I spent some time late last week checking the Calendars of the State Papers relating to Ireland for any further references to Maguires and McCowns.
By way of background, state papers concerning Ireland are preserved in The National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) in London under SP/63. The documents concern the administration of Ireland in this period of enormous change. There is much information of interest about the Ulster plantation. Calendars of the papers covering the period 1509–1670 were published in 24 volumes by the Public Record Office between 1860 and 1911, under the title Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland.
I checked the following volumes:
Only one reference was found to a McCown who also bore the name Maguire and this was to our old friend Edmond Maguire McOwen who had been noted in the patent rolls in 1611. The reference found now amplifies what we know about him.
The document in question appears in the Calendar covering the years 1611-14 (page 70). It takes the form of a letter from Sir Arthur Chichester, the lord deputy of Ireland, to the Attorney General, dated at Dublin Castle on 6 June 1611:
“Warrant to draw out a fiant of letters patent granting a pardon, with the usual limitations, to the under named, being natives of the province of Ulster, who are to be removed from their ancient dwellings upon this plantation, and who fear to be prosecuted by their landlords for leaving them. Edmond Maguyre McOwyne of Tyrone gent[leman] with 13 yeomen, 11 labourers, 15 husbandmen, 1 victualler, 4 serving men, 1 smith.”
This is all very interesting for it gives us an insight into the position of the Irish just as the Plantation of Ulster was getting underway.
Although the ‘undertakers’, as the English and Scottish grantees were known (for they agreed to undertake the planting of their lands with British settlers) were expressly forbidden from having Irish tenants, in reality nearly all of them disobeyed this ruling and were quite happy to retain the Irish on their lands.
At the same time, there was considerable dislocation of Irish society during this period. As this document reveals, Edmond Maguire McOwen et al were concerned that they were to be forced to leave their homes and farms and so took precautions to protect themselves from being prosecuted by their landlords for doing so.
While we cannot as yet be certain this Edmond is the progenitor of your line, we have delved a little deeper into the world in which your ancestors lived in the early seventeenth century.
I’ll add this to the website in due course.