Stevenson of Stewartstown, 1623–1700

Please refer to the bibliographic sources at the end of this page.

1623 – Birth of William Allett, who died 16th October 1712, aged 89 years; buried in the church yard of St. Patrick's, Stewartstown. [1]

  • Discussion – William Allett was born either in Scotland, possibly in the region known as the Borders, or as a first-generation descendant of a Scottish immigrant. He lies buried in the same grave with several of Capt. James Stevenson's children. The transcript of the gravestone inscription identifies him as the grandfather of those children.
  • See also the entry at 1666, below.

1632 – Birth of Robert Stevenson, who died 1st August 1721, aged 89 years; buried in the church yard of St. Patrick’s, Stewartstown. [1]

  • Discussion – Robert Stevenson was probably born in Scotland. He lies buried in the same grave with several of Capt. James Stevenson's children. Unfortunately, the transcript of the gravestone inscription does not specify his relationship to those children and thus, his precise relationship to James Stevenson remains a mystery.

1662-5 – The ancestor of Capt. James Stevenson was said to be a "clergyman of the church of Scotland, who, upon being dispossessed of his parish in the persecuting and troublesome time of Charles, retired to the north of Ireland and settled there.” [2]

1666 – The only individual of the Stevenson surname who was recorded in the hearth money and subsidy rolls for the Barony of Dungannon was Thomas at Carrick, parish of Derryloran. Interestingly, however, one Richard Allett was enumerated in Galvally townland. [3]

  • Discussion – Richard Allett may have been a near relative to William Allett (1623-1712), cited in the entry at 1623, above.

1683-4 – The names of Thomas Stephenson and James Stephenson appear in the rent roll of William Conyngham's estate for the townlands of Ballydrom, Tamlagh, and the two Ballydawleys, in the parishes of Ardtrea and Tamlaght, co. Derry. [4]

  • The modern spellings for the townlands, Ballydrom and Tamlagh, are Ballindrum and Tamlaght; and one of the Ballydawleys—the one in the parish of Artrea—is also known as Crosspatrick. Taken together, these four townlands occupy the area between Springhill house, near Moneymore, and Tamlaght, which is on the Derry side of the the river Ballinderry. The townland of Tamlaght, which is situated opposite the village of Coagh (on the south bank of the river), lies six miles distant from Stewartstown.
    Link to map.
  • Discussion – This item is included here simply as a curiosity, since there is no way to discern whether this James Stephenson was later of Stewartstown. The forename, Thomas, pops up in the 1666 hearth money roll for the parish of Derryloran (see above), as a name given to one of Capt. James Stevenson's children, and in the 1766 Religious Census for the parish of Donaghenry ... all of which circumstances may be purely coincidental.

1688-91 – Capt. James Stevenson headed a company of volunteers, under Colonel Dalway Stewart's command, during the Williamite war. [5]

  • Discussion – This statement was made by Capt. James's grandson, William Stevenson in 1781. It seems more likely that the commanding officer was either Lieut.-Col. William Steuart (1643-1726), of the 16th regiment of foot, who served William III of Orange during this war—or perhaps more likely, Capt. William Stewart of Killymoon (near Cookstown) who, with the Rev. George Walker, led the defence of Dungannon before marching their men to Derry.[6] Dallway Stewart (d.1752), the son of Andrew, 7th Baron Castle Stewart, and Elinor Dallway, was born after 1695, the year in which his parents were married.[7]

1692, August 4thHoustone to Stevenson – John Houstone of Castle Stewart granted a lease for ever, or a fee farm grant, to James Stevenson of: two squares or parcels of ground in Stewartstown; several parks and parcels of land near the town including Church park, the nine acre park, a park lying between the last park and Drumagullion townland, and the lower sessiogh of Galvally townland—containing, in all, sixty acres; and, one half of the common moss lying adjacent to the town.[8] James Stevenson was required to build, and keep in good repair, houses, seven to eight feet tall, with walls of oak, on the squares in Stewartstown, and a house forty feet long.[9]

  • Discussion – This is the earliest document found for Capt. James  Stevenson.
  • In this part of Ireland, a sessiogh, or sessiagh, was generally held to be equal to one-third of a townland: "In Armagh the prevailing denomination [for land] was the "ballyboe or town," which contained three sessiaghs; ... In Tyrone as in Armagh, the ballyboe or townland was the prevailing denomination, and contained three 'sheshawghes' or sessiaghs; it had besides a compound denomination called tullagh, consisting of a ballyboe and a sessiagh, that is, a townland and a third." [10]
  • Link to map of the town of Stewartstown and adjoining townlands in the parish of Donaghenry. Please note that:
    • While Church park may be taken to be the area surrounding the parish church, the locations of nine acre park, and the park lying between it and Drumagullion, are not known—though some portion of the townland called Boyd's Farm seems quite plausible.
    • This map employed the boundaries struck by the Ordnance Survey in the 1820s/30s. The boundaries probably moved somewhat over the centuries while place names were lost or changed, also.
  • Link to blog article (2016-06-16).

1698, August 4thHoustone to Stevenson – John Houstone further granted to James Stevenson a lease, for two terms of thirty-one years each, of the two lower sessioghs of Gallvally and Ruskieroe† with that part of Tamillene† adjoining to Gallvallie and Ruskieroe on the South West side and with Killmurchin‡ and the Strife land on the North West side—which lands were then in the possession of James Stevenson. [11]

  • † The modern spellings for these townlands are Rouskyroe, and Tamnylennan.
  • ‡ Kilmurchin may refer to Killymurphy, the townland lying to the north  of Tamylennan.
  • The phrase, "the Strife land on," appears in the transcription published in Notes and Queries (1942), but not in the handwritten memorial (1727 copy) of the Deed held by the PRONI.
  • Assuming that there was a district known as the Strife land, what and where was it? The word, strife, implies conflict and disagreement. The following historic references, together with the description in the deed, seem to point towards an outlying portion of Galvally townland and/or the townland known as Outlands of Galvally:
    • According to the ancient laws of Wales, Tir cynniv, or strife land, was "Land possessed by an aillt, or alien, whose progeny was increasing to the privilege of freemen in the ninth descent." [12]
    • A manuscript held by the University of Cambridge refers to "A peece of grounde called Battel peece, which is strife land, claimed by the parishes of Smaleburrowe and Barton," in Cambridgeshire. [13]
    •  In the Irish language, or gaeilge, Gallbhaile, refers to the foreigner's townland. [14] The word is a composite of gall, meaning stranger or foreigner, and bhaile, settlement or the place of.
    • The word, outland, derives from the middle English, ütland, and was meant to convey: foreign, from abroad, or from a foreign land. [15]
      In the modern era, the plural form, outlands, denotes an outlying area.
  • Link to map of the town of Stewartstown and adjoining townlands in the parish of Donaghenry.



Mayes, Frank, Aidan Fee, and James Glendinning. “St. Patrick’s Church, Stewartstown: Gravestone transcriptions.” The Bell: Journal of the Stewartstown and District Local History Society. No. 9 (2003).


Analecta Hibernica. Issue 15. Dublin: Stationery Office of Saorstát Éirann, 1968.


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


Analecta Hibernica, op. cit.


Stevenson, William. Cases in Medicine. Printed by Taylor and Drury, Retford: and to be sold by the Booksellers of Newark and Nottingham. Likewise by J. Johnson, and C. Dilly, London, 1781. (The author was grandson to Capt. James Stevenson of Stewartstown.)


Mitchell, Brian. Defenders of the Plantation of Ulster 1641-1691. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield Co., 2010. Cited by Linda Merle, e-mail to RootsWeb's Scotch-Irish mailing list (6 November 2011). Online at (accessed 2016-06-15).


Edson, G.T. Stewart Clan Magazine. Vol. VI, No. 10 (April 1928), pg. 42. “Andrew Stewart of Ballyclog, county Tyrone, esq. married by prerogative marriage license Jan. 7, 1695, Elinor Dalway of St. Michan, Dublin, spinster.”


(a) Notes and Queries, by Martin de Albuquerque. Vol. 183. 4 July 1942. (b) Registry of Deeds, Dublin. Memorial no. 51-513-34556 (dated 27 April 1727). Stevenson to Stevenson, citing the earlier deed dated 1692-08-04 & 1698-08-04. Copy obtained from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. PRONI ref. D1618/4. Transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick.


The Landed (Late Incumbered) Estates Court, Ireland. In the Matter of the Estate of Sir Thomas Staples, Bart. and James A. Caulfield, Esquire, Owners and Petitioners. Rental of the valuable advowson, [etc.] to be sold, on Friday, the 25th day of November, 1859. Citing Lot No. 9, "Fee-farm Rent of £12, payable out of the Lands of Galvally, otherwise Stevenson's Dowery, exclusive of Church Yard and part of Common Moss, situate in the Barony of Dungannon, and County of Tyrone." Tenants' names: James Little, representative of James Stevenson (great-grandson of Capt. James Stevenson). Area in English Measure: 105A. 1R. 5P., plus 12A. 3R. 2P. Digital copy held by (accessed 2015-09-19, by subscription). Transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick.


Morrin, James, Clerk of Enrolments in Chancery. Calendar of the Patent and Close Rolls of Chancery in Ireland. Vol. II. Dublin: Alexander Thom, and London: Longman, Green, Longhman, and Roberts; 1862 (pg. lvii).


Notes and Queries; and Memorial no. 51-513-34556; op. cit.


United Kingdom. Commissioners of the Public Records of the Kingdom. Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales. Vol. II (1841).


Luard, H.R., ed. A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the Library of the University of Cambridge. Vol. IV. Cambridge University Press, 2011.


The Northern Ireland Place-name Project. Hosted online by Queen's University, Belfast, (accessed 2016-06-15).


Wiktionary. "Outland," etymology, pronunciation, &c. Online at (accessed 2016-06-15).

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© Alison Kilpatrick, 2016. All rights reserved.
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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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