[From Manx Families, A.W.Moore, MS 1889]

Cosnahan's of Ballacosnahan & Seafield


Crest: A Boar's Head

There is the following memorandum in Bishop Wilson's Note Book, dated 1729, relating to the Cosnahan's: 'Above 200 years ago, one Cosnahan, supposed to have come from Scotland, arrived at Peel Town in the Isle of Man and settled there, had issue two sons, for one of whom he purchased an estate near Peel, called Ballamoar.1 The other son he educated as a clergyman, the descendants of whom settled in Kirk Santon, and have been Vicars of that Parish successively." Of the elder branch who lived at Ballacosnahan, we know little except that they continued there till 1760 (see below), when the line terminated in an heiress, Ann, who married Dr Thomas. The younger branch has made a greater mark in the Island. It is not known whether the clergyman mentioned above held a Manx living or not (see 'Notes on Cosnahan's' below), but a descendant of his, John, was Vicar of German 1585 and of Jurby in 1575, and William was Vicar of Santon from 1614 to 1618. He was succeeded by his son 'Sir John,' whose demise is recorded in the Register of that Parish as follows: 'Sir John Cosnahan,2 Vicar of this Parish 38 years, died June 24, 1656, and was buried the next day following in the yard under the great broad stone, for he left it in his Will that he should be buried there. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Hugh, Vicar 23 years, buried Sept 25, 1690, in his father's grave, and he by his son, John, Vicar 34 years, buried under the same stone. John, the Vicar General 3 (obit 1749) married Ann Corrin and had issue, 2 sons and 4 daughters. These three Johns were also buried under the great stone. The last John's children were (1) Joseph, Vicar of Braddan (see below), (2) Hugh,4 a merchant in Douglas, and M.H.K., and one of the commissioners appointed by the people of Douglas to try and modify the fiscal arrangements Manx has united to the Isle of Man to the English Crown in 1765. He married Eleanor Finch (obit 1790, buried at Braddan) at St Matthew's Douglas, in 1753, and had issue, 10 sons and 5 daughters, of which (1) John (born 1754, obit …) married in 1777 his cousin Catherine Finch (obit 1828, buried at Braddan). He was an M.H.K, for many years High Bailiff of Douglas, and afterwards Deemster (as for his issue, see below). The next four [male] children died young. (6) James (born 1762) owner of Lark Hill in Braddan, married Ann (obit 1812), daughter of Richard Moore of Ballamoar near Ramsey, in 1790, and had issue (6a) Richard, an advocate at the Manx Bar who died unmarried, (6b) James, who resided in Liverpool. He married twice and had issue, one son and several daughters, by his first wife. (6c & 6d) Hugh & John Joseph 5 (obit unmarried); they were in the African Trade. (6e) Ellinor (obit sans progeny) married Bowyer Harrison, Vicar of Maughold. (6f) Hannah (obit sans progeny) married Evan Evans, solicitor of Liverpool. (7 & 8) William 6 (obit sans progeny) & Joseph 7 (obit in infancy). (9) Mark (born 1773) married his cousin Alice (born 1771, obit 1812), youngest daughter of William Bridson of Kirk Braddan, in 1798, and had issue, 4 sons and 2 daughters, all of whom died without issue except Eleanor who married Robert Kaye. (10) George 8 (obit in infancy); of the daughters (11) Catherine (b 1759) married (1) James, son of George Moore of Ballamoore, near Peel (see Moore's of the Hills) & had issue & (2) James, eldest son of Vicar General Wilks, and had issue of whom only one had issue, Eliza, who married George Herbert Newton & had issue one daughter now living unmarried in Castletown; (12) Ann (born 1766) married John Curry, M.D., in 1788, and had issue. The other three daughters died young. The remaining children of Vicar General John were Ellinor, married the Revd T. W. Woods, 9 Vicar of Braddan, & had issue; Catherine (obit 1789) married the Revd Samuel Gell, Vicar of Lonan & had one son who died young; and Ann married William Bridson of Douglas (see Bridson's, p 32), a merchant, for many years in partnership with his brother in law Hugh. Joseph, the eldest son (see above), Vicar of Braddan and owner of Seafield married (1) Margaret (obit 1760) daughter of Robert Cæsar of Ballahick and sister of Mr Charles Moore (Deemster), and had issue (1) Jane (obit sans progeny) married Francis de la Prime, (2) Ann married John Joseph Bacon (see Bacons) from whom the Bacons got Seafield; and (3) Margaret married Captn Tenison of Dublin. Joseph married (2) Catherine,10 daughter of Vicar General Robert Radcliffe & had issue three sons and one daughter. The sons all died sans progeny, the daughter, Catherine, married Robert Casement and had issue. Thus the elder branch of the Seafield Cosnahan's in the male line came to an end.

To return to the younger branch: John & Catherine Finch had issue (1) John 11 (obit unmarried), (2) Hugh (obit 1822), Captain in Royal Navy, married in 1817 Georgina, daughter of Lt Col Adams (of H.M. 60th Regt, who died of wounds received at Talavera) and had issue (1) George (obit young), (2) Catherine married Revd T. F. Moore of Bradfield House, Berkshire and has issue, (3) Georgina married Edward Wyndham Gooden of Compton House, Dorset. (4) James Hugh (died without progeny), (4) Mary Katherine (obit unmarried). 3rd son of John and Catherine Finch was Michael Finch, admiral (obit unmarried, about 1885, aged 95, buried at St Peter's, Isle of Thanet), 4th Philip a midshipman in H.M.S. Shannon (obit in 1822, drowned). He was complimented for his gallant conduct in the action with the Chesapeake. 5th James Mark (obit unmarried) are officer in the H.M.S East India Co's service. 6th Mark James (obit unmarried) was a member of the Manx Bar. (7) Augustus (obit unmarried). (8) Isabella married William Tennison, Co. Monaghan, and had issue.

The only bearers of the name of Cosnahan now (1888) in the Isle of Man are the Cosnahan's of Moar Veg, German, and an individual who has recently come from South America to live in Douglas. He is, however, unable to trace his descent certainly from either the BallaCosnahan or Seafield branch. The Major John Cosnahan, who was at the Battle of Quebec in 1759 and who afterwards married Lady Janet Scott, daughter of the Duke of Buceleuck, is supposed to be descended from the elder branch of the Manx Cosnahan's. (see also p 118)

Further Notes on Cosnahan's

Bishop Wilson wrote with regard to the elder branch, 'the grandson of him on whom the estate of Ballamoar was settled had issue William, Hugh, Thomas. John the son of William is now (1739) in possession of the said estate of Ballamoar & has a numerous family of children. His son, also William, was CP[?] Patrick. John(?) the son of Hugh went abroad and died in Scotland. Thomas the son of the above Thomas is now living.' The following information is supplied by Col. Anderson: 'William, the eldest son of John, son of William, was my great-grandfather on the maternal side, as his only child married Dr Thomas, & her youngest daughter married my father Captain Anderson (80th Regt). William died at Ballacosnahan of which property he was owner.


1 BallaMoar was the Treen in which BallaCosnahan was situated.

2 People came to him from all parts of the Island to have their children baptized during the period 1650-6 as he is said to have been the only clergyman who dared to baptize in accordance with the rites of the Established Church.

3 He says Bishop Wilson was ‘the first purchaser of the estate called Ballakelly,’ now called Seafield.

4 Hugh was first cousin of Captn Robert Brown, the Revd T.E. Brown’s grandfather. He married a Miss Drumgold. The Drumgold’s came from the north of Ireland and had previously intermarried into the Stowells. [Editor’s correction: Captn Robert Brown md Margaret Cosnahan 3 Jan 1737, Braddan; Mgt was the sister of Hugh Cosnahan. Another Captn Rbt Brown, son of Rbt Brown & Mgt Cosnahan, married Jane Drumgold.]

5 Died at St Thomas in 1853 (or see Manx Worthies).

6 William (b 1764, son of Hugh Cosnahan & Ellinor Finch) married Jane Mylevorrey (born 1763, Jurby Parish) 12 Feb 1785, German Parish.

7 JMO: Parish records indicate Hugh Cosnahan & Ellinor Finch had a son Hugh, born 11 May 1763, St Matthews Parish, but not a son Joseph.

8 JMO: born 9 Aug 1776, St Matthews Parish, to Hugh & Ellinor, per parish register.

9 JMO: Thomas W. Woods, per parish register.

10 JMO: parish registers show no Catherine Radcliffe md to xxx Christian except Jn Xtn 1756 in Patrick (when Joseph Cosnahan was alive and md to wife Mgt Caesar). Joseph Cosnahan & Ellinor Christian als Radcliffe had children John Joseph 1762, Braddan; Hugh 1763, Braddan. Also, Joseph Cosnahan had children: Mark 1767, Patrick; Radcliffe 1761, Patrick; Radcliffe 1766, Patrick; Catharine 1768, Patrick; the boys died young; Catharine md Roger Casement 1787, Patrick. The joint will of Joseph & Mgt, made 1760, (Joseph survived when Mgt died 1760) mentioned Ellinor, Joseph’s 2nd wife, as executor when he died in 1768. (Ellinor was from Patrick, which might be why Mark, Radcliffe, Radcliffe & Catharine were born there.)

11 This John had the estate of Ballakelly in Santon

[fpc - in Lib Epicopi dealing with Peel Cottages (all near the Church) a Sir John Cosnahan has appeared by 1593; by 1600 a William Cosnahan is in an adjacent premises and by 1634 both are referred to as 'Sir' ie clergymen]


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