[from Memoirs of Bishop Hildesley]
In addition to what his excellent predecessor had already and so abundantly done for the Isle of Mann, bishop HILDESLEY established a publick-school, at his own cost, in the parish of Kirk-Michael; and also rendered the inhabitants other considerable services : as will appear from the following papers, very feelingly expressive of their sense of obligation for his beneficence.
" To the Right Reverend Father in God, MARK, Lord Bishop of SODOR and MANN.
" WE, the vicar and inhabitants of the parish of Kirk-Michael, having this day convened ourselves, to consider of the matters contained in your lordship's paper of the 30th August, directed to us, Do HEREBY declare our disapprobation of any persons offering the least objection to , your lordships beneficent proposal of enlarging the building, on the intended spot of ground ; which we are convinced will be of great use to the publick in general, and particularly to the inhabitants of this parish, by the enlargement of the PUBLICK-SCHOOL, which, through your lordships bounty, and your making the education of our children and youth, male and female, the objects of your charitable care, has of late flourished beyond our expectation. And for your lordships tender concern for us in this respect, we take this publick occasion of returning your lordship the just tribute of our grateful acknowledgements and sincere thanks
" Your lordship is a better judge of mankind, than to conclude that the allegations of an individual, especially where private convenience is concerned, are just and well- founded, until such allegations be narrowly examined.
" In the present case, your lordships and our opponent, instead of suffering in his private property, may, if he has eyes to see, reap the greatest advantage by the proposed building. . But, as he is proterve, we submit it to your lordship, whether the objections of one or two unreasonable men should frustrate a publick good, in opposition to a whole parish. And we presume to declare it as our opinion, that there are few places on the northern side, where the publick can be more conveniently accommodated, than in the village of Kirk-Michael.
" For these, and other reasons to be given your lordship by our vicar and captain, whom we have desired to wait on your lordship herewith ; we hope you will be pleased to proceed with the proposed building, in such manner as shall be most: agreeable to your lordship ; which will be laying fresh obligations on your lordships most dutiful and obedient humble servants,"
Kirk-Michael, JA. WILKS, Vicar,
Sept. 1, 1760. JN. KAIGHIN, Captain.
WM. CORLETT, and Seventy-one other Inhabitants.
" To the Right Reverend Father in GOD, MARK, by Divine Permission, Lord Bishop of SODOR and MANN.
" WE, the vicar, wardens, and several of the principal inhabitants of Kirk-Michael, this day met in vestry, being truly sensible of the many benefits conferred on this parish by your lordship, at your private expence, since your accession to this see ; do, in behalf of ourselves and the rest of the parishioners, take this opportunity of returning your lordship our most grateful acknowledgements and sincere thanks for the same.
" Particularly, for your lordships distinguished care and concern, not only for promoting the Education of our growing youth, male and female, under distinct teachers ; but also for the decent and comfortable clothing of a considerable number of the poor of both sexes, whose progress in learning, and knowledge of our holy profession, under your lordships inspection, far surpasses our sanguine expectations ; and encourages all classes of people to send their children to school, (where, through your lordships bounty, learning may be had without money, and knowledge without price), that the house formerly allotted for the reception of both sexes, has of late become full small for the accommodation of one.1 For your lordships zeal, also, in furthering the publick worship of GOD, by a raising two side-galleries to our church, which are equally useful and ornamental ; and which enable many of the parishioners by having more room, to perform their devotions with greater decency and comfort.
" Your lordships bounty to this parish has not been confined to spirituals only, but liberally extended to our secular benefit likewise, in your causing to be erected a handsome and commodious Court-House, in Kirk-Michael village whereby the officers of the ecclesiastical court, and a concourse of people from all parts of the island, are brought to the said village ; and by means thereof each individual in the parish is profited, in proportion to the necessaries they can spare, for the consumption and entertainment of such persons as resort to the said court.
" For these, and the many other instances of your lordships beneficence to this parish, we beg your lordships acceptance of our sincere thanks, and grateful acknowledgements ; hoping, thro the divine assistance, to recommend ourselves to a Continuance of your lordships favour, by a faithful discharge of our duty in our respective spheres ; and more and more endeavouring to attain a clear and perfect knowledge of the grand scheme of our redemption, so pathetically recommended to us in your lordships sermons, lately delivered in our church.
" Given under our hands, at a vestry, holden in Kirk-Michael, on Easter Monday, the 12th April, 1762."
J A. WILKS, Vicar
JOHN KAIGHIN, Captain.
JOHN QUIGGIN, Wardens.
Tho. CAMELL, and Fifty-seven other Inhabitants.
The above address, so far as it respects the accommodation of his flock in the House of God, shews how much the subject occupied bishop HILDESLEYS attention It had lain indeed for some years, and very seriously, upon his mind. In his third Conference, p. 99, published at this period (1762,) we meet with the following passage, strongly expressive of his sentiments, both in point of piety and decorum. " And now, that I am referring to the matter of Order and decency in Divine Service, one thing I would here beg leave to observe to you on that head; which is, that; in the congregation to which I belong, our room for proper deportment and uniformity of gesture, which the generality sees very desirous to shew, is so scanty and confined, that it is not without the greatest inconvenience and uneasiness they comply with the appointed custom of kneeling : insomuch, that we have frequent instances of persons carried out sick, even when the weather is very temperate,owing to an exceeding close crowd. I have sometimes thought, and hoped, that this manifestly great impediment to the undisturbed performance of regular worship might occasion some well-disposed persons who honour Gods House, and think well of our Constitution, to take into consideration some ways and means for enlarging our places of worship, for the better accommodation of the serious and pious frequenters of the service there performed. I have reason to believe, however, that the complaint I am now referring to is not peculiar to the congregation I make a part of ; for , by what I hear from those of other districts, it is pretty general in this part of the established Church of England ; insomuch, that although most of our christian assemblies would fain express the humble sense they have of themselves, by the posture of kneeling, in each part of the service where it is required ; yet, were a stranger, unacquainted with inconveniences of the sort, to come into our churches, in the time of service, and see the heaps of fellow Christians pressing upon each other, panting for breath, and endeavouring for room, he would be apt to think, and say, " Surely this is no other than a House of Confinement for Criminals !".We are informed that the late bishop, Dr. Mason, had taken this business into contemplation; and had even commenced a plan for enlarging several of the churches in his diocese, which at present are in some districts too small, to contain, with ease and comfort, the increased number of inhabitants.
Of bishop HILDESLEYS similar attention and kindness to the parish of Kirk-Bride, the subsequent address is another uieaung voucher ; given, as it appears, but a very few weeks only before his lordship's death.
" To the Right Reverend Father in GOD, MARK, Lord Bishop of SODOR and MANN.
" The humble address of the rector and wardens of Kirk-Bride, in
behalf of themselves and the inhabitants of the whole parish,
" That they are desirous to express their gratitude, and the deep sense they retain of their great obligations to your lordship, for your paternal kindness to themselves, and to their posterity yet unborn, by enlarging and ornamenting their parish-church with a handsome convenient gallery, for the ease and more commodious reception of numbers, before distressed for want of room ; but now, through your lordships favour and beneficence, decently and comfortably accommodated in the House of GOD.
" Impressed with these sentiments of gratitude and acknowledgement, they beg your lordship will be pleased to accept this testimony and memorial of their most sincere and hearty thanks ; earnestly beseeching the Almighty to remember your lord-