Will - 1636 (Ballaugh)

In the name of God amen. I John Mc lerea sick in body while in sound [mind?] and of [perfect?] memory God be prayful for it do make this my last will and testament [in manner?] and form following:

First I give and bequeath my soul to God and my body to Christian burial.

Item to the poor 3 half firlot malt and ½ a firlet wheat … ….. oatmeal and …. ….. …. at the discretion of my wife.

Item to [my sister?] Ellyne 3 firlet [wheat?] corn in lieu of her part of the crop of corn in …. …..

Item I leave unto my wife all my [grounds?] until my legal son to be twenty-one years of age and her choice of the …..or ………. out of the whole.

Item to the parson one sheep or mutton.

.... my will is that if John Corlett my father in law do seek nothing ………… my executor then they to seek nothing of him else if he do come to .... .... ...any

thing of them then I leave that he is to give them ... bowl ……….. and two bowls of barley excepting what was allowed him in the ... ... ... which now I cannot well remember what it was but …. ..... ......

Item Lastly I constitute my four children joint and [sole?] executors of all the rest of my goods moveable and immoveable

(a different script) whereas 2 executors have died before the …. of the will and therefore whether ....... of late deceased the others ..... goods of the deceased.

Nicholas Thompson, Henry Cowley, Christian Garrett, Ellyn Illerea mother? of ......

..... & probatum est ..... solvit

Inventory before 24 days sub pena


  1. The Mylrea family occupied the estate known as Ballacooiley in Ballaugh from at least 1600. It came to the Mylreas, because one of them married Alice Gawne who received the tenancy from her father in 1586. Subsequently she & her son John were given a 20d intack by Alice's grandfather, John Gawne. The son John was born about 1600.
  2. Manx : Balley ny cooilley, 'farm of the nook or corner'
  3. Composition Book spellings: Ballnaqewley (1655), Ballaquooley (1704), Ballkoilley (1704); Dioc. Register= Ballnahooilea (1751) [For insights into early land tenure laws on the Isle of Man, refer to Composition Books in A Manx Note Book, and the Manx Manorial Roll site]
  4. The estate continued from about 1600 until the mid 1860s
  5. In 1868, the Mylrea family lost Ballacooiley because of crippling levels of debt
  6. Ballacooiley's new owner was John Cannell whose wife, Margaret Rogers, was Thomas's great great great grand grand daughter
  7. The laws of inheritance on the Isle of Man dictated that the family farm went to the oldest son (and not split amongst several sons, or to a more favoured son). Thus other sons generally made their way in the world without the benefit of any of the family's assets, which is why we see the second and third Ballacooiley sons leave Ballaugh in search of a livelihood - which they did over the coming centuries


  1. Ballacooiley
  2. John died 4th November 1636
  3. These notes are somewhat speculative, since there were several men named Mc ylrea in the parish, many named John or Donald
  4. However, what is known is that this John Mc Ylrea was the son of John M cylrea & Alice Gawn, and born about 1600 in Ballaugh. John Mc ylrea snr died in about 1600, and Alice Gawne in 1617
  5. He was married to Margaret CORLETT and, although there is no surviving record of the marriage, when his sister Ellyn died, she named Margaret Corlett as her brother's wife in her will & John refers to his father in law, John Corlett
  6. Two of their four children died at much the same time John died: William (1/11) & Jane (30/11), which accords with the notation in John's will about 2 of the executors dying before the will was settled
  7. John jnr was his heir at law, who lived to 1665 so about 32 years of age, and his fourth child might have been Ellin who was buried 5th December (no baptism recorded)
  8. In another twist in the convoluted story of the Ballaugh Mylreas, Ellyn mentioned siblings & half-siblings with surname Mylrea and Cowley, suggesting her mother had remarried an individual named Cowley. However, Alice Mylrea als Gawn remarried William Kewish (see Lib Vast 1618) - marriage register was not extant in those days. There is some evidence that her cousin John's wife, Jaine Cannell married a Cowley (see Jaine's will 1644) and in 1643 a Thomas Cowley composed the Dollough lands because the heir at law (William) was under age.
  9. NOTE: A Thomas Mylrea was named father of an illegitimate child, Bessy, in 1644 in Ballaugh. No known candidate.

Associated Documents

Last updated: Nov 2021