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John Christian Curwen (1750-1828)

Agricultural Reformer

Served as both a Member of the House of Keys and as a Member of Parliament. He was a leading agricultural reformer.
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John Christian was born in Cumberland, a relative of the Christian family of Milntown, Lezayre. Some years after the death of his first wife, he married a first cousin, Isabella Curwen, the heiress of Workington Hall, and in 1790 added her name to his own.  In 1786 he was elected as Member of Parliament for Carlisle.  In 1820 he won seats in both Carlisle and West Cumberland, and opted to represent the latter.  He also sat during the 1820s as a Member of the House of Keys, and was the only person ever to hold the titles of both MP and MHK.
 
John Christian Curwen was a formidable figure in English politics. He played a leading role in opposing the claims of the 4th Duke of Atholl in relation to the Isle of Man, both in the Keys and the House of Commons.
 
Apart from his political activities, he was a leading agricultural reformer, running an experimental farm at Workington and promoting the latest agricultural developments through his Workington Agricultural Society, which had a branch in the Isle of Man.  In 1808 the Manx farmers presented John Christian Curwen with a silver vase engraved with an acknowledgement of his ‘strenuous and successful efforts in Parliament in defence of their country’s rights and independence, and of the benefits the rising agriculture has received from his protection and example’.

A defender of his people's rights