[From Manx Families, A.W.Moore, MS 1889]

The Curghey’s or Curphey’s, of Ballakillingan

[Appeared in Manx Note Book vol ii #7 p121/4 1886]

Arms: Argent, a Saltire gules

Crest: A leopard, Passant, Guardant

Motto: Innocentia et Justitia Vincimus


In th Old Parish Church of Lezayre there were tombstones recording the deaths of five Curgheys of Ballakillingan; John (1st), in 1559, John (2nd), in 1609, John (3rd), in 1652, Captain Ewan (1st ), in 1695, and Captain Ewan (2nd), in 1697. Of John (1st), we know nothing. John (2nd) was Deemster. We find his name in 1601, written Courghye,1 attached to an "agreement between the Deputy- Governor, Council and Officers, Deemsters, Keys and others, as to payment of customs in money instead of kind." John (3rd) is entered for Ballakillingan in 1613. At this period the connection between the Curgheys and their neighbours, the Christians of Milntown, commenced. John Curghey's 2nd wife was Mabel, eldest daughter of Deemster Ewan Christian, and Ewan Curghey, his son, by his first wife, married Margaret, (born 1617,)2 Mabel's youngest sister. John Curghey was a member of the House of Keys and Captain of the Parish of Lezayre. In 1662, Hugh Moore, in his deposition as to events in 1651, spoke of him as "old John Curghie."3 Ewan(1st),also a member of the House of Keys, and Captain of the Parish, was one of the deputation who proceeded on board Colonel Duckenfield's vessel in Ramsey Bay in October, 1651, to negotiate for the surrender of the Island.4 On the 29th of December, 1662, he was one of the seven removed from the House of Keys by order of Charles, Earl of Derby, before they proceeded to pass sentence upon Iliam Dhoan, and shortly afterwards his property was confiscated on account of his proceedings in 1651, but, by order in Council of the 5th of August, 1663, it was restored.5 Ewan and Margaret Christian had issue, Ewan (died 1697), John (born 1657, died 1739 buried at Braddan), and Matthias, (born 1669, died 1754, buried at Bride.) John was Vicar of Braddan, and Vicar-General. In 1722, he was imprisoned in Castle Rushen with Bishop Wilson and Dr. Walker. By his wife, Hester (died 1704, buried at Lezayre), he had issue Elizabeth (born 1689), Annie (1691), John (born 1694), Matthias (born 1699, died 1771), Robert (born 1700), James (born 1702). Matthias is the only one of these of whom we have any record. We will first give an account of his uncle, Matthias, who had been Vicar of Lezayre, Patrick, German and Marown, respectively, and was finally, in 1629, appointed Recctor of Bride, where he died, aged 85, in 1754. In 1749, Bishop Wilson ordered that "whereas the Rev. Mr. Matthias Curghey, Rector of Kirk Bride, by reason of his great age and defect of his sight is rendered incapable of performing the whole service of the church in person, and not being able at present to procure one in Holy orders to assist him, we have thought fit and do accordingly appoint the Parish Clerk and Schoolmaster of the said parish, Wm. Kewin, a person recommended to us of a sober life and conversation, to assist the said Rector in reading the first service of the Church morning and evening, on Sundays and Holydays."6 On an upright stone, formerly in the Chancel of Bride Old Church, is recorded the death of his wife Dorothea, " buried April 20th, 1749, aged 79," as well as his own. Matthias, the younger, was Vicar of Marown, and afterwards Rector of Ballaugh and Vicar-General. he assisted in translating the Liturgy into Manx, and in revising the Pentateuch. He also transcribed the Epistles, and, in connection with the Rev. James Wilks, the Gospels and Acts. Archdeacon Mylrea, writing to the Rev. Philip Moore on the 7th of February, 1771, remarks "Mr. Curghey is indeed a public loss to Mona; and a particular loss to you in your arduous undertaking . . . . He was certainly a man of great candour and a good Christian."7 The Rev. Philip Moore, in his reply, speaks of him as his "learned friend and fellow labourer."8 His tombstone in Ballaugh Church-yard declares him to have been "an humble, meek, pacific man, sound divine, learned and exemplary." His wife, Catherine, died a few months after him, and was buried at Lezayre. To return to the elder branch Ewan, the eldest son of Ewan and Margaret Christian, had a son, John (died 1729) who married Margaret Quayle,9 heiress of Ballaquayle, near Douglas, and had issue Isabel, Quayle, Ewan, and Ann. Isabel 10 married her cousin William, son of Ewan Christian, of Milntown and Ewanrigg, but had no issue. Quayle (born 1706, died 1780, buried at Lezayre), married William's sister Alice, and had issue Alice., John, Jane, Edward, (born 1736, died 1759), and Elizabeth. He was the first to change the name to Curphey. He was a member of the House of Keys for many years. Ann, Quayle's sister, married first Thomas Christian, of Ballamoar, Bride, who was drowned, and secondly John Stevenson, of Lhergydoo. Alice (born 1751), married James Christian, of Dunkirk, and their granddaughter, Georgette Gregory, married Samuel Christian, of Malta, one of the Milntown family. John married Susannah Sampson, of Dublin, whose mother Ellenor Murrey, of Ronaldsway, was Bishop Wilson's wife's cousin. They had issue John (died unmarried), Ewan (born 1766, died 1790), Susannah, married Archdeacon Mylrea, Alicia, married Deemster Gawne, Eleanor (died 1775), and Edward, (born 1762, died 1801, buried at Lezayre), married Isabella, daughter of John Qulllin, Attorney-General, and had issue an only daughter, Susanna Eleanora (born 1797, died 1879, buried at Lezayre), the last of the Curpheys of Ballakillingan. She married William Farrant, (born 1789, died 1852), of Ballamoar, Jurby, who was Captain of the Parish, and a Member of the House of Keys. They had issue six sons and five daughters. The eldest son, William, M.H.K., C.P., J.P., who married Lucy Kinnaird, and has issue, succeeded to the Ballamoar property; the second son, Edward Curphey, M.H.K., C.P,, J.P., who married Isabella Callister, and has issue, is the present proprietor of Ballakillingan, and representative of the Curphey family.


1 Manx Note Book," Vol. I., pp. 61-4.
2 Manx Note Book,"
p. 18. -
3 Manx Society, Vol. XXVI., p. 10.
4 Manx Society, Vol. XXVI., p. 99.
5 Manx Society, Vol. XXVI., P. 56.
6 MS of Bishop Wilson in possession of Rev. S. N. Harrison.
7 Letters in the possession of A.W.Moore
8 Letters in AW Moore’s possession.

9 JMO: Margaret’s will (Archdeacon Wills 1756 #20, Lezayre, of Margaret Curghey als Lowcay of Ballakillinghan, Lezayre, names son Quayle Curghey w/his children John, Edwd, Alice & Jane; granddaughters Jane Stevenson [md Mat Taggart] & Ellinor Stevenson; granddaughter Margaret Corlett & greatgranddaughter Margaret Corlett the dau of Capt Thomas Corlett; & niece Elizabeth Smith) indicates John married Margaret Lowcay, not Margaret Quayle. See Addenda. Also see her mother’s will: Margaret Lowcay widow, wife of Revd. Henry Lowcay (mentions eldest dau Mgt Lowcay & youngest daughter Elizabeth Lowcay)

10 JMO: Capt William Stevenson & Isabel Curghey had daughter Jane Stevenson b 19 Nov 1737 German, who married Matthias Taggart 31 Jan 1761 Malew. Both Jane & Mat are mentioned in 1756 will of Jane’s grandmother Margaret Curghey als Lowcay, of Ballakillingan.

[FPC] See also article Alice Curphey and her family J. Manx Museum III #42 march 1935 p6/7 has:

Ewan married in 1677, Mary, eldest daughter of John Cane of the parish of St. Mary, White-chapel, London. There were fifteen children, five sons and ten daughters. The second child, Elizabeth [? Dorothy], born in 1680, married Sir William Fyne of Ballahot, Malew. (There were seven children, all daughters, of this marriage [?that survived adulthood; sons John b 23 Oct 1720, William 11 May 1729, George b 2 Sep 1741.)].)

The fifteenth child was Alice, baptised at Dearharn on 25th May, 1702, died on 23rd June, 1790, and buried at Kirk Christ, Lezayre. She married Quayle Curphey, C.P., member of the Keys, of Ballakillingan (who was born in 1706 and died in 1780, and was buried at Kirk Christ, Lezayre).

The Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society's Lancaster Marriage Bonds 1723-34 records:
1728, May 23rd, Quayl Curphy of Isle of Man, Gent. and Mrs. Alice Christian of Unerigg, Spr
Bridsmn : Humphrey Senhouse of Neterhall, co. Cumb. gent.
[Humphrey Senhouse is the father-in-law of Alice's brother John] Witn : Roger Fleming, Thos Crakeplace.

Alice and her husband were cousins, both being descendants of Deemster Ewan Christian. Quayle was the first to change the spelling of his ancient name from Curghey to Curphey. The brocade dress belonging to Alice, now on loan in the Manx Museum, is still in the possession of her descendant, Mr. Percival C. C. Farrant, of Ballakillingan.

and drew the following response in the next issue:

To the Editor.

Dear Sir,-The article in the Journal for March on Alice Curphey and her family is full of interest. May 1, as a descendant of William Fyne of Ballahot make one correction ? The wife of William Fyne, or Fienes, as it is in the Lezayre Register, was Dorothy Christian. Elizabeth Christian, daughter of Ewan Christian of Unerigg, died at the age of 16 in 1696, and was buried at Whitechapel.* It was at a later period that a William Fyne married an Elizabeth Christian, an allusion to which marriage (October 2nd, 1828) is made in the contemporary diary of Miss Isabella Moore, to be seen in the Manx Museum.

Dorothy Christian was, I believe, a daughter of Captain James Christian, one of Ewans brothers ; for she was sister to Mrs. Elizabeth Bacon als Christian mentioned in the Lezayre Register 1744, whose tombstone of that date in Malew Churchyard records that she was the daughter of James Christian gent.

In Dorothy Fine's will, 1777, which I have before me, she says : I leave to Mr. Curphey his grandfather's picture. ' Presumably he married one of her daughters. Would he be Alice Curphey's son, and the picture a portrait of Ewan Christian?-Yours, A. K.

 JMO: Other information: Archdeacon Wills 1703 facesheet, Note date 29th Oct 1711: "This day Mrs. Xtian of Milntown told me that she and her husband Capt. James Xtian did enter a claim in the behalf of their mother Mrs. Jane Burton of Whitehaven, against the Administrators of Richd Bordan of Peeltown who perished by sea, for the full sum of eight pound English money, which I write down here, in regard I can't find the claim, and she told me that the same was within three years after his death. Caesar Watleworth, Regr." ALSO: Maughold bur reg: Mrs. Jane Christian als Birton, bur 21 Oct 1745



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