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During the centuries following the demise of the Gaelic Chieftains, dramatic changes were to occur throughout Ireland, as the English administration endeavoured to strengthen its position. Previously both the Danes and the Normans had attempted and largely failed to defeat the resolve of the Gaelic Chieftains, however, by the beginning of the seventeenth century the situation looked bleak with the final defeat of Hugh O'Neill and his O'Donnell allies in the Nine Years War (known also as the Long Tyrone War) and their subsequent departure to the continent. James I took the opportunity to enrich his exchequer by confiscating lands and 'planting' English and Scots settlers in this fertile countryside. He also granted a new hereditary title - the baronetcy - to about 200 selected people on payment of £1,000 from each and on condition that they each maintained 30 soldiers in Ulster for his support.
As a result, Tyrone was divided into five precincts. The chief beneficiary in the Strabane precinct was the Earl of Strabane and the first Earl of Abercorn, who was descended from the Scottish Earls of Arran. He received 1,000 acres in the vicinity of the town and 2,000 at Dunnalong. Immediately after his grant in 1611 he began to reshape the hamlet he found on the banks of the Mourne into a planned town. He built a castle and around it 80 houses in which he settled 120 families.
At Castlederg Sir John Davies was granted some 2000 acres stretching from Killeter to Drumquin and Dromore and was charged with the responsibility of building a fortified house (the ruins of which can still be seen today) for the defence of the planters. Sir Claud Hamilton's estate lay mostly to the north-east and east of Strabane, including the Donemana and Plumbridge areas. By 1622, a four storey castle without doors and windows and with a nearly complete bawn, plus six houses had been built at Donemana. Meanwhile Sir J Clapham forfeited his grant of an estate of 3000 acres at Newtowne/Newtownstewart for failing to comply with the conditions. Sir W Stewart was to eventually come into it's possession. He rebuilt the Turlough O'Neill castle together with a new town, which in 1618 had 14 houses and an inn. A parish church was also erected in 1622 to replace the ruined one at Ardstraw, three miles away. It was dedicated to St. Eugene as every church at Ardstraw had been since the sixth century.
The vast majority of the settlers in this part of Tyrone were Scots-for the most part thrifty, hardworking farmers and craftsmen who soon created civic orders and stamped their character on the area. In Strabane three water mills were erected and a church and school house were founded. In 1612 Strabane was made a parliamentary borough and sent two MPs to the Irish Parliament. They were James Montgomery and Daniel Molyneux, Esq. The Charter also provided, amongst other things, the holding of regular fairs and markets which took place continuously through the centuries up to the 1940's. Nowadays, the recreation of such events occur on a bi-annual basis returning to Strabane the flavour of rural life which it had so often experienced in the past.