J.C.Curwen 1756-1828

John Christian CurwenBorn John Christian, at Ewanrigg Hall, Cumberland, 12th July 1756.

Eldest son of John Christian and Jane Curwen and heir to Ewanrigg and Milntown. Married his older (by 8 years) sister-in-law Margaret Taubman (daughter of John Taubman) on 12 September 1775 at Malew. What appeared to have been a happy marriage produced one son John (later Deemster) before death of Margaret in 1778 - this death would appear to have upset him greatly as he embarked on a lengthy foreign tour.

Christian would appear to have been anything but in religious terms - the memorial to his first wife was erected by her parents in Malew - Bishop Murray's wife described him as an avowed atheist. As a MP he strongly exposed radical causes including Catholic emancipation but in a letter written to Bishop Murray after the riots of 1825 (quoted by Serjeant) he describes himself as attached to the Protestant church.

Married his much younger first cousin, and sole heiress, Isabella Curwen, 1782 and on 1st March 1790 took the name Curwen. Her father Henry Curwen had left a personal estate of £15,000 and real estate valued at £2000 per year thus making John Christian extremely wealthy. Again the marriage appears to have been very happy - the younger Isabella apparently worshipped her older cousin.

Elected MP for Carlisle in 1786 embraced the Whig party - was a consistent opponent against Tory autocracy. The election of 1786 was 'rigged' by the addition of fictitious freemen but was reversed in John Christian's favour by a House of Common's inquiry.

J.C.CurwenStrong opponent of Duke of Atholl both in Keys and in Parliament - for a brief report of debate over the 4th Duke's attempt to renegociate the terms of the sale of the regalities of the Island see Chap 8 of Wood's Account.

Well known agricultural reformer who founded Workington Agricultural Society which had a branch on the Island and had a major influence on the development of agriculture both in Cumberland and on the Island.

Following on from his father was also a major developer of the Cumberland coalfield though ultimately he made little money (if any) from them.

References

W.R.Serjeant John Christian Curwen, M.P., M.H.K. 1756-1828 Proc IoM NHAS vol VI #1 pp64/80

Mrs Hicks Beach The Yesterdays behind the Door Liverpool:University Press 1956

A.W.Moore Manx Worthies 1901 pp73/5

Henry Lonsdale The Worthies of Cumberland London. George Rutledge & Sons, 1867.

Frederick Chance Some Notable Cumbrians Carlisle: Charles Thurnam & Sons 1931

Oliver Wood The Colleries of J.C.Curwen Trans Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaelogical Society vol LXXI p199/236 1971

The Curwen Mss are in the CRO Carlisle


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2001