Wednesday, February 03, 2010

James Traill of Tullykin (Killyleagh)

(NB: If you're reading this on Facebook, the original post is from my blog) The Hamilton Manuscripts record a man called James Traill of Tullykin (1595 - 1663). There are lots of different spellings of the place, like Tallachin / Tolychin / Tullochin / Tullychin, and the name lives on today - there's a Tullykin Road just outside Killyleagh.

He was born in Scotland (probably Blebo in Fife, just 5 miles from St Andrews) on 15 October 1595. His brother Robert Traill (1603 - 1676) was the famous minister at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh. Here's an article about the family, called "The Covenanting Traills", some of which is in Scots. According to the article another member of the family, Colonel James Traill (possibly Robert and James' father) acquired 1000 acres in Knockninny in Co Fermanagh during the Plantation. The other major grantees in Knockninny were the Balfour brothers - second cousins of the Traills - who built Castle Balfour in Lisnaskea around 1620 (pic shown here, click to enlarge).

James Traill was no dozer. He had a degree in theology from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and spent time with the Ambassador to Paris. Robert Traill too was in France, joining James there in 1625 and staying until around 1630 - he was later described as a "Grim Geneva Minister".

Around 1633, Sir James Hamilton appointed Traill "...He choosed for him a very learned, discreet, and religious master, one Mr. James Trail..." to be tutor for his son. The son was " travel some years for his improvement, which he did the length of Rome, very safely and successfully, and returned with great improvements in such things whereunto his genius allowed..."

So James Traill showed young Hamilton jr, the ways of continental life. Traill wrote to Hamilton sr. from Paris in October 1633, summarising their trek around France. It wasn't a holiday - the letter says that young Hamilton started his day at 7am with two hours study of French or Latin, then classes in dancing and fencing, then oral French, followed by an hour of translation. Once he had a grasp of French he was going to move on to study "logic and mathematics". At the start of the day and at the end were his "duties of piety". Traill went on to outline a proposed "circuit of France", plus a trip to Geneva and Italy - Florence and Rome in particular.

When they came back, Traill joined Oliver Cromwell's army and rose to Lieutenant Colonel. It's not very PC, but Cromwell said of him "If only I had 10,000 James Traills, I would drive the Pope out of Italy" - a country that Traill was already very familiar with!

Traill married Mary Hamilton (daughter of James Hamilton's brother John - and therefore a cousin of Hamilton jr.) in 1647. However in 1649 James Traill had to leave Ulster "...on account of malignants..." and went to stay with his brother Robert in Edinburgh. Robert also knew the Hamiltons well - he and Rev James Hamilton (who was another cousin of Hamilton jr.) were both ministers in Edinburgh and signed the Solemn League and Covenant together on 11 April that same year. They also both accompanied their friend and coleague James Guthrie to the gallows in 1661 when he was executed by order of King Charles II.

Some time in the 1650s, James Traill's payment for his military service was said to be " in lieu of his back pay and this land near Killyleagh he named Tullochin. The last portion of this property was sold in 1770, by his grt grandson, the Rev. Hamilton Trail, who died in 1795, aged 75." The land was part of the Killyleagh estate which was by now owned by his former protégé, James Hamilton jr. ( pic below of the church with Hamilton's Killyleagh castle in the distance - click to enlarge)

Hamilton jr. wrote his will on 18 June 1659, naming Lieut-Col Traill as one of his executors, and died just two days later on 20 June 1659. He was buried at Bangor Abbey. Traill himself died about four years later, on 18th May 1663 and was buried at Killyleagh. There is a large memorial to him inside Killyleagh Parish Church, just down the hill from James Hamilton's castle - and where the Rowan Hamiltons still live today. The inscription on the memorial reads:

"Heere lyeth the body of Lef. Col. Jam(es) Traille who having severall years faithfully served his mast. in ye warr against ye Irish Rebells departed th(is) life at Tollachin 18 May 1663, haveing had issue by his wife Mary Traille als Hamilton, daughter to John Hamilton of Hamiltons Baun in ye county of Ardmagh, Esqr., broth(er) to ye Right Honl. ye Lord Viscount Claneboys; 4 sons & 8 daughters, James, John, Hans, James, Jane, Ann, Mar(y), Mathelda, Sarah, Ellenor, Magdalen, Margaret. Here lieth the body of Elizabeth Trail alias Read of Hollypark who departed this life 10 Jan 1818. And also near to this lies the remains of her husband, the Revd. Archibald Hamilton Trail of Hollypark, Killinchy, who departed this life 16 Apr 1844 in the 89th year of his age."

There's a humourous, but derogatory, stereotype where the first generation of Ulster-Scots settlers are dismissed as "sheep stealers and cattle thieves" or (to use an often-abused mid 17th century source, Rev Andrew Stewart of Donaghadee, who wrote about the settlers from England and Scotland) "the scum of both nations". These might be amusing, but they're very far from the whole story. James Traill is a perfect example of a sophisticated Europhile who was as comfortable in his youth with the Ambassador in Paris as he was in later life in his wee townland outside Killyleagh in County Down.

And if you've got a spare £375,000, there's a very nice house for sale at Tullykin right now!


Timothy Belmont said...

I was "Googling" Tallachin and your article popped up!

I've done a piece on the Traills of Ballylough.

They still live there and I met them this summer.

June Traill is admin. officer at the Giant's Causeway.


Mark Thompson said...

Lord Belmont,

Delighted to be of service! Ulster-Scots are everywhere!