[From Quiggin's Guide, 1841]


Castletown, anciently called Rushen, being the seat of government, is considered the capital of the Island; the streets are regular and airy, and in the centre is a spacious area forming the market-place, with a convenient market-house, and a large room over it, built in 1830. Through the town runs a small river over which is a drawbridge for foot passengers, and higher up a bridge of stone for carriages. The castle, which is of great strength, and the principal fortress in the Island, is considered as bearing a striking resemblance to the Castle of Elsinore, in Denmark. It was erected in 947*,by Guttred, the second Danish prince in succession from King Orry. (*This date was found cut in a beam of oak. when repairing the east tower in 1815). The Castle is quadrangular, with square towers on the sides, the largest more than 80 feet high; it is surrounded by a lofty embattled wall and posse, and defended by a glacis of stone, said to have been added by Cardinal Wolsey, during the time that he was guardian to Edward, Earl of Derby, and was the principal residence of that family during the civil wars; but when the republican army, under Colonels Birch and Dunkenfield, with ten armed vessels, invaded the Island, this fortress was surrendered at the first summons, and though Lady Derby was highly enraged, her captivity was softened by the civility and generosity of the officers. When she left the Island she carried off the archives which were deposited in the castle, and are supposed to hwe been lost. It was formerly the Governor's residence, and contains several modern apartments. The business of the Rolls officee and the law courts is transacted, and all the records kept within the walls. The keep, which is built of hard limestone, forms the only prison in the Island; it was formerly a very dreary dungeon, in which prisoners were crowded together in dark and damp chambers; but in 1815 it underwent considerable alterations, and is divided imto three classes, one for debtors, and the other for male and female criminals. From the summit of the tower there is an extensive view. Being the seat of government, a company of soldiers is always stationed in Castletown.

Near the castle is a neat building in which the business of the House of Keys is transacted.

The chapel, erected in 1698 by Bishop Wilson, was taken down in 1826 and the present handsome edifice, dedicated to St Mary, has been built at an expense of £1,600, the incorporated society for building and enlarging churches and chapels having granted £300. The interior is well arranged, and contains 1,100 sittings, of which 300 are free. When the old chapel was pulled down, three Roman coins of Germanicus Agrippina were found carefully deposited in a small hollow scooped out of free-stone near the place where the ancient cross stood. The parochial church is a mile and a half from the town, and contains about 530 sittings, dedicated to St. Lupita, the sister of St. Patrick.

The Wesleyan Methodists have a neat chapel in Arbory-street, capable of accommodating 500 persons; the Independents meet over the market house, but have no regular ministry; and the Primitive Methodists have a chapel near the stone bridge. To each of the Methodist chapels a Sunday school is attached. The Roman Catholics have built, near the entrance of the town, a small chapel, but in which service has never yet been performed, very few families of that persuasion residing in the neighbourhood: the cost of the building was raised in Ireland.



The Free Grammar School of Castletown is conducted by the Rev. G. S. Parsons, A.M., who generally has from 10 to 15 free scholars. A salary of about £70 is attached.

The Taubman School has about 40 scholars, 25 of whom are free, selary.£20 James Cain, master.

Catherine Halsall's School has about 40 scholars, 20 of whom are free salary £10-

The petty School has 16 scholars, with a salary of £8 Is.

The National Schools are supported by subscription; they contain l06 boys and 90 girls-Mr. Jones, master -salary £30. Mistress £30.


Leaving Castletown to proceed to the College, by taking the turn on the right, instead of going by the main road, you pass a ruin called Mount Strange, once the summer-house of the Derby family, and near which Captain Christian was shot for surrendering the Island to Cromwell's army. [This ruin is given in the foreground of the view of Castletown.]




was founded in 1830 by the Hon. Cornelius Smelt, Lieutenant Governor, the Bishop of the diocese, and other trusteees of property granted by Bishop Barrow in 1668 for the education of young men to supply the Manks churches, and other pious and charitable purposes, and which his late Majesty William IV. was graciously pleased to permit to bear his name. The buildings, partly in the early English, and partly in the Elizabethan style, form a spacious cruciform structure, 210 feet in length from east to west, and 135 feet from north to south: from the intersection rises an embattled tower, 115 feet high, strengthened with buttresses, surmounted by an octagonal lantern turret intended for an observatory, having in each of its faces an elegant lofty window, and crowned with a parapet. The expense of building the chapel was defrayed from funds collected in England for the erection of new churches in the Island. There is also a public lecture room, a large hall for a library, four large class rooms and houses for the masters containing numerous apartments for the accommodation of pupils, and every requisite arrangement for the purposes of the institution. The principal and other masters must be members of the church of England and graduates of the universities. The masters are allowed to receive pupils as boarders. The college was opened in 1833. The pupils already admitted are numerous. His Excellency the Governor, the Lord Bishop, and the Attorney General have each founded prizes to-be contended for at the midsummer vacation.



is a small village about a quarter of a mile from the college, and is principally known for possessing an excellent harbour. A fort was erected at its entrance by the Earls of Derby for defending it, the tower of which has fallen to ruins. A part of the old chapel still remains, from which a light is shown during the herring 'fishery. The Roman Catholics still use this spot in which to inter their dead. Langness, an extensive neck of low land, adjoins, on which is a land mark to warn mariners of their danger.


The neighbouring country around Castletown is level and fertile, and the parish in which it is situated, contains some of the richest soil in the Island. At the outskirts of the town you pass a wind-mill, the only one on the Island, at present rented by Mr. Cain. The first residence of note is Ballakeighin, Mrs. Quilliam's, on the right; and then Balladoole, Capt. Wood's, on the left. Near this estate is Poolvash, where is a fine quarry of Manks marble, much used for chimney-pieces, and from which the steps of St. Paul's, London, were taken, and presented by Bishop Wilson, to the Dean and Chapter. The limestone beds here are very extensive, and great quantities are burnt for manure. At this place is a large current of saltwater issuing from the rocks above highwater mark; it is as salt as sea water, and the current is never diminished by the driest seasons. The source from which it proceeds has never been discovered. On the rising ground between Balladoole and the sea are the reruins of an old chapel called Kiel Vael. Proceeding westward, you pass Kentraugh, the seat of Edw. M. Gawne, Esq., of the House of Keys The gardens here are very extensive, and hothouse fruit raised to great perfection; there is a large rabbit warren opposite the house, which commands fine sea views, and over-looks both Poolvash and Port St. Mary bays. A little further is Mount Gawne, belonging to Mrs. Connell. Taking the shore road you soon arrive at Port St. Mary ..

 [Castletown Index]


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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