[From Annals of Kirk Christ Lezayre]


BISHOP Ward (1827-38) raised large sums of money for Church building. During his episcopate, or immediately after his death, five Parish Churches-Onchan, Lonan, Ballaugh, Michael and Lezayre, and three Chapels-Baldwin, Dalby and Sulby, were built. The Parish Church of Lezayrel was completed in 1835. Three years later the new Church at Sulby was begun. The site chosen was on the main road two and threequarter miles west of the Parish Church. Bishop Ward had died early in 1838, but the son-Rev. William Percival Wardcarried out the completion of his plans.

The following is the Deed of Conveyance of site of Chapel and School House to Rev. William Percival Ward from Captain Bacon.

" This Indenture, made the fourth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight, between Caesar Bacon of the town of Douglas, proprietor of the estate of Staward2 in the parish of Lezayre, Esquire, of the one part, and the Rev. William Percival Ward of the other part_

Witnesseth that whereas the said William Percival Ward has proposed to erect or cause to be erected, in the said parish of Lezayre, a Chapel of Ease to the Church of the said Parish for the celebration of Divine Worship according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England as by law established, and also to build and erect a School-House near to or attached to such Chapel for the education of children in the Faith and according to the Doctrine of the said Church of England, and whereas the said Caesar Bacon being anxious to promote so desirable an object, has offered to convey and secure to the said Wm. Percival Ward a certain parcel of ground part of the said estate of Staward for the purpose of making such erections thereon-Now, know all men by these presents that the said Caesar Bacon for and in consideration of the several covenants hereinafter mentioned on the part of the said William Percival Ward to be observed and performed, and for and in consideration of the sum of Five shillings to him in hand paid by the said William Percival Ward, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, hath given, granted, bargained and sold and, by these presents, doth give, grant, bargain and forever absolutely sell unto the said William Percival Ward, all and singular, a certain plot or parcel of ground part of the said estate of Staward, situate in the said parish of Lezayre, being a portion of that field or enclosure called " The Flat " and adjoining the high-road, and the said parcel of ground being in form an oblong square of eighty feet in length along the said high-road and one hundred feet in depth from the said high-road. To have and to hold the said plot or parcel of ground with its appurtenances unto the said William Percival Ward, his Heirs, and Assigns, from the day of the date hereof for ever-In trust nevertheless, and to and for the several uses, interests, and purposes hereinafter expressed of and concerning the same-that is to say, in trust that the said William Percival Ward, his Heirs, and Assigns shall and will within Two Years from the date hereof, build and erect, or cause to be built and erected, upon the said plot of land, an Episcopal Protestant Chapel, wherein Divine Worship shall be celebrated according to the rites and ceremonies of the Protestant Church of England as by law established, and furthermore that the said William Percival Ward, his Heirs, or Assigns, shall and will, within the period of two years aforesaid, build and erect upon the said parcel of land, either separate or attached to the said Chapel, a Building to be used as a School House for the education of children upon religious principles, according to the Protestant Faith.

And it is hereby agreed upon between the said parties; and the said William Percival Ward doth hereby covenant and engage, to and with the said Caesar Bacon, his Heirs and Assigns, in consideration of the foregoing grant, that the said Caesar Bacon shall be entitled to one large Seat or Pew in the said Chapel in any situation that the said Caesar Bacon may select and make choice of, and that such Seat or Pew shall be made and erected at the sole expense of the said William Percival Ward, his Heirs, and Assigns, and shall be equal in dimensions to the largest Pew belonging to or attached to the estate of Ballakillinghan in the parish Church of Lezayre; and further that the said Caesar Bacon shall have the right to select one other Pew in the said Chapel of common, ordinary size, and both which Pews shall be made and erected and for ever afterwards kept ir. repair by the said William Percival Ward, his Heirs and Assigns, Trustees of the said Chapel for the time being, and the said two seats and pews in the said Chapel to be so appropriated to the use of the said Caesar Bacon, shall for ever afterwards be appurtenant and attached to the estate of Staward, and shall be the absolute property of the said Caesar Bacon, his Heirs and Assigns, proprietors of the said estate of Staward, and as exclusively appurtenant to and in the right of the said estate for ever. And it is further agreed upon and the said William Percival Ward doth hereby covenant and engage that the said Caesar Bacon, his Heirs and Assigns, Proprietors of the said two seats or pews in the said Chapel, shall never be liable to, or be called upon for payment of any rate or assessment for or in respect of the said pews; And it is further agreed upon by and between the said parties that the said parcel of ground hereby conveyed shall be enclosed and fenced in at the sole expense of the said William Percival Ward, his Heirs and Assigns, and that the said Caesar Bacon, his Heirs and Assigns, proprietors of the estate of Staward, shall have a right to a private entrance from the said estate to the said Chapel intended to be erected as aforesaid, provided such entrance be always in such convenient place as may be fixed upon, without injury or material inconvenience to the said Chapel; And the said William Percival Ward doth hereby for himself, his Heirs and Assigns, Trustees of the land hereby granted, covenant and engage and agree to and with the said Caesar Bacon, his Heirs and Assigns, proprietors of the said estate of Staward, that the Chapel and School-House aforesaid, shall be erected upon the said granted premises, within the term limited hereby, and that the said Chapel and School-House, when erected, shall be exclusively used and appropriated to the uses and purposes herein before set forth, and for no other use or purpose whatsoever; and further that in case the said Building should not be erected within the term limited hereby, or having been erected, should cease to be used for the purposes herein before limited, and should be appropriated to any other use whatever contrary to the terms and limitations herein before expressly laid down, that then, and in that case, it shall and may be lawful for the said Caesar Bacon, his Heirs and Assigns proprietors of the said estate of Staward, forthwith to enter upon and into the actual possession of the hereby granted premises, and all the Buildings erected thereon, and hold, possess and enjoy the same as part and parcel of the same estate of Staward to the use of the proprietors of the estate, their Heirs and Assigns for ever. And for the true and faithful performance hereof, the said several parties hereto bind themselves, their Heirs, Exors, and Administrators, each to the other, firmly by these presents. In witness whereof they have hereunder subscribed their names, the day and year first above written. Caesar Bacon

Wm. Percival Ward Signed and delivered in presence of B. Philpot, Archdeacon of Sodor and Mann Thomas Howard, Rector of Ballaugh

Henry Maddrell, Vicar of Lezayre John Corlett, C.P.

A correct copy.

J. Qualtrough, Chaplain."

It is amusing to notice Caesar Bacon's anxiety to have a pew equal to that of the Ballakillinghan family in the parish church. The Bacons were new-comers in the parish, while the Curpheys and their descendants-the Farrants-had played a leading part in the parish for centuries.

However, some difficulties arose over the pews, as the following document shows.

" Whereas by an Indenture dated the 4th of June, 1838, between Caesar Bacon, proprietor of the estate of Staward in the Parish of Lezayre, Esquire, of the one part, and the Reverend William Percival Ward, of the other part, it is amongst other things covenanted and agreed upon that the said Caesar Bacon (for and in consideration of a portion of the said estate of Staward as a site whereon to build a Chapel and Schoolhouse) shall be entitled to one large Pew in said Chapel of equal dimensions to the largest Pew belonging to Ballakillinghan in the Parish Church of Lezayre and also to one other Pew in the said Chapel of common ordinary size, both of which Pews to be attached to the estate of Staward aforesaid for ever.

And whereas afterwards in the construction and furnishing of the said Chapel it was found that a Pew of the dimensions aforesaid would materially interfere with the convenient arrangement and erecting of other Pews in the Chapel, it was deemed more prudent by the parties concerned to erect a Pew somewhat smaller in dimensions than that agreed upon; in the South West corner of the Chapel, and in lieu of deficiency of seat room thus resulting, to allow the said Caesar Bacon a second Pew of ordinary size in the said Chapel, that is to say-one large Pew and two ordinary sized Pews in all, the two smaller pews to join the School, in the row of pews on the South side of the Aisle.

Therefore the situation and number of the said Caesar Bacon's pews was settled accordingly. Witness my hand this 28th. September, 1846.

John Qualtrough,

Minister of the said Chapel.

October 2nd. 1846. Mr. Qualtrough gave me this that it might be recorded in order to prevent mistakes hereafter.

Thos. Vowler Sodor & Man. Mr. B. has a copy of this."

The first Chaplain-the Rev. John Qualtrough-started a book which was designed to be a history of the Church and district. This book seems to have been kept at Sulby until the time of the Rev. W. J. Canton, 1878-83. It was then lost sight of. Rev. A. E. Clarke, 1892-1904, started another book. This also disappeared. Fortunately both have been discovered. The first was found in the parish church safe and the second among the books of the Rev. A. G. Bowerman who resigned in 1929. It was handed to Canon Kermode in 1939- Unfortunately several of the Chaplains took no interest in them and made no entries.

However, they contain much information. The foregoing documents and much of what follows are taken from them. Extract from J.Q.'s book, p. I ;

" This Chapel (dedicated to St. Stephen) and Schools were built during the Episcopate of Doctor William Ward, who prevailed upon a Mr. Cholmondeley, a gentleman residing in England, to place at his (the Bishop's) disposal a sum of money to be laid out in Church building in the Isle of Man. With the said sum and a grant from the National Church Society, the Chapel and Schools were erected upon a site given by Captain Caesar Bacon from his estate of Staward or Ballabrooie, and in lieu of such land or site, the Bishop granted to the said Captain Bacon and his successors in Ballabrooie for ever, the large square Pew in the far corner of the Chapel next the Schools, and the two single pews adjoining, counting from the partition between the Chapel and the eastern or Girls' School, the former for the use of the proprietor of Ballabrooie, and the latter for the use of the tenant thereof.

The foundation of the Chapel and Schools was laid on WhitMonday, June 4th, 1838, by the Reverend William Percival Ward third son of the Bishop, (who died in the January before) assisted by the Venerable Benjamin Philpot, the then Archdeacon of this Diocese. "

The Chapel had been licensed by Bishop Ward but the Licence was lost, and Bishop Hill was requested to issue another. This he did on April 16th, 1878. The Chapel was licensed for Marriages on February 21st, 1921.

The Chapel was re-built in 1879-8o. The foundation stone was land by Mrs. E. C. Farrant of Ballakillinghan. The Chapel was re-opened for Divine Worship on June 8th, 188o. The old Schoolhouse was fitted up for a Sunday School, etc., the same year.


Major Caesar Bacon and Frances Hale Bacon, his wife, sold for 5/- to Bishop Powys, Rev. W. B. Christian, Vicar of Lezayre, and Mr. Edward Curphey Farrant, C.P., a parcel of land for a Parsonage on February 25th, 186o. The plot was 49 yards from North to South, and 47 yards along the Highway-about half an acre. It was to be used exclusively for the residence of the Chaplain of Sulby. The house was to be at least equal in dimensions to that recently erected at St. John's. The house to be erected within two years. If the conditions were not kept. the land was to go back to the Staward estate."


(I) The Rev. John Qualtrough was appointed by Bishop Bowstead on November 15th, 1839. From his ordination up to this date he had served as Curate at the Parish Church.3 He was the son of a former Vicar of Lonan. He did his duty faithfully and well in the district for eight years. He was a Manx parson of the old style, and spoke and preached in his native language fluently. In 1848 he was preferred to the Chaplaincy of St. Jude's where he served eleven years. There is a story told of him that when he went to his first Vestry at St. Jude's, Archdeacon Moore, then Rector of Andreas, was also in attendance and persisted in being allowed to take the chair as Rector of the Parish. Whereupon Mr. Qualtrough, after some hot words, gave the Archdeacon to understand that as Chaplain, he alone had the right to take the chair, being within the four walls of the Church.

In 1859 he was appointed to the Vicarage of Arbory. Bishop Powys is related to have said of him that if every clergyman in the Island did his work as well as Mr. Qualtrough there would be fuller churches than there were. It was Mr. Qualtrough's custom if he missed a single member of his congregation from Church on a Sunday to visit the house the next day and enquire the reason of the person's absence. He was instituted to the Rectory of Kirk Bride in 1875. In 1879 he died after a lingering illness. In the days of Mr. Qualtrough's latter ministry the black gown was still used for preaching in many of the parish churches. It is related of Mr. Qualtrough, when Rector of Bride, during the course of his sermon one morning, that he told his people if any man should succeed him who should preach in a surplice, they were to look upon him as a Jesuit.

(2) Edward Brailsford, appointed by Bishop Eden, December Ist, 1847. He had been ordained deacon on July 4th and had acted as Curate of St. Matthew's, Douglas. A Cambridge man. Physically a big man, he used to walk up the Glen in all weathers to take service. He was well liked in the district. He became Rector of Fordwich, Canterbury Diocese in 1849, where he started a scheme of clergy pensions.

(3) Joseph Preston Ward, appointed by Bishop Eden, August 1st, 1849. A St. Aidan's man. Became Vicar of St. John's Little Horbeck, Leeds.

(4) Matthew Nesbit Thompson, appointed by Bishop Eden, March 23rd, 1851. A protégé of Dr. Carpenter, St. Barnabas', Douglas. He was a Scotchman, educated at St. Bee's. He went to Canada.

(From A. E. C's notes.) Edward Qualtrough, brother of the first Chaplain. He died early. His name does not appear in the older book. He does not seem to have been actually Chaplain.

(5) William Linton Thompson, appointed by Bishop Lord Auckland, December 18th, 1853

(6) William Kelly, B.A., T.C.D., appointed May 14th, 1855. Son of the High Bailiff of Castletown. Formerly Curate of Andreas under Archdeacon Moore. He was a heavy smoker. While at Andreas he lodged with the schoolmaster at the Rectory gate. One day the Archdeacon, who was a non-smoker himself, went to see Mr. Kelly. Popping his head in at the sitting-room door, he was confronted by volumes of tobacco smoke from which he soon beat a speedy retreat, exclaiming as he went out : " You stink, you, stink."

After three years at Sulby he went to England.

(7) John Corlett, appointed by Bishop Powys, April 14th, 1858. Although of Manx descent, he was born in Cumberland and was trained for Orders at St. Bee's. He removed to Cronky-Voddy in 1859 and became Government Chaplain at St. John's in 1865. A genial man, full of humorous stories. During his time at Sulby the font of Caen stone was erected by subscription and he gave an altar chair, formerly belonging to Bishop Wilson, to the Chapel. He died in 1898.

(8) James Orchard Wilson, appointed by the Vicar of Lezayre in May, 1859. The title was now changed from Chaplain of Sulby to Curate of Lezayre. He was ordained by Bishop Davys of Peterborough.

(9) Robert Wesley Aitken, " Curate of Lezayre for Sulby," was appointed about Christmas, 1860, and promoted to Marown in May, 1862. He was the son of a clergyman who afterwards adopted Wesleyan views and preached much in the open air. Mr. Aitken, Senn, was instrumental in erecting the Wesleyan Chapel at Crosby, Marown and built a large structure commonly called " Aitken's Folly " or " Eyreton Castle." It was intended to be used for educating young men for the ministry. It was never completed and is now in ruins. R. W. Aitken left the Island for the cure of Paul, near Penzance, in 1869 and died there on February 9th, 1911, aged 75 years. He was a brother of Canon Hay Aitken, of Norwich, the famous Mission preacher.

(10) Samuel S. Walker commenced his duties May 11th, 1862 and terminated them in September, 1863. He had been Curate of Andreas. This is the last entry in John Qualtrough's book. Walker brought it up to date, as his two immediate predecessors had neglected it.

(ii) J. E. Pattison, 1865-1878, formerly a physician in India. His knowledge of medicine did him a good turn in Sulby, for he was the Doctor of the district as well as the Parson. At all hours he would be called upon to attend sick cases, perhaps up in the mountains. In no case would he take payment in money, but if any remuneration were offered he would say, " Well, send me a fowl or a duck." He was an eccentric man and quite a character, as his book of poems will show. Whilst living at the Parsonage he was annoyed with the villagers coming for water to his back door. For a long time he stood the nuisance until at length he could bear it no longer. He therefore caused a pump to be erected just outside the Parsonage gate, which was so contrived that no one could draw a drop of water until they had first filled the cistern at the Parsonage. His preaching qualities were peculiar. One Sunday in September he suddenly broke forth in his discourse, " Good news ! Good news! Blackberries 2d. a quart and sugar 1½ d. a pound." On another occasion in his sermon, which was on the subject of the Arctic Expedition, he broke forth, "When they get to the North Pole they will not know which way to turn ; they will go this way and that. They will go round and round and round "; at the same time wheeling himself round in the pulpit. He published a volume of poems in 1870, entitled " Manxiana : Rhymes and Legends." First Series. Printed by John Hampton, Ramsey. No second series appeared. He left Sulby for a Curacy-in-Charge in Cornwall and soon afterwards died.

(12) William John Canton, 1878-1883, came to the Island when the Manx Northern Railway was being made and held a Mission for the navvies at Kirk Michael. Bishop Hill was interested in him and he was ordained and appointed to Sulby while still a deacon. He married the daughter of Mr. John Hicks, M.P., who resided in the summer time at Woodlands, Lezayre and was a man of great wealth. He was well liked at Sulby and during his time the Chapel was re-built. After five years here he went to the living of Dinting Vale, Glossop. Later he became Rector of Whalley Range, Manchester.

(13) Charles Bell, 1883-5. A London University man. After two years he took a Curacy in London.

(14) W. P. Blakeney, 1885-9. Formerly a soldier in a Canadian regiment he was a protégé of Bishop Hill and was ordained first for the Curacy of Peel. He was a great horseman and frequently used to break in colts for the farmers. He was promoted to the important living of Thorpe-Salvin, Yorkshire, in 1889.

(15) Sidney Swan, 1889-90. He stayed but a short time, but was very popular. He was a Cambridge man and stroked the University boat in the race against oxford. Some curious stories are told of his athletic powers. He rode one day from the Point of Ayre to the Sound and got home the same night. He thought nothing of lifting up one of the longest ladders in the neighbourhood, placing it on his shoulder, mounting his bicycle and riding off with it. After leaving Sulby he went to Japan as a missionary under the Church Missionary Society and remained there until 1896.

(16) James Sanders Gardner, 1891-2. Before taking Orders he was a solicitor in Liverpool and a protege of Archdeacon Bardsley, afterwards Bishop of Sodor and Man. He was ordained to the Curacy of Kirk Michael, then became Curate of St. Thomas', Douglas and then was appointed to Sulby. He followed the Bishop on his translation to Carlisle and acted as Curate-in-Charge of Kirkby Stephen in the absence of the Vicar through ill-health. He later was appointed to the Vicarage of Long Clawson, Melton Mowbray, where he died on August 15th, 1924, aged 70 years.

(17) A. E. Clarke, 1892-1903. He was ordained for the Curacy of St. Matthew's, Douglas. After serving there for a year and a half he went to Santan to help Rev. Robert Airey, who was incapicitated from work. After three and a half years there he left at Christmas, 1889, for the Curacy of Andreas, where he remained until appointed to Sulby in the summer of 1892. He became Vicar of Marown in 1903- He died on January ist, 1934 and is buried at Lezayre. Many improvements were made in the Chapel during his tenure of office. Almost everything we know about the Chapel and the earlier Chaplains, as related above, are due to his care in keeping a record.

(18) Percy Harrington Brown, 1904-6. Trained at Bishop Wilson Theological School. After holding one Curacy in England, he gave up regular work. He is now a licensed preacher in the Diocese of Lichfield.

(19) Alfred George Bowerman, 1906-29. Trained at Bishop Wilson Theological School. Formerly Curate of St. George's, Douglas, 1893-5, Chaplain of Cronk-y-Voddy, 1895-1906. A very little man and very difficult to deal with, especially in his latter days. He was soured by losing much of his money in the failure of Dumbell's Bank, and by not receiving promotion. When his health gave way it was very difficult to persuade him to resign, although a good pension was provided. He always pleaded poverty, but left an estate of over £4,000. He died on August 10th, 1932 and was buried at Lezayre.

(20) William Charles Cato Symonds, 1929-33 Trained at Bishop Wilson Theological School. He had great gifts of dealing with young folk. Became Chaplain of St. john's with Cronk-y-Voddy, 1933-6. Vicar of Hayfield, Stockport, 1936. He served as Chaplain to the Forces in the war of 1939-45

(21) Wilfred George, 1933-6. St. Aidan's College, Birkenhead, 1929-31;; Deacon 1931, Priest 1932, Liverpool: Curate of St. John the Evangelist, Knotty Ash, 1931-3 ; Chaplain Alder Hey Children's Hospital, 1931-3; Chaplain of Sulby, 1933-36 Vicar of Marown, 1936. He made many improvements in Sulby Church and built a new Vicarage at Marown. Became Vicar of Jurby, 1946.

(22) George Ernest Williams, 1937-39. He had served in the war of 1914-18. Ordained Deacon 1924, Priest 1926, Grafton. Returned to England, 1934- Curate of Glossop, 1934-7 Chaplain of Sulby, 1937-9. Vicar of Foxdale, 1939-44 Chaplain R.A.F. 1940-43

(23) William Sealey Robertson, 1939-44 Bishop Wilson Theological College, 1934-7 ; Curate of St. Ninian's, Douglas, 1937-9 ; Vicar of Lonan, 1944. A very energetic and capable man.

(24) William Henry Saunders, 1944-46 Bishop Wilson Theological College, 1937-9- Deacon, 1939 ; Priest, 1940. Curate Braddan, 1940-44 ; Vicar of Foxdale, 1946.

It is noteworthy that only seven of the Chaplains were promoted to livings in the Island : Qualtrough to Arbory ; Aitken, Clarke and George to Marown; Williams and Saunders to Foxdale ; Robertson to Lonan.


1 See " New Church," pp. 54-62.
2 Ballabrooie, the former seat of the Garretts. The Bacons changed the name to Staward.
3 Rev. J. Qualtrough's notes. The rest is from Rev. A. E. Clarke's notes.


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