[copied from Manx Church Magazine vol 5 no 5 May 1895 +(those published Nov + Dec 1892)]
The earliest Registers in this parish are contained in one book, written, as usual, without any of the formality to which in these later days we have become so accustomed. The first volume contains baptisms from 4th February, 1627, to 26th July, 1841; marriages from 1st November, 1698, to 17th February, 1757; and burials from 6th June, 1647, to 28th May, 1844.
On the first page of the book is a "Catalogue of Books belonging to the Parochial Library of Onchan." The list contains 41 volumes, 38 of which seem to have been entered by the same hand about 1799. The compiler adds a note to the last in his list, " this book was not to be found at Mr Quayle's death. ' (The Rev Thomas Quayle, Vicar of Onchan for 89 years, was buried 9th March, 1798). The last three books have been added later, the last on the list being " Erasmus' Ecclesiastes," which is said to have been " lost in ye carriage from Bishop's Court."
On pp. 8-7 is a list of the monies bequeathed to the poor, in the same handwriting as the catalogue of books.
The peculiarities of spelling, the gradual evolution of our modern surnames, and the now obsolete Christian names, are much the same as in the other insular registers, and have been exhaustively noticed by Mr A. W. Moore in his '` Surnames and Place Names of the Isle of Man." The additional notes of interest are very few.
The baptisms down to 1698 are evidently copied from an older register, apparently by the energetic Vicar or Clerk who began to set his books in order about 1799. The registers for 1698 and following years begin in another part of the book, endure written in a much earlier hand.
By far the fullest entries are those which concern the families of the successive Vicars of the parish. In recording the baptism of their children, they usually notice both the day and the exact hour of their birth, By., under date 1671 we read " Thos. and Margret Thwaits, being twins, son and daughter of Mr, Tho. Thwaits, was born into this world ye 16tb of December, about six o'clock in the morning, and was baptised 21st day of ad. month,'December."
Similar particulars are added, in almost every case, of the 12 children of the Rev Wm. Gell.
The following is the Rev Thos. Quayle's pathetic entry of his wife's death, in 1768:-"Mrs Grissel Quayle, als. Ross, wife of the Rev Mr Quayle, Vicar of this parish, was struck dead in her bed by a thunder-bolt (or lightning), which came in at the chimney, the 28 day of July, being Thursday, between the hours of eleven and twelve at night, and was interred in her father's grave in Kirk Malew churchyard, on the 31st day of said month."
The good Vicar, in 1687, was perhaps somewhat puzzled by the name of the child whom he baptised as ''Fridaysweed." The nick-names are not numerous; there was a family of Cannels who are distinguished by the name of " prince " several times between 1759 and 1809. In 1778 was baptised Philip, son of Thos. Christian (Willeragh); this name occurs several times, always of the Christians. In 1788 was buried " John Cowley (vulgo 'man of war ') " Others are " Thomas Christian (gunner)", "Charles Brown (count) "; "John Creer (red) "; "James Garret (Dauteral)."
In 1682 after an entry of baptism on 18th February there is an entry: " Job. Kelly, son of Miche; baptised, the same day being Valentine."
There are some curious variations in spelling: e.g. to give one of many: Glencruttery (1678), Glanyhruttera (1684), Glenchrudjerey (1686).
In 1725 there is a long series of private baptisms.
1784.-" John, son of John Kelly, mariner, who was cast away coming from Ireland, was baptised January ye 19th."
Amongst the burials the age is very seldom inserted before 1834, in which year they begin regularly hers Ann Ravenscroft was buried in 1718 aged 105 years, and her husband six years later aged 102; and a few other centenarians are recorded.
That terrible scourge of old days-the small pox- visited the parish in 1741, when six deaths are recorded; 1765, 81 deaths, extending from March to December; and in almost every year from 1777 to 1792.
A very large number of burials are of those who " perished by sea," e.g. " Jon. Ffloyde, marriner, who perish'd in Douglass river." " Three mariners, a women passenger, and two men, perish'd from on board a ship wreacht at Conchan Harbour." " Thomas Coole, from Douglas, who perish'd by sea in the time of the Herring fishing." " Nine mariners,''
1708.-" A man and two women . . . Captain Brabston, a military officer, two other men, and a woman . . . two mariners, a woman . . . a man, said to be a major, who perish'd by sea on Wednesday at night the 7th day of this instant (December) from on board a ship cast away by-strese of weather on the rock connister."
1765.-" Thos. Foy, a -sailor lad (who by the oversetting of the cockboat was drowned in Douglas river about eleven o'clock last night.)"
1787.-" Wm. Corlet, Joney Corlet his wife, and Mary Corlet their daughter (who perish'd by sea on Monday morning, 92 inst. (October) near Poolvash)." And so on, through many similar entries, the only pathetic relics of tragedies which no doubt at the time stirred the parish deeply.
Other entries which possess some interest are:-
1749.-" James Willes, aliter Obediah Kemp buried." - ~
1762.-"Joney Looney als Coriaige (in her 100 year)."
1766.-" Mr Edw. Christian, of Beemaughaig (one of the Keys?, aged 79, bun 28th June."
1782.-"Wm; Christian (the old parish clerk)."
1801.-"John. son of John Atkinson, June 11th buried. N.B.-The child aforesaid being at nurse in this parish was unfortunately burned to death, the cradle having caught fire in the aheence of the nurse."
1810.-" Eleanor Oates (who died alarmingly sudden)"
1818.-" James Fargher (lost at the fislhing on New Year's Day)."
At the end of the book there is a very interesting record of the catechumens presented for confirmation between 1787 and 1806. Those confirmations were held about every three years in different churches, and the average number of candidates from the parish of Kirk Onchan was 47.
Beyond these again are a list of "Sacramental Collections" and distributions to the poor from 1800 to 1807.
The register for baptisms begins in 1627, for burials in 1647, and for marriages in 1698. No baptisms were entered from 1633 to 1647 inclusive, or from 1651 to 1663 inclusive. " Sir John Oates, minister " was buried in 1647.
1669, " Mr Thomas Banks of Balnahow" (buried). This was a well known name in the parish for three centuries. " Mrs Mary Langley being aged 80 and buried within the church of Kk Conchan in the chancllell'' (sic).
1671" Decembr 21. Thomas and Margaret Thwaites being twins, son and daughter to Sir Thomas Thwaites was (sic) born into this world the 16th December about 6 o'clock in the morning." Sir Thomas Thwaites was vicar of Lonan from 1674-86. Then, on the 27th of December," Thomas and Margaret Thwaites, infants being twins, children of Sir Thomas, were buried in one grave." 1673, "Margaret Thwaites dau of Sir Thomas Thwaites was born into this world ye 2nd May being Friday at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon." " Edd Christian who died in Kk Maughold by a hedge."
1677, " Sir William Gates minister of Kk Marown above 60 years was buried at Kk Conchan close by the altar." He belonged to a well known Conchan family who then owned the Glencrutchey. No burials are recorded from 1681 to 1688 inclusive.
1689, " Mrs Isabel Banckes als Moor of Balnahow, aged as supposed 80 years."
1691, " Robert Cannel of Bebalow who perished in the water in Kk Braddan.,
1696, " Thomas son of John Christian Kiondroghad,", Kionedroghad 'bridge end,' was the old name of Conchan village.
1702, " James son of Mr Gill, vicar, was born on Tuesday ye 25th August at 5 o'clock in the afternoon and was baptised the fifth September by the Rev Mr Walker." He had 10 other children, about whom similar particulars are entered in the register.
1706, " John Shimmin who died on Douglas sands."
1725, " John and William (twins) sons -of Mr James Banckes had private baptism being born the same day and were received into the congregation ye 18th of said month."
1727, "William and Catherine (twins) son and dau of Edwd Christian Bemaughaig had private baptism, the latter which (sic) died immediately after and was buried the next day, ye former died April 1st following and was buried the 3rd. " His family owned Bemaughaig (now Bemahague) for generations.
1730, " Anne Quayle came lately into this Parish pregnant, and some time after was delivered of twins, viz: two boys, whose father (ye midwife declared at ye font) the mother affirmed to her was one S . . . M . . . of Ballagarranghan, in Kk. German, one of them was baptized Thomas and the other Philip."
1737, " Mr William Hamilton " (buried). He had been employed by James, Earl of Derby, to make highroads in the island, the roads previously in use having been mere lanes suitable only for the passage of horses with creels and not for wheeled vehicles.
1738, " John Cowley (vulgo man of war)," probably a sailor in the royal navy.
1741, " Catherine dau of James Gell of Peel Town departed this life of smallpox."
1745, "Thomas Moore, a young man."
1748, Rev. W. Gell, Vicar of this Parish above 50 years departed this life on Thursday March 81st." He was succeeded by his son, Samuel Gell.
1750, " Brian Carrick, a stranger.'"
1752, " Captain Leonard Stanford, a stranger."
1759, " Thomas Coole from Douglas, who perished by sea in the time of the herring fishery and found in Onchan harbour."
1760, " 9 mariners who perished at sea near Douglas."
1763, December 23rd, " A man and two women perished by sea and found on Douglas sand." December 28th, " Captain Brabston, a military officer, two other men and a woman (who perished by sea on Wednesday at night, the 7th day of this instant, from on board a ship cast away by stress of weather on the rock Conister and found on the aforesaid sand)." December 30th, " A mariner belonging to said ship."
1764, January 6th, " A man perished by sea and found on Douglas sand." January 13th, " A woman perished by sea and found a corpse on Douglas sand." 15th, " A man, said to be as Major, found a corpse on Douglas sand." "Mr John Maxwell, a Scotch gentleman."
1765, " Joseph, son of Mr John Jos Bacon of Douglas, of smallpox."
Out of 46 entries of burials in this year 31 are from death by smallpox.
1766, June 16th, " Margaret, daughter of Robert Quirk, of Ballacashen in Krk. Braddan (baptised)." "The mother of this child being well in health went this morning to Douglas with a burden of ling, and upon her return home from thence was seized with the throws and pangs of travail, which increased so violently that she was obliged to lye down by a hedge near John Skillicorn's house, when she was, under heaven, safely delivered by the assistance of two women who were then in her company. Wonderful are the works of God ! "
1766, " Sarah Hill, a quaker women from Douglas." "Mr Edward Christian, of Bemaughaig, one of the Keys, aged 79."
1768, " Mrs Grizol Quayle, ale Ross, wife of the Rev Mr Quayle, vicar of this pariah, was struck dead in her bed by a thunderbolt (or lightning), which came in at the chimney, the 28th day of July, being Thursday, between the hours of 11 and 12 at night, and was interred in her father's grave in Malew churchyard." Her husband, who was beside her, was untouched. He was vicar from 1759 to 1798.
1770, " John, son of Stephen Rowley, of the Black Quarter (Kerroodoo)." Out of 22 entries of burials in this year, 9 are from deaths by small-pox.
1773, "Capt. James Moore, buried in the chancel of the old church of Lonan."
1774, " Mrs Penelope McCullock, als McDoole, from the Lough" (? where).
1782, " William Christian, the old parish clerk."
1786, '` Isabel Christian, said to be aged 104 years. " She does not seem to have been born in the parish as there is no entry of her birth.
1787, " William Corlett, Inny Corlett his wife, and Mary Corlett their daughter, who perished by sea near Poolvash."
1789, " A man found at sea a corpse, near Conchan Harbour. N.B. This man was said to be a Welsh gentleman, by name David Faulks, Batchelor of Laws, was, by by direction of a Mr Willoughby, taken out of the grave to be carried to Wales "
1798, " Mrs Elizabeth Heywood, als Bacon, who had been interred at Kirk Braddan Churchyard about the beginning of February last past was removed to the vault erected in the impropriate glebe in this parish."
1795, " Mr Wm. Harper, Surveyor Generel of the Highways."
1801, " John, son of John Atkinson. N.B. This child aforesaid, being at nurse in this parish, was unfortunately burnt to death, the cradle having caught fire in the absence of the nurse."
1802, "Cicely Bacon, daughter of John Joseph Bacon and Ann Coshnahan, who died at Bristol a few months since, and was interred in the vault erected in the impropriate glebe."
1804, " Philip Cottier (together with two other young men) was drowned in Douglas Bay on Easter Monday."
1805, " Augustus William, son of the Honourable Augustus Richard Butler Danvers and Eliza Sturt, his wife, priv bap."
1808, " Fany. 6, William, son of Thomas Drury and Mary Oates, priv bapt., received into the congregation Apri 19,
1809." This is the late vicar of Braddan.
1821, " At Castle Mona, Isle of Man, this day, the third daughter of Mr James McCrone and of Margt. Fletcher, his wife, residing here, was baptised by the names of Jane Gillfillan in presence of the Right Reverend George Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, and other witnesses, by me, minister of the High Church of Glasgow, and Principal of the College of Glasgow, W. Taylor, D.D." Mr McCrone was the Duke of Athol's agent.
The commonest surnames in the parish are Christian, Quayle, and Gelling, and then come Cannon, Cowin, Cottier, Fargher, Bridson, Quine, Creer, Corooin, Lewin, Corran, Crow, and Taggart. Of peculiar Christian names there are, of men, Finlo and Ffinlow and Sylvester. Of women, Mariot and Mareod, Bahee and Baghie, Avericke, Jony, Ailes, and Fridaysmeed.