[From unpublished documents etc, Journal Manx Museum]

The Barony of Saint Trinian in Kirk Marown

A Memorial to Saint Ninian of Galloway

THE BARONY OF BANGOR AND SABAL in Kirk Patrick was dealt with in the last two numbers of the Journal. It is now desired to make some enquiries regarding a Barony which has been more frequently in the public eye, namely that of Saint Trinian, in the parishes of Kirk Marown and Kirk German.

The earliest mention of the Barony in the Manx records is in the Statute Book under date 1417, when ‘ the Prior of Withorne in Galloway’ is mentioned as one of the Barons who ‘ are to come and show whereby they hould and clayme lands and tenements within the land of Man, and to make faith and fealtie.’

The plan of the Barony is shown on plate 176. The land, about 140 acres, consists of five quarterlands, each the size of the average Manx farm. Their names are well-known, and are here recorded in the order invariably given in the early Manorial records, viz. : The Rock, Ballavitchal, Botchin, Ballaglonney and Ballacurry. The last-named farm is in Kirk German, but contiguous to the main portion of the Barony.

Although there are records of the Baronial Courts in the Museum from 1585, the earliest complete list of the Tenants appears to be that of 1651, given below. The rents and customs were redeemed under the Lords’ Rents Purchase Act of 1913, and the last Baronial Court was held in October, 1915.

Quayle Bridge House Collection.

Document No. 230.

1651. St. Trinians Rental.

Cur plitor p ten et tennement vocat Bangor et Sabell tent apud Holmetowne 9° Die Octob" 1651.

Cora John Sharples Controll Deput ; William Xhristian Senescall cur pd Jo : Cannell Judic: et all officiar Dum tunc et ibiiT~ prsentibu.

Inquisi : Capt sup sacramt duodecem Legal horn vizt.

Mr. James Kelly Sergeant of St. Trinians confesseth that the Tennants and the Rents and Customes due upon every of them as followeth vizt

The Rock.

Oates Kelly, jj s and Wm Kelly xj s and xx carrs of turffe two hens, 3 dayes shearinge and 4 carridges.


Jo :Kelly jx s and Gilbt Kelly xij s and xx carrs turffe, two hens, 3 dayes shearinge and 4 carridges.


Rob: Quayle, xiij s and xx carrs turffe, two hens, 3 dayes shearinge and 4 carridges.


James Kelly, ix s vid and xx carrs turife, two hens, 3 dayes shearinge and 4 carridges.


Pat: Kelly, xii s and xv carrs turife, one hen for one year and for every seacond yeare 2 hens, two Dayes shearinge for one yeare and 3 dayes shearinge for every seacond yeare and 3 carridges.

Dollin Quilliarn, iiij s and v carrs of Turife, a hen every seacond year, a dayes shearinge every seacond yeare, one carridge.

Sume of the Rents is iii’ js xd ; out of which is due yearly to the Deemster and Controll" for Court fees xiijs iiijd. And to the Sergeant his usuall allowances of the customes ; and the rest of the Rents and Customes are due to the farmer of those Lands.


St. Ninian, who died in 432, was one of Scotland’s earliest apostles. He established his diocese at Whithern and in 397 built there what is stated to have been the first stone church in Britain, the See of Galloway, being known as Candida Casa, i.e., the White House.

Bede, who wrote in the first quarter of the 8th century, says that ‘ to the Southern Picts the word was preached by St. Ninian, a most revered bishop and a very holy man of the race of the Britons ; and one who had been regularly trained at Rome in the faith and the mysteries of truth.’

Candida Casa did not cease to function after its founder’s death in 432. For centuries it exercised a profound influence, not only in Scotland and Ireland, but in Man, a near neighbour. The story of the Manx connection is interesting, and shows the great and lasting influence of Ninian’s mission.


A photostat copy of the parchment roll of extracts made from the Register of the Priory of Whithern in 1504 is in the Museum Library. The story of how these came to the Museum is interesting, and will be told in a subsequent issue of the Journal.

The Transcript of the Register of the Priory of St. Ninian — or St. Trinian as it became known by — was made in the year 1504, and was certified on the 31st March of that year as ‘ a true copy of the extracts of Charters from the authentic Book or Register ‘ of the Priory of Candida Casa, by Andrew Meligan, who styles himself ‘ Notary by Apostolic Authority.’


The year 1143 is given by most authorities as the year in which Fergus, Lord of Galloway, founded the Priory of Candida Casa, dedicated to St. Ninian. It was therefore founded during the reign of our King Olaf I (son of Godred Crovan) who reigned from 1103 to 1153. He married Aifrica, the daughter of Fergus, and had made his name famous as the founder in 1134 of the Abbey of Rushen.

Although there is, as Mr. Talbot points out1, no charter evidence to prove that it was Olaf I who made the original grant of the lands in Man, there are many reasons for assuming this.

Corroboration is had from the fact that a grant made later by his grandson Olaf II (1226-1237) includes not only the lands of Ballacgniba, but also the Church of St. Ninian of Ballacgniba. This is referred to in a confirmation-grant by his son Harold (1237-1248), who therein calls the grantor ‘ our father and predecessor.’

The Rev. Canon Kermode, who has given some attention to the subject, is inclined to stress the probability of King Olaf I being the original grantor. It is quite likely, he says, that the King would wish to aid his father-in-law’s new foundation, and we know of no reason why his successor King Godred II should make the grant.


The Charter of King Olaf as translated from the Latin by the Rev. T. Talbot, is here given.2 It will be noted that it not only includes the Hospital of Ballacgniba, but also Balhamer, and the church of St. Ninian of Ballacgniba

Know all as well present as future that I, Olave, king of the lsles, have given, granted, and by this my present charter have confirmed to God, and Saint Ninian, and the Canons of Candida Casa of the Premonstratensian order there serving and to serve God, for the souls of my father, and of my mother, and of our ancestors, to wit, the hospital of Ballacgniba by its right divisions, of Balhamer by its right divisions, in wood and plain, in pastures and meadows, in mills and fisheries and salt-works, in mountains and meres, and with all their pertinences ; and the church of saint Ninian of Ballacgniba, and the church of saint Runan, in chapels, lands, and tithes, and all other their rights named as well as un-named, To hold as freely and quietly all these alms of me and my heirs for a pure and perpetual alms as alms are better, more freely, and more honourably given and possessed in our whole kingdom. Witnesses etc.

The ‘ hospital of Ballacgniba ‘ which appears in King Olaf’s charter appears also in that of King Reginald, but is absent from the others. No tradition of the hospital exists ; but it may have been situated on the farm of The Rock. ‘Ballacgniba ‘ also, the name of the lands on which the said hospital stood, has gone out of use, the lands having long been called the Barony of St. Trinian.

It is evident that the hospital and the church of St. Ninian were on the land known in the time of the grant as Ballacgniba, and it would appear that the present Barony (excluding Ballacurry) is identical with this estate.

The ‘ Balhamer ‘ of the charter is somewhat of a mystery, and in later confirmations is spelled ‘ Dalhamer.’ It is suggested that it was the adjoining treen of Baly-yeman, containing Ballayemmy [Eyreton] , Ballawilleykilley, Ballaharry, and the Cronk.

After the charter of Olaf II there follows the grant of Bishop Nicholas (1195-1215) confirming, as far as it concerned him as Bishop, the grant of Olaf II, the possession by the Priory of Whithern of the church of Saint Runan (the old church of Kirk Marown), but not till ‘ after the days of Brice ‘ the parson then in possession.

Confirmation grants were also made by (3) Simon, Bishop of Sodor (1230-1248), by (4) Harold and (5) Reginald, Kings of the Isles, by (6)Prince Alexander and (7) his father King Alexander III of Scotland. Copies of the originals are given by Talbot in his pamphlet.


King Alexander of Scotland in his charter gives, in addition to the church of St. Runan (the old church of Kirk Marown), ‘ the advowson of the church of the Holy Trinity at Ramsaigh‘ (Ramswath ‘ according to Talbot) in Mann with all its liberties and just pertinances for the support of divine service there to the saint aforesaid, and for the table of the same Religious of the said monastery ‘ . .

The advowson — which is the right of presentation to a benefice — of Kirk Christ Lezayre, was confirmed by Bishop Mark and others in subsequent charters. The rent paid for ‘ the rectories of Kirk Christ Lezayre was £14 16s. 6d. In 1725 the tithes in Lezayre were set to the Vicar and Mr. Curghey — £40 ; and the tithes in Marown set to the Vicar and Mr. Curghey, including £2 8s. 6d., rent of the Barony, £9 18s. 6d.’

A portion of the tithes have been paid to the Vicar of Lezayre down to the present time. The amount regularly paid by the Crown Receiver to Lezayre is £2 17s. 2d. How this sum is made up is not shown by the modern books.

Five years after the monastic houses of the Island were dissolved in 1540 the Priory of Whithern was holding on its way as appears from an entry in the Register of the Privy Council under date 9th February, 1545/4 which states that ‘ Malcolme Commendator of Quhithorne ‘ complains that a certain person, possibly the Earl of Derby, was enjoying ‘ the fruitis of twa kirkis in Ilarnan,’ the churches being ‘ the churches of Kirkchriste in the Ayre and Kirkmarron.’5 The property of these two churches which had belonged to the Priory of Whithern, found to have been leased in 1577 by Henry Earl of Derby, was doubtless continuously leased by his successors and is found on lease in 1666.

In the course of time, the property of the Barony of Whithern came to James, Earl of Derby, who, dying on 1st February, 1736, was succeeded in the Lordship of Mann by James, Duke of Athol, and the same title which made the Duke Lord of the Isle made him also owner of the Barony.

On 30th May, 1763, James Duke of Athol sold the Barony of St. Trinians 6 with the impropriate tithes of Kirk Marown to John Quayle of the Creggans, Kirk Malew, at the time Controller and Clerk of the Rolls. The price was ‘ £500 Manks.’ Mr. Quayle continued to hold a court for the Barony.

About 1765 Mr. Quayle, as owner of the Barony, presented a strange memorial to Governor Wood, the first Governor under the Crown of England, in which he claimed the privilege of making fealty to the King of England in respect of the Barony, and asking to be admitted to do so at the Tynwald Hill ceremony on 5th July. His memorial was submitted to the Attorney-General Searle and Deemster Heywood, and they on 30th June, 1770, gave their opinion against the claim.

George Quayle of the Creggans, his son and heir, re-sold the Barony to John Duke of Athol, son and heir of the Duke who had sold it for £371 Manx currency.

The Barony of St. Trinian has for a long time been in the possession of the Crown by purchase from the Duke of Athol about 1827. The rent received by the Duke in 1822 was £3 14s. 4d.

The total rent derived from the Barony when it was sold to the tenants in 1915 was £6 8s. 0d. How this increase compared with the original £3 1s. 10d. came about is not known. Possibly the balance of £3 6s. 2d. represented the value of the ‘ turife, henns, shearinge, and carridges.’ According to the records in the 17th century, 100 cars of turf came to 18s., ten hens to 10s., 15 boon days 10s., 20 carriages 20s. ; the total value of the customs being £3 3s. 6d.


One of the documents in the Museum7 is a copy of a deed, dated 5th August, 1777, between John Quayle, Clerk of the Rolls, and Irnpropriator of the Barony of St. Trinians of the one part, and William Killey of Ballayeaman-Beg [now Ballawilleykilley] and Robert Quine of Ballahommey [now Ballaharry of the other part. The object of the deed was to assign unto Killey and Quine ‘ all that pew or seat situate on the south side of Marown chancel and next adjoining the gable . . for ever.’ This was in consideration of the rent of two shillings and elevenpence to be annually paid . . . upon Easter or when afterwards demanded.’


1 See Rev. T. Talbot’s pamphlet ‘ The Priory of Whithern,’ Douglas, 1900.
2 Talbot’s Pamphlet, p. 9. Ballacgniba is inserted instead of ‘ Ballacguiba,’ and Balhamer instead of ‘ Kirk-maroun,’ in order to correct misreadings which occur in Talbot’s translation.
3 Talbot, p. 17. s
4 Manx Society,’ ix, p. 70.
6 Manx Society,’ xxxi, p. 268.
7 Quayle Bridge House Collection.

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