The Manx surname Quine is derived from the Gaelic Mac - son of - pre-fixed to the popular Old Norse forename Sveinn, meaning page, boy or servant. It appears that that McQueens and McQueeneys may have reached the Isle of Man in the fourteenth century. The cognate name Swayne is found in English-speaking parts of the British Isles, in Denmark the equivalent name is Swenson while in the Isle of Skye McSwan and MacQueen share the same origins as Quine.In Skye the MacQueens were a minor clan within Clan Chatten. The name is first recorded in Mann in 1403 when Luke MacQuyn was granted certain educational endowments. In land records from the early 1500’s, the name is spread thinly over the south and west of the Island. MacQuyn and MacQuyne are found in Arbory, Castletown, Santon, Marown (West Baldwin), Braddan (including Ballaquine, West Baldwin), German and Michael. Donald MacQuene held land in the Treen of Camlork in Braddan, and half a chamber (storehouse) in Douglas.

There is evidence that before the earliest surviving rent rolls were compiled, the family held other large properties in the southern half of the Island. These were Ballaquinnea Moar and Beg in Marown, and Ballaqueeney at Port St. Mary.

There is also a Quinney family [pronounced Kunya by old Manx people] on the Isle of Man, and it seems likely that it is an offshoot of the same family.


The surname Quine or Quyne was associated with the farm of Arderry, in the Braddan and Onchan Abbeylands from at least 1540 until 1954. Arderry means ‘high hill-pasture’, in Manx Gaelic, and the farm lies on the south east side of the East Baldwin valley. In 1540 John McQuyne was paying the eight shillings annual rent due from the farm to Rushen Abbey, part of the rents which had originally supported the Nunnery at nearby Douglas. John’s descendants continued to hold Arderry until the early 1760’s, when Thomas Quine sold the property in two parts; the southern portion (later known as ‘Ohio’) passing to Robert Creer of Ballawyllin, and the main part, including the house and outbuildings, being sold to Robert Quine of Onchan, for 240, in 1761. Thomas immediately bought another farm closer to Douglas, Ballafargher (now Glenville), of which Robert Quine had been the occupier. The Manx were attached to their ancestral farms, and often expressed the desire that ancestral holdings should should remain in the same family or name if disposal was necessary. Some European legal systems recognised the rule of ‘retrait linagier’ by which kindred had a right of pre-emption, where old family land was to be sold. Early Irish landholders could not sell their share of their kin-land without the consent of their kinsmen. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, settlements were drawn up in Mann which attempted to place restrictions on selling lands outside the family.


Unfortunately Thomas made no reference to the purchaser Robert as a cousin or kinsman in the Deed of 1761, and extensive research has failed to prove a relationship. Tradition had at least been respected by Thomas Quine, and ‘the name continued in the farm’ for many years to come. The former Quines of Arderry settled at Ballafargher [now Glenville] for several generations, later moving to Malew, and then, it is thought, to Andreas and the north.

Edgar Quine, M.H.K., a member of the Manx Legislature, and the late Professor Willard Van Orman Quine, a U.S. citizen, and internationally famous philosopher, were of this lineage.