Douglas, Isle of Man

 

It is always a disappointment to me that douglas, on the Isle of man, was not named after one of my ancestors, but Douglas started its life as a humble fishing village, its tiny houses clustered on the river bank after the rivers Doo (Manx - black) and Glass (Manx - grey) converge to become one and gives the town its name.  There is little doubt that the Vikings found the bay but the name Doo-Glass suggests that it could be one of the few surviving Celtic place names pre-dating the arrival of the Vikings.

In the seventeenth century the then Lord of Mann remarked that the Island would remain poverty stricken until ‘there trading be’ and Douglas was described to be the Island’s safest and most commodious and convenient harbour for trading with England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.  By 1726 Douglas was described by the historian Waldron as ‘the town of most trade’ and throughout that century the town developed as its trade increased, and the great Manx merchants of the eighteenth century presided over what could today be described as a boom town. 

In fact, although not a Douglas, one of my ancestors was a Governor of the Isle of Man.

George Fitzroy Henry Somerset, 3rd Baron Raglan GBE CB (18 September 1857–24 October 1921) was a British peer and soldier.

Somerset was born in 1857, the son of the 2nd Baron Raglan and a godchild of George V of Hanover. He became a Page of Honour to Queen Victoria in 1868 (until 1874) and was educated at Eton and the Sandhurst.

In 1870, he joined the Grenadier Guards and fought in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. On 28 February 1883, he married Lady Ethel Ponsonby, a daughter of the 7th Earl of Bessborough and they later had six children. He held the positions of Under-Secretary of State for War from 1900 to 1902 and Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man from 1902 to 1918. He was also a prominent militia officer.

 

This page was last updated on 29 June 2015

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