Newtown - Mount Murray, Santon

Mount Murray

In 1717 Richard McGwire, described as Merchant and Banker of Dublin applied for a licence to enclose an area of commons - in Lib Assed for Santon entered as intack #33 as "Mr Rich McGwire for a parcell of the commons being the mountain called Ash hold Rented by the Goverr & Officers to £3 10s pa. Others also acquired inclosures in Ash-hold and there were some exchanges of plots in the following few years as McGwire started to construct his estate.

Old Deed Santon #51: dated 2 Oct 1721;Mr James Wolahan(New-town Santan) obo Mr Richd McGwire (Mercht Dublin) and Jno Moore(Sulbrick Santan) to exchange two parcels in Ash-hold;Wm Crebbin + John Martin measured land - McGwire's is large but unimproved, Moore's is improved with some part limed; Moore purchased his parcel from John Keaney [see old san #47]who had inclosed same before McGwire's enclosure but being very inconvenient (to McGwire) as lies within a nook or corner of McGwire's estate called New-towne; McGwire's parcel lies near turf way on west side of Moore's parcel and being more convenient to Moore and less trouble for McGwire as no way required by Moore thro his land - parties agree to exchange;witt Wm Crebbin, John Martin x;court Oct 1721

John Moore having acquired this from John Keaney - Old Deed Santon #47 - dated 10 Feb 1720/1;John Keaney(Santan) + wife Joney als Waterson sell for £4 10s to John Moore(Santan) a parcel of intack late inclosed in Ashold adj to Mr McGwire's inclosure on North and North east, to Robt Lewney's inclosure on South East and to Jo Keig's enclosure on South or Southwest (rent 2s 6d);witt Wm Crebbin, Christo Kinley x;court may 1721.

John Lewney also sells another inclosure - South Side Sale Santon Oct 1727 #40 - dated 20 Jun 1727;John Lewney (Santan) sells for £7 (Manx) to Richard McGwire, esq, an intack called the Cronk-glass within the boundry of the lands of Newtown taken under licence dated 25 Jul 1716 (+ Great Enquest Oct 1716) of rent 10d. Witt Patrick Christian, John Redfern, John Martin

McGwire had lost no time after obtaining the licence to start work - probably on the house as there was a complaint in November 1717 that tools had been damaged - the site was conveniently midway between the then capital and administrative centre of Castletown where the courts were and Douglas where most if not all the trade was done; the same location was to appeal some 50 years later to Sir Wadsworth Busk.

On 7th April 1722 Wm Murrey complained to the Chancery Court that McGwire owed him £600 and was now 'out of the Island' but has some goods that were to be speedily to be carried off - accordingly the Governor issued authority for goods to be distrained until the debt had been resolved. On 2 May 1722 John Moore coroner of Middle reports he had arrested goods at McGwire's estate at Santan called New-Town McGwire comprising besides the lands and houses 8 oxen, mares and 14 colts - a Mr James Lynham and the rest of the servants were given notice not to dispose of any goods. A further order of 5th July notes that Mr Lynham and Mr Sanforth had given security for the debts (the goods to stand as security also) and that any goods arrested in hands of Mr Henrick Toren to be delivered up to Lynham and Sanforth

The 1727 sale was the last as McGwire died later that year leaving a wife and only child William McGwire also described as a Banker in Dublin - the development of the estate came to a sudden stop - some simplification was obtained in a modification to the exchange with Moore:

South Side Sale Santon May 1729 #68: dated 13 Aug 1728;Thomas Harley + Richard Duteral (obo Mr Wm McGwire Banker Dublin) agree with Jno Moore(Surbrick Santan) to exchange parcels of ground in Newtown McGwire - McGwire to give Moore three times as much land as had before in exchange from Mr Wolahan late steward to Mr McGwire's father (as in Deed dated 2 Oct 1721) and that the 2s 6d rent on that part of mountain of Ash Hold be laid on that part wch Moore is to have; all fences + ditches to be made by Moore except fence at extreme part of the bounds being boundary - Moore to make a gate at west end next to Honton's intack and Mrs McGwire another gate at east end adj to Lord's lands always reserving that road which is to be 6 yds wide;Witt Jon Redfern, Patrick Kelly x;parties set boundaries as from a mark on highway near Hampton's inclosure running northward along McGwire's way to another mark upon an old Copp on Ash-hould and thence to the great stone on sd Copp then running down in a direct line to the turf way opposite to Kinley's hedge and then along highway to Hampton's incluse - two corners on west side of highway one adj to BallaCorris other to Christopher Kinley to be Moore's property

After which Elizabeth and William McGwire used the estate as security for an annuity- which would appear to place a rather high valuation on this and the undeveloped enclosure on the Ballaugh/Michael border.

South Side Sale Santon May 1729 #67: dated 28 Sep 1728;recites that deed of release dated 23 Dec 1727 between Elizabeth McGwire, relict Richard McGwire banker Dublin, Wm McGwire banker Dublin and only child of sd Richard McGwire and Honble Richard Stewart esq (Dublin) , Richard Helsham (Dotor Physiic Dublin) + Thomas Trotter (doctor Law Dublin) on 3rd part;the McGwires for consideration mentioned have granted those parcels of land lying in the Isle of Man lately in possession of Richard McGwire and lately known as Newtown Bally McGwire + also mountain now called MontPellier to parties of 3rd part in trust but they to allow Wm McGwire to pay an annuity of £300 pa out of profits to Elizth McGwire during her life - at her decease they be seized of lands in trust for Wm McGwire though he be permitted to sell them

But by 1736 there was a forced sale of the estate:

South Side Sale Santon Oct 1736 #35 dated 3 Jun 1736;John Moore (Coroner of middle) recites that several decrees of Chancery Court against Mr Wm McGwire in favour of creditors Mr Andrew Savage, Mr Geo Moore and Capt Tho Redfern and accordingly he did restrain the estate of houses and lands called Newtown (rent £3 10s 10d)- the same to be appraised by 4 sworn men (Tho Bridson, John Moor, Wm Kermod + Jo Kermod) who valued them at £400 and after due publication put premises to sale by public cant [auction] but no bidders - hence valuers to pay £400 to discharge debts and property transferred to them;witt Wm Christian, John Kelly;same day valuers sell same to Mr Geo Moore for £400;witt Wm Christian, John Kelly.

George Moore sells it some 30 years later to John Joseph Bacon - who it would seem rented out the property as one tenant was Sir Wadsworth Busk

South Side Sale Santon Oct 1773 #48 dated 5 may 1767;George Moore(Ballamoore) + wife Cath sell for £523 to John Joseph Bacon(Mercht Douglas) all those lands etc called Newtown (rent £3 10s 10d) formerly estate of Wm McGuire banker Dublin but sold by order of Court of Charcery;witt Thomas Woods, Philip Boyd x

Property prices seem to have increased greatly after this date as Bacon sells the estate in 1793 to Lord Henry Murray for £4000 - it now became known as Mount Murray though the Newtown name stuck to the nearby area along the Douglas/Castletown road.

South Side Sale Santon Oct 1793 #44 dated 19 jun 1793;John Joseph Bacon(Merchant douglas) + wife Ann als Cosnahan sell for £4000 to Rt Hon Henry Murray (commonly called Lord Henry Murray) currently residing at Port-e-Chree (Braddan) the estate of Newtown situate in Santaon and Braddan [on margin added in a diff hand] together with mansion house, the other dwelling houses, out houses, barns, stables, offices + buildings made + erected (rent £3 10s 10d);witt Catharine Kelly ? , Richd Heywood

Robertson writing in 1794 states:

The house is elegant: and Sir Wadsworth's fine taste endeavoured to embellish some of the neighbouring fields; but the sterility of the soil, in a great measure, has frustrated every attempt. Yet, in this retirement Sir Wadsworth devotes himself to the pursuits of literature and the enjoyment of domestic virtues.

At a little distance from Newtown, on the top of a mountain, Sir Wadsworth erected a pillar inscribed to the Queen, in commemoration of his Majesty's recovery in 1789; which has little to recommend it to a traveller's attention, except the loyalty it expresses. To the fishermen on this side of the island, it however proves, from its elevation, an excellent sea-mark.



Newtown, Santan - c.1930 looking west
Newtown, Santan - c.1930 looking west towards Douglas

The undated postcard view though entitled Lancashire Hotel barely shows this on the left hand side of the road - in the distance on the right can be seen Newtown Primitive Methodist Chapel (now closed) - the view might be c. 1930 as the chapel was one of the first to be lit by electricity in 1929 - what appear to be the distribution poles are along the left hand side of the road

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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2011