Plantation exhibition at Mossley Mill

A chamber pot excavated at Long Commons, Coleraine, in the 1980s. INNT 39-452-CON.
A chamber pot excavated at Long Commons, Coleraine, in the 1980s. INNT 39-452-CON.
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A new touring exhibition, “The Project of Plantation” has launched at the Museum at The Mill.

The exhibition, which has been jointly delivered by Mid-Antrim Services and Causeway Museum Service, explores the changes that occurred in North East Ulster and the surrounding geography in the early 17th century when new settleers arrived from England, Wales and Lowland Scotland.

“The Project of Plantation” in the 17th century included a range of schemes operating simultaneously.

The modern Counties of Londonderry and Antrim were both largely outside the scheme commonly outlined in text books, often known as the ‘Official’ Plantation and it is these stories which the exhibition explores.

Engaging with evidence that still exists in the local landscape, revealed by current archaeological research and excavation, the exhibition aims to challenge popular ideas and misconceptions about important events of this period.

The exhibition includes archaeological plantation finds on loan from Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA) at the University of Ulster in Coleraine.

In 2009, while excavating at Dunluce, the CMA unearthed part of the remains of a plantation village built by 1st Earl of Antrim, Randal MacDonnell.

Coins and ceramic pieces from this dig form part of the exhibition.

Plantation sites in Newtownabbey featured in the exhibition include The White House bawn. Larne plantation sites include Kilwaughter and Ballygally Castles, both developed by Scottish settlers who became some of McDonnell’s most prominent tenants.

The prominence of Carrickfergus Port in terms of migration and trade in the 17th century is also explored.

A free bus tour of Newtownabbey Plantation sites will take place on Saturday 28 September departing from Mossley Mill at 1.00pm and returning at 4.30pm.

It will visit The White House, Castle Lugg and Dalways Bawn. The tour will be led by archaeologist Nick Brannon who has overseen extensive excavation of plantation sites locally.

Booking a place on the tour is essential and this should be done by emailing museumatthemill@newtownabbey.gov.uk or by telephone on 028 9034 1029.

The Project of Plantation exhibition will run from Saturday 28 September.