Copy Muster Rolls, 1630-1631

Landlords were required to muster all able-bodied Protestant males on their estates...

Following the completion of the English conquest of Ireland in 1603, the lands of six of the nine counties of the province of Ulster (Antrim, Down and Monaghan were excluded) were granted to undertakers who were bound to ‘plant’ their estates with British tenants, military men serving in Ireland (called servitors) and occasionally the Irish. These undertakers held their lands directly from the Crown and since they were settled in a barely-conquered country, arrangements had to be made for self-defence.

Landlords were required to muster all able-bodied Protestant males on their estates between the ages of sixteen and sixty. The men were paraded before a government official, a muster master, who recorded their names and arms.

The original muster rolls were destroyed in PROI, Dublin in 1922, but copies survive for eight of the nine counties of Ulster (all save Monaghan) in the British Library (Add. MSS 4770) and these are available in PRONI in copy and transcript form (ref. D/1759).