Isle of Man Family History Society Journal Volume xii no 3 Aug 1990



Please note the following errors in the article entitled "Diamonds" featured on p.59 of the May 1990 issue:
line 2 "Kingston" relates to line 1 being a Christian name.
between lines 2 & 3 "No. 1 Cpd Kim" omitted.
Penultimate line should read "Tickets issued to Mrs J.H. Tomlin and 2 children to Capetown 12/2/08"
Last line should read "One 3rd ticket to Barberton 15/5/08"
NB - Later information has revealed that he obtained work in the goldfields in Barberton.



Autumn's gone and Winter's come,
'tie Hollantide, old Hollantide.
Tonight the witches magic brooms bestride,
and goblins, dwarfs and elves with glee
will dance around the chimney side.

So light the faggots, spit the boar,
And roast the chestnuts by the score.
into the oven with bonnag and cake,
then tap the barrels thirsts to slake.

Call in the neighbours from far and near,
For Hop-tu-naa is here, is here.
Tonight the hours will dance away
and frolic reign 'till break-of-day.

List and hear the happy clatter
Of laughing country people's chatter.
Hasten, and open wide the door,
Trim the lamps and sand the floor.

Look, in comes a merry crowd,
Sweet faced maids with striplings proud.
Buxom wives with rose checked childer,
Wind scortched men with heads nigh silver.

Welcome, welcome, manxmen all,
Fair and dark, and short and tall.
Tim the fiddler this night will see
That hearts are light and feet dance free.

Childer start the merry dancing,
Old and young join in the prancing.
This is the night in all the year
When cares are forgotten in joyful cheer.

All is love and joy and laughter
And festive spirit reigns as master
At this high festive day of yore
Born in ancient rites of druids lore.

by Teddy Blackburn of Castletown



Thornhill in Lezayre was built by William Callister in 1844/45, the property comprised approximately 25 acres. Some years later a large wing was added to the rear of the house, probably when John-Thomas Clucas (who married William's daughter Margaret) lived at Thornhill.

A sizable number of staff were employed, working in the house, gardens and farm.

The following entries are taken from a Thornhill account book, dating from 1868.


Per Annum


Elizabeth Teare




Miss Ada M. Pattison


£30.0 0


John Cannell




Margaret Craine




Ann Clague


£ 8.0.0


In 1877 hat and dresses allowance


£ 16.6


Catherine Kneale


£10 0.0


Elizabeth Mary Looney




Robert Jackson




William Lawson




Also received an allowance for tea,


milk and potatoes. Entry for Aug


1876 700 herring




Elizabeth Lace



By 1886 the Cook received £14.0.0 and the Governess £40.0.0.

In 1886 records show that a Catherine Corkill received a bonus of 10/- when she married.

In 1887 Robert Lloyd took up the position of gardener at 22/- per week and a house. His travelling expenses from Hexham to Ramsey via Whitehaven were £4.2.10½

Sent in by Elizabeth Clucas

Has anyone else similar information in with their family records, that we could use in the journal? - Editor



This Indenture witnesses that William Caine son of William Caine of Kirk Michael in the Isle of Mann has put himself and by these presents do voluntarily and of his own free will and accord put himself apprentice to Thomas Nelson parishioner and shoemaker of sd. parish to learn his trade after the manner of an apprentice, to serve hime from the 4th day of June last, for and during the term of six years nex(t) ensuing, during all which time he the said apprentice his said master shall faith(fully) serve his secrete keep his lawful commands every where gladly obey. He shall do no damage to his said master nor see it to be done by others without letter or giving notice thereof to his said master. He shall not waste his said master's goods nor lend them unlawfully to others. He shall not commit fornication nor contract matrimony within the said term. At cards, dice or any unlawful game he shall not play whereby his said master may be damaged. With his own goods or goods of others during the term without license of his said master he shall neither buy nor sell. He shall not absent himself day or night from his said masters service without his leave nor haunt alehouses taverns or play houses but in all things behave himself as a faithful apprentice ought to do during the said term. And the said master shall use the utmost of his endeavours to teach or cause to be taught and instructed the said apprentice in the trade he now professeth occupieth or followeth: and procure and provide for him the said apprentice sufficient meat and draink and lodging fitting for an apprentice during the last four years of the said term a pair of shoes yearly during the whole term of his apprenticeship. And for the true performance of all and everysaid covenants and agreements either of the said parties bind themselves unto the other by these presents. In witness hereof they have interchangeably put their hands and seals this 21st day of October in the first year of the reign of our sovereign lord William of the unighted kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King and in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty 1830.

Wm Nelson William Caine

Daniel Clark Witnesses Thos. Nelson

Copy from the Manx Museum MD 172 - B One of the indentures that have survived on the Island.



David Christian has kindly copied the following marriages from the Kirk German Church Register, as they are missing on the index and the micro-film of the Register. Micro film gaps 1843 to 1845.

All numbers on the micro-film are one number behind the numbers in the parish records. The micro-film is of a handwritten copy of the parish records.

No. 382 (381 on micro-film) 10th October 1843
Charles QUAY, widower, both of this parish
Ann LACE, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas (Clerk of this parish), Thos. Cain

No. 383 21st October 1843
John CAIN, bachelor, both of this parish. Signed name
Eleanor GARRET, spinster, signed X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and John Killip

No. 384 28th October 1843
James CRANE (CRAINE), bachelor, both of this parish
Margaret COWLEY, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and James Kermode

No. 385 28th October 1843
Thomas TASKER, bachelor, both of this parish - signed name
Esther KILLIP, spinster, signed X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and William Crellin

No. 386 29th October 1843
James QUILLIAM, bachelor, both of this parish
Elizabeth BELL, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and William Clucas

No. 387 16th November 1843
John EDWARDS, bachelor, both of this parish
Jane KAIGHIN, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and William Kaighin

No. 388 (387 on micro-film) 18th November 1843
John MOUGHTIN, bachelor, of the parish of Jurby
Ann COWLEY, spinster, of this parish, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and Thomas Corlett

No. 399 (398 on micro-film)25th April 1844
Robert CREER, widower, both of this parish
Ann CANNELL, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and Thomas Kennaugh

No. 400 5th May 1844
Thomas GORRY, bachelor, both of this parish
Isabella DUKE, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and John Noy

No. 401 12th May 1844
Evan QUIRK, bachelor, both of this parish
Elizabeth WATTLEWORTH, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Thos I. Graves and Philip.Clucas

No. 402 19th May 1844
Thomas MOUGHTIN, bachelor, both of this parish, signed name(Mughtyn)
Esther CRELLIN, spinster, signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and John Crain (mason)

No. 403 25th Mav 1844
Henry KELLY, bachelor, both of this parish
Eleanor GARRETT, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- William Auchanan and Philip Clucas

No. 404 26th May 1844
William KENNEDY, bachelor, both of this parish
Margaret STARKIE, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and James Kennedy (with X)

No. 405 26th Mav 1844
Thomas COWLE, bachelor, both of this parish - signed name
Catherine KELLY, spinster, signed with X
Witnesses:- Ceasor Corris and Robert Kerruish (Draper)

No. 406 6th June 1844
John CALLISTER, bachelor, both of this parish - signed name
Eleanor NEAKLE, spinster, signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and John Cain (Baker)

No. 407 13th June 1844
James KELLY, bachelor, both of this parish
Margaret KILLEY, spinster; both signed with X
Witnesses:- John Kelly ("Gratia") and Philip Clucas

No. 408 25th June 1844
John CRINGALL, bachelor, both of this parish
Elizabeth CRELLIN, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and William Quayle (with X)

No. 409 29th June 1844
Robert CORRIN, bachelor, of the parish of Patrick
Catherine CAIN, spinster of this parish, both signed with X
Witnesses:- John Hudson (Patrick) and Philip Clucas

No. 410 (409 on micro-film) 2nd July 1844
Philip CLUCAS, widower, both of this parish
Margaret BOYD, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Robert Cottier (shop-keeper) and Philip Clucas

No. 421 (420 on micro-film)2nd February 1845
William TARBET, bachelor, both of this parish
Eliza COWLEY, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and John Tarbet

No. 422 23rd February 1845
John MCGREGOR, bachelor, both of this parish
Isabella ACHIBALD, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and William Buchanan

No. 423 1st March 1845
Robert REGAN, bachelor, both of this parish
Ann COWLE, spinster, both signed names
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and John Kelly

No. 424 1st March 1845
William KENNAUGH, bachelor, both of this parish - signed name (Kenagh)
Catherine KEOWN, spinster - signed name
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and Robert Keown

No. 425 3rd April 1845
William GRAVES, bachelor, of this parish
Margaret CORLETT, spinster of the parish of Ballaugh - both signed names
Witnesses:- Thomas Cottier and Philip Clucas

No. 426(425 on micro-film) 26th April 1845
Sylvester CAIN, bachelor, both of this parish
Eleanor KILLIP, spinster, both signed with X
Witnesses:- Philip Clucas and John Killip

Many thanks to David Christian for copying out these marriages from the Church Register. Perhaps they will be of help to other members searching



The old Manx people only had two seasons in their year, "Summer" and "Winter"! Summer commenced on May 1st with its own festivities, and after a hard season of farming and fishing what better way to prepare for the winter than by celebrating "Hollantide" starting with the "Fair" which after the change in calendar, now has to be on November 12th.

This date also became established in Manx law, not just as a time for buying and selling livestock and implements, but also when farmers were obliged to pay their rent, and also to "Hire or Fire" their menservants.

The way this was done as recently as the 1950's was for the farmworker to attend a "Hiring Fair" where he was eyed up by a prospective employer, and the old custom was for the farmer to offer "a shilling" to a likely lad, and if he took it, that was it:- he had taken the "bob" and the deal was struck.

Many of those being hired had no idea where the place of their future employment would be, or of the character of his employer and the quality of his home.

Some of these farms were in remote areas, approached by dark, unlit, muddy winding lanes, often flanked by deep ditches, and partly overgrown by gorse and briars, leading the newcomers to their mysterious abode for the next twelve months.

The writer of this article has been told by his 87 year old aunt, of a time that she and her family moved house at Hollantide. All their household effects plus themselves and children, were all piled up on the back of a horse drawn "stiff cart". The day was overcast and drizzling with rain, and off they trundled into the wilderness.

The position of the married worker and his family was much more exacting where the tied farm cottage was concerned.

One finds it difficult nowadays to imagine the frustating moments of when on Hollantide morning, the family rising early, snatching a cold breakfast, for the utensils were packed away, the children and pets to be calmed down, the sadness of parting from their old home, and taking the plunge into the future.

On arriving at the new home the first thought was for the children. A straw mattress was pulled from the load and laid in the most desirable part of the house. Then to gather some sticks for kindling a fire.

"What a Life"! I think the community should say "thank you" to those women of the past, or should I say "Ladies" who braced up to such tremendous tasks when moving from one cottage to another on Hollantide Day.

Peter Lewthwaite


Dumb Cake (Soddag Valloo)

The ancient festival of All Hallowe'en was held on 11th November - the last night of the Celtic year. In the Isle of Man it was known as Hollandtide Eve or 'Hop-tu-Naa'- a name believed to have the same origin as the Scottish 'Hogmanay'; at any rate the rituals have a certain similarity. Mummers went from house to house knocking at all the doors with turnips or cabbages on sticks, and singing a special song until they were given potatoes, or herring, or bonnags. The song went something like this:-

Hop-tu-naa-I met an old woman
Tra-la-laa -She was baking bonnags
Hop-tu-Naa-I asked for a bit
Tra-la-laa -She gave me a bit, as big as my big toe.
Hop-tu-Naa-She dipped it in milk
Tra-la-laa -She wrapped it in silk
Hop-tu-Naa, Tra-la-laa
Jinny the Witch flew over the house
To catch a stick to lather the mouse
Hop-tu-Naa, Tra-la-laa
If you don't give us something we'll run away
With the light of the moon.

Nowadays, Hop-tu-Naa is celebrated on 31 st October, and the children carry turnip lanterns trom house to house.

The traditional Hollantide Eve supper was potatoes parsnips and fish mashed together with butter. The left-overs of the meal were not removed from the table in case the fairies were hungry, and crocks of fresh water were put out for them.

Dumb Cake was baked and eaten in silence by young ladies on Hollantide Eve. It was made from flour and water, without leaven, and baked in the hot turf ashes. A piece was to be eaten while walking backwards towards the bed. The young lady's future husband was supposed to appear in her dreams that night.

Taken from 'My Grandmothers Cookery book' complied by Sue Woolley. Permission to copy given by Shearwater Press

[see also Manx Soc vol 16 p148]


The Cowleys of Ardwhallen

An article on our family tree was published in the May and August 1988 issues of the journal and since then, through further research by Mrs. Lewthwaite from the Family History Society, we have been able to go back another generation to Patrick Cowleys' parents, Thomas Cowley and Alice Brew, who were married circa 1719 at Kirk Braddan.

It seems Thomas was born 1698 and Alice 1700; records of their birth dates have not, as yet, been found. Thomas died in 1786 at the ripe old age of 88 and Alice in 1781 and both are buried in Old Kirk Braddan churchyard. There is a Deed of Settlement, of which a copy is shown. The birth dates of Patrick's brothers and sister have also been established (see revised family tree). The old land records are an essential resource in family research, in particular, for establishing the correct line.

As a result of the journal article we have been contacted by two direct descendants of Danial Cowley (1813-1889), brother of Thomas Cowley (18021874): Gail Longwith of Douglas and Robert Christian of Liverpool. Danial married Elizabeth Cannell (see photo), and Gail is a descendent of Elizabeth Cowley' eldest daughter Of Danial and Elizabeth. Robert Christian is a descendant of Margaret Cowley, fourth daughter of Danial and Elizabeth. Margaret's son James, emigrated to Liverpool to join the police force and all the family eventually settled there. Neither Robert nor Gail were aware of each others' existence, until quite recently. In particular, Robert was extremely pleased to see the photo of his great grandparents, which is a contribution from Gail.

Also through the journal article, further information on two of Thomas Cowley's (1834-1904) brothers, John (1836-1898) see photo and Robert (1841 - 'I), has come to light through a direct descendant of John Cowley, Mrs. Evelyn Stowell. John's first wife Elizabeth died (1878) leaving four children. John re-married Emma Kneale and they had six children. Their son Douglas, emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1903 and married May Kennish there, in 1917. Evelyn was born in 1921 in Cleveland and the family returned to the island in 1932. She married Thomas Stowell and they have a daughter Janet May.

Robert Cowley married Louisa Jane Creer, sister of Thomas Creer on 9th April 1863. Thomas Creer was married to John Cowley~s sister Margaret. According to the 1881 census, Robert and Louisa were living at Ballabunt, on 9 acres and had 6 children. Descendants of Robert Henry, John and Louisais second eldest boy, are still living on the Isle of Man.

Many of these people are mentioned in the letters we have from Barbara Colquitt Cowley to her son Thomas, in Australia.

Barbara Colquitt Bloomfield


Treen Of Baldabrew Parish Of Braddan

Thomas Cowley (Circa 1698-1786) m Alice Brew (C.1700-1781)
Bought land in 1739 Coilley Foist (Ardwhallan) and Coilley Choldhill (Colden)
This was the land left to the eldest son,Patrick~by deed Of settlement~with the
proviso to live there until the deaths Of Thomas and Alice Cowley. 
Thomas and Alice are buried at K.Braddan.
  |                                    |      |         |        |    |
Patrick   m  Margaret Brew          Thomas  Marriot  William  Robert  Isabel
1721-1803    c.1722-1801             1722    1725     1730    1733     1736
Patrick bought more land in 1759
 Creg-Y-naroo or Lag -Ny - Muckly.
Patrick and Margaret both left wills
|                |                       |                    |
Thomas      William m Jane Teare     Margaret      John m Catherine
1749       1751-1831  of Jurby        1754     Radcliffe| c.1756
          William bought more                           |
         land in 1829,this land                  ------------
       was divided between sons                Thomas     Esther
          Thomas and Danial.                    1773       1775
Margaret       Thomas         Isobel        William             Danial
1800-1886       1802           1806          1809               1813
m. Edward   m.Barbara        d.1807                         m Elizabeth
 Corkill        Cowle                        John              Cannell
Had     Land holdings for Thomas 
Issue   in 1851,64 acres at Ardwhallan                     Had issue
        Thomas and Barbara left wills
      Land appears to have dissipated this generation.

Deed of Settlement from Thomas and Alice Cowley (nee Brew) to son Patrick when he married Margaret Brew in 1747. It is assumed that Margaret Brew was a relative of Alice Brew from Baldabrew Farm (see updated family tree).


Know all men by these presents that we Thos. Cowley and Alis my wife of the parish of KK Braddon for divers good causes and considerations "hereunto ? but mow especially for and in consideration of entire sum of five pounds ten shillings manks - value all duly paid to us in hand, before the signing and delivery of these presents by and from the hands of our loving son Pattrick Cowley of said parish; by these presents have given, granted, bargained and settled and do by these presents give, grant, bargain, settle and estate all our interest, right and title in and to our houses and land in the said parish of KK Braddon of the yearly lord rent of three shillings being Intack known and called by the name Coldin, with the appertuance "hereunto belonging, upon our said son Pattrick Cowley his heirs, executors, administrators and asignes forever, from us the said Thos. Cowley and Alis my wife our heirs, executors, administrators or asignes, only reserving the one half of the premises for ourselves during our natural life and then to descend to our said son Pattrick Cowley after our decease, and we the said Thos Cowley and Alis my wife do further oblige ourselves, our heirs, executors, administrators and asignes to uphold warrens and defend our said son Pattrick Cowley his heirs, executors, administrators or asignes in the interest and title of the above said houses and lands against the pretence or claim of any person or persons whomsoever and for the faithful performance of all and singular the premises we the said Thos. Cowley and Alis my wife do bind ourselves our heirs, executors, administrators and asignes in the penal sum of ten pounds sharing in the nature of all fines within this Isle, as witness our hands and marks this 7th of May, 1747. Signed and delivered

Thos Cowley my mark

12th October 1747

Thomas Cowley and Alice Cowley acknowledged the written Deed of Settlement
to be their voluntary?
at a Sheading Court Holden at Castle Rushen Thurs 11th May 1748

The within Deed of Settlement being acknowledged before the Deemster, and now openly published in court and no objection offered against therefore allowed of and confirmed according to law.



Thomas Cowley, loved husband of Alma, brother Barbara Bloomfield, passed away 22nd Nov. 1989 in Australia. Direct descendant of the Cowleys of Ardwhallin. Loved by all.



Servants were a atatus symbol, necessary not only to good housekeeping but to self respect and social dignity.

Many of our ancestors worked as servants ranging from cooks, housemaids, kitchen maids to outside staff employed as gardeners and coachmen.

You may have an ancestor who worked in one of the large houses on the Island belonging to the 'Gentry' and have been able to find out very few details about them.

I recently went to see Lily Cowin who started work at just fifteen years of age in 1920 at Cronkbourne House at Tromode in Braddan. Lily was employed by Mr. and Mrs. G.F. Clucas, who later became Sir and Lady Clucas.

Lily who is still very active for her age, remembered her days of working in the 'Big House' very clearly. Mrs. Clucas provided her uniform which consisted of a grey dress, with a large white pinafore and cap for the mornings. For the afternoon, if the family were entertaining Lily had to wear a black dress and a small white apron (known amongst the staff as a 'fig leaf'), again the hated white cap which was most important, for Lily's long hair had to be worn in a plait and then pinned up and hidden under the cap.

Lily was employed as a kitchen maid and had to live on the premises, she shared her bedroom at the top of the house with two other housemaids, the cook and the parlour maid sharing the other bedroom.

Five staff were employed at this time working inside the house and three men on the outside who were responsible for the gardens and handy men jobs. The Head Gardener at Cronkbourne in 1920 was Charles Magee who lived in the South Lodge, in the North Lodge was the under gardener - Mr. Bridson, and living in the village of Tromode was Walter Magee who was employed as the handy man.

Inside the house working alongside Lily, were the cook Bessie Taggart, who came from the village of Ballasalla, Lizzie Kennaugh the parlour maid (Lizzie's father was the Blacksmith at St. John's). The upstairs maid was Nellie Sayle and also employed was the gardeners daughter Nessie Magee.

Lily's day started at 7.30 a.m., the first job of the day was to help the cook prepare breakfast for the staff and for Mr. and Mrs. Clucas.

Prayers were held every morning in the dining room for all the staff, only the cook being excused from attending on this occasion, for obvious reasons as she would be preparing breakfast.

As soon as breakfast was over and the dishes attended to Lily would have to wash the large kitchen floor of cork lino, the back kitchen floor, the passage and conservatory plus the front porch and all to be finished by 10.00 a.m.

At this time, Mrs. Clucas would come to the kitchen to discuss the meals for the day with the cook, meanwhile Lily would either be upstairs helping the upstairs maid clean the five bedrooms, or downstairs, helping the parlour maid with the hall, dining room, drawing room and library which all had to be cleaned every day.

Then it was back to the kitchen for Lily, to prepare the vegetables for lunch which would consist of three courses, after which of course all the washing up had to be done. Silver and glasses were of course washed separately by the parlour maid.

The afternoon was spent cleaning the brass and silver, or doing extra cleaning jobs about the house. Monday afternoon was Lily's day off finishing at 3.00 p.m. and she was expected back in the house by 10 o'clock at night! Tuesday was the cooks half day and although she would leave everything prepared it was Lily's job to cook the meal.

Dinner was served at 7.30 in the winter and 8.00 p.m. in the summer and would consist of five courses, by the time the staff had cleared up from this meal by washing up the dishes, glasses, saucepans etc. it would be time for bed!

For all this Lily's wages were 10/- a week, paid on the first day of every month at the rate of £2 a month, so in reality 4 weeks of the year, she worked in common with the other staff for no pay! Which was a very sore point with them all!

Some of the furnishings at Cronkbourne were made by Charles Magee's grandfather, who was a superb cabinet maker, the house had central heating and it was one of Walter Magee's jobs to keep the furnace stoked up.

Lily attended church every Sunday at Kirk Braddan and sang in the choir, she was allowed every other Sunday off and just one weeks holiday a year.

At Christmas the staff worked harder than ever with all the entertaining, their present on Christmas Day would be a religious book to help keep them on the straight and narrow!

Boyfriends were always inquired into, the girls wouldn't be approached directly but discreet questions were asked of the head gardener into who was walking out with who, unsuitable boyfriends would of course be discouraged.

Before starting work for the Clucas family, Lily who wee one of eleven children had been employed after school from the age of 12 years by Tossie Clucas. Tossie was the owner of Clucas' laundry and he would collect six children from Murray'a Road School each day and run them out to his laundry at Tromode to steam press the. military grey socks that were knitted at the knitting factory in Douglas. For every three dozen socks the children pressed they would receive Ed this was carried out for the duration of the war.

All the washing at Cronkbourne was carried out at the laundry. Mr. Clucas did not drive a car but would ring Mr. Welsh who had previously been the coachman for the Moore family, to come and collect him to go into Douglas.

I asked Lily had she enjoyed her work at the 'Big House', she shrugged her shoulders and said what else could she have done to earn a living, she hadn't actually applied to work there but Mrs. Clucas had approached her Mother with the invitation of a job and with eleven children to feed and clothe she was no doubt delighted to have Lily in employment.

It was certainly good training for a girl, for Lily's house is still beautifully polished and shining, although she lives on her own. She did admit though it had left her with a taste for the nicer things in life, and over the years by working hard and saving her money she has been able to buy some lovely china and glass, similar to what would have been still in use from Victorian days at Cronkbourne.

Lily saw a way of life that is no longer with us, brought up in a large family all living in No. 16 Cronkbourne Village, their pace of life was so much slower, the work so much harder, but as Lily said the staff had their way of enjoying their life and she had no regrets.



Perhaps your ancestor was employed by a family of some importance, like Lily, have you thought that this could help you to illustrate your family history?

Photographs are available at the Manx Museum of most of the Gentry on the Island, and also photographs or illustrations of their houses can be obtained.

In our research we found a distant ancestor - Margaret Lewthwaite - had worked for George Dumbell the Banker, for many years. She was first employed as ladies maid to his daughters and would have played an important part on their wedding days in 1865 and 1866. Details of the weddings were reported in the local newspapers, which was a nice bonus. After the children had left home, Margaret became housekeeper to George and on checking his will I found she, along with other servants had been left a legacy.

Many such employers left legacies to their servants and it is always worth checking to see if your ancestor was mentioned, especially if they were employed for many years.

Edward Gawne, Speaker of the House of Keys not only left legacies of £10 a year for life to some of his servants, but also mentioned some of the widows of former employees,

I have listed the legacies left to employees of these two families and have further details if wanted.



George lived in Belmont House in Douglas and died there in 1887, after bequests to his family he left the following:

Margaret LEWTHWAITE £100 Housekeeper

Ann SAYLE (known as Elizabeth) £ 50 Cook

Jessie HANBY £ 20 Waitress

Mathias CARINE £ 30

John QUINE £ 20 Gardener



The Gawne family lived in Kentraugh in Rushen (the house is still owned by the Gawne's, a descendant of Edward) he made his will in 1869 and added a later codicel and died in 1871.

Jonothan CLARKE £10 per year Butler

Richard FARGHER £10 per year Footman in 1851

John JOYNER £10 per year Groom

John HUDGEON £10 per year

Margt. FRENCH £10 per year Widow of Alexander

Sarah ADIE £10 per year Widow of James

Cath WATTERSON £ 7 per year Widow of Robert

John Clague who lived at Kentraugh Mill with his wife Ann and son Robert, and daughter Catherine Corkill was allowed to enjoy the cottage and garden, now occupied by him for life and wee also left a legacy of L10 per year.

Henry Hughes Gardener was witness to the will.

Often while searching wills you can come across legacy's left to employees, friends etc. and below I have listed a few I have come across.

ESTHER CASEMENT - daughter of Thomas of the Grangry in Lezayre, was left £50 in 1819 by her employer ANN BRIDSON. Esther had been employed by the Rev. John Bridson and his wife Ann at the Rectory in Kirk Bride. The Rectory at this time was situated opposite the present school in the Glebe at Bride near the Church.

JOHN CRELLIN Vicar of Kirk Bride left his servant ISABEL CORKILL, 5 Guineas in his will of 1808.

JANE CLAGUE who had a lodging house in West St., Ramsey in 1877 was left £100 by RICHARD HOPE PRICE formerly of Wolverhampton. This legacy was left to Jane as a mark of the esteem he entertained for her on account of the 'uniform kindness and attention she had shown towards him while lodging with her in Ramsey'.

JOHN WILLIAMSON, Shopkeeper lodged with ANN CORLETT wife of William, Blacksmith of Douglas in 1774 and left Ann all his belongings, book debts and contents of his shop.

The Rev. HENRY MADDRELL left an annuity to CATH CROWE of 30 shillings a year. Catherine had been employed in his service at the Vicarage. The Rev. Maddrell died in 1842.

In 1807 Judith CORLETT of Douglas, left all her possessions to her mistress Mrs. Esther CLARK alias MOORE, with whom she had lived for many years. She wanted to thank Esther for her attention and her love. Esther was the wife of Joseph Clark.

This photograph was taken in 1867 on the steps of Kentraugh House.

Old John, Isabella Cannell ,Mary Clarke,Old Anne ,Hawkins ,Mrs Turnbull , Anne Gale,Margt.Q.,Ritchie,Mary ? ,the Sweep,all servants of Edward Gawne.

If anyone recognizes an ancestors name please let me know. Editor


Three Brew Royal Descents

By J.A.. Brew

The first Royal descent is that of my daughter Elaine Brew from Henry VII through Yn Stanlagh Moar. This descent is mainly copied from "The Blood Royal of Britain" (1908) by the Marquis of Ruviguy and Raineval, who produced four more volumes of Royal descents.

The second descent is from that unpleasant and royal madman Shane the Proud, King of Ireland. This is taken from John O'Hart's (often rather too imaginative) "Irish Pedigrees" (1881) (pages 388-9). By the 5th Edition (1892) it has been unaccountably omitted.

The third descent is a delightfully exotic descent from the African Kings of Akwamu, Fanti and Dunkwa. This was brought to my notice by Dr. Richard Rathbone, my next door neighbour and a reader in history at London University, who introduced me to a descendant of Brews and of the Stool families of the Gold Coast, Mr. Augustus Casely-Hayford, a postgraduate studying at London University. This genealogy is printed in "West African Trade and Coast Society" (O.U.P. 1969) by Margaret Priestley.



1) It is a curiosity that the Marquis of Ruvigny's grandfather was a resident in Douglas in the year gf his death. He was Henry de Ruvignes, gentleman, of 2 Cambridge Terrace, Douglas in 1863 (Thwaites's Directory"). The Marquis's book showed that Mary Tudor, Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk had 10,253 living descendants traceable in 1903. To this number must be added the Gawnes of Kentraugh, descended from the 3rd Duke of Atholl, who were omitted from "The Blood Royal of Britain", but were later included in the appendix to the second volume "The Plantagenet Roll" (1908).

2) Charlotte de La Tremoille's adversary in the Isle of Man was her ReceiverGeneral and commandant of the Manx Forces, Illiam Dhone, William Christian (1608-1663) who betrayed her in 1651. She and her son had him shot after a rigged trial in 1663. Illiam Dhone was my collateral ancestor through several lines of descent from Christian's of Milntown. The particulars of these descendants were given me by Mr. Nigel Crowe, the genealogist of the Society.

Editor - Tables II and III will be published in the next journal.

See pages 100 and 101



Introduction - My article in the February issue of the Journal concerned two brothers, with Manx connections, Ben and Will Roberta, who emigrated to Alberta, Canada in 1907, and settled as Homesteaders in an area known as Peavine Prairie, some 90 miles north-west of the town of Edmonton. (I had mix-read the name 'Peavine' in Ben Roberts' letters as 'Ravine', and this mistake appeared in my first article). After writing home in 1907 and 1908, nothing more was heard of them, and no-one in the family ever knew what happened to them.

So, I ended my account with a number of questions - '.... what happened to them and to their Homesteads? Did they, in fact, ever become owners of the land? Did the boys marry and have families who may still be farming the original Homesteads? - or were they sold? Are they still given over to farming or have they been built on as part of a town? ' and using the only real clue I had, the name and numbers at the top of each letter, I set off on a detective hurt to find the answers.

This sequel tells of what I found out, but let me say from the start that none of it would have been possible had it not been for the investigative work done by my friends, the Sangsters in Edmonton, and IOMFHS member, George Callow, from Calgary, Alberta. This is really the story of their researches and endeavours on my behalf, and my gratitude to them is enormous.

So, to continue The information for this sequel comes from two sources- the Provincial archives and what people have remembered of Ben and Will Roberts.


Identification So, where exactly were the Homesteads? The number at the top of each letter, 59.7.2, did truly identify the pieces of land, and enquiry at the Provincial Museum in Edmonton pinpointed the Homesteads precisely.

When Alberta was formed in 1905, the Province was divided into 'townships' each six miles square, and the townships, in turn, were divided into 36 sections, each one mile square. Each section was further divided into ~ sections, each half a mile square, and these formed the basis of the Homestead A Homestead usually comprised one ~ section, or quarter. Townships were numbered northwards from 1 on the southern boundary of Alberta with the USA, and westwards, known as Ranges, from several 'meridians', the distance between meridians being 4° of longitude. The Provincial boundary between Alberta and Saskatchewan, longitude 110°W, is the fourth meridian, the fifth being 4 further west, the sixth a further 4° west .... and so on.

Peavine Prairie is west of the fifth meridian, so the number at the top of the letters from more than eighty years ago - 59.7.2 - identified the Roberts' Homesteads as being in Township 59, Range 7 (west of meridian 5), Section 2. Further enquiry showed than Ben held the SW quarter and Will held the SE quarter, together making up a piece of land one mile long and half a mile wide, just as Ben had described in his letters.

Peavine Prairie, so called from the peavine and vetch which grew several feet high over much of the country, was only opened up in 1907, so when the Roberts brothers filed for their Homesteads in that same year, there were only about a dozen other Homesteads within five miles of them, and most of these comprised only four family names - Henderson (2), Cullen (3), Tolmie (2) and Romeo (2). To the North was just forest wilderness, (remember the story about the bear), later to be opened up by the Northwest Lumber Co for logging operations.


Early Days - Shelter was the first essential to be considered, so building a log cabin, while sleeping at night in a tent, was the first activity, helped, of course, by ones new neighbours, albeit living some miles away. The logs, usually of spruce and American black larch, were cut down, trimmed to length and then hauled and placed around the site of the new dwelling - so many logs for each side and for the floor joists. The walls were raised, one log on top of another with stout logs running lengthways of the building, from gable to gable, to support the roof. Split poplar logs were laid from wall to peak of roof, with the flat side uppermost, and these in turn were covered with long coarse hay, rather like thatch, and then soil and sods were placed on top to shed the rainwater. Holes were sawn in the walls for windows and doors, and then properly framed, and the joints between the logs were caulked with a mixture of cow dung, wood ash and sand - a mixture that would withstand the elements for many years. The cabin usually had one room only with a blanket hung to serve as a partition, and a woodburning stove served both for cooking and heating.

Ben and Will built their first log cabin on a small hill on Will's quarter, but later on, they built again, this time by the lake on Ben'a quarter. This cabin had a root cellar in which they stored their produce over the winter.


Getting established - Ben Roberts' letter explained how he and Will were going to work very hard to fulfil the Homesteading conditions so that after three years the land would be their own. However, it appears that it wasn't quite as easy as that! Both had filed for Homesteads in 1907, and while Will received his Certificate of Title in 1911, four years later, Ben didn't receive his until 1914.

The following extracts from the records show the progress each of the boys made towards fulfilling the Homestead conditions, but they don't explain why Ben took three years longer than Will. Their early progress seemed very similar, so perhaps the fact that he hadn't built a cabin early on his quarter was one of the reasons. Who knows? We are shown, however, that there was a cabin there by 1914.


William Roberts from a sworn statement in support of application for Homestead Patent of the SE quarter Section 2 Township 59 Range 7 west of the 5th Meridian made in 1910, was age 42, British subject by birth, farmer, single.

PO address Peavine, Alberta

1908 cleared 1½ acres cropped 10 acres

1909 cleared 4½\acres cropped 6 acres

1910 cleared 9 acres cropped 12 acres

had 2 cattle 1907-1910

18' x 18' log and lumber house value $160

18' x 24' log stable value $ 80

well 18' deep value 5 30

fence3/4 mile 2 wire value $ 50


William Roberts received Patent SE-2-59-7W5 Sept 27 1910

Similar sworn statements were made at the same time by his neighbours Andrew Henderson and Emil Cohn.

Beniamin Roberts from a sworn statement in support of application for Homestead Patent of the SWIG of Sec 2, Twp 59, Rge 7, W5 made in 1914, was age 38, British subject by birth, farmer, single.

PO address Peavine, Alberta


cleared 1 acre


1 acre


cleared 3 acres


4 acres


cleared 6 acres


10 acres


cleared 5 acres


15 acres


cleared 5 acres


20 acres


cleared 5 acres


25 acres

had 2 cattle 1907-1913
18' x 18' log and lumber dwelling .... value $250
28' x 2b' log and lumber barn .... value $250
1.5miles of fence .... value $150

well .... value $ 30


Benjamin Roberts received Patent SW\-2-59-7W5 May 22 1914

Similar sworn statements were made at the same time by his neighbours Richard Cullen and Duncan Tolmie.

Fencing formed an essential part of early farming activities, as the law of 'Free Range' applied. This allowed all cattle to range freely wherever they wished, restrained only where individuals had fenced in their land. A story is told that after Ben and Will had cleared, broken and cropped several acres in each quarter, cattle came and grazed on their unfenced crops. They consulted, the local JP, who was a near neighbour, but who also owned the cattle, and he told them that it would be against the law to drive the cattle off their crops, and that the only way open to them was to build a legal fence around their land - not just around the crop! The boys were unable to buy wire to fence the land that year, so they just had to watch the cattle graze off their crop, meanwhile driving in all the fence posts, available simply by cutting down trees, needed to fence their half section. In the June of the next year they were able to buy the wire, but needed help to string it up, as one of them had to go out to work.

Ben used to help Andrew Henderson (one of the 'scotchmen' in the letters) carry the mail with a wagon, drawn by oxen, from Belvedere to Peavine, and later on, in 1912, he helped him with his threshing mill and tractor, the first in the country.

There were lighter moments too. Roaming the woods hunting for moose was general in all parts of the country before much clearing and breaking was done, and there was fishing in the spring and summer, and duck shooting in the fall. There were rabbits in profusion which were a further source of food, but they did an enormous amount of damage to the crops, and owing to the abundance of partridge and 'spruce hen', it was only during the nesting season, and until the broods were reared, that rabbits were taken for food.


Regular Life The Peavine area was generally good land, but the Roberts' land wee not so good, having been described as "mostly all sloughs and hills". They didn't farm very much - they found farming difficult and not very profitable - but they "grew a good garden" and stored their crops for the winter in a root cellar under their cabin. Some of the early settlers came with the idea of 'ranching', because there was such an abundance of natural pasture, but mixed farming was to be the type of economy generally practised as the settlers became established on the land. The land was first cleared with axe and grubhoe and then broken with oxen before planting and sowing. But, there was always the risk of early frosts and snow and then the crops wouldn't ripen. When this happened, the settlers would have to go out to work in the winter - at the logging camps, or driving a horse in the mines or other work in Edmonton.

Commerce too was opening up. Thete were logging operations; contract ploughing and breaking; saw mills; several threshing machines; bee keeping; the Post Office and the General Store, and by 1911, the nearest railway station, at Entwistle, was only 25 miles to the south. The mails arrived weekly. All this is recorded in the several Directories published between 1911 and 1927, and although many of their neighbours appear in the Directories regularly, there is no mention of Ben and Will Roberts. Clearly they were not 'men of commerce'!

Daily life wasn't easy by any means, and it was pretty full, but time was found for the 'off duty' activities. In 1916 the School was built - just another timber cabin with one room - housing about 30 pupils, for all the Grades, same of whom had to walk for miles to get there, with one teacher to handle them all. Will Roberts served as a trustee on the Peavine School Board, along with 'scotchman' Andy Henderson.

The School Room also served as the focus for all manner of social gatherings and events. There were dances and social evenings, silent movies in the School yard, concerts and debates - one being on the merits of horses vs oxen for Homesteaders, which the oxen won - and great attention was paid to the coffee and cake, especially by the bachelors. The settlers would travel for miles to a social event, in the winter time piling onto their sleighs and driving through the snow or across the frozen lakes. And the 'Peavine Chronicle' made its first appearance in February 1914, written in longhand and read aloud to the assembled gathering by its editors, it remained a feature of the meetings until they were disbanded in 1916. And 1923 saw the first radio in the area. It had ear-phones only, so that when general listening was required, the ear-phones were put in a bowl so everyone gourd hear a little.


The Bad Times - There was always the threat of unexpected bad weather, from late snows that would flatten the growing crops to early frosts, or rain and wind storms, which would spoil the mature crops before they had a chance to ripen. And when this happened, life was hard. By far the worst winter was 1919-20 with deep snow in the third week in October, and snowstorm after snowstorm, piling snow in a record depth. Stock losses in the district were very heavy. This was followed by a slump in the prices of farm produce followed again, in 1922, by crop failures through drought. Again, in 1923, a heavy snowfall in September flattened the corn, so it was only fit to turn the cattle and horses onto it. being bachelors Ben and Will were better off than many of the families as they had only themselves to care for, but even they found it tough going. Then, to add to the normal hazards, in the early thirties came the Depression.

Everyone was hit, but it brought out the best in people. At no time before or since was more thought given to others and a good community spirit prevailed. In 1932, at the height (or should it be depth) of the economic depression in Canada, Ben and Will began to owe local property taxes (rates) to the Department of Municipal Affairs, and were unable to pay them off. No one wanted farm land at this time, and so farmers were allowed to retain their land, perhaps unti' they died or left. Farmers in default were often allowed to pay off some of their tax bill by doing a certain amount of road maintenance work each year. The Roberts brothers were never able to pay off their tax debts.


Later Life - Neither Ben nor Will ever married, and when Will died in 1940, his land was taken over by the Department and sold to pay off the debt. After Will died, Ben had a small house built of lumber (sawn timber as opposed to rough logs) just below the hill the old house stood on, and he spent most of his last years there. He retained title to his quarter until 1949, when he also left the land, and it too was sold to pay his tax debts. At that time he was 75 years old, and he was now alone and rather frail. A longstanding neighbour persuaded Ben to move his house (literally) to his, the neighbour's quarter, and fixed up electricity for him, and he lived here for the next six years. Ben had a partial stroke here, followed by a second fatal one, and he died in 1955.

The final official records of the Roberts brothers appear in the Register of Deaths in the Registration Division of Peavine

William Roberts, male, died in Peavine on 16th April 1940, at the age of 73, having been born in 1868. The name of the informant was given as Benjamin Roberts. Cause of death was not stated. Benjamin Roberts, male, died in Mayorthorpe Hospital on 13th August 1955, at the age of 82 years 8 months, having been born in 1873. The name of the informant was given as E G Reddish, (the neighbour in whose garden Ben's house had been re-built), and the cause of death was stated as Uremia (kidney failure).


New Owners - And what of today? Who are today's owners? Having acquired the two quarters of land to pay off their tax debts, the Dept. of Municipal Affairs then sold the land on. It changed hands several times over the following years, and now, in 1990, Ben Roberts' quarter, the one with the little lake, is owned and farmed by Kenneth Stuart Charles while Will's quarter is now the home of Morris Thompson and his wife, who have built a new log house and cleared some of the ground for a few head of cattle.


Memories - Much of what has been written up to now has come from the very able researches of George Callow from Calgary, who went to endless trouble, delving into the Provincial archives, to satisfy my curiousity. My Sangster friends in Edmonton, having first established where the early Homesteads were, took a different approach, no less enthusiastically, and wrote to the newspapers local to Peavine, in Mayorthorpe and Whitecourt, asking the questions I had asked, and whether anyone remembered Ben and Will Roberts. The response went far beyond my hopes or expectations. Four people replied to the letter in the newspapers - all living in the neighbourhood. One had owned Will Roberts quarter at one time; another is the daughter of Andy Henderson (one of the 'scotchmen'), and a third is the daughter of E G Reddish, on whose quarter Ben's little house was rebuilt in his latter days. they all have memories of Ben and Will, and as the original quest started from Ben's letters, perhaps it is fitting that I should end by quoting one or two of the memories from the letters of these elderly ladies.

Olive Reddish Erickson writes: "They were good friends and good neighbors .... I can remember Will coming to the little school at the end of school hours for a Trustees' meeting, (1930's). He had little eye glasses he took out when he needed to make a report and then he would raise them above his eyebrows and wear them that way. Since I would be about 8 or 9 years old, this impressed me ...." and about Ben when he was living in his little cabin on the Reddish land " My son, about 4 years old then, remembers when he visited his Grandma and Grandpa, that if they went to 'Mr. Ben's shack Ben came to the door with 'bought' cookies. He liked children ...."

And it was Eustace Reddish, Olive's father, who helped the boys to fence their land, to keep out the 'free range' cattle, so many years before, Jean Henderson Pinchbeck writes' "I knew them when I was a little girl,

Jean Henderson .... William was on the school board with my Dad, so we saw a lot of them. In 1908, my Dad sold a team of horses to them. Benjamin used to ride with the mail carrier .... with a team of oxen, just a trail through the bush .... On this one trip with my Dad, they got very wet, so hung up their underwear on a tree close to where the oxen were tethered, old Mike and Bill. When my Dad awoke from sleeping in a tent, old Mike had Ben's underwear wrapped around his horns and trailing through his feet, all wet, slimy and green from trailing through the green grass, so Ben had to continue home with no underwear. They used to tell lots of stories in the old pioneer days, when I was little .... They are buried in the Anglican Church yard next to Reddish's in Peavine . .."


Conclusion - And so, all the questions I had raised have been answered, and many more besides. But, isn't it very sad that the enthusiasm with which those two young men set out on their Homesteading adventures almost fifty years earlier should end in this way. They were essential and valued members of their pioneering community, and yet their full story doesn't appear anywhere.

So, what started out as a rather tentative hope turned into reality, and it just goes to prove that there's a lot of information out there for the family historians, if only they know where to look. Perhaps here I should quote from George Callow's last letter " I have enjoyed doing this bit of research, and learning about the tremendous amount of good published information available here in Alberta ...." and I'm sure he would be happy to pass on his new found knowledge to any Member who is interested.

And what about Duggie Buxton, without whose keepsake letters none of this would have happened? What does he think about it all? Well, he's thrilled to learn, after all these years, what happened to his long lost Canadian uncles. And, when I was reading to him the letters I had received from Canada, he was sitting there, listening intently, with his glasses pushed up over his eyebrows, just like his Uncle Will at the Peavine School Board Trustees' meeting some sixty years before!


Acknowledgements - ** Several local histories of the Peavine District have been written over the past few decades, and I have quoted freely from these. I make no apology for this - it's all in the cause of Family History - but I'm grateful to the Compilers for recording their stories. George Callow and Bob and Marilyn Sangster also have my sincere thanks for their enthusiasm in accepting my challenge. And last, but by no means least, I must say a big thank you to Duggie Buxton whose letters set off the whole enquiry.



West of the Fifth Meridian

A history of Lac St Anne Municipality - 1959


The Lantern Er

Recollections of early days in the Peavine District - 1979


Three Trails Home

A history of the Mayorthorpe District - 1980

Tony Kneale, 14 Wilton Rd., Edinburgh, Scotland EH16 5NX



Recently I purchased a small handwritten notebook in Peel which gave the names of men employed in the Isle of Man Railway Locomotive Department; the book is dated 29th May 1909 but it has information going back to 1879.

Listed are nearly 300 names of men employed by the Railway Company, alongside their name, details of their occupation is given, the date they started and the date they terminated their employment. In another column extra loformatlon is also given in many cases.

Underneath I have collated a few extracts from the book, if you believe your ancestor may have worked for the company, I am willing to search.







Thos Kelly


May 1879 to


Off ill Oct 1909


Died 10 June 1910

Jho. Corlett




Off to Canada

Robt. Dodds




Joined H.M. Army

Hy. Lewin




Went to Cammell



Thos. F. Kneen





Geo Braide




Employed 9 years

Jas Kneale




Left, summer hand

Geo Caine




Joined H.M. Army

I have also a list of some of the mens wages, for example George Caine restarted 17th March 1919 as a Spare Fireman when he came back from the front, his wages in W/E 21st November 1920 as a Fireman were £3.17.6

We also have a large collection of railway books if anyone requires any information, they contain many photographs which can be photocopied.


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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