Sir William Percy Cowley KBE (1886-1958)
Constitutional Reformer and Culturalist
High Bailiff and Deemster. He was instrumental in the formation of the Manx National Trust.
Educated at Ramsey Grammar School, William Percy Cowley was admitted to the Manx Bar in 1909 and went on to serve as High Bailiff, Second Deemster, and from 1947 on as First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls. During World War II he was appointed chairman of the War Consultative Committee, which brought together politicians from all sides to advise the Governor on the problems facing the Island. He served as an intelligence officer in the Home Guard during the war, and was invested with the CBE when King George VI came to preside over the Tynwald Day ceremony at St Johns in 1945.
Through his membership of the War Consultative Committee, Deemster Cowley also became deeply involved in negotiations with the United Kingdom about greater constitutional autonomy for the Island. Politically, he was extremely astute and his deal with the Admiralty for the purchase of Ronaldsway Airport by the Isle of Man Government in 1947 was a masterpiece of negotiation.
The formation of the Manx National Trust was a cause dear to Percy Cowley’s heart, and his personal legacy took the form of a gift of 783 acres of land above the Calf Sound, where a memorial to him stands.
This land is his memorial