Burials at Peel Athol Street

Oblesk at Athol St.This article taken from the IoM Family History Society Journal vol 2 no. 3 was prompted by an earlier article by Miss McHardy who was worried about the deterioration of the memorials.

Original Article


One of the projects of our society has been to share in a survey of Lezayre churchyard and individual members have interested themselves in their local graveyards.

Miss A. McHardy, assisted by Miss L. Kneen of Peel, has also interested herself in some 10 gravestones in the grounds of Atholl St. Methodist Chapel, Peel. She reports:-

"On November 1st 1979 I returned to check my list. Two obelisks in front of the chapel wore easily read, and my earlier notes of the inscriptions wars correct but to my dismay I found that the gravestones at the side of the chapel had become less easy to read".

The very existence of these stones alerts our society to something they may not have suspected before, viz. that not every burial on the island is to be found in the books either of one or other of the parochial records or of the Borough Cemetery at Douglas. We knew of the Quaker Burial ground in Maughold. Could other chapels on the island besides Peel have graves in their grounds?

These graves were, of course, known to the Committee of Inquiry into the state of the Island's Graveyards, 1869, which records :-

"In Peel, on Thursday May 13th the Committee inspected a place of burial in Atholl St. belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists in which there appear to have been, between the years 1845 and 1866 nineteen interments, none since 1866. The Trustees in whom the Property is invested signified that they had no wish to extend the use of the Burial Place - the contrary rather; and that in the first instance it was done only in the necessity of the case before the new Parochial Burial Ground was provided".

It also says,- "The Graveyard at the Church in Peel and likewise that within the walls of the old Cathedral should be absolutely closed without delay". When one considers that the "necessity" had arisen in 1845, 25 years before, one can only wonder how the Parish really did dispose of its dead for nearly a whole generation. And whether other parishes had like crises in the mid-19th century and how they faced them.

Miss McHardy's report reads.-
"The first stone at the front of the chapel has the following inscription. "The Reverend Lancelot Railton, born it Barnard Castle on 23rd June 1811, died at Peel 10th Nov.1864. Margaret Railton, born at Edinburgh on Oct 10th 1814, died at Peel 10th Nov 1864. Erected by many friends in memory of a faithful pastor and his devoted wife whose remains together await the resurrection of the blessed. In the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (At the foot of this stone is the name of the mason, Wm Corran).

"The second stone has the following inscription: "Jane Crellin, age 48 yrs died August 30th 1851, the wife of John Moore of Ballalig, also Jane Moore daughter of the above, age 20 years, who died on Oct 18th 1864. Also John Moore, husband and father of the above who died March 2nd 1884, aged 85 years.

"The inscriptions on the six gravestones at the side of the chapel read as follows:

Grave 1. Erected to the memory of Mary the beloved wife e of Capt. William Norman, late of H.M. 69th Regiment, who departed this life March 1st 1852.

Grave 2........ Joseph Watson Stubbs.... who departed this life on May 21st 1851, age 6 months.

Grave 3. In memory of Joseph Stubbs Esq, MD, who departed this life on May 30th 1858. He was much respected and died in this town(?) where he preached(?)... on this space of soil ...of his profession.

Grave 3. Also Sarah, widow of the above, who died in cont. Douglas on Nov 19th 1876

Grave.4. .......Thomas King in memory of his father John King of Peel, who departed this life on the 4th day of April 1857 age 68 yrs.

Grave 5. This stone is almost smooth-...... Nathaniel Pickels aged 19 yrs....... 1851.

Grave 6. This stone is broken and not easy to read. Henry John Ollason age 70 yrs ?1856? Peter Ollason..... Teacher ... Wesleyan Sunday School... died May 6th 18?1.

There are two other gravestones around the corner of the school-room under the window. They are both very thickly moss-covered. The farthest one is the grave of Alfred John Kermode, age 2 yrs, who died on Dec 23rd 1852, and Francis Cowley age 9 months, who died on April 24th 1862.

I found it impossible to read anything on the other stone."

Miss McHardy had been able to add some personal details of the above families, The census of 1851 for Peel alludes to.-
117 Douglas St:-. Joseph Stubbs, 46 yrs, surgeon, born England. Sarah Stubbs, wife age 46 yrs, born England, John Porilius, visitor, 31 yrs, born England.
110 Douglas St:- Joseph Stubbs, age 23, Surgeon's assistant, born England. Rachel Stubbs wife, age 22 yrs, born England. Joseph W. Stubbs, age 6 months

Bridge Sts- Joseph King, grocer, age 63 yrs, born Peel. Anne King, wife, age 58 yrs, born Andreas.

This does not account for all of the 19 interments recorded in 1869. Of the 14 names, two, Sarah Stubbs and John Moore died in 1876 and 1894 respectively so that there must be seven others unrecorded. There is, of course, one gravestone which can tell us nothing of the grave's inmates. The fact that the 1869 report implies that burials started in 1845 suggests that it is the earlier ones that elude us.

The-greatest human interest naturally surrounds the grave of the Railtons. He had been minister of the Chapel since 1861, and. the contemporary newspaper reads-.
'His last public service was on October 31st, when he appeared in his usual health. The visits of Mrs Railton to the sick were very frequent, and no case of distress reached her ear, and required assistance, without finding her willing and ready to hasten to the abode of sorrow. It was on one of these missions of mercy that she was infected with fever and laid prostrate, also communicating the disease to her husband. All that medical skill and untiring kindness of friends could accomplish was cheerfully performed, but without success, and each died in great peace - Mr Railton on the 9th aged 53, and his wife the day following, aged 50 years." She was the sister of the Rev. George Scott, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and one of their sons, J.S. Railton, was to become a distinguished Commissioner of the Salvation Army.

Local tradition has added that they died of cholera. Yet was this really so? There is no name given to the cause of Death. It is simply said that Mrs Railton was "infected with fever", which was communicated to her husband. Nor does the newspaper that carries this account anywhere suggest a cholera epidemic. In fact, it carries 13 death notices for the period Oct 27. to Nov 14, including the Railtons, and of these 7 had been off the island. And there been an epidemic we should have expected more than 6 deaths on the island to be recorded in a fortnight. And would there have been "a large assemblage in Atholl St. for the funeral?"

Putting the query to Miss McHardy whose special research centres on the medical services of our Island, her answer was concise:-

"There was no cholera in the Island in 1864. The outbreak before that date was in 1849 at Creagneish and Port St.Mary, nowhere else. The next outbreak (brought into Peel by a fishing-boat, the Annie from Ireland) was in October 1866. There were only a few cases and only in Peel. There is often some reason in rumours. In those days Typhoid Fever and its like was often called "English Cholera", but I doubt if this disease would have been the cause of death of the husband and wife at about the came time, and I very much doubt if the wife could have seriously been thought the cause of infecting her husband and, if she had, he would not have died at the time he did. The cause of their illness was almost certainly typhus Fever which in those days was usually called just "fever" (There was an outbreak of Typhus Fever in 1837, 1853 and 1866). But it was always a common cause of death in nurses and doctors, and nearly always called simply "fever". Scarlet Fever killed many people about this period but it was almost always differentiated as Scarlet Fever.

Of course even doctors themselves mixed up Typhoid and Typhus, even as late as 1880. But the important point in the Railton case is that the "fever" was contracted from a sick person with the disease. This makes the diagnosis of Typhus much more likely."

It seems likely that Henry John Ollason, buried in Atholl St., was also a minister. Miss McHardy has also listed the burial places of other nonconformist ministers and their families. William Wilson, Methodist Preacher, buried St. George's, Douglas, June 1st 1789, is the earliest. The Rev. John Colquhoun died in 1807, John Braithwaite in 1822 (for 32 years a Wesleyan Minister), Alexander Inglis in 1836. Jemimah Ann, daughter of Jeremiah Pontefract, Wesleyan Preacher, lies in St. German's (1835, aged 3 months). In the same year in German, the Rev John Morris [Morrs sic] ('Independent Minister, aged 37 years'). Jeremiah Pontefract buried a son of 5 months in German in 1838. Elizabeth E.N. Aitken, aged 16, daughter :of the Rev. Robert Aitken, was buried at Marown in 1847.,

In 1804 the Rev. Samuel Haining came to the Island to the independent Chapel in Atholl St, Douglas, where he christened his family: James (Feb 1809), Thomas (Apl 1810), John (Aug 1811), Jane and Samuel (twins July 1813), Isabella (Aug 1816), -Anna (Jan.1819), Arbuthnot, a dau. (Jan 1821), Alexander and Charles Johnston (twins, July 1822), William (June 1827). Several were also buried there: Thomas (1848), Jane (1850), Alexander (1852). Samuel and his wife Jane are buried in St. George's, she in 1843, he 1846 aged 67. In St. George's lies also a retired minister, 'Rev. Edward Parsons, for 48 years the faithful pastor of the assembling in Salem Chapel, Leeds, Yorkshire,' His grave is located, near the gate, in front of Hillary's tomb.


Follow up Article

Last issue we related Miss McHardy's interest in the graves round the Methodist Chapel in Atholl Street, Peel; an interest which had become a concern over the deterioration of the memorial inscriptions and the record of the personalities buried there. Having read our article, the Rev. Wilfred Pearce, the current minister, has found in the archives a Minute Book which goes some way towards answering Miss McHardy's questions

It looks as if the book was opened in 1845, with the intention of registering all the transactions connected with the graves. The first page is headed Minutes of Trustees' Meeting of October, 17th 1845. and reads:-
At the annual Meeting of the trustees of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Peel, held on December 27th, 1843, it was resolved:

1st. That the ground around the chapel should be appropriated to the purposes of interment.
2nd. That the graves should be each six and a half feet by three feet.
3rd. That the graves should be sold at one pound sterling each.
October 17th, 1845 (taken from the minutes of the meeting). John Connon.'
The concern, therefore, for burial space dated back as far as 1843. The second page reads:

'No. 2 of Lot 2nd to Mr. George Quayle, Mason, Peel. 15th May, 1845.
and the third page:
'No. 4 of Lot 2nd to Mr. John King grocer, Peel. September, 29th 1845. Paid 11.
There are then over a dozen blank pages and then four pages headed 'Interments' which read:

1.May 15th, 1845. Margaret Quayle, daughter of Thomas and -- Holsey, and wife of Geo Quayle, Mason, who died of consumption May 13th, 1845, aged 37. She lies in the second grave from the North Wall in the second lot of ground from the East Wall.
2. On the 11th March 1849, aged 5 months Alfred Teare, son of Thomas Kermode of Peel. In the first grave from the North Wall, and second lot of ground from the East Wall.
3. On the 3rd July, 1849, aged -- Nathaniel Pickles,shopkeeper of Peel, From Colne in Lancashire: 'In the -- grave.
4. On the 6th May, 1851, aged 22 years Joseph Walton Stubbs of Peel, Medical student. In the -- grave.
5. On the -- May, 1851, aged 9 months , Joseph Walton, son of the above. In the--- grave.
6. On the 22nd August, 1851, aged 40. Jane Moore, wife of Jno. Moore, dyer of St. Johns, German. In the-- grave.
7. On the 6th March' 1852, aged 56, Mary Norman, wife of Cpt. William Norman, of St. John's, German. In the -- grave.
8. On the 24th-May, 1856, aged 50 years, Joseph Stubbs M.D . of Peel in the grave immediately at the foot of his son's.
9. On Tuesday, September 2nd, 1856, aged 6 years and 2 months, Henry John, son of the Rev. Jno. Livingstone, in the grave to the left of Mrs. Cpt. Norman's.
10. April 7th, 1857, ---- John King.
11. May 4th, 1857, --- Charles Henry Cheverton. -
12. February 22nd, 1858-- Watterson, Son of Mark Watterson
13. May 25th, 1861, Anne King, aged 68 Years. Wife of John King who is interred in the same grave.
14. 21st April, 1862, aged 10 months and 24 days, Francis Cowley, son of Thomas Kermode of Peel. In the grave with the other sons. John E. Pater.
15. On the 21st October, 1864. Jane Moore daughter of Mrs. John Moore of Ballaslig, Parish of German, aged 20 years. In the grave with her mother Mrs. Moore. Interred by Rev. L. Railton. Entered in this book by Rev. H. Sharp.
16. 8th March, 1865 aged 48 years, George Quayle of Ballacraine, late of Peel. Henry: Sharp.
17. 4th April, 1866, aged 10 months, Robert Henry Kermode son of Thomas and Eliza Kermode, of Peel. Henry Sharp
18. On the 12th November, 1864, Aged 53 years. The Rev. Lancelot Railton, Wesleyan Minister, the first superintendent of Peel Circuit since the division of the Ramsey and Peel Circuit, who died on the 9th November 1864.
19. On the same day, aged 50, Margaret, wife of the above,who died on the 10th November, 1864. The last 2 entries made by me, Geo. Barlow, Wesleyan Minister.
20. On the 6th March, 1884 aged 85 years, John Moore of Ballaslig, German. J. Fielden.

After recording the last entry, the Rev. J. Fielden seemingly made the book the Minutes of the Chapel Trustees, and so it continued till full in 1953.

With the single exception of Nos. 18 and 19 all are recorded in Chronological Order.- Yet it is hard to avoid the impression that the interments there were rarely written up at the time but were entered as afterthoughts. The graves hardly bulked large in the Trustee's concerns. They seem to have held no special meetings after 1845, and there is internal evidence of perfunctory record-keeping. Entry No. 1 bears the signature of a minister as do those from 14 onwards. Entries 2 to 6 have been made by the same hand, but are unsigned. While the recorder seems to have wanted to locate the graves from No. 3 onwards, spaces would be left for numbers that were never decided on. No. 7 is in a new hands Nos. 8 and 9 again locate graves. Entries l0 to 12 are mere dates and names. 13, 14 and 15 again give location, but 16 to 20 do not.

It is easy to sympathise with the perplexity of how to describe individual graves. Nos. 1 and 2 must involve graves behind the present Guild Room Porch, where one stone clearly identifies with No. 2, while the other is now quite smooth. The stones Miss McHardy enumerates 1 and 2 can be related to interments 6 and 20 in one case and 18 and 19 in the other, obelisks marking them in the same area; but in the angle of the North and East boundary wall of the site there may be up to three graves unmarked but traceable faintly in the grass. These may relate to interments 11 and 12

The other side is between the other end of the Gild Room and the garden wall of the Manse. Here are six well-marked graves, five of whom (numbered l to 5 in Miss McHardy's report) can be identified with interments numbered 7, 4/5, 8, l0/13 and 3 respectively. But her grave No. 6 turns out to contain not two people called Ollason, but the 6 year old son of the Rev. John Livingstone, buried September, 1856, and Peter Ollason, Wesleyan Day School teacher (not Sunday School), who died March 6th, 1871, aged 21 years. There is no record in the Interments of his burial.

There are other points at which Miss McHardy's deciphering can be filled out or amended. Her No. 5 grave is that of Nathaniel Pickels, Ironmonger of Peel, from Colne in Lancashire. The date is July 3rd, 1849,and his age 68 years.

Another correction concerns Miss McHardy's graves on this site that she numbers 2 and 3. They reveal a sad piece of family history in the medical family of Stubbs. Miss McHardy found three generations of them living in Peel in the 1851 census, the grandfather Joseph Stubbs, with his wife Sarah at 117 Douglas Street, and his son Joseph Walton at 110 Douglas Street, with his wife Rachel and their 6 months old child, also called Joseph Elton Stubbs. Yet in the first week of May in the same year, the 22 year old Rachel saw both her husband and her 9 month old son buried in the same grave. Five years later the doctor, only 50 years old was buried in the adjacent grave, whose stone also commemorated his wife Sarah, who lived until 1876.

The Interment Register also implies two more graves which are not identified by any stones; one in the name of Charles Henry Cheverton, under the date May 4th, 1857, the other in the name of Watterson, February 22nd, 1858. These graves must be located in the group between the obelisks and the north-east angle of the church site, where one of the remaining gravestones belongs to Interments 2, 14 and 17, and the undecipherable stone probably relates to interment No. 1

We do not know how many lie there, is Sarah Stubbs indeed buried with her husband or merely commemorated on his monument?-- It seems as if there are 21 without her. They share 12 family names, of which only four are Manx. is it then a resting place for expatriates in some special way? The average age of those that were buried there and whose ages are recorded, was about 35, for six of them were children.

From the Internment Register, we can confidently answer Miss Hardy's question about who were the 19 buried there before 1869. These are all recorded. But we are left with questions concerning the years after 1869. Why is there no registration of Thomas Ollason's burial? And were there any other interments equally overlooked?

There is still work to be done. The Isle of Man Methodist Historical Society recently visited the graves under Miss McHardy's guidance, and with the Interment Register's information in hand. Certainly, the work of deciphering the stones in the light of up to date information is needed. Probably, Peel members who are themselves Methodists might be responsible for a survey of these unusual Manx monumental inscriptions?

Additional Information

Nathaniel Pickels was a LP and also in 1848 Steward of Peel Chapel.


 Chapel Index


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2000