The Planters: Roots and Branches




This is the story of a race of people who came from Scotland to the Barony of the Fews, in County Armagh. They came in the early seventeenth century, and were a hardy, enterprising, industrious, pioneering people. Plantation, these people were soon to show, could be made to work. They were to be known as the Ulster-Scots.


These Settlers were encouraged by the promise of long leases, far better than the unfavourable terms in their native Scotland, where short leases acted as a disincentive to good husbandry and improvements.


They settled in Ulster, brought their Presbyterian faith and their own Presbyterian ministers with them. These were a hardy, enterprising, industrious, pioneering people.


These people had a determination to have a lifestyle that would take account of their dissenting Calvinistic faith and to plant for themselves and future generations a place in which to dwell with democracy and freedom.


Into the district of Markethill they brought their Presbyterian faith and so began 400 years of witness.


Then came four centuries of tears and joy, rebellion, persecution, emigration, wars and peace, and ethnic cleansing . . . . . . .


An illustrated history book on Presbyterianism in Mid-Armagh was published on 30th January 2009, titled The Planters: Roots and Branches.


Author Jim Reaney, the former congregational secretary, has produced an excellent highly detailed 240 page hardback publication, with a wide range of full colour and old black and white illustrations.


The book traces the religious movement in Ireland from the early 16th century Protestant Reformation and the arrival in Ulster of Presbyterians from lowland Scotland from 1608, with the gradual establishment of churches across the Province.


In a foreword, former minister the Rev Danny Rankin says there is much discussion and written material regarding the Plantation of Ulster.


“This is not just another book arguing for and against the actions of our ancestors”, says Glasgow-born Mr Rankin.


“This book looks at how with the Plantation came the Church we love and respect. Here is a book which will warm your hearts as we read about God’s gracious blessing on a people who were far from perfect, but they were a people who were willing to receive that blessing.”


Much of the storyline centres on the Plantation of Markethill and the neighbouring village of Hamiltonsbawn and the strong Presbyterian witness in this area in congregations that were set up there through the 17th and 18th centuries.


The life and times are recorded in the Presbyterian congregations of Markethill, Redrock, Mountnorris, Tullyallen, Cladymore, Kingsmill and Ahorey are recorded.


The well-documented emigration to America by the Ulster-Scots Presbyterians impacted considerably on the mid-Armagh region, with local clerics and pew members joining the mass exodus from the Province to begin a new life across the Atlantic.


The book is dedicated to the Glory of God and the work of the Irish Mission of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.


Billy Kennedy.




  • A4 size

  • 240 pages

  • Hard back cover

  • Printed on 130gsm gloss paper

  • Colour throughout

  • Over 170 photographs, maps and illustrations.


"The Planters: Roots and Branches"


Published by First and Second Markethill Presbyterian Church


ISBN 978 0 9559209 0 5


Price - £20.00 (includes package and postage £5.00)




Payment by cheque, payable to "Markethill Presbyterian Church"


"The Planters"

15 Pinley Green



BT60 1RX




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