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Quakers on the Isle of Man

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  • John Forrest (1610 - c.1669)
    It is unclear as to whether this John came to West Jersey. He is said to have died in Ireland We might well wonder if he is the John Forrest who was the Mayor of London who took it upon himself to gran...
  • Ann née Sharples (aft.1663 - 1694)
    parentage==* hard to figure out: As she was born before the relationship of Jane Preston and Wm. Alberson, she is either the dau of Jane and another man or the dau. of Wm. and another woman. (I have ch...
  • John Sharples, born on Isle of Man (1663 - d.)
    ~• child of Samuel Sharples, the "transgressor" who was romantically involved with two sisters Ellen and Jane Preston on the Isle of Man. Samuel was married to Ellen at the time of his involvement with...
  • Elizabeth Preston (b. - 1664)
    Eliz: Preston gnat: ( wife of ? ) Wm. (buried) Dec. 6th, 1664 Isle of Man Parish Registers, 1598-2009 Malew, St Marks Baptisms, marriages, buri...s 1649-1706 (MS09767-1-2) ==research==May be the mother...
  • Isle of Man Parish Registers, 1598-2009 Malew, St Marks Baptisms, marriages, buri...s 1649-1706 (MS09767-1-2)

Add such people here. (then) GO TO: "People Connected with the Isle of Man" project for leads to research surnames. There are not that many, considering that even by the 1881 census there were less than 9,000 heads of household on the Island.


We read: " According to the Calendar of State Papers, court records, Presentments and wills, it appears that the initial movement in Maughold first peaked in 1662 at approximately 40 men, women and children, reaching similar perhaps more converts in the early 1670s of between 40-50, until it rapidly declined after 1700. Quakerism never converted many outside Maughold, with less than thirty followers between all other parishes. This is perhaps why, even in its early inception, rarely did Manx Quakers marry within the movement and if they did marry Quakers they were not Manx residents. It is likely that there were Quaker meetings in Malew and the town of Ramsey, but if there were any records they do not appear to have been delivered to Quaker clerks by their Manx correspondents." (see source 1 below) Note: It can be disputed that there were so few followers as, with little research and a measure of luck, more Quakers have been found. Authorities failed to deport Quakers permanently according to existing records, but what about those deported not in any record. Also, what about those Quakers who may have left the Isle of Man for other reasons. I know of four such Quakers: John Kaighn, Jane and Ellin Preston, and Samuel Sharples (soldier). These went to Ireland and West Jersey, as many Quakers did following the time of Cromwell and immediately following.

This project attempts to bring together more profile of Quakers on the Isle of Man, particularly in the 17th century when the movement arose.

Some Surnames of Early Manx Quakers

~• if a female Quaker married, the additional married surname is in italics

  • Callow
  • Chisnell
  • Christian
  • Cosnock
  • Coward (Coord) (Coard ?)
    • Alice Coward (Quaker) wife of Richard, baptized a daughter Mary c. Dec 1655 at St. Mark's, Malew.
  • Cunnard (?)
  • Kaighn (or Kaighnen) m. "Alberson" in West Jersey. John Kaighn's mother was Jane Kaighn, a widow who never went to America but lived in Kirk Michael at the end of her life.
  • Kissage, Isabel
  • Preston rel. to: Alberson & Sharples; William and John (soldiers)
  • Scanfield
  • Sharples(s)
  • Stockdale

"There were also a few Quakers in Lezayre, Malew and perhaps Kirk Michael. Those in Malew were the Coard Family, Isable Kissage, John Balifese’s wife, Peter Cosnock & son, the wife of John Lace, Thomas Bridson’s wife, Thomas Norris’s (a soldier’s) wife, Will Faut’s wife, William & John Preston (soldiers) & William Chisnell & wife.

An Alphabetical list of Quaker converts 1655 -1735

~• source (Carswell dissertation)

  • Baly, Ann nee Callow (alive 1661)
  • Callow, Ann (alive 1745)
  • Callow, Ann nee Christian (d.1708)
  • Callow, Bessy nee Christian (d.1716)
  • Callow, Daniel (d.1678)
  • Callow, Daniel (alive 1689)
  • Callow, Ellinor née Stockdale (d.1725)
  • Callow, Isabel (d.1684, Dublin)
  • Callow, Isabel (alive 1689)
  • Callow, Jane (alive 1678)
    • perhaps the wife of Callow, William (see below)
  • Callow, Joney (d.1743)
  • Callow, John (d.1689)
  • Callow, John (alive 1689)
  • Callow, Mary (d.1731)
  • Callow, Mary (alive 1668)
  • Callow, Robert (alive 1689)
  • Callow, Robert (d.1689)
  • Callow, Robert (d.1755)
  • Callow, Robert (d.1731)
  • Callow, William (d.1676)
    • see Christian, Ewan > who married Jane, sister of Anne, wife of William Callow
  • Callow, William (b. circa 1690) = probably William Callow
  • Callow, William (d.1742)
  • Cannell, Richard (alive 1676)
  • Cannell, Mrs (alive 1668)
  • Casement, Edmund (d.1706)
  • Casement, William (alive 1681)
  • Christian, Alice nee Coard nee Chisnell (d.1683)
  • Christian, Ann nee Christian (d.1685)
  • Christian, Ewan (d.1681)
  • Christian, Isabel (alive 1663)
  • Christian, James (d.1681)
  • Christian, Jane (d.1668?)
  • Christian, Jane (d.1694?)
  • Christian, John (d.1663)
  • Christian, John (alive 1666)
  • Christian, John (alive 1745)
  • Christian, Mally (alive 1682)
  • Christian, Margaret nee Callow (alive 1664)
  • Christian, Margery (d.1699?)
  • Christian, Margery nee Callow (d.1744, Lezayre)
  • Christian, Rachel (b. circa 1675)
  • Christian, Thomas (d.1684)
  • Colleash, James, (d.1685)
  • Colleash, William (d.1743)
  • Coonilt, Alice nee Christian (d.1680)
  • Coonilt, Robert (d.1705)
  • Coonilt, Thomas (d.1664)
  • Corteen, Margaret (d.1698)
  • Cotteam, Jane nee Cannell (d.1668)
  • Cotteam, John (d.1694)
  • Cowle, Ann nee Cotteam (d.1708)
  • Crosier, Margaret nee Callow (d.1729)
  • Cottier, Ann (d.1672) (? possible confusion with Ann Cottiam)
  • Crow, Ann (alive 1659)
  • Crow, William (d.1707?)
  • Curphey, Ellin (d.1663)
  • Fletcher, Robert & wife (alive 1681)
  • Freer, Thomas (d.1682)
  • Graves, Abigail nee Callow (d.1765)
  • Kerruish, Ewan & wife
  • Kneale, Patrick (d.1720?)
    • other Kneale family is on the Isle of Man
  • Mcleyreah, William (alive 1664)
  • Nicholson, Thomas (d.1662)
  • Ottiwell, Kath nee Coard (alive 1683)
  • Quarke, John (alive 1664)
  • Quayle, John & family (d.1680s?)
  • Rayley, Ann (alive 1659)
  • Richard Cunnard's niece (alive 1670)
  • Stoddart, Mary nee Christian (d.1707, Dublin)
  • Thwing, Mr (alive 1668)

Why were there so few Manx converts?

"(The Isle of )Man shared some of the circumstances that led to dissent elsewhere such as recent conflict with landowners, the absence or neglect of the Church of England and economic fluctuations which resulted in increased hardship. 180 That non-conformist creeds did not prosper in the same way is seemingly remarkable as English Quakerism, although influential in Bristol and London was most persuasive in rural areas and Man was overwhelmingly rural in land-use and mode of living. However, the unpredictable sea may have deprived the Manx movement of lay preachers who otherwise travelled frequently and with relative ease, in large numbers, stimulating already existent regional movements and gaining further converts in Cumberland, Northumberland, Yorkshire and Lancashire."' Accordingly, William Callow remarked to English Friends in 1664 that, '...we Are some tyimyre [time] troubled yt [yet] in All this time wee have scene nonne of your faices nor heard from you.' 182 Similarly, William Dixon, during his visit with two other Cumberland Quakers, noted the isolation of the only Friend in Douglas, 'who was not much aquainted with our waise [ways] and manner of meeting."" (ibid)

Manx Quakers of c.1750 - c. 1850

"Quakers residing in the island in the latter eighteenth and mid-nineteenth century: Bassford, Curran, Greaves, McMickan, Robinson, Stephenson and Townsend are all of recent immigrants." 239


"Thus, in 1665 the most prominent Quakers were exiled to Whitehaven and then on to Dublin and London. 190 "


  • (Conal F. Carswell)
    • A fascinating case study of the experiences of early Quakers in the Isle of Man during the mid-to-late seventeenth century. The book seeks to highlight the unique geographical, social and religious conditions and history of the Manx as well as explore the Quaker movement in its wider context, with particular reference to the English and Irish experience of civil wars, fear of Catholic intrigue and Puritan political and religious activism. The book seeks to understand a religious movement, whose adherents were subject to fines, imprisonment, transportation and Excommunication, balancing rigorous analysis with an appreciation of the poignant, human experience that shaped its history.
      • Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd (July 15, 2019) Language: English ISBN-10: 183859065X ISBN-13: 978-1838590659
      • Originally a 1997 dissertation: 'Mann and the Quakers: Quakerism in 17th and 18th century Maughold, Isle of Man' Date(s): 1997; Creator(s): Carswell, Conal F.; Scope & Content: Dissertation with bibliography of manuscript and printed sources submitted to the University of Anglia as part of an English and History Joint Honours degree. The author covers his material using the following subheadings: Besse As A Source; Origins; Why Quakerism Founded in Maughold and Ramsey; The Number of Quakers; The Attitudes of the Authorities; The Attitudes of 'The People'; What attracted Manx Converts?; Why Were There So Few Converts?; A List of Maughold Quakers Between 1656-1800.

As published in Carswell: "Continuity and the aberrance of violent upheaval appear to have been a popular refrain in Manx history. Hence, the celebrated Manx proverb of uncertain antiquity that says, 'mannagh vow cliaghtey cliaghtey, nee cliaghtey coe,' which translates as, 'unless custom is indulged by custom, custom will weep. '