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

The Families of Wilks, Corlett (Collett) and Cubbon


The Revd James Wilks,1 Vicar General, born 1719, died 1777, married Elizabeth Christian (died 1799) and had issue James, who was High Bailiff of Ramsey; Mark,2 afterward Colonel and Governor of St Helena, who married Dorothy Taubman (see Taubman’s); Thomas; Ann who married John Corlett a mariner, a brother of Thomas Corlett, an ironmonger in Douglas, and had issue James, a sea captain, who married Miss Brandt, a Russian lady, and had issue Sir Mark W. Collett, Bart., born 1816, died 1905, a Governor of the Bank of England, and James Christian Corlette. J.C. Corlette had issue James, who has issue Herbert Christian now living at Onslow Gardens, SW; Margaret who married Vicar General Cubbon and had issue Mark, afterwards Sir Mark, and Commissioner of the Mysore.


{{Coat of Arms adopted by James Corlette was drawn here:


Arms: combined Corlett arms [silver crosses on red [[gules]] and blue [[azure]] & Christian arms [black[[sable]] field with gold [[or]] chevron and arrows; Crest: Wolf head; Motto: E’Vethik}}

1 See Manx Worthies, pp 35-40[? pp26/7]

2 See Manx Worthies, pp 3-6 [?pp155/6]

FPC - the following tree is based on entries in wills, Parish registers etc.

                                                                                                1                   2
    Charles Moore  = Margt Harrison                                         Mariod/Mary Cooper  =  Daniel Christian =  Dorothy Whitehead als Fairbrother
     deemster      |  d1738                                                          d 1683/4   |   Parish Clerk    |
      - 1738/9     |                                                                            |     d 1700/1      +---------------------------------------------+
                   |                                                                            |                                                                 |
         +---------+------+-----+-----+-----+-----+--------+                        +-----------+-----+-----------+-------------+--------------+                  +------------+
         |         |      |     |     |     |     |        |                        |                 |           |             |              |                  |            |
         |         |      |     |     |     |     |        |                c.1690  |                 |           |             |              |                  |            |
      Thomas   Charles  James  Ann  Cath  John  Elizth   Margt     George Wilks = Ann               Jane        John        William         Betty              Joney         Ann = Thomas Curry
                 1699                             |    1672-1769     of Dublin   |  b. c1665                     ua 1684      ua 1684        ua 1684
               d 1732                             |        |         c.1670-1743 |  d. c1719        d 1736       d by 1708    d by 1708      d by 1708
                   |                              |        |                     |  in Dublin                    d by 1708    d by 1708      d by 1708
                   |                              |        |          +----------+--------------+------------+
                   |                       1719   |        |          |          |              |            |
Jane Christian  = -+              John Moore = ---+        |        John        Ann           Mary      other ch d. young
d/o Capt John   |                            |             |    c.1690-1768     c.1695        c.1695
  Christian     v                            v             |          |       (in Dublin 1720)  | (in Dublin 1720) 
 Milntown    Thomas                                        +----- = +-+                         +- = Patrick Harrald
                                    |                     |       
                                  John                  James     
                                 1717-1724            1719-1777          
                                                      (1) | (2)
                                                    ?1746 | 1776
                                       Margaret Woods  = -+- = Elizabeth Christian -1799
                                        1724-1755      |     |   (?dau Wm Christian, Ballamoar)
     +--------+--------+-----------+-------+-----------+     +----+-----------+----------+-----------+----------+---------+
     |        |        |           |       |           |          |           |          |           |          |         |
  Thomas   Deborah   Margaret   Deborah  Elizabeth   James      James        Ann        Mark      William    Thomas     Jane
1747-1756 1750-1751  1749-xxxx 1752-1812 1753-1780 1755-1755 1757-1840    1758-1839  1759-1831   1761-1764    1763-      1765-
                        |          |         |                   |      d. St Louis      |
             +----------+        1776       1776                 |        Missouri       |
             |    Richard Gelling  =         = Thomas Corlett    |            |          +-------------+
           1769                    |         v                   |            |                        |
             = Thomas Cubbon       v   +-------------------------+            |                    (1) | (2)
             | 1739-1830              1794                                  1782                  1793 | 1813
             v                         =  Catherine Moore       John Corlett  =     Harriet Maclean = -+- = Dorothy Taubman
                                       |          nee Cosnahan                |                     |          -1837                      
     +--------------+-------------+----+                                      v          +----------+   
     |              |             |                                                      |
 Catherine     Eliza Elinor   Claudius                                                  Laura
  1795-1875     1799-1878    1800-1818                                                1797-1888
                    = George Hibbert Newton

A common feature of many of the accounts of both the Revd James and his famous son Mark is that they claim that the origins of the family are unknown - the loss of many Irish records in the destruction of the Four Courts record office in the 1922 civil war is a major hindrance (there are patron submitted entries for putative Dublin marriage + baptisms but no church or full dates are given so they must be treated as guesswork).

There is an anonymous set of Manx genealogies written on the back of an old unused 1830's receipt book (possibly by Goodwin but the Wilks entry in the Goodwin genealogies does not match), that includes the Wilks family - a rather confused account but it references an 1851 book "Some Account of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers" by John B Nicholls (held by British Library) which apparently mentions a William Wilks as being associated in 1617 with the Irish Society in connection with that Company who originated from Buckinghamshire but lost his estate during the civil war, another mentions a Marke Wilks, 4th son, living in 1675 (apparently in some paper cutting dating from April 1827) but gives no coherent account of the family though mentioning lost estate in Yorkshire and a Quay in Dublin ? named after the family.

The first notice of the Wilks name on the Island is the entry in the Santan Baptismal record for John son of James Wilks and Margaret - John senior is noted as of Ashold (later to be known as Newtown (as developed by Poole & McGwire). The next, and key, document is the will of Ann Wilks nee Christian who died intestate in Dublin c. 1719 and is entered in 1721 book 1 of Episcopal Wills - this states:

d 2 yrs ago in Dublin;ch John, Mary + Anne (last 2 in Ireland);John sworn pledges David Young + James Taubman;PoA dated 13 Oct 1720 from Dublin - from George Wilks (smith, Dublin), Mary + Patrick Harrald + Ann Wilks - May 1721 George came to court + ack'd PoA;court proc as dispute between Wilks + Thomas Curry(Peel) over the effects (in particular the brewhouse) of mother Ann who with her sister Jane admrs of brother oJohn(decree 1700) + also deaths of sibs Wm + Bessy - court decrees Wilks due half a quarter of a dwelling house + garden of Daniel Christian decd and to pay 8s to exors of their gfa Daniel Christian being 4th part of sum John Christian rcvd from his father to whom John gave his part of house + garden in pledge, the brewhouse decreed a chattel in the inventory of their gmo and thus no remedy.

This property was sold in 1728

North Side Sales German May 1729 #9: dated 2 May 1728;Thos Currey + Anne ; George Wilks (Ballasalley); Jane Christian(Peel) sell for £14 manks to Hugh Cannon a house garden and backside known as Dan Christian's houses the whole sold being three quarters & a half a quarter of the premises; witt William Quay x; Wm Tear;setting quest put 6d rent;

The next appearance of the Wilks is in two deeds when John Wilks buys property in Ballasalla

Old Malew deeds Bundle 2 #108: dated 30 sep 1720;Nich Woods(Ballasalla) sells for £10 to John Wilks,smith now in Ballysally, a dwelling house + garden with a little house adj to north end of dwelling house situtate at lower end of Ballasalla adj to a field of Deemster Moore's known as Bwolley Muck,rent 3d Lords rent;witt Hugh Killey x, Chas Moore junr;noted that Hugh Woods owned that £5 due to mortgage held by Robt Quayle;court Oct 1722


Old Malew deeds Bundle 1 #89 dated 25 Apr 1721;Wm Harrison senr (Cordiman) + consent of wife Jane and of John Harrison (Balladda Arbory) + wife Ellinr ; sell for £6 to friend John Wilks,smith, Balleysalley a little croft known as the Small Croft (lds rent 4d);witt Jon Cottiman, Robt Casemt, Wm Bridson;court May 1722 and

South Side Sales Malew May 1723 #42 dated 6 Apr 1723;Issable Woods (relict Jon Woods tinker of Kk Malew) sells to relieve my pressing necessities and to support me in my old age) for £2 6s to Jon Wilks (Smith Ballasally) - money to be paid in three instalments - houses + gardens of 3d intack rent situate at the Lean end near Robt Knickell's house;Witt Robt Maddrell, Wm Quayle;Court May 1723

The small croft was sold in 1740 by John but bought back 4 years later by Revd James Wilks - the other property would appear to be sold in 1767 - John Wilks d 12 jan 1768 intestate at Ballasalla;son rev James Wilks administrator.

SSS Malew Oct 1740 #54: dated 21 Jun 1740;John Wilks(Ballasalla) + wife Margt als Moore sell for £35 to Capt Richard Tyldesley(Kk Arbory) dwelling house, brewhouse + cowhouse lying near the cross in Ballasalla(intack rent 4d);both seal, Margt x;witt Robert Gell x,John Gill;

SSS May 1745 #58: dated 19 Feb 1744/5;Capt Richd Tyldesley (Kk Arbory) + wife Ann sell for £35 to Revd James Wilks (Kk German) sell a house + garden with the back buildings in Ballasalla commonly known as Wilkses House of 4d Lord's rent purchased from John Wilks and wife Margt;Witt Tho Christian, Wm Stevenson

SSS May 1767 #65 dated 28 Jan 1767;Rev James Wilks(Vicar Kk Michael) + wife Elizth als christian sell for £31 11s 6d (british) to Robert Radcliffe(Ballasalla) dwelling house in Ballasalla (+cellar, brewhouse,cowhouse + garden) adj street on south east and north east, Ewan Looney on southwest and Thomas Moore on northwest (rent 4d);witt Ewan looney, Tho Moore;(Elizth wilks signed later witt John quiggin, Mary Quayle);annexed agreement by Thomas Moore that present wall along northside of garden and so along the north side of house to the smiths shop shall remain and be the boundary; in an attached deed dated Mar 1767 [day blank];Robert Radcliffe + wife Isable sell for £31 11s 6d to John Quayle esq(Creggans) a dwelling house in Ballasalla etc;witt Wm Fitzsimmons, Isabella Christian x;;ack'd 6 mar 1767

Margaret Wilks is noted in the Malew Presentments dated Jan 29 1720/1 as being cursed by John Harrison (of BallaClague), noted as Mrs Wilks - he calling her a damn'd whore, a bitch and a leprous Jade, though she 'has passed by this offence'; however she was presented in Oct 1722 for using 'unbecoming language'. She was again involved in presentments in November and December 1723, the latter involving an acrimonious argument with Margaret McCrea in which Ashold was mentioned. Margaret would appear to be significantly (20yrs?) older than John based on putative baptismal dates, only 2 children are known which would appear to confirm this - son James being born when she was about 42 .

Father in law George was also presented to absenting himself from Divine service as wellas fined in a couple of court cases for non-attendance.

In October 1732 John Wilks along with Henry Clucas and Robert Caesar, was presented for adultery with Mary Keig of Kk Arbory.

The first significant appearance of the Wilks family with coining is in Lib Scacc

Lib scacc pp 39 et seq 21 May 1723

Evidence taken at an inquiry into the passing of counterfeit copper pence for which misdemeanour Geo Wilks of Ballasalla and son John are suspected. Thomas Tubman coroner of Rushen empanelled the jury.

Lawrence Welsh testified that on Friday last [17 May 1723] he met John Wilks at his 'own' in Ballasalla and requesting payment of a few pence owing to him was paid 6d in brass 2d of which he spent in Wilk's house [John and father George would thus appear to be running an ale house as well as the smithy]. Shortly afterwards Thomas Taubman entered and seeing the pence took note of them, stating they were 'Rapps' and that as coroner he was bound to make a report to the Lord - however Welsh did not think them counterfeit and showed the last remaining 1d to the jury. Welsh also stated that when he asked for the payment John Wilks asked him to stay a little until his wife, who had the key, would return.

John Saint, one of the soldiers sent by the Deputy Governor to search John Wilks's house, testified that George Wilks on being told that Saint had authority to search gave liberty to do so, but noticed that during the search George appeared to be trying to hide something in his right hand - Saint found a manckes penny in a pocket of George's breeches which appeared to be counterfeit - he also testified that George had acknowledged he had 'run or made that penny' to try the M[rest of word lost in binding]; Another soldier John Nelson stated that he found 2d in the pocket of John Wilk's apprentice John Moore (later described as brother-in-law to John) which he thought were counterfeit and delivered them to the coroner.

Thomas Tubman then testified that he had gone to Wilk's house where there was some other company and sat down with them, after which Welsh took some brass out of his pocket and looked earnestly at it - at which Tubman asked to see the brass and finding them rough told Welsh he though they were 'Rapps' but not made in England'. Mr Wilks having left the room, Welsh smiled but made motion with his eyes and hands as though to point to the upper room where Mr Wilks works - Tubman then requested Welsh to exchange two or three of these pence with him. At the search Mrs Wilks pulled out a parcel of brass from which Tubman picked out some 9d which appeared to him to be counterfeit. During the search Tubman also found 'a pott for running metal into the flaske or mold' together with a piece of copper.

Wilks's apprentices David Corlett and John Wattleworth testify they know nothing about making or counterfeiting and as they usually wrought with John or his father George they saw no reason to induce them to believe that the Wilks's were guilty.

The petty jury indicts George on the statement he made in which he alleges he made the coin 'to try his flasques how they would cast or try the Mettal' but there was no material evidence against either John Wilks, his wife or John Moore.
Petty jury was Rich Quay, Ro Wainwright, Wm Woods, John Crebbin, Jo Kneen and Richd Reece (all bar Reece marked X);

Charles Moore [Deemster and father-in-law of John Wilks] orders arrest of George Wilks to close prison to allow further indictment, a later entry indicates that John Wattleworth and William Harrison of Cordamen agree to stand suretty for his appearance at court - there is a note that at Head Court on 8 Oct 1723 George Wilks was acquitted by the Grand Jury (almost certainly because of their distaste for the capital punishment )- note adds 'vide 24 Keys verdict' - the Keys then declare the Grand Jury acted illegally and are to be fined 20s each, which they appeal both against the fine and slur on their reputations and see it reduced to 5s each.


[note Rapper is found in the OED as 'an arrant lie' now obsolete but noted in 1611 - this may have been the base for the 18th colloquial Rap used for an Irish counterfeit coin worth half a farthing which passed for a halfpenny in 18th C Ireland due to lack of coinage - OED records use in 1724 in Swift's Drapier Letters - this may also be the basis of the phrase 'care not a rap']

At this time counterfeiting copper coins was under Irish and English law only a misdemeanour as such coins were considered tokens (and due to the perennial shortage of small change in the period after the civil war many local tokens for pence or smaller fractions thereof had been issued e.g. on the Islands the Murrey's pence which were subsequently legalised)- counterfeiting of silver and gold coinage however was classified as treason and was a capital offence. However under Manx law counterfeiting of all coinage, brass or silver, was a captital offence and in fact one Irish counterfeiter was hung for this offence (though for counterfeiting silver money) in 1724 thus George Wilks was rather fortunate, possibly his relationship to Deemster Charles Moore helped!. The value of the metal in the coins of the period was generally around 60% of their face value (and even less for some Irish issues) thus there was a profit to be made by counterfeiting although most counterfeits were smaller than the legal issue and often had base metals (eg lead added). Larger scale counterfeiters would invest in the presses and dies to produce coins from blanks, which were often on sale as 'buttons' but smaller scale counterfeiters would cast their coins by using moulds of fine (green) sand into which the molten metal would be poured (see <www.coins.nd.edu/ColCoin/ColCoinIntros/Casting.intro.html> for more detailed description of the various options) - the coins would be finished by fileing off the tags of metal left by the casting process . Since the molten metal contracts as it solidifies, the counterfeit coins would be slightly smaller than true coins and when fresh from the mould the surface would feel rough from thecommonly used sand moulds - Thomas Taubman would appear to be familiar with detection of counterfeit coins, probably using the rough feel to identify counterfeits.

The Mancks penny that were counterfeited was probably the issue of 1709 which were themselves cast - the details of where these were produced is still something of a mystery - Lord Derby sent them over. Crellin writing in 1860's suggests that they had been produced at Ballasalla but it is possible he had confused what would appear to be a case of blatant counterfeiting by the Wilks with the earlier legal production elsewhere. It would appear that for much of the early 18th century counterfeit brass coinage outnumbered legal coinage in Ireland - possibly the same was true in the Island as the 1709 brass money, which appeared to be easy to counterfeit, was demonetised.

Both George and John Wilks do however play a part in the legal minting of the 1733 coinage - John is paid for crucibles, whereas George, the longest employed person, is paid 10s (British) per week for 62 weeks, for some of which he operated the furnace - possibly the other time was required to build and equip the mint whereas other workers were paid little more than day labourer rates on a per day basis. The actual coining was done by two skilled minters brought over from England - the mint was in Castle Rushen.

Between the 1709 and 1733 legal coinage can be found a number of 'paterrn pieces' that resemble coinage, one group dated between 1721 and 1725 and a second group dated 1732 which may possibly be unadopted patterns for the 1733 issue.Some commentators have linked those of 1721-1725, which also include a likely silver halfcrown, with the activities of Poole and McGwire - John Quayle in an undated draft of a reply to a 1766 observation by Charles Lutwidge on the currency states that Pool & Macquire, lesees of the customs, coined in 1726 'which were soon scouted out of the Island' [part of Bridge House papers see MNHL MS.483C(f)] - in a letter to Derby and the Keys Poole & McGwire include a specimum coin. Southall and Crellin note that some of these pieces would appear to have been circulated.


A Kelly (Mannin Collections) Documents relating to Manx Currency in the Manx National Heritage Library selfpublished 2003(copy held in MNH library Douglas)
A Kelly (Mannin Collections) IoM Coins Sales List Peel November 2010
M. J. Southall Coins of the Isle of Man IoM:Lily Publications (obo the author) 2020 (ISBN978-1-899602-34-6


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