Captain John Quilliam RN

CaptQuilliam

Captain John Quilliam was 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.

He rose through the ranks and 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 ship’s wheel was shot way, and Quilliam rigged up a temporary method of steering her using ropes, in the gun room below.

After the war, Captain Quilliam returned to the island, married a member of the Stevenson family of Balladoole, Arbory, and resided at Ballakeighen. He also lived at Balcony House in Castletown. He became an MHK, and improved boat design for the Peel herring fleet. He died in Kirk Michael, in 1829 and is buried in Arbory churchyard.