Thursday, June 2, 2016

English in Ulster: How the Buster Clan Established Irish Roots

English buzzard
Buster Early Origin

Buster is a name whose history is entwined with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It was a name for a person who had facial features similar to a "buzzard." The etymology of the name Buster lies in Latin avis tarda which means "clumsy bird." The buzzard was a fairly common bird in medieval England. The surname Buster was first found in Devon where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D. Over the years, many variations of the name Buster were recorded, including Bustard, Busteed, Busterd, and others. Some of the Buster family moved to Ireland, it is believed to be that of Donegal, Ulster, North Ireland. A handful of Busters continue to live in Ireland and England today.

Surviving the elements, the plagues and famines for the next two or three centuries the Buster family flourished and helped shape the culture of the nation. Later, during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, all Britain was ravaged by internal religious conflict. First the religious conflict surrounding the emergence of Protestantism, then the political fervor of Cromwellianism, resulted in various groups fighting for supremacy. These were turbulent times. Families were deliberately broken and disbanded by reigning monarchs to reduce their political influence. Many families were banished to Scotland, Ireland or to the Colonies. In particular, many families were freely "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland. Some were rewarded with grants of lands at prices no one could refuse.

During the 17th century Irish lands were granted to Oliver Cromwell's soldiers and to Protestant settlers. While some of the confiscated lands were returned to their owners during the reign of King Charles II, most remained in the hands of newcomers. In Ireland they settled in County Donegal and in County Cork where the spelling of the name became Busteed. They intermarried with the Knowles of Knockabowlea. In 1890, a birth census of Scottish families in Ireland was taken. From that census, it was estimated that there were over 314 people bearing the surname Bustard throughout Ireland; all of which were living in the province of Ulster where the families were found in Donegal.
Tudor settlement: 1494-1601

A significant attempt to establish English control in Ireland is made by Henry VII in 1494. He dismisses the earl of Kildare from his post as lord deputy, and sent Sir Edward Poynings in his place with a full contingent of English administrators. Poynings summons a parliament at Drogheda in December 1494. This passed much legislation to assert English supremacy, including even the reenactment of a statute of 1366 forbidding marriage between English colonists and the Irish. But its two most significant measures relate to the Irish parliament.
These acts, subsequently known as the Statutes of Drogheda (or more informally as Poyning's Law), remained in force until 1782. For nearly three centuries they limit any form of Irish independence.  The first decree states that no Irish parliament may be summoned without prior notice to the privy council in England, and that no legislation passed by an Irish parliament is valid unless submitted to the privy council. The second declares that all laws passed by parliament in England apply also to Ireland. The extent to which these statutes have any meaning depends on the size of the very variable pale around Dublin. But they are securely in place.
Henry II first English king in Ireland
The attempt to impose English authority more firmly on Ireland is given new impetus by Henry VIII in the 1530s. After he has declared himself head of the church in England, with the Act of Supremacy of 1534, it is natural to take the same step in Ireland - particularly as the English king is as yet known only as the 'lord' of Ireland, implying that the supposed grant of the island to Henry II by the pope makes him in a sense the vassal of Rome. Both anomalies are amended. The Irish parliament passes an Act of Supremacy in 1536, following it with another measure in 1541 recognizing Henry as king of Ireland.
The Tudor intention is also to transform the Irish chieftains into hereditary peers on the English system, with a right to sit in the parliament in Dublin. An early example is the granting of the earldom of Tyrone, in 1542, to Conn O'Neill. But the precariousness of any such settlement is revealed when Conn's son, Shane, leads an armed rebellion early in the reign of Elizabeth I. The last years of Elizabeth's reign are troubled by the far more serious uprising, between 1594 and 1603, of Conn O'Neill's great-grandson Hugh in alliance with other chieftains of Ulster. Hugh's main ally in the rebellion is the chief of the O'Donnells.

Plantation of Ulster

The first major opportunity for plantation occurs in 1583, after the failure of a rebellion led by the earl of Desmond. The forfeiture of his lands, and those of his followers, puts about half a million acres of fertile land in Munster at the disposal of the English government. Moreover it is relatively unoccupied, because so many peasants have died of famine in the disturbances. By 1586 the details are in place. Parcels of land are offered for rent to English gentlemen (referred to as 'undertakers'), who are given precise instructions as to the number and size of farms into which their property is to be divided for subletting. All tenants are to be English by birth.

Flight of the earls: 1607

Hugh The Great O'Neill
The rebellion of O'Neill and O'Donnell collapses in 1603, but they are allowed to keep their hereditary lands in Ulster. O'Donnell is even created earl of Tyrconnell, to match O'Neill's earldom of Tyrone. But the two Celtic and Catholic earls find life intolerable in an Ireland organized along Anglo-Saxon and Protestant lines. Their ancient lands are divided now into counties, and are garrisoned by English troops. Tyrconnell engages in secret negotiations with Spain, of which word reaches the English court in 1607. Shortly afterwards Tyrconnell and Tyrone surprise everyone by secretly embarking on a ship, with their families and other clan leaders, and sailing to France.
This event, subsequently known as the flight of the earls, is a disaster for Ulster. The English, legitimately accusing the earls of treason, declare their massive territories in northern Ireland to be forfeit. They amount to the six counties then known as Donegal, Coleraine, Tyrone, Armagh, Fermanagh and Cavan. Ulster, until this time the most Catholic and Celtic region of Ireland, begins now to be transformed into a Protestant stronghold as the English set about the process of plantation. It is not their first attempt at this form of settlement in Ireland, nor will it be the last. But it proves the most lasting in its effect.
Some farms are to be occupied by English or Scottish settlers who accept on oath the supremacy of the English king; others are offered only to people of English or Scottish birth, but may be sublet to the Irish; a third class of farm is for Irish only. The annual rents for the three groups are in the ratio 1, 1.5 and 2. The properties are taken up less enthusiastically than the government hopes, so the entire county of Coleraine is offered to the city of London at a discount. The main town, Derry, becomes Londonderry.

The "Replanting" of Plantation of Ulster

County of Donegal highlighted in Blue
During the early 17th century, the Plantation of Ulster was an attractive area of settlement for migrants within the British Empire.  The Plantation was composed of six entire counties, namely, Armagh, Tyrone, Coleraine, Donegal, Fermanagh, and Cavan, which which were confiscated as a result of a war between Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and Queen Elizabeth. As a result about 3,798,000 statute acres were under the crown of England.

During the reign of King James I, these massive territories were transferred to some English, but mostly Scottish settlers.  These settlers were called the "Undertakers" or "Planters," hence the term Plantation of Ulster.  The Undertakers were for the most part, Protestant.  More than 8,000 people of British birth were found in these counties by 1620. Only 70 of these had no land of their own.

Migration to America

Due to a combination of drought and insanely increased land taxes forced upon by the English parliament, William Buster/Bustard, and many Scot-Irish, left Ulster thus immigrating to America within 1701 or 1708. He eventually made another home in Albemarle, Virginia, until his death somewhere between 1747-1749 where the Buster clan continued to grow and disperse.

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