Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sproules in the Hearth Money Rolls of 1665

The Hearth Money Rolls of 1665 gives us a fairly good picture of the Sproules present in Ulster at that time. The Hearth Money Rolls was a tax raised to compensate those cavaliers who had lost their estates fighting for Charles I in the Civil War. It was levied at two shillings per year for each fireplace in the household. The names gathered on this tax gives us a fairly good record, therefore, of households in Ulster.

There were 7 or 8 original Sproule families who settled in different parts of Ulster in the early 1600s.

Sproules in the Ulster Hearth Money Rolls of 1665

Location of the Sproule Family Groups in Ulster 1665

The Hearth Roll List was compiled from:

  • Bill Macafee, Family and Local History Website
  • Donegal Genealogy Resources
  • Tyrone Genealogical Research 


  1. Hello (about 15th cousin). John Denniston of Dumbarton and Raphoe Donegal married (2nd) wife) Margaret Spreull who was the widow of Adam Colquhoin of Hill in the parish of Bonhill. Margaret was the daughter of James Spreull of Dalquharn and Cowden. Amongst John & Margaret's sons were 1) The Rev Archibald and 2) William (my line). James Spreull, John and Robert Denniston were recorded at the muster at Raphoe in 1630. In the 1654 survey I note the following "“Mr. Archibald Sproule holdeth the pmisees by purchase from his brother Mr. Robt. Sproule & Alexr. Innes, wch they held by deed of Indenture now in being from Dr. Jon. Lesly then Bp. Of Rapho for ye space of sixty years comencing 14th July 1634 at ye yearely rent of £10.” Archibald and Robert Sproule appear to be the sons of James Sproule. Robert Sproule disposed of his share of the land at Raphoe to his brother and appears to have settled near Castlederg in Co Tyrone. Robert married Jane Denniston about 1660 and died in 1689. He is buried in the Church of Ireland graveyard in Castlederg. His wife Jane Denniston Sproule died in 1712. My Denniston line goes from William mentioned above to his son George (1658-1717) who was 1st cousin of the Laird Denniston of Dumbarton.

  2. Hello Cousin! Thank you for your comment and you are most welcome. Yes, your ancestor Margaret is indeed sister of the Sproule brothers who came to Donegal. I reckon Robert who married Jean Denniston and is buried in Castlederg is a son of one of these three - which one I can't say. Have a look at the posts in late Sept and early August - see if you agree. I would also love your thoughts on why James of Cowden sold up! My theory is that the sons actually wanted to leave and go to Ireland.
    It is terrific to make contact with you, and I would love to stay in touch. I have set up a Facebook page in the last week, and you would be most welcome to join us. The link is at the top of the page on the right - links don't seem to work on these comments!

  3. I had viewed your site a few months ago meaning to leave a comment. By the time I did I now see that you already had most of the above included. What I have seen from my Scottish research is that most of the Old Scottish gentry families had very little land and the new lands in Ulster looked very promising. In addition they appeared to go there with close family groups. I have not reviewed the Spreulls in Scotland to any great extent other than when they crossed my Denniston research. I will see if I have anything additional on my files for you.

  4. Hello, I have been reseaching my Sproul ancestry for more than thirty-five years and have juust concluded that my ancestors, James and Rebecca (Baxter) Sproul, hailed from the townland of Kilclean in the Parish of Urney. James and Rebecca married ca. 1825 and emigrated to New Brunswick in 1833. James was a stone mason and a convert to Methodism. Rebecca was a member of the Church of Ireland and is said to have been extraordinarily short. Their children were: William, Eliza, John, Rebecca and Nancy (twins) and Helen. My Sprouls were almost all fair complected, with blues eyes and sandy-coloured hair. Many died suddenly of heart conditions in their 50s or 60s. I am anxious to connect James Sproul to one of the known Urney lines. He was born ca. 1805 and is said to have been the son of a William Sproul. James' mother was quite possibly a Roulston or a Kincaid.

    Peter Murphy (in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)