Presbyterian Churches


The basis of the Presbyterian churches was the expatriate Scots communities on the Island, in Douglas and in Ramsey. It would appear that the two communities were not strongly linked - those in Ramsey looking towards the United Secession Church of Scotland whereas those in Douglas looked towards the Lancashire Presbytery.

There is a memorial in the Atholl papers which implies that a congregation was established in Douglas in 1763 but after 1765 the Minister could no longer be funded; in 1788 the congregation were investigating other sources of funding for a minister's salary.

The early history of Presbyterianism in Douglas is summarised by Joseph Train, himself a Scot, with personal knowledge of the church.

Previous to the year 1830, there was no presbyters church in Douglas in connection with the kirk of Scotland although a large room had been for some time previously used as a place of worship. In that year, a subscription was commenced for the erection of a church and manse, by the late Mr. James M'Crone, crown agent in the Island, by whose indefatigable exertions, as well among the Scotch families resident in the Island as with the government, a sum was obtained sufficient to warrant the commencement of these buildings. In the course of the following season, both kirk and manse were erected-the former capable of accommodating three hundred persons and the latter equalling in its accommodations the generality of the manses in Scotland. They stand at the south end of Finch-road, commanding an extensive and interesting view of the bay and of the distant ocean. The congregation is in connection with the presbytery of Lancashire.

The first clergyman of the new church was Mr. Mellish, afterwards minister of Tealing, in the presbytery of Dundee. The next was William Maclean, a man of no mean talent, and of considerable attainment, who stood high as an every-day preacher with his congregation for several years. Through his persevering agency a savings' bank was established at Douglas in the year 1835, which has succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations the annual statement of this valuable institution, for the year ended the 31st December, 1844, seems to augur well for a numerous class of the community.

Mr. Maclean was succeeded, as minister of the presbyterian kirk of Douglas, by the Rev. William Wilson, in 1841. On the 14th October, of that year, Mr. Wilson was inducted into his pastoral charge by my highly valued friend the Rev. Dugald Stewart Williamson, minister of the parish of Tongland, in the county of Kirkcudbright; and on the next Sabbath, the same reverend gentleman, in an eloquent address bearing testimony to the merits, superior attainments, and high character of Mr. Wilson, introduced him to his congregation. Mr. Wilson resigned this charge in 1843, and is now minister of the parish of Balmacallan, in the presbytery of Kirkcudbright. Mr. Wilson was succeeded in the ministry of the Scotch church at Douglas, by the Rev. Mr. M'Clelland, formerly of Bolton, the present pastor, who is much beloved by his congregation.

(Train's History of the IoM vol 2 1845 )

A much fuller history is available in their Centenary History


Scotch Kirk -St Andrew - Douglas

Scotch Kirk -St Andrew - Douglas

Scotch Kirk
Opened in 1832 to a design by John Welch.

Grid Reference SC


Rebuilt 1867; however now only the tower and spire remain, the church being demolished to make way for offices.

The congregation moved to a smaller church built in the grounds of St. Ninian's

St. Andrews Church erected 1867 (now demolihed)

The old 'Kirk' Ramsey

Ramsey Scotch Kirk

The Ramsey congregation would appear to have been independent of those in Douglas. Around 1829 they petitioned the Wigtown Presbytery for help in the foundation of a church to accommodate 230 persons.
This was opened in 1837 though there were significant breaks in the provision of a full time pastor. This church was replaced in 1886 by the present building and became a Temperance Hall. Still in use as a community building (Quine's Hall).

Grid Reference SC452943


New Kirk Ramsey

New Kirk Ramsey

The church was started in 1883 and completed in 1885. Built to a design by Mr. Barry and built by Boyde Brothers; it was an enormous undertaking for a relatively small congregation and was mainly due to the exertions of Rev W.A. Cathcart, Minister from 1878-99.

Grid Reference SC



[J.D. + A.H.W] The First Century of Presbyterianism in Douglas 1825-1925 1925

see also history given in Brown's Directory of 1881

William Cunningham Trinity Presbyterian Church of England Ramsey Isle of Man, 1962

Constance Radcliffe Shining by the Sea A History of Ramsey 1800-1914 pp132

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