Executions 1724-1872



Executions on the Island were relatively infrequent - Moore notes:

The Manx customary criminal code was a very severe one. Thus, thefts of the value of sixpence or more were accounted felony, and were punished by death. The result of this was that juries were wont to find that the value of the goods stolen did not amount to that sum. With a view to putting a stop to this practice, it was enacted, in 1629, that all sheep-stealing and "stealing and cutting of bee hives in gardens," whatever the value of the goods stolen, was felony, and that various other thefts of the same kind, but apparently considered as being of a less serious nature, were also felony, if above the value of sixpence, while for thefts below that value the offenders were to be whipped " or set upon a wooden horse." To ensure convictions on such charges " the most sufficient men in the Parishes," i.e., the men of most substance, were to be chosen as jurors. Such sanguinary legislation would naturally become almost a dead letter, and that it was so is shown by the paucity of the death sentences recorded.

A list of 'Felons executed, reprieved and pardoned' for 1640-1648 is also available.

1654 William Kerruish and Robert Callow - Malew parish reg - most of those executed were it seems buried in Malew.

The hangman could well have been someone awaiting execution - in Lib Plac can be found the following by Earl James

Dated 22 May 1714

Whereas John Curlett of my Isle of Man stands
indicted and convicted by the laws there for murdering
of a bastard child and for his said crime now lyes
under sentence of death. These are thereby
to authorize and require you to see that execution
be speedily doine according to the said sentence.
Nevertheless if the said John Curlett should rather
chuse to hang Nelly Clucas, whom by an order bearing
date herewith is for murdering of her own child to be
executed then it is my will and pleasure
and doe hereby give and grant full and free
pardon for the murder by him comitted and for which
he now stands convicted, and doe hereby free & acquitt
him the said John Curlett from all penaltys and
forfeitures unto which by the laws of my Island he is
lyable for the said murder. Given under my hand
and seal at Halnaker the 22d day of May 1714.
To the Governair of my Isle of Man
or in his absence to the deputy
usul there and other my officers
whom these may concern

along with this was also the order to hang Ellinor Clucas



CLUCAS Ellin Ellin Clucas als Kirmeen - Malew Burials - who was hanged for murdering her own child but made an open confession of her crime and died penitentiously
2 Jul 1714
WILSON Robert Counterfeiting (Treason) - Malew Burials - of Newtown in the North of Ireland, for bringing pewter half-crowns & shillings into this island & passing three of those shillings
17 Jul 1724
QUIRK John Theft - Malew Burials - John Quirk born in Jurby, who was hanged for house breaking
17 Jul 1724
QUARK Ann Malew Burials - of Douglas, wife of one Peter Moony, for murdering 2 of her bastard children which she said were twins, ...and denying the fact was buried near the gallows the same day
3 Feb 1726/7
KEWLEY John Malew Burials - of Ballaugh, who was hanged the 16th June for theft, was buried in Malew Church the same morning
16 Jun 1732
CLUCAS John Burglary
8 Aug 1735
CLUCAS William Burglary
8 Aug 1735
KELLY William 'Confederacy'
8 Aug 1735
BRIDSON John Murder
30 Jan 1746
CURLETT John Murder (of wife)
[22 Feb]1765
TRACY Matthew Highway Robbery
20 Apr 1781
GALLAGHER James Highway Robbery
20 Apr 1781
KEWLEY Robert Sheep-stealing
5 June 1818
COMAISH John Murder
15 April 1823
KINRADE Catherine Murder
15 April 1823
KERRUISH Thomas Rape
19 June 1829
SIDDLETON Thomas Robbery (& attempted murder)
22 Oct 1832
MOORE James Robbery (& attempted murder)
22 Oct 1832
KEWISH John murder (of father)
1 Aug 1872

Kewish, a man of diminished mentality, was the last to be executed on the Island.


Hampton Creer Never to Return Douglas: Manx Heritage Foundation 2000 (ISBN 0-952-4019-7-5) - includes some discussion on punishment etc.

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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2002