Jamestown, County Leitrim
Jamestown was originally built as a walled plantation town for seventeenth century English settlers. It used to be on the main
Sligoto Dublinroad (N4) and was known for the chicane formed by the pillars of the arch of the old town gate that straddles the road in the centre of the village. The top of the arch was partially knocked by a passing lorry in the early 1970s and Leitrim County Council decided at that point to completely take the top off to allow larger trucks to pass. This was agreed on condition that the top be restored when the village was bypassed. In the mid 1990s a bypass was built and the N4 no longer passes through the village but the top of the arch has still not been restored and the original stones have been lost. Every Christmas a lighted temporary arch is erected by the local community.
Two pubs and a church mark the centre of the town, surrounded by the remains of the boundary walls. The Dún (Doon) of
Drumsna, an iron age fortification designed to protect Connacht from invaders from the north lies about 1km from the village at it's nearest point.
The settlement was created by Royal Charter of James I in 1621, and was founded in 1622 as a plantation town carrying into action the decision of 1620 to plant Leitrim with loyal English settlers. It was granted to Sir Charles Coote, a Devonshire Planter, who fortified it with walls twenty feet high and six feet in thickness, enclosing an area of about four acres which contained a castle. It had an area of 200 acres under its liberty. The Borough with a very restricted franchise returned two members to the Irish Parliament until the Act of Union with Britain in 1801. Among its parliamentary representatives were Sir Charles Coote (1634-1660), John Fitzgibbons (later Lord Clare), (1776) and Richard (Humanity Dick) Martin. The surnames Butler and Clyne are particularly numerous in the Jamestown area.
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