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Leckpatrick Old Graveyard

Plantation Settlements


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The plantation settlement saw the awarding of the manor of Cloghogall or Largie, largely coterminous with the parish of Leckpatrick, to Sir George Hamilton, brother of the Earl of Abercorn, the principal Undertaker of the Strabane barony plantation. The early death of Abercorn and the consequent elevation of Sir George to guardianship of the earl’s family posed difficulties for the fledgling Church of Ireland in the area and delayed the implementation of the religious clauses of the plantation settlement. Sir George had remained a Catholic and there were frequent claims that he provided a refuge for leading Catholic clergy as well as encouraging co-religionists from Scotland to settle in the area. It soon became clear that there was insufficient resolve and support to provide churches in both Strabane (Camus) and Leckpatrick parishes while the death of Abercorn led to a cessation of church building.

 

Suggestions that the parishes be amalgamated provided some measure of concerted activity but it was not until the appointment of Rev. John Sinclair as rector of Leckpatrick in 1666 that development of the parish began. His appointment as rector of Camus two years later reunited the parishes again and Sinclair’s appointment as rector of Tullyannish, near Ramelton in Donegal, in 1682 enabled him to purchase the freehold farm of Hollyhill and Keenaghan in Leckpatrick parish from Captain George McGhee in 1683. That provided the base for later generations of the Sinclair family and no doubt encouraged the development of the local parish. It is reputed that the church at Leckpatrick was burned by the retreating Jacobites from Derry in 1689 and that Sinclair’s own house at Hollyhill was only reprieved at the last minute on the intervention of General Hamilton, one of the sons of Sir George Hamilton of Dunnalong and a leading figure in the army of King James. Rev. Sinclair had himself taken refuge in Derry during the siege but survived the ordeal, unlike other family members who succumbed to the privations within the city.1

 

1 John Dooher - Hollyhill, Tyrone in Townlands in Ulster ed W.H.Crawford & R.H.Foy (Belfast 1998) See also William Roulston - The Parishes of Leckpatrick and Dunnalong: Their Place in History (2000)

 

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