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The Regarde Bien

Issue No. 13




William Amuligane in Dempsterton


In issue #11 of the Regarde Bien, I examined a number of medieval documents relating to the farmtoun of Milliganton, which lies not some distance from the farmtoun of Dempsterton, east of the village of Dunscore. It was observed that although the earliest reference to Milliganton dates from 1465, the earliest direct reference to an “M” in that area only dates from 1535, when William Amuligane in Dempsterton was granted remission for his part in the Gilmerston Raid of 1531. It is worth remarking that the practice of recording a person’s address was a late development in Scottish history and generally speaking, unless a landowner, only their name was given. Consequently, there are a number of “M” references dating from 1437 onwards, which can be linked to the district of Dunscore, but without a definite address, it would be hard to say where exactly they lived within the area. There are the names of Cuthbert Amuligane 1437 & 1440; Gilbert Malygane 1472; Cuthbert Amuligane 1495 & 1497; Patrick and Cuthbert Amuligane who leased the farmtoun of Gilmerston 1506; Robert Amuligane 1513; William Amuligane 1517 and Patrick Meliken 1529.

The story begins with Patrick Meliken alias Amuligane of Gilmerston in 1529. He was one of several tenants-in-chief who held land on the estate of Sir John Hay of Yester, lord of the barony of Snade, which lies in the parish of Glencairn. In 1529, he instructed his baillie’s to evict a number of his chief tenants, having apparently broken their rental agreements. Patrick is named as one those summoned to be evicted, and by all accounts, Lord Hay’s wishes were carried out[1]. Two years later, Lord Hay complained to the Lords of Council that ‘on the last feast of Paschal (1531) he put certain ploughs to till his land of Gilmerston in his barony of Snade’. Shortly afterwards on the 12th April “Patrick Amwligin” and his accomplices raided the property and cut down the sums of “zokkis and bemyis and graith” on the said land[1]. The following morning, the Sheriff of Dumfries along with a party of his men, attempt to apprehend him. Meantime, Patrick had fled to Peel, a farmtoun in the parish of Tynron, where the Laird of Lag, John Grierson, sent his brother and household men to prevent the sheriff from arresting him. The Laird’s men took Patrick into their protection and subsequently escorted him back to the Laird’s manor house of Lag.

It is evident from the tone of the extant records that a feud had developed between the Amuliganes and Lord Hay for things reached a crisis point on 13th November of that same year, when Patrick and his accomplices carried out yet another raid on the land of Gilmerston. Only this time they almost killed John Lowrie, a tenant in Gilmerston, by wounding his head and nearly severing both his arms and legs. The ferocity of this crime provoked an immediate out cry from Lord Hay who subsequently brought a complaint before the Lords of Council. Four days after the raid, they issued a summons ordering the Laird of Lag to hand Patrick over to the Jucticiar or his deputies at the tollbooth in Edinburgh on the 9th September 1532, to stand trial. As no minute of the trial appears to have survived or been recorded there is no way of knowing the outcome, though, I have often wondered if perhaps it even took place[2]. Patrick appears to be the same Patrick who in 1506 is said to have once held a lease for the land of Gilmerston.

The feud evidently lingered on and three years later, we find “William Amuligane” in Dempterston, on trial before his Grace, Archibald, Earl of Argyle and Justiciar of the circuit court of Justice, held at the burgh of Dumfries on 26th November 1535[3]. William was found guilty for his part in the Gilmerston raid; he was charged with oppressing Lord Hay’s tenants by destroying nine arable acres and forcing the tenants from the “ruids of the dykes of Gilmerston” in 1531, and for the detention of five years profits amounting to £40 annually between 1529-33[4]. By 1539, the debt due to Lord Hay still remained unpaid. For the next two years, the Acts of the Lords of Council record a series of complaints and counter-complaints lodged between Lord Hay and John Grierson of Lag, who had become surety for William Amuligane[5]. Payment was finally secured in 1540, when Lord Hay obtained a decree giving him power to appraise two of the five merkland of Tererran in the parish of Tynron belonging to Grierson of Lag. William appears to have been one of Grierson’s tenants and is probably the same William who witnessed a document for the Laird in 1517.

In 1541, he is styled “Sir William Amuligane”, the title “Sir” being added to the name of a cleric with no formal degree. I wonder if he was chaplain to Grierson of Lag. It is possible he may also have been a chaplain to James Maitland of Auchengassel in 1510. There is an old tradition recorded in the Rev. Ridlon’s book about a “Sir William” whom I suspect is the same Sir William of 1541. He certainly wasn’t a knight, though, I am sure it would only have been a matter of time before his name was immortalised as such in tradition! Chaplains could marry then and by all accounts, I think we can safely assume he was the father of Cuthbert Amuligane who appears a generation later with his son, William Amuligane, both of whom witnessed a document in 1575. In the next issue, I plan to continue the history of this family, which of all the early “Ms” is by far the most intriguing. There can be little doubt that the Amuliganes of Dempsterton were a junior branch of the Amuliganes of Blackmyre.
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1. Harvey C. & MacLeod J: Calendar of Writs preserved at Yester House 1166-1625, Scottish Record Society, p.148, no.485. The sheriff’s men attempted to apprehend Patrick at the tower of Lag on 23 November, 1531.
2. Note: Patrick might well have been forced to flee the area or met the fate of many, and been summarily executed.
3. Fleming, David H.: The Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland 1529-42, Vol. II, p.268, no.1825: see also Harvey C. & MacLeod J: Calendar of Writs preserved at Yester House 1166-1625, Scottish Record Society, p.155, no.519.
4. Note: the names of Lord Hay’s tenants are listed as William Grier, John Taggart, John Heron, Nicol McKittrick, Robert and Elizabeth McClangberoun, Matho, Gilbert and John McGown, Cuthbert Amuligane, Gelcus McConnel, John Cunningham and William McCowbin in Gilmerston, Calendar of Writs p.158, no.529.
5. Reid R.C: Acts of Dominorum Concili [Ewart Library Dumfries] 1538-59, Vol.151, p.69, 99, 83-4, 107. see also Harvey C. & MacLeod J: Calendar of Writs preserved at Yester House 1166-1625, Scottish Record Society, p.163, no.552; p.164, no.553; p.166, no.557-60; p.172, no.585-87; p.173, no.594; p.186, no.652.


Early Settlers

In the Neighbourhood of Belfast


It has already been observed that there are many Mulligans living in the North of Ireland who are descended from that ancient Brythonic-Gaelic family of Amuligane in Nithsdale, Scotland, and not the various native Irish O’Mulligan clans in the Counties Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Monaghan and in the Athlone area of Central Ireland. The Mulligans of Banbridge are one such family grouping and as noted in Issue #12, they trace their ancestry to a man bearing the surname of Millikin (though I rather think it should be Mullikin), who came into Ulster via the little port of Bangor, situated on the shores of Belfast Lough in north County Down, suggesting he came directly from Ayrshire. According to the family historian, this man directed his course towards Belfast and settled in that neighbourhood. This last statement is important, as it implies, he settled in that part of the neighbourhood or vicinity of Belfast located on the County Down side, probably somewhere in the parishes of Knockbreda, Drumbo or Drumbeg along the Lagan Valley. These parishes can be viewed on the following hyperlink.

Parishes in Co. Down

That a Millikin ancestor could have settled within the neighbourhood of Belfast, before the outbreak of the 1641 Irish Rebellion, finds support in the 1642 muster rolls (see Issue #7). They record the names of five brothers, ‘Robert, Roger, James, Gilbert and John Mulligan’ and a ‘Hugh Mulligan, all soldiers in the regiment of Sir Arthur Hill of Malone, whose regiment was formed shortly after the outbreak of the rebellion. A good deal of correspondence relating to the rebellion has survived and in the Montgomery Manuscript, it is recorded that each of the major Landlords in East Ulster received royal commissions from Charles I (1625-49), king of England, to raise at their own expense regiments for the defence of the country. Most of the men mustered into each regiment would have been drawn from the ranks of the landlord’s own tenantry. The muster rolls of five regiments have survived and each were lead by the following Colonels: Sir Edward Chichester of Belfast, knight, Sir Arthur Hill of Malone, knight, Sir James Hamilton of Bangor, knight, Sir Hugh Montgomery of Newtownards, knight, Sir James Montgomery of Rosemount, knight.

It is reasonable to assume, that most of the men mustered into the regiment of Sir Arthur Hill came from his own estate in North Down. He was the younger son of Sir Moyses Hill of Malone, who first appears in Ireland in 1573, having come from Devonshire with the first Earl of Essex as an adventurer under Elizabeth I, Queen of England. After service under the second Earl of Essex and then under Mountjoy in the wars against Hugh O’Neill, he attached himself to Sir Arthur Chichester first of Carrickfergus and then Belfast, and from him, he leased land in Islandmagee and then at Malone near Belfast, on the County Antrim side of the Lagan valley, where he built a fort. He first acquired land in County Down in 1607 when he bought the manor estate of Castlereagh in the parish of Knocbreda and eight townlands in parish of Drumbo from Con O’Neill of Clandeboy, an impoverished Irish Landlord who lost his vast estate through debts.

In the 1642 muster roll of Sir Arthur Hill appear the surnames of many Scots, such as Robb, Anderson, Boyd, McGhie, Frizzell, Shaw, Stewart, Crockett, Campbell and Kilpatrick. The presence of so many Scots can be readily explained as the Scottish landlords, Sir James Hamilton, Sir Hugh Montgomery and David Boyd had also acquired land in the parishes of Knockbreda, Drumbo and Drumbeg from Con O’Neill of Clandeboy. The records also show that Sir Hugh Montgomery conveyed to his eldest daughter Mary, who married Sir Robert McClelland, Lord Kirkcudbright, as a dowry the townlands of Drumbeg, Ballygown, Drumballimuck (Hillhall) and Ballyskeagh in the parishes of Drumbeg and Lambeg[1]. Both Hamilton and Montgomery later sold their lands in these parishes to Sir Moyses Hill, who built a bawn (a fort) at Hillhall in the parish of Drumbeg. Sir Moyses died in 1630, leaving three daughters and two sons, Peter and Arthur. The eldest, Peter settled at Hillhall, whilst the second lived first at Malone and latterly at Cromlyn (re-named Hillsborough) on the Kilwarlin estate, which lay in the old barony of Lower Iveagh in County Down.

In 1611, Sir Moyses Hill acquired from the famous Irish Landlord, Brian Oge Magennise seven of his forty-three townlands on the Kilwarlin estate. Sir Moyses’s second son, Sir Arthur, would later acquire the entire estate along with many other townlands in the old barony of Lower Iveagh, confiscated from the Magennises during the Cromwellian era. By the time of his death in 1663, Sir Arthur had amassed a huge estate in Co. Down. His entire patrimony eventually passed to his second son, William Hill, who by his second marriage, had a son called Trevor, who inherited not only the entire Hill estate, but the lands and title of Viscount Dungannon through his mother, Mary daughter of Baron Trevor, first Viscount of Dungannon. This family also acquired extensive property in the district of Iveagh and it was Macus, Baron Trevor and second Viscount of Dungannon, who leased the entire townland of Tullyconnaught in 1705 to Thomas Gordon, Jas McMullan, John Wright, William Martin, George Mulhallon, John Gordon, Joseph Martin and Jas Mulligan younger, whose grandfather first settled in the district of Belfast. In 1706, the entire estate belonging to Viscount Dungannon, who died leaving no male heir, passed to Trevor Hill, created Baron Hill of Kilwarlin and Viscount of Hillsborough.

Against this impressive background of land acquisition, we return to the history of a lesser-known family whose humble origins we are endeavouring trace. And so, the family chronicler tells us, that the Millikin ancestor married the sister of [John] Stewart of Ballydrain, also a Scottish settler, who obtained a grant of land on the Chichester estate. Stewart’s old house of Ballydrian appears to have been originally located in the townland of Ballyfinaghy, which lies in that part of the parish of Drumbeg, across the river Lagan in County Antrim and comprised the three townlands of Old Forge, Ballyfinaghy and part of Dunmurry. John Stewart, a yeoman, is said to have come originally from the Lowlands of Scotland and settled at Ballydrain shortly before the out break of the Irish Rebellion[2]. In the 1669 hearth money roll for Drumbeg, the names of John Stewart (two hearths), John Stewart (probably the same man, who had a second house with two hearths) and Alexander Stewart (one hearth) are listed. I think these men were the sons of John Stewart, who had more than likely died sometime before 1666. The hearth roll for this year records the name of Widow Stewart, who isn’t listed in the 1669 hearth roll[3].

The Stewart and Mulligan traditions are compelling in that they both complement each other by dating their respective ancestor’s arrival in Ulster (they may even have crossed over together) to within a year or so of the 1641 Rebellion. In his book Colonial Ulster, Raymond Gillespie, comments that in the year 1639, there was a demographic shift amongst the Scots in Ulster with many returning to Scotland, a trend triggered by a partial harvest failure and the imposition of the “Black Oath”, introduced by Lord Deputy Wentworth. It required that people swear obedience to the king, an oath that in effect meant denying the National Covenant of Scotland signed by many in 1638. To avoid taking the Oath, many Scots in east Ulster fled home to Scotland. Sir Edward Chichester of Belfast, for example, could complain that the settlers ‘daily go away into Scotland by great numbers together and carry with them their horses, cows, sheep and leave what else they have’. However, Gillespie remarks that by “1640 some of these men had begun to drift back to east Ulster again after the fall of Wentworth, but the outbreak of the rebellion in the following year stemmed this movement and created a new flow outwards”[4].

In Issue #8, under the heading “Robert Mullikin of Belfast and Dromore”, I outlined some biographical notes relating to Robert and his four brothers, Roger, James, Gilbert and John, which link Robert to the town of Dromore as well as Belfast. This article is important and should be consulted as I have corrected some mistakes. It will be noted that Roger isn’t listed in the muster roll of Major Edmond Matthew’s troop of horse, but rather, in the company of foot lead by Capt. Edward Matthew, which also records the name of Hugh Mulligan. It is known that Roger married the sister of Gilbert Matthew of Dunmurry and that he acquired a farmhold of 36 acres in the townland of Ballyfinaghy. Given the close proximity between Roger Mullikin and John Stewart, it begs the question, could one of these five brothers have married John’s sister, or could it have been Hugh Mulligan? Or could it have been Daniel Mulligan as claimed by John Francis Mulligan, a Belfast solicitor. In his family tradition, compiled in 1912, he narrates that ‘upwards of 200 years ago, Daniel Mulligan and Isabel Glen, his second wife, left Scotland, and settled in Tullyconnaught in the neighbourhood of Banbridge’ in County Down[5].

In one of the two versions already cited in Issue #8, Isabel is said to have been the wife of James Mulligan first to settle in the Tullyconnaught area, probably sometime in the second half of the 1600s. I am incline to accept this version of the tradition, rather than the John F. Mulligan account, which appears to date from about the beginning of the 1710s onwards. Daniel is also said to have been of “Irish descent”, a statement that may open up other potential avenues of research in Scotland. I have not, as yet, followed any particular line of enquiry, but it is encouraging to find the Christian name of Daniel being used by the “Ms” in Dumfriesshire towards the end of the 1600s. Whoever the original Millikin ancestor might have been, I think we can safely assume, he first settled in the neighbourhood of Belfast, where a whole nest of “Ms” appear by the 1660s, and where we pick up the story. In the next article, I examine several documents relating to one of Robert Mullikin brother’s Roger and his immediate offspring, the only family that can be traced with any certainty down until the beginning of the 1700s.
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1. Perceval-Maxewell. M: The Scottish Migration to Ulster in the Reign of James I, p. 174, see footnote 42.
2. Stewart’s of Ballydrain, Typescript of History, PRONI D.2460/19.
3. Charlton, S. T.: Heads & Hearths: The Hearth Money Rolls and Poll Tax Returns For County Antrim 1660-69, p. 40.
4. Gillespie, Raymond: Colonial Ulster, The Settlement of East Ulster 1600-1641, p. 53.
5. Family History of the late Mr. John Francis Mulligan, Solicitor, Belfast by Dr. John Campbell, PRONI, Ref. T.2516.


The Mulligans of Dunmurry


Roger Mulligan alias Mullikin first appears on record in 1642 as a foot soldier in the company of Capt. Edward Matthews, under the command of Sir Arthur Hill of Malone. Why he never joined the troop of horse led by Major Edmond Matthews along with his four brothers remains a mystery. It would seem, though, there were two likely factors; firstly, the geographical location, he may have lived in a different area from his brothers, and secondly, the company of foot were raised as a rearguard defence. Most of the raids or forays carried out against the Irish Confederates were mounted by the troop of horse. In 1643, Roger was one of the beneficiaries of his brother Robert, who left him amongst other things one cow. He may also have been one of Robert’s named witnesses in his last will and testament. As already indicated, this man settled in the townland of Ballyfinaghy which lies in that part of the parish of Drumbeg located in South Antrim.

The Parish of Drumbeg in Co. Antrim

Roger’s name appears in one more document, namely, the Exchequer Bill of Elizabeth Mulligan of Dunmurry, which was produced on 3rd November 1683 long after his death. This is a rather lengthy document, running into five A4 pages, which for the purposes of this article is too long to cite in full[1]. Roger is known to have married the sister of Gilbert Matthews of Dunmurry and according to the Exchequer Bill of Elizabeth Mulligan he acquired a farm hold of 36 acres in the townland of Ballyfinaghy, probably from Sir Edward Chichester of Belfast:

“That whereas on or about Aprill 1670 ye said Robert Mulligan & Thomas Mulligan of Dunmurry aforesaid in County Antrim farmer brother to ye said Robert being Interested in and possessed of a Lease of 36 acres of land patt of ye townland of Ballyfinaghy in ye manor of Belfast & County of Antrim for 99 years determinable on ye death of severall persons then in being which said Lease was long before that time granted by ye Right Hon. Arthur first Earl of Donegall or some of his ancestors to Roger Mulligan father to ye said Robert & Thomas Mulligan”

The first Earl of Donegal, the Right Hon. Arthur Chichester, succeeded his father Sir Edward Chichester of Belfast, created Viscount of Carrickfergus, following his death on 8th July 1648. Sir Edward was the younger brother of Sir Arthur Chichester, created Lord Chichester of Belfast, and upon his death in 1624; Sir Edward inherited his brother’s vast estate in Ireland. Arthur first Earl of Donegal died at Belfast on 16th March 1675. As inferred in the above passage, it is unlikely that Arthur granted the original lease, but rather his father. The original lease was made out for 99 years, or three lives, that is, until the death of the longest living lifee named in the lease, suggesting it is possible it could have been granted in the lifetime of Arthur first Lord Chichester of Belfast. I think this unlikely, however, as Elizabeth goes on to say “that in May 1670 ye said Robert & Thomas mindeing to take out new leases of ye said land”. In other words, they had decided to take out an entirely new lease replacing their father’s original lease, which was still in full force. Consequently, in that same month, they obtained by a new grant from Arthur, Earl of Donegal. Roger Mulligan had evidently died sometime before 1670.

In the 1669 hearth rolls, there is mention of “Wid. Millekin” and “Thomas Millekeyn” in the Falls area of Belfast, where both Robert and Thomas are styled of Dunmurry in 1670. It would follow then, that the Wid. Millikin must have been Roger’s relict and that Robert and his young family probably lived with her until her death. She must have died in 1670, which if the case would explain why her two sons subsequently proceeded to divide the entire farm between themselves, for had their mother still been living, she would have retained a legal right to one third of her husband’s heritable property. Robert died in June 1678, leaving three young sons as heirs to inherit his half of the farm:

“Robert & Thomas Mulligan held their respective shares thus ‘for severall years without any Disturbances & ye said Robert being a frugall & Improveing person did improve & Erect on his own moyety houses & buildings to the value of sixty pounds stirling … that sometime since that is to say June in the yeare of our Lord 1678 ye said Robert dyeing Intestat & leaveing behind him you Oratrix Elizabeth his widow & Relict & three small young children vizt. John James & Roger Mulligan”

Following the death of Robert in 1678, his wife Elizabeth, obtained an administration bond at the Diocese Court of Conner in Lisburn. However, it is evident from her plea in the Exchequer Bill, that things didn’t go well:

“Your Orators further shew that ye said Thomas Mulligan & Gilbert Mathews of Dunmurry aforesaid gent. uncle to ye said Thomas pretending great respect to ye memory of ye said Robert who had been very serviceable to each of them in ye time of his life & also pretending very great love to & care of ye said Robert’s children ‘by said Elizabeth’ did about August 1679 threaten to disturb your Oratrix Elizabeth in ye porcion of ye houses & lands aforesaid of which said Robert dyed peaceably possessed & ye possession”

The dispute was finally resolved and Articles of Agreement drawn up in August 1679, whereby Gilbert Matthews and Thomas Mullikin agreed that Elizabeth should have one third of the land and the children to have two-thirds of the land. Furthermore, it was agreed that of the “other goods & chattels ye said children were to have fifteen pounds being much more than the two-third and further that Oratrix should enjoy ye said fifteen pounds & ye other to two-third of ye land & rents thereof towards maintainence of ye said children .. etc … that Oratrix was by said agreement to give bond for performance thereof to said Thomas Mulligan & Gilbert Mathews which she accordingly did and they accepted”. By 1683, Elizabeth, who had married secondly, Thomas Parker of Dunmurry, found herself at odds again with Gilbert and Thomas, the later claiming that he had sole right to the whole farm and took steps to obtain a court judgement to that effect. We are not told how this whole sorry affair ended as the Exchequer Bill only records Elizabeth's plea.

Thomas Mulligan of Dunmurry appears in two other documents and both are dated to the 1690s. In the first, he was one of several commissioners appointed to attend the General Synod of Ulster from Dunmurry Presbyterian Church in 1692[2]. In the second, he appears as a witness in the will of Gilbert Matthews of Dunmurry, which was made probate at the Diocese Court of Conner in 1697[3]. In both these documents, his name is spelt as “Thomas Mulligan”, indicating that by then this branch of the family had adopted the variant form of Mulligan. Thomas’s uncle, Gilbert Matthews, is also listed in the 1669 hearth money roll, having paid tax for one hearth in the parish of Drumbeg. In the same parish, we also find the names of “Saunders Milliken” and Philip Moore, the latter who may be the same man, or perhaps his son, as Philip Moore one of the men mentioned in will of Robert Mullikin back in 1643. Saunders Millikin’s name isn’t listed in the 1666 hearth money roll, whereas Gilbert’s name is, suggesting Saunders may have acquired his dwelling house sometime between 1666 and 1669. The immediate proximity of Saunders’ house to the Stewarts of Ballydrain brings us even closer to a possible Stewart-Millikin connection, though, as far as I can ascertain this is the only reference to Saunders’ name.

In 1708, almost all the estate records belonging to the Chichester family where destroyed in a fire that sweep through the old castle of Belfast. Had they survived, they might have provided additional information on men like Saunders Milliken, Gilbert Milliken in Upper Malone (spelt Mulliken in the 1666 hearth money roll) and Patrick Millikin in Lower Malone (now part of the City of Belfast). A family known to have commonly borne the Christian name of Patrick was still living the vicinity of Belfast at the end of 18th Century, when we find Patrick Milliken, a prisoner in Carrickfergus Goal being granted a royal pardon in 1792. He is probably the same “Patrick Milliken in Charleston, South Carolina, America and late of Belfast”, whose death was announced in the Belfast News Letter in 1808. The Mullikins of Dunmurry and Malone appear to have been members of the Dunmurry Presbyterian Church (later the Non-Subscribing Church), of which, the earliest records only date from about 1807. By then, nearly all these families had disappeared from the area, leaving us to wonder what became of their descendants. Some settle in Belfast itself, and others in mid and south Down; however, there can be little doubt that others simply emigrated.
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1. Exchequer Bill, Parker Verse Mulligan, Public Record Office of Nothern Ireland (PRONI), T. 732/5.
2. The Minutes of General Synod of Ulster, Vol. 1, p. 13; Index held at the PRONI, original books held at Queens University, Belfast.
3. PRONI, T. 681, p. 307.




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