James McCrone 1767-1840

James McCrone

"Mr. McCrone came from Glasgow to Douglas in 1817, bringing with him his young wife, the daughter of a famous London minister. He lived first at Castle Mona and afterwards at Rock Villa, a handsome house a little further north. The site is now covered by large boarding houses. His name is perpetuated in "McCrone's Slip" near by. Later he bought and farmed Ballaquinney, in Marown parish. He was Crown Agent and also Commissioner for the Duke of Athol and for Bishop Murray, a scion of the ducal house."

In 1825 founded the Presbyterian Church in Douglas (now St Andrews) - much disliked by the native Manx for his part in the tax and tithe gathering by the Duke of Athol and his nephew the Bishop. David Craine in his article on the Potato Riots of 1825 [Proc IoMNHAS vol IV no IV p570] describes him as "a hard and unsympathetic Scot". Thomas Kelly invokes his name with scorn.

Involved in a court case in 1820 - see Roper's A Short History

James McCrone married Margaret Fletcher 13 Sep 1817 Gorbals, Lanark, Scotland

Several Children born on Island :

Marian Fletcher McCrone Christening: 30 Jan 1819 Saint George (later married John Wilson 12 Sep 1841 Gorbals, Lanark)

Janet McCrone Christening: 25 Jun 1820 Saint George (later married William Jones 12 Jul 1846 Largs, Ayr)

Jane Gilfillan McCrone Christening: 27 Jul 1821 Saint George (later married David Buchan Douie : 9 Feb 1850 Largs, Ayr)

Jemima McCrone Christening: 15 Feb 1825 Saint George d. 1836)

Buried in Onchan Churchyard, beside his youngest daughter, Jemina, who died April 7th 1836, aged eleven years. The gravestone bears the following inscription; "Sacred to the Memory of JAMES McCRONE, Esq., Crown Agent in this Island for above fourteen years, the duties of which office he performed with great fidelity. Gifted with a powerful mind, he pursued the business of life with energy and success, whilst by the warmth of his heart he endeared himself to his family and friends. He died with a hope full of Immortality, 24th May, 1840, aged 73 Years."

It is possible that he was born in 1772 as the IGI has: James McCrone Christening: 5 Apr 1772 Old Cumnock, Ayr, Scotland Parents: James McCrone Margaret Stewart - however this is at variance with the stated age at death

There are three of Mr. McCrone's grandsons still living [in 1925], namely :-

Sir James McCrone Douie, K.C.S.I. the son of the Rev. Mr. Douie, Free Church minister of Largs, Ayrshire. He had a brilliant University career, and passed very high in the Indian Civil Service qualifying examination. Eventually he rose to the position of Chief Financial Commissioner of the Punjab. For some time he had the honour of being Acting Governor of that important province. At the famous Delhi Durbar, he was Knighted by His Majesty. When his official life closed, he returned to this country, and made his home at Oxford.

Mr. T. M. Greer is the son of Mr. S. M. Greer, who was County Court judge of Cavan and Leitrim, and sometime Member of Parliament for Co. Londonderry. Mr.T.M.Greer is a graduate, and medallist, of Trinity College, Dublin, and was admitted a solicitor in 1876. He holds a leading position in his profession, and is a Deputy- Lieutenant of Co. Antrim. In the religious sphere he is an elder of the Irish Presbyterian Church, and convener of the Assembly's Committee on Tenures and Trusts, which corresponds to our Law and Historical Documents Committee. Mr. Greer was appointed to the Senate on the establishment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.

Mr. Jones, another grandson, lives in Australia.

Several grand-daughters of Mr. McCrone are still living. One of these, Miss Douie, who is a member of our church at Hampstead, London, presented Mr. McCrone's portrait to the congregation, and one or two interesting letters written by him.

Extracts taken from History of Presbyterianism, 1925.

Something of his political views may be seen in some of the official letters sent back to his employers in London - that dated 17 Apr 1835 [Letter Bk 2 MS09181C] - one discussing Courts Baron reads:

"I beg to send you, one of the Insular News papers, by which you will see, we have warefare here as well as on your side of the water - the affairs of the Island are very much under the control of a junto, and the Clerk of the Rolls, the acting Attorney General and the Water Bailiff his brother are at the head of the ruling party. The latter is Receiver General and as such, is the first Commisr of Harbours, and being also Water Bailiff has to sit in judgment on his own actings and doings - He is likewise Clerk of the Council, and as Receiver General is a member of Council" - he continues with a note of the collusion between the Water Bailiff and his brother the acting Attorney General to prevent publication of the notice calling a Courts Baron and continues "We need reform her here, as well as in England, but I have only one course and one object to persue, and that is to do my duty as far and as fairly as my judgment goes, so that the Crown may not suffer under my agency".



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