Robert Spear (the elder; died c.1743) of Stewartstown

… son of John Spear (1623–1704) of Drumbanaway.


  • 1666: The Hearth Money Rolls for the Barony of Dungannon recorded the following individuals: [1]
    • John Spear‡ in Corglossan [Curglassan] townland, parish of Balliecloge [Ballyclog], Barony of Dungannon
    • Robert Spear, ditto.
    • John Spear, Mullaghmosak [Mullaghmossagh], parish of Ballyclog
      Note: (i) The relationship of John Spear of Mullaghmossagh to John and Robert of Curglassan is not known. However John appears to have been a generational peer of Robert, probably his brother, as suggested by their co-tenancy of the several townlands in the parish of Ballyclog, after the death of John the elder in 1705—for which see the entry under date, 1706-11-01.
      (ii) The place name of Mullaghmossagh, then (i.e., in 1666) a townland in the parish of Ballyclog, fell out of recorded use sometime before the 1830 Ordnance Survey maps were drawn up.

      ‡Variant spellings of the surname include Speer(e)(s), Spear(e)(s), Spier(e)(s), and Spire(s).
  • 1691-09-30: Robert Speir represented the BellyClug [Ballyclog, or Brigh] congregation at the meeting of the Ulster Synod at Antrim: "Appears from BellyClug, with allowance of the Meeting of Tyrone, Robert Speir, to supplicate that the Synod would continue M'r Robert Hamilton with them, notwithstanding that they cannot allow him above Twenty pound. The Synod refers this to the determination of the Prebry of Tyrone and the Meeting of Antrim.” [11] (pg 6.)
  • 1706-11-01: John Spier and Rob’t Spier held a lease, as co-tenants, from the Archbishop of Armagh in the townlands of Sourne alias Soarn,‡ Lislea alias Lislee,‡ Leck, Crattale alias Cratley, Mullagh-Mossagh,† CrossArdagh,† Drumbanove alias Drumbanaway, and Carkirr.† Robert Spier held 81 acres 2 roods 16 perches, Irish Plantation Measure, in Cratley townland, where he had “a good Stone House with a Barne Stable Cow House Killn  a good Orchard & a Garden,” and also a small tenement with a stable, &c. His holding was described as good arable and pasture land, with good meadows. John Spier resided in Drumbanaway. [2]
    Townlands situated in the parish of Donaghenry, whereas the remainder were in the parish of Ballyclog.
    These townland names do not survive. They might have been part of the other townlands in the parish of Ballyclog, including the Glebe land.
  • 1708-11-01, and 1714: A lease for twenty-one years was given by the Archbishop of Armagh to Robert Speir of Mullaghmossagh in the eight townlands in the Precinct or Territory of Ballyclogge commonly known by the names of Sorn alias Sourney [Soarn], Listreagh [Lislee], Ballylecke [Lec], Clonterey alias Clotterie [Cratley], Mullaghmosage alias Mullaghmossagh, Ardagh alias Crossardagh, Aghameen alias Aghimeen, and Curkirre alias Curkirre, already in his possession. A note in the margin displayed the present yearly value of the rent as of 1714. [3]
    … Please note that this list does not include Drumbanaway townland, but adds Aghameen alias Aghimeen.
  • 1709-06-01: Robert Speir appeared with James Stevenson at the meeting of the General Synod at Londonderry: "The Affair about Coagh being resum'd, and Liberty having been granted to any who have Grievances on Account of the Erection at Coagh to table them before us, from Ballyclug Congregation appear'd Ja's Stevenson & Rob't Speir, shewing in their Supplication, now read, what Grievances they undergo by Reason of that Erection at Coagh.” [11] (pg 167.)
  • 1718-12-30: Memorial no. 23-123-12874: Robert Speir of Stewartstown, Gent., witness to deed of conveyance executed by Hugh Stewart of Gortigill, Gent., to his son, John, of same place, whereby the elder Mr Stewart released to B Gortigill alias Gortuigill townland and the Sessiagh Tyrors alias Tyrora, parish of Arboe, Barony of Dungannon, co. Tyrone, forever. [4]
  • 1722-04-27: Memorial no. 49-421-32722 – Robert Speer of Stewartstown, Gent., was one of the witnesses to a lease given by Robert Stewart of Stewarthall, Esq., to William Blacker of Roughan, parish of Donaghenry.[5]
  • 1724-05-01 to 1735-05-01: The Rent Roll for the See of Armagh (Church of Ireland, 1724) listed the same townlands leased to Robert Speir as shown in the entry dated 1708-11-01, but the date on the lease was the 2nd February 1714. "These lands lie in the Territory of Ballyclogg in the Bar [Barony] of Dungannon & County of Tyrone, on one of which stands the Church of Ballyclogg.” [6] indicating that one or more of the townlands was situated on what was later known as the Glebe alias Glebe townland.
  • 1724-10-29: Memorial no. 80-364-56219 – a deed of release, dated 1st December 1732, from Robert Speer (d.1745) of Stewartstown, father of Solomon who married Jane, daughter of Capt. James Stevenson. The deed recites the marriage settlement between Robert Speer and his son Solomon, of the first part, and James Stevenson and his daughter, Jane, of the second part, said settlement dated the 29th October 1724. [7]
  • 1726/7-01-26Memorial no. 54-138-35169 – Robert Speer executed an indenture of agreement whereby, for the consideration of £107, he conveyed to his son, Solomon, the right and title to the renewal fines and one-half the rents issuing from leaseholds in Soarn, Listreagh, Ballyleck, and Cratley townlands, together with all benefits accruing from a corn mill in Ballyleck. [8] ☛ Soarn and Listreigh townlands are in the parish of Donaghenry, while Cratley is in Ballyclog. Ballyleck might refer to any of Leck, Back Lower, or Back Upper townlands in the latter parish.
  • 1729-05-21: Robert Speer and his daughter in law, Jane Speer née Stevenson, obtained letters of administration after the death of Solomon Speer, who had died intestate. [8]
  • 1732-12-01: Memorial no. 80-364-56219 – Robert Speer agreed to settle upon his daughter in law the sum of £80; the moveable household furniture which his late son possessed; use of the dwelling house, office houses, garden, and farm which Jane then possessed in and near Stewartstown at the yearly rent of 40 shillings and to the servants' wages—to be paid one-half by herself and the other half by her children—but this arrangement to hold only during her widowhood; and to enjoy the cattle, cows, and horses in common with her children. In exchange, Jane would renounce any other claims or demands on her late husband's estate, real or personal. [8]
  • 1739-04-23 to c.1747: In the  Vestry minutes for the parish of Donaghenry (St Patricks, Church of Ireland, Stewartstown), dated 23rd April 1739, was mentioned [unnamed] Speer who, with Mr Blacker, would “continue app[--] of all publick [no]---y.” (1739-04-23) ☛ Note: The latter segment of this entry probably read, applotters of publick money,” referring to the applotments made for raising tithes. The Minutes (date obscured, but c.1743) stated, "M’r Blacker & M’r Speer be continued ... [applotters] of all Publick money.” In another undated entry, but c.1747, “Door, lock & key at Mr Spears.” [9]
    ... As Presbyterians, Mr Speer would have served as a congregational representative on the Church of Ireland Vestry.
    This unnamed Mr Speer might have been Robert Speer (the elder) of Stewartstown, who died c.1745, or another member of his family.
  • 1743-10-06: Robert Speer composed his last will and testament, which was proved on the 7th June 1745. [10] The major provisions of Mr. Speer's will specified that:
    • his body be buried in the church yard of Ballyclog;
    • his dwelling house, out houses, tenement, and premises in Stewartstown, formerly possessed by his late son Solomon, to be devised to his grandson, Robert Speer, and his lawful heirs—failing such issue, to his granddaughter, Mary;
    • as to his leaseholds in Sorne, Listreagh, Ballyleck, and Clontery (also known as Cratley) townlands, held from the Archbishop of Armagh, one half of which Robert had conveyed to his son, Solomon, by deed on the 27th January 1726, [8] with the other half to follow at his (Robert's) decease: after Solomon died intestate, c.1729, his wife, Jane Stevenson, became entitled to one third of these lands and Solomon's other chattels; in 1733, Robert purchased these premises and property from Jane—therefore, Robert bequeathed these leaseholds to his grandson, Robert, subject to an annuity of £6 payable to Robert the elder's son, Thomas, and the annual interest on £40 payable to his daughter, Elizabeth, and such portion of that principal amount for her support as the Executors think convenient;
    • the Parlour Kitchen, and the room above the kitchen of her current dwelling house, to his daughter, Elizabeth, with the barn, stable, and ten acres of land Scotch measure, at the yearly rent of 25s.—also, if Elizabeth should not recover the £50 payable out of her late husband's estate, an additional annuity of £3 to be paid out of the leaseholds;
    • a further incumbrance of £160 be raised out of the profit rents of those leaseholds, over time, as a marriage portion for Robert's granddaughter, Mary Speer;
    • the sum of £3 payable to his grandchildren, Robert, Elizabeth, and Solomon, sons and daughter of Robert's son, Alexander, on the dates of their respective marriages;
    • if his grandson, Robert (son of Solomon), should die before attaining the age of twenty-one years, the leaseholds and incumbrances should pass to Robert's sister, Mary;
    • if no lawful issue should proceed from his grandchildren, Robert or Mary, then the leasehold lands and all renewals to pass to Solomon, son of Alexander Speer;
    • all of his silver plate to his grandson, Robert (son of Solomon), except six silver spoons to the sister of Robert, Mary;
    • Robert's house in Stewartstown, with all his other chattels, real and personal, moveable and immoveable, to Robert and his sister, Mary—less payments for his (Robert the elder's) lawful debts and funeral charges;
    • the sum of 40s. to be paid to Robert's relation, George Lamie of Dungannon; and,
    • William Ledlie of Carnan, parish of Arboe, and William Herdman of Cor, parish of Armagh, to be appointed executors, and John Stewart of Ballymenagh, county Tyrone, as overseer.


Sources and notes:


Ó Doibhlin, Diarmaid. "Hearth Money and Subsidy Rolls of the Barony of Dungannon, 1666.” Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society. Vol. VI, No. 1 (1971), pp. 24-45.


Ashe, Thomas. Arch Bishoprick of Armagh. An Account Stated for one Year Viz’t. From the 1st of November 1706 Exclusive To the 1st of November 1707 Inclusive. “This Account to be preserved for the Security of Tho. Ashe.” John Spier and Robert Spier, tenants by lease, in Sourne, Lislea, Leck, Crattale, Mullagh-Mossogh, CrossArdagh, Drumbanove, and Carkirr townlands, county Tyrone (1st November 1706). Held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. PRONI DIO/4/35/3 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-09-14).


(a) Church of Ireland. Rent rolls, Diocese of Armagh, 1628–1726. Lease to Robert Speir of eight townlands in the Precinct or Territory of Ballyclogge, county Tyrone (24 Dec 1708). Held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. PRONI PRONI DIO/4/35/1 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-09-14).
(b) Dean, James, ed. Rent rolls of the See of Armagh in 3 volumes from 1615 to 1746 (1934). Vol. II. Lease held by Robt. Speir, a Dissenter, in Sorne als Sorney, Listreagh, Ballyleck, Clonterie als Cloutterie, Mullaghmossage als Mullaghmossagh, Ardagh als Crosardagh, Aghameen als Aghimeen Carkiree als Curkirre, from 1st November 1708 for 21 years. Volumes held by the Robinson Libary, Armagh, ref. P001209864 (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-02).


Registry of Deeds, Ireland (Henrietta Street, Dublin). Memorial no. 23-123-12874, Stewart to Stewart (dated 30 December 1718, registered 16 March 1718). Copy per FHL film no. 461315; online at (accessed 2017-05-22). Indexed by Alison Kilpatrick, and index entries submitted to, 2017-05-22.


Registry of Deeds, Ireland (Henrietta Street, Dublin). Memorial no. 49-421-32722: Stewart to Blacker (dated 27 April 1722; registered 7 September 1726). Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; archival ref. FHL film no. 522815; digital image online at Indexed by Alison Kilpatrick, and submitted to, 2017-05-18.


(a) Church of Ireland. Rent Roll of the See of Armagh (1724). Held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. PRONI PRONI DIO/4/35/6 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-09-14).
(b) Dean, James, ed. Rent rolls of the See of Armagh in 3 volumes from 1615 to 1746 (1934). Vol. II. Held by the Robinson Libary, Armagh, ref. P001209864 (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-02).


This deed was recited in Memorial no. 80-364-56219 (Registry of Deeds, Ireland): Speer to Speer als Stephenson to Speer (dated 1 Dec 1732; reg'rd 25 June 1735). Copy per FHL film no. 522815. Transcribed and annotated by Alison Kilpatrick, and submitted to, 2016-08-02.


Registry of Deeds, Ireland (Henrietta Street, Dublin). Memorial no. 54-138-35169: Smith to Stevenson (dated 27 January 1726/7; registered 22 June 1727). Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, USA; archival ref. FHL film no. 461329; online at Transcribed and annotated by Alison Kilpatrick, and submitted to, 2016-07-27.


Church of Ireland. Parish of Donaghenry, county Tyrone. Mention of [unnamed] Speer in the Vestry minutes, 23rd April 1739. Microfilm copy held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. MIC583/29 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-23).


Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. Copy extracts from the will of Robert Speer, of Stewartstown (dated 1743-10-06, proved 7 June 1745). Archival ref. PRONI D2315/2/1. Transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2015-08-16.


Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Ulster Synod. Records of the General Synod of Ulster, From 1691 to 1820. Vol. I. 1691–1720. Belfast: The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 1890.

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