then murdering the English. William Skelton named 18 people, including the nurse who worked for Sir Phelim, who were all killed one night about Christmas 1641. Joan Constable was near Kinnard at the time and said that the sept of the Hughs murdered many Protestants in Kinnard one night. She listed 28 people including most of those named by William Skelton. Her former servant, Rory O’Hugh, warned her the next day not to go to Kinnard, “for she might goe above the soales of her shooes in bloud there.” Michael Harrison, Sir Phelim’s secretary, mentions that ‘in November 1641 it was generally reported that there were 20 or 30 persons cruelly murthered [sic] in Kinnard by the say’d Hughs.’ Joseph Travers stayed at Kinnard from October 1641 until the end of January 1642. He said a number of English were murdered before the end of December and he reported a conversation he had with Sir Phelim on 31st December 1641. O’Neill told him that some of his followers “have murdered my nurse and the child whom they knew my wife loved and respected and brought her out of England but I have been revenged in them for I have hanged eight or nine of them for it.” Travers then described the murder of Lord Caulfield at Kinnard which happened at the end of January 1642. Travers said that the murderers, one of whom was a Hugh, got drunk that night and murdered 21 of Sir Phelim’s tenants. This account is corroborated by James Patrick Dory who was told by an Irish soldier that 15 were killed in Kinnard that night. The witnesses differ considerably as to the date of the massacre at Kinnard but it seems clear that in December 1641 or January 1642 at least 32 of Sir Phelim’s tenants were murdered, as 20 adults and 12 children are named as having died at this time.


Source for the above: Hilary Simms, “Violence in County Armagh, 1641,” (123-138) in Brian MacCuarta, ed., Ulster 1641: Aspects of the Rising, Belfast: The Institute for Irish Studies, Queen’s U, 1993, 130


About Easter, 1642, a number of the English and Scots still surviving, who lived in and around Kinnard as tenants of Sir Phelim O’Neill, were driven to the Blackwater River and drowned. In the midst of this chaos, Sir Phelim’s mother, Catherine O’Neill-Hovenden saved twenty-four English and Scots in her own house, and fed them for thirty-seven weeks, until they were relieved by the British army. At Kinnard, the army found a number of English and Scottish prisoners from other parts of Ulster who had been held in Sir Phelim’s house, and in Bantry woods. Similar atrocities against the English and Scots took place in a number of places in Ulster. (Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 17.)


The attack on Dublin Castle failed, but by 1642, as word spread of the Irish out-of-control actions in the Minterburn Territory, and elsewhere in Ulster, the Rebellion spread all over Ireland. Sir Phelim O’Neill played a significant leadership role in the larger Rebellion. He and the other leaders became hunted men. In 1649, Cromwell’s new Army came to Ireland, and successfully ended the Rebellion, not without his forces slashing and burning their way across Ireland, conducting equally atrocious acts. In 1650, Sir Phelim O’Neill capitulated at Charlemont. Instead of leaving Ireland within three months, as offered to him by the Crown, he chose to go on the run. He was captured near Stewartstown, sent to Dublin for trial, found guilty and sentenced to be executed on 5th March 1653. (Source: Rev. David Stewart, Familia: Journal of the Ulster Genealogical and Historical Guild, No. 11, 1995.) Sir Phelim’s Minterburn Territory was confiscated by the Crown, which at that time consisted of 338 townlands. At the end of the Cromwellian War around 1650-52, massive amounts of land all over Ireland, formerly held by the Irish, were regranted to Cromwell’s officers, and large tracts were purchased by Adventurers mainly from England, who brought in new settlers. In all, about 20,000 Scots came to settle in Ulster in the 1650s, with the bulk of them coming from Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway. However, the Minterburn Territory was not regranted or resettled at that time, probably due to the large number of O’Neill’s mortgages and various other debts that had to be settled first.


It is unlikely that many, if any, of the O’Neill’s English and Scottish tenants survived the Rebellion, or the Cromwellian War in Ireland. Many British settlers from all over Ireland fled back to England and Scotland in those two periods.


Source of O’Neill Estate Records:

It is unlikely that the O’Neill Estate rental records survived the many tribal skirmishes, rebellions, and wars that took place up to 1653. That being said, the Crown must have had some records in order to sort out ownership, debts, and mortgages over at least the latter 53 years that the Minterburn Territory was held by the O’Neills. Those records may well be housed somewhere in London, or in the Patent Rolls.

THE HAMILTONS: (1661-1738):

1661-1674: In 1661, Captain William Hamilton was granted all of those lands comprising the Minterburn Territory, formerly held by Sir Phelim O’Neill. Captain Hamilton lived at Curran Lough, near Benburb, Co. Tyrone. He had formerly been a middleman tenant on the estate of the Wingfields at their Manor of Benburb, Co. Tyrone. Captain William’s grandfather, William Hamilton, came from Scotland to Ireland in 1616, and settled at Ballyfatton (Sion Mills). (Source: Mona Wylie, “St John’s Church, Caledon, Parish of Aghaloo: A Brief History,” (131-142), in Dúiche Néill: Journal of the O’Neill Country Historical Society, Vol. 3, 1988, 131.) Captain Hamilton was a 1649 officer, who had initially supported the Royalist side of the deposed King Charles I of England’s forces in Ireland, against Cromwell and his

Parliamentarian forces of England. When Cromwell’s forces came to Ireland in 1649, Captain Hamilton and others changed sides to support Cromwell. Such soldiers were thereafter referred to as ‘1649ers.’ Cromwell was so grateful to them, that land in Ireland was set aside for them in 1652 after the Cromwellian War in Ireland, to divide among their soldiers. This land was primarily along the Shannon River in County Leitrim. For one reason or another, Captain William Hamilton didn’t petition for his land entitlement until some years later. So in 1661, Captain Hamilton’s allegiance had to be satisfied in the form of the grant of the O’Neill’s Minterburn Territory. Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 23.) By this time, it is likely that Hamilton’s soldiers would have been long-since scattered to the winds.


Given the massacres in Aghaloo Parish during the 1640-1649 Rebellion, and other atrocities which occurred during the Cromwellian War of 1649-50, Hamilton would have had to bring in a lot of new tenants in order to support his new holdings in the Minterburn Territory. It is probable that he acquired some new tenants from the baronies of Dungannon, and Armagh, and possibly from the Barony of Turany, which included Tynan Parish, Co. Armagh, and the northern part of County Monaghan. He may have been brought in others directly from Scotland and England. William Hamilton married Marjery Galbraith, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel James Galbraith, who was M.P. for Strabane in 1639. Captain William Hamilton died in 1674.


1674-1713: John Hamilton, son of Captain William Hamilton inherited the Minterburn Estate in 1674. John was MP for Dungannon in 1692 and 1695, and MP for Strabane. An Irish deed, Memorial No. 1-472-368, dated 15th and 16th February 1708 formalized a marriage settlement in anticipation of the intended marriage of John Hamilton Esq., of Caledon, and Lucy Dopping, daughter of the Bishop of Meath. The Memorial Deed lists all of the townlands which John Hamilton had inherited from his father. The estate included every townland of Aghaloo Parish, as well as some in Tynan Parish, Co. Armagh, and a few in Clonfeacle Parish, Co. Tyrone. Source: From the website ‘Arborealis,’ of Alison Kilpatrick. The memorial deed, including the list of townlands inherited by John Hamilton can be found on Alison’s website.  John Hamilton died in 1713.


1713-1723: The Estate passed to William Hamilton, son of John. This William died in 1723.


1723-1738: The Estate passed to William’s daughter, Margaret Hamilton in 1723. She was not of age, and the estate was managed by a trust. (Source: Patrick Campbell, “The Parish of Aghaloo in the Plantation Era,” (49-79), Dúiche Néill: Journal of the O’Neill Country Historical Society, Vol. 13, 2000, 54-55, 60, 67-68, 72.)


Source for Hamilton Estate Records 1661-1738:

Only one source has been found by me for the Hamilton period of ownership, and then only for their last 24 years, (1714-1738). Eight volumes of business letters exist of the 4th and 5th Earls of Orrery, dealing mostly with their estates in Ireland and England, many of them original documents for the period 1714-1745. The file is titled, “Transactions relateing [sic] to Caledon Estate since the grant thereof to William Hamiltion, Esqr. by King Charles the 2nd Volume 3 contains copies of leases and an account of the Caledon Estate. The eight volumes are housed at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., filed as MS Eng 218: 4. I have not reviewed any of those records. No appointment is needed to access the records, however there are several steps which must be taken first, as follows: 1. You must first register for a Special Collections Request Account. 2. You can request the volume in advance, by following the step-by-step instructions at the library The ibrary has limited holding space for current readers, so the material requested will be fetched when you arrive. 3. Before proceeding to the Houghton Library, you will have to stop in at the Privileges Office at Widener Library, Harvard U, to pick up a reader’s card. The Harvard University records from 1738 onward would be for the following period of the Boyle Earls of Orrery.



1738-1762: In 1738, John Boyle, 5th Earl of Orrery (and later 5th Earl of Cork and Orrery) acquired the Hamilton Estates of Aghaloo Parish through his marriage of 1738 to Margaret Hamilton, who was the heiress of the Minterburn Territory. John Boyle was the uncle of Robert Boyle, the father of chemistry who devised Boyle’s Law. As a couple, John Boyle’s and Margaret Hamilton’s views and way of life were somewhat unusual, and might imply that they were of the better class of landlord. Theirs was a love match. The Earl had to travel to England to sit in Parliament and to do other business regarding his other estates in England, and in Counties Cork, Waterford, and Kerry. During his absences, Margaret managed the Caledon Estate, and took care of a number of legal matters in Dublin, on behalf of her husband. This was an unusual role of a woman of that period. In January, 1751, Margaret writes a letter, in which she speaks of Jonathan Swift’s bitterness against Presbyterians, which she was confident “did much harm in keeping up divisions and sowing dislike, in the breast of one honest man to another honest man". She refers to her own feelings, and says that for herself, until her husband’s superior reasoning made her look upon all prejudice as “unjust, a great folly, and indeed a great wickedness,” she had held both Presbyterians and Roman Catholics in the utmost abhorrence. (Source: Hamilton Memoirs: being historical and genealogical notices of a branch of that family which settled in Ireland in the reign of King James I, in the Reynolds Historical Genealogy Collection, Allen Co. Public Library, Pennsylvania, digitized by the Internet Archive


In his writings to his wife, and friends, John Boyle writes: On October 30th, 1739: “I am charmed with Caledon. . My days are innocent, my nights are happy. . .My gate stands open to the widow and the stranger.” On November 30th, 1746 he writes: “In truth, Caledon itself is a most delightful place, and I am attempting to make daily additions to its beauties, gardens, groves.” On May 20th, 1747, he writes: ”I enjoy most perfect health at this place. . .the civility of the Caledonians is superlative. . .Most of my conversation turns upon potatoes, flax, wool, syder [sic], and straight ditches. . .My female goddesses are Betty Montgomery, a mad-woman, and old Betty Gash, our Archdeacon’s housekeeper. (Source for above: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 26-27.)


1750, 16 May: A new mill was built at Dyan. It was leased by the Earl & Countess of Orrery on 16 May, 1750 to Joseph Boyd of Armagh Town, County Armagh for £67 yearly. The lease included Dyan Mill, and 27 acres. (Source: PRONI On- Line Catalogue: D2433/A/1/35.)


1762-1775: By 1762, both the 5th Earl of Cork and Orrery and his wife, Margaret Hamilton were dead, and the Estate passed into the hands of their only son by their marriage, namely Edmund Boyle. By 1775, he had near bankrupted the Estate through extravagant living, and the Estate had to be sold.


Sources for the Boyles, Earls of Orrery and Earls of Cork and Orrery Estate Records:

Source No. 1: See the above source listed under ‘Source for Hamilton Estate Records.’ That source covers the Boyle ownership from 1738-1745.

Source No. 2: The Caledon estate records of the Boyles are not housed at PRONI as a complete package, but PRONI does hold a few isolated lease records during the ownership of the 4th and 5th Earls of Cork and Orrery, from about 1752-1773. A brief overview of each record can be found in the PRONI Catalogue.

Source No. 3: The Earls of Cork & Orrery Estate Papers, for their estates in Counties Cork, Waterford and Kerry have been catalogued by the National Library of Ireland, Dublin. The National Library advises that this large collection of estate records, ‘may’ contain records for the Caledon Estate, but if so, these have not as yet been researched or catalogued by the National Library, Dublin, (as of May 2017).



1776-1802: In 1776, Edmund Boyle, 6th Earl of Cork and Orrery sold the Estate, comprising 9,000 acres to James Alexander of Londonderry for £96,400. He was the son of Nathaniel Alexander, alderman of Londonderry. The family holdings included the house and demesne of Boom Hall in Templemore Parish in the northern suburbs of the city of Londonderry, the Church Land Estate of Moville, Co. Donegal, and an estate near Ballycastle, Co. Antrim. The Alexander family’s original holdings of 1663, which came down in another branch of the family was at Ballyclose, near Limavady, County Londonderry. In 1790 James Alexander was appointed Baron Caledon in the Irish Peerage. In 1797 he was appointed 1st Viscount Caledon, and in 1800, Earl of Caledon. Prior to purchasing the Caledon Estate, James Alexander had served in several offices in the East India Company, from which he had amassed a fortune. (Source: Wikipedia, ‘The Earl of Caledon.’) It is from James Alexander’s peerage that Kinnard became known as Caledon. The Alexander’s estate in County Tyrone became ‘The Caledon Estate.’ Their home at Caledon was sometimes referred to as Caledon House, Caledon Hill, and Caledon Castle. James Alexander also owned a Dublin town house, as well as a house in London at Carlton House Terrace. He expanded the Caledon Estate, by the piecemeal purchase or lease of surrounding townlands in Aghaloo Parish from the Abercorn-Baronscourt Hamiltons. In the late 1700s, Boyle leased eight townlands in Tynan Parish from the Church of Ireland, Bishop of Armagh. He died in 1802.

1802-1839: DuPre Alexander, 2nd Earl of Caledon, son of James Alexander succeeded his father. In 1804, he was elected Representative Peer for Ireland, in the Parliament in England. From 1806-1811 DuPre was also Governor of the Cape of Good Hope. In 1839, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of County Tyrone. He rebuilt the model town of Caledon. A loyal address from the tenantry of the Caledon Estate alludes to his “acts of liberality, munificence and kindness,” and according to Wikipedia, “there is plenty of evidence to confirm that this was no empty elegy.” At the end of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the price of agricultural products, formerly sold to the military, dropped radically, and many returning soldiers were out of work. DuPre Alexander provided looms to those who could weave linen, and gave work in the demesne to others. In 1816, money was given to purchase flax to engage the poor in spinning. Prior to the 1820s, the main activities of Aghaloo Parish were farming and linen bleaching and weaving. The Blackwater River passes through Caledon, and along the eastern border of Aghaloo Parish, making it an excellent location for water power for mills. In the mid-1820, DuPre Alexander established a large flour mill at Caledon, and corn, flax, and scutch mills at Dyan –although there had been a mill at Dyan since the 1750s. The flour mill provided flour for much of western Ulster and as far east as Belfast. In association with the flour mill, the Earl also built huge, multi-storey stone tenement buildings for the workers in his flour mill. These additions gave Caledon the look of a much larger town than it is, given the very wide main street, and immense stone buildings associated with the flour mill, and its worker tenements. It is an impressive site, even today.



The Alexanders lived periodically at Caledon, when not otherwise occupied with their lands in Londonderry and Donegal, and homes in Dublin and London. DuPre Alexander purchased and leased more townlands, such that by 1825, the Alexander Caledon Estate included 48 townlands in Aghaloo Parish and Tynan Parish. At the height of the Alexander holdings, the Caledon Estate had grown from its initial 9,000 acres to 34,064 acres. DuPre Alexander died in 1839, and “was much mourned by his tenants.” (Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 38.)

1839-1855: James DuPre Alexander, 3rd Earl of Caledon, succeeded his father DuPre Alexander. Five Henderson brothers and sisters of Aghaloo Parish emigrated in 1828 to Inverness Township, Megantic County, Quebec, just 40 miles south of Quebec City, with another brother leaving Kilmore Townland, Aghaloo Parish to join the family in Quebec in 1847. It is perhaps ironic, that the Alexanders of Caledon had a number of links to Canada, including Quebec. From 1838-1842, within a decade of an Aghaloo Parish Henderson family’s arrival in Quebec, James DuPre Alexander, 3rd Earl of Caledon was serving at Quebec City as a Captain in the Coldstream Guards. In a letter which he wrote from Quebec to his family on 28 Sept 1840, the 3rd Earl of Caledon advised that he was sending “two bears and a moose deer to Caledon. If the moose gets over safe he will be a great curiosity. They stand 7 feet high and will go in harness. . .” (Source : Sale 6, The Allan L. Steinhart Collection of Canadian Stampless Covers, at HA Harmers Auctions SA) The tenants of Aghaloo Parish would have seen the spectacle of these strange gifts from Canada, if they arrived alive. And perhaps the Hendersons of Inverness, Quebec may have visited Captain Alexander at Quebec. It is even conceivable that Alexander may have conveyed correspondence back to Caledon on behalf of his former tenants.

In May 1841 James du Pre Alexander went on expedition from Lachine, Quebec “by canoe with Sir George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, as far as the Red River, then on to the plains to join in the great buffalo hunt and ending up at St Peter, Minnesota.” His journals, which he kept on that trip, are included in the Earl of Caledon Papers at PRONI. A few notes from his journal can be found at Bison Bones - Canadian Geographic Magazine. In 1844, James du Pre Alexander gave Sir George Simpson a 38 centimeter “pitch perfect” stirling silver replica of a Montreal long canoe, which he had commissioned by Robert Garrard, silversmith to Queen Victoria. This silver artifact came to light in Sept 2007 while James Raffan was researching his new book, Emperor of the North, about Sir George Simpson. The artifact was found wrapped in a tea towel in the home of Sir George Simpson’s descendant, Sara Haddon in Peebleshire, Scotland. In October 2007, it was purchased by a group of Canadian benefactors and taken to Calgary for display, before going on to its permanent home in the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario, where Raffan is curator. (Sources : Calgary Herald, Oct 14, 2007, “Sterling piece of Canadiana to dock in Calgary,” Ruth Miles, and “Newsmakers of the week: October 6 - Yahoo! Canada News”

The potato famine began to show itself in 1846. In December of that year, Lord Caledon, attempting to hold onto his labourers by his own creative measures, opened three soup kitchens, seven days a week, on his estate in Aghaloo Parish. This kept the poorest families fed, although he charged “a moderate price” for the soup. To keep his horses and cattle fed by “the strictest economy” he had all the labourer’s children gather up the whin-tops throughout his estates, and paid the children two duckets per bushel. (Source: .”Notice of 19 December 1846 addressed from Lord Caledon to labourers on his estates, announcing the opening of three soup kitchens,” National Archives Ireland, RLFC 3/2, Tyrone, printed in Colm Tóibín, and Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Famine: A Documentary, London: Profile Books, 2001, 101.)


Soon after the Irish Potato Famine of 1846-49, the Alexanders, like many estate owners in Ireland, had lost many of their tenants to emigration. Many of those left could ill afford to pay their rent. There was insufficient rental money coming in, and not enough workers to keep large estates going, so the estate owners sold off some of their townlands as time went on in an effort to hold on to the core. Encumbrance Acts of 1848 and 1849 allowed bankrupt estate owners to apply to a newly formed Encumbrance Court, to settle up their estate. This court had the authority to sell estates, and then distribute the proceeds to the estate’s creditors, giving the new owner clear title to the land. Between 1849 and 1857, there were 3,000 estates totalling five million acres disposed of under the Acts. Most of the encumbered land was sold to speculators. The existing tenants on the estates were not protected by the legislation. The Earl of Caledon’s estate was somewhat buffered from the effects of the famine due to his successful mills, and other creative measures that he employed to protect his interests, and his tenants. He was not bankrupt.


1855-1898: James Alexander, 4th Earl of Caledon, succeeded his father, James DuPre Alexander. He was age 9 at the time of his father’s death, and the estate was managed by his mother, until he came of age. James DuPre Alexander died in 1898. The 4th Earl of Caledon’s third son, Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, Field Marshall, the Viscount Alexander of Tunis was 37th Governor General of Canada. In 1952, he was called home by Sir Winston Churchill to serve as Britain’s Minister of Defense. (Source: “Right Man - TIME,” in Time Magazine)


1898-1968: Eric James Desmond Alexander, 5th Earl of Caledon, was born at his family's home in Carlton House Terrace, London. He succeeded to the title of Earl of Caledon on the death of his father in 1898. He went to Eton College from 1899 to 1903 and then to Trinity College, Cambridge. He fought and was wounded in the First World War, served in the Baltic from 1919 to 1921 and gained the rank of Major in the service of the Life Guards. He never married. Source


1968-1980: Denis James Alexander became the 6th Earl of Caledon in 1968. The title and estates were inherited from his bachelor uncle, the 5th Earl of Caledon. He died in 1980. Source


1980 to present: Nicholas James Alexander became the 7th Earl of Caledon in 1980 on the death of his father, Denis James Alexander. He lives with his family, partly at Caledon Castle, and partly at their home in Oxfordshire. He is Justice of the Peace, and Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in the 2015 New Year Honours. Source In June 2015, the 7th Earl opened his 3,000 acre woodland estate at Caledon for a Visitor’s Day. The proceeds from the entrance fee were donated by the Earl to support St John’s C of I in Caledon. Source


Sources for the Alexander Earls of Caledon Estate Records:

‘The Caledon Papers’ (1753-1844) form a private collection kindly donated to PRONI in the 1960s by the Alexander family. Known as ‘The Caledon Papers,’ they are filed at PRONI under D2431, D2432, and D2433, comprising about 600 volumes, of about 17,500 documents, held in 350 boxes.


D2431: It contains three lease books for the Caledon Estate, c1776, c1830, and c1871. The earliest of the three lease books contains a summary of leases from 1735 and a statement of the position of these leases at the time of James Alexander’s purchase in 1776. D2431 also contains the Account Books for the Caledon Estate, including estate and business ledgers, and journals relating to work done on the house and around the Caledon Estate, monies paid to local workmen etc. It also includes other rental material, surveys, and valuations from the 1770s onward, and surveys and valuations for 1774, c1800, 1816, and c1855 for the Caledon Estate. There are a few maps for parts of the Caledon Estate for 1737, and a map and survey for 1783, fourteen townland maps for c1820, thirty townland maps of the 1870s, and maps of Caledon village 1813, c1840, c1870, and 1893.


D2432: It contains records and correspondence of the Earls of Caledon concerning their political affairs in India, England, Ireland, South Africa, and Canada. These are probably not relevant for genealogical research on tenants of the Caledon Estate.


D2433: The actual land leases (Indentures) of tenants of the Alexander’s Caledon Estate are filed under D.2433. Rental leases mostly begin with leases to tenants of the Alexanders from 1776 onward. An Index to tenant leases found in the Caledon Papers can be found in the PRONI Index binder D.2433.



The following is a list of the townlands which made up the Caledon Estate under the 2nd Earl of Caledon, at the height of the estate’s prominence, in the 1820s-30s:


Aghaloo Parish, Co. Tyrone:

Aghenis, Anacramp, Annagh, Annaghmore, Annaghroe, Annaghsallagh, Ards, Ballagh, Ballyboy, Ballyvaddy, Bohard,

Caledon, Carricklongfield, Cavanboy, Crievelough, Crilly, Cronghill, Culligan, Cumber, Curlagh, Demense, Derrycourtney,

Derrygooly, Derrykintone, Derrylappen, Dromore, Drumearn, Drumess, Drummond, Dunmacmay, Dyan, Edenageeragh,

Enagh, Finglush, Glasdrummond, Glenarb, Glencrew, Glendavagh, Glenkeen, Guiness, Kedew, Kilgowney, Killynaul,

Kilmore, Kilsampson, Kilsannagh, Knockaginny, Knockaroy, Lairakean, Leagane, Lismulladown, Millberry, Mullaghmore

East, Mullaghmore West, Mullaghmossagh, Mullintor, Mullycarnan, Mullynaveagh, Mullyneill, Mulnahorn, Ramacket,

Rehagy, Stragane, Tannagh, Tannaghlane, Tullyblety, Tullynashane, Tullyremon.


Tynan Parish, Co. Armagh:

Annagharap, Cortynan (Woodhill), Drumhillery, Tullyglush-kean, Tullyglush-nevin, Creevekeeran, Mullan, Tinglish, Turry, Drumhillery, and Sheetrim.



Derrynoose Parish, Co. Armagh: Farnaloy (partial ownership)


Clonfeacle Parish, Co. Tyrone: Cadian, Drumnamoless, Gort, Gortmerrion, Terryglassogh, Tullygiven, and Carrycastle.


Eglish Parish, Co. Armagh: Ballymacully




Aside from what has already been covered on the ownership of Tynan Parish under the O’Neills, the Bishop of Armagh, and later the Alexander Earls of Caledon, the following applies:


Trinity College, Dublin: At the end of the Nine Years War, around 1603, the newly formed Trinity College Dublin (1596) was granted much of Tynan Parish, Co. Armagh, as well as other parishes in the county. Over the next few centuries it leased out large parcels of land to ‘Chief Tenants.’ In some cases, rather than leasing out land, it hired ‘Estate Agents’ who managed the property on behalf of Trinity College.


Individual Chief Undertakers: At the beginning of the Ulster Plantation in 1607, Sir Toby Caulfield was granted 26,000 acres in the parishes of Armagh and Tynan, and in County Tyrone. His manor estate was located at Castlecaulfield, County Tyrone. In 1610, Sir James Craig was granted 2,000 acres of Tynan Parish. In 1611, the Maxwells became Chief Tenants by leasing 23,000 acres of Tynan Parish from Trinity College, Dublin. Others who acquired large leases in the area in 1611 were the families of Armstrong, and Echlin. At that time, the Parish of Tynan was settled by English and Scottish under-tenants. (Source: Rev. J. M. Batchelor, “Tynan Parish, Armagh, Burials and Baptisms, 1683-1723,” Dúiche Néill: Journal of the O’Neill Country Historical Society, Vol. 15, 2006, 99 -102.)


According to Lewis’s survey of Ireland in 1842, retrieved 3 Nov 2004, the lands of the parish of Tynan were divided among several proprietors in fee. Ten townlands belonged to the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin; eight belonged to the Bishop of Armagh; the remainder to Lord Gosford, Lord Caledon, Sir James Stronge, Bart; and several others. Lord Caledon held the townlands of Drumhillery, Sheetrim, Cortynan (564 acres), and a few others. The Stronges held Tynan village.




Parish Catholics Episcopalians Presbyterians Protestant Dissenters Total Protestants

Tynan (Co. Armagh) 1,608 1,532 765 -- 2297

Aghaloo (Co. Tyrone) 3,325 2,697 4,062 56 6815

Carnteele (Co. Tyrone) 1,893 1,829 2,204 23 4056

Source: Rev. Louis O’Kane, “A Statistical Return of Armagh Diocese in 1836,” in Seanchas Ardmhacha, Vol 3, No. 1, 1958, 181-189. Dissenters were mostly Wesleyan Methodists and Quakers.

Caledon Village Population by Year:


Year Population

1831 1079 persons.

1881 562

1893 701 (Archer vs the Earl of Caledon. Sub-Commission under the 1881 Land Act. Cornell University Library, KDK 219.G81)

2001 387




Church of Ireland (C of I – Episcopal/Anglican):

The source for the following C of I history, except where noted otherwise, is from Patrick Campbell, “The Parish of Aghaloo in the Plantation Era,” (49-79), in Dúiche Néill: Journal of the O’Neill Country Historical Society, Vol. 13, 2000. Page numbers are in brackets.

1622-1641: The ‘official’ place of worship for residents of the western half of Aghaloo parish was at St James C of E in Aughnacloy, Carnteel Parish, in the joint parish of Aghaloo and Carnteel. The church at Aughnacloy was burned down in the Irish Rebellion of 1641 (p. 50).

1650-1672: The Aughnacloy church reappears about 1650 at Rousky, in Carnteel Parish. In the records of the period, the church is referred to as in the parish of Carnteel, without mention of the fact that it was a joint parish with Aghaloo (50).


1672-1732: The joint parish of Aghaloo and Carnteel was united with the Parish of Killeshil, with the minister resident at Killeshil (p. 52). The people in the western half of Aghaloo Parish would have attended this church.


St John’s Church of Ireland, (Protestant) Caledon Village:


1620s or 30s to c1641: There was a small C of I church in Caledon Village for some time before 1641, which would have served O’Neill’s Protestant tenants. (Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 32.) It was destroyed either in the Rebellion of 1641, or during the Cromwellian War in Ireland of 1648-49. And so it might be presumed the parish records were also lost. Apparently the church at Caledon was not replaced after the War.

c1641-c1691: The people of the eastern half of Aghaloo Parish (including Kinnard/Caledon) went to church in Tynan Parish. A report on a massacre that occurred in Kinnard in 1641-42 indicated that, “. . .the English [went] to the Protestant church in Tinan.” (Source: Hilary Simms, “Violence in County Armagh, 1641,” (123-138) in Brian MacCuarta, ed., Ulster 1641: Aspects of the Rising, Belfast: The Institute for Irish Studies, Queen’s U, 1993, 130 .) This makes perfect sense. St Vindic’s Church of Ireland in Tynan village was less than one mile from Caledon, and much closer than the various official parish churches for Aghaloo residents.

1691-1769: In 1679, the people of Kinnard/Caledon petitioned for a church closer to home. Those in the eastern half of Aghaloo were hindered from attending their own parish church first in Aughnacloy, then in Rousky, and now in Killeshil, “by the great distance, because of the great woods that intervened, the depth of the soil, and the overflowings of the Blackwater River.” The Primate agreed, and indicated that the new church was to be built at Caledon, “on the site of an older foundation.” This was on Church Hill, today known as Churchill Road. Construction on the church began in 1682. Soon after, the soldiers of King James II bombarded the church and destroyed the shingle roof. It was not restored until 1691, and services were conducted on June 1st, 1691.


1769-present: By 1767 the church was considered to be too small, and a new church was built in 1768 on the same site as the previous church. The nave was completed in 1769. For the first service in the new church, the sermon was delivered to a packed church by John Wesley, who was an old friend of the rector, Archdeacon Congreve. (Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 33.) This is the church that is still in use today. The parish registers are held at PRONI on microfilm MIC 583/25. However, some parts of the microfilm are very faint, and near impossible to read.


Aughnacloy Presbyterian Church was open on or before 1810, and probably much sooner.

Kinnard-Minterburn Presbyterian:

c1661: According to Rev. R. W. Killen, the Kinnard-Minterburn Presbyterian meeting house began in 1661, or shortly before, because in that year the first minister, Mr. John Abernathy was ejected, and he removed to Brigh. (Source: History of the Congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and Biographical Notices of Eminent Presbyterian Ministers and Laymen, with the Signification of Names of Places, by Rev. R. W. Killen, 1886. Retrieved May 8, 2017 at source

According to J. J. Marshall, this church was officially known as Kinnard Presbyterian, and it opened in 1691. However, it was not actually in Kinnard. It was in Lislooney, Co. Armagh. In 1691, the congregation covered most of Aghaloo Parish, Armagh Parish almost to Armagh Town, Derrynoose and Tynan Parishes in Co. Armagh, and the northern part of County Monaghan. (Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 36.)

1714: The above Kinnard-Minterburn congregation at Lislooney, Co. Armagh, being too spread out for any one preacher to cover, and too far for many to walk, was divided into three separate congregations in 1714. A new congregation was formed at Minterburn, near Dyan Townland, Aghaloo Parish. At this meeting house, services were delivered in Irish. Another congregation was formed at Truagh, Co. Monaghan, and Lislooney remained as the third congregation. (Source: History of the Territory of Minterburn and Town of Caledon, by John J. Marshall, Dungannon: Tyrone Printing Co., 36.) Between 1691 and 1718 at least 21 families of Aghaloo in the Kinnard - Minterburn Presbyterian congregations left for New England, USA, due to rising rent prices and discrimination against Presbyterians by the C of I establishment. Source. This pattern led to others from Aghaloo following them to New England in subsequent years.


PRONI holds a marriage register for the Minterburn Presbyterian Church from 1819-1822, on microfilm No. MIC 1P/460/1. It includes baptism and marriage records for Cookstown, Molesworth, Moneymore, Brigh, Loughgall, Tobermore, Vinecash, Carland, Magherafelt, Dungannon, Benburb, Clovenden, Richhill, Stewartstwon, Coagh, and Minterburn, for varying periods between 1835 and 1969. Also on PRONI MIC 1P/26/1 is a register of baptisms for Minterburn Presbyterian from 1829 to 1870, and marriages from 1845-1870.


Caledon Village Presbyterian Church:

In 1824, a seceding Presbyterian Chapel was built in the village of Caledon.


Lismulladown Presbyterian Church, Aghaloo Parish:

The chapel was built in 1831.


Caledon Village Wesleyan Methodist Church:

A chapel was built in Caledon Village in 1834.


Society of Friends (Quakers) Meeting House in Kilmore Townland, Aghaloo Parish:


In 1655. . . A group consisting of William Williamson Senior and Junior, John Williamson, Mathew Horner,

William Brownlow, Francis and Lawrence Hobson, and Margery Atkinson, formed a Meeting at the home of

the latter, near Kilmore, County Tyrone.”


Source: The Williamson Family Genealogy Forum with the passage on that website taken from Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research: Quaker Records, Chapter VII.




St Vindic’s C of I, Tynan Village: The first church was built by at least 1641. The present church was built in 1784, and was enlarged in 1822. As previously mentioned, from c1641 to c1691, the people of the eastern parts of Aghaloo Parish (including Kinnard/Caledon) went to the C of I church in the village of Tynan. Tynan was a joint parish of Tynan and Derrynoose. This union was dissolved about 1710-11, when Tynan and Derrynoose became separate parishes. The C of I records for Tynan from 1683 (and Derrynoose until 1710) are held on microfilm at PRONI, MIC 1/12, 1/12, and 1/18, and T/808/15294. The parish registers for Derrynoose, 1710-1746 are on microfilm at PRONI, MIC 1/14.


C of I Middletown: It opened in 1793, and is 2 miles SSW of Tynan and 3 miles from Caledon.


C of I Killylea: It is not known when this church was built, but certainly before 1835.


First Keady Presbyterian Mission at Drumhillery, Tynan Parish: The church is not in Keady, but was formed by a group in the Drumhilery area who broke away from the Presbyterian Church at Keady, Co. Armagh. The Drumhillery Presbyterian Mission could hold 400 persons. It is not known when this church was built. However, the records of baptisms, marriages, burials are available at the Presbyterian Historical Society, Belfast. The period covered by the records is not known. The present minister of the Presbyterian Church in the town of Keady also holds the original register for Drumhillery for the early 1800s.


Middletown Presbyterian Meeting House: It is not known when this church was built, but certainly before 1835. It could hold 400 persons.


Note: The above is not a complete list of churches. It is a list of those that might have been relevant to Protestant residents of Aghaloo Parish, and/or of the Caledon Estate.


The reader is strongly encouraged to visit the website of Alison Kilpatrick for further information on land ownership of the Caledon Estate, as well as for the many local names found in the Marshall records on her website.

N.B. -  Click for map of Townlands in Aghaloo Parish