Isle of Man Family History Society Journal Volume ix no 3 Aug 1987



This unique Church couples the role of Parish Church with that of National Church. The present building was consecrated on 8th March, 1849 and was built at a total cost of £2,535 of which £1,500 was provided by the British Government and the remainder by private subscription.

Though the name of the Chapel does not appear in records until 1577 there is little doubt a chapel existed on the site and indeed there was a Church on the site in the Scandinavian period about the 11th Century. The Manx names for Tynwald Hill - Cronk Keeilloin, the Hill of John's Keeil - points to an earlier Christian chapel possibly from the 8th Century. Certainly the site was an important one from early times. It is possible that the Norsemen chose St. John 's for tier site of the chief assembly of the Island because there was a hill there, already recognized as sacred by the Celtic people living on the Island. Whilst other sites were apparently used as well, clearly St. John's was recognised as most important.

The special link of the Chapel to the state is reflected in the annual national gathering at Tynwald on 5th July (prior to the change of calendar in 1752 it was 24th June - St. John the Baptists Day). Then the Chapel performed two essential functions: as a consecrated building used for the religious service which is part of the Tynwald Ceremony and as a Court House, in which formerly business was debated and agreed before proclamation from the Hill. In modern times the Civil business of the Chapel-Court is confined to the signing of new later at the end of the day's proceedings and to the receiving of greetings. The debates take place in the Legislative Buildings in Douglas.

Whatever the illustrious history it has to be said that from time to time the Church has been allowed to fall into disrepair. In 1697 it was reported to be in a tumbledown condition and on Midsummerday of that year a collection for its temporary repair was made amongst the Keys. In 1699 Bishop Wilson, had .apparently despaired of getting help from the Lord of Man and began .a thorough renovation, of the Chapel. By 1704 the main body of the Chapel had been completed at an expense to the Bishop of Forty Pounds! The transepts were completed later on funds from an assessment levied on all land holding -as the Tynwald Chapel was a national institution and the concern of the whole community. Unti1 1765, when the Lord of Man surrendered his Legalities to the English Crown, a small poll-tax maintained the Chapel. However, in common with other public buildings and Works the Chapel was allowed to deteriorate. This was largely due to a dispute between the third Duke of Athol and the British Government when the Duke challenged whether his father had in fact sold the Court Houses, and he claimed them as his property. Lieutenant Governor Dawson anticipating the seizure of St. John's Chapel locked it up and took away the key. Despite the appeals of the parishioners it was not returned and the Chapel was allowed to fall into complete ruination. In 1772 it reached its lowest point when a man went into the disused building and committed suicide. The tragedy was followed by an Act of Reconciliation carried out by Bishop Crigan in 1793. In the same year the Duke of Athol was appointed Lieutenant Governor and repairs were put in hand.

Until the beginning of the 19th Century the chief function of the Chapel was that of a Court House. However, the Chapel was served by the Clergy of the parish of German and in 1820 the Revd. William Gell, a noted Manx scholar, was appointed Resident Chaplain. In 1949 the Parochial District of St. John's was created and 'Her Majesty's royal or free chapel of St. John the Baptist' was deemed to be the Parish Church of that Parochial district. Today it is linked with its neighbor parishes of Patrick and Foxdale in the charge of Revd. B. H. Partington.

During demolition of the former building in 1847, the lower part of a Scandinavian Cross of the 11th Century was discovered. One face alone has been carved and is decorated with the characteristic Manx ring-chain pattern introduced by the sculptor Gaut. It contains the incomplete inscription:- 'INOSRUTHR: RAIST: RUNAR THSAR _' - 'But Osruth carved these runes.' It now stands in the Chapel porch.

The present building was designed by Richard Lane and built by Benjamin Lane, both of Manchester. It is in the English transitional style of the 13th Century. Its outer walls are faced by granite from South Barrule, other building stone coming from the quarry at Ballavar. The chancel steps are of Poolvash marble. The tower is 100 It high, the length from tower to chancel 85 ft., the transepts 53 ft. and the width of the nave 22 ft. It seats 300 people. When, George Borrow visited St. John's in 1855 he was enchanted by the symbolic beauty of the scene. Viewing it from the top of the Hill, he wrote:-

"the whole hill is surrounded by a stone wall and the path to the Church is likewise fenced by a wall so that it exactly looks like a Greek Cross.

"The Churchyard also is round, so that there is a double Cross. I never saw anything more beautiful than that double Cross. The hill on the west and the Church on the east - what a union of Divine and human Law!"

The Royal Coat of Arms hangs from the gallery (rebuilt in 1979) At the West end. Coats of Arms of former Lords of Man and Governors are displayed and the Chapel The seats of the Tynwald Court have the names of the present member affixed, the Keys in the Chancel and the Legislative Council in the Nave. The two Books of Remembrance, in the Sanctuary, commemorate the Manx men and women, who fell in the two World wars.

The Chapel benefitted greatly from the generosity of the late W. H. Collister and amongst his gifts was a full complement of beautiful stained glass windows. The East windows depict the Annunciation, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. In the South transept King David and St. Cecilia, the patroness Saint of Music are represented in one window, and Isaiah and St. John the Baptist. To the North (unfortunately hidden by the organ) are windows portraying the Nativity and the Home at Bethany. The window near the font depicts 'Christ blessing little Children and the belfry window portrays Angels of Faith and Hope. The windows in the Chancel depict Saints to whom certain of the ancient parish churches of the Island are dedicated - St. Andrew, St. Columba, St. Mary, St. Brendan, St. Bridget, St. Germ. St. Patrick, St. Adamnan, St. Lua, St. Runius, St. Machutus, St. Michael and all Angels, St. Kentigern and St. Sanctan.

The links of Church and State are clearly seen and visibly enacted in St. Johns. The Christian heritage lives not only in the way we worship, but in the way we are governed and live our daily lives.



KINLEY, William Thomas: died January 7th at Vancouver B.C., husband of Alice Kinley, and eldest son of the late Thomas and Margaret Kinley, Mount Pleasant, Port St. Mary.

Source: Isle of Man Examiner, dated 19th February, 1943

KILLIP, John Thomas (Rev.): died at his home in Paxton, Illinois, on December 26th at the age of 93. Surviving are his wife, Anna Marie; 2 sons, Wilfred of Robert, Illinois and Dr. Merrill H. of Dixon, Illinois; a brother James in Florida; two grandchildren and five great-granddchildren; nieces and nephews. A daughter died in childhood. Rev. Killip was born in Sulby, Isle of Man and came to the States at the age of 22 to settle in Galva. He graduated from Hedding College, Abingdon, Illinois in 1894 and at the time of his death was the oldest member of the Central Illinois Methodist Conference.

He also was the oldest member of the Peoria Manx Association. He served many Illinois churches during his ministry, retiring to Paxton, in 1931.

Source: Bulletin of the North American Manx Association

Vol 32 No. 3, March 1959.

KEWLEY, Thomas: Inmate, Unmarried, Age 42, Cabinet Maker born Douglas, IOM

Source: Leigh Union Workhouse, Leigh Road, Atherton, 1881 census,

Atherton, Lancashire.

KINRADE, John: died 28 October 1859 aged 38 years, killed by lightning Isle of Man.

Source: Heidelberg Cemetery, Australia

KINDRED, John: of 39 Otonabee Twp. Peterboro County, born Isle of Man, son of William and Mary; married Isabella Howson of 33 Otonabee, born Otonabee, daughter of Thomas and Esther Nelson; Witness: James Roberts; Date of Marriage; 4th Dec. 1862, by the Rev. Robert Fowler, W. Meth.

Source: Peterboro County Marriages AD, Archives of Ontario, Canada

KEWLEY, Francis James: "Fell 1000 Feet" - a recently appointed labour magistrate of Wallasey, Cheshire was the victim of a terrible accident on Langdale Pike, Cumberland, on Thursday last. Apparently, Mr. Kewley lost his bearings in the mist and had fallen near a thousand feet. His neck was broken. From his name we presume the deceased was a Manxman, but we have no direct information on this point.

Source: Ramsey Courier, dated 4th July, 1924

KERRUISH, Courtenay G: of Buffalo, New York died on April 24th 1963 aged 72 years.

He was born in Buffalo and was one of the founders of the Buffalo Manx Society around1910. His father, Philip Kerruish came from Sulby, Isle of Man. he is survived by his wife, Margaret Cameron; a son, Courtenay Jr.; a daughter, Elaine (Mrs. Donald C. Barlow), and a grand daughter, Marnee Barlo;

Source: Bulletin of the North American Manx Association, Vol 36 No.' June, 1963.

WATTLEWORTH, Charles Brian: of St. Helena, California, died on Saturday, December

14th, 1963. He was born in Peel, Isle of Man. he is survived by his wife Dorothy; a daughter, Eloise (Mrs. J. Richard Brown); 2 grandchildren, Abigail and Alexander Brown; and one sister, Miss Mary Wattleworth of Peel, Isle of Man.

Source: Bulletin of the North American Manx Association, Vol 37 No. 3 March 1963.

KINLEY, Ada Jane Nee CREER: died 10th June, 1906 aged 36 years at Liverpool.

Source: M.I. (E23), 1895 Cemetery, Malew, Isle of Man

KEWLEY, John James; died April 9th at 4 Bank Bottom Terrace, Marsden, Huddersfield, second son of the late Thomas Kewley.

Interred at Slaithewaite Cemetery off April 12th.

Source: Ramsey Courier, dated April 1930.

KERRUISH, Kneen: A New Zealand newspaper contains the announcement of the death of Capt. Kneen Kerruish, one of the oldest residents of New Zealand, who died recently at the age of 99 years. The notice states that he was born in the Isle of Man, led a seafaring life from his youth, and had two sisters who were twins and whit early lived to be 100 years.The paper also contains a photograph of the deceased, which any one who may be able to give particulars of the late gentleman's identity, may see at the "Courier" office.

Source: RamseyCourier dated 19th August, 1924.

KNEALE, John: 'DEATH' Lately, on his passage from St. Louis to Holt County, Upper Missouri, of diarrhoea, Mr. John Kneale, late of Ballabeg, Kirk Andreas. Mr. Kneale left this Island a short time ago for America and left New Orleans in good health and spirits with his wife and children, for his intended home and was taken ill on the passage and died in a few days leaving his family in a strange land.

Source: Mona's Herald dated 19th May, 1852

KILLIP, John W.: died on May 13th at Brookland, New York U.S.A. late of Ballaugh and Crest, aged 84 years.

Source: Ramsey Courier dated 23rd May, 1930


Strays Co-ordinator and Treasurer


Bill Murphy, Liverpool :-A copy of your FHS Journal was shown to me recently and as I spend a lot of time in the Liverpool Record Library on the same subject I found it interesting.

Whilst in the record office some time ago I came across an item in the "Porcupine" a 1900's newspaper and I thought it might interest any "Quilliam" member of your society or any others, I found it quite interesting.

If I can help checking anything for you at the Liverpool Records Office let me know and I'll see what I can do.


Porcupine April 7th, 1900

Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam, whom we congratulate on the attainment of his 44th birthday is of Manx descent. In fact he is a direct descendant of Lieut. John Quilliam (who steered the Victory into action at the Battle of Trafalgar, and was one of the pall bearers at Nelson's funeral). But he was born at Elliot Street, Liverpool. His connection with the Islamic movement in England and his extensive legal practice are too well-known to need any comment.

Mr. Quilliam has received numerous decorations from Muslim Sovereign and others.

In 1893 The Sultan of ? (Morocco) conferred upon him the honorary title of "Alim" the insignia of which is a very gorgeous robe and turban and a plain gold ring. The former are only worn within the hallowed precincts of the Muslim Institution in Brougham Terrace.

The Sultan of Turkey appointed him Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles and also bestowed on him the order of the "Medfidieh" the"Osmanieh" as well as a special decoration bearing an inscription in Turkish.

The Ameer of Afghanistan also made him "Sheikh" in the Afghanistan dominions And presented him with the "Koola-Izzat" or hat of honour of Afghanistan and a gold medal.

Last October the Shah of Persia nominated Mr. Quilliam as Persian Consul for Liverpool.

All his sons have received the title "Bey" from the Sultan of Turkey, whilst the eldest one is in Constantinople officiating as a Hunkiar Choose (Aide de camp) to the Ottoman Sovereign. Mr. Quilliam is a very active member of the Liverpool Manx Society and a few years ago was instrumental in founding the Me ? home for children an institution occupying premises in Shell Road, Liverpool, in which about a score of poor children are cared for and educated.



Elaine C. Nichols, writes:

My second great grandfather George Cannon, chr. 3. Dec 1794 in Kirk German,, Isle of Man had two brothers who went to Australia. I am interested it corresponding with any of their descendants. The two are John Cannon chr. 21 Apr. 1802 and David Cannon chr. 15 May 1811 both in Kirk German and all sons of George Cannon and his wife Leonora Callister.

Also here is a stray I picked up.

U.S. Passenger Lists to New Orleans, La 1 May - 23 June 1852

Ship G.W. Bourne - William Hearding, Master

Left port of Liverpool, Eng. bound for New Orleans - Arrived 10 May 1852

Name Age Sex Occupation Birthplace Destination
Robert Kennel 22 M Carpenter Isle of Man Illinois
Thomas Curnell 20 M Carpenter Isle of Man Illinois
John Gill 22 M Carpenter Isle of Man Illinois
Betsy Gill 26 F   Isle of Man Illinois
John Gill 4 M   Isle of Man Illinois

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