Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The History of Portavogie

(NB: If you're reading this on Facebook, the original post is from my blog) Portavogie was part of James Hamilton's 1606 estate (the first map of Portavogie - Hamilton's 1625 map drawn by Thomas Raven - is on display in North Down Heritage Centre in Bangor - with loads of rabbits drawn all over the Warren!). It's also generally known that the village developed quickly around 1750 thanks to the arrival of a community of Scottish fishing families from Maidens in Ayrshire.

As far as the first Ulster-Scots in Portavogie, the Montgomery Manuscripts include a reference to a Thomas Boyd of Portavogie who died in 1660. He was probably a son or nephew of Colonel David Boyd who came over with Montgomery in 1606, and who settled at Ballycastle near Mount Stewart, but who had land in other parts of the early settlement too. According to the rent rolls in the Hamilton Monuscripts, in 1681 a David Boyd was still the major tenant at Portavogie, paying £4 per year.

The Boyds had been one of the big families of Kilmarnock for centuries - they can be traced on the Ayrshire coast as far back as the late 1200s, with a Robert Boyd fighting the Vikings in the Battle of Largs, whose son then fought alongside Robert the Bruce - and who was rewarded by Bruce by a huge grant of land in Ayrshire.

The story of the Boyds of Kilmarnock is available here.