Thomas Brine, 1766-1840

Came to the Island around 1810 as Clerk of Works to the Barracks' Office (Castletown) - little is known about his background though the name Brine is most common in Dorset. However seemed to establish a considerable private business 'on the side' and when his army employers required him to move in late 1815, he decided to stay on the Island and resigned his post. At one time held the lease for Poolvaish 'black marble' and also for lime burning at Scarlett. Responsible for many of the finest buildings in Castletown, including the House of Keys (Castletown), the original George Arms (later the Barracks), the Roman Catholic Church and St Mary's Castletown, 1824. Was responsible for modifications to Castle Rushen for its use as a gaol (later removed by Armitage Rigby).

Also designed, or altered, several of the grander houses on the Island including Lorn House. Other buildings include the Herring Towers on Langness and on Douglas Head (later part of the hotel). Brett Woods also believes that he designed the Kirk Michael courthouse.

He had a great ability to pick up on a certain style but to make it his own by careful attention to detail (eg in his use of the 9th century Round tower at Peel as the base for the two landmark towers). Woods quotes correspondence between 4th Duke of Athol and Brine to show that the two were on excellent terms and that the Duke used his influence to push work towards Brine.

In Pigot's 1837 Directory the sole entry for an Architect in Castletown was for T. Brine, Arbory Street, who also acted as agent for Lloyds (and thus involved with salvaging wrecks).

Manx Liberal 25 August 1838 carries report that Mr T Brine was injured when cable broke while warping the Kingston a wreck on Spanish Head. Later part of report claimed that his collar bone was broken

Married Ann Kelly - daughter Charlotte Elizabeth married William Bell Christian Malew 21 July 1840 and had 6 children by him. Son Thomas took over the Lloyd's agency on his father's death


Brett Woods M.A. Thesis (Centre for Manx Studies) to appear 2001/2



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