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Doll depicting 'Nan Wade', the Manx 'wise-woman' and charmer

Date made: 19th century

Description: A dressed doll, said to have been modelled from life on the seller of traditional Manx charms, Nan Wade, of Poortown, German. The doll is wearing handmade clothes and appears to show an elderly female wearing late 19th century clothing.

'Nan Wade' was a well known Manx wise woman, who specialised in producing charms and herbal remedies. Potentially high levels of infant mortality, low life expectancy together with contagious dieases and the high cost of consulting a medical doctor, meant that the use of folk remedies were an essential part of most people's lives in the past. As a result, each parish would have individuals identified as charmers, bone-setters, 'fairy' doctors or wise women. They would be consulted on a variety of matters which might include charms to remove warts, to stop bleeding or to prevent someone from 'bewitching' or casting the evil eye on a person's family or livestock.

IOM Times 3/10/1936 reports that Nan Wade's real name was Ann Boyde, and that she was buried in Peel in 1866. She appears on the 1861 census at Ballalough, Poortown, age 61, occupation 'herbalist'.

Measurements: overall: 42 cm x 23 cm x 13 cm

Materials: metal, textile

Object name: doll

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1959-0270


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Ann Cannell Wade was my 3rd great grandaunt. Is there a picture of this doll? - Barbara Cannell Christopher Report this

I am not sure why my comment is on there so many times. Sorry - Barbara Cannell Christopher Report this