Royal charters lecture at Ranfurly House

A LECTURE on the Royal Charters of Dungannon and Augher will take place at the Ranfurly House Arts Centre on Thursday November 15 at 7.30pm.

Speakers on the night will be Dr John McCavitt and Jack Johnston.

Dr John McCavitt said: “On 27th November 1612, a town charter was granted to Dungannon ‘at the humble request of the inhabitants of the Village of Dungannon in our County Tyrone within the Province of Ulster in our said Kingdom of Ireland as to people and plant the Northern parts in our said Kingdom’.

“As this extract makes clear, urbanisation was a key aim of the Ulster plantation process.The granting of the charter occurred in the run-up to the meeting of the first truly ‘All Ireland’ parliament which ever sat, 1613-15.

“Dozens of new boroughs were granted royal charters for the first time entitling them to elect MPs. This lecture will not only seek to contextualise the granting of the town charter against the background of political and social developments contingent on the Plantation of Ulster but will also examine the charter itself in terms of the insights it reveals about the locality, not least how it throws light on the Dungannon of Gaelic times.

“The nature of municipal government documented in the charter indicates that in the short period since the Flight of the Earls in 1607, Dungannon had been transformed from a bastion of Gaelic power to a new era when the political power of the ‘planter’ prevailed. The nationality of the Provost and twelve ‘free’ burgesses, the municipal governors according to the charter, reflected this transformation - with English and Welsh coming to the fore.”