Ballaugh Heritage Trust

Treisht Eiraght Valley Ny Loghey

What’s On

The Opening of the Goods Shed

On May Day, come and have a look around the newly renovated shed and enjoy a “Hog Roast”. Official opening at 3.30pm, food from 4pm.
Monday 5th May 2pm-6pm and later

Walking the Line: Guided walk

The launch of the guided walk leaflet written by Bill Quine — friend of, and native of, Ballaugh.
This walk of approximately 3½ miles (on the flat) will explore the railway line between the village, Orrisdale and Bollyn Jairg Road.
Tuesday 24th June at 7.30pm: Meet at the Goods Shed

Who cared and where: Assistance for older people 100 years ago

Sarah Christian
Who could older people turn to on the Island when they were in need? This talk touches on family based care, the Poor Law Guardians, the poor house and Ballamona Hospital.
Tuesday 22nd July at 7.30pm, in the Bowling Club

The sinking of the Lusitania

Dr. Jennifer Kewley-Draskau
The Loss of the Lusitania: The tragic fate of the world’s greatest liner altered the course of history: Manx passenger aboard the stricken vessel, Miss Violet James, described the tragedy, and Manx fishermen (two of them from Jurby) played  a heroic part in the rescue.
Tuesday 23rd September at 7.30pm in the Bowling Club

Ballaugh’s got Culture

The committee hopes you will join with us in a weekend of events the celebrate 2014 Island of Culture. The goods shed will be open and a concert and other events are planned.
Weekend of 4th October

Fun Quiz

Bring a plate, a tipple and a raffle prize and join in our fun quiz for all the family. Guests welcome.
Saturday 22nd November at 7.30pm in the Bowling Club

‘Down the Dolley’



Part II

Mrs D. Dobby, 1995

An informal but informed account, as far as very limited printed
records and memories will allow, of the Dollagh Green in earlier days.

Now we move to the single-storey cottages with their two-feet thick walls, which have kept their Manx shape at the front facing the Green but which have had extensions built to the back and side. These were originally thatched roofed (now slate tiles) and were rented and occupied probably by farm workers employed by the Dollagh Beg farmer to the south, as were the occupants of a line of cottages (now tholtans) on the other side of the river, on a line with Dollagh Cottage and Riverside Cottage on the Green.

In Dollagh Cottage lived Jemmy Kerruish (1845-1925) who was Jinny Callister’s brother, and his wife Margaret (1841-1903). By the 1920s this family had dwindled to ‘Nellie’, a personality of the ‘Dolley’, who was ‘Auntie Nellie’ not only to her nieces and nephews, but to everyone else on the Dollagh Green.

Deeds of Dollagh Cottage date back to 1883 when one Thomas Craine of Dollagh Moar, yeoman, bought the property from John Cowley, butcher of Peel, the Dollagh Green then being described as the Dollagh Easement. In 1889 part of this land was called the Parish Pinfold in the transaction, which transferred ‘the lands and premises, part of the Quarterland of Dollagh Moar’ to John Kelly and his wife. After this, the land and properties, described variously as Dollagh Beg, Claddagh, Slate Mountain, Voasts Meadow, Faie Rob and Dollagh Green, passed between the Killips, Quayles and Corletts until 1961, when Thomas Killip sold it to Evelyn Corlett of Ramsey (not to be confused with Dorothy Mabel Coreltt of Douglass who, in 1963, sold the field behind Dollagh Cottage to Charles Cowin). Dollagh Cottage itself was named and described as being bounded to the north by the Dollagh Green and included a garden, Barney’s House, a tholtan, and another garden which is where the Dollagh Cottage garage now stands.

In 1962, Evelyn Corlett sold all this property and land to Mary Jervis Hamblin of Kneen’s cottage and bungalow, the Cronk, Ballaugh. In 1964, Mary Jervis having died, Elsie Hamblin sold the land and property, this time excluding the tholtan, Barney’s House, to Marjorie Winifred Bushell of Kirk Michael for £800, who then added an extension at the back to provide two more rooms, a bathroom and a sunroom, together with a piece of land which she bought from Charles Cowin for a garden and access to the main road.

When this was finished, in 1966, she sold it to Gilbert Henry Grocott for £3,250. When he died in 1969, his widow sold it to Ernest Henry George Dobby for £4,250 who, in turn, added an extension containing a sitting room and a second bathroom. From the front the modernisation has not altered the proportion of the building although, o course, in the up-grading of Manx cottages the windows are changed and a porch added. In the case of the Dollagh Cottage, unfortunately the walls were covered with grey peeble-dash by Mrs Bushell, which is out of keeping with other dwellings around the Green. It is also unusual in having the front door at one end, next to the two-storey house next door, instead of between the usual two rooms, with the chimney of the chiollagh in the middle. Mrs Bushell also added a garage, in what was called ‘the garden’, beside which is now a giant holly tree, up which grows a white rose right to the top, some 30 feet, which flowers prolifically every year.

Another resident listed in 1890 as living on the Dollagh Green was Mrs Margaret Corlett, described as an egg-dealer and midwife, and who was know as ‘Mayh Miller’. The hens, it was said, laid their eggs in the pinfold. Her daughter, Mrs Mary Caine (1850-1925) continued with the midwifery and was known to everyone as ‘Mary the Miller’. She was noted for ‘popping’ a clove into her mouth before she set out to ‘fortify’ herself. Old time Manx ‘sick nurses’ also used to eat onions and take some with them as a disinfectant when called to an infectious case.

Next door, adjoining Dollagh Cottage to the west, is Riverside Cottage, also added to but in this case by a single room addition, distorting the Manx proportions of the building. In front and to the west, between the cottage and the river, is a narrow strip of the original garden, to which is now added a large piece of land the title of which is uncertain. In the Dollagh Cottage deeds it was attributed to the Callisters, although Mr Ellis said that there was nothing in their deeds to justify this.

However, the most interesting part of the property is that the thie veg now used as a coal shed, is in full view of the Green though, before the Pinfold wall was demolished, there was more privacy. It is strangely positioned in front of the cottage instead of, as is usual, at the back.

This brings up the question of how the thie veg would have been emptied. The usual method before the advent of piped water was for a hole in the wooden seat (or two, or three!) with the excrement just dropping on the ground, from which is was shovelled, periodically, on to a midden, scattered with lime and then covered with a layer of earth which, when big enough, was taken away in a barrow and spread over the garden.

Across, on the other side of the Green, stills stands almost in its original appearance, Brookside Cottage, first mentioned in the deeds in 160, when it was sold by William Kelly to John Teare and Thomas Craine, the house and land being described as part of the ‘Dhoullagh Moar’ Quarterland.Teare died in 1887, as also did Craine for whom, ‘he being illegitimate’, John Kelly was appointed Trustee. The property was sold in 1908 to Florence Sophie Brooke who, in 1955, sold it to a tram driver from Bispham, Blackpool for £700, described it as ‘a parcel of land in the Quarterland of Dollaugh Moar, with dwelling house called Brookside and “cottage” bordered to the north by land owned by Herbert Edwin Burgess, and to the south, by the Dollagh Easement’. This cottage is now a garage but, small as it is, was once lived in by a family who rented it, together with a garden on to which a barn-style door opened. This is now preserved and looked after as a beautiful cottage-style garden, wwith an apple tree in the centre until recently.

Laura, Lady Buchan

Laura, Lady Buchan, was the eldest daughter of Col. Mark Wilkes, and grand-daughter of Rev. Jas. Wilkes. She gave the silver communion service to Ballaugh New Church. This account of her life appears in Manx Worthies, compiled by A. W. Moore, and first published in 1901 .

LAURA, LADY BUCHAN, née WILKS (b. 1797, d. 1888), the eldest daughter of Col. Wilks by his first wife, will be chiefly remembered on account of her interview with the Emperor Napoleon just after his arrival in St. Helena.

She was then evidently a remarkably beautiful girl. Indeed, when the writer saw her at her house in Portland Place, London, some years before her death, she still had the remains of great beauty.

Our knowledge of the interview is mainly derived from an article in Blackwood’s Magazine, of January, 1834, entitled, ‘ Reminiscences of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was written by a lady2 who was staying with Col. and Mrs. Wilks at the time, and who, by special request of Mrs. Wilks, accompanied her daughter when she (Miss Wilks) and Col. Wilks called on Napoleon.

I was delighted,’ she writes, ‘to chaperone so elegant, amiable, and beautiful a young lady, and felt proud that Napoleon should see so perfect a specimen of my fair countrywomen. Miss WILKS was then in the first bloom of youth, and her whole demeanour, agreeability, and elegant, modest appearance, conspired to render her the most charming and admirable person I ever before or have since met with in all my peregrinations in Europe, Asia, and Africa, for the space of thirty years’.

She then proceeds to describe their departure from Government – or Plantation House, as it was called – in a huge vehicle drawn by six bullocks driven by three men.3 After some hours going across the most dangerous narrow roads, or rather paths, sharp turnings and precipitous horrors beneath, enough to terrify the stoutest heart, and turn giddy the strongest head,’ they arrived at Longwood.

They found Napoleon ‘fully dressed and standing to receive Governor Wilks with etiquette.’ He was ‘arrayed in a green coat, with all his stars, orders, and ribbons – silk stockings, small shoes with gold buckles, and a chapeau-bras under his arm.’ His secretary and interpreter, Count Las Cases, stood by his side. The governor then presented his daughter to Bonaparte, who, ‘looking at her with a pleasing smile, addressed her in these words : ‘I have long heard from various quarters of the superior elegance and beauty of Miss Wilks ; but now I am convinced from my own eyes that the report has scarcely done her sufficient justice.4 Saying this, he bowed to her politely.’ From another source,5 we gather that Napoleon also said : ‘ You must be very glad to leave the island;’ to which she replied, ‘ Oh I no, sire, I am very sorry to go away,’ to which Napoleon very naturally answered : ‘ Oh! mademoiselle, I wish I could change places with you.’ He then presented her with a bracelet.

Some years after her arrival in England she married General Sir John Buchan, K.C.B., whom she survived. She was a considerable landowner in the Isle of Man, having succeeded to her father’s properties of Kirby, Castleward, &c.

1 Kindly copied by Mr. Frowde.

2 Her name is not given

3 The writer explains that on account of ‘ the steep precipitous roads . . . to proceed in a carriage drawn by horses would be dreadfully dangerous, nay almost impossible.’

4 O’Meara, in his ‘ Napoleon at St. Helena,’ gives the date of this interview as April 21, 1816, saying that it took place just before Col. Wilks left for England in the Savannah. In describing it, he uses the following words: ‘He (Napoleon) was highly pleased with Miss Wilks (a highly accomplished and elegant young lady), and gallantly told her that ‘she exceeded the description which had been given of her to him.’

5 A note in the Isle of Man Times of May, 1888. The writer of it refers to the article in ‘Blackwood,’ but does not say where he got his further information from.

John Kneen – Saint’s Model

John Kneen of Ballaugh Curragh is well known for being one of the last native Manx speakers who encouraged others to learn and converse in Manx. He made recordings on the Manx language, old Isle of Man customs and lived to the grand old age of 105 years. He had had a long career as a blacksmith but what may be less well known is his role as a model for a saint.

He enjoyed having visitors, one of whom was Alan Cunliffe. Alan was married to Jean Craine of Broughjairg Mooar, a sister of Dougie, Charles and
Dorothy Craine. Alan and his family came to Ballaugh on holiday every year and he was a keen photographer. In 1953 Alan took some portraits of John Kneen who was then 101 years old.

One day, back at his home in Marple, Cheshire, Alan was showing a friend some of his photographs. Tom Willford of Brabyn’s Studios, Marple
Bridge, had been a designer for forty-five years in stained glass and he was commissioned to design a window dedicated to St Andrew for Alsager Parish Church, Cheshire. When he saw the photos of John Kneen he said “That’s a fine head. It would make a grand subject for a window.” A new concept for Tom in using living subjects for religious portraits was born.

Tom worked on the window depicting St Andrew for three months and the photos show the gradual transformation from blacksmith to saint. So, if you are ever in the Alsager area, why not pay him a visit?

Joy Ling

Photographs by Alan Cunliffe courtesy of his son Juan Cunliffe

REPORTS OF EVENTS Oct 2011-Dec 2012

It’s very encouraging to see that the increase in the numbers of people coming to the evening meetings. Events further afield are generally less well-supported though. Attendances for the indoor meetings average about 25, which represents about 40% of our membership. Please let us know if you have any ideas suggestions for speakers and subjects or, indeed, if you would like to volunteer your own services!

Our Manx Dialect Roy Kennaugh 11th October, 2011

We are really fortunate that there are so many people involved in studying areas of Manx interest. Roy has been part of a group of researchers who have looked at the way English is spoken in the Isle of Man. What was once described as the Anglo-Manx dialect is now referred to as Manx-English. The work has thrown up some unexpected findings and forms a very useful reference point for future research work.

Advent Carol Service, Old Ballaugh Church Sunday 11th December 2011

Our carol service marked the second Sunday in Advent. Enthusiastic singing and thoughtful readings contributed to a memorable event, which gives us all an opportunity to sing Advent carols and hymns such as ‘Hills of the North, rejoice!’ After the service, we were treated to welcome mulled wine (non-alcoholic!) and mince-pies.

The Story of Ramsey Lifeboat Tony Walters Ballaugh Heritage Trust, 21st February, 2012

We were fortunate that Tony spoke to us about the subject close to his heart in the year in which he received a major award from the Australian equivalent of the RNLI. He drew on his extensive knowledge of the RNLI to tell us about some aspects of how the organization is run, including the development of the boats themselves, the training of crews, and some of the inspiring stories of rescues.

Wildlife Reserves Tricia Sayle, Tuesday 20th March, 2012

Warden Reserves Officer Tricia introduced us to the variety of flora and fauna to be found in the Island’s landscape. There are particularly interesting areas in Ballaugh and neighbouring parishes. The Curragh, of course, is an internationally-recognised wetland. Close Sartfield is most famous for the extraordinary sight of the orchids in early summer but Tricia described some of the less well-known reserves and gave an account of some of the issues that have to be taken into consideration in their management.

The Isle of Man in the 1900s Jack Kaighen 17th April, 2012

We welcomed back another heritage enthusiast. Jack’s lantern slides continue to fascinate with the insights they give into lives a hundred years ago. Many focused on the visiting industry, recording the huge numbers of visitors, particularly in Douglas. It’s always interesting too to see how the townscape has changed and, although most scenes were familiar, some views were less recognizable.

Manx links with Western Norway Fenella Bazin 1st May, 2012

Unfortunately, Andrew Johnson’s scheduled talk on Flight into History: Archaeology at Ronaldsway 1935-2010 had to be postponed so our Chairman stepped into the breach! The Isle of Man’s links with Norway have been an important element in shaping Manx life today. The first Vikings settled mainly on the northern plain, which was fertile, and was easily accessible by sea, and had long sandy beaches for landing boats. The northern parishes have a rich tradition of carved crosses from the period. Only one has been found in Ballaugh. Housed in the Old Church, the runic inscription refers to Olaf Liotulfsson, perhaps the founder of one of the Ballaugh families, as his surname gradually changes into the surname Corlett.

Guided Tour round Ronaldsway Andrew Johnson Sunday 20th May 2012

On Sunday 20th May eleven of our members enjoyed a guided walk around Ronaldsway by Andrew Johnson, the Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Field Archaeologist at Manx National Heritage.

Andrew started by giving us a great overview of the importance of the area. He referred to the Viking and Scottish landings on St Michael’s Isle, describing the Isle of Man as ‘a pawn in the drawn out game between England and Scotland’. Andrew told us of a 1700’s coastal battery which nearly closed up the Derbyhaven bay. He described the great farmland in the area and talked about the Christian family and their history and the demolition of their farm and Ballagilley farm in the 1930s for the development of the airport. Andrew talked about the origins of archaeology as a area of academic study and the amateur work of Cannon Stenning, then a master at King William’s College. Signs had been found of medieval lead smelting.

We then moved along to the Manx Flyers Club. Andrew pointed out where graves had been disturbed by ploughing. He described the second dig in the area between 1935 and 1937 which led to the discovery of a Bronze Age (2100-700 BC) round house and village with traces of pottery and signs of metal working. Also in the area was an early Christian chapel.

Andrew went on to talk about a hectic period for Manx archaeology driven by the speed of wartime airport expansion. During the Second World War, Ronaldsway became a military airport with HMS Sea Eagle and HMS Urley being based here. Bulldozers levelled Ballagilley and the Creggans farms to make way for more runways. The driver came across a dark area in the ground and asked the Museum to come and take a look. There was a problem. Basil Megaw from the Museum was away on wartime service. His wife, Eleanor (by training a naturalist) stepped in to examine the area. The Isle of Man authorities were very helpful Andrew told us, in allowing an internee to assist. Eminent archaeologist Gerhart Bersu was ‘just around the corner’. He was brought as close as the guards would let him and allowed to use a step ladder and binoculars to observe the dig. Eleanor would cycle to meet him in the evenings to discuss the dig. The dig yielded a huge collection of artefacts and flint tools.

We then took a walk onto ‘The newest part of the Isle of Man’. Andrew described the reasons behind the 2009 runway extension and all the planning that went into building it. The Rock Armour had to be imported from Norway. Rubble came from Turkeyland quarry and the area was seeded with locally collected seed.

The plan for massive changes to the site provoked several digs starting in 2008. Andrew described the rationale as being ‘the least amount of archaeology done for the most gain’ and told us that only the areas due to be disturbed were examined. Uncovered was a Bronze Age village from 3,500 years ago as well as a Mesolithic house, measuring 6 and half metres round. The Mesolithic period was from 5,000-10,000 years ago (the late stone age), and the period of transition from hunter-gathering to agriculture. This find was very significant as it is only one of half a dozen in the whole British Isles and it showed that the land had been rich enough to settle and build dwellings so that the inhabitants were no longer purely nomadic. This now lies under the new taxiway. Artefacts included Bronze Age tools and lots of flints. 10 tonnes of soil was removed and is being sieved and tested in Cambridge to ensure all the archaeology is captured.

The trip to Ronaldway, with Andrew’s guidance, was a brilliant way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon and a sincere vote of thanks was given by Sarah Christian. (SC)

Guided Tour round the Nautical Museum Sunday 16th September, 2012

On Sunday 16th September, a measly 5 people ventured out of the parish to have a skeet round the Nautical Museum in Castletown. Of our number, two hadn’t been for over twenty years and two had never been at all. David gave us a lovely tour of the site, showing all the hidden features and clever devices in George Quayle’s captain’s cabin.

As it was a lovely day, three of us ladies ventured to Port Erin. We couldn’t decide between an Ice cream sitting on the promenade or a swift beer in the Bay Hotel- so we did both! A scenic drive over the Slough, Dalby, Patrick and Peel had us in a holiday mood by the time we returned to the parish. A great afternoon out. (SC)

Journey to the End of the Earth Captain Bernie Quirk 23rd October, 2012

Captain Quirk led us through a thoroughly entertaining overview of his journey to the remote island of St Kilda. Although landing was impossible on his second cruise, he had been able to explore part of the main island on an earlier visit. Now only occupied during the summer by wardens and researchers, his account gave us an insight into how difficult life must have been when there was still a permanent population.

Another Thin Slice Bill Quine and Vic Bates Peel Heritage Trust6th November, 2012

Bill’s enthusiasm for the story of Peel and district has unearthed many fascinating stories. Featuring in this talk was the story of Joe Mylchreest, the Diamond King. Describing his early colourful career and travels, Bill then moved on to the development of the gold mine in South Africa, the links with businesses such as the de Beers. And the subsequent return with his South African wife to the Island.

I see a dark stranger’ Saturday 15 December, 2012

Breaking with the carol service tradition, this year’s Christmas event was the showing of a film in the Village Hall.

First screened in 1946, ‘I see a dark stranger’ starring Trevor Howard and a young Deborah Kerr, is a thriller which was partly filmed on the Island right at the end of the war. Although it has its darker moments, there is plenty of humour. Ballaugh and Sulby even had their moments when the names featured on signposts.

After the screening, a delicious afternoon tea had been provided by members of the Trust. Our thanks go to them for their much-appreciated baking and to Allyson for her technical expertise is setting up the equipment.

Ballaugh Heritage Trust 7th AGM

Tuesday 20th March, 2012 at the Bowling Club, Ballaugh


Dr Fenella Bazin (Chairman), Mrs Sarah Christian, Edgar Cowin, CP, Dr Ffynlo Craine and Peter Robins (Secretary)

The meeting opened at 7.35pm. 27 people attended. Apologies were received from Janet Kennish.

Chairman’s welcome and report

The Chairman reported on the events of 2011 and invited members to let the committee know if there are any requests. The Living History Day had been an excellent team effort by the committee and was very successful, especially Marie Radcliffe’s display of bonnets. She thanked retiring Chairman Dr Ffynlo Craine for his achievements during his period of office, and acknowledged with thanks the committee for all their hard work.

There have been three books published about Ballaugh recently: Joy Ling’s books on the Parish Hall and the Great Elk, and Sarah Christian’s about Glen Dhoo. The two authors have very generously donated the proceeds to the Trust.

We now have (thanks to a generous donation by Peter Robins) a display cabinet located outside the shop. The Trust has purchased a data projector and, thanks to speakers donated by Ally Kinnin, we can now show films. The projector is for use by our guest speakers.

The newsletter has been increased to 36 pages and published once a year.

The Chairman was pleased to report that our new MHK, Alf Cannan, is taking an active part in our committee.

Minutes of the last AGM:

It was proposed by Edgar Cowin that these should be accepted. The proposal was seconded by Ffynlo Craine and agreed by the members.

Treasurers Report:

A copy was sent out with the invitation to the AGM again this year. The biggest outlay was for the projector. The donation resulting from the carol service (£48) was not received in time to be included in the accounts by the time of the audit. The accounts have been signed off and are ready to be submitted to the charity’s commission.

It was noted that subscription income is NOT used for capital expenditure such as the notice board or projector. The Treasurer reported that membership fees would not be increased this year.

Sarah Christian proposed that the Accounts be accepted. This was seconded by Bill Quine and agreed by the members.

Election of officers:

There were no elections due this year.

Peter Robins suggested that we add Alf Cannan as an ex-officio member of the committee. The proposal was made by Bill Quine, seconded by Tony Walters, and agreed by the members.

Goods Shed:

The Chairman reported that it was hoped to sign the lease very soon. The Chairman of Ballaugh Commissioners, Heather Melvin, is helping push things forward.

We have put an application into the Manx Lottery Trust for funding towards restoration. Their priorities are now focused on young people but they may possibly help.

We have received notification today that the Manx Heritage Foundation have agreed to grant us £8,000 towards work on the external stonework. We are pursuing other avenues for funding.

Tony Walters asked about the possibility of using a fork lift truck to take the weighing scales out of the shed so they could be restored? Perhaps a mechanical digger or a team of strong men could be used? The committee appealed for material for exhibits, ideas and memories. It was agreed that there is lots of work ahead.

Project 2012:

As we have held lots of exhibitions in the past and the goods shed project will be a lot of work for the committee, it has been decided to focus this year on publishing a set of walks in leaflet form for the public to follow independently. It is hoped these will be available in the shop/pub etc. Alf Cannan is working on a moorland walk and Fenella Bazin on a Curragh one. Any ideas or offers of help gratefully accepted.

(Note: After the meeting Bill Quine offered to prepare material for a railway walk.)

Any other business.

Thanks to the Allyson Kinnin from Peter Robins for all the typing and printing work she does on top of her Treasurer’s role.

The next event is a Magic Lantern Show by Jack Kaighen on the 17th April 2012.

June Young gave a vote of thanks to all the committee. The meeting was declared closed at 7.55pm and followed by a talk given by Tricia Sayle, Wildlife Trust Reserves Warden.

Gaut’s Prayer

Gaut's Prayer

My chisel traces lines on stone,
The pattern grows beneath my hand.
Obedient to me alone
The dead slab blooms at my command.

The triple rings combined and crossed
Are like the Christian Trinity
Of Father, Son and Holy Ghost —
Or Odin’s stair, Yggdrasil Tree.

To either God I lift my prayer,
The age-old plea since Art began:
‘Lord, let this last a thousand year,
For Gaut made this and all in Mann!’

Nancy Gaffikin


New biography of Illiam Dhone published

The Chairman of the Manx Heritage Foundation, The President of Tynwald and the author
The Chairman of the Manx Heritage Foundation, The President of Tynwald and the author

Milntown House, the ancestral home of the Christian family, was the location for the launch of the new and definitive biography of William Christian, otherwise known as Illiam Dhone, one of the most controversial figures in Manx history. The launch was in the presence of the Hon. Clare Christian, MLC, President of Tynwald.

2013 is the 350th anniversary of the execution of Illiam Dhone by firing squad at Hango Hill outside Castletown, and this biography, by Jennifer Kewley Draskau has been commissioned by the Manx Heritage Foundation to mark this occasion.

His death on the morning of January 2nd, 1663, marked the end of an extraordinary and troubled period in the Island’s history. The Lord of Man, the Seventh Earl of Derby, had been captured and executed as part of the English Civil War, and Illiam Dhone had surrendered the Isle of Man to the Parliamentary forces which arrived soon afterwards.

Ever since that day, debate has raged over whether Illiam Dhone was a patriot or a traitor. Did he surrender the Island to save the Manx people from a violent invasion, or did he do it for his own gain?

Illiam Dhone certainly flourished under Commonwealth rule, indeed he took the position of Governor of the Island for a period, but mysterious setbacks and allegations (of embezzlement, plotting a coup and even impregnating his own illegitimate daughter) dogged him until the Restoration of the Stuart Monarchy, when the new Earl of Derby took revenge and put him on trial. Although a ‘silver-tongued orator’, Illiam refused to plead or even attend the trial and was condemned to death.

His execution provoked the wrath of King Charles II and rocked the English legal system to its foundations. The Manx Deemsters were summoned to London and were imprisoned for a whole year and the Eighth Earl of Derby was instructed to restore all the lands and possessions of the Christian family.

This intriguing and impeccably researched account by local author Jennifer Kewley Draskau, tells the remarkable story of an enigmatic and elusive figure, whilst simultaneously casting fascinating light on a little-known period of Manx history and the traditions of the Isle of Man, which underpin its unique relationship with England and the UK today.

The book is retailing for £20 and is available throughout the Island or can be ordered online by following this link:

  • Peter and Joy Ling The Ancient Parish of St. Mary de Ballaugh: a brief history
  • Sue King A little book of Laxey £6.99 from
  • Derek Winterbottom Governors of the Isle of Man since 1765 (new and updated edition) Manx Heritage Foundation £14.99

Reports on some of events held since the last Newsletter

Michael Hoy MBE, 27th November

‘Isaac Barrow, Bishop and Governor – the Island’s first great reformer’
For most people, the name of Bishop Barrow is linked only to King William’s College and the Barrovian Hall. Born sometime around 1613 and dying in St Asaph in 1680, the Island’s first great ecclesiastical, political and social reformer held the positions of Bishop of Sodor and Man (1663-1670), Governor of the Isle of Man (1664-1669), and was later Bishop of St Asaph in North Wales. He is a hugely underestimated figure in the history of the Isle of Man. His remarkable achievements made an extraordinary contribution to the development of Island society and the welfare of its people. Snatched from the comfortable surroundings of Peterhouse and New College, he was headhunted by the Earl of Derby to deal with the crisis of an Island in the throes of economic depression and social stagnation as a consequence of the civil war and its aftermath.

This was a fascinating talk that highlighted the fascinating contradiction between everything that the Island might have expected from an academic, a high-churchman and a royalist, who might well have been less than impressed with the offer of what would have seemed an episcopal backwater, and yet who achieved such remarkable reforms and had a profound influence on the way the Island was to develop politically and socially.

More reading on Bishop Barrow: Mike Hoy A Blessing to this Island published 2006 and Isaac Barrow – his life and legacy (to be published by the Manx Heritage Foundation in spring 2010).

Carol Service Sunday 13th December at the Old Church

Allowing us to get into the festive mood, members of the congregation rejoiced with the hills of the north, hearkened to herald voices, marvelled at the opening of ‘Lo! He comes with clouds descending’, sang of Joy to the World, and watched with shepherds. Judith Ley had prepared a wonderful audio-visual presentation on Praying the Keeills, the event that has now become a fixture in Manx calendar. It was a moment of stillness at a hectic time of year and a memorable occasion for the Ballaugh Heritage Trust.

‘Cushag, the Manx poet’ Bill Quine and Catherine Wooding, 19th January

Josephine Kermode spent much of her life living quietly in the north of the Island. Like many women of her generation, she was expected to care for the male members of her family, first her father, a clergyman, first at St Paul’s in Ramsey, then Maughold and, finally, Rector of Ballaugh and later, her brother Philip, author of Manx Crosses. Her great creative outlet was through poetry, which she published under the pen-name ‘Cushag’. We were treated to an account of her life by Bill Quine, who had been introduced to the poetry by Miss Mary Cannell at Ballaugh School. He took with him on his worldwide travels copies of the poems, some of which he had chosen to be read by Catherine Wooding. For those of us only familiar with poems set to music by W.H. Gill and Miss M.L. Wood, it was a fascinating introduction to a wider variety of her work, ranging from the witty to the nostalgic, and provided an incentive to explore more.

I’m saddest when I sing’ Fenella Bazin 23rd February

‘Tonight our neighbours the Quayles, very excited, came through the dark to tell us how the Corletts, father and son, had just come back from America to sell their business in Peel and return to the wondrous new Land where there is plenty for all at such a low cost, big farms for cattle and sheep, great forests of trees for to build houses or burn to keep them warm. And sugar flowing right out of the trees or leastwise sap to boil down for it. Fine it would be, they said, if a big company of us could go there together.’

Manx emigration was not just a one-way ticket. Many returned to arrange their affairs for permanent emigration, while others abandoned their plans. We heard of examples of both, including a letter from a man who applied for a job as schoolmaster back on the Island, who was counselled ‘if you enjoy good health in America I cannot say that I would advise you to take the situation as I think it is a troublesome business to keep a school, particularly in Dalby.’ Emigration was often in large family groups, travelling to centres such as Cleveland, Ohio, to buy land with the proceeds from farms sold on the Island. Unlike many other immigrants, they were usually literate, spoke at least some English and so were instantly able to take a role in public life. Families such as the Clagues of Dover, Westlake, were successful farmers and businessmen and are commemorated in a 75-acre park in the modern city.

The title came from the refrain of a song in a music manuscript now in the MNH archives, which probably belonged to a Manx emigrant. The notation used is odd: the notes of the stems are on the ‘wrong’ side of the note, and the lines of the bass stave are divided into two sections. The words are go beyond sentimental: ‘And now each song of joy has got A mournful turn for me’.

I'm saddest when I sing, score

Ballaugh Curragh Chapel

Ballaugh Curragh Chapel

April 1958 saw the commemoration of the centenary of Ballaugh Methodist Curragh Chapel with a special service. Several speakers with a long association with the district gave a glimpse into the history of the chapel and the area. It had only taken three days to complete the original sod building, which served the families that lived in around 30 thatched cottages covering an area from Ballamoar Jurby, to the Curragh itself. One of the speakers at the service commented that in times gone by everything was difficult, money was scarce, there was little transport and life must in some ways have been very lonely. Originally much of the population was centred round the old Church at Ballaugh but this is some distance away from the heart of the Curraghs. As a result, people in the district rallied round to the task as they were determined to have a place of their own in which to worship.1

The popularity of Methodism had really grown by the middle of the 19th century. Initially, Methodists worshipped in the parish churches. It’s recorded

that some parishioners served both churches. In Maughold, for instance, one local preacher railed against the church that paid his salary as the parish clerk.

However, Methodists became increasingly keen to have their own buildings and many of these were built using voluntary labour on land gifted to the chapel by a local farming family. In the deed of the Curragh Chapel, the building was described as a ‘house’ which was the legal term in those days. In the 1850s, the idea of a Methodist building being a church or chapel had not been accepted entirely so these places of worship were known as meeting houses or preaching houses.

1 The preachers appointed in 1851, before the re-building, were James Cleator, Baaregarroo; William Cain, Kerrowgarrow; John Cain, Ballaugh: Thomas Crennell, Sandygate; Edward Gale, Jurby West; P. Taggart, Bride; John Cottier, Andreas; Robert Corlett, Ballaugh; Thomas Corlett, Ballaugh; John Corkill, Glen Auldyn; Daniel Craine, Sulby; Lace Radcliffe, Kirk Andreas; John Martin, Smeale and John Kaighen, Jurby East.