ST. SANCTAIN'S CHURCH
SANTON, ISLE OF MAN.
The History of the Parish of Santon hereunder has been reproduced
in this form by kind permission of the Vicar and Wardens of
St. Sanctain's Church, Santan.
The Editor is indebted to Mr. Roger Christian of Port Grenaugh
for his painstaking transcription of the text from the history
entitled, " St. Sanctain's Church", written by the Reverend
J.M. Cotter, Vicar of Santon, dated March 1977. The drawing
of St. Sanctain's on the cover of the History is by John H.
The structure and text of the History has been retained, even
where it is now out of date and the Editor of the website has
added in italics where necessary, some footnotes which attempt
to bring the text up to date. The spelling and format
of the original has been followed rigorously throughout in
order to preserve the flavour of the historical extracts .
(Persons unfamiliar with the old form of currency in the British
Isles should read the prices of services and commodities in
Pounds Sterling, Shillings, Pence and Halfpence. There were
240 pence to the Pound Sterling).
Reproduction of this material without the permission of the
Commissioners is prohibited unless for bona fide educational
purposes. Any such use should be advised to the Clerk.
A SHORT HISTORY OF ST. SANCTAIN'S CHURCH, SANTON,
ISLE OF MAN.
THE CHURCH AND ITS EXTERIOR.
The Christian faith was brought to Mann around 447 A.D. by
Missionaries from the Celtic Church in Ireland, which differed
in organisation and in the timing of the Christian Year from
the Latin Church. The Latin Church was brought to Canterbury
by St. Augustine and his forty Benedictine Monks in 597 A.D.
In the same year St. Columba, the Celtic Monk, died. He was
a follower of St. Bridget and St. Patrick. The bodies of all
three of those Celtic Saints rest side by side in the Cathedral
Church of Downpatrick in Ireland.
St. Sanctain's Church, Santon, stands on the site of an ancient
Church or Keeill built around fifteen hundred years ago, which
was well before St. Augustine came from Rome to Canterbury.
It is strategically placed and commands a view of a large sweep
of the sea looking towards the north-west coast of England
and the mountains of North Wales. It can be seen by travellers
sailing on the sea and flying by air as they come over the
coastline towards Ronaldsway Airport. Thus for fifteen centuries
the present Church, and its predecessors, have always been
a landmark by sea, land and air. The present building was erected
in 1774 and is a good example of an old Manx Church with its
white walls and rectangular shape.
The original building was one of over a hundred Celtic Keeills,
or "treen" churches, which were scattered all over
A "treen" was made up of four farms, or quarterlands,
and became a convenient fiscal unit with annual tax proportionate
to its size. It was the duty of the treen chief to make provision
for the spiritual welfare of those who were resident on his
land. Twenty-six treens made up a Sheading or ship-district.
Each treen was required by law to supply one oarsman for the
twenty-six Skeid, or warship, which was provided for defence
Keeil churches, usually about 20 feet by 12 feet, were built
of either rough stones, or boulder stones, and clay sod, which
accounts for the complete disappearance of many of them.
In the west gable or south wall was the doorway, and in the
east or south wall, the only window. In bad weather a wooden
shutter, or window-door, fitted on a swivel, closed this opening,
thus excluding the elements. It formed the barest of shelters
for the 'culdee' or priest to consecrate bread and wine, the
mystery of Christ's new and everlasting Covenant in His Body
and Blood. The Eucharist is still today received by Christ's
followers weekly both morning and evening in St. Sanctain's
Church. Any family desecrating these hallowed places reputedly
ran the risk of having no more male heirs and the consequent
dying out of the family.
The name Santon is of Irish derivation and has changed in
spelling throughout its long history. Like other Manx
ancient parishes, the Parish takes its name from its Parish
Church, which is dedicated to St. Sanctain, who was an Irish
saint and Bishop, and a disciple of St. Patrick. Records show
how the word 'Sanctain' has gone through different stages of
spelling to arrive today at the more frequently used 'Santon'.
'Sanctain' appears as 'Sanctain', 'Santain', 'Santan', and
'Santon'. The latter two spellings are today recognised widely,
but that of 'Santon', seems to have taken over and is the one
that is more generally used.
There is a story told of when, last century, the Isle of Man
railway line was built from Douglas to Port Erin, a sign writer
left Douglas to paint the station signboards. He boldly wrote
'Santon' in this parish, and some say that was the commencement
of the modern spelling of the old Saint's name.
St. Sanctain was Bishop of Cell da les (Church of two forts)
in Ireland a place of importance in its day, but which, so
far, has not, in modern times, been specifically identified.
One day Irish archaeologists or historians may light upon the
clue that will again disclose its exact location.
A very ancient Celtic manuscript states that the 'Hymn of
Sanctain' is one of the oldest Irish manuscripts. In the Calendar
of Aengus, the phrase 'Epscop Santain sochla' (the famous Bishop
Sanctain) is used. There were several Irish Keeills that were
also dedicated to St. Sanctain.
Some time in the seventeenth century, in post-Reformation
times, it would appear that St. Sanctain's connection with
Santon had been forgotten, for at that time there took place
an even further corruption, which was quite erroneous, when
the dedication was mistakenly attributed to St. Ann. How this
occurred is lost in antiquity, but it is not difficult to appreciate
the easy way in which Santan could be mistaken for St. Ann,
and vice versa. Blundell perpetuated this error in his account
of the island in 1648. It is interesting to note that in addition
to Santon Church at least one Irish church had its name similarly
altered in error, for Kell Easpuig Sanctain, near Dublin, was
changed to St. Ann's Chapel.
Thus, although the reason for the unauthorised alteration
is unknown today, the name St. Ann was given circulation. The
last reference to this Saint in the Church Registers is in
1822, when in a period of further uncertainty, another
Saint. namely St. Anne, was duly recorded as the one to whom
the Church was dedicated. This lasted until the year 1891,
when the restoration of the dedication to its original Saint.
St. Sanctain, seems to have occurred. The parish Church of
St. John's contains a stained glass window to St. Sanctain,
spelt 'St. Sanctain'.
The living of St. Sanctain's, together with that of twelve
other livings in the Isle of Man, is solely in the patronage
of the Crown, in the person of Her Majesty the Queen, the Lord
of Mann. Before the dissolution of the Monasteries, it was
in the hands of the Abbot of Rushen Abbey. When the Queen appoints
a new Vicar, the Lieutenant Governor receives presentment documents
signed by Her Majesty. At the Service of Institution and Induction
of a new Vicar, these documents, together with the new Vicar,
are presented by the Lieutenant Governor to the Lord Bishop
of Sodor and Mann with the request that the Bishop institute
the nominee of the Crown. This duty is always carried out by
the Governor in person.
In the 17th century Vicars' stipends were so small that in
some cases as with one Vicar of Santon, the Vicars kept an
alehouse to augment their incomes. Eventually this anomaly
was rectified by raising their stipends to a more realistic
amount, for that period.
The records of the Spiritual Courts show that in the early
part of the 17th century an irate Vicar of Santon pulled an
offending parishioner by his beard. These courts also intervened
in matrimonial difficulties, the Sumner having to be the equivalent
of a modern Welfare Officer. In 1644 the Archdeacon and Vicar-General
ordered that "N M. of Santon shall fit and furnish his
wife from Tagart - with a-suit from top to tow, according to
his and her eynce and callinge and this without fayle to be
done before tuesday the 12th of December and thereof -- neighbours
(whereof the Sumner is to be one) to see that she be well used
in food and other necessaries.. ....................... ".
In 1761, N.T. of Santon, was presented for 'entertaining Company
and Music in his house on the Lord's Day, late at night', and
S.C. of Santon, for 'neglecting to prepare himself for Confirmation
and also for being greatly addicted to cursing, swearing and
being very rude, quarrelsome and of unbecoming behaviour'.
He was committed to St. German's Prison.
In 1757, C.G. and J., his wife, both of Santon, were presented
for 'travelling across the Country to the north side on
the fast day, held on the 11th February'. C.G. was committed
to St. German's Prison.
After the death of Bishop Mark Hildesley, in 1773, these disciplinary
courts decreased and an increasing number of blank parish presentment
sheets were handed in to the Registrars. In 1799, the Rev.
P. Crebbin, Vicar of Santon, with a levity, which would have
shocked the Vicars-General of an earlier age, wrote across
his return, 'Church wardens in abundance, but no presentments'.
To this day the seventeen ancient parishes, of which Santon
is one, exercise their time-honoured privilege of electing
four Church wardens.
The land, upon which St. Sanctain's Church is built, has been
a sacred Christian site for fifteen centuries and various Keeills
or Churches have been erected thereon. Records show that in
the decade of 1720-1730, the Church was rebuilt. Around 1774
something very serious must have happened to it (possibly it
was destroyed by fire), for in that year it was again rebuilt
and has remained standing to the present day. These rebuildings
took place in part of the period when the Church's dedication
had mistakenly been attributed to St. Ann, instead of
Observant visitors will notice a reference to St. Ann on the
outside of the west wall of the church on a slate tablet above
the west door, and also one to St. Anne on the inside of the
west wall, on the blue board of benefactors to the parish.
The dates thereon, in each case, are in line with the mistaken
dedications of their periods.
The North and West Doors and Porch were skillfully restored
by Mr. Howard Jackson of Croft House in 1976.
In 1980 a parish church hall (known as the Church Centre) was built to
the west side of St Sanctain's and is used as a meeting place for church and
associated functions. It also serves by day as a nursery school and the
Local Government Board of Parish Commissioners meets there every month - Ed.
THE INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH
In 1932, when the late Rev. William Hornby, was Vicar, a new
roof was put on and the pews, which extended right up to the
east wall, were removed and the present Chancel and Sanctuary
pavement was given in loving memory of Mrs. Joyce Tweedale,
by her parents, G.F. & F. Wormald.
The late Rev. Frederick Woodhouse Gelling, Vicar, collected
funds for the installation of electric light.
The late Rev. Edward Jones had the present Vestry constructed
in 1951 by demolishing two pews by the staircase to the gallery.
A friend of his, who wished to remain anonymous, saved money,
although he was in humble circumstances, and for love of Mr.
Jones, gave to the Church, in 1952, the beautiful East Window,
made by Messrs. Shrigley & Hunt of Lancaster, depicting
the Institution of our Lord's Supper. The roof and pavement
of this window are complementary to the Church roof and pavement.
A key to the figures in the window is to be found on the Notice
Board outside the Vestry. Mr. Jones also had mains water installed
at both the Church and the Vicarage. Formerly water from wells
had been used.
The double-glazing of the Church windows was carried out by
Mr. Donald J. Gelling of Glengrenaugh, Santon in 1976 and 1977.
In 1976 an anonymous donor gave the money for a further protection
to be placed on the outside of the beautiful East Window, and
the West doors and porch were repaired and restored.
Edward Moore, Vicar-General, made a Visitation on 20th July,
1748 and noted that "Seats in the Church were much out
of order; a hest with a lock to it; a good bell; a pewter flagon,
dish and two plates; a small silver chalice, shallow, with
a long foot - very curious. Two boxes of wood for the offertory".
At the western end of the inside of the northern wall of the
Church, and opposite the Vestry, can be found three stone slabs
of interest, which have received the endorsement of the Manx
Museum Authorities as being of historical significance and
importance. Two depict forms of the Cross. The smaller is the
more intricate in design and workmanship.
The third stone is, in the Island's history, a rarity. In
fact, it is probably unique in that it is believed to be the
only Roman remains of its kind ever to be found on the Island.
Its origin and history are quite unknown. It was found amongst
the foundations of what was once a former Church or Keeill
during the excavating that took place for the building of the
present Church. It was once part of a gravestone and dates
back to the seventh century. Old gravestones have been used
to form part of the foundations of Church buildings in
The Roman stone in Santon Church bears a brief Latin inscription
'A VITI MONOMENTI' (The Tomb of Avitus). Nothing is known
about the Manx Avitus, but it was a fairly common Roman name
in those early times and presumably had some connection with
the Island, and with the parish of St. Sanctain, in particular.
It is possible that he could have been a Christian priest,
who had been sent to the Island by St. Augustine, and who lived
and conducted worship on this site. People of those times are
part of our heritage. What a privilege it is to be today a
very small section of that great throng, who have kept the
Christian faith alive down the centuries, especially on a site
such as this, which is so steeped in history and Christian
Those who stop to have a closer look at the Avitus stone,
will note a peculiarity in the formation of the last letter
I, in both words. Instead of it being vertical, it is horizontal,
in each case, viz: '-'. Furthermore, the end of the first letter
acts also as the beginning of the second in the word 'AVIT
' Details such as these are always helpful in tracing the history
and authenticity of an object.
There are two copper collecting pans, dated 1757, given by
Hugh Cosnahan, Merchant, of Douglas. These have long handles
and are not often used nowadays, but in time could become
On 18th November, 1934 Mrs. Roberts, presented to the Church
a pair of brass candlesticks, which had been in her family
over 100 years. They are in use every Sunday.
During the late Rev. E.B. Gregory's time as Vicar he accepted
gifts for the Church listed in this and the next four paragraphs.
Mr. C.H.Kearley, former owner of the Arragon Farms and the
former Arragon Hotel, at Seafield Manor House, gave the light
oak Holy Communion Table and panelling in 1956, in memory of
his mother. Mr. Gregory saw the electric heating installed,
the lighting re-arranged; the blue carpet in the Chancel laid;
the pew kneelers provided and the Bishop's Chair and Stool
donated, these last two by the late Mr. Harold S. Cain, in
memory of his mother.
The handsome Litany desk, in light oak wood, was donated by
Vicar Gregory and his wife, in memory of Mr. Gregory's mother.
The light oak carved Hymn and Psalm boards for the use of
the Congregation were presented to the Church by Miss
Elsie Kelly of Newtown, in memory of her parents. The matching
boxes, which contain the Hymn and Psalm number cards, were
made and presented to the Church by a local craftsman, Mr.
J.W. Collister, formerly of Seafield Cottage.
The purple pulpit fall was presented by Mr. & Mrs. W.
Caley, of The Haven Ballavale, in memory of Mrs. Caley's parents,
Mr. & Mrs. G.A Quayle, of Arragon Beg. The green pulpit
fall was given by Mrs. Phillips of Port St. Mary, in memory
of her brother, Rev. F.W. Gelling, a former Vicar of Santon.
The white pulpit fall was given by the City of Birmingham Friendly
Society. The red pulpit fall was presented by Mr. R.D. Haynes,
of Ballavar, in memory of his parents, Mr. & Mrs. AW. Haynes,
formerly of Glentraugh.
The blue Altar cloth was presented by Mrs. Vera Challenor,
of Port Erin, in memory of her husband, Mr. Gordon Challenor
and of her parents, Mr. & Mrs. G.A Quayle, of Arragon Beg.
Early in 1973, during the interregnum when the Rev. T.B. Jenkins
MBE. was in charge of the Parish, the white hand-crocheted
lace that trims the white altar cloth and falls down the sides
of the Table, was presented by Mrs. Zena Carus of Port Erin.
The beautiful light oak processional Cross was donated to
the Church in October 1973, by Mrs. Eileen Teare and her son
Mr. Peter Teare of Thorncroft, Santon. Mr. Teare made
the Cross himself, with some assistance from some of the boys
of Castle Rushen High School, Castletown, who worked under
his direction and supervision.
In November the same year the back of the Organ was renewed.
The Hymn and Psalm boards on the organ for the use of the Choir
and Organist were provided. Also seven rectangular containers
to assist with floral decorations in the Church, particularly
at Festival times, were obtained.
In 1974 two medium-sized glass cruets, with stoppers, for
water and wine at Holy Communion, and two wafer boxes were
donated anonymously to the Church.
In 1975 the oak Choir bench was given by Mr. & Mrs. J.
Orme of Mount Rule Farm, and the re-wiring of the electric
lighting system took place. The four lovely light oak Church
wardens' staves, made by Kelly Bros. of Kirk Michael, were
anonymously donated to the Church in the middle of 1975 by
a non-parishioner friend of the Parish, who wrote 'These Staves
are offered as a thanksgiving for many blessings to the Glory
of God for the use of the Wardens of Saint Sanctain's Church,
Santon, Isle of Man. AD.1975". They were dedicated by
the Bishop on 18th January 1976.
The following are to be found on the Notice Board outside
the Vestry. The coloured photograph taken in candlelight by
Mr. Bill Peters, Photographer of Douglas, at the 1973 Festival
of Nine Lessons and Carols on the Sunday after Christmas Day,
was kindly presented by him to the Church. The flower rota
designed, painted and framed by Mrs. Nan Pearce of Stockland,
Devon, was donated by her to the Church. The list of Vicars
was written, designed framed and given to the Church by Mrs.
Ruth Woolley of Santon. The Notice to Visitors was inscribed
and framed by Lady AlIen of Stockland, Devon, and given by
her to St. Sanctain's Church; it reads as follows:
" As you enjoy the peace and quiet of this Church will
you please pray for the peace of the world and the work of
God everywhere and for His Church in this Parish of Santon.
Please remember, too, those who come here, that their lives
and witness may be enriched and that the unity, which Jesus
prayed for, may pervade His Church where ever it is to be found
and that man-made barriers be cast away.
We are delighted you have visited this Church, in which the
sacred influences of the past linger on to minister peace
and inspiration to the spiritual pilgrims of the present.
From this place of sacred and joyful recollection may you
and all who come here go out in the spirit of Christian love
and unity to consolidate and extend the Kingdom of Christ in
this present age."
Music was originally provided by minstrels in the gallery,
which now houses the Organ. They were aided and/or superseded
by a quaint barrel Organ, which can now be seen in the Manx
Museum in Douglas. The present Organ, by Hewitt of Leicester,
was installed towards the end of the last century. It has two
manuals, a tracker action and a straight pedal board. During
the latter part of 1975 it was extensively overhauled, restored,
renovated and re-voiced . At the same time a damp chaser
was installed together with a telltale light indicating
that it is doing its job. Through the kind offices of the Board
of Education and some of our parishioners, a piano, formerly
used at Jurby School, was gratuitously installed in 1976 for
use at Choir practices.
The first robed Choir was formed while the late Rev. E.B.
Gregory, was Vicar. It performed very worthily and faithfully
for a number of years and was a great help in leading worship.
The girls and ladies wore purple gowns and hats, and the boys
black cassocks and white surplices. Time, and the changing
circumstances of life, found the Church in the 1960s without
a regular Choir once more. However, in 1973, a Choir was formed
again and appeared in Church, in new red robes - alike for
adults and children -, for the first time on October 14th,
for Harvest Thanksgiving. Both Choirs were indebted to the
ladies of the Parish for making their robes. The present Choir
is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music. It leads
the singing on Sundays, normally for the 6.30 p.m. evening
In 1719, Bishop Wilson presented to the Church a flagon, two
plates and a cloth, but these regrettably have disappeared.
Vicar-General, John Wilks, visited Santon officially in 1786,
and described a pre-Reformation chalice 'with shallow cup and
slender foot, very curious'. This would now be of considerable
value but its present whereabouts are unknown. These losses
of Church silver are most unfortunate and distressing. If anyone
hears of their whereabouts please tell the Vicar or one of
the Churchwardens. The oldest vessel is a chalice-beaker of
silver, with curved body very unusual and probably unique.
It was hand made in Douglas, by Thomas Appleby, in 1758. It
is inscribed "KK St. Ann 1758 Thos Appleby Fecit Duglis".
The letters 'TA." appear roughly stamped three times and
on each occasion in a rectangular cartouche.
In 1832, on Christmas Day, Mrs. Ann Bacon, widow of John Joseph
Bacon, of Ballavilley, presented to the Church, a very handsome
set of silver sacramental vessels, which are used every
week and bear the letters IHS. the cross and three nails in
glory. Mrs. Bacon was a daughter of the Rev. Joseph Cosnahan,
Vicar of Braddan and a sister of the Rev. Julius Cosnahan,
who followed his father as Vicar of Braddan. Her grandfather
the Rev. John Cosnahan had also been Vicar of Braddan.
There are four Mural Tablets - one on the south wall, to the
memory of F.B. Clucas M.H.K., Advocate, of Meary Voar, who
gave £600, for charitable purposes to the Parish.
Another on the same wall is in memory of John Shimmin, sexton
for 17 years, who died while a prisoner of war in Burma. On
the north wall there is a tablet in memory of John Quayle,
C.P. of Crogga and another to his wife, Emily, who was a member
of the Gawne family, of Kentraugh, Rushen, and sister-in-law
of Mark Hildesley Quayle.
Normally, the Arms of the reigning Sovereign may not be publicly
displayed, without Royal permission, but such permission is
not required for churches in the British Isles. In Santon Church
the Arms on the face of the Gallery purport to be those of
King William IV, who came to the throne in 1830. The letters
W.R., however, may have been put in consequent upon his Succession.
Thus they could be older, being the Arms of his father George
III, or even George II. Extracts from the
accounts that follow mention Arms in 1801 and 1836. They
could not be earlier than 1801 otherwise they would include
the Arms of France. Incidentally in the Arms, the Lion supporter
should be painted gold and not tawny.
The French Monarchs were styled 'Most Christian', the Spanish,
'Catholic' and from 1521 (Henry VIII) the English, 'Defender
of the Faith'. The title 'FID. DEF.' is on all British coins,
except Manx coins. It would be interesting to know (a)
when it was first omitted and (b) why. So far no one has been
able to supply the author with the answers. Perhaps someone
reading this booklet could give them.
In a gift of ecclesiastical benefices, by Edward I, AD.1291,
occurs a reference to the Church. There may be as yet
unrevealed references to St. Sanctain's Church going back
into earlier centuries. The earliest Vicar of whom there is
traceable record was called Dofnold who died about 1291 (see
Rotuli Scotiae). He was succeeded by Odo. A gap then appears
in the records until 1571 apart from the name of Richard in
1408. Possibly either the details have been lost or destroyed,
or the services of the Church could have been maintained by
the monks of Rushen Abbey until the dissolution of that Monastery
Alexander Stevenson 1571 Gilmour Harvey 1865
Edward Baguley 1581 Henry C. White 1877
Robert Moore 1597 Robert Airey 1878
Robert Otter 1608 John Kirkby 1889
William Cosnahan 1614 Richard Jones 1892
Sir John Cosnahan 1618 William Homby 1931
Edward Crowe 1656 Frederick Gelling 1938
John Halstead ----- Edward Jones 1950
Sir Hugh Cosnahan 1667 E. Bertie Gregory 1954
John Cosnahan 1691 David Lumgair 1970
Paul Crebbin 1731 James M. Cotter 1973
Thomas Cubbon 1765 D.C.W. Post 1978
Charles Crebbin 1769 Clifford Bradley 1979 (In plurality KkBraddan)
John Nelson 1818 Roger H Home 1985 (ln plurality KkBraddan)
Thomas Kewley 1827 Geoffrey B Clayton 1988 (In plurality Kk
Samuel Gelling 1835 Christopher Quine 1999 (In plurality Kk
(D.C.W. Post was Priest in Charge March-June 1978. Rev'd.
Christopher Brown from September 1991 and continues as at September
The Rev. Paul Crebbin translated part of the Prayer Book
into Manx. The Rev. Thomas Cubbon translated the Old Testament
Books of Ezra and Neremiah into Manx, while Paul's son, The
Rev. Charles Crebbin translated another Old Testament Book,
Ecclesiastes into Manx.
At Christmas 1776 Mr. and Mrs. Howard Jackson made the beautiful
chandeliers for use in the Chancel at Candlelight services.
In 1977 Mr. and Mrs. L. Woolley and their son Richard gave
additional Communion linen and a white altar cloth trimmed
with hand-crocheted white lace from a cotta of The Rev. Canon
Tom Woolley of Lichfield.
No history of Santon Church would be complete without reference
to the Cosnahan family, which included four Vicars of Santon
and also three Vicars of Braddan, making a total of seven
clergymen, of whom six and their wives are buried under what
is called 'The Great Stone'. This stone covers the Cosnahan
family grave in the Churchyard, near the southwest end of
the Church. The Cosnahan family were descendants of a Scottish
immigrant who appears to have arrived at Peel about 1530.
He had three sons. The Santon branch was derived from his
son, John, whose son, William, was Vicar of Santon from 1614-1618.
Little is known of this Vicar, but his son, Sir John, (Santon's
Vicar from 1618-1656), was a merry old roisterer, who kept
an ale house; pulled the beard of one Nicholas Moore and
erected, (or, possibly, his father did), the Great Stone,
a massive piece of schist, believed to weigh 30 cwt ( See gravestone in Photos section - Ed.). His
brother, William, a man of similar mould and Vicar of the
Parish of German, went through the siege of Peel Castle,
had a daughter Margery, to whom he entrusted his ale-house,
was fined for brawling and bloodshed, and also for using
foul language! His wife was sentenced to 'wear the bridle'
in Peel Churchyard, for slander!
What happened during the Commonwealth period is difficult
to unravel. Nominally, Sir John was Vicar until his death
in 1656 when he was succeeded by Edward Crowe. Then followed
one John Halstead, who was deposed, and Sir Hugh Cosnahan,
who was renowned for his horsemanship and was given the vicarage.
He was the son of Sir John.
The following extracts from records are of interest:
1656: 'Sir John Cosnahan, late Vicar of KK St. Ann, being
Minister in the said Parish, 38 years departed this life
24th of June, and was buried the next day following in ye
yard under the great broad stone, for he left in his last
will that he should be buried there.
1657: 'And likewise, Sir Wm. Cosnahan, his Brother, late
Vicar of KK German, departed this life the 23rd June, and
was buried the day following in the Chancell in his father's
Grave & Sir Tho. Harrison preached his funeral Sermon
and his text was out of the 25th of the first book of the
Kings and the last verse. (There is no such chapter,
he must have meant the 2nd Book of Kings, a plain Historical
simple text enough, but if Sir Thomas's text was taken from
the last Chapter and last verse of the 1st Book of the Kings,
he did not, I fancy, preach much to the Honour of Brother
Sir William "Truly, Sir Thomas, your text would, in
the preventage appear very extraordinary at the head of a
1690: The Rev. John Cosnahan, whilst a Deacon, married Margaret
Moore, on the 2nd December 1690 in St. Patrick's Church in
Peel Town. They had six sons and seven daughters. In 1691
he followed his father, Sir Hugh Cosnahan, who died 2 1/2
months before John's marriage, as Vicar of Santon. When Bishop
Wilson came to the Island, they became close friends. On
the 15th February 1693, 'being Wednesday about 12 o'clock
at night one of their sons, John, was born and was baptised
on Feb. 18th'. John, senior, "died on 14th April, 1724,
aged 56 and was buried on 16th April, 1724 in his father's
and grandfather's grave under the Great Stone in the Yard" at
In June 1717 John, Junior, married Anne Corrin on St. Peter's
Day at Santon Church. He became Vicar of Braddan and Vicar-General.
They had a son, Joseph, and a grandson, Julius, both Vicars
of Braddan. Their granddaughter was Mrs. Ann Bacon of Seafield.
They also had a son, John, who was "born ye 14th July
1720 about 8 in ye morning, and baptised on the 17th after
the ancient and primitive practice of dipping, as prescribed
in ye Rubrick in public baptism".
Another son, Hugh, was 'baptised on 31st December, 1706,
confirmed at KK Malew on 25th March, 1721, and died in the
Island of Jamaica, where he was buried on shore about ye
latter end of January, 1728'.
Other Vicars buried in the Churchyard are, 1. The Rev. Paul
Crebbin, Vicar for 34 years. His widow, Jane, died in 1799;
aged 100 years. He was one of the translators of the Prayer
Book into Manx. 2. His son, Charles, Vicar for 48 years 9
months translated Ecclesiastes into Manx. 3. The Rev. Thomas
Kewley aged 39, Vicar for 7 years, whose gravestone was erected
by Santon Parishioners. 4. The Rev. Samuel Gelling, Vicar
for 30 years. 5. The Rev. Robert Airey, Vicar for 11 years.
6. The Rev. Richard Jones, Vicar for 39 years, and 7. The
Rev. Edward Bertie Gregory, Vicar for 16 years and his wife
Eveline Frederica Gregory both of whom were well loved in
the Parish, and remembered with much affection by Santon
Another gravestone of great interest in the Churchyard is
that of Daniel Tear. He was a tinker and vagrant of Kirk
Andreas, who died in 1787, at the age of 110 years. He is
buried on the north side of the Church and was the oldest
Manxman who ever lived. The headstone epitaph was composed
by Sir Wads worth Busk, Attorney General of the Island and
it reads as follows:
"Here friend is Little Daniel's tomb.
To Joseph's age he did arrive;
Sloth killing thousands in their bloom
While, labour kept poor Dan alive.
How strange, yet true, full seventy years
Was his wife happy in her Tears.
Daniel Tear, died 9th Dec. 1787, aged 110 years".
In 1790, Daniel Tear's wife, Margaret, died aged 98 years.
Near the Cosnahan Great Stone, is the grave of Mrs. Jessica
Cresswell widow of the Rev. John Cresswell. She was a daughter
of a former Lieutenant Governor of the Island, Cornelius
Smelt, who, in 1830, laid the foundation stone of King William's
College. Near the east entrance gate is the large grave of
the Clucas family, whose former home was Meary Voar. A late
Speaker of the House of Keys, - Sir Frederick Clucas is buried
there. Members of the family had been on the staff of Repton
School, and one was a founder master of the school.
Another former Member of the House of Keys, buried in Santon
is Mr. Thomas Kinnish, Senior, of Mullinaragher.
An interesting epitaph on the grave of a man named John
Brew can be seen as one enters the Churchyard by the main
gate. It bears the date 1806 and reads as follows:
"All you travellers that pass by,
As you are now, so once was I;
And as I am, soon you shall be,
In time prepare for Eternity."
Of more recent years, among others buried in the Churchyard,
are Thomas Arthur Bridson, the noted Manx artist, who died
in 1966 at the age of 105. Every year, up to and including
his attaining the age of one hundred, he climbed to the top
of Snaefell mountain on his birthday.
A former Captain of the Parish, His Honour Deemster Bruce
Whyte MacPherson , C.P., whose home was at Crogga, was buried
in the new Churchyard in November 1971. He served the parish
of Santon and the Island loyally, faithfully and well. He
loved St. Sanctain's Church where, with his wife and family,
he was a regular and faithful worshipper. His wife, Dorothy
Clare Gwladys is buried with him. Both were well-loved and
highly respected in the Parish and beyond its bounds.
In 1969 a wealthy English businessman, James Kenneth Wilkie,
was buried here. He was the generous benefactor to a large
number of orphan boys many of whom attended his funeral,
and some still continue to visit his grave. All who were
present at his funeral received a legacy from his estate.
A whole host of other lovable, loving and faithful people
of various occupations, rich and poor, named and unnamed,
remembered and forgotten, have over the centuries found here
their final earthly resting place. A noble throng, which
no man can number, some of the saints of the Church of Christ
in communion with whom succeeding generations are privileged
to join. A faithful line who kept the Church alive in this
Parish, and handed it on, so that today we are honoured to
be part of so great and distinguished a heritage, going back
1500 years. May we, like them in past times, preserve the
faith of Jesus Christ and be honoured and privileged to belong
to that host which no man can number, who are alive with
our Lord, by ourselves handing it on with uplifted, joyful,
loving and hopeful hearts to succeeding generations in a
faithful, loyal and worthy manner.
The black marine plywood Notice Board on the wall on the
north side of the east gate of the Churchyard was very kindly
made for Santon Church by Mr. Stanley Turner of Village Hair
Fashion of Ballasalla. His wife, Mary, also very kindly added
her talents to her husband's by painting on it the inscription
in white and the Celtic cross in red.
Various and widely differing items are recorded in the registers,
some extracts from which follow. Would that more had been
'The north side of the Church was rebuilt anno 1703; the
south side 1715; the Gable and Steeple 1725; so that the
walls of this Church are all new. A new Bell was set up on
April ye 9th 1720. The Steeple of the Church was finished
and the Church enlarged July 29th 1727. The seats were then
regulated by the Wardens with the assistance of 4 Sworn men,
pursuant to the Vicar-General's order. The Steps about ye
Font (were) for the poor people.'
'The watering Place of the Glebe is St. Ann's Well and other
water in the waste ground in the road below and near said
well. This Well in the street before the Vicarial house was
sunk Anno 1775, being a remarkably dry summer. The depth
thereof is about 16 feet, thirteen of which goes into a very
hard quarry, so that the most squeamish Dame need not doubt
the purity of the water.'
An estimate of 1785 reads: 'John Cane proposals for making
or fixing and compleating the Gallery of the Church in a
neat and complete form - to winscoting the front and
the back of the front seat, wincot as the seats below & the
remainder of the seats with a single back, with a firm and
finished stairs, together with the 4 side windows & he
gives in this proposal as his expence for work and all
complete for the sum of £17.10. - or otherwise, if
the Church to have all the back seats winscoted like the
seats below. He offers to do the same in that fassion or
form for the sum of £20. He also offers to sea1e the
same if required for £2. '
October 3rd 1813, 'Mrs. B. of Mill ne Quinne complained
to me that J.M. keepeth riotous house giving drink to people
and fighting in time of Divine Service this day, and this
the Miller's wife also knoweth T.B., Warden.'
'At a visitation holden at St. Anne, August 27th, 1841 by
the Venerable Archdeacon Hall,' he ordered that 'the Chancel
Door be repaired & painted wood removed from window sills & cemented.
That Churchyard gate be painted & wall repaired. Roof
be pointed & wall which lets in water to be cemented.
Church (West) door mended & painted. That the pillars
supporting Tombstone at West Entrance of Church be removed & the
stone placed in the ground. The Archdeacon regrets to be
obliged to report that the 4 Church wardens were so neglectful
of their duty as not to attend at his visitation. He ordered
that a new surplice be provided; an English Prayer Book for
Communion Service & the large English Prayer Book mended.'
It is stated in two different places that 'one of the above
4 Church wardens on the 17th October 1841 placed a box with
two locks in the Church to lock up the wine & from that
day, as long as he was in office, (up to 24th May 1842,)
deprived the Vicar of the whole of the Sacramental wine.
He had a man in Church to see that ye Vicar took no more
than he (the Churchwarden concerned) allowed the Vicar to
take. But the new Wardens removed the box as soon as they
came into office, and restored the wine as formerly. This
he did in addition to depriving the Vicar of two-thirds of
the tithe of Ballachrink and Ballakissage . The whole
of his conduct has proved him to be diametrically the reverse
of a truth telling or honourable dealing man, and yet this
man professing pre-eminent holiness.'
There was a visitation 'by the Bishop and Archdeacon on
18th April 1856 which directed that the Font be restored
to the Church; the windows of the Church and School be painted;
matting be laid down in the Aisle; West Door of the Church
be repaired; Chancel Windows and Doors be painted; a drain
on the South side be constructed to carry off the water.'
At a Vestry meeting on 24th July 1856, to consider these
orders, 'Resolved that the Font be restored to the West end
of the Church-namely into the two seats at the North - west
side of the Church adjoining the West Gable'. 'Resolved that
a new matting be purchased and laid down in the Aisle.' 'Re
the proposed drain on the south side, the Vestry considered
this order not practicable.' Why, is not recorded.
1867. 'Special Vestry Meeting to consider exchange of piece
of land in lieu of the Clerk's Glebe - part of Collister's
Croft. Above convened in case it should be thought advisable
to build the new Vicarage on the Clerk's Glebe. It was then
decided to use part of Collister's Croft which was bought
for the purpose.'
1869. 'Committee of Tynwald Court commended this Parish
for the way the Churchyard was kept, and also for the neat
and clean appearance of the Church, saying it was one of
the neatest and nicest kept in the Island.'
1869. 'The new Vicarage was taken possession of. The old
Vicarage let to a respectable tenant at a nominal rent (£5)
on condition that he does repairs. Out buildings of old Vicarage
in very bad repair.'
1872. 'Visitation. Church & Vicarage are to be insured,
the former at the cost of the parishioners. 'From 1704 to
1838 deaths were recorded from Smallpox. The heaviest years
being in 1704, 1713 & 1772, when 16, 22 & 16 respectively
died from Smallpox alone.
Other recorded causes of death include scarletina, shooting,
cholera, burning by fire, drowning, shipwreck, 'chin-cough',
fever, child-bed, kick from a horse and falling from the
Occupations and descriptions of people whose deaths are
recorded in the parish registers include porter, pensioner,
publican, member of H.M. Forces, sailor, Member of the House
of Keys, sumner, mariner Captain of the Parish; Speaker of
the House of Keys, Deemster, schoolmaster, hatter, servant,
tinker, clergy, tailor, pauper, beggar, idiot, lunatic, the
unidentified and the illegitimate.
The age range stretches from one day, to the oldest Manxman
who ever lived, (Daniel Tear) and who died aged 110 years.
1728 'Karther (Bridson) wife of Robt. Brew, of Ballaquackin,
who was shot in her Bed by a Gun that accidentally hung over
her where she lay, dy'd on Wednesday at night being ye 26
and was buried Feb. 28th.
1731. December 12. 'This day Mr. Joseph Fisher, John Rodgers
and Patrick Quinn, from Drogheda, together with three other
Irishmen were buried in this Churchyard who perished in a
boat at Sossrick ye 9th inst. by unfortunately quitting
their ship wh. rid out safely and was after 2 days brought
to Douglas. The six men were lodged 2 nights at Balla-ny-how,
had all of 'em Coffins according to order of Government and
were decently interred ead dio ut supra'.
1759. 'Wm. Christian, junr. of Meary Veg, on Friday, the
23rd November, coming home from Ballaquackin, in a dark rainy
night, in company with John Quiney, junr. of Ballacrine,
about 10 a clock, met Mr. Edw. Christian of Lewaige, of KK
Maughold, on horseback, who had been at Castletown, & said
Christian & Quiney desiring sd. Mr. Christian to give
them a cart over the River of Quiney's Miln, he first took
behind him sd. Wm. Christian; But by the violence of the
Current, there being great Flood in the River by the Rain,
which fell that Evening, and ye Night being very dark, they
were carried off Horseback, and both perished; Mr. Christian
was not found till Sunday morning he being covered by a Quantity
of Sea Wrack in the Burn toot of KK St. Ann; Wm. Christian
was found Saturday morning, near a Rock called the Cregg-wee,
at sd. Burn foot and was bury'd Sunday Evening... 25th.'
1787 'Dec. 11th Daniel Tear (aged 111)' (N.B. Headstone
1790 'Dec. 5th Margt Tear (aged 98)' (she was wife of Danl.
1794 'Wm. Oates, buried Nov. 26th'
1795 'Eunice Anne Gates, alias Murray, widow of the above
Wm. Gates, Esq. was married to Thos. Christian, Esq. by special
Licence in her own house at Ronaldsway, the second of February,
in the night.'
1820 'Henry Quayle was returning from Quinney's Miln with
some meal for his family on the evening of the 8th Sept.
had put the meal into his own house at B. Howin and went
out to put bye the horse, when finding the cart probably
overturned and attempting to extricate the horse without
assistance was killed on the spot and found a few minutes
afterwards by his own son.'
1822. 'Elizabeth Morrison 99 years 11 months buried May
1837. Reveals a great tragedy
'Samuel Taggart aged 20 years buried Feb. 16th
aged 15 years, buried Feb. 17th
aged 23 years, buried Feb. 17th;
Taggart, aged 17 years, buried Feb. 17th;
Taggart, aged 13 years and Richard Taggart aged 20 months,
buried Feb. 21st
Jane Taggart, aged 4 years, buried
The above 7 children of Samuel Taggart, clerk of this parish,
all of whom died of scarletina.'
Also in 1837 'Emma, Eliza and Mary Stewart, children of
Major Stewart of the respective ages of 6 years, 41/2 years
and 1 month, buried May 5th'.
1846 'William Kinley Esq. aged 48 years from Peel,
of Balladoo and Ballahowin, in this parish, and a member
of the House of Keys, died the 13th and was interred the
1850 'A student of King Wms. College, of the name of Robert
Woodhouse, son of an English Clergyman, in Nottingham, (aged
16 years) in company with two other collegians, going in
search of a jackdaw's nest in a cave, called "Gullet
ny Ghow", near Port Saltrick, in this parish, fell from
the top of the rock and was killed, May 22nd - Interred May
1937 'Sir George Frederick Clucas, of Cronkbourne, Braddan,
Speaker of the House of Keys, aged 67, buried by the Bishop
of Sodor and Man, Nov.15th.'
In the years before the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
was founded, there were fatalities from shipwreck along the
coast of the parish. Sailors and passengers from ships in
1717; 1772; the great Storm of 1787; 1811; 1817; 1837 and
1838 were drowned and lie buried in the Churchyard.
In the Parish registers there are several instances of people
being married "from ye sheet to ye ring!!"
Among many other items the following are of interest, especially
in these days of almost non-stop inflationary tendencies.
1774 Funeral Charges: 'To Ale & Brandy 9/8: To Coffin
6/-; To making ye grave 1/-; To ye Parson of Kirk Malew 9d;
To Kirk Santan Minister _ Clerk 1/8; To carrying ye Bier
5d; To Making ye Will & payment for registering it 1/-:
Total £1 - 6d.
1788 To cash paid to Silvester Fargher. Masson. for painting
ye Church 12/6 To washing at Esther (Easter) 1/2. To a cord
for ye Bell 2/2 1/2
To ye trouble for getting ye cord - 8d.
1796 To making the seats for the Body of the Church all
To the whole of Peter Fargher's (Joiner) Bill £ 18/8/-;
To the whole of Mr. Forbes' Bill for Timber etc. £7.4.10:
To Mr. Leece's Bill £2/8/11: To Corlett's Bill for
hinges & 500 nails £1.2/2 ; To the whole
of the Warden's disbursements £7/16/8.
1801 To 3 noted fasts for the Cut of Arms 1/6: For putting
Cut of Arms 1/6: For one of the Gleasers Diet, 7 days 7/-;
To fire and room to work in 3/-. To Bringing Sann 1/-:
For attending at the Church 5 days 5/=: Paid for 3 Barrals
1802 To a Roap for the Bell 3/1 1/2
To Captain John Clucas, towards repairing the Parrish pinfold
doore and erecting new pillers £1/1/-
1803 To soldering the tanker 6d
1808 To half a quire of paper 6d; To a new Chandelier £1
- . -.
1810 To a pair of snuffers 6d.
1818 Paid Norris Clague for a new Key for the Church & Repair
of lock 3/6
1834 To Henry Karran for Glazing 11 squares of Glass at
2d per square 1/10
To Glazing the old windows @ 4d. 3/8
To Painting 11 Windows @ 9d. 8/3
To Painting Doors 6d
To 11/2 days each for Thos. Clague and Son for Church 6/
To Lathes and Nails for Church 7d
To 2-lb Putty @ 6d. 1/
1835 To 1 Book for Baptisms £1/10/-
To roughcasting the Church, whitewashing the Church
inside and Churchyard fence & repairing the rendering £7/7/6
To cleaning the Church (for one year) 13/=
To dressing the same on Christmas 2/=
To 1 gallon of boiled oil and carriage 4/6
To 1-lb Lampblack 9d; 3-lb White paint 1/6 2/3
To a Bier 6/10
1836 To the Kings Arms & putting up & carriage £3/9/6
To 4lb candles & carriage 3/=
To whitewashing the Church £2/-/-
To a new English Bible £1/5/1
1840 To pillars to support gallery £3/15/3
To carriage of pillars 5/=
To Mr. Creer for setting pillars 2/6
To paint and oil for ditto 1/=
To new key for Bell door 2/6
1845 For the sufferers from Quebec fires £2/10 /-
1846 For the sufferers by fire at Newfoundland £1/6/6
1847- For the distressed Irish £2/12/=
1847 The 24th March was a Fast Day for the failure of the
1848 Bread 4/= and wine 16 bottles (@1/9 each) & Carriage
2 advertisements in 2 of the Insular Newspapers for
The 19th November was a Thanksgiving Day for abundant fishery.
1849 To New Register of Burials 9/=
The 15th November was a Thanksgiving Day for the removal
1850 To Coffin (Inflation ? see 1774) 10/=
1854 The 26th April was a Fast Day on account of ye War
1855 The 21st March was a General Fast Day because of ye
War with Russia.
The 17th May - Ascension Day - 135 members marched.
A clock purchased for School £4/5/=
1856 A new bell for ye Church bought £12/16/5
Matting for Church laid down £2/18/6
1857 New Font put up in Church £3/8/-
New door for inside of Church & frame etc. & New
for Font. Weight for Font lid, etc. (£1.0.5.) Repairing
school seats. Painting School House windows and doors £8/-/11/2
1868 New West door, etc. £2/8/-
5-lb. lawn grass seed for new Churchyard £1/7/6
1873 Insurance of Church for £500 (First record of
of an insurance premium) 11/2
1875 Lighting and attending fire for warming Church £1.-.-
1876 3rd December, Received from Mr. Bridson of Ballaquiggin
for the Poor, being amount of Fine from Boys who had robbed
his Orchard £1/15/-
1877 20th October. To Indian Famine Fund £4/4/1
Robert Gelling of Douglas, for painting, gilding
and Lettering 4 scrolls for Church walls £2/16/
1889 By Miss Airey - Railway expenses from and to Castletown
and play the Organ in Church and to practice Choir for Sept
1894 A. Creer, for ringing bell (12 months) 10/-
1934 9th July. The Church roof was taken off and a temporary
roof put on
30th Dec. Very large funeral in afternoon - as usual spoilt
1935 6th January, Part of ceiling fell during Service
14th January. The Church ceiling was dangerous and was taken
out. Church shut for one Sunday.
1936 26th January - National Mourning for King George V
- Very poor Congregations.
1951 During August Church interior walls have been cleaned
off and coloured. Window casements painted, also sanctuary
door and metal work. Moulding to East wall. Church floor
scrubbed and all woodwork washed. Much unwanted litter removed.
The whole done by voluntary labour.
1951 16th December, 2.30 p.m. Dedication of the Baptistry & Vestry
by the Lord Bishop.
1952 6th February, Wednesday, Announcement made. "The
King died during the early hours of this morning, during
1952 12th February, Tuesday, 11 a.m. Proclamation of Accession
of Queen Elizabeth II at Court of Tynwald.
1952 1st April Tuesday. East Window Removal. Old Window
frame removed and new frame fitted. New Window completed.
Photograph in colour to Her Majesty the Queen.
1952 6th April, 3 p.m. Dedication Service of new East Window.
1982 28th November. Lt. Governor Sir Nigel Cecil and Lady
Cecil attended Advent Sunday Service.
1992 23rd July. Lt. Governor Sir Lawrence Jones and Lady
1995 7th May. Bells rung for 5 minutes to celebrate 50th
Anniversary of V.E. Day.
THE METHODIST CHURCHES
There are two Methodist Churches in the Parish, the one
a little way above the Port Grenaugh turning on the old Castletown
Road, and the other on the new Castletown Road at Newtown.
The former is known as the Santon Methodist Memorial Chapel
and prior to Methodist Union in 1932 it was the Santon Wesleyan
Memorial Chapel. In 1867 Miss Esther Jane Clucas provided
the money for it to be built and endowed, in memory of her
brother Frederic Brew Clucas who died in 1865. He was an
Advocate who practiced in Ramsey, and who, at the time of
his death, was a member of the House of Keys. During his
lifetime he had spent some years in Africa, where he contracted
a serious illness and, it is understood, had his life saved
by some Methodist Medical Missionaries. As a mark of her
gratitude to the Methodist people Miss Clucas built and endowed
Next door is the original Chapel, built in 1810. It was
known as Ballakelly Wesleyan Chapel. It became the Sunday
School and Hall, until it was sold in 1965. The present building
has known many great occasions, and services are still held
there regularly. In addition, the Parish Sunday School which
is an interdenominational School, meets there every Sunday,
except during school holidays. This Chapel forms part of
the Castletown Methodist Circuit.
(As with many places of worship in the British Isles, by 2010 both Chapels had been closed and are now private dwellings.
St. Sanctain's has its own Sunday School at the time of writing - Ed.)
The latter started when a Methodist Society was formed in
Newtown in 1826. The following year a small Chapel was built
and formed part of the Primitive Methodist tradition. Newtown
has always been in the Douglas Circuit and, with Methodist
Union in 1932, became part of the Methodist Church then formed.
The 1827 Chapel was rebuilt in 1885, when a small cottage
behind the Chapel was bought by the Trustees and incorporated
into the new enlarged premises, which exist today. During
the rebuilding the Services were held at the home of Col.
John Murray of Mount Murray House, Santon. Oil lamps illuminated
the Chapel until 1929 when electricity was installed. It
was one of the first Chapels on the Island to have electric
light and power. In 1907 the Trustees decided to have central
heating installed, with a coke fired boiler and cast iron
pipes throughout, by Todhunter & Elliot at a total cost
of £107, which was defrayed by one effort - a Bazaar in
the same year. For years from the early part of the 20th
century a Christmas Night Concert was held in the Schoolroom,
which on those occasions was always filled to capacity. A
Douglas Concert Party used to come out to provide entertainment,
and a local pony and float brought the piano from Douglas
at a hire charge for the piano of 5/= (25p). The evenings
started with a Christmas Night Tea at 7 p.m., the children
being served first. The meal was finished and cleared away
by 10 p.m., when the Concert commenced and always went on
until the early hours of Boxing Day. Catering in those days
was very reasonable judged on present day standards, for
a party of 150 strong had their Christmas Tea and Refreshments
for a total sum of £3.16.1d.
It was during the Second World War that these Christmas
celebrations ceased. "Like the Memorial Chapel, Newtown
has experienced many great occasions and services are held
there every Sunday.
Most Chapels and Churches today suffer from smaller congregations
than in previous years but at some time or other during the
year should you be present, you would find both these Methodist
Chapels and the Parish Church filled with people of all ages
offering praise and thanksgiving to God. At such times you
would be privileged to see the Manx Country people cheek
by jowl with those who have made their home on this beautiful
Island, together, in harmony, demonstrating their faith in
our Lord. Therein lies the strength of a Parish.
There is in Santon a very warm and friendly association
between the Methodist and Anglican people in which they share
together their worship to Almighty God on both happy and
sad occasions. This Ecumenical Spirit is growing and it is
hoped will continue to develop and deepen and keep our parishioners
SANTON WAR MEMORIAL
Santon War Memorial to the two World Wars 1914-1918 and
1939-1945, stood for fifty odd years, following the first
of these two Great Wars, at the corner of the Ballavale side
of Station Road and the New Castletown Road, which today
takes most of the traffic south to Ronaldsway Airport and
However, the demands of modem traffic escalation, with its
increase in speed and noise, had made it virtually impossible
over a good number of years to hold a Remembrance Sunday
Service around the Memorial. Further more, these demands
had also caused the Isle of Man Highway Board to consider
seriously the state of this main Douglas to Castletown road
with the result that their future plans made it necessary
for a new home to be found for the Memorial
After long and amicable negotiations, and consultations,
at all levels, the Parish as a whole, at a Parish Meeting
in 1975, called by the Captain of the Parish, finally decided
that the Memorial should be re-sited adjacent to the new
Parish Churchyard beyond St. Sanctain's Church. There it
now stands sentinel in a setting of tranquility, peacefulness
and beauty, facing the morning sun and overlooking fields,
cliffs and the sea, a fitting memorial to those who paid
the supreme sacrifice so that we could live free from terror,
sleep peacefully, and enjoy living in freedom. The long range
of hills behind (to the west) can be seen stretching
from Bradda Head towards Snaefell and only enhance further
the beauty of the setting.
The careful and expert attention given to the preparation
and construction of this new site is a lasting tribute to
the loving skill and devoted work of the Staff of the Highway
Board, and all involved, at all levels, in the successful
completion of this complicated operation.
The Memorial was re-dedicated in its new position in the
late afternoon of Friday, 17th October, 1975, by the Right
Reverend Vernon S. Nicholls, the Lord Bishop of Sodor and
Man in the course of a short Service in which the Rev. Harold
Hughes, the Chairman of the Methodist District also took
part, before a congregation of over sixty, who were led to
the site from St. Sanctain's Church by sixteen members of
the Choir. Three forward-looking and wise Headmasters
and equally wise parents kindly co-operated in arranging
for the children in the Choir to be there at the time, when
another part of the history of Santon Parish was being created
in their life time, and before their eyes.
Until recently the Roll of Honour existed only on an
illuminated paper scroll within St. Sanctain's and in 2004
the Commissioners paid ( from the rates ) for the names
of the fallen to be inscribed in a fitting manner on the
war memorial itself. -Ed.
Santon was designated one of the sixteen ancient Parishes
of the Island in the middle of the 12th century. Its northern
part became detached and formed the Parish of Marown, during
the Middle Ages. From that time the ancient Parishes were
said to be seventeen in number.
There is a Captain of the Parish in each of the seventeen
ancient Parishes. He must always be either a native of, or
resident in, the Parish to which this purely. Manx appointment
relates. Formerly his duties included the supervision
of the "Watch and Ward", which was brought to Mann
by the Norwegians, when the Sheading became the unit
of military organisation, under the command of the Moar,
who was later called the Coroner.
The Captain of the Parish had to command, train and discipline
a militia company of all the able-bodied men in his Parish,
between the ages of sixteen and sixty, except the Moars,
Customs Officers and the principal smiths and millers. Four
men were constantly on Day Watch from sunrise to sunset and
another four on Night Watch. Each week fifty-six men in each
Parish served on rota, by passing from house to house, the
Mustering Cross, which was a wooden sword in the form of
Watch points were on the sites of the ancient Christian
Keeills and Norwegian burial grounds, from which wide
views were obtained over the sea and the surrounding land.
Night watches were usually kept on the shore, near to the
best landing places in the Parish.
Today the Captain of the Parish has to attend the annual
Tynwald Court on July 5th, but no longer escorted by his
four horsemen as of old. He attends a Licensing Selection
Board, for at one time he had to control the number of ale
houses in his Parish, and see, when harvests were poor, that
too much barley did not go into the maltings as was the common
failing. He is still the Captain of the Militia, the Queller
of Riots and the Keeper of the Queen's Peace. He acts as,
or appoints someone else to be, Chairman of all political
meetings, and calls occasional public meetings relating to
matters of social interest or controversy, on receipt of
a request in writing, from at least twelve parishioners,
whose names are on the Parish Electoral Roll. He presides
at public functions, such as the celebration of the crowning
of a new Monarch, and when the Lieutenant Governor visits
The ancient and honourable office of Parish Clerk ranked
next to that of the Vicar and the Captain of the Parish.
He had to be a person of good character and considerable
education. Each Parish had the right to choose their Clerk,
subject to the Bishop's consent. The Clerk farmed his Glebe,
and received, "one groat for every plough that plows
three furrows within the year." People who had no ploughs,
but "kept smoak, paid him a levy of 1d. per annum on
every fireplace." After their just debts had been paid,
he received "XXId. and the clothes of every man and
XVIId. for every woman, who died in the Parish." In
the 17th century it was his duty to ring the bells in good
time, to attend the Vicar, to robe him for service, to accompany
him on visitations of the sick, the Burial of the Dead, the
Baptism of children and other business of the Parish. He
took care of the vestments and the Church vessels, cut the
Bread for Holy Communion, saw that the Baptismal Font was
filled with water, led the processions at funerals, carried
the service books and did other useful jobs now done by a
Server. He also led the Congregational responses and read
the Psalms, line by line, in Manx, the Congregation then
singing the line with him. In Santon, as late as 1798, there
were great complaints of the Clerk's failure to follow
this practice. The Clerk's wand ended in a gilt orb, crown
and spearhead, with which he would waken those who fell asleep
during the sermon.
The Parish Fair used to be held annually in Santon on, it
is said, May 26th. St. Sanctain's Day is believed to have
been May 20th. The Fair was the time when new servants were
hired for the year, previous appointments renewed and sweetmeats
and gingerbread fairings sold. These revels, with their games
and amusements, going back to the days of pagan ways, were
often spoken about by the participants, to whom they stood
out as grand occasions and landmarks in their lives. The
passing of these Fairs in the mid 19th century found them
replaced by the field day or walking day of the local Benevolent
Society or Club.
Happenings in Parish life of bygone days, include the following:
John Moore, of Knock-y-Loughan, the Captain of the Parish
of Santon, was in 1644, with the other Captains, summoned
to Castletown by James, the 7th Earl of Derby, to take a
fresh Oath of Obedience to the Lord of the Isle, during the
troublous days of the Civil War.
In 1647, the famous Illiam Dhone, (William Christian), owner
of Ronaldsway, disputed with Christopher Kennish, of
Arragon Beg, the boundary by the Santon burn. Illiam attempted
to walk on the Arragon side and refused to go back when challenged
by Christopher. He marched down the east side of the burn,
to a rock with a hole in it. There witnesses' affidavits
were taken and at the holed rock, marking the boundary of
Santon and Malew, Illiam won the day.
When William Christian was arrested in September, 1662,
Charles, the Earl of Derby, in order to make unanimous the
decision of the Deemster and House of Keys, that, by refusing
to appear in Court, William was at the mercy of the Lord
of Mann for his life and goods, dismissed seven members of
the House of Keys and filled their places with his own nominees
of whom John Moore, of Balnehow was one. After, in two Courts,
Illiam had twice, in each Court, been found not guilty, and
these decisions had been refused by the Earl, the Deemsters
on December 31st, pronounced sentence of death by shooting.
This the Earl had hurried into effect on January 2nd, 1663,
at Hango Hill, so that the King's pardon would arrive too
late, - which it did. Illiam was mourned by the Manx as a
patriot, who had been executed on their behalf, and his name
is still revered.
In the 17th century, the width of a track was decided by
the kind of traffic permitted to use it. One in Santon "starting
at Kiondroghad and going by the top of the hedge at Ballaquaggin,
was one of such breadth that Quaye of Ballacregga might lawfully
pass with a boll of corn on horse-back."
In return "Quaye had to keep the way in repair and
provide any necessary shutts or gates."
One evening, in 1678, Philip Brew, of Santon, was going
home, when he was overtaken by a friend, who, in greeting
him with an affectionate slap on the shoulder, caused him
to stumble on the uneven path, lose his footing and break
his leg. When the surgeon enquired how it had occurred, Brew
declared that it had taken place when he was alone. His doctor,
Doctor Morgan, apparently doubted the truth of this
story, but although dying, Brew insisted that he himself
was solely responsible.
Now and then an unscrupulous witness tried to ease his fears
of the supernatural consequences of perjury and disobedience
of the 9th Commandment, by pretending to tell the truth.
In 1680, C. owned a farm on Santon burn. He claimed a claddagh
or meadow on the Malew side, which he said was part of Santon
and duly walking before the Great Enquest (Court), swore
that, in tracing the boundary of the claddagh, he had been
walking on Santon soil. He was granted the meadow, but after
his death, 40 years later, it was revealed that he had put
Santon soil in his shoes, and so, in his perambulation before
the Jury, was literally standing on the earth of Santon!
Stories of Manx charms are told - one of which is revealed
by the request in 1690 of a Santon farmer to the Vicar, the
Rev. Sir Hugh Cosnahan, for "the libertie to tie some
of his sister-in-law's haire to the steeple of the Church,
above the bell, to cure her of the falling evil, this to
be done three Sundays before sunrise, - it being a charm
given him by a wise woman of Ballasalla".
Before the Industrial Revolution, the provisioning of towns
created difficult problems. The Manx Government directed
that farmers should take their produce to a named town. Those
in Santon, Rushen, Arbory, Malew Marown and Patrick were
forbidden to sell their goods at any Market other than Castletown.
In the first half of the 18th century an Ensign was sent
by the Captain of Douglas to the South-side to arrest a deserter.
With a file of soldiers, he took the wanted man into custody
and made for Douglas. As they came to Santon night fell accompanied
by violent wind and rain. so they took refuge in a cottage.
The Ensign approached the glowing turf fire to dry and warm
himself, and the escort momentarily took their eyes off their
prisoner. There was the sound of a door opening and closing,
and he had vanished into the storm and blackness of the night.
Eventually he escaped to Scotland.
In 1733 the Braddan and Santon boundary was in dispute.
The Crogga stream was called Awin Argid - the Silverburn
- and John Kneale, "a very ancient man", who was
known locally as the "Bishop of Santon", accompanied
his views with a story of buried treasure. The boundary followed
the stream to its source on the side of the Ashole or Anjole,
now called the Mount. John Moore of Ballnahowe told how,
when a boy, he had taken part in a Parish walk of the boundary,
but was not sure of it at the north end, for near Ashole
he went with other lads to look for a lane, and so did not
see the end of the walk. For this, he and his companions
had been admonished by the Vicar, the Rev. John Cosnahan.
There have been schools in the Isle of Man since before
the 13th century. The teachers were priests and the education
was mainly for those who intended to become priests. In the
16th century Sir Thomas Fairfax noted that the clergy "are
generally natives and have had the whole of their education
in the island". Petty Schools, taught by laymen, and
Parochial Schools, taught by parish clergy, were in existence
in the first half of the 17th century. Manx was almost certainly
the language of instruction, though there was at that time
no printed Manx. It was Bishop Barrow (1663-1671) who decided
that English should be the medium for instruction. He regained
the tithes lost to the Church at the time of the Reformation
and was such a mighty fund-raiser that by the end of the
1600's an Elementary School had been established in every
parish on the Island. Education for "eldest sonnes" was
made compulsory by Lord Derby in 1672, and for all children
by Bishop Wilson, Tynwald and Lord Derby in 1703. However,
there was a great decline in the Church's influence on politics
and many schools closed.
It is not known when a school was first opened in Santon
but it is on record that, when the present school opened
in 1852, the old building - which now is part of "Thorncroft" on
the main Castle town to Douglas road - was sold for £101.
The present school and Schoolmaster's House were built following
a joint visit from the Bishop and a Schools Inspector. The
land, part of Ballakissack, was bought for £50 on 28th
February 1848. It was, of course, a "Church" School.
In 1851 Tynwald gave to local vestries the power to levy
rates for the support of parochial and other schools and
in July of that year the contract for building the present
school was made with Charles Moore for £316.10s.0d.
In the end the total costs came to approximately £430.
This was met in various ways. The old School was sold to
John Kissack, grants were received from the Government of £100
and from the National Society for £30. Many parishioners
sent subscriptions as well as Queen Victoria, the Lieutenant
Governor, the Lord Bishops Eden and Powys, the Archdeacon,
six other Clergy, and members of the Bacon and Murray families.
The foundations were laid on the 10th July, 1851, and
the work was finished on the 25th March, 1852 - 20 years
before the Public Elementary Education Act introduced the
era of State Education.
At that time, perhaps in a moment of pique the then Incumbent
of Santon recorded the following: "I regret to have
to record that whereas, in the month of March 1852, I offered
on the playground, before the Wardens and several of the
parishioners, to plant the copse with forest trees at my
own expense, they were so blind to their own interests, and
stood so much in their own light, that they would not allow
it to be done."
The word "parochial" was dropped from the name
of the School on 18th January, 1924.
The School has remained open to the present day. Amongst
its records is found a reference to there being accommodation
at one time for 93 scholars - presumably all tightly crammed
into rows of desks. The lowest recorded number on role was
19 in 1963.
During the two World Wars the school did its part successfully
by numerous efforts in supplying comforts for the armed
forces by means of cash and kind. On the 9th December, 1915,
the following was written: "The Isle of Man stands,
in proportion to population, the second best for recruiting
in the British Isles, and this week, the last of Lord Derby's
schemes, witnesses quite a remarkable exodus from Santon
to the Recruiting Office. The failure of the Visiting Industry,
the unusual depopulation, the disturbance of war's wild alarms,
the twinge of winter's icy fang, all these are no aids to
those who would climb the educational ladder, particularly
if chill penury repress their noble rage, and freeze the
genial current of their soul." The children gathered
Sphagnum Moss, Foxglove leaves, Coltsfoot seeds, Blackberries
Rose Hips, etc. They also helped with cash collections in
aid of the war effort.
For many years there were four terms in the twelve months
and all but one of the holidays that separated these were
movable feasts. Easter Holidays seemed to vary between two
school days and seven school days. Turnip Weeding Holiday
- the timing of which must have depended on the weather for
its dates vary considerably from year to year, - was of two
weeks. Harvest Holiday - which also varied - was of four
weeks duration and the Christmas Holidays - a constant source
of discontent - varied from one day to a fortnight.
Interspersed amongst these periods fixed by the School Board,
there was a liberal smattering of one-day holidays. They
have always been given for various Royal occasions, such
as Weddings, Funerals, Births and visits to the Island. Other
happenings brought holidays including Sunday School Picnics
and the T.T. Races. Harvest Thanksgiving was also a movable
feast anywhere between the 1st October and the 6th November.
The last reference to holidays for Sunday School Picnics
was in 1944. The first whole week's holiday for the races
occurred in 1952 and has applied ever since.
If attendances were low, or if "The Master" could
justify his absence from school for any of many reasons,
the School was closed.
For many years the scholars on the Register altered after
the 12th November. On that day annually the Great Hollantide
Hiring Fair of the Island was held, when men were hired to
work, mainly on farms, for the coming 12 months. In 1915
the Headmaster stated "At this period we usually suffer
through migration, much inconvenience and disturbance of
studies, as several of our best children remove, and some
new children come to enter on a new Syllabus adding considerably
to the Teacher's and the individuals work."
On the 5th October 1920, all the Teachers in the Isle of
Man sent in their resignations on the advice of the National
Union of Teachers because of the general refusal of the School
Boards to accept the Burnham Scale of salaries. It would
seem that the dispute was quickly settled, as there were
no changes in staff at Santon.
Travelling to School from the outlying districts was alleviated
when, on the 19th May 1927, the country villages were supplied,
for the first time, with a Bus service to and from Douglas.
During the Second World War the children commenced bringing
their Gas Masks to School each day from the 31 st . March
Up until the 19th October 1942, lighting had been by means
of oil lamps. However, on that day Electric Light and Power
were installed and put in use in the school.
Moving into the next decade we find Hot School Dinners being
served from the 12th June 1950. The following year, on the
4th September, mains water supply was connected up and in
September 1952, a hot water system and bathroom were installed
in the Schoolhouse for the first time. Previously water had
been supplied to both the School and School House by means
of pumps from wells. While the well water was pure and wholesome,
there were periods in some years when, owing to the dry conditions
prevailing, the wells refused to yield water. On such occasions
water had to be carried daily for up to six weeks or more,
from neighbouring farms and houses. A Fire Extinguisher was
installed for the first time on the 24th March 1955.
The entrance on the main Castletown - Douglas road at the
foot of the School lane appears for over 55 years to have
been a source of danger to the children from passing traffic.
It is still today.
To the School building another Cloakroom was added in September
1936 giving direct access through it from the Infants' Classroom
to the outside for the first time. Since 1969 the Infants'
Class has had the use of a very good Mobile Classroom. This
has left their old room available as a combined Office, Rest
Room. Staff Room, etc. A new toilet block was added at the
back of the School in 1973. This is a big improvement and
appreciated by both Staff and Scholars
The nineteen sixties saw the School windows modernised with
the installation of the two big ones, facing south,
on the 12th September 1966. On the same date a further step
into modernity occurred when a telephone was connected up
at the School. Although the cable connecting the Island with
England arrived on Santon shores on the 6th June, 1929, it
took over 37 years for the School to be linked up by telephone
with the rest of the Island and beyond.
After the Second World War, when the Coastal Minesweeper
H.M.S. Santon was sold to the Peruvian Navy, the Parish was
given the opportunity of safe guarding the ship's bell. On
the 19th October 1967, it was presented to the Parish by
the Royal Navy and has been housed for safe-keeping, on behalf
of the Parish, at the School ever since.
(The bell is now in the care of the Vicar and Churchwardens of St.
Sanctain's Parish Church - Ed.)
In December 1973, the School became an official Rainfall
Station sending daily, monthly and yearly totals to Bracknell
Over the years the School has received visits from many
distinguished people, all of whom have expressed a keen interest
in what was being taught. Such an occasion on the 2nd July,
1956, will always be remembered by the children of that time,
for through the doors came fifteen Northern Nigerian Native
Officials all wearing their colourful native costume. Among
them was an Emir, several Chiefs, and a number of District
Heads. They all moved about freely among the children looking
at their work, books and apparatus. They showed a keen interest
in all the children's activities and there were, as one would
expect, several amusing incidents. The whole school gave
a short display of Folk Dancing, much to the delight of the
Nigerians. The Chief of Kagora thanked the children on behalf
of the party and concluded with the words "God bless
The School has, from early days, found a place for music
in its curriculum and when the massed Children's Choir of
up to one thousand strong used to sing each year at the Manx
Music Festival, Santon School normally had its representatives
in it. Today violin lessons are available and the School
has a Choir whose members take part in the Island's Music
Festival during Guild Week. They are noted for being the
keenest supporters of the various local Eisteddfods.
Due, not only to the efforts of the Board of Education and
the Teachers, but also to the fund-raising efforts of the
parents of the children, the School is one of the best equipped
on the Island.
(The school was closed for the education of children
on 31st. December 1986 but continues as a training centre
for teachers. This action by the Department of Education
was felt at the time to be a considerable loss to the community
AN ANCIENT CHRISTIAN BURIAL GROUND
Early in 1976 Mr. Ian Parker, who farms Glentraugh Farm,
Santon, with perspicacity, was ploughing one of his fields
deep. Suddenly a plough blade turned up a stone slab, which,
upon examination, appeared to be part of a box drain for
the field. Upon close investigation, however, it was found
to be an ancient stone coffin. The Manx Museum Authorities
were informed and they instituted an experimental dig, in
the course of which eighteen other similar stone coffins
were revealed, including a very small one.
After investigation by the Manx Museum staff it was established
that the site, very near to St. Sanctain's Church, is that
of an ancient Christian Burial Ground. It goes back, as far
as can be at present ascertained, to the 10th century A.D.,
and is thus 1,000 years old. The Authorities believe that
it is the largest burial ground of its kind to be found on
the Island, and the Manx Museum people are very interested
The site has been placed on the Manx Museum list. In due
course they hope to examine it fully and carefully in minute
detail. This, however, could take some time before it would
The outline of the original mound can still be traced even
though the land has been farm land for a great number of
years. At one stage in its history quite obviously people
must have forgotten, or been unaware of, the fact that on
that spot their forefathers lay buried in a Christian burial
The discovery of this historic site has aroused much interest
among antiquarians and archaeologists. We all look forward
to receiving the official report from the Manx Museum upon
their findings to date. However, it will only be when, eventually,
the whole site is thoroughly investigated that a comprehensive
report will be available.
THE MANX CHURCH
No one can accurately say when Christianity first came to
the Isle of Man and none of the records go back so far. However,
from writings such as the "Book of Armagh" and "The
Annals of Ulster", archaeological finds, the design
of the ancient crosses, the remains of primitive Keeills
and of old world settlements, the date 447 A.D., is the one
generally accepted. It was also suggested by the Archbishop
of Dublin, James Ussher, in 1656. It is within the lifetime
of St. Patrick, to whom, and to whose followers, a number
of the ancient Parish Churches on the Island are dedicated,
of which Santon is one, It is certain that St. Patrick established
himself in Northern Ireland, whence this Island can be seen,
with the naked eye, on many days each year. He endued in
his followers his own keen missionary spirit, and, as they
swept eastward into central Europe, in the 5th and 6th centuries,
the first place to feel the effects of their mission would
most likely be the land they could see so often from the
Irish coast. Thus the Christian Faith was brought to Mann
by missionaries from the Celtic Church in Ireland, long before
it was brought to Canterbury by St. Augustine and his forty
Benedictine monks in 597 A.D.
After the advent of the Irish missionaries, others came
from another branch of the Celtic Church, whose leader was
St. Columba of Iona. Evidence of their coming is seen in
the dedications of some of the Manx Churches. However, this
young and growing Celtic Church suffered disintegration through
the ravages of the marauding and conquering Norwegian Viking
hordes, who colonised Mann. They brought with them their
pagan gods of Thor and Odin and erected lovely memorial stones,
the basis of which was the Christian cross, but adorned them
with exquisite carvings of their own gods and little people.
Later, the Norwegians were converted to Christianity by
missionaries from mid-Europe. Under King Olaf I of Norway,
this Church fanned out as a section of the Western Church
throughout the Norse colonies, which became restless for
home rule. Ireland, with the Isle of Man, broke away and,
depending on the king of the period, were ruled from the
capitals of Dublin in Southern Ireland, or Peel in the Isle
of Man. Shortly after the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, the
Southern Islands of Scotland (the Inner and Outer Hebrides,
Arran and Bute), also known as the "Sudreys", were
joined with Ireland and Man into one kingdom by Godfred Crovan,
whose heirs were Kings of Man, for nearly 200 years. During
this period the head of the Church was the Archbishop of
Dublin, who admitted the nominal sovereignty of Norway. However,
when Ireland seceded this ceased and the Manx Church experienced
a time of upheaval.
The first traceable Bishop of Man was Rolf or Roolwer, who
died in 1079 and is buried in Maughold Parish Church. For
a while, the succession is obscure. At times there were two
Bishops, the one backed by the King of Norway on the advice
of the Bishop of Nidaros (Trondheim) and the other by the
King of Man.
Olaf 1 of Man permitted the Abbot of the Abbey of St. Mary
in Furness to build an abbey in Malew, in 1134. Upon completion
Rushen Abbey, as it was called, became the chief ecclesiastical
base in Man for many years. At that time the present Diocese
of Sodor and Man was from time to time under the control
of Canterbury, York and Dublin, but always nominally under
Nidaros. A Bull of Pope Anastasius IV in 1154 formally placed
the Diocese of the Sudreys-with-Man under the Archbishop
of Nidaros. He at once appointed Reginald its Bishop.
However, in 1158, Somerled of Argyll defeated the King of
Man in battle and the Bishop of Argyll consecrated Christian
of Argyll to be Bishop of Sodor and Man. He remained until
1161, when the Abbot of Furness persuaded the Archbishop
of York to consecrate, as Bishop, a Manxman, Michael, who
was very popular and caused Christian to withdraw. Thus at
one and the same time, there were three Bishops of Sodor
and Man, Reginald, Christian and Michael, consecrated
by different Bishops for the same work. In the end Michael
Under the influence of Henry III of England a common choice
was made in 1229, when Simon of Argyll went to Trondheim
to be consecrated with the blessing of York, Argyll and Nidaros.
He turned out to be an excellent choice, building Bishopscourt
and St. German's Cathedral, Peel.
The Abbot of Furness was not satisfied with the consecration
taking place in Norway and got the Pope to issue a papal
command that in future the consecration should take place
at York. The King of Norway arranged that loyalty should
be sworn to him at Trondheim. This the next Bishop Lawrence
(Archdeacon of Man), together with Harold 11 of Man and his
Queen did, but when returning they were all drowned in a
storm off the Shetlands, when their ship was wrecked.
Alexander III of Scotland drove out the Norwegians at the
Battle of Largs, in 1266, and annexed Man and the Sudreys
to Scotland. He appointed the Bishops, but saw that they
went to Trondheim for consecration. Man was only part of
the kingdom of Scotland for a short time. The year 1290 saw
Man come under the English Crown with the defeat of Scotland
by Edward I of England. For some years Man's allegiance shifted
from England to Scotland, and back again, as they defeated
each other. It was finally brought under the orbit of England
under Edward Ill, in 1333.
The Sudreys (now known as Sodor), have remained part of
the title of the See, but were actually separated from it
during the schismatic period of the Roman Catholic Church.
Then the Bishop of Argyll, supporting the anti-Pope, retained
the Sudreys under his wing. Man, agreeing to the true Pope,
became part of the Province of Canterbury, until the Reformation
under Henry VIII, when it was transferred to the Province
of York. During these times many of the Manx Bishops were
translated to English Sees, having originated from English
In the 18th century, the Church deteriorated as it did in
England. However, in 1777 and 1781, John Wesley visited Man
and non-conformity came to stay, yet, apart from Methodism,
other denominations have not been a very strong force on
the Island, for any length of time. During the past 150 years,
the Roman Catholic Church has, however, grown in numbers
and strength. There is a happy relationship between the various
branches of the Church of Christ on the Island, who, in the
main, work together in harmony and without acrimony.
The Sodor and Man Diocese is also, in effect, a Province
of the Church of England. It holds its own Convocation each
year and the Bishop has the right, with the Archbishop of
Canterbury, of issuing special marriage licenses, permitting
marriages to take place at any time and in any place he may
No one knows what the future will bring. The Diocese of
Sodor and Man in common with the other forty-two Dioceses
of the Church of England cannot do other but expect to go
through a time of reorganisation. The details of this will
require a lot of careful and prayerful thought and consideration
being given to the overall position. Detailed schemes will
have to be worked out, approved and accepted by all parties.
There must be an element of "give and take".
Will you, therefore, who read this, please, of your loving
kindness and brotherly love, join with the people of Santon
in praying that the maintenance of the work and Word
of God in Santon Parish, with the weekly sharing together
of Holy Communion round our Lord's Table at St. Sanctain's
Church Santon both on every Sunday morning and on every Sunday
evening will continue, deepen and flourish always, on this
very ancient and hallowed Christian site. God bless you and
your loved ones now and always.
Reverend J.M. Cotter, Vicar of Santon, dated March 1977.
The above History of the Parish of Santon has been reproduced
in this form by kind permission of the Vicar and Wardens
of St. Sanctain's Church, Santan.
The Editor is indebted to Mr. Roger Christian of Port Grenaugh
for his painstaking transcription of the text from the history
entitled, " St. Sanctain's Church", written by the Reverend
J.M. Cotter, Vicar of Santon, dated March 1977. The drawing
of St. Sanctain's on the cover of the History is by John
H. Nicholson R.A.
The structure and text of the History has been retained,
even where it is now out of date and the Editor of the website
has added in italics where necessary, some footnotes which
attempt to bring the text up to date (2005). The spelling
and format of the original has been followed rigorously throughout
in order to preserve the flavour of the historical extracts
(Persons unfamiliar with the old form of currency in the
British Isles should read the prices of services and commodities
in Pounds Sterling, Shillings, Pence and Halfpence. There
were 240 pence to the Pound Sterling).
Interested persons who have queries about the Parish should
contact the Clerk who will be pleased to try to research
any historical questions (other than pertaining to genealogy),
by e-mail only please, through , < comms AT santon DOT org DOT uk>
Clerk to Santon Commissioners,
Website Editor. 2014.
Reproduction of this material without the permission of
the Commissioners is prohibited unless for bona fide educational
purposes. Any such use should be advised to the Clerk.
Modern day items of interest and relevance to the history
of the Parish follow as they occur:
In 1994 it was decided to mark the centenary of the Board
of Santon Parish Commissioners by designing a suitable symbol
to use as a letterhead and in other appropriate places. The
late Mrs. Maureen C. Richards R.B.V. of Port St. Mary, a
noted artist in pewter and stone, kindly provided her drawings
of the thousand year old Santon Cross (the cross can be seen
in the Church) and of a Viking long boat, both of which evoke
historical aspects of Santon. Bruce and Iain Benson manipulated
these drawings using computer graphics and the present "logo" was
created based upon the shape of the original Santon Cross.
The symbol is also used to adorn commemorative porcelain
drinking mugs (which are available for sale upon request)
and for a lapel badge that is worn only by the members of
The Millennium Stone
To mark the year 2000 AD, the parish escutcheon was used
to create a composition, hand carved on Pooil Vaaish slate,
imitating the shape of the stone constituting the original
Santon Cross. The Millennium stone can now be seen standing
at the junction of Church Road and the Old Castletown Road
by the Copper Beech tree and it is hoped that it will stand
as long as the ancient Santon Cross itself.
The Commissioners are grateful to Island Aggregates Limited
for the financial support needed to place a kerb around the
grass island whereon the Millennium Stone and bench now stand.
Two stone benches in Pooil Vaaish slate have been installed
here as a resting place for walkers. Two similar stone benches
were installed overlooking the beach at Port Grenaugh but
one was stolen soon afterwards. One wonders what huge effort
Apart from individual dwellings in the countryside, Santon
had changed little over the centuries. However, in the second
half of the twentieth century some ribbon development occurred
along the main road at Newtown and a Local Government Authority
estate of twenty dwellings was built off the Moaney road
at Newtown. In the late 1990s the Mount Murray estate of
an hotel and country club and 76 dwellings was finished on
the Santon side of the Crogga River and on the Braddan side many more new dwellings are established.. (Curious
readers may wish to research elsewhere the interesting history
of the Mount Murray estate.) A second estate of 43 dwellings
named Ballanoa Meadow, off Moaney road, was finished in
Toddlers' playground at Ballanoa Meadow.
In April 2010 H.E. The Lt. Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Paul Haddacks K.C.B. and Lady Haddacks opened a toddler's playground next to Ballanoa Meadow. This was the culmination of the Commissioners' long standing wish to surmount the logistical difficulties of establishing in Santon a safe, off-main-road play area for the very young, (photographs in Photos).
As of 2011 there are 320 domestic dwellings in Santon with
529 persons on the 2011 electoral roll.
In a mainly rural community of farms and detached residential homes, commercial businesses in the parish are few:
Industrial - Cemex (Island Aggregates Ltd). Ready mix concrete.
Hotel - Mount Murray Hotel and Country Club; The Santon Motel.
Others - Port Grenaugh Kennels; various holiday cottages, livery stables at Ballavartyn.
Planning in the 21st Century
Under the latest Town and Country planning regulations new
dwellings in the countryside are not permitted except under
very special circumstances usually connected with agricultural
purposes. Nowadays applications for new dwellings are
normally only granted as part of a new estate.
To be continued as items of interest occur and as the years
advance - Ed.