[From An Accurate Description by T Callister, 1815]

A descriptive and picturesque view, of the several beautiful and much admired Seats and Estates of the Nobility and Gentry, in the vicinity of Douglas.


This necessarily takes the lead, being the extraordinary handsome seat of His Grace the DUKE of ATHOLL, and is considered to be by far the most superb building ill the Island. It is situated about a mile from the Old Fort, and pretty near the spot where the Loughhouse formerly stood, It has a majestic appearance from every part where it can be seen, not excepting the Bay, of which it commands a very fine prospect, as well as of a great part of the town, and of Douglas How, and consequently of Fort Ann. Behind it, a few paces backward are a range of genteel out-offices; and abut a quarter of a mile distant, towards Ballaquayle rivulet, just opposite Colonel STUART's there is a row of fine stable's and coach-houses ; near to which, as you enter the great gate, there is a very handsome lodge for the deputy steward and his family, the chef steward having a genteel house about a quarter of a mile to the northward of the Castle. A great number of workmen were some years employed in erecting and finishing this stupendous structure, which is esteemed by the best judges to be a masterpiece of workmanship : on the side wall facing the sea, are visible to those who pass by, on the Strand, different sketches of the Arms of the illustrious family of ATHOLL. The whole of this superb edifice was designed by, and executed under the superintendence of that able architect and engineer, the late GEORGE STUART Esq.

Every part of the interior of this magnificent building, is proportionably grand. His Grace, with his Duchess and family, generally reside here for the major part of the summer, and sometimes they continue there during part of the winter, and frequently some of the English and Scotch Nobility and Gentry come over along with them, which circumstance proves highly gratifying to the inhabitants of Douglas, the Gentry of which, together with the heads of the Island, are periodically invited by his Grace to participate of sumptuous entertainments. A little north of the Castle, in a low situation, is a very large garden, formerly belonging to the before mentioned Loughhouse, which has been much improved; it abounds with several kind of fruit trees, and on the rising ground adjoining, there has been lately planted, rows of trees, one above the other, Some of them evergreens, which add, much to the beauty of the place, and seem calculated to exhibit in the course of a. little time, a most delightful view. A great many fields to the westward of the building, as far as Port-e-Chee, and even to near Tromode, has been purchased by his Grace, who has caused them to be laid out in a number of very fine large fields, with proper drains, hedges, ditches, fences, and other improvements, so that it is not without reason, that this seat is generally considered, as all ornament to the town of the first magnitude.


This is an exceeding handsome Seat, having been built at a great expence, by THOMAS WHALLEY, Esq. deceased, an Irish gentleman of fortune, some years since. It is in an elevated situation on the road leading to Douglas Head, just opposite the Light House, and commands a most delightful prospect of Castle Mona, of Colonel STUART'S seat, of the Hills, the quay, the town, and the bay, as well as of Howstrake, and a great part of the country all around. On the west side, is a long, spacious, and elegant hall, through which you pass on entering, which is chiefly composed of stucco work ; and on the east there is a low building adjoining, (left open at top, with window openings in the side wall) of nearly the same size as the hall, which is so contrived as to have the appearance, to a stranger, from the pier, of this edifice having been the remains of some ancient ruins, and that the several other parts thereof had been lately modernized; the stables and coach-house are remarkably elegant, and the out-offices adjoining are neat and commodious ; there are also two fine gardens adjoining, one of them pretty large, and the other contains a greenhouse, &c. There are at present two families that occupy it, each in distinct and separate apartments, one of which is Major ORMSBY and the other the Honourable Lady WHALLEY's, who is the proprietor. Under the building are extensive vaults, and the interior altogether as well as the exterior are both much admired by Connoisseurs in Architecture; and although it falls greatly short of Castle Mona in extent and elegance, yet the view thereof from several spots, especially from the pier, the strand, and the bay, has all uncommon pleasing effect.


This seat derives its name from its situation being on a rising ground, a little above the middle of the town, on the west. It is a very handsome place, and the mansion-house although built near fifty years since, is far from being inelegant. Between the house and the garden there is a large and handsome area well laid out, and pleasant walks therein. The garden between this area and the town is a very large one, abounding with fruit trees of various kinds, and it is surrounded with a number of lofty trees.

There is a very fine brewery adjoining the house, on the south-west side, where the brewing business is carried out in a very extensive manner by the present proprietor, John Moore, Esq. formerly of Peel. The Brewhouse as well as the malthouse, (wherein the malt is ground as well as made) both being in the rear of the mansion house, have as well as the latter, been very much enlarged, with new stables and coach-house added. Indeed the many improvements made by this gentleman in and about; the place, especially of late, have been very great ; having also incloscd St. George's Church by a high wall and planted trees inside all round, which will in time add greatly to its present beauty. In short, the many improvements made about this estate in the course of a few years, has greatly enhanced the value as well as the beauty thereof; and redounds much to the credit of Mr. MOORE. It commands a most delightful prospect of the bay, of Douglas How, and part of the town.


Colonel STUART's seat. This is part of Ballaquayle estate : the house is an elegant one, situated only a small distance to the southeast of Castle Mona Lodgee. Tle garden, &c. adjoining, being very well laid out: had the house been built further up in the country it might have cut a greater figure as a gentleman's seat, but being so near Castle Mona, causes its beauty and elegance to diminish in such a manner as to render it almost entirely eclipsed on a comparative view: nevertheless the Colonel derives great merit from the pains he has taken with the spot of land about and whoever turns his eyes for the moment from Castle Mona on one side and from Fort Ann on the other, to fix them on the Colonel's only, the place will afford a pleasing view enough.


This fine estate is the property of the Honourable JOHN TAUBMAN Speaker of the House of Key's. The mansion-house, although built about fifty years since, is still a very handsome one, being situated little more than a quarter of a mile from the town : of part whereof, part of the bay, of Douglas How, including Ann's Battery, it commands a very handsome prospect. It is a very ancient and beautiful seat, and derives its name from having been in former times the residence of Nuns, the ruins of their Chapel being still. visible, and the bell which belonged thereto still hangs up in its former place, and is made use of occasionally to summons the family to dinner. The Nunnery, besides the many fine fields all around it, comprises the Mill (which is by far the largest in the Island) and also the whole of Douglas How, being altogether a very large, well improved, and extraordinary valuable estate. There is a beautiful lawn adjoining, and the great number of large and lofty old trees around that and the garden, &c. gives the place an uncommon air of antiquity and grandeur. There is also a remarkably pleasant grove adjoining, on the road to Pulrose, near a quarter of a mile long, which been planted in the Major's time; and it is much frequented by the gentry during the hot months in summer as a cool and refreshing retreat. There is likewise adjoining, a park and beautiful garden, which abounds with all kinds of fruit trees, and there are several well managed hothouses therein, in which a great variety of exotic fruit are reared every year at no small expence. Among the rest is that grand herb called the Stromonium, or Thorny Apple, which carne originally from Peru, and which is reckoned by the Faculty, to be the best and most infallible remedy for that dangerous complaint called the asthma ; and it is asserted to have saved the lives of many subject to that cruel disorder. It sold during the war, in the Apothecaries shops in England, for half a crown an ounce, when cut up, leaves and all. There is only one way of using it, which is to put it into a clean tobacco pipe, cut as small as possible, and used as tobacco, except with this difference, that the smoke must be swallowed, which is not disgusting, but rather pleasant.

HOWSTRAKE, commonly called BALNAHOW.

The property of ROBERT BANKS, esq is situated near Kirk Onchan Church, At present occupied by ANTHONY DUNLOP, Esq. who has some years since taken a long lease thereof; and for which he pays 400 British a year, besides 1500 to the former possessor for an assignment of the lease. This fine estate, (which is so large that it is computed to contain near seven quarter lands) like a great many others throughout the Island, was formerly when in the proprietor's possession, left almost entirely neglected, and of course, uncultivated. A great part of it was tenanted by poor cotters, and the remainder was mostly left for sheep-walks and the grazing of a few horned cattle and some horses, except. some meadows and other fields near the mansion-house, that produced what was wanted for the said horses and cattle, and as much oats and barley as was merely necessary for the support of the people of the house. Thus it afforded to a pretty large family a decent and comfortable maintenance only. But since Agriculture on a more enlarged scale, and on a much better plan than usual, has been introduced into the Island, by farmers and gentlemen from the neighbouring. kingdoms, the face of the county has experienced :an extraordinary change for the better, and the major part of the estates produce double, and some of them even treble what they formerly did ;while the new tenants are enabled not only to pay unusually large rents, but also to maintain their families genteelly ; and not a few of them have contrived to lay by something yearly besides, owing partly to the introduction of winnowing; and thrashing machines, some of which latter are worked by horses and others by water. This estate in particular has been vastly improved by the present possessor since he came to it, but it must be allowed that there was great room left for such improvement by its owner and former possessor. The mansion- house, out-offices. &c. have also been enlarged by Mr. DUNLOP, and the land managed in such a manner as to render it altogether not not only a very handsome but also a very profitable estate. However, it must be found, that the general peace and the American peace, also the late Act of Tynwald respecting Strangers who had contracted debts out of the Island, rendering it no longer an asylum for such, that the value of land is falling considerably, and not likely soon to be so valuable as it has been.


This is a remarkably handsome seat, being situated a little to the southwest of the Hague in Kirk Onchan, and is the property of JOHN JOSEPH HEYWOOD Esq. The mansion-house was several years since considerably enlarged and much beautified by JOSHUA FARRER, Esq. deceased, an English gentleman of great fortune There is a handsome garden at the back of the house, and the out-offices, stables, coach-house, &c. was considerably enlarged in that gentleman's time, insomuch that the placeexhibits quite another appearance to what it did formerly. There is a genteel well laid out area in front of the house, and the land is in a great state of improvement at present. - The prospect which it commands of the town, of the bay, and of, whatever shipping, herring fishing boats, &c. that enter into or goes out of the harbour, also of the Nunnery How, (including Fort Ann) is peculiarly striking , being at once pleasing and delightful especially during the summer; so that it is in every respect a most desirable country residence for any gentleman. - At present it is occupied by SAMUEL BARKER., Esq.


This fine estate is situated about a quarter of a mile southwest of Bemahague, and is a pretty large one, being the property of COLQUET HEYWOOD, Esq. The mansion-house was rebuilt some years since, being at present an elegant one, and the out-offices have been much enlarged, the land also has been of late years vastly improved. There are two largo beautiful gardens adjoining, one whereof is well stocked with fruit trees, and it contains also a very fine grapery ; the other is a very fine flower garden, and a very handsome avenue leads to the house.


This is a neat snug farm, situated about a quarter of a mile below Bemahague. The mansion house, out-offces, &c. have been much enlarged within these few years, and it has a very handsome garden adjoining, surrounded with many lofty tree., which gives the place a grand appearance. the land has from time to time received great improvements from different tenants. It is occupied at present by STANLEY BULLOCK, Esq.


Belonging to T. HARRISON, Esq jun is a remarkable handsome seat, situated on the land of Ballaquayle,a little above Colonel Stuart's, between that and Port-e-Chee,.on the right of the new road leading from the town and Mr BUCK's to Tremode, which road is much frequented by thegentry in summertime, and is a very pleasant walk, having a variety of pleasing prospects there from, of the bay, the town, and the country. The mansion-house is built in the modern taste, with a handsome lodge at the entrance, and a beautiful area, between the house and the town.. The field immediately adjoining towards Colonel Stuart's is very judiciously planted with new trees, near to which several larger old ones formerly stood, which gives the place altogether a charming romantic appearance, and the other fields about it are extremely well uuproved.


This is a very fine estate, situated near a mile from the town, between Ballaughton and Tremode, being the property of his Grace the DuKE OF ATHOLL. the mansion-house, court-houses, and out-offices have received great additions and improvements of late years, and more so, since his Grace purchased it. There is a long range of lofty trees on each side. Under the hill, and below, as well as upon the upper grounds, are a number of fine fields, and many more have been purchased by his Grace for the enlargement of this estate, which extends as far as Tremode, the whole having been extremely well improved. A large and remarkably fine meadow runs from the houses as far as the high road, opposite Ballaughton, and leading to Kirk Braddan Church : A number of new trees have also been planted within these few years, in several places in and about it, which were unfit for any other purpose, and these as well as the lofty trees above mentioned give the estate altogether a very elegant appearance. It has two houses joined, one of which is occupied at present by Mr. BONNYMAN, formerly chief steward to his Grace.


This is an extraordinary handsome seat, situated in Ballaughton, within half a mile of the town, being the property of T. HARRISON, Esq. sell. 'this gentleman built the fine mansion house, who is also proprietor of several other houses near one of them though small is very neat and compact. The out-offices, coach-house, stables, &c. are large and commodious. There is a remarkably fine garden and orchard adjoining, and the land is in the best possible state of improvement.


This is the very elegant seat of Major TOBIN. It is situated about a mile from the town, on the left of the road to Castletown, from which it exhibits a very pleasing view, having been vastly improved since it came into the Major's possession, not only with regard to the mansion house and out-offices, but also in respect of the land, and it is therefore very justly ranked as one of the first clan: of gentlemen's seats.


This is one of the handsomest and most genteel farms in the Island, being situated only about half a mile from the town. There are three gardens belonging to it, one of them remarkably fine, being well stocked with the choicest fruit, also some bee-hives and a hothouse. The mansion-house has, a few years back, been enlarged ; but it is better known for its hospitality than its elegance. The proprietor however, means to build a new one, more iu the modern stile, and suitable to so good an estate. There is a handsome wooden bridge for foot passengers on the river which runs through Douglas, leading to the house, and before you reach it there is a very genteel avenue with neat trees planted on each side some years since; and there is likewise a remarkably good mill belonging to the estate. From the bridge you have a beautiful view of this fine farm, particularly the meadows that have lately been laid out as a park, and which has a very pretty effect. The place all around abounds with lofty trees, which gives it a grand appearance. The present proprietor has made great improvements in the farmyard for his numerous poultry, foreign and domestic, as likewise for his pigs, &c. ; the pond for the ducks and geese is remarkably commodious. At the end of the farmyard is the Gothic Cottage, being the residence of his farmer, which has a remarkably pleasing appearance. The out-offices have of late been much enlarged, and the several other improvements made all through this farm in thecourse of a few years are considerable. The proprietor is JOHN MOORE, Esq. who also has a brewery and a malthouse adjoining. where he formerly carried on the brewing business, but not on so very extensive a scale ae as that of the Hiills : however, he has lately set the same.


'This is an exceeding like and valuable estate, being situated. near the Church of Kirk Braddan, and is at present the property of Colonel WILKES, a gentleman of very considerable fortune, which he acquired in the service of the East India Company, haying resided in Indiia many years. Since he purchased it he has made vast improvements thereon, and that at a great expence : and he very generously gave a considerable quantity of ground to enlarge the parish churchyard for the burial of the poor. He is likewise building an extraordinary handsome mansion-house. apart entirely from the old one, which is in a fine airy situation, being in a field between the churchyard. and Ballalaughton, in a well chosen spot, whereon is a slight rising, which gives its front an elevated and elegant prospect from many parts of the road, for more than half a mile from the church, towards the town. Notwithstanding the absence of the Colonel (who is gone again abroad, to take upon him the Government of the Island of St. Helena, to which he was lately appointed by the Company) the estate continues to receive improvements, and the workmen are still going on with the interior of the mansion-house, with occasional interruption, so that the seat will in a little time be certainly one of the grandest in the Island. The old garden was a remarkable fine one, abounding with fruit trees of all kinds, nevertheless, there has been of late a most elegant new one constructed, being rplanncd wholly in the the modern taste, with hothouses, &c. The gardener's house, coach-house, and out-ofiices, adjoin the new garden, being to small distance from the mansion-house, near the road to the vicarage, which is a very genteel pile of buildings, and the whole (including the mansion-house,) affords another pleasing view from Ballaughton road, commencing near Captain MURRAY'S, on which road is a handsome foot path, and a double row of small trees neatly pruned on each side so that it seem, already intended for the future chief avenue to the house.


This seat was formerly called Newtown, and although it is not so immediately in the vicinity of the town as the others described, yet its being only about a mile from Middle, and being on the road to Castletown on the right, it seems entitled to a place here, in order to close these descriptions, J. FARRER, Esq. who lately resided there is son and heir to the gentleman who lived in Bernahague for some years, and who so much improved the same. This estate was purchased by the late Right Hon. Lord HENRY MURRAY, (brother to his Grace the DUKE OF ATHOLL) who was Colonel of the Royal Manks Fencibles. Lady MURRAY is the present proprietor, and. a lease thereof has some years since been given to the gentleman above mentioned. Since he came into possession he has greatly improved it, and continues so to do. The old garden, although a pretty large one, is now wholly appropriated to culinary purposes ; and he has laid out ground for one of another kind, being on a very elegant plan in the modern taste, arid. a high wall has been already built round the same. The mansion-house is a double one, being large, handsome, and commodious, and. has undergone several alterations for the better since this gentleman came to it; the interior in a special manner, has been put into a more genteel stile; and with respect to the land, it continues also to receive further improvements, by the draining of ditches, fencing, manuring, &c.


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