[from Manx Note Book, vol 1, 1885] 

Notes from the Registers  the Parish of Ballaugh1698. "THIS YEAR THE BOPP's' PART OF THE CHURCH- yard of Ballaugh (according to the table in ye Register's Booke), being out of repair, was sufficiently made up by Jon Cottier, Gilbert Callister, and Adam Cannell, of Court Land, sent hither, as they said, to that end by the Rt Reverend father in God the Ld: Bopp of Man."

Court Land, or Bishop's demesne was partly in Ballaugh. 1698 was the first year of Bishop Wilson's episcopate.

1699. "An Acct of a collection made at Ballaugh Church towards the Redemption of one Wm Christian, prisoner in Barbary." The two largest sums were given by I'M, Robert Christian, £2 10 0; Mr Thos. Christian, £3 0 0." Then follow a variety of small sums, "all well together with divers pence and halfpence (the givers of wch too tedious to be nominated) amount to the sum of £10=03=03"

The trade of the Mediterranean was at that time paralysed by the depredations of the Barbary corsairs. We do not know who this Wm Christian was, nor do we even learn whether he was ransomed or not.

In 1700 Henry Lowcay. died, as we find from a memorial notice in the Register:-
"The Reverend pious and eminently learned Henry. Lowcay,M.A., who lead (sic) his life so that he might be justly termed and esteemed a true pattern of primitive pietie having continued 13 years Parson of Ballaugh, dyed at Douglas June ye 24th, and was buried in the Church of Kk Braddan Anno Dom: 1700."

Then follows a note by the Rev. Wm. Walker:-

Note ye above Henry Loweay was succeeded in ye Parson age of Ballaugh by Walker,+Chaplain and School Master at Douglas; the cure being supplied the first year by the Rev. Thomas Christian, and other 4 years by the Rev. Mr Matthias Curghey, then the said Wm. Walker came to reside in the Parish himself, vizt., in the year 1705. The profits of the first year belonged to the Exor. of the Decedent."

This is not the case now.

1703. "Will. Waterson, who died upon the Mountains of Ballaugh, the 20th, and was buried the 23rd of November."

1706. "Mr. Williain Christian, of Ballamore (Jurby), married to Mrs Anne McYlrea, daur of Mr Deemster McYlrea, of Dollough, Feby. 19th. Note this last couple was married by the Rt. Reyd. Lord Bishop. "

This William Christian, son of Thomas, baptised in 1656, was made Sumner-General in 1727, by Governor Horton, notwithstanding the fact that Bishop Wilson's nominee, Thos. Corlett, of Ballaugh, held the same office at that time. He became Receiver General in 1735.

The following letter from Bishop Wilson is transcribed in the Register.

"Mr Walker: Whatever maybe said to excuse the Bishop from paying Tithes out of his Turbary in your Parish, I am of opinion that since there is a rent upon it to the Lord of the Isle, the words of the law require that it should pay tithe to the Church, therefore I do cheerfully suffer and order you to take Tythe of the said Turbary in kind for the future."

The Bishop's Turbary, called 'Curragh-an-Aspick,' is one of the largest turf plots in the Curragh.

1706. "Mem. that Mr Henry Allen, son of Mr Samuel Allen, of Kk. Maughold, was ordained Deacon in St. Mary's of Ballaiigh, by the Rt. Reverend Father in God, Dr. 'nomas Wilson Lord Bishop of this Isle. Present ye Rev. Mr. Wattleworth, Archdeacon; Mr. Thomas Allen, Vicar of Kk. Maughold; Mr. Norris, Vicar of Kk. Michael, &c. The collection for ye poor, that day was £01=03=06. Note this ordination was on ye 22nd of Septr., 1706."

Mr. Henry Allen succeeded his uncle Thomas, as Vicar of Kirk Maughold, in 1727; five of this family followed each other in that parish.

"Govr. Maudesley's determination, and Captn. Woods' appeal, ordering that ye White House Lands, in this Parish, shall pay Tyth in kind, is among other papers belonging to ye Parish, in the Church Chest. So is the answer of ye arbitrators concerning ye difference betwixt the Vicar of Kk. Xt. and myself, in Close Lake."

These documents are not to be found now.

Anne, daughter of John Smith, of London, and my sister Anne Walker, baptized Decr. 8th.

Such an address as " John Smith, of London," would be very difficult to identify in these days."

1707. Margarett, Daur of Mr. Wm. Christian, of Ballamoar, in Jurby, bapt. 29th Feby."

1708. April "th, books distributed to various young people."

Bishop Wilson established libraries in the various parishes.

1709. March 15th. This day, Dr. Thomas Wilson, Lord Bishop of this Isle, issued a decree enforcing a former decree of ye Ld. Bishop Bridgman's, obliging all the Tennts. of ye Bps. Demeen, who are inhabitants within ye precints of Ballaugh, to come to this Church as to their proper parochial Church, and to perform all parochial duties, as other ye parishioners do. Note this is ye final result of long and tedious controversies between ye Vicar of Kk. Michael and myself, The papers relating to this debate, are in ye Church Chest, and ye originals of ye 2 Decrees in ye Ld. BPs. Registry. (Signed), Tho: Sodor and Man."

The papers referred to are not now to be found.

A note follows by the Rector:-

"March 24th,-16 Families (being all that live within ye Boundaries), have conform'd to ye above decree." In 1711 we find an order from BP - , Wilson, ''for the avoiding of confusion in observation of the Feast of St. Matthias," and that this Diocese may observe as much as may be, a perfect uniformity with itself, and in all matters ecclesiastical, I do hereby order and require that notice be given in all Churches and Chapples of this Isle that the said Feast of St. Matthias is to be observed upon the 25th day of February, in this, and in all succeeding Leap years, give under my hand this 15th of February, 1711. (Signed), Tho: Sodor and Man.''

St. Matthias day is now observed on the 24th February, both leap and ordinary years.

1713. Edward, son of Robt. Cughey and Is-abel Christian, of Glanmore, in Kk. Xt., April 16. "

Kk. Xt.' is here Lezayre, Rushen being also Kk. Xt.'

1715. "W-. McGilvorrey, a poor man that beg'd, supposed to be aged 104 years, was buried here April 10th."

1716. "Daniel, soil of Wm. Daniel McIlrea (Attorney- General), baptized on St. Stephan's Day, vizt., Decr. 26. '

This family held property in Ballaugh for many years.

1719. " Robert, son of Thos. McGilvorrey, baptized March 1st, eodem die, John and David (twins), and sons of Wm. Corkhill were baptized, the said twins being born in the field, as their mother was coming from the Miln. Mem., the same woman, had three children at a birth last year."

This latter remarkable occurrence had not been entered in the Register at the time, (i.e. in 1718) but was appended as a casual recollection when the twins were born !

1725. "Captn. W-. Stevenson, of Lhergydoo, in Kk. Germain, and Mrs. Isable Curghey, of Ballakillingan, relict of Jon. Xn. of Cranstal, married here Feb. 19th.

Her maiden name was Curghey. The usual form of entry would be Mrs 'Isable Christian, alias Curghey.'

1727. These folk were baptized whilst Doctr. Walker was in London. "

Gibt. Craine, of Douglas, who dyed suddenly in Church on Sunday, May ye 5th, was buried here on Tuesday 7th."

Dr. Walker was succeeded by William Bridson, who was appointed on the 17th of July, 1729, and was Rector for 21 years. In 1721, when Vicar of Marown, he was suspended for calumniating Bishop Wilson, but was shortly afterwards restored on recanting what he had said. He was the only one of the Clergy who took Archdeacon Horrobin's side in the dispute with the Bishop. There are no entries of particular interest in his time. He died on the 7th of February 1750-51, and was interred in the Chancel of Ballaugh Church. Philip Moore, appointed July 11th, 1751, succeeded, and was transferred to Bride, November 14th, 1760. [An account will be given of him under the head of Manx Worthies.]

In 1751 the purchase of a new Register Book is recorded:

Ballaugh Register 1751. This book cost three shillings and sixpence, and was bought by

The Wardens.

Thos. Corlett (Dyer),
Wm. Quayle,
Wm. Tear,
Jon. Callister.,
Jon. Stephen.

This is one more than the usual number. Church Wardens were called Kiare-ny-Killagh," four of the Church."

1751 " McYlearane (a bachelor) buried." Celibacy was doubtless rare. Grace Corlett als. Teare als. Raclcliffe, who perished in the River at the Burnfoot, and was buried in Jurby."

The 'Burnfoot,'-Cas-ny-howin at Ballakoig, where the river empties itself into the sea.

"Thos. Cowley, from Bp's. Demesne, reputed near 100 year old."

Mary Cottiman (an idiot who perished in ye great River under Forrester's Lodge),"

This is probably the stream that runs down to the Sulby River, between Forrester's Lodge and Druidale, which after a heavy fall of rain would be decidedly impetuous, but hardly 'great.'

Matthias Curghey, Vicar-General, was appointed on Feb. 24th, 1761, after Philip Moore's resignation.

1764 Jane, Daur of John Wright and Margaret Grey, foreigners."

This word "foreigners," though doubtless used in The sense of strangers, shows how rarely any except natives came to the parish. After this date there is nothing but the ordinary record of Births, Marriages, and Deaths. On a flat stone, at the North-east corner of the Old Church-yard, we find without comment

"January 19th, 1771, aged 73, died the Rev. Matthias Curghey, Vicar-General and Rector of this Parish, a humble, meek, pacific man, sound divine, learned and exemplary. With the Rev. P. Moore, associate reviser of the Manks Scriptures; translated by the Clergy of the Isle, a great, arduous, original work."

He revised the Pentateuch, together with the Revs. Philip Moore and James Wilks-The Gospels and Acts with the Rev. James Wilks, and the Epistles, by himself. He also assisted in translating a large portion of the liturgy.

James Wilks, Vicar-General and Episcopal Registrar, was appointed on the 16th Septr., 1771. He also assisted in the translation of the Scriptures. He died June 1777, aged 58, and was buried at Ballaugh. [An account of him will be given under Manx Worthies.]

Daniel Gelling, appointed Decr. 16th, 1777, died in 1801.

Daniel Mylrea, appointed Feby. 17tb, 1802. He became Rector of Andreas and Archdeacon in 1814.

Hiigh Stowell, appointed April 20th, 1814, was an eminently pious man. He wrote a life of Bishop Wilson, and greatly aided Bishop Ward in raising funds in England, for building churches for the Diocese. He died in 1835. [An account of him will be given under Manx Worthies.]

Thomas Howard, appointed April 2nd, 1836. He was a truly good and holy man. In disposition like St. John, loving and beloved. He died in 1876, at the ripe age of 91 years.

William Kermode, appointed March 1877, present Rector.

We append a list of the Nicknames preserved in the Register. In all small communities, where many have the same name, nicknames become a necessity. Corlett, the commonest name in the Parish, consequently bears a large share of them

1690. "Elizabeth Corlett (nick-named 'Tit.)

"The sobriquet of 'Tit' is applied to members of this family for more than a century."

1701. Ed. Corlett (mountainier)." [Doubtless a dweller in the mountainous part of the Parish.]

1703. Wm. Corlett, son of Wm., vulgarly called Willy- Curryquemb." [possibly a groom].

1705. "W-. Curlett (vidgo piew)," [probably a ploughman. This name occurs for several generations.]

1751. "Corlett (Keig)," [probably his mother's name,, and in 1760, Ann, "daughter of John Corlett (Inney Keig)" i.e. Keig's daughter.]

1765. "John Corlett (Johnny);" "Wm. Corlett (Billy Garret ) a complete process of.substituting one name for another)

1775. "John Corlett (Homy,) "i.e. Thomas, probably his father's name.]

1699. " W-. Kelly (cross-cap)," [Evidently a testy old fellow.j

1708. "Patrick Kelly of ye mountains," [a pleasingly vulgar, description.]

1708. " Killip (Carr),*' [perhaps his mother's name.]'

1711. "John Milip (Ree) of the Gill." [Rey may be for Rec,. i.e. King of the Gill]. This curious appelation is not uncommon.

1699. " John Cowley (Stoop),"(Probably from a stooping. habit.)

1701. " Cowley (Gale)," (perhaps his mother's name.)

1709. "Cowley (Currick Junr.)" (a dweller in the Curragh. The " Junr." shows that he was not the first of that name and family, who had lived there.)

1751. "We again find Cowley (Curruck).

1710. "Kathrin Cowley, Johm-y-Ghawe's -wife," [i.e. John the Smith's. In1712, "John (Gawe)" himself died]

1712. "Wm. Cowley (vulgo diet Erinagh), " [i.e. commonly called the Irishman.]

1707. "Cowley (ny liaccan)," [i.e. of the "flat stone."]

1759. " Cowley (ny charnaan)," [i.e. of the "heap" or "cairn."]


Ballaugh Rectory.

+ See p. 60.


[In the first part of these Notes it was stated, in error, that Mr. W. W. Christian, of Ballacurry, is descended from Thomas Christian, of Ballamoor..

Mr. Christian belongs to the Christians of Bride. and his ancestor Gibbon McCristen, was in possession of the property of Ballagenny, in that parish, as early as 1539 (as per Lib. Assed).]




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