The history of the Falcon’s Nest Hotel has always been made by the people who ran it, local landowners and the people of Port Erin, and of course, the people who have visited.

Browse our illustrated time line and discover the lives and endeavours of the people who have made the Falcon’s Nest over the years.

Mrs A. Clugston

Ann Clugston (1801 – 1896)

 

First owner and proprietor

Anne Clugston (born Anne Garne) ran the Queen’s Arms – the original inn which predated the Castle Hotel and Falcon’s Nest Hotel.

She was one of the oldest living people on the Isle of man, surviving many of the Falcon’s Nest’s future landlords.

She may have been quite a character. There is a wonderful sting in the last line of her will, where she expresses her hatred of football:

“If Wm Clugstone Junior during my life time join the football game he is to be deprived of my property that I have left him in my will. Anne Clugstone. Feb 6th 1891.”

 

Notable dates

  • 1837 – Patrick Cringle recorded as Landlord (and keeper of post horses) of the only inn in Port Erin – the ‘comfortable’ White Lion
  • 1843 – Jas. Clogston Landlord of the Queen’s Arms
  • 1851 – Ann Clugston is recorded as running the Queens Arms Inn
  • 1858 – Queen’s Arms changed it’s name to The Falcon’s Nest
  • Leech’s guide of 1861 records Falcon’s Nest, and Port Erin Castle Hotel, Mrs. A. Clugston

 

Sources
Pigot’s Directory, 1837 – Manx Notebook
Pigot & Slater’s Directory, 1843 – Manx Notebook
Old Inns and Coffee-Houses of the Isle of Man, Neil Mathieson – Manx Notebook
Clugston family tree
Ann Clugston’s will, 1896
Leech’s Guide, 1861 – Manx Notebook

Wm. Milner Esq.

William Milner (c.1804 – 1974)

‘Wealthy benefactor’

William Milner was a wealthy safe-maker from Liverpool who took his summer holidays, with his family, in Port Erin. He began spending more and more time here to recuperate after illness and eventually retired on the Island.

He owned land in Port Erin, and had his house ‘The Rest’ built next to the  Queen’s Arms/Falcon’s Nest and was responsible for the building of Port Erin Castle Hotel.

He was a key player in the planning the high profile Port Erin built breakwater across the bay. It was part of a series of improvements for which Tynwald borrowed money from Westminster against future revenues of the Island.

 

Notable dates

  • 1855 – Plans to build a breakwater began. Hoped to provide  shelter and anchorage for 1,000 vessels.
  • 1863 – The Port Erin Breakwater Railway and saw the first steam locomotive used on the Isle of Man
  • 1864 – The foundation-stone of the Breakwater at Port Erin was laid about the year eighteen hundred and sixty-four. William Milner was the chief man in the cause.

 

Sources
Cooinaghtyn Manninagh Manx Reminiscences, Dr John Clague, 2005
Breakwater, Manx Postcards, 1907 – Manx Notebook
Port Erin Methodist Chapel – Manx Notebook
Land owned by Milner, Walking trails in Port Erin, Gov.im

The ‘Milner Suite’

This is the grand Victorian ballroom where you can enjoy Breakfast at the Falcon’s Nest today. It is also available to hire for Functions and Weddings.

‘The Godfather of Port Erin’

William Milner was a significant benefactor to the people of Port Erin setting up charities to help the poverty stricken fishermen. He became known as ‘the godfather of Port Erin’.

 

He was one of the main instigators in a campaign to build a breakwater across the bay which was very vulnerable to storms. Destroyed by storms in 1884, only visible at low water now.

He gave money towards the building of the Dandy Hill Methodist Chapel.

He was responsible for building the first hotel, Falcon’s Nest, and his own private residence “the Rest”.

In 1871 a tower was erected by local people high on Bradda Head to commemorate Milner’s heritage. The tower is thought to be built in the shape of a key as tribute to the safe maker. Milner died three years later. Milner’s Tower is a local landmark and commemorated by a coin design 2004-2016.

St. Catherine’s church in was erected around 1879 in memory of Milner’s wife Jane, with money from his will.

St Catherine’s Terrace, the terrace of fisherman’s cottages on Shore Road, was paid for by William Milner and let to working people.

Milner’s View Restaurant

Renamed in 2016, the Restaurant of the Falcon’s Nest is a place where you can sit in the conservatory and enjoy spectacular views of Milner’s Tower.

Open to non residents and serving traditional food with daily specials.

Mr. Arthur Hill Holme

Arthur Hill Holme (1814-1857)

‘Liverpool design’

Liverpool based architect, son of a Liverpool builder and brother to the Mayor of Liverpool, Arthur Holme, designed several churches in Liverpool as well The former Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool Prison and collaborating on Lime Street Station.

Holme designed Port Erin Castle Hotel in 1857 – the year that he died.

The Falcon’s Nest/Port Erin Castle Hotel was erected by Mr R. Cain, of Castletown and included:

‘4 noble Dining-rooms, with bay widows, and spacious Bedrooms’.

Walk up the Promenade to the junction with Church Road and in the grass on your left is the upright standing stone inscribed “LAWN FALCON’S NEST” that marked the original boundary for the Port Erin Castle Hotel.

There is evidence from a bare patch of grass adjacent to the inscribed stone that there was another stone which suggests that this stone was a gatepost.

 

Notable dates

  • 1857 – Port Erin Castle Hotel designed
  • 1859/60 Hotel built

 

Sources
Architect Arthur Hill Holme – Manx Notebook 
Cubbon, S, Manx Inns A Pub Crawl Through History, Amulree Publications, Isle of Man, 1998, Amazon
The Isle of Man Weekly Times, Douglas, Newspapers.com
Standing stone, Walking Trails in Port Erin, Gov.im
Falcon’s Nest Gatepost, Waymarking.com

 

Mr. John Geary

John Geary (1821 – 1874)

‘New Landlord’

John Geary set out to advertise the new hotel and attract guests. He commissioned some ‘tourist guides’ to attract well to do families from Lancashire, selling Port Erin as a more ‘genteel’ holiday location than the busy Douglas. In Edwin Waugh’s guide John Geary is described as;

“the landlord of the hotel – a very kind hearted and intelligent Englishman”

 

Notable dates

  • 1861 – a partnership was entered into between Mrs Clugston and John Geary
  • 1863 – both Falcon’s Nest and Castle Hotel were described as run by a Mr. John Geary
  • 1871 Milner’s Tower is built on top of Bradda Head. It is said to resemble the key to one of his safes.

 

Sources
Clugston Family tree
Guide to Castletown, Port Erin, and adjacent parts of the Isle of Man by Edwin Waugh, 1869 – Manx Notebook
1869 notes – Manx Notebook

Mr. George Trustrum Snr.

George Trustrum (1825 – 1878)

Mrs. Ellen Trustrum

Ellen Trustrum (1827 – 1883)

‘New Family’

Following the death of John Geary, Ann Clugstone sold the hotel to George Trustrum (Snr.) who appeared to have been associated with the York Hotel in Douglas.

Following her husband’s death, Ellen and her son G.L. Trustrum took over the hotel, together with the lease to ‘The Rest’ the marine residence of the late W. Milner Esq. next door, and convert it into a family boarding house. It was renamed ‘York House’.

15 years after her husband, Ellen died leaving the Nest in the capable hands of her son GL Trustrum.

The young Mr Trustrum begins to show he is a community man.

“In 1888 Mr G L Trustrum, and many other gentlemen hurried to direct operations in the gallant endeavour to save the crew of the Lyra, wrecked at Port St. Mary.”

 

Notable dates

  • 1874 – Both William Milner and John Geary die this year.
  • 1876 – George Trustrum buys the Falcon’s Nest Hotel
  • 1878 – George Trustrum Snr dies
  • 1883 – Ellen Trustrum dies
  • 1896 – Ann Clugston dies
  • 1896 – Visit by W. Gladstone

 

Sources
Note – Manx Notebook
Lyra – Port St Mary Lifeboat

Gladstone's visit

In 1886, perhaps the most distinguished statesman of the nineteenth century, W. E. Gladstone, came to the Island.

 

British statesman and politician, he served for twelve years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Gladstone was known affectionately by his supporters as the “G.O.M.” “Grand Old Man”. Historians often call him one of Britain’s greatest leaders.

There is a good story told in the Isle of Man of Mr Gladstone’s visit to Port Erin, at the Falcon’s Nest.

On one occasion, he ordered his breakfast very early in order that he might get down to the train to see some friend off to catch the morning boat in Douglas. The breakfast was a little too tardy in arriving, and Mr Gladstone took one cup of tea, and popped the teapot down in the corner of the hearth to keep it warm, intending to have some more on his return. The waiter thought he had gone away himself, and rushed to the manager, saying : ” Has he paid his bill ?” ” Who ?” asked the manager. ” ‘Im wot’s ad breakfast. Any’ow, ‘e’s been and took the silver teapot.” Ere long Mr Gladstone returned, and, quietly sauntering to the fire-place, took up the pot and renewed his seat at the table.

“You ass,” said the manager to the waiter, ” that’s the G.O.M.

The Falcon’s restaurant was renamed ‘The Gladstone’ in honour on his visit, until it’s name was changed to ‘Milner’s View Restaurant‘ in 2016.

Sources
Manx Notebook – Manx yarns
William Ewart Gladstone (1809 – 1898)

Mr. Geo. L Trustrum

George Lucas Trustrum (1855 – 1939)

‘Entrepreneurial spirit’

GL Trustrum took over and enlarged the Falcon’s Nest to it’s present size apart from the conservatory overlooking bay. Work was carried out by Castletown builder, James Costain.

Mr. Costain was identified with the growth of Port Erin as a holiday resort being involved in the building of the Belle Vue in 1885 and the altered Eagle Hotel.

George Trustrum had a number of enterprises. The following is an example of a business venture with his friend Mr Watterson, a Baker, and Thomas Clague, Butcher and Hotel owner;

Mr G. L. Trustrum joined with Mr Watterson and Mr Thos. Clague in acquiring the Calf of Man, and opened it up as a visitors’ resort. “It did not prove a lucrative undertaking.”

George Trustrum bought ‘The Hut’, a thatched property on Bradda Head with grounds including ‘Castle Mona’ and cottages. He converted these into a café and entertainment, but ran into a series of difficulties. He sold them to the Collinson’s who later developed them into Collinson’s Holiday Camp.

George was also known as a keen sportsman. In 1897 he has one of the leading scores at Port Erin Golf Links and in 1905 was recorded as the clubs captain. Today, the Falcon’s Nest Hotel Sports Bar is named after him, which is quite fitting.

He played a big part in village life, recorded as being Chairman of the Sanitary Authority, Chairman of the Commissioners and Secretary of Port Erin Water company.

“MR. George Lucas Trustrum, though not a Port Erin man by birth, is perhaps the most patriotic member of the Port Erin community. For many years he carried on business extensively in the pretty South-western holiday resort, and now that he has retired he resides there, and his interest in the welfare of the place has in nowise abated.”

 

Notable dates

  • before 1902 – Fire recorded at the hotel, possibly related to renovations.
  • 1903 – New railway station building
  • 1910- Choir stalls were installed in St Catherine’s Church, gift of G.L Trustrum in memory of his parents and little girl

 

Sources
IOM Firebrigade history, 1903 Firestylemagazine
Falcon Nest History, Port Erin Postcards and Pictures
James Costain, Manx Quarterly #18, Manx Notebook
Calf of Man Visitor Resort, Watterson Strand Bakery, Waymarking.com
Port Erin Golf Club, Bradda Head, Isle of Man. (1895 – 1950), Golf Missing Links
Centenary of church 1880 – 1980, Rushen Parish PDF

The Trustrum Suite

The ‘Trustrum Suite‘ is still going strong at the Falcon’s Nest. Available for hire for Weddings and Events.

Arnold Bennett, Author

Anrold Bennett was an English writer. He is best known as a novelist, but he also worked in other fields such as the theatre, journalism, propaganda and films.

Anna of the Five Towns’ is a novel, first published in 1902 and one of his best-known works.

Chapter X in Anna of the Five Towns, ‘The Isle’, is really a completely self-contained episode. It contains a most detailed and accurate account of setting off for a holiday in the Isle of Man.

“You had better sleep at the Falcon’s Nest; it is the best hotel”, p285

It is reasonable to assume that Arnold Bennett visited here himself in the 1890’s in order to give such a detailed account of the Hotel and surroundings.

Sources
Anna of the Five Towns, Wikipedia
Newsletter, 2016, Arnold Bennett Society
Arnold Bennett (1867 – 1931)

Mr. Joseph Swinnerton

Joseph Swinnerton

Mrs. Mary Swinnerton

Mary Swinnerton

‘The Wartime years’

Joseph and Mary Swinnerton were Landlord and Landlady of the Falcon’s Nest in 1917, when their son Private Frederick William Swinnerton of the 13th Cheshire Regiment was killed in action 7 June 1917, Ypres, aged 19 years.

The daughter of Joseph and Mary, Miss ‘Jo’ Swinnerton gave an interesting account of her career as Manageress at the Falcons Nest Hotel in 1924 where she stayed until she retired at 62.

“During the second world war Port Erin was turned into a camp for internees with barbed wire all round & I had ninety women at the Falcon. German, Austrian, Italian & all sorts: it is really surprising what one can do if one has to. Every hotel and boarding house in Port Erin was fUll of women and there was a Commandant from Scotland Yard in charge of the lot, & we could go to him if in trouble, but once I’d got things organised I was alright.”

Women interned at the Falcon included German and Austrian refugees, cooks, a housemaid, and a hairdresser.

Notable dates

  • 1911 -Victoria Mary Swinnerton, 24 recorded as being Hotel Barmaid
  • First and Second World Wars

 

Sources
Family History Journal, 1986, Swinnerton Family
Falcon’s Nest staff 1911, IOM imuseum
Family History Journal, 1994, Swinnerton family
1911 Census data, IOM imuseum search