Some Social Aspects of Castletown in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

by T. M. Moore

In 1700 Castletown was still under a semi-feudal system with the Earls of Derby as its Lords. Information about the inhabitants and their relationship with the Lord can be gained by a study of the Petty Disbursements.

These were accounts kept for the Earls of Derby and Dukes of Atholl for over three hundred years. They indude the officials' salaries, food, drink, livestock kept for the Lord, clothes for the Lord, and arms for the castles and forts. The sums are written in Manx and English currency. The English pound being worth £1. 3s. 4d. Manx.

The Disbursements of sallarys and pensions to officers and soldiers, etc., for Lord Good 1700 were for Christmas quarter-

Nicholas Sankey Governor


Jon Rowe Compl


Dan Mylrea Deemster


John Parr Deemster


Mones as allowed by our Honble Lords order


Tho Huddleston officiating as Waterbaylif


Tho Huddleston Attorney-General

£ 2. I0s.

Dan Morrison Chirugeon (surgeon)

£ 2.

Rushen Garrison Jon Woods Constable

£ 3. 6s.

Rushen Garrison Mon Lor Squire Lieut.

£ 1. 5s.

Turnor Calcott Enseigne

£ 1. 5s.

Jon Rothwell[sic Rothmell] Gunner

£ 2.

James Walkinton Drumd

£ 1. 5s,

Thos. Saule Soldr and glasier

£ 1. 5s.

Thos. Looney Soldr

£ 1. 5s.

Rich. Slater

£ 1. 5s.

Jon.Miller sadlr end soldier

£ 1. 5s.

These salaries were paid four times a year. The names of the recipients show a good mixture of Manx and English names, and in some cases two professions to one individual.

Throughout the disbursements there are interesting examples of the financial system.

In 1703 on July 30th there was "paid unto Wm. Ratcliff as a reward for finding and discovering several pieces of gold found on ye shore warpools, and due to our Honble Ld by his prerogative by Dept. Governor Parrs order. £3

May 10th, 1705. paid unto Cha. Piggot for making 22 money baggs at 4p 7s. 4d.

June 20th, 1718. Paid unto Cha. Piggot glover for making three leather baggs for the use of the Treasurey as p. bill 1s. 9d.

July 2nd, 1722. Paid John Corris Glover for five leather baggs for the use of the treasury at 6d. a piece 2s. 6d.

Large sums were also mentioned:

May 21st, 1723. Paid unto Henry Gill steward to our Honble Lord at Knowsley by his Lordships order and for his use the sum of four thousand eight hundred and sixty five pounds one shilling and sixpence British as by receipt on the file bearing date the 20th Aprile, 1723 (which in Manx value is £ 5,675. 18s. 5d.) and again on June 20th, 1730. Recd. from James Horton, seven baggs of silver sealed with his own seal in order to be delivered to our Rt. Hon. Lords Steward at Knowsley 7 baggs received p. me

Jn Brownell

(Brownell was Comptroller at Castle Rushen)

N.B. The above Baggs contain one hundred and twenty pounds English (in Manx £140). Each is in all Manx Nine hundred and eight English £840.0.0. James Horton.

James Horton was the governor, and Knowsley was the chief seat of the Derbys.

The entries for the Lord's food paints an intimate picture of life in Castle Rushen:

1700, Nov. 14th: Paid as allowed the said moar a bill due to Jon Kelly,

Jon Kewish and others for raising stones for the oyster pit 8s. 1701, May 17th: Paid unto Lewis Credson for 39 lobsters and feeding them for our honble Lords as p. bill 5s.

1703, Dec. 16th: Paid unto Margory Morrison for pepper, ginger, etc. for sousing of puffins for our Honble Lds use as p. bill (and also for wine and vinegar for ye sums use) £1. 7s. 1d.

1705, Aug. 13th: Part of Bill with Mr. John Murray paid him more for wine vinegar and spice for soucing 12 barrels of puffins sent to England and delivered to Mr. Holland for our Honourable Lords use. £2. 14s. Id.

Mr. John Murray was a rich merchant and second of that name (He bought Ronaldsway about 1720).

Puffins were gathered in great quantities on the Calf of Man at that period. Under the Atholl regime they were still sought after.

1736, Aug. 5th: Pad Jo Callin for ten galls of vinegar for soucing puffins for his Grace's use and two casques as p. bill in particular 15s. 4d. British in Manks. 17s. 10d.

The Duke's Birthday and George II's were an excuse for having a feast.

1742: Paid sundry persons for beef, hammes, fowles, flower, batter. sugr as p. bill of particulars which were used £1. 14s. 7d. A similar celebration for George II's birthday cost £1. 12s. 6d.

Another interesting celebration was for the birth of a Lord Strange who was the son of the 10th Earl and died as an infant. The Atholls would not have succeeded if he had lived.

1710, June 20th: Paid Mr. Thompson and Mr. Huddleston for the experience of ye entertains upon the news of the birth of a Lord Strange as p. bill.

The sumptuous food at table was accompanied by large shipments of drink.

1720, May 21st: Paid unto Mr. Seddon as pd. by him for a hogshead of white port wine bought for £5. 5s. 0d. the Honble Lds use and sent his hop (home) by Jo Kewish Master of the Henrietta to Knowsley in July 1719.

1729, Dec. 12th: Paid to Mr. William Murray for 28 Ibs of corkwood to make corks for our Honble Lords use as p. bill 10s. 10d.

1736, Mar.10th: Paid to Mr. Allen Stanley for sixteen hund of lemons and oranges to make the said shrub as p. bill

Shrub is from the Arabic SHURB, a drink. A prepared drink of juice of lemon or oranges, sugar, rum or other spirit.

1745: Paid Mr. Griffith Beven for wine shrub which was used on the Rejoicing of the Duke of Cumberland's victory over the Rebels in Scotland as p. bill £3. 4s. 9d.

The second Duke of Atholl did not join rebels of the Young Pretender but fled south to join Cumberland. He went north with Cumberland to Edinburgh, where he sent a summons to his vassals to join King George II. His brother, Lord George Murray, was an ardent Jacobite.

Nearly every great Lord had his collection of hunting birds as part of his household. The Derby's were no exception. Perhaps they had some symbolic meaning for them as the Earls were required to produce two falcons at every coronation and their crest was an eagle.

1701, June 25th: Paid unto G. O. Stole for looking to our Honble Lord(s) Hawkes as by bill 6s. 6d.

1705, March 22nd: Paid unto Cesar Brew for looking to the Hawkes and eagle from the 20th May last as per bill £1. 2s. 0d.

1705: Paid for linen to line the hamper that carryed ye Hawkes into England 8s. 6d.

1710 March 10th: Paid unto Cesar Brew for looking after the eagle 13 weeks as p. bill 19s. 6d.

The eagle was a prized possession and had its portrait drawn.

1719, Oct. 20th: Paid unto Cesar Brew for feeding and attending our Honble Lords Eagle and for helping to draw the same as p. bill l0s. l0d.

1719, Oct. 29th: Paid unto Wm. and Gill Gell for drawing the said eagle asp.bill 5s.0d.

In 1734 there is a mention of John Kewn bringing two young eagles to the castle for the Honble Lord's use.

The Atholls had a falconer, Sir Patrick Murray, bars. who was paid £25 in 1761, 1762, 1763, 1764, but there are no other details.

A coach was another status symbol for a great family. Queen Elizabeth the First was seen seated in a carriage dressed in white, looking the very image of a goddess in 1584.

The inventory of Castle Rushen and Peel c. 1694 mentions-"My Lord's chariot and harish and the wheels belonging to it".
A coach is mentioned in the Petty Disbursements-

1700, Nov. 7th: Paid as allowed Tho Cubbon moar of K. K. Arbory a bill due to Robert Quirk for mending the coach harness. 6s. 6d. 1700, November: Paid as allowed to P. Moar another bill due to Mrs. Marg Quayle for the rent of a stable for our Honourable Lord's coach horses l0s. 0d.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century the Quayle's of Bridge House were to have the first sprung coach in the Isle of Man.

The Lord's clothes and those of his servants are sometimes described.
1699, Feb: Paid as allowed unto William Piggott Glover for two pair of toppid (taped?) mourning gloves delivered for our Honourable Lord and other things as p. bill 8s. 9d. 1701, Nov. 18th:

Paid unto Mr. Ingoldsby for a wigg for our Honble Lords cook as p. bill 7s. Od.

1727/8, June 25th, Jan. 25th: Paid Mr. Andre Savage for silks sent to Knowsley by the Gov(enors) Order as p. bill (p.c. 18s. l0d.) £21. 11s. 8d.

1736, Nov. 2nd: Paid more unto the said steward Bickerstaff to pay off a bill to Mr. Reeves for silks hot for his Grace's use whine in the Island. Eight pound Brit. £9. 6s. 11d

1736, Dec. 3rd: Paid Mr. Reeves by my Lord Duke's order for 10 yard of Paduasey halfe a pfs of Taffety and two pairs of Hankerchiefs £8. 4s. 6d.

British in Mancks as p. bill.

Paduasey is probably a corruption of pou de sole-a strong corded or grog-grain silk fabric of which Poult de Sole is the modem representative.

A list of inhabitants of Castletown in 1757 gives an idea of the variety of citizens in the town. Families are listed in detail. For example, John Quayle, Comptroller and his wife had no children but employed two male and three female servants. John and Esther Taubman - a merchant family - had one male and three female children and one female servant. The list includes merchants, officials labourers, tradesmen, farmers, gentlemen and soldiers. The total population was 878 with 412 males and 466 females.

By the end of the eighteenth century the more prominent families were able to build substantial homes in the town. One of them was Bowling Green House belonging to the Taubmans. It took its name from the Bowling Green of the Lord.

1705, May 9th: Paid unto Jo Quayle Mason and others for mending ye wall about our Honble Lds bowling green as p. bill 4s. 0d.

1706, March 15th: Paid unto Mungo Lawdon and Jo Rothwell[sic Rothmell] Smiths for mending ye frames of the Roller belonging to ye Bowling Green and making Raks for ye garden-as p. bill 4s. 4d.
The Taubmans were merchants and bankers and owned a substantial estate in Castletown. In 1780 they moved to the Nunnery, Douglas. Bowling Green House was a fine Georgian building, but it fell into decay judging by a Victorian photograph and was later demolished. Bowling Green Road still exists as a name in Castletown.

Westham, of Arbory Street, is a notable early Castletown house. It has a plaque on a garden wall giving a date and initials


The builder was Captain James Wilks, collector of customs, a son of the Rev. James Wilks and related to Colonel Mark Wilks of Kirby. It has shaped chimney stacks rather Dutch in form, and fine rooms, with marble fireplaces including a black one from Poyllvaish. These black marble fireplaces occur all over the Island and especially in the Castletown area.

Beach House (where one can see two fine niches in the facade from the road) in Douglas Road was built for Deemster Crellin, who died in 1816.

Balcony House in the Parade is another residence of the early nineteenth century. It was the property of Captain Quilliam of Victory fame. It has a fine ironwork balcony and a nice fanlight over the front door. Inside there were splendid mahogany doors, which have been removed. The drawing room on the first floor had elegant plaster elipses on the walls, which were difficult to see in Victorian days because of the trinkets. Miss Corrin was the last private owner, and she had known five generations of the author's family.

Lorne House, built by the Cunningham family, is also noteworthy. It was first leased to Colonel Ready, the Governor in 1834. Then Charles Hope followed him, and in 1860 it returned to the owner's family, and the Governor went to Douglas.

I have left Bridge House, the former home of the Quayle's, until the last. Their family papers in the Manx Museum are the greatest source of information about Castletown life in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Their boathouse, opening on to the harbour, now forms part of the Nautical Museum and with its eighteenth century cabin room is well worth a visit. The large gaunt house beside it was the Quayle's main residence. It is airy inside with many windows, and fine fireplaces, at least one of which is Poyllvaish marble. It also has some restrained plasterwork details, and is being skilfully restored by the present owners. The strong room of the Quayle's private bank founded in 1802 still exists.

What did the inhabitants of these imposing houses do with their spare time? The greatest meeting place in the town was the George Inn, which has a large assembly room at the rear.

The first reference to "The George" is in the Manx Mercury of 1793; it mentions an Assembly at Downes's rooms. Mr. Downes was host at "The George". He was an elderly Englishman and a true 'John Bull', who had been in the Manchester Regiment. In 1820 he died, and his widow carried on the business. His son, William Downes, was a well known merchant who lived in The Crofts at "Croft End".

In Circa 1830 "the George" was rebuilt by the Duke of Atholl, who owned it. There is an elegant design of it attributed to Thomas Brine, who was the architect for St. Mary's Church. Brine's design had a portico with a balcony on top. The window above the balcony had a surround in the Italian style. However, the design was never entirely carried out as "The George" had only three windows across the facade at the top; whereas Brine's drawing had five. In the 1880s the lower facade was completely altered by the introduction of bay windows.

Nevertheless, "The George" is an interesting building, and it is worth noting its depth back from the Square. On the first floor there is a large assembly room with a Georgian alcove at one end, where much merry-making took place in the early nineteenth century. Behind the hotel the original stables remain intact.

The Manx Advertiser records amusements held at "The George"-

1805, Oct. 14th: By permission of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor

At Downes's long room Castletown (For one night only).
Mr. Bell from the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh will perform the celebrated "Collins's Evening Brush".
To sweep away the canker of care, and dislodge the cobwebs of Melancholy.
Divided into four parts.
After the Brush, Mr. Bell will deliver Tony Lumpkin's Rambles with Pet Boucer
Through London, Woolwich and the Isle of Man.

November 2nd, 1811 The Manks Advertiser reports-
"Mr. Banks' Ball at Mr. Downs' Assembly, Castletown on Friday Evening (the 25th) was attended by a greater number of ladies and gentlemen than was ever before witnessed there on a similar occasion. The young ladies and gentlemen acquired themselves, through a variety of new and elegant dances in a manner which reflected great credit on themselves, as well as their teacher, and received the highest applause of a most numerous and brilliant assemblage of the ladies and gentlemen of Castletown and its neighbourhood."

There was another assembly room built over the market house in 1830, but I have so far not found any descriptions of the balls held there. The building is now Barclays Bank.

The Quayle's of Bridge House mention these gay times in Castletown. In 1821 George Quayle, merchant of Liverpool, writes to his cousin-"I hope you continue to be quite the beau ideal of politness in Castletown. I send the quadrille cards and I doubt not that you will soon be a leading dancer of them."

He also compares the assemblies of Castletown with those of Liverpool-"I confess I did not enjoy myself much there after the Castletown Assemblies where there is so much enjoyment."

Another important social event in the town was held at St. Mary's Church in 1811. (This was the old church replaced by Thomas Brine's building in 1824-6). The first organ in the Isle of Man had been installed [sic actually incorrect St George's had one]. The attraction was-"A Grand Selection of Sacred Music taken from the Sublime Oratorio of the Messiah, Redemption and Creation, composed by Handel and Haydn to be performed." Tickets were to be had from Mr. Gray, the Organist, for 5/- and at the shops of Messrs. Callow Co. and Harrison. The Manks Advertiser in January 1812 describes the scene . . . "On Tuesday the 31st ulto. at Castletown Chapel a grand Oratorio of Sacred Music was performed for the benefit of Mr. Gray, the Organist, upon which occasion nearly 'fifty guineas' were collected. It was numerously and most respectably attended. Personages of the first rank and fashion honoured the occasion with their presence, and were highly gratified. In short the whole performance could not fail to afford universal satisfaction."

The present Church was built in the years 1824-26 by Thomas Brine, an architect responsible for alterations to the Castle, the House of Keys in Parliament Square, and probably The George Inn. He came from Glasgow and had settled in the Island with the Barrack Department some fifteen years before. He offered his services for nothing.

The building is a fine example of Gothic revival, although it has lost the upper stage of its tower in the twentieth century.

The interior still contains the Governor's and family pews. These pews helped to raise money for the building of the Church. There is a receipt from E. M. Gawne of Kentraugh for M. H. Quayle who had purchased a pew from him in 1849 - "Received from Mark H. Quayle this 16th March, 1849 a check on the prs. Holmes Douglas, for thirty six pounds sterling being the price of a double and single pew in St. Mary's Chapel Castletown and underneath the gallery, which I have this day sold to him."

On the walls of the Church are a fine selection of monuments, some removed from the earlier chapel. Among them is one to Daniel Callow, H.K. Its inscription is worth quoting . . . "Daniel Callow, Esq., H.K. who, in discouraging circumstances, cheerfully accepted a commission to attend to the business of this country in the south of England, where he died, zealously engaged in the duty of that appointment, June 18th 1790. aged 39. As a grateful testimony of their respect for his virtues, publick spirit and services, the House of Keys, with others of his countrymen and friends, have caused this momument to be erected."

There is a fine series of tablets by Quilliam and Creer, a Victorian Castletown firm of masons, in the Church. Cummings mentions them in his book on Castle Rushen and Rushen Abbey 1857 . . . "the National School for boys and girls is near the stone bridge; (close by which are the marble works of Messrs. Quilliam and Creer, for the conversion of the Poyllvaish black marble, and Port St. Mary limestone, into tombstones, chimney-pieces and works of art."

Castletown life in the early nineteenth century was not all pleasure

A notice in the Manks Advertiser Dec. 14th 1810, shows the discomfort that the debtors suffered in Castle Rushen . . . "To alleviate the Miseries of the Insolvent Debtors in this Prison-to disperse the Damps of the almost subterranean Rooms-and to give light to the Unfortunate, to cook their scanty food (provided by themselves) the philanthropic James Nield Esq. of Chelsea in his humanity has ordered a supply of Ten tons of coal, and a Proportion of candles. Let the children of Misery rejoice, and the hard-hearted of the land retire to their mansions in shame." "To James Neild Esq., the praiseworthy follower of the immortal Howard, the Prisoners return their most grateful thanks for this Bounty and most fervently pray, that in Heaven he may enjoy in tenfold Degree, the Promise of our Saviour that 'he who giveth to the Poor lendeth to the Lord' ".

The Members of the House of Keys also had reason for complaint. Their meeting place built in 1706 as a parliament room with a library upstairs had decayed.

"Petition to Lieut-Governor Smelt. To his honor Lieut-Gov. Smelt The Members of the House of Keys, the Representatives of the People of the Isle of Man, and having an appellate Jurisdiction from the Decisions of the Court of Common Laws humbly represent to your Honor, that the house in which they assemble at Castletown is at present in such a ruinous and dilapidated state as to be quite unfit for their occupation during the Periods of their public Meetings." They asked that . . . "a small grant of money may be given for the re-building of the house, in which the Keys of the said Isle may at all times assemble with safety to themselves and convenience to the public." House of Keys 7th Nov. 1816
Signed by the acting Speaker
George Quayle and the Keys

Their petition was granted and a design for the new building was made probably by Thomas Brine. It had an arcade of four pillars instead of the present semi-circular porch. The two lower windows had Italianate dripstones above them as did the entrance door. Inside the building, now used by the National Westminster Bank, the three Legs of Man can still be seen carved on the wall above the Speaker's chair- now at Kentraugh.

Behind the former House of Keys is another building of interest. It was originally the Royal Oak Inn, and dates from at least the mid-eighteenth century. It has steps and railings leading up to the front door. The frame has fluted pilasters and an old insurance plaque above it. Inside the house is a sturdy staircase, and a fine Adam period chimney-piece in the drawing room.

The simple doric column in the middle of the Parade just ante-dates the reign of Queen Victoria. It is to the memory of Governor Smelt 1805-32 in whose time of office many of the best buildings in Castletown were erected; he was himself buried in St. Mary's Church.

There was considerable argument as to what form the monument should take. Sir William Hillary, who was chairman of the subscribers for the monument, resolved . . . "That Mr. Welch, architect, be requested to furnish estimates of the two columns not exceeding two hundred Pounds each, the one of a Grecian Doric column, the other an Obelisk."

He also wrote a letter to Attorney General John McHutchin that a statue should go on top. It was to cost £40, and he hoped to get a profile likeness from the portrait in Captain Bacon's possession. The obelisk was decided against, and the statue was never sculptured to go on top of the Doric column.

The Castletown Census of 1851 reveals the occupations and employment of all levels of society, and shows how varied they were for a small town.

As might be expected, there was only one Lieutenant Governor, one Peeress, and one Clerk of the Rolls. When it came to professions and trades they were numerous. The town had two male and six female schoolteachers and one male and one female pupil-teacher, and one teacher of music. There were four advocates, sixteen bakers and four bonnet makers, five cabinet makers, nine drapers, six doctors, thirteen joiners, two marble masons, twenty-three masons, twenty-nine shoemakers and three-hundred and forty-five scholars.

Employers in Castletown had considerable businesses. Thomas Collister, a tailor, employed five men; William Faragher, a tailor, employed four men; dressmaker Elenor Fitzsimmons had six apprentices; farmer Faulder had three labourers, and stonecutter Thomas Quilliam employed seven men. Saddler John Karran employed three labourers. He was the father of the famous sea-faring family, who had six sons of whom Thomas, Robert and George were sea captains. Clockmaker William Muncaster employed two apprentices.

There were the double employers. John Quayle, landed proprietor and brewer, employed eight men; boot and shoemaker John Kinvig employed eight men; grocer and spirit merchant John Taggart employed one boy; baker and flour dealer John Kelly, two apprentices.

One of the most prosperous residential areas in the nineteenth century Castletown was The Crofts, which runs from Malew Street to Arbory Street.

On John Wood's 1833 map of Douglas there is an inset of Castletown. It shows the only existing houses in the street. They were called Croft Crescent, and were owned by William Downes, merchant of Castletown, 1789 - 1873. He was the son of the well known host of "The George Hotel", James Downes.

The houses are at the Malew Street end of The Crofts. They are now called Croft End and Close-y-Chiam. In 1851 Downes sold both for £890 to his son-in-law B. F. Wilby, a mercer, on condition that his two daughters by his first marriage should live in one of them.

Downes and his second wife appeared to have lived in Croft End.

There is a carving in Croft End dating from 1842 for W. C. Harpur Dec. 1842-a major on the strength of Castle Rushen. The land on which Crofton, Westwood and Elderbank now stand was occupied by the Lord's Garden belonging to the Governor in 1833. In 1835/6 it was sold to Thomas Brine, the architect, and is mentioned by the steward, John McCrone . . .

"Large Garden. 3rd July 1835.

Sir, On the 20th inst. I had the honor to inclose, and send to you £300 in Bank of England Notes and draft on Masterman & Co. £5. 15s. 6d. in full of the purchase money by Mr. Brine of the large garden at Castletown including the esp of conveyance, but one rect thereof has not been acknowledged."

Various directories of the Isle of Man show the names and occupations of the Crofts' inhabitants. 1837, Pigot and Co's Directory mentions the Rev. John Berry and Capt. Donald Campbell at Croft Crescent. They were probably tenants.

In the 1851 Census, Alfred Gossel sub-collector of H.M. Customs, George Stokes, M.D. and at No. 21 John Moore Jeffcott, were among the people recorded. Jeffcott was an important man in Castletown and lived from 1817 to 1892. He was educated at King Williams College, studied law under John McHutchin, Clerk of the Rolls, and was called to the Manx Bar in .1839. In 1855 he was a Member of the House of Keys, and from 1867 he was M.H.K. for Castletown. In 1866 he was appointed High Bailiff. He painted with some skill, was a naturalist, archaeologist and geologist. He did an archaeological survey with lithographs after his own watercolour drawings.

In 1871 Thomas Quilliam, marble mason, was a resident in the Crofts, and Porters Guide in 1889 records the famous John Clague at Crofton. he was a physician and surgeon. He attended the garrison, but was best known as an authority on Old Manx Customs.

The military forces stationed in Castletown gave a certain glamour to the town's life. The first and second corps of the Manx Fencibles had their H.Q. in Castle Rushen. Governor Richard Dawson raised and commanded the first corps, which existed from 1779 until 1783. The second corps was raised in 1793 by the Duke of Atholl and was disbanded in 1802, but other corps lasted until 1811, and detachments were quartered in Castletown, Douglas, Peel and Ramsey.

Here is a description from the Manx Advertiser of the barracks amenities in 1811 just after the disbandment of the Manx Fencibles .

November: Government are now fitting up most convenient and comfortable temporary barracks in this Island, with sleeping rooms, berths, arm racks, shelves, pins and ventilators, constructed for the free circulation of air, for the health of the soldiers, also mess rooms, with large stove grates, tables, forms and coal boxes, cooking rooms and boilers fixed for cooking the mess of the whole-in Castletown, Douglas, Peel and Ramsey, the three former are now finished, and the troops comfortably lodged in them."

After the Napoleonic wars the military establishment was reduced to about half a company from an English line Regiment stationed in Castletown.

The Census of 1851 gives a list of soldiers in the barracks. They included . . .
1. Officer Lieutenant - Joseph Ormgard
1. Colour Sergeant-John Stewart
3. Sergeants, and
46. Privates.

The permanent barracks were in the present Town Hall and the Union was used for stabling for troops.

In 1874 Jenkinson mentions that there were about fifty men of the 22nd Regiment of Infantry in Castletown-the only troops in the Island. Customs House and Weight & Measures Offices were used as married quarters. The Rifle Range was at Langness, and there was a firing party on Queen Victoria's birthday in the Market Square.

In 1896 this garrison was withdrawn.

As has been said in the Census of 1851, Casletown had a large number of teachers for a small community. Some of the schools were or are housed in buildings of distinction.

The old Grammar School is an ancient building and was first opened to the public in 1970. It was originally a chapel belonging to Rushen Abbey and dates from the early 13th century. Round sandstone arches may be seen on the southern side of the main wing of the building. It now stands in isolation as there were several small streets around it which have been demolished. The building has been recently excavated. Pottery was found under the floorboards- a layer of nineteenth century lead pencils, then eighteenth century pottery and finally thirteenth century pottery. A child's coffin was discovered-the daughter of Richard Rooth and Jane, Countess of Donegal. This is mentioned in Malew parish registers. Governor Heywood was also buried here, but the coffin was removed to Malew to be buried with his son, Major P. Heywood.

The building housed two schools. They were the academic school for young persons designed for the Ministry; and the old Grammar School under the same headmaster. The Academic School saved the scholars going to Dublin University.

Bishop Barrow gave land to maintain the school and he obtained in 1666 an endowment for the master out of the tithes.

The first headmaster was Henry Lowcay, also Chaplain at Castle Rushen, and later Rector of Ballaugh.

Another headmaster was the Rev. Ross, whose tombstone carved with a coat of arms can be seen in Malew churchyard. In the church is the well known tablet to Julius Caesar, a scholar of the school. In Marown Old Church there is a memorial to another pupil, Henry Clucas, whose tablet is surmounted by a naively carved cherub.

There was also a 'petty' school described by Bishop Wilson as an 'English School'. It was founded in 1698 and had a simpler curriculum than the Academic School, and instructed the young people in "learning and good manners". The parents had to pay 9d. a quarter, if their children were to receive instruction in "writing and cashing account" which meant doing sums and adding up accounts.

Another early school was Halsall's founded in 1758. Catherine Halsall stated in her will that she was endowing "a free school to be built in Castletown for teaching girls only". The school was probably built in 1761, and situated near the Old Grammar School.

In the Isle of Man charities published in 1831 but written four years earlier the head mistress, Mrs. Isabella Finigan, is stated to have forty scholars and twenty poor pupils in the school.

There were three Finigan headmistresses - Mrs. Finigan in the eighteenth century and retired in 1803; 1811 - 1832 Mrs. Isabella Finigan, and 1837 Harriot Finnigan.

The Museum has five charming pieces of embroidery by pupils. The last contemporary record of the school was in the return of all Manx Schools in 1839.

The High School, Castletown, for girls known as the Buchan School, was founded in 1875. Lady Buchan, the daughter of Colonel Mark Wilks of Kirby, gave a sum of money for its founding as did her cousin, Eliza Newton of Westham, Castletown.

The money from Lady Buchan's estate was to revert to the College if the School was not founded in five years. Thanks to Lady Cell and others the school opened in 1878. The first headmistress was Miss Louisa Moss of Cambridge University; University College, London and the Victoria Lyceum, Berlin. There were seventeen girls when the school opened. The school has been housed in various buildings. It began in a house opposite the Castle; moved to Bay View, now the Old House; to the Green, and finally Westhill, a fine early nineteenth century building occupied in 1833 by Robert Quayle.

In Hope Street is the building of the Church School and Hall. It has an interesting Coat of Arms of George IV (older than the building). It was actually opened on Queen Victoria's coronation day in 1838, and known as the National School for Boys and Girls.

A letter from John McCrone's Seneschal (Steward) Book throws some light on the subject. It is written to Governor Ready . . .

School House, Castletown. 11th June 1835.

I have this day had the honour to receive your letter of the 9th inst. inclosing the minutes of a meeting of the inhabitants of Castletown, respecting a site for building a School House, and I lose not a moment in assuring your excellency that if any reference shall be made to me by the Boards of Woods etc on one subject I shall have very great pleasure in recommending the application to favourable consideration of the commiss the object being so laudale. I return the minutes, that you may apply to the board forthwith-I regret that my absence has retarded this matter."

The salaries of schoolmasters are sometimes revealing. The Taubman Endowed School founded in 1799 by John and Esther Taubman was to pay its master £20 per annum, and there was a further £5 for books.

The Board Return of 1869 gives some interesting details about Castletown schools.

The National School had a master; 189 pupils, 12 under four years of age, 24 over twelve. 166 were paying school pence or quarter-age amounting to £50. Ss. 7d. A dwelling house for teachers was erected in 1849 for teachers by means of Donations.

At the Grammar School there were 32 pupils, none under four years of age and 14 over twelve; 32 pupils were paying school pence amounting to £88. 9s. 2d.

Catherine Halsall's School had a mistress who received £8 per annum and £2 for books. They paid £4 for school pence.

Taubman's school had 75 pupils and were paying £50 of school pence.

J. J. Goldie-Taubman had the right from 1841 to elect the master and the scholars.

A word should be said about the basic occupations of the inhabitants. Castletown was still very rural in the nineteenth century. Elizabeth Cain was a cowkeeper at 78 Malew Street, which meant that the cows went through the front door to the garden. She is mentioned in Porters Guide of 1889. Henry Cubbon of 77 Malew Street was a farmer, and likewise John Kennaugh mentioned in Brown's Directory of 1882.

Queen Street was mainly inhabited by farmers, labourers and fishermen. At 9 Queen Hithe Street, Thos. Watterson had three acres in 1824. Richard Bridson was a labourer in Brown's Director of 1882. There was also a Poor House near St. Mary's Church.

Queen Street was sometimes known as Queenhithe. In the Manorial Roll 1643 - 1700 William Quayle of Knockrushen had a house called Queen Hithe, although there are rival theories that it is derived from a haven or port; e.g. Rotherhithe.

The old shopfronts of Castletown add character to the streets. The comer house in Parliament Square has Doric columns and a line of triglits along the top of the shop window. Hawtons has a Victorian front with a Georgian arch inside the shop; Collisters at the junction of Malew Street and Arbory Street has a bold curved front; Bills in Malew Street has pilasters with feather shaped capitals, and on the facade of Corris, the bakery, appear ornamental brackets. Perhaps one should end this paper on Castletown with an elegant character. Mackay Baillie-Scott was an art nouveau designer and architect who practised in the Isle of Man from 1889 to 1901. The Police Station in Castle Street is his work dating from 1901. It is an original building, yet it is in character with Castle Rushen and the rest of the old capital.



Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001