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Freedom of the Borough of Douglas

Mark Cavendish receives the Honorary Freedom of the Borough Mark Cavendish receives the Honorary Freedom of the Borough

The Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Douglas is the highest honour the Council can confer on an individual (or in some cases, a military body) as an acknowledgement or appreciation of their outstanding contribution or service to the Borough and the Isle of Man.


As the sole local authority in the Isle of Man with borough status, Douglas is the only one that can confer the Honorary Freedom of the Borough.


The power to do so is contained in the Local Government Act 1985, an Act of Tynwald, but it had existed for many years in former legislation.


The power was first exercised in 1924 when the Right Honourable the Earl of Derby was honoured in recognition of his war service and his part in creating the Douglas war memorial. Since then the honour has been bestowed on 34 occasions.


Among the honorary freemen are Field Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Norman Wisdom and, more recently, the Bee Gees and Manx-born world cycling star Mark Cavendish/ 


Recipients of the Honorary Freedom of the Borough:

Date Granted


1924, 29th May

Rt. Hon. the Earl of Derby, K.G., P.C., G.C.V.O.,C.B.

1926, 28th April

Mr. Alderman John Thomas Faragher, J.P.

1929, 23rd July

Sir Hall Cain, K.B.E., C.H., J.P., O.O.L.

1930, 29th October

Mr. Alexander Robertson, O.B.E., J.P.

1932, 20th July

Mr. Alderman Robert Corlett, J.P.

1948, 13th May

Field Marshall the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, K.G., G.C.B., D.S.O.

1950, 13th April

Mr. Alderman James Henry Skillicorn

1955, 7th July

Royal Air Force Station, Jurby

1956, 27th September

His Honour Sir Percy Cowley, C.B.E.

1957, 23rd July

Rt. Hon. Sir. Winston Churchill, K.G., O.M., C.H., F.R.S., M.P.

1964, 10th September

Mr. Alderman John Crellin Fargher

Mr. Alderman Alfred James Teare, M.B.E., J.P.

1975, 22nd May

Mr. Alderman Robert Fletcher Quayle, J.P.

Mr. Alderman William Bowman Kaneen

Mr. Alderman Thomas Douglas Lewis, O.St.J., J.P.

Mr. Alderman Thomas Albert Corkish

1985, 22nd April

Sir William Alexander Moore

1986, 29th April

Mr. Alderman Cyril Simpson

Mr. Alderman Frederick Ernest Griffin

1989, 5th May

Mr. Frederick Douglas Buxton

1994, 28th January

Mr. Norman Wisdom

1998, 20th February

His Honour John William Corrin, C.B.E.

2001, 15th August

Mr. Ernest Ackary

His Honour Henry William Callow, C.B.E.

2003, 9th April

Sir Charles Kerruish, O.B.E.

Mr. Geoff Duke

2005, 18th March

Mr. Councillor Inkerman Albert Faragher

Mr. Frederick Andrew Kennish 

2007, 11th July

Mr. Councillor George Robert Chatel, M.B.E.

Mr. Alfred Duggan

2008, 18th August

Mr. Mark Cavendish

The Bee Gees

 2012, 14th March

Mr Geoffrey Friend Karran MBE

2016, 5th February

Mr Hector Duff

2018, 21st September

Mr Councillor David William Christian MBE JP


freedom of the boroughHis Worship the Mayor Michael Gelling (2009-2010) with Honorary Freemen Inkerman Faragher, the late Robin Gibb, the late George Chatel MBE, the late Sir Norman Wisdom, the late Geoff Duke OBE and Barry Gibb.



Frequently Asked Questions

How many times has the honour been awarded?

Freedom of the Borough is very rarely conferred with only 34 recipients since 1924.


What does it entitle the freeman to?

The honour does not confer any rights upon the Freeman. However, the conferring of the title of Honorary Freeman is the highest honour that a council of a city or borough can bestow. A Freeman of Douglas Borough Council also receives a permanent record of the extraordinary esteem in which he is held by the Council and the people of Douglas, in the form of a framed, sealed and illuminated address, recording the resolution of the Council, featuring a unique illustration by a local artist (most recently Colleen Corlett) of aspects of the recipient’s life and work.


freedom 2Mark Cavendish receives his award in 2008 from the then Mayor Councillor Ritchie McNicholl, JP.

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 July 2021 14:42