Quayle’s Bank was a Manx banking company which conducted business from 1802 to 1818 in Castletown, at that time the capital and administrative centre of the Isle of Man. The original partnership consisted of Colonel John Taubman (c.1775-1812) and George Quayle (1757-1835) who signed the partnership agreement in London on 25 March 1802. It was then replaced by another agreement on 25 April 1802 which stated John Taubman, George Quayle, James Kelly and Mark Hildesley Quayle (1770-1804) to be partners.
Colonel John Taubman was the son of Major John Taubman (1746-1822), merchant, advocate and Speaker of the House of Keys (1799-1822) and Dorothy née Christian (c.1757-1784). Colonel Taubman was commandant of the South Manx Volunteers after commanding the 66th and 101st Regiments in the regular Army. Interestingly, George Quayle always referred to Taubman as Major (not to be confused with his father - also Major), despite his rank of Colonel.
George Quayle was son of John Quayle (d.1797) who was Clerk of the Rolls (1765-1797) and the Duke of Atholl’s seneschal. His mother was Margaret née Moore (1735-1792), daughter of Sir George Moore (1709-1787) merchant and Speaker of the House of Keys (1758-1780). Quayle was a prominent figure in this period: he was an inventor, winning the gold medal of the Society of Arts, a traveller (he journeyed as far as Turkey), a member of the House of Keys for 51 years and he was captain of the first regiment of the Royal Manx Fencibles. Quayle was also owner of the schooner Peggy, a six cannon vessel which survives to this day.
Mark Hildesley Quayle, younger brother to George Quayle, succeeded his father as Clerk of the Rolls in 1797 until 1804. He was the third member of his family to hold this post and his son, also Mark Hildesley Quayle (1804-1879) was the fourth Quayle to hold this position from 1847 until 1879. Very little is known about the final partner James Kelly. It is possible he was an advocate in Castletown and died in 1805, however further research is needed.
The partnership deed stated the bank would conduct business under the name of ‘The Isle of Man Banking Company’, however throughout its existence the bank was also known as Quayle’s Bank of Bridge House, Castletown and George Quayle & Co. Each partner contributed 500 guineas. George Quayle was appointed managing director (holding this position until 1818) with business was carried out using a strong room at Quayle’s residence Bridge House. In 1804 Mark Hildesley Quayle died and on 11 September 1805 James Kelly was paid out by the remaining partners, the same day on which the partners’ liability to Hildesley Quayle’s estate was discharged. Taubman and Quayle successfully ran the bank until May 1807 at which point Quayle advised the depositors in writing that the partnership was ending. He managed the bank alone until September 1810 when a new partnership was formed between himself, Patrick Townshend Lightfoot and Edward Cotteen (Castletown merchant).
The bank was popular with tradesmen and gentry of the Island (it was effectively run by this class) and the balance sheets for 1 June 1805 and 31 December 1816 shows assets and liabilities rose from £19,853. 14s. 7d. to £37,016. 12s. 11d.; by 1814 they exceeded £60,000. It was said that trusting the ‘Quayle note’ was as good as the Bank of England’s tender. Despite Quayle’s initial success, private banking in the early nineteenth century was difficult due to the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) almost destroying British trading links. It must be admired that in the times of uncertainty and restricted trade George Quayle was able to maintain a trusted reputation and run a banking business.
Notable customers of Quayle’s Bank included Hugh Crow (1765-1829), a Manx captain engaged in the transatlantic slave trade. Crow was master of the Kitty’s Amelia, the last slaving ship to sail from Liverpool (whilst on the voyage abolition of the trade was enacted in 1807). Another client was Thomas Brine (c.1768-1840), prominent architect and agent for Lloyds in Castletown. In 1821 he remodelled the House of Keys (Castletown), constructed St Mary’s Church (Castletown) in 1824, modified Castle Rushen to house a new rolls’ office, council chamber, jury’s room and secretary’s office and he designed the Castletown lifeboat house for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Brine was also an active member of the Castletown lifeboat crew; at the age of 60 he was involved in a rescue mission in December 1828 just off Derbyhaven. For his bravery he (and three others) was awarded the RNLI silver medal. Other banking clients included William Kelly (c.1760- 1857), Manx reformer and founder of Union Mills (joint cloth and corn mills), Thomas Stowell (1764-1821), lawyer and Clerk of the Rolls (1804-1821), John Joseph Bacon (1728-1809), Douglas Merchant and Revd John Nelson (c.1779-1847), Rector of Bride and father of poet Esther Nelson (1810-1843). Quayle’s Bank also had numerous female clients.
Sir John Bennett Piers (1772-1845), 6th Baronet of Tristernagh Abbey, Ireland, was another client of Quayle’s Bank. Piers was a notorious figure in this period and in 1806/07 was taken to court by Lord Cloncurry (1773-1853) for seducing his wife Lady Elizabeth Georgiana. It was said Piers had instigated the affair for a wager and the result ended in £20,000 in damages awarded to Lord Cloncurry. Fleeing to the Isle of Man, Piers lived with an actress named Elizabeth Denny before apparently marrying in 1815. Piers was also involved in a fight within a theatre audience and a duel held in Douglas. He was a prominent figure in Manx society, living on Island for many years before settling in Saint-Omer, France. After Piers’ death his daughters engaged in a legal dispute with Piers’ nephew (now the 7th Baronet), claiming their right to money because they were the legitimate children of the 6th Baronet. The daughters eventually won the case after appealing to the House of Lords in 1849. Further Quayle’s banking clients included the Peel Mathematical School, the Castletown and Peel Friendly Societies and the Northern Volunteers.
On 31 December 1816 Cotteen withdrew his partnership from the bank and by April 1817 financial difficulties led Quayle and Lightfoot seeking a new partnership with several prominent figures in Manx society such as Captain John Quilliam (1771-1829), John William Jeffcott (d.1824), Thomas Harrison (c.1746-1820), Calcott Heywood (1766-1852) and Paul Bridson (c.1767-1820).
Captain Quilliam of HMS Victory returned to the Island after the Napoleonic War and became a member of the House of Keys. He also married Margaret Christian née Stevenson (c.1770-1844) who came from the Stevenson family of Balladoole, one of the oldest families on the Island with strong political ties. John William Jeffcott (d.1824) was a well-known doctor on the Island while Paul Bridson (c.1767-1820) was a Douglas merchant and proprietor of Virginia in Kirk Braddan. Calcott Heywood (1766-1852) was a captain in the Manx Fencibles and member of the House of Keys and Thomas Harrison Esquire was a prominent Manx landowner, member of the House of Keys and resident of Spring Valley, Braddan.
Alongside the Napoleonic Wars, the Manx economy had also been suffering from an influx of forged currency (penny tokens and card notes), due in great part to the laxity of the Duke of Atholl (Lord of Mann) not coining money for Manx circulation. The illegal tender caused bankruptcy for many which is turn saw Quayle’s Bank suffer. Additional problems included the bank over-issuing its own notes and, by the end of 1816, having more money advanced to a small number of clients than money being deposited. In 1817 the bank’s mortgage was discharged and a re-conveyance made. Depositors were paid in full and Quayle’s Bank dissolved in 1818.