The Isle of Man

Now known as the preserve of motorbikes, during the Civil Wars the island was notionally for the King thanks to the Lord of Man, although he didn't always get his own way.

The Isle of Man was the personal fiefdom of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby, and Lord of Man. Yes that James Stanley/Derby, the one who would await his execution in the Old Man and Scythe pub in Bolton for his command of the Royalist forces who committed a number of atrocities when Bolton fell, and whose wife famously held Lathom House.

Derby. Portrait at the National Portrait Gallery

Known on the Island as Yn Stanlagh Mooar, he wasn't too popular with the general population treating them harshly and levying high tithes. So unhappy with his treatment of them, the locals rose up against his imposition of tithes in 1643, led by local firebrand Illiam Dhone.

Derby rarely visited Man, his most notable visit being after Marston Moor when fled England. After which he would offer asylum to royalist fugitives.  

Six months after Charles I was executed, Derby received a summons from General Ireton to surrender the island, which he duly refused.

In August 1651 he landed in Lancashire, at the head of 300 Manxmen ready to fight for the king in the Third Civil War. They would be soundly defeated at Wigan Lane, Derby escaping with thirty men. Stanley would be captured at the battle of Worcester, he would be incarcerated in Chester Castle before meeting his end in Bolton.

Soon after Derby's death, the Manx Militia, under the command of Illiam Dhone, took command of most of the island for Parliament. They were then joined by a Parliamentarian force sent from the mainland, under the command of Thomas Birch and Robert Duckenfield, who quickly took control of the rest of the island.

What’s there today?
Kerroogarroo, also known as Ballachurry Fort, also known as Fort Loyal, is a stunningly well preserved sconce. 

There is no parking close to the sconce, and access is a little convoluted. Manx National Heritage have produced a guide on how to access Kerroogarroo which recommends parking on the B3, Regaby Road, close to the junction with the A17, St Judes Road.

As with all sconces, they are best viewed from the air. This image is from Google Maps

Bishopscourt is the former Bishop’s palace; the house was rebuilt in the 1690s as it was derelict. The house was used by Stanley as his residence when on the island. There are a number of Civil War earthworks visible around the house. The house is a private residence and there is no public access, very little is visible from the roadside.

from Isle of Man Today (when the house was up for sale recently)

Peel Castle was garrisoned by Derby throughout the Wars, it had been used as a gaol for a number of years. It had housed one Illiam Dhone in 1643. 

Peel Castle with Ashton's Redoubt in the foreground

Illiam was quite a revolutionary, proposing the election of the members of the House of Keys. He would die in the cells of Peel Castle in 1661, during his second period of imprisonment.

The castle has many surviving loop holes from the period.

Just above the car park adjacent to the road access to the castle was the site of a gun battery known as Ashton’s Redoubt.

Castle Rushen was garrisoned by Derby, and was used as a Royalist court on the island. Rushen is much better preserved than Peel Castle. There are a number of C17th artillery barrels on display.



There are a number of batteries that protected the island, which may be related to the Civil Wars (they were most probably reused by the islands defenders). One that is easily accessible is Port Lewaigue – park at the car park at Port Lewaigue beach, off the A15, and follow the coastal path north to the head overlooking the bay. The battery is just visible.

image from Manx National Heritage

The Manx Museum has a number of C17th artefacts on display in its medieval gallery. Most notably a gold and crystal mourning ring thought to have connections to Stanley. 

Postcodes for SatNavs
Kerroogarroo/ Ballachurry Fort, Regaby Road, Andreas IM7 3HL
Bishopscourt, Main Road, Kirk Michael IM6 2EZ
Peel Castle, West Quay, Peel, IM5 1TB
Castle Rushen, Castle St, Castletown IM9 1LD
Port Lewaigue beach car park, off A15, Maughold IM7 1AH
The Manx Museum, Kingswood Grove, Douglas, IM1 3LY

A big thank you to the Bolton chapter of the KeepYourPowderDry groupies for checking my directions, and taking some photos. 

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