Sir Henry Dowcra

Sir Henry Dowcra (1564-1631) British commander at Derry, came to Ulster in 1600, landing with an army at Lough Foyle with the task of crushing the native Irish rebellion.

He occupied Derry without opposition, and formed alliances with Niall Garbh O'Donnell, a cousin of Red Hugh. He took part in the attack on the O'Donnell strongholds in Lifford and Ballyshannon, while taking Inishowen in a bloody rampage across the peninsula. King James appointed him Governor of Derry, and issued a charter for the new city:

"The towne or borough of Derrie is, by reason of the natural seat and situation thereof, a place very convenient to be made both a town of war and a town of merchandise - the king did give, grant and confirm - forever a free, entire, and perfect city and county of itself, to be called the city and county of Derry - Sir Henry to be provost for life, as fully as the lord mayor of London."

Opportunities in Ireland saw Dowcra's rise from army captain to knighted landowner. He was granted 2,000 acres of land near Lifford in the Ulster plantation was appointed Treasurer of War in Ireland in 1616, and made a member of the Privy Council. He became Baron Dowcra in 1621.

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