Thursday, 23 May 2013

Year Two - Derrywoone Castle, Barons Court, Co. Tyrone

For the second year of the Ulster Scots Archaeological Project we will be looking at the site of Derrywoone Castle in Co. Tyrone.

The castle was built soon after 1619 by Sir George Hamilton of Greenlawe in Scotland as the successor to the O’ Neill 15th century tower on Island MacHugh in the nearby lake (shown below in the aerial image and first edition OS map). A typically Scottish feature present at Derrywoone is the finely carved corbelled-out staircase beside the doorway (shown in picture above). 

A survey, undertaken in 1622, records that, at Derrione (Derrywoone), Hamilton had begun to build a ‘fair stone howse, 4 stories high, which is almost finished, and a bawne of stone and lyme, 90 foot long, 70 foot broad and 14 foot high. The house takes up almost the full bawne. As soon as it is finished, he [Hamilton] intends to dwell there himself

A large number of British families are recorded as planted at ‘Derrione’ including two freeholders, 10 leaseholders and 6 cottagers. The survey records that between Derrione and Cloghogenall an additional 88 Irish families reside. One of the aims of the upcoming research excavation will be to try and identify this settlement. 

We hope to undertake test excavations in the area beginning next week and will keep the blog updated with our results. Stay tuned! 

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