17th Century Castletown
The Development of Seventeeth century Castletown from contempory documents. 1 J.R.Roscow. Draft 3rd January 1998
From the end of the sixteenth century the pace of development quickened in the capital of Castletown.
Now I will talk about the surrounding farmland. From 1506 Scarlett Treen had been shown on the rent as being divided into closes that were sub-let to townsfolk but in 1639 the lists ceased to describe them as closes since it was beginning to be farmed in larger units. The rents still shows several large crofts next to the town but the town market could supply what food was required and incomes from employment were now capable of buying a staple diet. The tenure of Castletown was changing. When Castletown was first built the Lord had exercised his right to put tenants into properties and therefore to control the tenancies on his demesne "at the will of the Lord". By the end of the sixteenth century, due to the rise in the granting of the Lord's licence by the Sheading Court, tenure was evolving into copyhold as new tenants payed an entry fine to have their name entered in the records. The family began passing on the property to their next of kin, and some properties changed hands by cash sale so that the new owner could produce a bill of sale to substantiate his purchase. By the start of the seventeenth century there was family continuity in many of the holdings.
In Medieval England a practise had grown up to issue a lease for a period of seven years and this was called a lease for one life. In theory Manx leases on Castletown property were only for seven years as exemplified by the 1506 leasing. Unfortunately the replacement of English soldiers by Manx families who came to live in the town over the latter years of the sixteenth century caused properties to be licenced from many different dates. This made the keeping of accurate records of each leasing very difficult since no-one would admit to their lease having expired unless pressed on the subject. Almost the only record of property were the applications to the Sheading Court when a new tenant purchased a plot and paid a fine for a licence from the Lord. Even then some tried to avoid paying the fine by not asking for a licence. Certainly within Castletown the general leasing of 1643 was to put the town leasing on a single date, and to raise additional money from the residents by way of a donation to pay for powder & shot for the Earl of Derby's support for King Charles in the English Civil War.
The 1643 leasing was for twentyone years, or for the duration of the lives of three nominated persons. It was this longer duration of the lease which was a new feature & it was combined with the demand that everyone had to pay a fine to the Lord of three years rent in addition to their annual rent. Within Castletown persons had to pay four years rent when the "donation" was included. Since quite a lot of the population obtained their livings in the Lord's service one can see that it would have been politic to subscribe. Examination of the records show that the vast majority paid the four years rent and only the odd exception was exempt from the "donation", probably due to lack of funds.
Around the time of this new leasing, and possibly because of it, the Lord acquired some land plots to clear away buildings within the town. Several of these changes were not shown in the book which recorded changes in tenant, the Liber Vast. Since the scribe used this book as one of his sources in compiling next year's rents it meant that the list gradually fell behind the actual tenancies. An example of this occurred at the South of the Market Square when the Lord took over the rent of Diall Hill and its associated gardens and workshop from Thomas Teare. The Lord had bought the two garden plots off him for thirty-two shillings in 1638, reducing his rent from 8d to 1d because the area was of more use as part of an enlarged square but these changes were not recorded on the rent list until 1647.
The start of the English civil war made Earl James consider improvements to the defences of Castletown. He took over a 12d rent from Richard Preston and Richard Kewne who held a house at 6d each by the riverside at the castle gates. The Lord demolished their house to put up his new gun platform to command the harbour. I must warn you that the scribes of the rent rolls were very conservative in their descriptions about property and that several plots are described as "being by the Castle Gates". They could be a few yards away or a considerable distance off but they still received the same positional phrase and this generality has bedevilled some identifications. It has become normal to regard the castle new works as referring specifically to the harbour gun platform but this was not the case as there were many projects described as "new works" in the castle book of charges over a number of years.
South of the castle gates were stables and beside them in Castle street was a large construction of three cellars with lofts above called Calcotts tenements with a rent of ten shillings. In the early days this warehouse complex must have been used for the storage of goods that could not be conveniently housed in the castle, but by 1643 it had fallen into disuse being described as Calcott's broken walls. The Lord cancelled the ten shillings rent and demolished the buildings thus creating an open Square that eventually became the present Parliament Square, but he re-let part of the east side nearest the river to Anthony Corris at six pence rent. Corris later took another 1d rent to make an outlet onto the river front and that may have been the origin of Quay Lane.
The clearance of this area did not end with the Calcott property for Lord James also took over other properties behind Calcott's rent, such as plot 20 near the Old chapel belonging to the Bishop where the Lord took 23d rent, leaving the Bishop with a holding of one penny.
In the same year the Lord took over the Governor's house at forty pence rent and kept it for his own use. This may have fitted in with his general development of facilities as he also took over part of a plot from William Quayle and Robert Clarke for use as a wash house, rent 3.5d, in Water street, leaving the next door neighbour Edward Brew untouched in his two pence rent. The Lord had his stables and haggard off the north-west corner of the Market Square and to provide an entry into the west side of West street he took over plot 50 at 4d rent from Peter Robinson for an outlet into the street.
In a different category again was the Lord taking over the property of William Faragher and Thomas Huddleston, rent 6d, as they were convicted felons who had been found guilty of highway robbery in England and sentenced to transportation, the land therefore falling into the Lord's hands under Manx law. Another tenant who shared the same property, Robert Barry and who paid six pence rent for part of the same plot was undisturbed. Silvester Huddleston later took over a share of his relative's plot at four pence, and used it as a shop known as Ottiwells at the Market square end of Castle street.
Now I want to discuss the road to Knock Rushen that you know as Queen street. It was a very short street, the first property on the seaward side of the square in 1703, was Emy Callows house at 4.5d rent. The first house on the landward side of the Street was George Walker's smithy that was alongside the new chapel, which was partly built over his land. An extension to part of his holding had been first recorded in 1593. Next door to the blacksmith was John Watterson, a weaver, with John Kelly next to him. Beyond John Kelly was Mrs Quaile widow of Richard Quaile of Knock Rushen. The street had been extended toward the west in 1577 when land worth eight pence was enclosed from Knock Rushen farm.
In the last quarter of the seventeenth century Mrs.Cathrine Quaile took over three pieces of this land on one of which she built a small ale house rent 1d. On an adjacent plot she built a brewhouse and along the sea side she took over a garden at 3d rent that had been the site of an ancient Kiln which was reputed to have produced shell mortar for the Castle. She is shown as holding a licence for a brewing pan and there was a well further along that track on the seaward side from which the tenants of Knock Rushen obtained their water. She was reputed to sell a glass of rum for a penny with free water supplied, but her main claim to fame was that in fine weather she sat outside her house on an old bee skip made of woven sallies and this gave rise to her local nickname as 'the Queen of the Hive', and that is why her house was entered in the records as Queen Hive house.
Transp post 1704 Queen Hive.
Here is the entry for Cathrine Quayle in the Act of Settlement records, it bears the new no 34.
and reads Mrs Quile, Knock Rushen, 'for a house called Queen Hive adjoining KR land,' rent 1d. You can read in George Walker's entry "in the street that goes toward Knock Rushen", so we can be sure that it was not called Queen street at that date. There is no evidence that this was ever a landing place to justify the spelling HYTHE, despite a later scribe using that spelling in error. It was still Knock Rushen road in the rent roll at the end of the eighteenth century and I like to think that it was an imaginative town official well versed in local knowledge who named it "Queen Street" after Cathrine Quaile's famous Queen Hive House. It is shown on the map of the Town dated 1833 as Queen Street and since Queen Victoria did not come to the throne until 1838 it was not named after her.
At this point in my lecture I am going to discuss the Daniel King drawings from the point of view of what I know of the buildings on the ground. Daniel King was believed to have come over to Castletown in the late 1640's with Earl James, and did a series of pencil drawings that are now in the British Museum. In the past his scenes have inspired some controversy and so I thought that a comment on the pictures might be of interest. As they are the only pictures we have of seventeenth century Castletown it is worthwhile discussing them in some detail.
D.K.1 - 12 M.
The first scene is that of the harbour and Castle from the eastern river bank. I think that Mr. King found the Castle an easy subject to draw since it was large and did not present many perspective problems. His depiction of the stonework of the Castle walls do not show any distinction in block size so that there is no evidence of ancient or modern stone work to be gathered from his drawing. This is an uncluttered picture depicting a sloping river bank rising up to the base of the castle walls. The small tower (G) on the right of the picture has been drawn with what appears to be vegetation growing on its roof and if one accepts this then it indicates that the small round tower has been in existence for some time. On the left of the picture, between the masts of the ships and the castle is part of the castle new works (C) which was a stone platform mounting guns to command the harbour. I want you to note the stone gate posts built at the end of the diagonal walls with a man stood between them and I will comment again on these gate posts in another drawing. Just behind the new battery is a building with no chimney. Unfortunately this building does not accord with the position of a cellar known to exist on the next drawing so that I consider that lone building to have been put in by Daniel King as artistic licence. I want you to consider the proposition that the centre of his drawings was his translation of what he saw, but when faced with difficult perspective at the edges of the picture he allowed himself artistic licence by leaving the out the details.
TP - DK 1- 10M.
This picture has been drawn from across the harbour roughly where the small swing bridge now stands. Outside the castle gate in the foreground is the recently constructed gun platform shown as the castellated wall with mooring rings below. The wall leading up to it from the river bank starts with a stone gatepost. Notice the building at the left foreground parallel to the harbour that has no chimney and was listed on the rent roll as a cellar built along the riverside and it belonged to the tenant of the house with gable end facing the river. The building behind the cellar has chimneys showing that it was a dwelling house and further back this building incorporated stables as a convenience to visitors arriving on horseback. Although he does not show any more houses there was another line of property behind the harbour ones that ran down toward the sea. Derby house with its attendant chimneys is very evident above the curtain wall. On the right of the drawing the artist shows a rather poor representation of the small round tower by the harbour with the walls apparently narrowing as they get nearer the ground. I think that it was due to poor perspective on the part of Mr. King. On the left of the tower he shows a gap and then a few houses that represent the end of Water street.
T.P. -DK1 - 8M.
This is another drawing of the castle gate, this time done from the harbour side near the modern police station. The stone gate post on the right of the picture, which in previous drawings have been shown at the end of the access walls to the new works appears as standing on the gun platform, but again my opinion is that this was just poor perspective.
On the left of the drawing against the castle wall he shows mounting blocks for men to mount their horses, probably very necessary after dining well with the Lord. In the centre left is a short representation of the town. Compared to the actual number of houses in Church street he shows very few, but I accept his general representation of the garden walls running down to the river from behind the houses to enclose their bog gardens.
T.P. -DK 1 - 7M
For me this is one of the most interesting drawing done by Daniel King and surprisingly it has led to some new and interesting conclusions. It is entitled 'Castle Rushen as it appears from the South South West'. Note that the ground is falling away toward the drawer. It is of the glacis in modern Castle street with no houses shown, whereas we know that houses existed near the castle gate, which you have seen on the previous drawings, and houses existed near the market square end of Castle street that I shall show in the next picture. The empty bit in the middle has been obtained by demolishing Calcotts broken walls. He has drawn this scene from where the old House of Keys now stands, and presumably because the houses either side posed problems for his draughtsmanship he has opted to ignore them. On the right you see the gable of old Derby house above the curtain wall, and if you look closely at the right hand gate tower where the line drawing is fairly weak you will see the faint outline of a simple house. My view is that he was going to represent the houses and then changed his mind but since he didn't have a rubber the outline of the little house had to stay on the paper. Incidentally the rock in the foreground is purely artistic licence and appears on a number of his drawings just to break up an empty foreground space.
The left of the picture shows the round drum tower on the glacis near the Market Square corner of Castle street, opposite which there should have been three houses along Castle Street. From the drawer to the Square in 1643 they were George Whetstone, Jane Caesar and then one split property on the edge of the Square with John Lace and Richard Halsall. Returning to what we see on the drawing, in the exact centre of the glacis bank there is an octagonal stonework which from the poor representation of perspective appears to be the base of a turret on the curtain wall. It is marked it with a capital C and is described as 'the counter scarpe of stone being 12 yards broad by 7 yards deep'. In fact it has nothing to do with the curtain wall as the extra stonework is the external reinforcement of a gun position dug into the back of the glacis.
Here is a modern photograph of the glacis from the front step of the old House of Key's building in Parliament Square. Note that self same turret on the curtain wall behind the sloping bank of the glacis without a stone facing. The picture below shows the gun position as it is today taken from behind the glacis and standing on the castle ditch. The gun would have been brought into action by removing a couple of stones from within the counter scarpe so that the gun could poke its barrel out, hence Daniel King does not show a gun port in his drawing. Above the back wall of the glacis you can just see the chimneys of property on the west side of Parliament Square. These buildings had not been built at the time I am dealing with as they were a late seventeenth century development.
This is another photo of the glacis taken from near to the old post office looking West. Note how no buildings appear in this view due to the angle from which it is taken. You can see the shadow of the buildings on the West of the square cutting across the glacis. The lower photo is a close up of the same gun position showing the stonework let into the full height of the glacis and following the curve of the bank down to a square port through which it would have fired into the square and down to the sea front. If the defenders used chain shot it would have removed the legs off any attackers advancing toward it.
The top picture has been taken from the front of the old House of Keys but this time directed East towards the Castle Gates, the battlements of which you can just see on the right. Note that again there are no buildings showing due to the angle from which I have taken the photo, but you can see the shadow of the old post office across the glacis on the right. Note that the ground is falling away from left to right. The bottom picture is of another and smaller gun position in the glacis near to the post office, the chimneys of which you can see over the glacis wall. I apologise for the poor quality of this picture but you can just make out the small square opening that leads to the gun mounting. Since very little of the glacis has been cut away it did not need stone reinforcement on the outer face. The small gun appeared to fire on a fixed line down the front of the double line of property running parallel to the harbour. When I thought about this extra field of fire I realised that the small gun must have pointed down a lane in front of the back to back line of properties alongside the harbour before the demolition of the buildings in Parliament Square. After all what is now Parliament lane would have led up alongside Calcotts tenements to allow the inland houses access to Castle street exactly at that point. If that is so then it is possible that this small gun position is older than the larger one because it would have had a lane to fire down before the demolition of the tenements allowed the larger gun its new field of fire.
I did not know the specific reason for the clearance of Parliament square until I had a talk to Frank Cowin one wet day in Castletown when we stood on top of the glacis and he showed me the hidden gun positions. In turn I told him about the records of the clearance of Calcott's cellar buildings from this area in the 1640's. At that point the penny dropped for both of us and the reason for present day Parliament square became obvious. The larger gun mounting within the glacis must have been newly constructed because the stone walls of Calcotts property would have been within a few feet of the gun barrels up to the 1640's. This means that at least part of the glacis must have been substantially rebuilt to contain it around that date. With this being so the possibility exists that the earthwork had been extended forward into Castle Street reducing its width as a main thoroughfare to the castle gates, possibly deliberately.
Now I will return to Daniel King's drawings again and this is the next picture along.
TP DK 1 - 9M
This is the Market square. Note the round drum tower on the glacis to the right of the picture. What is more important to note are the houses in Castle street and I ask you to recall their non-appearance in the last picture. The corner property is shown with a dormer window proving that it is a two storied houses with thatched roof, and the way the houses bend round the base of the drum tower exists to this day. Although you cannot completely rely on the accuracy of his drawing he also shows a chimney between the drum tower and the next turret presumably belonging to property by the castle gate, . Interestingly he shows vegetation growing on the castellations of the curtain wall and on the left hand tower, thus indicating that they have been there some time, but not on the sloping glacis where one would have imagined grass growing between the stone facings if it had been there for many years. Could it be that Earl James had beefed up all the Glacis to resist the fire from more modern cannon as I have suggested for Castle street?
At the left two men are standing below a square wooden construction that was possibly a gibbet where the Coroner could place the ladder before kicking it away to cause the felon to hang. The diamond topped sloping stone near the gibbet was the whipping post to which persons could be tied before receiving their sentence in front of a large crowd. No castle clock face is apparent and the castle may have had a clock within the tower near the Square that simply stuck the hours on a bell. In the Castle book of charges there is an entry showing that the castle bell was exchanged with John Stott of Wigan together with the sum of £3 -7s -8d in 1633. At the right hand side is a single house that is the start of Church street. He shows the land falling away toward the left and the likelihood is that the Market Square was not completely flat since it was eventually filled in with shore gravel. We know that the land also sloped away toward the river bank particularly before there was any form of stone quay in existence. In the foreground is the ubiquitous imaginary rock with grass growing on it.
TP - DK 1 - 11M
This second drawing of the Market Square had been done from an elevated position that makes me wonder if he was he staying in a house at the south of the square and drew this from his upstairs bedroom window. If that were so he would have been a guest of the Stevenson's who had property there. Dial hill would have been cleared away several years before his visit and he shows mainly featureless ground in the Market Square. From his elevated position he has not indicated any slope on the glacis in front of the Castle but that may have been a problem of perspective. One useful aspect is that he has been forced into drawing individual houses and I can identify specific properties and who paid the rents in the late 1640's. The left of the square starts with Margaret Lucas, then William Wattleworth, Jane Ireland, Margaret Lucas again, and then the Governor's house built in 1582/3, with Robert Barry alongside. The middle three are Inns and they are not on a single building line but are stepped out from on another and this can still be seen to this day in Castletown market square. Unfortunately when he reaches the far left corner of the square his drawing shows the top of the Governor's wall joining the ground level of the second house in West street. I think this is just an error as there was a lane going West to the Lord's stables at that point on the Square.
The north end of the square shows flat fronted property facing the Market Cross.
In roughly the centre of the square he shows the Market Cross, missing of course from the previous drawing and I would question the accuracy of his positioning of the Cross. The rents note Ottiwells shop around the end of Castle Street being "near the Cross". The entrance to West street is not clearly shown and the property behind the glacis tower apparently bears campaniles or bell towers, and hidden beyond that house to the right would have been the entrance to Church street. He does not indicate any glacis to the inland side of the Castle and only attempts the roof of one house in the Church street and Water Street areas whereas there should have been several buildings apparent.
Now look at the right of the picture where he shows a poorly drawn house gable adjoining the square at the end of Castle street. He has drawn the gable too near the glacis and as he had no eraser to rub out his pencil lines he just left what he had drawn. I assume that this is meant to be the gable of the house near the drum tower with an outlet behind it since the rents do signify that this property had two outlets associated with it. The pavement shown on the right of the square makes me think that it was the main way through from the Market Square to the Road to Knock Rushen. The rest of the South square being built up at that date.
With this being such an important view it is a pity that it contains these drawing errors and I leave it to you to decide how far to accept Daniel King's drawings. The central picture conforms with the records subject to the points to which I have drawn your attention.
I shall now leave the drawings and go on to the next important developments affecting the town that was due to Bishop Wilson at the end of the seventeenth century. Firstly in 1698 he decided that the old chapel of the Blessed Mary near the sea front in Castletown was too small for the increasing town population so he organised the raising of money to build a new town chapel on plots of land at the south of the Market square. The plots taken over were Mr Allen's house, (who was Vicar General), Thomas Mylchreest's, John Stevenson's and George Walker's. The south east corner of the square had always been the homes of members of the clergy and/or the Deemster with such famous names as Parr, Allan and Stevenson as its tenants. This new chapel, just called St Mary's to avoid Catholic susceptibilities, was built slap across the road to Knock Rushen and the associated properties making it necessary for Chapel Lane to do a dog leg to reach the market square. Although the new chapel was built in 1698 it was not until 1714 that a steeple was added at the front entrance and was built on the land of Stevenson's garden, rent four pence, by deed 048 from the Bishop to the Rev Anthony Halsall.
As the old chapel of the Blessed Mary was not required for worship Bishop Wilson arranged for Thomas Looney, the carpenter, to build a school extension on to it. This then became Castletown Grammar School following an ancient tradition for schooling within the town started by the monks of Rushen Abbey in the twelfth century. The pre 1698 school may have moved to Church street after it was moved from near the swinesty at the seaward side of the entrance to the Road to Knock Rushen in the previous century.
Bishop Wilson had been a central moving force in drafting the Act of Settlement of 1703/4 which gave tenants throughout the Island a firm title and the right to buy and sell their property freely, although they still had to pay an alienation fee the Lord on any changes. This new tenure was referred to as customary freehold. Although this was a development of their rights it was not everyone who wanted to pay the capital cost of another three or four years rent as an entry fine to continue to hold their old property. The single rent continued as an annual charge within the town paid in the slightly less valuable Manx currency. Because of these costs many town properties changed owners and a brand new rent roll had to be produced. Some holdings such as the penny bog gardens at the end of the old 1703 roll were amalgamated with the new rent and this resulted in a shorter rent roll. For example the 1702 Series Two list had 308 names whilst the new 1709 Series Three list had only 175, showing that many plots that had been split among family members now had a single owner.
Bishop Wilson's next move was the to instigate the building of the New Library and House of Keys constructed on land from Calcott's old property that was still in the Lord's hands. The old library had been on the second floor of the castle keep and when inventoried in 1651 it contained 830 volumes. The new Library and House of Keys were started in 1707 and finished in 1710 and this building then gave its name to Parliament Square. The Keys were on the ground floor and the Library on the first floor. As a point of general interest the document prepared by John Quayle Clerk of the Rolls which followed the Act of Settlement actually records the rents at a much later date because he states that William Sedden has a house and garden opposite the West end of the new library dating the entries after 1710.
The new Series Three list contains much positional detail of the rents and a house in Castle street belonging to Thomas Patton is described as "beside the little tower" that was the drum tower in Castle street. It was awkward for me to grasp that the house and garden close to the other tower on the glacis at the north end of the square by the entrance to Church street was also described as "the house by the little tower". It belonged to Henry Lezsquire, his wife Elizabeth and their children, rent 4d, but this time with the addition of 'over against the Belcony'. Does this refer to Henry's proximity to the house with the bell towers or is it an old spelling of balcony? Both glacis towers had only a small extension of corballing to hold their battlements and I do not subscribe to them being a sufficient extension to represent a balcony, but the tower by Lezsquire had a square extension behind it that may have been "the balcony". The eastern side of the river had not been built on because it was all Abbey Land farms and Mrs.Constance Radcliffe has traced the development on this side of the river. She has documented the rise of the Tubmans from being soldiers on the payroll of Castle Rushen in the 1550's to the purchase of the Abbey land farm of the Bowling Green at 32s/4d rent by 1611. This general area seems to have been used for recreational purposes by the Lord's officers from Castle Rushen and extended almost to the present airport and Derbyhaven. The estate was a quarterland farm and development of buildings on that side of the river could only take place if the Tubmans' allowed the sale of plots to others, there being no common land available for enclosure as intack on that side of the Castle burn.
John Tubman of the Bowling Green compounded with the Lord for his holding for twenty-one years in 1645 and in 1666 he compounded for another twenty-one years. He requested a substantial reduction in his fine because of his great loss sustained in the burning of his kiln full of corn, and the loss of the best part of his land constantly taken away by the violence of the river. This was probably the area of present Poulsom Park which in 1800 was marked as Claddagh or water meadow and the land east of the river downstream to the present road bridge was marked as "the lake", that is waste ground overflowed by high tides. The southern boundary of the estate was less vulnerable being bounded by underlying limestone rock. Underwater outcrops of rock were what made Castletown such a dangerous harbour and it was this that increased the use of Derbyhaven as a port, but despite its use as such there were no building on the surrounding good farm land.
The Bowling Green house lay on the main trade route from Derbyhaven to Castletown and after the building of the first bridge across the river around 1666 the Tubmans' started to sell off plots starting on the rocky land beside the harbour. This made expansion of building on the east side of the river inevitable and from 1720 onward the number of deeds registered along the present Bridge Street and Douglas Street show how the Tubmans turned this demand to their advantage. This was similar to the Wattersons' of Knock Rushen as they too charged ground rent on the plots that they sold off. In 1723 the Tubman's sold John Corrin land for his new building and yard touching the old highway leading under the strand hedge. He was to build a stone wall 4 feet high and 20 yards long leading to the hill, (that was Lorne house hill).
By the end of the seventeenth century the bridge from the castle gate to the east bank of the Silverburn had been constructed for there is a deed dated 1696 which states "between the bridge and Thomas Looney's garden", and he lived near the castle gates. The bridge would entail building out some form of abutments from both sides of the river at its narrowest rocky point helped by extending the harbour gun platform. The building of this first bridge across the harbour implies that the western river side from the little bridge to the sea had been given a primitive stone quay. Incidently Barrys house by the Governor at the North west corner of the square was now occupied by Rhoda Mercer, the widow of Soloman Mercer the Jewish Merchant, and it is likely that Solomans corner refers to a cellar used by him near Castletown water front.
Now I want to deal with the comparatively rapid development of West Street after the Act of Settlement in 1704. The right hand side of the street ran as far as the Bagnio, which had a new gable built on to it in 1643 for the sum of nineteen shillings and then was completely rebuilt in 1701. Beyond the Bagnio was the extensive garden belonging to the Lord that stretched up the rest of the east side of the track. It is likely that it was surrounded by a stone wall and by the mid seventeenth century parts of the garden were being rented out to individuals such as Harrison who had a right of way over the garden from West street to his field of 5d rent on the east side.
The left hand side of West street was even shorter for the plots stopped short of the Bagnio on the other side and is noted as having the Fflatt of Knock Rushen behind. West street became Red Gap road in the eighteenth century when the lying water appears to
be drying up. The construction of Maddrells bridge had commenced a link with the western mainland making the street a more important road since it now led to the hinterland. The development of West street came on apace by 1720 when the owners of Knock Rushen farm began to sell off many plots of land along the west side of West street to raise money to pay dowries to their daughters. These plots paid a high ground rent of up to fourteen pence to the tenant of Knock Rushen farm, as well as paying a nominal Lord's rent of a half-penny or a penny, but there was no shortage of takers. It was this practice that developed most of the west side of the street opposite the Lord's garden and beyond. Incidentally the Lord's garden later became the Governor's garden.
Modern Arbory street enters the market square at an angle with Malew Street making number 1 Malew street a triangular plot. This shape was not substantiated by the rent roll in 1704. The start of Malew street consisted of David Murray's old house with his new houses and gardens behind it, which could not fit on that modern triangular plot. The probability was that the plot was parallel to the north side of the market square and that the entrance to West street and Church street were further back than the modern building line.
Bank street did not exist in the seventeenth century as the wide stone bridge had not yet been built. There was a property called Elsimores house, rent 12d, noted as being near the Bridge End although it was listed in the rents as being a plot on east Church Street. It was recorded by Deed No.20 in 1709 as a purchase off Mary Elsimore by Nicholas Harley and his wife Sarah. It was a sale by the Coroner and describes the property as being at the end of the bridge, so that a bridge had been built by that date. In 1755 the Elsimores house was purchased by the Lord and the highway was cut through the property to facilitate a direct passage up Bank street into Church Street, though I think part of the land was still retained by Harley. Water street may have been too steep and narrow for convenience. This is a classic Castletown description of "by the bridge" when it was some distance away.
The second turn to the right up Church street was Mill street where the little horizontal Mill had operated. The larger Mill owned by Thomas Moore was driven by an undershot water wheel from 1644 and was now at Golden Meadow. He had to grind the Lord's corn mulcture free and the people of Castletown had to provide straw for thatch on the two mills. Along Mill street the town boundary included Paradise Croft, plot 104, as its inland extremity. One very surprising property position I have established was that the Bog Croft at a rent of twenty pence was described in deed 66, 1724, as adjoining the Mill Close and the river, with watercourses. This was not the modern recognised position of the Bog Croft and the answer is that there was more than one Bog Croft. As in other Castletown descriptions it was a generic and not a specific description. The title Bog Croft also applied to Dr. Morrison's holding, plot 88, with a croft and kiln to the West of its garden on west Church Street.
Here is an etching dated 1775 of the small stone bridge opposite the Castle with a little house built beside it. This was originally the house of Robert Quacken, rent 1.5d, who built it on the first partial quay built out as an abutment along the river around 1666. It is interesting in that it was treated as Intack because it was on reclaimed land and not on the Lord's demesne. Robert Quacken was replaced by Thomas Kennedy who is shown as paying a penny ha'penny for a little house at the bridge end in 1700. The Lord bought a parcel of land off Thomas Kennedy at the end of Castletown Bridge for £3-3s-5d by deed dated 4th Feb 1701 to obtain easier access over the bridge into the town.
The little stone bridge near the castle gates was replaced in 1784 by a wooden draw bridge that made the inner harbour available for berthing masted boats since the inner harbour was then being developed by allowing people to excavate rock for building stone. In the lower etching you can see a view of the inner harbour and the Castle. Note that there is vegetation growing on the roof of the small tower as indicated in the Daniel King drawing. No Quay yet exists at the side of the inner harbour because this etching is earlier than the draw bridge, and the river bank still slopes down from the Castle.
Inland travel seems to have been improving as in 1651 the inhabitants of Castletown provided 20/- toward providing 6d a day for a foot post to St. John Chapel. Since Castletown was the centre of Island administration the setting up of a regular post service was useful step in founding a public utility. The rent rolls show that the postman in 1704 was Robert Corrin and that he rented plot 126 at the Castle end of East Church street so possibly his house was the collection point at that date.
Castletown Map circa 1833, show transparency:-
Let us compare this detailed map from around 1833 with what I have been talking about earlier. Firstly the old chapel of the Blessed Mary near the sea front is now Castletown Grammar School so that Chapel Lane is now called School Lane because it passes the school. This lane now has to do a dog leg round the new Chapel of St Mary that occupies all the South of the Market Square and extends over old house and garden plots. Queen Street is now named as such and extends a long way to the West composed at its western end of Intack plots bought off Knock Rushen after 1704. Why should they now be called Intack when previously it had been farm land and not commons? This was because the Act of Settlement allowed tenants to sell off their land and the original definition of intack being enclosure of common land had been overtaken by the volume of trading with most new garden plots now being under the heading of Intack.
Going to the South of the Castle you can see Parliament Square and the new House of Keys and Library. Castle Street has been substantially built up and the new Quay, now called Bridge Street, has allowed property by the harbour to be on one level. Over the Castle Gate Bridge the east harbour side has property running along the new Irish Quay that confusingly is also called Bridge Street. Douglas Road along the sea front has a number of properties along it before you reach the Bowling Green Farm, and that road then ran across what is now the Airport. Returning to the Market Square, West Street has now become Arbory Street with ribbon development along the western side. Beyond the Bagnio house on the eastern side is now the Governor's garden and its northern limit has now been defined by the New Road that later became The Crofts Road. Note that as yet the only houses on it are at the Malew Street end.
Back to the Market Square and now the glacis tower by Malew street has been rebuilt as the Market Hall and abattoir and the drum tower has gone from Castle Street. Malew street starts with a triangular plot with buildings now gable to gable and runs as far as 'The Nook' just before the farm land starts. Towards the top of Church street there is Paradise lane, which at the end of the seventeenth century was known as Barry's lane from the fact that the Barrys tenanted Paradise Croft. Along that track was a garden called 'The price of Blood' that must have been named after the settlement of a bloodwipe court case.
The first turning off Malew Street to the East is now called The Bank, sloping gradually down to the main stone bridge, but Water Street still exists as the turn off on the right running down to the new quay. Note that Hope Street does not yet exist since the garden plots still run down to the river, and it was not until around 1850 that a start was made on developing Hope Street, named after Governor Hope. The next turning to the right is a fairly short Mill street leading out to the track running up to the Great Mill.
My estimate of the town population in 1600 was 475. In 1726 the population was 785 souls, rising to 878 in 1757. By the time of this 1830 map of Castletown it is noted as having approximately two thousand souls.
Transp. Post Cards.
These last two pictures are something of an extra and are both taken from postcards around 1900. The top one shows the old Grammar School area taken from the jetty and gives a fairly clear view of School Lane and the associated buildings before the demolition in the 1950's to provide the new car park by the old chapel and school. Clearly shown is the graduated steeple of the New Chapel. This was a rebuild of the 1698 chapel in around 1800. It later lost the top narrow bit long before it was rebuilt as offices. Queen Street is shown as extended well toward Scarlett. Note that there are no buildings left on the seaward side of Chapel lane. The bottom picture is a 1900 view looking up Arbory Street from the Market Square end, complete with small boys looking on. I show it solely to give a flavour of the Castletown of old.
It is a pity that there has been so little written research on Castletown. Previously its surviving ancient documents have only been used sparingly to explore its fascinating development from Medieval times and I hope that this lecture has given you all some food for thought about this ancient Town's development.
Here is my final picture. Thank you for listening to me.
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