Quilliam Group awarded Donald Collister Heritage Programme Grant

– Posted on Tuesday 22nd October 2013


The Quilliam Group and Arbory Parish Church received a huge boost at the annual Quilliam Lecture yesterday evening, thanks to a £15,000 grant awarded by the Trustees of Manx National Heritage (The Manx Museum and National Trust).

The award was the second grant from the Donald Collister Heritage Programme, which was established as a result of a generous bequest from John Donald Collister, a former Colby resident, who left an estate valued in the region of £1million to the Manx Museum and National Trust.

The grant was awarded to The Quilliam Group towards funding the installation of a new stained glass window commemorating Captain John Quilliam, the most famous Manxman to have participated in the Battle of Trafalgar.  Born in Marown in 1777, Quilliam is believed to have been the son of a Manx farmer, but joined the Royal Navy in 1794.

Quilliam showed great potential and rose through the ranks, eventually receiving a commission. He came to the attention of Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen, and Nelson requested that he serve aboard HMS Victory. During the battle of Trafalgar, the ships wheel was shot way, and Quilliam rigged up a temporary method of steering her using ropes, in the gunroom below.

Tony Pass, Chairman of the Manx Museum and National Trust said:

“More than 3,000 Manxmen served in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, a higher percentage of population than any other area in the British Isles. The most famous of these men was Captain John Quilliam; the lowly son of a farmer, who rose to commissioned rank, and found his place in history aboard Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar”.

After the war, Captain Quilliam returned to the Island, marrying a member of the Stevenson family of Balladoole, Arbory, and resided at Ballakeighen.   He later became an MHK, and put his sea-going skills to improving boat design for the Peel herring fleet. He died at the White House, Kirk Michael, in 1829 and was buried in Arbory Churchyard.

Discussions are continuing with a number of people in the community to ensure the bequest is used in a way which reflects Donald Collister’s wishes and interests. This is being carried out as part of a larger set of plans for allocating funds from the Collister Bequest, following Manx National Heritage’s ten week consultation earlier this year. Part of this strategy is to support the local heritage of the Arbory Community.

Tony Pass continued:

“We are very pleased to offer the grant to The Quilliam Group towards the installation of a new commemorative window to Captain John Quilliam in Arbory Parish Church.  Donald himself had a close interest in the Arbory community and would be delighted to see the installation of the new window”. 

The design and production of the window is being undertaken by local artist Colleen Corlett, who is well known across the Island for her work on postage stamp design, paintings of Manx scenery, and stunning calligraphy skills in the production of many official scrolls for government agencies. Less well known might be her talents in other media such as woodcarving, pottery and most recently glass and window work. Amongst others, Colleen has produced stained glass windows for Douglas Corporation in the town hall, and was responsible for the Arbory School window in Arbory church commissioned in 2009. 

The Manx Museum and National Trust will be making further announcements over coming months to confirm how future grants will be allocated and how the associated heritage programmes will be delivered.


Image Caption

Quintin Gill (left) of the Quilliam Group receives the cheque for £15,000 from Tony Pass, Chairman of the Trustees of the Manx Museum and National Trust.

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