Old Peel — Part II

[from MM MS 5518 — by George Goodwin [1852-], most likely intended as a sequel or possibly even a missing 'prequel' to Old Peel printed in Mannin and thus dates from c.1914 — it would however appear to have been updated c.1942 (these I have indicated in green where obvious) and I think corresponds to the entry in Proc. IOMNH&ASoc vol V #1 p191 which notes a meeting held 19 Aug 1943 at which Miss P.D.Wood read a paper by the late George Goodwin on 'Crown Street, Peel' (though this was actually the sub-title of the Mannin article). George was a house-painter by trade, and some 7 years younger than his brother Edmund Goodwin who taught Music as well as being a leading light in the Manx revival in early 20th century. Both brothers were interested in family history and the Goodwin Scrapbooks are a mine of information similar to that presented here ]

Castle Street

Down to about 1870 — when name plates were for the first time put up in Peel — Castle Street was always known as the Big Street", though in polite society it was sometimes "main Street", but that was never popular. Mr Joseph Higgins, draper, would have his part of the thoroughfare — from the Market Place down to his shop called "Church Street", Willie Johnson "the coachman", at the bottom insisted on his portion being called "Castle Street" etc. High Bailiff Moore called it Castle Street from end to end. But it was "Big Street" with everyone else. At length the name plates were fixed and that settled it.

Castle Street was always noted for its "pubs". The "man of seventy" writing in 1889, thus said of it : — In the Big Street there were about a dozen public houses. They came in the following order : — Corkhan's, Kewin's, Samy Holme's, Sloan's, Wilson's (better known as Wilam Whorp), Cowley's (known as Collia cass veg), Billy Cain's, Sutcliffe's, Paul Kermode's, Thos Cubbon's (the vicarage being the house opposite). Matt Moore kept the Peveril, and Pitchfork kept the Marine, This was the state of affairs sixty years prior to 1890 according to the 'man of seventy',. But that worthy did not give dates. The Sutcliffes were not in the street until about 1849, and then only for a couple of years or so; Corkhan's was not a public house before 1845, or thereabouts. Tony Felix, a later lessee, declared it was established 1648, — but Tony was a noted liar. Pitchforth (not Pitchfork) was in the Marine Hotel about 1845 (in the early forties he was at Kirk Michael). As for Mat Moore he is disposed of in the first instalment of "Old Peel".

My recollection of Castle street is much as it is at present, except a few buildings have been put up or altered. The roadway had cobble paving stones, whilst at each side was an open gutter which had to be swept and cleaned every few days (the women emptied their wash tubs into it) with a grand clean down on Saturdays. Of course there were no lamps. Owing to the steepness and winding of the street, Johnson, the coachman, got up a subscription to pay for two lamps, chiefly for his own convenience on account of his vehicle. but the curve bothered the authorities and the lamp about the middle of the street was moved up & down, and from one side to the [other] side before every one was satisfied.

After a while the subscriptions failed, and the Big St, was once more in its original darkness. And it was dark as many of the houses had shutters on the lower windows, the said shutters being carefully put up, or clapped to at dusk. The precaution was due to the number of public houses about.

Cooper's House

Coming up from Crown Street — the Marine Hotel standing at the corner — the first building on the left was a very old house with walls nearly four feet thick in the lower story. Two hundred years at least, some said three hundred, passed over from its beginning to its end. For many years it belonged to the family of Cooper. The Coopers were settled at Ballaterson near Peel. The name Cooper (the early registers spell it sometimes Cowper and Copper) keeps cropping up for about a hundred and fifty years. In 1735, Wm Cooper senior, and Wm Cooper, junior, and Charles Cooper had a seat between them in Peel Church "for their concerns".

Wm Cooper senior was killed by a bull in a field quite close to his own door in 1760. A descendant of his named Charles Cooper owned the old house in Castle Street, and dying 1811, aged 67, left the house, together with the mill at Close Chiarn (which he had built) to his wife for life; then it was to go to the poor of the town. She died 1836. After Charles Cooper's death, the Wards became tenants. John Ward who settled in Peel was a native of Durham. A stone in Patrick Church yard erected in 1869, by his son James of Canada in memory of his (James) parents and brothers states they " all served their country by enterprise and adventure in promoting and extending her true interests in the walks of industry & peace". The said Jas. Ward was born in this house of Cooper's, his father, the founder of the Peel branch, being shop keeper, and provision merchant there, & shoemaker.

One Sunday evening in 1821, a riot arose in Peel on account of the rise in flour, and the "Manx Advertiser" of that time says that "the house & shop of Mr Ward were assailed with stones and windows broken, and much damage incurred". The Manx Sun of same date says, "the mob broke the windows of the flour dealers till they obliged them to declare — some said on their knees — they would sell the finest flour at seven pounds a shilling.

On the following Tuesday the Yeoman Cavalry were sent for, but only six could be found. The mob on this day was worse than ever, and the women attacked the gallant half dozen who "were under the necessity of finding the nearest way out of the town". After the Wards left Thomas Cubbon (afterwards known as "Cubbon the Ballamoar") went in and kept a public house there — that was I believe in the thirties. Thos. Cubbon was a publican and constable in the Big Street in 1837. About 1850, Wm Graves had a watchmaker's shop in the same house. He went abroad, died in America, and was followed in the house by the late Joseph Clucas, another watchmaker. The writer remembers the swing sign over the shop window with a clock face painted on it. Mr Clucas removing about 1859 or 60, the premises was taken by one Jordan. a roper, who had married the widow of "Winter" who had a public house on the site of the present Custom House. In Jordan's time Cooper's house was again turned into a "pub". Jordan having suddenly disappeared after a year's tenure, the Kinley's went in, and continued it as a public house. The head of the family was John Kinley, universally known as Juan Icky, corrupted into "Juan Nickey" and Jo Nickey, foreman of the High Road labourers. His wife, a very quiet woman never to be seen outside of the house, could not speak a word of English. Juan's daughter, Miss Ann Kinley dying about 1888, the house became empty until the Church wardens allowed some of the poor of the town to live there rent free, but getting into a delapidated state the wardens rather than put it into the hands of the repairer pulled it down in Nov 1904. Some time afterwards the late Mr Ward of Canada, wishing to do something for his native town, offered to build a library on the site of his birth place if the ground could be purchased — this was done; and the new Library was opened in 1908.

There was a large garden just above Cooper's house tenanted by Tom Corkan, and the beehives in that garden were objects of great interest to the writer. About 1858, the place was sold to Messrs Thos Corris, & Robert Higgins who built on it a cottage each for themselves. Above these there were small yards, and more cottages. In one of these there dwelt the family of Taubmans with a number of sons. After the Taubmans left the town the son got on in the world, and obtained positions of trust. In 1814 a census of Peel was taken by Parson Gelling, and Hugh Clucas, H.B., & it says that John Taubman's household consisted of two males, and three females, all over the age of fourteen, and a girl under fourteen. This John ,(no doubt, crossed out, possibly put on top in pencil) was the John (Taggart ? written at top), who was killed in Peel bay in the forties, and was the head of the family in the Big Street.

Past the cottages there came

Thompson's House

known as Thompson's "Big House", and Thompson's "Little House"s. The big house was owned and occupied by Mr Philip Corlett was built by one Hugh Casement, Merchant. In the census of 1814 Hugh casement had in his house, besides himself, 4 females & one male all over the age of fourteen, & a boy, & a girl both under fourteen. He was living in Peel in 1820, but was not in the town in 1824, — probably dead. The house was afterwards purchased by Robert Thompson who had come from Douglas, and was in the same line as business as Casement. A large yard below belonged to the premises, and Thompson built on part of it a good house which became known as "Thompson's Little House".

The first tenant in it was a retired Custom House officer named Weir who left Peel in 1844. The next, I believe, was an advocate, Price Moore, great-grandson of Sir George Moore. A few years later the house was occupied for a year about 1858, by Doctor Debently, an Irish adventurer who had married the heiress of Gordon in Patrick. Again the house changed tenants, for a year it was a public house. Doctor Cregeeen who died in England a few years ago, lived in it in the sixties while he practiced in Peel. Since then it has been let to different families. The "big house", grocery stores, and bakehouse remained in the hands of the Thompsons until about 1902, when the whole property was sold.

Adjoining Thompson's premises there stood in the first half of the century a thatched cottage at the corner of "Bayr Burough" — now Love Lane — wherein dwelled an Irish family, the father of whom was Torence Fitzpatrick. "Torance" got it altered to "Toddy", and the people of Peel fastened that name on all the members of the family. Old Toddy imported an ancient side-car from Ireland, & let it out on hire, — a bit of a curiosity, the wheels being solid, & without spokes. One of the most noted of Torence's children was Mary Toddy, who, after occupying a room in "Castle Ray", and paying no rent for over twenty years, defied the owner to put her out. But out she went in her old days to more comfortable quarters provided by the Poor Committee. The Higgins family acquired this corner property, and about 1850, built the house now standing on the site. The late Mr Joseph Higgins had a drapery establishment in it for some years, but he afterwards gave up the business, and entered the legal profession. In the seventies Dumbell's rented the place, and turned it into a branch office which they held until the bank "busted". Parr's then took it over for a few years before they removed to their new building at the Market Place. It is now the Town Commissioners' Office.

On the opposite corner of the "Bayr Broagh" there was a little house with a larger one adjoining. The smaller house was, I believe occupied by Sloane who had it as a public house and barber's shop. The larger house also was a tavern held by Sammy Holmes. There was another liquor shop just about there kept by Wilson , but I cannot locate the spot of if it was not opposite.

In the fifties the two houses, Sloan's and Holme's, were owned by ~ Quine who had twin daughters or sisters ; they sold the property about 1858, and the new owner afterwards made the two houses into one which is still a public house, the only one in the street.

Above Quine's property, — a warehouse built by the Thompsons coming between — was a small tavern kept and owned by the Kewin's. Philip Kewin had a licence for it in 1816, and perhaps earlier. He died 1821, and his wife carried on the business till she died in 1857. Then her son Tom continued it till 1880, when he died. Then a nephew of Tom's took the business having succeeded to the property, but it was not long a drink shop after that. Rum was drunk much more then than now-a-days. The writer has a very vivid recollection of the puncheons of rum in the street opposite Tom's front door. They were too big to go through the entrance and therefore had to be pumped dry in the street. Men would take spell about, pumping as hard as they could, amidst a crowd of envious onlookers while the scent of the spirit hovered around, sometimes down as far as the "Bayr Broagh", and sometimes up to the Church gates. About thirty or forty years ago there lived in Peel a well known character, "Jack the Let", who drank little else but rum. Going down street one evening he suddenly fainted opposite Kewin's door, and Tom considerately revived him by means of the favourite liquor. Soon afterwards the same thing occurred in the same place but all efforts to bring Tom round failed till someone said, "Run & get a glass of whisky for him." Then Jack called "No,no, rum,rum". But the trick did not work.

Adjoining Kewin's stand two houses, one of which was built by John King, grocer. He afterwards moved to Bridge Street, and the place was taken by his son Tommy who moved from Michael Street where he had a shop. My recollection of Mr Thos King is that he had a red head, and beard, and a fiery temper, a fussy man, always busy. He was an Oddfellow, and as he expressed it, "gloried in the Oddfellows". Was also an ardent Wesleyan, but could not bear teetotallers. The chief of the temperance cause lived in Michael Street, and were proud to think that there was one street in town without a public house. The Big Street was then their bug bear, and to show their abhorrence, the rulers refused to allow the Rechabites one year to march in procession through it, This riled Tommy King who retaliated on the "Oddfellows' Day" by marching his club through the Big Street three, if not four, times and shunning Michael Street. King's house is now owned and occupied by Mr Teare, tailor.

Above King's is an older house — the top one in the street — wherein lived in my early days Crow, the shoe-maker, and Lawrence the barber who had the house between them.

Joe Lawrence was very natty over things. He did beautiful needlework. His wife occasionally did washing, but he always did the clear starching and ironing. High Bailiff Moore at one time would have none, but Joe to do his linens.

Let us skip over the street, and take the opposite side and go down.

At the head of the street is a small house owned for over a hundred years by the family of Graves. The Church gates in the Market Place are beside the gable, and the back of the cottage looks on an old burial yard where the graves are heaped up against it to within a few feet of the stair-case window. Henry Graves dying in 1797, bequeathed this house to his son John Thomas, from whom it in time descended to its present owner Mr C. Graves.

A warehouse belonging to Mr Garrett stands against Mr Graves' cottage on the site of an older one which at one time had been a public house [FPC - Henry Graves mentions Mary Witham in his will as residing in his house near the churchyard ; a Mary Witham is shown as holding a public House licence 1789-1802] . Immediately below this — St Peter's lane coming between is Mr Garrett's greengrocery shop, a new building, on the site of an older shop which in the forties, — and perhaps early fifties was a public house kept by a woman — name forgotten — known as Betsy, the shell" from the fact of her having a large handsome shell in the corner window. Below "Betsy the Shell" came Corkan's which for over sixty years had been a tavern. I don't think it was licensed before 1845, About 1901 the property changed hands, and was purchased by Thos Green. Green at one time a circus clown under the name of "Tony [sic Toney] Felix" an alias which he was very proud of. He altered the house inside and out, planted timber on the front making it look some hundreds of years older, and painted the legend "Crown Inn – Established 1648" [sic - the date 1643 is clearly visible in photograph c.1910] Two or three years ago it ceased to be a liquor shop, and became an eating house. The old seat at the Market Place [church pew at St Peter's ?] belonging to this house was in 1735 — the seats were renewed that year — owned by several persons, viz: " Wm McYlvorry, late Edmund Boyd’s concerns, Thos Quay, Thos Cannon, Hugh Cannon." I do not know where the properties were that the pew represented but no doubt Corkan's was one of them. A butcher's shop for many years down to recently stood two doors below Corkan's. That like most of the others, had been a public house kept by Hodgeon (John and Charlotte) in the twenties when it was in addition a provision shop. [In margin by words "A butcher's shop " This shop was kept in the fifties and sixties by McCormick: in the later sixties and seventies by King, afterwards at one time A. Bailey, all butchers] [FPC A Charlotte Hodgeon is first shown as holding a public house licence in 1804]

Adjoining this was a good sized building at one time owned by the Higgins family, standing directly opposite the other property belonging to the same owners. It has been a grocer's establishment, then a shoemaker's, again a grocer's with spirit licence ; after that a butcher's and now a fish curer's.

A few yards farther on there is an ancient house now in a very bad state (think this must have been pulled down lately, in the Summer of 1942, A Cowley & P.D. Wood noticed a building space with wooden boards in front). From the roomy lobby & staircase it was evidently built by some one comparatively well off ; but all the dwellers I know of were in poor circumstances. It had been a tavern at one time — in the thirties or early forties. Adjoining it was "Cain of Phad's", another public house, now occupied by Mrs Radcliffe Cain, its owner, who is no relation of the older Cains. After passing more cottages we come to three big houses. When they were built, and by whom I do not know, but it is safe to say that the first two date from before 1750, while the lowest of these is considerably older.

They were known seventy years ago as:

Mrs Salmon's
The Royal Oak, and
The Parson's House

Mrs Salmon's, and The Royal Oak were evidently built by one person, the plan of both being much the same. The Roayl Oak had vaults under it, & one of them extended under Mrs Salmon's. The first owner of the latter house I know of was John Cain.

Henry Graves, merchant of Peel by his will dated 6th Nov 1797, left this house which he had purchased "from John Cain of Largydoo" to his widow Judith — nee Quane — and his youngest son Charles, then three years of age. Eleven years afterwards the lad met with a tragic death. The "Manks Advertiser" of May 14th 1808, says "On Wednesday last as three boys belonging to Peel were climbing on the Hough near that town, one of them, Charles Graves, fell down a precipice of two hundred feet, and was killed on the spot. This is the fourth accident of the kind within ten years about the same place". The property afterwards descended in turn to his daughter, grand-daughter, and lastly her great-grand-daughter (Maggie Kelly) who sold it and went to America. Captain George Savage, High Bailiff of Peel died in 1802, and his widow being old gave up house-keeping, and moved from her residence in Crown Street to an apartment in Mrs Salmon's where Lord Henry Murray visited her. There were others in the house, one of whom was a young widowed lady from the North. An influential landowner of the parish of Patrick called one day and proposed marriage to Mrs Salmon. That lady, told him however that she had no idea of marrying again, but there was a nice young widow upstairs who would just suit him. He took the hint and married the widow from the North. The descendants of this marriage are at the present time living in their ancestral home in Patrick. Thomas Clark, captain of the Peel Volunteers, succeeded Savage as High Bailiff. His daughter Eliza was the chief milliner in Peel, and she frequently journied to London to get the latest fashion. Her showroom was in Mrs Salmon's, and it was from there she was married. On the wedding morn the bride quietly slipped out through the back door, then along Kewin's lane, and on to Kirk Patrick where she met the groom, Mr Robert Moore, Merchant. They were the parents of the late High Bailiff Moore of Peel.

Mrs Salmon afterwards moved to her farm Ballaquane, in Dalby, and let the house in the Big Street.

One of the tenants, Fayle, a shoemaker, had a son born to him in the very same room that Mrs Savage had had some years before, and which was afterwards occupied by the writer's parents. Fayle's son turned out a dwarf with a big body, but tiny arms and legs. Not developing as he should have done the neighbours declared the child a changeling. However the boy became the well known Johnny Fayle of Foxdale who died past the age of seventy. (P.D.W. saw him in Foxdale when her Father & Aunt E.J. Graves stopped to speak to him circa 1893. There was some idea of him, Jonny Fayle, going to England to an Exhibition with a Manx Giant at the same time. Wm Woods of Knocksharry had something to do with it; but dont think anything came of it) Mrs Salmon's is thus described by Tom Brown in one of his letters : "A quaint old house. Before the door opens you know that, dismal as it is, you will find inside a spacious hall, and stair case M (Maggie Kelly — great grand-daughter of Mrs Salmon's, E.J. Graves took the Revd T.E. Brown to see Maggie Kelly who was delighted with him as E.J.G. knew he would be P.D.W.) M. took one up the broad staircase to see the views of Peel Hill, and as we reached the landing looked down another lateral flight of steps & saw a curious devious descent into what seemed cellars, very suggestive of the old smuggling days".

Standing beside this house is the other known for many years as the "Royal Oak Inn". Charles Costain, born about 1750 owned the latter — very likely he bought it when John Cain purchased the other property. Costain sold the building to the Farrants. Thos. Farrant, merchant, in Peel, died about 1819. His wife who had been widow of Slater, Custom House Officer, Castletown, died in 1823. She in her will mentions this property as a dwelling with the "New Cellar" at the Quay. I believe that Capt. Thos. Clark, H.B. who died 1808 lived there, and on his death his daughter moved next door to Mrs Salmon's. The next tenant was Wm Scarlett Littler who left Peel for Douglas in 1811, where he with a partner opened a bank which broke in the following year. In 1815 Thomas Long, who had been in hotel life in Peel but had gone to Douglas in 1811, came back to Peel, and opened the "New Inn". Where was this "New Inn" ? I feel certain it was the "Royal Oak" of later years. In 1820, Robert Grant, a retired hotel keeper took the house in Big Street, and called it "The Caledonian and Liverpool Hotel", and for some years it was considered the principal house of the kind in the town. In 1827 the new Bishop — Ward — paid his first visit to Peel. The "Manks Advertiser" of the period says that when entering the town the horses were removed and the coach with his lordship and family were drawn by the crowd as far as Grant's Hotel, where the property [sic] got out. [fpc - Mathieson notes entry in Manx Sun of 1825 that Hotel had relocated to house on the Quay - probably today's Peveril] Some time after this the name of the house was changed to "Royal Oak". Thos. Cubbon had the place in the forties, then Lawson, and after that Sutcliffe held it, but neither of these were there long. About 1850 Sutcliffe had a fire — alarming while it lasted, blazing furniture thrown out into the street — and then departed the town. After that came John Andrews, T Quayle, Dan Daugherty, and Pat Fisher. The last named died about 1880, and the concern of the house as a hotel then ended. Mr Farrant, the owner sold it to Mr S. Dale who let it in rooms. In 1906 Mr Dale presented the property to the wardens for the use of the poor. It is now "the Dale Home".

The Parson's House

This like the two just described, (the Peveril and the Marine) was evidently built by a "merchant". There are great cellars beneath, with vaulted roofs, older by some years than the "New Cellar" adjoining. It is surmised that the house was built by a Mr Harrison who settled in Peel, son of William Harrison who married Ann (born in 1676) daughter of Captain Thomas Radcliffe of Knockaloe. In. 1735 there was a whole pew in the chancel of Peel Church reserved for "the late Mr Harrison's Concerns". This afterwards was the Vicar's pew. In 1739 Bishop Wilson "brought from John Harrison of Balladurgan, Ireland, land in Kirk Patrick named Ballaquiggin, and a house and garden in Peel, 5d Abbey Rent, for the use of the Vicar of German" [? confusion - Bishop Wilson did indeed buy a 5d Abbey Rent property (#6 in Abbey Rent list) but this was the English School (ie Elementary School) in Market street; this house is Lord's rent and is #4 in the list of Cottages . One source of confusion is that this building from about 1740 housed the Latin (or Grammar) school - see Corris's plan on which the two schools are clearly marked].

This "house and garden", were the Parson's House and premises. Some of the Vicars lived in it, but not all. Parson Corlett who died 1801, lived on the glebe in a house now disappeared. James Gelling his successor lived in the Big Street, but J. L. Stowell, who came after him, never lived there. Parson Qualtrough, curate, had school there till he died in 1854. It then lay empty some years — a place of desolation until Johnson purchased it of (or from) the Church Wardens & moved in to it about 1858-1860, turning the vaults into stables. About 1890 Mr Sam Dale bought the premises and continued the coaching business there to this day. Just before stands the old Court House, built around 1830 [fpc ? the site has been a Court House since late 17th Century], enlarged about 1860 or '62. About 1893 a new Court House having been built in another part of the town, the old place was leased to Mr Neil who turned it into a Chapel for the Plymouth Brethren.

We are now at the bottom of the street, the corner house just below being the Peveril Hotel which belongs to Crown Street rather than the Big Street.

FPC - most of the sources for Goodwin's information can be identified, that post 1860 may be taken as personal knowledge, that from 1820 would probably have been known to his mother and her friends; the newspapers are one source. He also had access to the manuscript copy of the 1814 census and judging from the dates, the Lib Assed though here he tends to quote the first year of the book and not the year of any property transfer. He would also appear to have access to some of the lists of public house licences - as these were jumbled in a mess of Castle Rushen papers it is likely that there were copies kept by the High Bailiff for Peel and Goodwin had access to these copies.



see Peel Pubs

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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