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Some Manx Surname Meanings

Some Manx Surname Meanings

Barron = a stripling
Bell = dweller at the (shop) sign of the bell; Son of the Servant of the bell ( = bellringer?)
Boyd = victorious; yellow (or fair headed); a yokel
Boyde = a yokel
Brew = farmer; inkeeper; deemster
Bridson = Son of the Servant of Bridget
Cain/Caine = son of Cathan = warrior (cath = battle)
Caley = son of Caoladh (caol = slender)
Callin = son of Ailin = noble one; son of Cathalan (cathal = valour)
Callister/Collister = son of Alasdair (Alexander), helper or defender of men
Callow/Cowley = Callow from MacAloe or MacAllow and Cowley from MacAmhlaoibh both from the Norse ‘Olaf’ = peaceful reminder, ancestor; bald (Callow only)
Camaish/Comaish/Comish = Thomas
Cannan/Cannon = son of Cana or Cano, a wolf cub; white beard
Cannell = Son of the Servant of Congall
Caren/Carine/Carran/Craine/Karran = Son of the Servant of Ciaran
Caren/Carine/Carran/Craine/Carroon/Corooin/Karran = calf; mouse-coloured; dark grey; son of Ciaran
Carroon/Carooin = description of Ciardubhan, small dark black one; dark black; ?Thor’s find
Casement = son of Asmundr (Osmund) meaning fee of the Gods
Cashen/Cashin = son of Caisin = the small curly-haired one or the small crooked, -eyed, -legged one; the small pleasant one
Castell/Caistill = kettle of the Gods
Caugherty = son of Eachmharcach = horse rider
Caveen = son of Daimhin (damh = poet, bard). Also son of Caermhin = beautiful
Christian = son of a Christian
Christory = son of Christopher
Clague = calf; horsefly; swift one; leech i.e. medical doctor; Son of the Servant of Lughaigh
Clark/Clarke = Mac y chlery = son of the clerk, scholar or secretary
Cleator = ?a person from the Cleator Moor
Clucas = Son of the Servant of Luke or son of Luke
Cojean/Cotteen = son of Paidin, dim. of Patrick; son of Cogan = son of the just-one (coghad = just)
Colquitt = Caldecott (a placename in Cheshire, England)
Colvin = black bone; coal
Condra = son of Hound of the Plain
Cooil/Coole = son of Dubhghall (Dougal) = black stranger or dark stranger, a Dane
Corjeag = (Mac)Svart-eygr = black-eyed; sea-pilot
Corkan/Quirk = son of Corcan (dim. of corc = heart); son of little heart
Corkhill/Corkill = Mac Thor Ketill, son of Thor’s kettle (or cauldron)
Corkish/Quark = son of Mark
Corlett = son of Thorljotr; ugly; fierce in battle
Cormode/Kermode = God-fearing; Thor’s wrath; son of freeman; unenvious
Corran/Corrin = son of Odhran; son of Thorfinnr = Thor’s find; dim. of corradh = spear
Corris/Kerruish = son of Feoras = Piers or Peter (Corris only); son of Fearghus = Fergus (Kerruish only)
Corteen/Costain = son of Thorsteinn = Thor’s stone; also son of Cruitin = hunch-backed (Corteen Only)
Cosnahan = foot of the river; dim. of Cosnach = defender
Costain = Thor’s stone; son of Augustine
Cottier = son of Ottar = twilight sword; also son of Terrible Army
Cowell/Cowle = son of Cathmaol = battle chief
Cowen/Cowin = son of Comhghan = twin
Cowley = MacAmhlaoibh from the Norse ‘Olaf’ = peaceful reminder, ancestor
Crebbin = son of Robin (dim. of Robert)
Creer/Freer = friar; prior
Creetch = from the personal name ‘Grettir’ (Norse)
Creetch/Kennish/Kinnish = son of Angus; unique choice; virtuous; one strength
Cregeen = son of ?Bruidin dim. of ‘goad’; son of Riaghan dim. of ‘swarthy, grey’; ?from Macbrideen = son of Bridget
Crellin/Crennell = son of Niallan dim. of Niall = little champion; ruler of the gods (nickname)
Crellin/Kneale = son of Niall = little champion
Crennell = son of Rognvaldr = Reginald, Reynold = poerful, enduring power, ruler of Gods
Cretney = son of a Briton or Welshman
Cringle = son of Nichol = victory of the people
Crowe = son of Cu-chradha = hound of destruction; son of Fiachan = little crow. In Celtic Mythology the crow signifies War and the Gods of War
Crye = son of Rath (raah = grace, prosperity); MacCraith = son of a weaver
Cubbin/Cubbon = son of Gibbon a dimunitive of Gilbert; bright hostage; pledged
Curphey = son of Murchad = sea warrior; possibly from curraghey = of the curragh or marsh
Duggan = descendant of Dubhagan, dim. dubh = black
Faragher/Fargher = descendant of Fearchar = very dear one or brave/violent
Farrant = descendant of Fearan (fer-an, small man); also ‘far’ = travel and ‘and’ = life
Fayle = descendant of Paul; son of Paul’s servant; wolf
Gale/Gell/Gill = gall = stranger, foreigner i.e. English or Norse; Gille = servant
Garrett = Mac yn Cheird son of the artificer; craftsman; Geirraudr = spear of peace
Gawe/Gawne = O Gobha, descendant of the smith; son of the smith
Gelling = descendant of Gealan, dim. of bright; Guillin’s servant
Gick = pet form of Richard
Gill = servant; Son of the Servant of Ceallagh
Gorry/Quarry = O Gothraidh, descendant/son of Godfrey (God’s peace); O Guaire descendant of the noble one
Joughin = Mac Jaghan, son of the deacon; Mac an Deachain, son of the deacon
Kaighen/Kaighin = son of Eachan, horseman or knight
Kaneen = O Coinin (probably) dim. of cano = whelp, wolf; Mac Cianain, son of Cianan dim. of weep
Kay/Kaye/Kee/Keggan/Keggen/Keggin/Kenna/Key/Quaggan/Quaggin/Quay/Quaye/Quiggin = fire
Keig = son of Tadhg = poet
Kelly = son of Ceallagh = war, strife
Kenna = son of Cionaodh = fire-sprung
Kennaugh/Quinney = Coinneach = fair one; son of Cainneach = devout, chaste
Keown/Kewin = MacEoin, son of John
Kermeen = son of Eireamon = Irving (Old English boar-friend)
Kermode = God-fearing; Thor’s wrath; son of freeman; unenvious
Kew = son of Hugh
Kewish = Mac Thomhais, son of Thomas; Mac Uais = soble’s son
Kewley/Kinley = son of fair Lugh or fair hero (Lugh, Celtic sun-god); son of Cinfaoladh = wolf head (Kinley only);
Kewney = son of Geibeannach = fettered one; Mac Dhuibhne, son of ill-going
Killey = Son of the Servant of Ceallagh
Killip = son of Philip
Kinley = son of Cinfaoladh = wolf-head
Kinvig = son of CuBeag = little hound; Kione-beg = little head (nickname)
Kinrade/Kinread = dweller at end of the road; son of Cu Riada = Riada’s hound
Kinrey = son of Henry
Kissack = son of Isaac = laughter
Kneale = son of Niall = champion
Kneen = son of Naoimhin, dim. of Naomh = saint; MacCianain, son of Cianon, dim. of weep
Lace = son of curly-haired youth; inheritance
Leece = Son of the Servant/Devotee of Jesus; inheritance
Lewin = Son of John’s servant
Lewney/Looney – armed; Son of the Servant of The Lord
Lowey = Son of the Servant of Dubhthagh (saint)
Maddrell = dyer (from madderer)
Martin = Son of the Servant of Martin
Monier = Mac Giolla Mhir, son of lively youth; Mac y Meoir?, son of the steward
Moore = O Mordha, descendant of Mordha = majestic
Morrison/?Quarrie/?Quarry = Mac Guilley Voirrey, Son of Mary’s Servant
Moughtin = great; son of Mochtan (a disciple of St Patrick)
Mylacraine/Mylcraine = Son of the Servant of (Saint) Ciaran
Mylchreest = Son of Christ’s Servant or tonsured servant of Christ
Mylrea = son of Giolla Riabhach = grey youth; Mac Rae, son of Rath = grace or luck
Mylroi = son of Ruadh = red-haired youth’s son
Quaggan/Quiggin = son of Dubhagan = black
Quail/Quayle = Son of Paul
Qualtrough/Waterson/Watterson = son of Walter = rule people
Quane = son of Dubhan = black; son of Guilley Bane = fair youth
Quarrie/Quarry = son of Guaire = noble; son of Mary
Quiggin = knowledge; skill; ingenuity; son of little Tadhg; son of little Aedh
Quill = hazel
Quilleash = Son of the Servant of Jesus; noble Coll’s son
Quilliam = son of William
Quillin = descendant of Cuilean = holly; son of Cullen = whelp
Quine = Sveinn, son of boy, page, servant
Quinney = son of Coinne from Coinneach = fair one
Quirk = Mac Cuirc, son of corc = heart
Radcliffe = placename in Lancashire meaning red cliff
Sayle = placename in Cheshire called after William de Sale, a crusader
Scarff/Scarffe = skarft = cormorant; skard = mountain pass; skardi = hare-lip
Shimmin = son of Sigmundr = victory-gift/victory protector
Skelly = son of Scalaighe = crier; O’Scolaidhe, descendant of story-teller
Skillicorn = rock in the sea; obsolete placename in Lancashire
Stowell = placename in Gloucestershire
Taggart = son of the priest
Taubman = possibly from the occupation of tubman, a cooper
Teare = Mac y Teyir/Theyir, son of the craftsman or carpenter
Vondy = son of Bondi = yeoman
Wattleworth = of Wateford in Ireland (placename)


Names derived in various ways some of which were:

– From an animal
– A personal characteristic
– A description of a person’s appearance
– A name connected with legend, fable or religion
– A saint
– Location
– Nicknames


(source: This list is incomplete and compiled from ‘Surnames of the Manks’ by Leslie Quilliam. For anyone who would like more information on Manx surnames, the book is available to purchase at the Lexicon Bookshop; artwork by unknown artist)

Bernadette Weyde

Bernadette Weyde

I'm a web designer, amateur historian and keen gardener and I enjoy bringing Manx history, folklore and poetry to a modern audience.

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  1. Salim
    Salim 27 January, 2018, 16:33

    Thanks a lot for the informations!
    My forefathers came from the Isle of Man and their surname were Gill. Does that mean, in this context, that there were a cleric family because of your mentioned meaning “Gill = servant; Son of the Servant of Ceallagh”….?
    Best regards and keep up the good work

    Reply this comment
    • Bernadette Weyde
      Bernadette Weyde Author 10 March, 2018, 14:25

      Hello Salim. Not necessarily a cleric family though perhaps going way back in time someone would have been a servant of Ceallagh and thus placed special importance and devotion to this being. If you take a look at Peter Killey’s site, you will see that the name has the same meaning as Killey and others and Peter has grouped information on it from a few sources which you might find interesting. Here is the link:

      Reply this comment

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