Irish homeland

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The Irish Homeland for the Acheson family

Our Acheson line in county Tyrone is not noted for any noble blood. Unlike the Acheson's in county Armagh, there are no castles or manor houses in the family line. Rather, we come from solid farming stock, people of the land.

County Tyrone

County Tyrone in Northern Ireland

County Tyrone (from Irish: Tír Eoghain, meaning "land of Eoghan") is one of the six historic counties of Northern Ireland. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, and lies within the historic province of Ulster. It is no longer used as an administrative division for local government, but retains a strong identity in popular culture.

Adjoined to the south-west shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,155 km² (1218 sq mi) and has a population of about 177,986, with its county town being Omagh.

Historically, Tyrone stretched as far north as Lough Foyle, and comprised part of modern-day County Londonderry east of the River Foyle. The majority of County Londonderry was carved out of Tyrone between 1610–1620 when that land went to the Guilds of London to set up profit making schemes based on natural resources located there. Tyrone was the traditional stronghold of the various O'Neill clans and families, the strongest of the Gaelic Irish families in Ulster, surviving into the seventeenth century. The ancient principality of Tír Eoghain, the inheritance of the O'Neills, included the whole of the present counties of Tyrone and Londonderry, and the four baronies of West Inishowen, East Inishowen, Raphoe North and Raphoe South in County Donegal.

In 1608 during O'Doherty's Rebellion areas of the country were plundered and burnt by the forces of Sir Cahir O'Doherty following his destruction of Derry. However, O'Doherty's men avoided the estates of the recently fled Earl of Tyrone around Dungannon, fearing Tyrone's anger if he returned from his exile.

Langfield Parish[1][2]

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland surveyed in 1834 {when Joseph Acheson was a child or ten.} Langfield, also referred to as Longfield is a Parish divided into two parts: East (Upper) and West(Lower).

LANGFIELD (WEST or LOWER), a parish, in the barony of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, eight miles from Omagh, on the road from Londonderry to Enniskillen; containing 4865 inhabitants.

The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 23,906 3/4 statute acres, of which 176 are water, and about 6700 are mountain and bog. The mountains afford good pasturage for cattle and sheep, and their declivities are in a state of progressive cultivation; a great portion of the bog is also being rapidly reclaimed, and the system of agriculture is fast improving. In Dunwest are extensive beds of coal in three strata, all easy of access; and though at every flood, large masses are detached by the river Poe, and carried down the stream, no attempt has yet been made to work them: coal of very good quality is also found in other parts of the parish.

In Kerlis (Curlews} are extensive and valuable quarries of freestone, from which was raised the stone for the portico of the court-house of Omagh and for other public edifices; the higher mountains, of which Dooish rises, according to the Ordnance survey, 1119 feet above the level of the sea, are of mica slate. The rivers Poe and the Fairy Water rise in these mountains, and after passing through Drumquin falls into the river Foyle, about two miles below Omagh; there are several lakes in the parish, of which the largest is 58 acres in extent.

The inhabitants combine with their agricultural pursuits the weaving of linen, and many of the females are employed in spinning linen and cotton yarn; there is also a small tuck-mill for dressing home-made woolen cloth, and there are several corn-mills.

The parish is partly within the bishop's manor of Derg, and partly in that of Hastings, which was granted to Sir John Davies, a Welshman, by King James I, under the name of Clonaghmore; and for which a sessions court is held at Drumquin town monthly.

The Church of Ireland clergyman's living is a rectory, in the diocese of Derry, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the annual tithes (income amount to £295. 17. The rectory is a good and comfortable residence, situated near the church on a glebe (Church land) of 108 acres, and embosomed in thriving plantations; There are also belonging to the rectory 10 townlands at Gortnasoal, about three miles distant, comprising together 2589 acres, of which 1426 are under cultivation, and the remainder mountain and bog. The church is a small ancient edifice surmounted by a cupola.

About 460 children are taught in six public schools, of which the parochial school is principally supported by the rector, who in 1820 erected a good house for the master on the Church land, with an excellent garden; he also erected a school-house for another on the glebe at Loughmulharn, which he also supports.

There are some extensive remains of the spacious and handsome castle of Kerlis {Kirlish}, or Curlews, built by Sir John Davies, prior to 1619, upon the manor of Clonaghmore, with freestone found on that spot, and with which he constructed a road eight feet wide and seven miles in length, leading over mountains and morasses, to his other castle on the Derg; much of the road can still be traced near the castle, paved with large blocks of stone. There are numerous forts in various parts of the parish, some of which are very large and tolerably perfect.

Town of Drumquin[3]

Town of Drumquin, County Tyrone

Drumquin is a small market-town, it consists of one street and some detached houses, which, with the exception of a few of recent erection, are indifferently built and thatched; and was founded by Sir John Davies, about 1617, on a tract of 2000 acres of land granted to him by James I. in 1611, under the name of Clonaghmore, on which he located 16 British families. He also built castles at Kerlis and at Gavelagh Castlederg, at which latter place he had another grant of 2000 acres; and between the two castles constructed an excellent road, seven miles in a straight line over mountains and bogs, which in several places still remains perfect.

Townland of Collow

Townland of Lackagh

Hearth Money Rolls

The Hearth Tax was introduced by the government of Charles II in 1662 at a time of serious fiscal emergency. The original Act of Parliament was revised in 1663 and 1664, and collection continued until the tax was finally repealed by William and Marry in 1689. Under the terms of the grant, each liable householder was to pay one shilling for each hearth within their property for each collection of the tax.

Arranged by county and parish, they list the name of the householder and the number of hearths on which he was taxed at the rate of one shilling on every hearth or fireplace. The tax was collected over areas known as 'Walks' and based on the town.

No Acheson names were recorded in the Langfield Parish Hearth Money Rolls for 1663 - 1669. This does not mean the Acheson family was not there in 1663 or 1669. They likely were, only that their dwellings or cottages did not have stone chimneys, so were not subject to this tax.

1631 Muster Roll of County Tyrone


The conditions of the plantation in Ulster required English and Scottish undertakers to 'have ready in their houses at all ties a convenient store of arms, wherewith they may furnish a competent number of men for their defence, which may be viewed and mustered every half year, according to the manner of England.' The servitor grantees, who were not obliged to introduce colonists, were also to 'have a convenient store of arms in their houses.' Not surprisingly, no such requirement was imposed on the native Irish grantees in the plantation!

Each landlord therefore had to muster annually all tenants between the ages of 18 and 60 who could be called upon in an emergency (as in a native Irish uprising or an invasion by the French or Spanish or both). It was in effect a civilian militia or "home guard".

Barony of the Omey (Omagh) - Drumquin, Year 1631

Sir John Davies, who sublet from Hastings, built his Castle a mile outside of Drumquin, are Curlews (now called Kirlish) in The Manor of Hstings. The ruins still remain.

  • Lord Hastings: his men and their arms:
    • "Luke Acheson, having no weapons"
      • We do not know his age, but it is suggested that Luke Acheson was probably born 1590-1600 and was living on Davis' land, which is very close to Collow. Luke is the first Acheson that has been found documented in this part of the Parish of Langfield.
    • "John Acheson, having a sword and pike"
      • John Acheson was a man of some means. Having a sword indicated that he also had a horse (those armed with swards at this time fought on horseback) while he was also equipped to fight on foot as an infantryman armed with his pike. It took a certain amount of money to acquire these arms.

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  1. Original research booklet compiled by Robert J. Williams of Londonderry, N. Ireland; October 2015, 32 pp., plus photocopies of original documents, in private collection.
  2. Surveys of Longfield, early 1800's
  3. Original research booklet compiled by Robert J. Williams of Londonderry, N. Ireland; October 2015, 32 pp., plus photocopies of original documents, in private collection.