by CANON E. H. STENNING, M.A. ( dated 1941)



The numbers in front of the names in this list correspond with those in the genealogical table and with the mentions in this and the original text.

1. The original Quishnoga who came to the Island circ. 1630 with his three sons. (Bp. Wilson MS. note in his memoirs.)

2. William, son of 1, put into Ballaquiggin, Patrick. (Lib. Ass. 1539)

3. Lawrence, son of 1, appears in several MSS. as a merchant in Peele-towne. Also Book of Precedents.

4. Lawrence, son of 4. Also appears in Book of Precedents and in Lib. Vast. 1590.

5. John son of 2. (Lib. Ass. 1559.)

6. William, son of 6. (Lib. Ass. 1594.)

7. John, d. 1604 (Lib. Ass.)

8. William, son of 7, d. 1654 (Lib. Ass.)

9. Hugh, mentioned by Bp. Wilson (quoted A. W. Moore).

10. Thomas, brother of 9, same quotation.

11. John, presumably son of 9, same quotation. These three signed Patrick Church petition 1680.

12. Thomas, presumably " Sir Thomas," Manorial Roll 1703. Lib. Vast. states that he bought land between Ballaquiggin and Knockaloe. Was this the original Ballacosnahan ?

13, 14, 15 a succession of Williams, Lib. Ass. 1657, 1682, 1702. (The last numbered mentioned by Col. Anderson, quoted A. W. Moore.)

16. John mentioned by Col. Anderson Lib. Ass. d. 1729

17. William, b. 1703, d. 1755, C.P. Patrick. Tomb in Patrick.

18. John, brother of 17, whose executor he was, m =. Jane Mylwoirrey and owned Ballakilworrey, b. 1720, d. 1790.

19. Jane, sister of 19, m = Peter Lace.

20. Ann, daughter of 17, b. 1785, d. 1824; last of the senior branch, m = Dr. John Thomas. The children of Ann Thomas nee Cosnahan are not included in this key. The summary will show the passing of the estate of Ballacosnahan to its present owner, Arthur Murray Crellin.

37. William Cosnahan, son of 18, b. 1738.

38. Jane Cosnahan married her cousin, J. Crelling (sic) of Breck-y-Broom; daughter of 18.

41. Ann Cosnahan, d. of 18, m = John Gelling of Castletown.

42. Charles,, son of 37, m = Ann Quirk of Glenneedle, b. 1784, d. 1859

47. Thomas, son of 37, schoolmaster and clerk of Patrick, b. 1797.

48. Thomas, son of 47, kept a bark house at Peel; d. 1912.

53. William of Staarvey, b. 1827, d. 1907, son of 42.

54. Thomas, brother of 53, host of Union Hotel, Castletown, married the only survivor of the Santan family, Emily d. of Hugh Cosnahan (123); d. 1914, buried at Malew.

58. Thomas, son of 54, accidentally killed Manchester, 1909.

59. Emily, sister of 58, the only Cosnahan surviving at date of this paper, 1941, married E. T. Corkish.

61. John, son of 1, mentioned by Bp. Wilson, Santan 1639.

62. John, Vicar of Jurby, son of 61.

63. " Sir " John, son of 62, Vicar of Santan, d. 1656.

64. " Sir " William, brother of 63, Vicar of Peel, d. 1657.

65. " Sir " Hugh, son of 63, Vicar of Santan, d. 1690.

66. " Sir " John, b. 1688, d. 1724, Vicar of Santan.

67. John, Vicar-General, Vicar of Braddan, b. 1693, son of 66, d. 1730. 73. Joseph, Vicar of Braddan, son of 67, b. 1725, d. 1760.

74. Ann, dr. of 67, m = Thos. Harrison of Malew; b. 1714, d. 1794, buried at Malew.

75. Jane, dr. of 67, m = W. Bridson of Douglas. d. 1789.

76. Catherine, dr. of 67, m = Revd. S. Gell, Vicar of Lonan; b. 1723, d. 1789.

77. Margaret, d. of 67, m = Capt. R. Brown, Great-grandmother of T. E. Brown; b. 1737, d. 1769.

78. Hugh, son of 67, m = Eleanor Finch, b. 1753, d. 1799.

79. Julius, s. of 73, Vicar of Braddan; d. 1785.

80. Margaret, twin of 81, m = W. Tenison, b. 1793.

81. Anne, twin of 80, married J. Bacon, presented plate to Santan Church; b. 1793.

82. Jane, dr. of 73, m = Francis de la Pryme 1782.

83. John Joseph, s. of 73, took a mortgage on Ballavilley.

84. Robert, son of 73, died insane.

85. Catherine, d. of 73, m = Roger Casement.

86. Radcliffe, s. of 73, buried in Patrick.

87. Mark, br. of 86, also buried at Patrick

94. John, s. of 78, Deemster, b. 1754, d. 1819.

95. Hugh, br. of 94, s. of 78.

96. Joseph, br. of 94, s. of 78

97. Catherine, sr. of 94, married i. J. Moore, ii. Capt. A. Wilks. Tomb in Ballaugh Church.

98. James, of Larkhill, br. of 94, b. 1761, d. 1812; s. of 78.

106. Mark, of Ballafletcher, br. of 94; b. 1760, d. 1812; s.

107. John Finch, s. of 94, b. 1794, d. 1885

108. Capt. Michael, b. S. Peter's in Thanet, s. of 94; b. 1790, d. 1883.

109. Capt. Hugh, s. of 94, d. 1822.

110. Augustus, s. of 94.

111. Philip, s. of 94, drowned on " Lord Hill " packet, 1814.

112. Mark James, s. of 94, East India Co., b. 1793, d. 1812.

113. James Mark, Advocate, Douglas, s. of 94, b. 1794, d. 1817.

116. James, s. of 98.

117. Isobel, d. of 98, m = William Tennison, her cousin.

121. Ellinor, d. of 116, m = Bowyer Harrison.

122. Hannah, d. of 116, m = Evan Evans, solicitor of Liverpool.

123. Hugh, s. of 106.

124. Mark, s. of 106.

127. Ellinor, d. of 116, eloped with R. Kaye.

128. Eleanor, d. of 123, m = Thomas 54.


The name is obviously not Manx. It supports the statement of Bishop Wilson that the original member of the family came from Scotland and that the name is Scots Celtic. Mr. W. W. Gill has found out that Cosnochtane, Cosnauchan, and Cosnoch, were the changing names of an estate in Clackmannan, Scotland. Woulfe, Irish Names, considers that the name is allied to the Gaelic cosnoch, a defender, and Kneen points to a similar Manx word, cosney. But the name itself passes through a series of changes in the Isle of Man that cannot fail to interest a philologist. It appears first as Quishnoga, and passes through " Quistnoghan, Quosnochan, Coshnoghan, Costnoe, Coanahan, Costenham, Coshnaham," and various other spellings.


The First Cosnahan is stated by Bishop Wilson to have come to the Island about 1530 and to have had three sons, one of whom he settled on a piece of land bought in the been of Balymore, and known as Ballaquiggin. (This piece of land is probably the farmstead now known as Ballacosnahan, Kirk Patrick.) Another son settled in Kirk Santan. The third son's home is not stated, and it is probable that this branch was extinct before the time of Bishop Wilson. Nothing is known of the personality of this original Quishnoga.

The Three Families arising from the original Quishnoga will be dealt with seriatim, beginning with the branch whose homestead was not recorded by the Bishop. This son was presumably Lawrence. Lawrence Quishnoga appears several times in ancient records; about 1539 he was a merchant in " Peele-towne." He had a son Lawrence who appears once as fighting with one Pat Quiggin, in the Book of Precedents, and again, some years later (1590), as buying a piece of ground, also from Pat Quiggin. But after this time there is no record of any of his progeny, and it is presumed that, as the family was not mentioned by Bishop Wilson', the line had died out. " William " Quishnoga appears in Lib. Assed. in 1538 as the owner of Ballaquiggin, in the Treen of Balymore. For many generations there is a continuous line of Quishnogas, Quishnoghans and Cosnoghans holding Ballaquiggin. None of them appears in any other record than Lib. Assed. so far noted, but they appear to have been prosperous farmers, adding land from time to time to their holding.

In 1580 two Cosnaghans signed a petition for a Church at Patrick, one Hugh, the other Thomas. As Ballaquiggin at this time was owned by William, son of the first William, these two land-owners would presumably be brothers of the William at Ballaquiggin. The first of this line to become reasonably well-known has William, who was claimed as an ancestor by Colonel W. J. Anderson, Receiver-General. From this point, the family is fairly easily followed. This William died 1702, had two grandsons, William (b. 1703, d. 1755) the grandfather of Col. Anderson,' and John, Captain of the parish of German. William (17) is buried at Patrick, and from his title of " Captain " it may be assumed that he was Captain of the Parish of Patrick. He had only one daughter, Ann (20), 1755-1824. William also appears as Coroner for Glenfaba. His daughter Ann became a well-known character; she married Dr. Thomas, a surgeon retired from the Royal Navy, who settled down at Ballacosnahan, while practising in Peel. They had no surviving son, but a large family of daughters, several of them remembered by Peel folk. Sage Ann Thomas married Captain John Gelling of Castletown and became the mother of John Caesar Gelling, M.H.K.

Maria and Sophia married brother officers. Maria married Capt. Ronald Macdonald, a direct descendant of the only survivor of the massacre of Glencoe. Sophia married Captain Anderson, and their son was Colonel Anderson, the Receiver General. Young Ronald Macdonald joined the army, made a great name for himself in the Crimean War, and was very seriously wounded; on recovering he was made Governor of Edinburgh Castle. Mrs. Thomas left the estate of Ballacosnahan to her daughter Margaret, who left it to young Ronald MacDonald, who sold it to his cousin Col. Anderson, and he left it to his godson and nephew Colonel W. A. W. Crellin, M.C., brother of Captain John Frissel Crellin the present owner of Ballacurry, Andreas, and M.L.C. Colonel Crellin was killed in the 1914-18 war, and the estate went to his brother, Arthur Murray Crellin, the present owner. The Cosnahan male line ended with this grandfather of Colonel Anderson, so far as the senior branch was concerned.

John Cosnahan (18), 1720-90, married Christian Crelling daughter of Patrick Crelling of Breck-y-Broom, German. He had a family of nine. There was a sister, Jane, who married Peter Lace of Peel. John owned and farmed Balla-kil-woirrey. He was executor to his brother William. Of John's children, only three survived him. William, the eldest, who took over the farm, married Jane Mylvoirrey of Driney (Rockmount), and had ten children. Jane (38), his sister, married her cousin, John Crelling of Breck-y-Broom, and Ann the other surviving sister married William Gell of Castletown.

William (37) passed Ballakilwoirrey on to his son Charles, but for some reason the Cosnahan family on this side, at this juncture began to decline in importance and worth. Charles (42), the eldest son (1784-1859), married Ann Quirk of Glenneedle, Foxdale. He and Ann are buried in S. Peter's Church, Peel. Of their children, Thomas (47), b. 1797, became schoolmaster and clerk of Patrick. His son was a keeper of a bark house in Peel, and died unmarried in 1915. John (56), brother of Thomas (47), was for some years coroner of Rushen, and the Archdeacon Emeritus (John Kewley) told me that he (John Cosnahan) held an enquiry into the death of the Archdeacon's grandfather, which occurred accidentally in 1845.

William (53), son of Charles, went to Australia and returned a relatively prosperous man. He married a wife reputed to be the natural daughter of Deemster Crellin, and they lived a stormy life. 'the wife was found drowned in a quarry in 1896, and Dr. Gell of Peel (now in Douglas) remembers being called to investigate the cause of death. William (53) had bought and farmed the desolate and lonely farm of Staarvey above Rhenass (Glen Helen), and he left it to his son Charles, who in turn left it to his brother John (56), who worked Congary Farm, near Peel. Thomas Cosnahan, another brother, the host of the Union Hotel, Castletown, started an action against John for the possession of Staarvey, but failed. John was unmarried, and on his death left the Staarvey to his sister Eleanor, who had been his housekeeper, who in her turn left it to her niece (the daughter of Thomas of Castletown), who is the present owner - Mrs. Corkish, of Albion Terrace, Derby Square, Douglas.

Thomas, mine host of the Union, took part in a very remarkable family romance. He married a Cosnahan, who was in fact, though he did not know it (nor apparently did she), the last survivor of the Santan branch, thus bringing about the fusion of the two surviving branches now so greatly attenuated. One could have hoped that a new line would have been started, but there were only two children, the present owner of Staarvey, Mrs. Emily Corkish, and her brother Thomas, a house-painter, accidentally killed in Manchester in 1909, leaving no heir Thomas mine host was apparently a litigiously-minded man, for on behalf of his wife he put in a claim for the property of Mark Cosnahan, a Liverpool merchant of the Santan line (q.v.). He was not completely successful, though many well able to judge think he ought to have been successful. But he accepted a compromise payment of 800. Another brother, James, died in Douglas in 1909, and left an estate of 9,000. He was buried in Braddan, where he is commemorated by a tombstone erected by his niece, presumably Mrs. Corkish.


Is far better recorded, and achieved a more continuous fame than the Patrick branch.

There is some mystery about the first member of the line. His name is not known, but it is presumed that, like his son and grandson, he was a John. He may have been a parson, and Vicar of Santan, but there is no record, His son, John Quishlagan (62), was Vicar of Jurby (1575-85) and of German with Patrick (1585-1621). His signature remains on an ecclesiastical petition " John Quishnogan."

His son, Sir John Coshenham (also Custenham), b. 1580, d. 1656, was Vicar of Santan till he was deposed under the Cromwell regime. He appears to have been an old roysterer, for he is recorded as keeping an ale-house, being assaulted by a mob of men to the danger of his life, and pulling the beard of Nicholas Moore during the prelacy of Bishop Parr. Nor did his churchwardens have a very high opinion of him, though apparently they were somewhat nervous about saying so too bluntly. (Manx Museum Journal, 1931, p. 33.) He or his father had raised " The Great Stone" in Santan Churchyard, which became the tombstone of the family vault, a monstrous piece of schist weighing about thirty hundredweight.

William Cosnahan, his brother, seems to have been a man of similar mould. He became Vicar of German, died the year after, and was buried under the Great Stone. He went through the siege of Peel Castle,- and carried on the services of the Cathedral church for Lady Derby. He, too, was an old roysterer. Instead of keeping the alehouse himself, he allowed his daughter Margery to keep it for him, for which he was reproved by the Bishop. He was also fined for brawling and bloodshed. Further, he was fined and reproved for a wealth of foul language. And his wife, too, was condemned to wear the bridle on a Sunday in Peel Churchyard, for slander.

John of Santan was succeeded in that vicarage by his son Hugh, not directly, for the vicariate was vacant during the Commonwealth, the parish being administered by an anabaptist, Crowe, a toady of Governor Challenor. The son Hugh, generally known as Sir Hugh (65), gained great fame in the Island as a rider to hounds, and a horseman generally. He was Vicar of Santan 1667-1690.

He was succeeded as Vicar of Santan by his son " Sir ,' John (66). It was during his vicariate that Bishop Wilson arrived, and the Bishop evidently had a great regard for the Vicar. The roystering ale-drinking type was replaced by a much more dignified type of parish clergyman. Sir John bought Ballavilley from Thomas Quaye in 1703. But it was to Sir John's eldest son John that Bishop Wilson was so devoted. This John (67) failed to get the choice of the Earl of Derby of that time to become Vicar of Santan, and the long line of Santan Vicars was broken. Instead, the Bishop made him Vicar of Braddan, and almost immediately Vicar-General. It is by the title of Vicar-General that he is generally known. He proved to be a most astute business man, devoted to the saintly Bishop Wilson, and his name appears on countless ecclesiastical documents of the period.

Vicar-General John married Ann Karran (also sometimes spelt Corran and Corrin). They had six children, two sons, Joseph and Hugh, and four daughters, Amle, Jane, Catherine, and Margaret, all of whom were noteworthy. Taking the daughters first, Anne married Thomas Harrison of Ballahick, Malew, and is buried in Malew Church. Catherine married the Revd. Sam Gale (or Gell), Vicar of Lonan. Her tombstone at Kirk Lonan records her most un-Cosnahan saintliness. Jane married William Bridson, a Douglas merchant. Margaret married Captain Robert Brown, and was the great-grandmother of T. E. Brown. The sons Joseph (73) and Hugh (78) both had very large families. Joseph (73) succeeded his father as Vicar of Braddan, 1750-1768.

Revd. Joseph Cosnahan (73) was twice married. His first wife Margaret Cesar was daughter of a Douglas merchant. By her he had four children, one son Julius, and three daughters, ;Margaret and Anne (twins) and Jane. By his second wife, Catherine Radcliffe daughter of the Vicar of Patrick, whom he married in 1760, he had four sons and a daughter. The members of this family will be taken seratim, for in them the male line of this branch came to an end.

Revd. Julius Cosnahan (79) appears to have been a very namby-pamby young man, so far as we may judge from a letter of Bishop Hildesley. He was a pupil of the Castletown Academic School, and eventually was curate of S. George's, and Vicar for one year (1785) of Braddan, where he died. His wife was Margaret, daughter of Deemster Moore of Rushen Abbey. There were no children. Of his twin sisters, Anne married Julius Bacon of Douglas, and became mistress of Ballavilley, Santan. She presented the very fine set of Communion plate to Santan Church.

Margaret married William Barton Tennison, a member of an Irish (Mayo) family living in Douglas, who was the founder of the Douglas Theatre. Their son married his cousin Isabel Cosnahan (117). Their daughter Dorothy married John Spittall, a Douglas merchant, and was the ancestress of the Spittall family of Injebreck. Jane (82) married Francis de la Pryme in 1782. Of the second family, the eldest son Captain John Joseph Cosnahan became head of the family on the death of Julius, and was a master mariner. He was married but childless. He had to sell various portions of Cosnahan lands, and the deeds of transfer are many. He was Captain of the brig " Bella." His younger brother Robert (84) read for Holy Orders, and hoped to become Vicar of Patrick, but his mind gave way and he died insane in Peel. Two young sons, Radcliffe and Mark, died and were buried at Patrick with their grandparents. The daughter Catherine married an Irishman, by name Roger Casement. She died childless, so did not become the ancestress of the Irish traitor of the 1914-18 war, the notorious Roger Casement.

Return must now be made to the parallel line descended from the Vicar-General, through his son Hugh, now the senior branch.

Hugh Cosnahan (78), M.H.K., was born at Santan 1728. In 1773 he married Ellinor Finch. They lived first at Ballakelly, Santan, but later in Douglas. He was elected to the Keys in 1777, and died 1799. He had a family of fifteen, most of whom died young. He is described as " a man of persuasive eloquence," and " the darling of the Keys." Hugh Cosnahan was chosen by the Keys to go to London, together with George Moore, to set before the Imperial Government the case for the Keys, as against that of the Duke of Atholl, concerning adjustments in payments to the Atholl family of customs dues, etc. The Duke of Atholl charged him with being the fomenter of all the trouble, which evidence shows to have been a very unmerited charge. Later in his life he lived at Ballakew, Malew, and was treasurer for the fund for building S. Mark's Church, of which he was first Churchwarden. Hugh bought much land in Braddan, including the large farms of Ballafletcher and Larkhill. Of his family of fifteen, six grew up, and were married.

These mark probably the zenith of the family. The three sons, all prominent men in the life of the Island, were John (94) Deemster, Mark, merchant of Ballafletcher and later Liverpool, James, merchant of Larkhill; the daughters, Catherine, married first John Moore, son of Sir George, and second, James Wilks collector of customs of Castletown. She's buried with her second husband, and her nephew, in Old Ballaugh Church. Anne married Dr. Curghey, or Currey, of Liverpool, and was the mother of the famous Liverpool coroner of that name. Eleanor married in Bishopscourt an Irish clergyman, Revd. R. Dodd.

The eldest son, John, born in 1754, died in 1819, became Deemster. He married his cousin Catherine Finch, and had a family of seven sons (all noteworthy) and one daughter, Catherine, who married Chris. Bridson. John Cosnahan was co-opted to the Keys in 1779, presumably on the death of his father. He was trained as a lawyer, and became the first High Bailiff of Douglas. In 1810 he was appointed Water Bailiff. Like his father, he was sent to London to represent the Keys in 1791. He is said to have made a magnificent speech at the Bar of the Commons. The Deemster seems to have been very " difficult " in matters of personality. He seems to have had a great contempt for anybody who toadied to the Atholl camp, and was many times complaining about the lowness of his salary. He was the first Deemster ever appointed who could not speak Manks, and had to have an interpreter. Since his very distinguished family left no heirs, or even heiresses, it is best to consider them now.

The eldest, John Finch (107), was apprenticed to, and later became a partner in, the firm of Messrs. George & James Abel of Cloath Lane, London. He was buried in the grave of his aunt, Mrs. Wilks, at Ballaugh. He was unmarried.

Michael (108) was one of the naval sons. He served as a middy under Nelson, and later earned distinction in the Crimean War. He died aged 85, and is buried at S. Peter's in Thanet. He was married, but childless.

Hugh (108) reached the rank of Captain R.N., and that at the very early age of 24. He was married and had two sons. ()ne, Charles, died in infancy. The other, George, was in the Navy, but while still a middy was drowned.

Augustus (110) died young and unmarried.

Philip lived a short but eventful life. He also was in the Navy. For some time he was aboard H.M.S. " Shannon," and was mentioned in dispatches following the immortal duel of that ship with the " Chesapeake." Unfortunately he was drowned in the packet " Lord Hill " when she foundered in Liverpool Bay. His body was washed up, and he was buried in his uncle's vault in S. James' Church, Liverpool.

James Mark (112) was brought up as an advocate, and took over his father's office. He died, however, just before his father, and was buried at Braddan. Mark James (112) entered the service of the East India Company (military branch) and died in India. So ended the male line along this branch.

The Deemster's brother, James Cosnahan (98) of Larkhill, was probably the wealthiest of the family. The farm was bought as Greathill, rebuilt by James, and re-named Larkhill, in Abbeylands, Braddan.In his early life he was captain of the brig " Six Sisters," trading to all parts of the world. He appears to have bought Ballafletcher from his brother Mark, and sold it again to Mungo Murray. He was a prominent " Buck," ran a bank, lived a gay life, and married Ann Moore of Ballamoar, Braddan. He had four children. The eldest, Richard, was an advocate, with an office in Fort Street, who was imprisoned in Castle Rushen in 1818 for debt, and was adjudged bankrupt. James married Ann Farrant,, and had five children, the three sons all dying young. One daughter, Ellinor, married Revd. Bowyer Harrison of Kirk Maughold. The other daughter, whom we have noted above, married William Barton Tennison, her cousin.

Thus all the senior lines of Cosnahan ended except for the last son of the Vicar-General, Mark (106), who achieved some fame. He was a Douglas merchant and owner of Ballafletcher, which he sold, and went to live in Liverpool. Among other property he owned was Rosehill Farm on Richmond Hill. He married his cousin, Alice Bridson, and they had five children. Mark was a very versatile man. He ran a bank in Douglas, and later in Liverpool. He took the greatest interest in shipping and navigation. He wrote pamphlets on magnetic variation, on safety of the crew in packet boats, on replacing manual labour by steam, and many others. He bought a ship, the " Victory," which later he sold to Sir John Ross for his expedition to find the North-West Passage. Another boat, the " Harriet," he offered in shares to the Manx public. He was buried in the Church of S. James, Liverpool.

His sons, Hugh (123) and Clark (124), both went to sea. Both died at a comparatively early age. Hugh was captain of the " Quorra," Mark of the " Neptune." Hugh had a daughter Eleanor who married, as we have seen, Thomas Cosnahan, mine host of the Union Hotel, Castletown, thus uniting the only two marriageable members of the two families. On her behalf Thomas claimed the estates of her grandfather Mark, but he had to compromise with other claimants, as we have seen. Mark had a daughter Ellinor, who disgraced the family by eloping with a Douglas joiner, Robert Kaye, a most respected man and an excellent workman. Many of his children and grandchildren still survive in Douglas to-day. One of their daughters Alice Kaye married George Kneen a Master Mariner, GGGrandfather of Brian E.P. Kneen .


Canon E. H. Stenning said in 1941 ,I should like to add here that, if any of my readers know of any facts about any of the Cosnahans mentioned in this article, or any others not mentioned, I shall be most grateful if they will let me know, so that I may add them as an addendum to the original full draft of this paper which, with the Genealogical Table, has been deposited in the Manx Museum.

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