Archibald Knox (1864-1933) Commemorative Plaques

Cresswell describes Knox's work and life as an enigma. in that his underlying inspiration and motivation remain elusive. Unique amongst artists and designers Knox designed many memorial stones, nearly all on the Isle of Man and all inspired by, though seldom copies of, the Manx carved cross slabs and especially of the interlaced patterns found on many. Knox was also an Anglo-Catholic and some of this comes across, especially in his use of the 'sacred heart' motif for many of the 'O's in the lettering - it has been remarked that the lower the church of the those memorialised the more hearts Knox gave them ! It is interesting that apart from that for uncle John Knox he produced no designs for any close members of his family.

Most of the memorials are in Douglas, either at New Braddan cemetery or in the Borough cemetery; they are generally easy to identify being very distinctive both in design and lettering. However, though the Island is free from industrial pollution, the wind and rain of some 70 or more years has left some of the stones in less than pristine condition.

Knox worked mainly with Thomas Quayle, stone mason and sculptor, and his stonemasons (Quayles son and grandson were all masons). Knox's first memorial was for the daughter of Thomas Quayle and was apparently sculpted by Thomas Quayle himself who left the various panels for members of the family.

The exact number of Knox designed memorials is not known - it is thought to be about 36; some designs have been challenged by Miss Annie Knox (niece) and Tim Quayle (grandson of Thomas) as not by Knox. The Manx Museum has a 1964 collection of photographs, some with annotation attributed to Annie Knox or Tim Quayle - the deterioration in the last 40 years is quite marked.

(In order of inscription - not necessarily design or execution)

Thumbnail Image
(on CD_ROM click thru for larger image)
    Location (grave)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Quayle
21st June.

Catherine Louise Quayle

Now quite badly weathered

detail - Knox -  Quayle top lh panel

New Braddan (S2/4378).
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Dorothy Gell
18th April.

Dorothy Gell

(dates from 1921 - 1899 commemorates death of a child)

detail - Knox - Gell

New Braddan. (S3/4212)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Robert Gell
15th May.

Robert Gell

Identical in design to that of Dorothy Gell - the two stones are side by side.

New Braddan. (S3/4212)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Moughtin
26th May

Nina (Jane Isable) Moughtin (Shaw nee Moughtin).

The first of a small group of wheel/ring headed crosses (Moughtin, Beale, Liberty & Dawsey)


New Braddan.
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker -  Beale
10th September.

James Beale.

The lettering does not appear to be designed by Knox - however it is set in a panel with typical Knox outline.

New Braddan.(S3/4552)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Hale

William Twigg Hale

DETAIL _ ?Knox - Hale

(not on list but surely lettering is Knox's)

Tim Quayle is recorded in a annotation on the reverse of a set of photographs in the Manx Museum as saying 'Definitely not Knox'

New Braddan
Grave <arker - David Kewley Dawsey
25th March.

David Kewley Dawsey.

detail - Knox - Dawsey
The lettering was originally picked out in Indian Red - apparently Knox's preferred colour.

New Braddan. (S3/5366)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Catherine Skillicorn
25th September.

Catherine Skillicorn.

detail - Knox -  Skillicorn

Onchan Parish. (in old section far corner - needs cleaning and some TLC) Apparently the stone was picked, almost at random, by members of the family as it had been cut (but not lettered) without a specific client in mind.
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Lace
10th March. .

Margaret Lace.

detail - Knox -  Lace (top rh corner)

Old Marown - a large flat tomb to the south of the church in a small but very overgrown yard (good shoes necessary + tolerance to nettles !). Weathering and location make it very difficult to appreciate
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Nicholson
24th March.

John Millar Nicholson.

A non-Quayle stone

Borough Cemetery.(G 49/50)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Cannell
3rd December

Phillip Henry Cannell.

detail - Knox -  Cannell

New Braddan (S3/4167)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Knox
13 Mar

John Knox

The stones form a sort of tray around the grave, the cross is on the head end,the lettering on the left hand side can be barely made out and proved impossible to obtain a small photograph in which any lettering was visible

Lezayre (near far wall, centre of yard)

Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Liberty
11th May.
Sir Arthur Lazenby Liberty.

detail - Knox -  Liberty
(on reverse of cross)

Lee Cemetery, Buckinghamshire

(to south of Lee New Church in a small private section of graveyard)

Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Peter Milne
31st December.

Peter Milne.

Detail - Knox - Milne 1917

Borough Cemetery. (D 21 along path)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Lace
2 January

Joseph & William Lace (sons of Margaret Lace)

Detail - Knox ? - Lace 1918

(not in list but surely lettering is Knox's)

Marown (New)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Parkinson
24th January.

Charles Michael Parkinson. detail Knox - Parkinson

Borough Cemetery.(G 74)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Thomason
14th June.

Margaret Adela Thomason.

detail - Knox  - Thomason

Onchan Parish. (central part of yard not far from church porch)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Ashburner
20th April.

Jane Ashburner.

detail - Knox  - Ashburner

The lettering is now almost impossible to read -

thought to be the least successful of Knox's designs

Borough Cemetery. (L 61)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Knox
19th September.

Robert Knox.

(the Knox designed lettering, top rh, is obscured by the regilding work - the other lettering post dates Knox's death.

New Braddan. (S3/3786)
1925 Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Callister 24th April.

Jane Christian Callister.

detail - Knox Callister

Borough Cemetery. (M 254)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - John Collister
22nd October.

John Collister.

detail - Knox - Collister

Borough Cemetery. (G 124)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Kennaugh
17th November.

Kennaugh, William, Robert.

detail - Knox - Kennaugh

New Braddan. (S3/3441)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Katherine Douglas
5th December.

Katherine Douglas.

detail - Knox -  inset plaque

Borough Cemetery. (NE 233)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Hall Caine
31st August.

Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine

detail - Knox - Hall Caine (on reverse base)

Kirk: Maughold.
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - A Knox
22nd February.

Archibald Knox.

The stone was originally designed for one of the Quayle family but apparently there was a family disagreement and following Knox's sudden death it was thought appropriate to use one of his designs for his own grave.

New Braddan. (S3/3506)
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - John Quine
22nd February.

Canon John Quine. Unlike the other designs it is angular - Annie Knox claims that it was actually Quine's own design (though as Quine was a great friend of Knox, the latter may have had a hand). Tim Quayle however is on record as saying that Knox personally drew the design direct onto the massive slate (it is probably the largest memorial on the Island)


Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Kelly sisters


Mary Agnes & Letitia Kelly


The stone is badly weathered and the design is barely visible (presumeably the lettering, though in the style of Knox, was done after his death)

New Marown (west yard).
Knox designed Commemorative Grave Marker - Lace
28th November.

Richard Lace.

detail Knox - Richard Lace

Borough Cemetery. (ND 91)

William Edward Callister.

Originally in Onchan ? No longer on Island.

War Memorials - all date 1919-1921

Knox Plaque in GPO Regent St Douglas (c. IoM Post)
G.P.O. Staff War Memorial. Post Office, Regent Street, Douglas.(currently 2004 temporarily removed whilst building work in progress - to be replaced 'shortly')

(thanks to IOM Post for photo)


Kirk Michael War Memorial
Kirk Michael War Memorial. Kirk Michael.
Lonan War Memorial
Lonan war Memorial
Lonan and Laxey, 2 War Memorials.   All Saints, Laxey.
Onchan War Memorial
Onchan Parish War Memorial. . Onchan
Manx Advocates War Memorial. Douglas Court House.
War Memorial, St Barnabas (now at St George's
St Barnabas's Church R.O.H. Entrance Foyer St George's Church, Douglas (original church demolished)
War Memorial,  St Thomas
St. Thomas's Church War Memorial. Douglas
War Memorial - Douglas S.M.
St. Matthew's Church War Memorial. (The lettering is by Knox but now virtually unreadable) Douglas
  St. Ninian's School War Memorial Douglas.
  Roll of Honour for the Scholars of St. Ninians. Illuminated Manuscript. St. Ninian's School, Douglas.



Other Commemorative Work

1902-3   Commemorative plaque for the visit of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to Sulby Bridge (no longer extant).
Lord Raglan. Plaque. Onchan Parish Church.
1914-1915   The Deers Cry. Illuminated manuscript. Manx Museum.
1930   T. E. Brown. Centenary plaque. Manx: Museum.


Yvonne Cresswell Designs and Beliefs set in Stone pp147/161 in S Martin Archibald Knox London: Artmedia (ISBN 1-902889-02-9) 2001

Kate Turner The Memorial Work of Archibald Knox on the Isle of Man - thesis for Chelsea College of Art 1987 - Manx Museum MD15155

Edith Quaggin The Memorial Designs of Archibald Knox n.d.[?1997] - A-level course work - Manx Museum MS09947

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A. Knox

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2004