Where's That?/Olderfleet 1365


Spelled Wulvricheford, Wokingisfyrth, Wolderfirth, Wolverflete, Ulderfleet and Wulfricchford in various records, it settled down to Olderfleet. P.W. Joyce in his Irish Names of Places agrees with an earlier authority that it is probable that in the first element is the ancient Irish name of the Larne water, Ollorbha, with the second element being a corruption of the word fiord (a long narrow arm of the sea, running up between high banks or cliffs, as on the coast of Norway).

The various forms were imperfect attempts at representing the sound of Ollarva-fiord. Though this once named the inlet between the neck of land called Curran and the mainland, south of Larne, Co Antrim, it now names neither a town, a townland, nor a parish. Speed indicated three castles on his 1610 map of Larne, one of which was Olderfleet Castle, but the ruin still standing, despite being so-named, was clearly the castle named Coraine.

Olderfleet Castle was granted to one James Fullerton, but like his 1603 grant of abbey lands in Co Donegal, he may never have developed it by importing his countrymen. Or perhaps this was the location of the 5,611 Co Antrim acres of the London-based Fullerton listed in 1876 Owners of Land of One Acre and Upwards? James Fullerton arrived in Dublin in 1587 from Scotland, probably Ayreshire, and the following year he was appointed master of the Free School in Ship Street. When Queen Elizabeth founded Trinity College in 1591, Fullerton was one of those persuaded to become a fellow. Later when he had been appointed one of the commissioners of the Ulster Plantation, he was able to ensure that two of the escheated counties of Cavan went to Trinity.

In 1603, Sir James Fullerton returned to England as an influential courier and tutor to Prince Charles. Another of the name to acquire a considerable holding during the plantation was Nicholas Fullerton, which holding was augmented by his nephew Col Adam Fullerton, in Co Derry. Apart from the above large Co Antrim holding, there were also three small Fullerton holdings in that county - 27 acres at Drummakeel, Ballycastle, and 18 and 19 acres at Ballyrickard, Raloo. There were two small holdings in Co Donegal, and one in Co Tyrone.

Eleven Fullerton wills from 1706 to 1856 had addresses in Aughnavolog, Co Down, Glendermott, and Campsey in Co Derry, Ramelton in Co Donegal, Gortinagin in Co Tyrone, as well as in Errigal, Ballinaris, Ballcannan and Lissachrin.

Fullerton, an Englishman, was placed in command of an army composed of those who did not desert after the 1594 defeat at the Ford of Biscuits, together with garrison troops from Galway, and recent levies in Connacht from the village of Cloncastle. He led them to the aid of the castle of Beleek, then under siege by Theobald Burke, nicknamed Theobald na gCeann. But in a sudden attack by the Irish, Fullerton was slain.

In 1636 one Ed Bourke, who had "a great charge of young children", engaged Henry Stanton as a resident tutor. "But a professed schoolmaster, one Fullerton, a Scottish man, living at Killala, some distance from Bourke's house, continually molested Stanton, so that he could not discharge his duties." Bourke petitioned the council to appoint some fit tutor, as the children were too young to be sent from home, and in the meantime to require Fullerton not to hinder Stanton. Apparently Fullerton was trying to displace Stanton and thereby secure the position for himself. But Bourke was not having this "by reason of the pronunciation of the Scottish or English cannot breake children to reduce them from the Irish to the perfect touch of the English speach . . . ". And RTE still struggles to bring us to the same "perfect touch of the English speach".

The place/hamlet of bird-catchers/ fowlers i.e. "fowlers town", first rendered Fowlertoune, was the name of a place in the parish of Dundonald, Ayrshire. "The first of the name on record is Alanus de Fowlertoun who founded a convent at Irvine in Ayrshire in the mid-13th century" (Ulster Surnames: Robert Bell). Lewis Fullerton of this family settled in Arran and his descendants were known as MacCamie (Mac Sheamais) or Jamiesons or Nelson. Current telephone directories south of the Border list 33 Fullerton entries, 27 of which are in the 07 area.