The First Century of
Presbyterianism
in Douglas, Isle of Man
1825-1925

DOUGLAS. I.O.M.

Louis G, MEYER LTD., PRINTERS

1925.

 

First church erected 1832

St. Andrews Church erected 1867
The present St Andrew's Church, erected 1867 [now demolished]

FOREWORD.

The credit for this booklet is very largely due to Mr. J. B. Whyte, one of the managers of the Church. He has been indefatigable in research amongst ancient letters and documents and has pored over the dusty volumes of old minute books. He has interviewed everyone on the Island and the Mainland whom he thought could throw light on the obscure points, and has written to people far and near for information. The result of this praiseworthy diligence is a mass of valuable material which has been sifted, systematized, and cast into the following mould by the Rev. John Davidson, and Mr. Cuthbertson, Deputy Town Clerk of Douglas, for thirty-five years Treasurer of the Church, and for thirty-three years Session Clerk. Mr. Davidson is responsible for the period between 1825 and 1895 when the narrative is taken up by Mr. Cuthbertson and continued to the present day.

The kindness and help of Mr. W. B. Shaw, F.R.HIST.SOC. and F.S.A.(SCOT.), are hereby acknowledged. Our thanks are also due to the Rev. J. Mellis, M.A., and other descendants of the earlier ministers.

 

MANY people imagine that British Presbyterianism is of purely Scottish origin, but both English and Scottish Presbyterianism sprang from a common source, viz., the Reformed Church on the Continent, and Presbyterianism was once a powerful factor in the ecclesiastical life of England. Whether the Church of England should be Episcopal or Presbyterian was decided in Convocation in 1562 in favour of the former by one vote.

The Presbyterian Church of Wales (Calvinistic Methodists) was the result of a series of revivals in the Principality which began about 1735. Presbyterianism found its way to Ireland by way of Scotland in 1613, and then to the Isle of Man exactly a hundred years ago.

From very early times the Scots, true to their roving instincts, found a home in the Island. That they were not always welcome is proved by a statute passed in 1422 enacting "that all Scots avoid this land with the next vessell that goeth into Scotland upon Paine of forfeiture of their goods and their Bodies into Prison." In spite of this drastic measure, which was not repealed until 1697, they no doubt continued to come, as they have been doing ever since, usually with benefit to themselves and, we think, without detriment to the Island.

Before and after the Reformation they would find a spiritual home at first in the Keeills, and later in the Parish Churches. After the Methodists opened their chapels, Presbyterians would find a form of service with which they were fairly familiar.

Dr Steele James McCrone Gilbert Torrance

In the opening years of the last century the Independents built a church in Athol Street. Their first minister was the Rev. Samuel Haining, whose grand-daughter, wife of the Rev. D. Inglis, B.A., is still alive. The tie of nationality and mode of worship attracted a number of Presbyterians to Mr. Haining's ministry. Among them was

JAMES McCRONE,

who was the founder, and, we might say, the patron saint of our church during the first fifteen years of its existence. Mr. McCrone came from Glasgow to Douglas in 1817, bringing with him his young wife, the daughter of a famous London minister. He lived first at Castle Mona and afterwards at Rock Villa, a handsome house a little further north. The site is now covered by large boarding houses. His name is perpetuated in "McCrone's Slip" near by. Later he bought and farmed Ballaquinney, in Marown parish. He was Crown Agent and also Commissioner for the Duke of Athol and for Bishop Murray, a scion of the ducal house. Three years later he was brought into rather unenviable prominence by what was known as the "McCrone perjury case." It was clearly a trumped-up charge due to the jealousy and ill-feeling of the Attorney-General of that day. The case was tried before Deemster Gawne (of Kentraugh). Deemster McHutchin being cited as a witness, could not sit on the bench. Witnesses were brought from Scotland to testify to the probity, general moral character, and social standing of the accused. The trial lasted two days, and Mr. McCrone was honourably acquitted. In returning the verdict of "not guilty" the foreman said "we most fully acquit Mr. McCrone of the charge brought against him." The Deemster addressed him as follows: "I am happy to tell you, sir, that you are now discharged, and that you can return to your family and friends with the grateful recollection that you have been fully acquitted of the high crime for which you were brought to trial: with a character as unsullied as if no such accusation had been brought against you."

Part of Mr. McCrone's reply is worth recording. While he admitted, as the jury had found, that the nominal plaintiff acted under a misapprehension, he continued: "with respect to others I must say that I cannot divest myself of the feeling that they were actuated in this prosecution by other motives than those of a public nature, Dragged from my family like the greatest outcast of society-taken by constables to Castle Rushen, without one moment's notice-held to bail for £500 in a country where I was a stranger-and between that period and the period of my trial calumniated in the foulest manner of this I have reason to complain. Yet I hope, sir, that I shall live to see the day in this Island when the law on this subject will be assimilated to the law of England, and that before a man can be put upon his trial on a charge of perjury, founded upon affidavits, as in the present case have been sworn, it will be referred to the consideration of a jury of twelve such men as are in that box, to say whether or not a man should be tried on a charge so supported."

The pamphlet recording this trial is by Mark Anthony Mills, a noted local advocate of that day, and closes with the following sentence:-"Mr. McCrone, then bowing to the Court, and surrounded by several gentlemen of rank and respectability who attended him during the whole course of his trial, withdrew." A copy of this interesting document may be consulted at the Manx Museum.

From that day until his tragic and lamented death twenty years later, Mr. McCrone continued to bulk largely in the public and social life of the Island and to merit the esteem and affection of all who knew him.

From the time that Mr. McCrone came to Douglas until 1825, he doubtless worshipped in the Independent Chapel under the ministry of the Rev. S. Haining. In that year, trouble arose in the congregation, the source of which is doubtful, but Mr. McCrone left, taking with him the most, if not all, of his fellow Presbyterians and others as well. They met in apostolic fashion in an upper room in Fort Street, at that time a prosperous and highly- respectable thoroughfare. This unpretentious place of worship can still be traced; it is directly opposite the coal-yard of Messrs. A. Knowles and Co. The accommodation was limited, as the room only measures 27ft. by 15ft.

THE OPENING SERVICES

on March 20th, 1825, were conducted by the Rev. Thos. F. Winslow, M.A., an Independent minister residing in Douglas, and the collections were for fitting up the place for worship.

The congregation did not crowd the room. They were dependent for pulpit supply on local ministers or casual visitors to the Island. Their struggle was hard and the disappointments great. But with magnificent optimism, and true Scottish grit, Mr. McCrone persevered and eventually conquered. From the time he took the responsibility of starting the services, he had in view the formation of a Presbyterian Church.

In a letter to Rev. Patrick Clason, D.D., one of the leading ministers of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, dated March 29th, 1829, Mr. McCrone divulged a pitiful state of affairs, which he faced with true Christian courage and hope of ultimate success. At a meeting of the congregation summoned, only five men (and we suppose no women) turned up. It was reported that there were no funds and no debts; only five pews out of thirty were taken. "In the plenitude of our wisdom," he writes, "we decided to invite Mr. D. B. Mellis to minister to us for one year, and to pay him the liberal sum of £50. Should he stay longer we promise, in addition, the benefit of all he could do, after payment of necessary expenses." His letter closes with an earnest appeal for the compassion of Dr. Clason and his brethren in the Presbytery of Edinburgh cc in our woeful and lukewarm state."

This pathetic plea fell on sympathetic ears, and with rare devotion and self-sacrifice Mr. Mellis accepted the invitation, but not without serious consideration. He consulted his brother-in-law, Dr. Sievewright, who replied "Now, my dear David, what do you say. The charge is small, the place of worship is small, the salary is small, but the work is great, being the Lord's." Probably this was the deciding factor.

DAVID BARCLAY MELLIS

Was the youngest son of James Mellis, proprietor of the estate of Newhall, in the county of Perth, and was born in 1800. He was educated privately by Rev. James Sievewright, who became his brother-in-law, and was in later life a D.D. and Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, 1847. Mr. Mellis was a pupil at Perth Grammar School, and took the usual training for the ministry at Edinburgh University. After receiving licence in 1823 he proceeded to Paris, where he held for some years the post of Presbyterian Chaplain. He returned to Scotland early in 1829, and a few months later crossed to the Isle of Man. He was not discouraged by the meagreness of the congregation, or the bareness of the building. Success crowned his efforts, and in less than twelve months, at the unanimous request of the worshippers, he went to Edinburgh, to be ordained by Dr. Thomas Chalmers, the greatest saint, social reformer, and ecclesiastical statesman, which Scotland has produced since John Knox. On returning, a fully-fledged minister of the gospel, the Scottish Psalm Book was introduced instead of the Independent Hymn Book hitherto in use. A Kirk session was formed, with Mr. McCrone as Clerk. For the first time in the Isle of Man the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was dispensed according to Presbyterian usage. The following year an appeal was broadcasted to friends in Scotland for money to build a church and manse. Mr. McCrone with characteristic faith and generosity took the responsibility of purchasing the site in Finch Road, which is described in the title deeds as being "near the town of Douglas," and of erecting the church and manse. Money flowed in from Scotland, chiefly in guinea subscriptions, as shown by a small pass-book still in existence. The congregation gave liberally, and Mr. McCrone's influence secured £100 from the British Government. Quite a number of members of the Church of England showed their sympathy with the new movement in a very practical way.

The church was opened on the last Sunday of April, 1832. The Rev. Dr. Ralph, of Liverpool, preached morning and evening, and the Rev. Mr. Park in the afternoon. Collections for the day amounted to £15 9s. 0d.

Mr. Mellis, like every one of his successors, felt the isolation and the lack of brotherly intercourse with other Presbyterian ministers.

We may here state that our congregation at Ramsey had its origin quite distinct from Douglas. Several Scottish families from Leith and Greenock, who were engaged in the fishing, boat-building and repairing industries, along with the few Presbyterians resident in Ramsey and the neighbourhood, were desirous of worshipping God after the manner of their fathers. The fishermen had occasion to call at Garlieston, and other southern ports, and they personally laid their petition before the United Secession Presbytery of Wigtown, in June, 1830. With help from Scottish congregations, a church to seat 230 people was built in 1834. It is in close proximity to the Electric Railway Station, and is now known as Quayle's Hall. For many years it was treated as a Mission station, and had preachers located for short periods.

Mr. Mellis's relations with the clergy were most friendly; several of them worshipped in his church of an evening. Dr. Carpenter, of St. Barnabas', was a close friend, and there was a clerical prayer meeting at Kirby House, then occupied by Dr. Carpenter's brother-in-law, an Irish clergyman. At these meetings, Mr. Mellis was a constant and welcome visitor. Bishop Ward was a frequent caller at the Manse, and offered him ordination without any preliminary formalities. When he left Douglas, the Bishop presented him with a handsome Bible, which he daily used at family worship.

In 1833, Mr. Mellis, to the great grief of his attached congregation, decided to return to Scotland. Two years later, he was presented to the Crown living of Tealing, near Dundee. He joined the Free Church at the Disruption in 1843, and died at Edinburgh in 1861, in the sixtieth year of his age and the thirty-first of his ministry.

The best-known of his family is the Rev. James Mellis, M.A., ex-Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of England, for many years our esteemed minister at Southport, and now living in retirement near Manchester. He has been no stranger to St. Andrew's Church. His sister, Miss Mary Mellis, afterwards Mrs. George Smith, was one of the first lady missionaries to represent the English Presbyterian Church in China.

When the Rev. D. B. Mellis left Douglas, he presented to the congregation a handsome set of Communion plate, and when the individual cup was introduced, a flagon and cup were presented to the donor's son, which he recently handed over to the museum of the Historical Society of our Church. The Douglas people showed their appreciation of the services of the Rev. D. B. Mellis by presenting him with a handsome silver snuff-box, which bears the following inscription :-"From the members and hearers of the Scotch Church, Douglas, I.O.M., to their revered pastor, Rev. D.B. Mellis, 1833. Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake that they should see his face no more." These words proved literally true. So far as we know, he never revisited the Island.

Left without a spiritual guide, the congregation began to dwindle and Mr. McCrone was sorely disheartened. He writes to his late minister on 8th May, 1833, that he feared they could not weather the storm ... "if an angel from heaven were to come now and preach he would have to do a great deal more, or his preaching would not bring hearers. The careless and the young must be hunted up by persistent personal effort."

But the writer's depression was due in part to causes outside the Church. The same letter tells of an epidemic of influenza which was raging in the Island, and affecting almost every family in Douglas..."I too am a victim, 1 am scarcely able to hold the pen." We can sympathise with poor Mr. McCrone.

Influenza has the malign power to paint black all things on earth and almost in heaven. Six months later, the good man strikes a cheerier note. To Mr. Mellis he writes:-"Our little Church I am glad to say, and I am sure you will rejoice to know, is thriving."

D.H.Mellis Walter Maclean James Cleland

REV. WALTER MACLEAN

was the second son of John Maclean of Monteith, Perthshire, where he was born in 1798. He was educated at the Parish school, and matriculated as a student in Arts at Glasgow University at the early age of fourteen years. He took his theological training in the same ancient scat of learning. After being licensed, he was recommended to St. Andrew's congregation, Birmingham, by Dr. Thomas Chalmers, who had a high opinion of his character, scholarship and ability. St. Andrew's Church is now Broad Street Church, the name being changed when the edifice in Broad Street was built, in 1848. Mr. Maclean received the call, which he accepted, and was ordained and inducted in 1830. Dr. Chalmers preached for Mr. Maclean in 1830, when a charge of two- shillings-and -sixpence was made for admission. The church was crowded, as the Birmingham people were attracted by the fame of this great preacher. After he had accepted the call to Douglas, an article appeared it the Birmingham journal, admitting that Scotsmen were the best educated of all ministers of religion, but that Mr. Maclean had not been a success in Birmingham, as he had preached over the people's heads. He spoke, of course, of English people.

Mr. Maclean was inducted into our church on September 19th, 1833. The Manx Sun, in reporting the proceedings, informed its readers that the principal officiating clergyman was the Rev. A. Munro, of Manchester, who surprised the numerous non- Presbyterians present, by a fierce onslaught on Arminianism, and he called upon the new minister "to abjure the heresy to his life's end." The Manx Sun claimed nine-tenths of the people of Douglas as holders of Arminian doctrine. In Mr. McCrone's optimistic letter to Rev. D.B. Mellis on Nov. 15th, quoted above, he refers to the mid-week service, and the Sunday School. This is the first mention of specific teaching of the young in spiritual things.

In 1835, Mr. McCrone transferred the Church and Manse to a body of twelve Trustees, including himself. The property was bound to the Church of Scotland, and no one could be, or remain, a Trustee, who had been convicted of Felony, or was an Outlaw, or an Infidel, Unitarian or Roman Catholic. The names of the majority of these Trustees and their descendants have passed into oblivion, but the following are worthy of mention.

MR. GAVIN TORRANCE - came from Dumbarton early last century, and laid the foundation of an extensive and flourishing business in Duke Street, which was later transferred to the North Quay. He was identified with the Presbyterian cause from the first and was a prominent Office bearer. His two sons, Gilbert and Joseph, followed his example. The third generation is worthily represented by Captain Allan Torrance, who retired from a seafaring life some years ago, and at once took a prominent place in the Church of his childhood. The captain is a breezy, typical son of Neptune, warmhearted and openhanded, and a prime favourite with the young people. At present he is in New Zealand, where his youngest brother, Maurice, has been for many years. We deeply regret his absence, and assure him of a warm welcome on his return.

MR. ANDREW CROUGHAN - a Manxman, also followed Mr. McCrone from the Independent Chapel to Fort Street. His two daughters, the Misses Croughan, lived at FortWilliam, Douglas, and died not many years ago, at a very advanced age.

MR. JOHN CLARKE - was another Trustee, and there is a strong probability that some of his descendants are still connected with the church.

H. R. OSWALD, L.R.C.S.(EDIN.) F.S.A., - came to the Island soon after graduation, as a surgeon to the household, under the auspices of the Duke of Athol, Governor- in- Chief. Dr. Oswald was the only functionary who could be superseded, and on the Duke's death this was immediately done. The patronage of the Governor was transferred to another medical practitioner. Dr. Oswald, who "bore the highest rank in his profession, and was a man of spotless honour and integrity," felt this slight keenly, and it affected his general practice. It is on record that his pecuniary difficulties embittered and shortened his life. Yet he must have been an old man when he died, as he had been over fifty years on the Island. He had been the main support of his unmarried sister, and out of respect to his memory, a few friends presented Miss Oswald with £60.

Dr. Oswald was for many years a staunch supporter and elder of the Church, and helped to tide the congregation over many difficulties. He was one of the founders of the Manx Society, and an authority on the antiquities of the Island. His works find an honourable place in the library of the Manx Museum. For some time he was a member of the House of Keys. He lived close to the church in Finch Road, where he died in 1862, and was buried in Kirk Braddan churchyard, near the entrance. His tombstone records that "he was beloved and lamented by his family and the public." His grandson who bears the same name, has just presented to the Manx Museum an excellent portrait of Dr. Oswald.

Mr. Maclean was one of twelve ministers who at Manchester in 1836, along with two elders, constituted the first Synod of the Presbyterian Church in England in connection with the Church of Scotland. That Mr. Maclean was an eloquent and interesting preacher we have the testimony of Mr. A.N.Laughton, the late High Bailiff of Peel. On several occasions Mr. Laughton has told the writer of these notes, of the deep impression carved on his young mind by Mr. Maclean's preaching, an impression which remained strong and vivid after he had passed his eightieth birthday. Mr. Laughton was born in 1828, and Mr. Maclean left the Island in 1841. In spite of the article in the Birmingham journal about Mr. Maclean preaching over people's heads, a good many of his thoughts entered the brain and the heart, and were retained in the memory, of this young Douglas lad. During his ministry several notable people were pew holders if not members of the Church. The Deemster Heywood, Mr. Christian, Lady Horsley, The Misses Dutton, Capt. Grant, Lieut. Jones, and others. Dr. Steele came to the Island in 1836, and at once attached himself to the Church.

ALEXANDER STEELE, M.A.,LL.D.,PH.D.-was a tower of strength to the Church, and added much to its prestige and prosperity, over a long series of years. Next to Mr. McCrone, at the beginning of the century, and Mr A. B. Cuthbertson, at its close, he was the most prominent and most esteemed elder and session clerk.

Dr. Steele was born at Liberton, near Edinburgh, in 1809, and chose the noble profession of teaching, for which by temperament and education, he was singularly fitted. At a very early age he became Rector of Moffat Academy, and married Mary Johnstone, "the belle of Moffat, "before coming to the Island in 1836. He established a boarding school called the Crescent Academy which, from the first, was a conspicuous success. It was characterised (not by Dr. Steele) as a "first class boarding-school for the sons of gentlemen," and occupied a site near the present Queen's Hotel. In 1868 it was burned to the ground, and the Doctor lost a valuable library, the collection of years, and much besides. He then moved to Strathallan Hall, formerly the residence of the Earl of Strathallan, a son-in-law of the Duke of Athol. The house was altered and enlarged to suit the growing needs of the school, which continued to flourish. His elder son James, a graduate of Oxford, was vice-principal. He took Holy Orders, and is now living in retirement at Brighton.

Dr. Steele's younger son, Alexander Johnstone, was, in turn, deacon, elder, and treasurer of our Church. He died in 1886. The eldest daughter, Margaret, became the wife of Joseph Robinson, an old pupil of her father's, and a member of a well-known and generous Presbyterian family in Liverpool. Her daughters have kindly furnished us with valuable information. It is right we should perpetuate the memory of a good man and a devoted Presbyterian.

A number of Dr Steele's pupils rose to eminence in business, in the professions, and in the service of the State. Among insular scholars, were the late Mr. D. Maitland, Speaker of the House of Keys, the late Mr. A. N. Laughton, High-Bailiff of Peel, and Dr Thornton-Duesbery, the recently- consecrated Bishop of Sodor and Man. The boys worshipped in our Church.

Mrs. Steele died in 1881, and her husband was utterly prostrated by his sore bereavement. In the following year he sold the school to the Baume Trustees, and it became the Industrial Home. The Doctor retired into private life. He took a house in Derby Terrace, where he lived for three years. Then he passed away, "full of years, full of honour, and in perfect peace." His body rests in Onchan Churchyard.

Another notable teacher, who was also an office-bearer, was S. McBurney, LL.D., who had a School on the Crescent, and afterwards at 9 Mona Terrace. He was assisted by his sons, one at least of whom went to Australia. His Honour the Deemster Callow, Mr. Philip Christian, j.p., and other public men of our day, were pupils of Dr. McBurney.

On 24th May, 1840, the congregation suffered a terrible bereavement in the death of its founder and devoted supporter, Mr. McCrone. On the previous Sunday morning, he, along with his wife, eldest daughter and a domestic, attended church. After the service they left for home in their carriage, with the exception of Mrs. McCrone who preferred to walk as she feared the behaviour of the spirited young horse, not yet fully accustomed to harness. At the lower end of Finch Road the animal became restive and bolted along Marina Road. The carriage was overturned and the whole party dashed with great violence against the sea wall. The accident occured opposite the residence of Mr. Wm. Duff, a brother office-bearer in the Scotch Church, and the #Unfortunate sufferers were at once removed there. Mr. McCrone's shoulder was dislocated and several ribs broken. Miss McCrone remained speechless for some hours, but recovered. The driver was for some time in a precarious state. After lingering for a few days Mr. McCrone breathed his last. By his own request his funeral was strictly private. He was interred in Onchan Churchyard, beside his youngest daughter, Jemina, who died April 7th 1836, aged eleven years. The gravestone bears the following inscription; "Sacred to the Memory of JAMES MCCRONE, Esq., Crown Agent in this Island for above fourteen years, the duties of which office he performed with great fidelity. Gifted with a powerful mind, he pursued the business of life with energy and success, whilst by the warmth of his heart he endeared himself to his family and friends. He died with a hope full of Immortality, 24th May, 1840, aged 73 Years."

St. Andrew's Boy Scouts are to place a wreath on Mr. McCrone's grave, as part of the Centenary Celebration.

In lieu of the money which might have been spent, as the Manx Liberal of June 6th states, "on funeral pomp and useless parade," Mrs. McCrone sent a cheque for £20, to the treasurer of the House of Industry. The funeral sermon was preached on the following Sunday, by the Rev. Dr. Ralph, of Liverpool, Mr. Maclean being so deeply affected that he could not face the ordeal. The Rev. Wm. Carpenter (afterwards Dr. Carpenter) of St. Barnabas, also delivered a touching address on the death of Mr. McCrone. "There was not a dry eye in the congregation."

There are three of Mr. McCrone's grandsons still living, namely :-

Sir James McCrone Douie, K.C.S.I. the son of the Rev. Mr. Douie, Free Church minister of Largs, Ayrshire. He had a brilliant University career, and passed very high in the Indian Civil Service qualifying examination. Eventually he rose to the position of Chief Financial Commissioner of the Punjab. For some time he had the honour of being Acting Governor of that important province. At the famous Delhi Durbar, he was Knighted by His Majesty. When his official life closed, he returned to this country, and made his home at Oxford.

Mr. T. M. Greer is the son of Mr. S. M. Greer, who was County Court judge of Cavan and Leitrim, and sometime Member of Parliament for Co. Londonderry. Mr.T.M.Greer is a graduate, and medallist, of Trinity College, Dublin, and was admitted a solicitor in 1876. He holds a leading position in his profession, and is a Deputy- Lieutenant of Co. Antrim. In the religious sphere he is an elder of the Irish Presbyterian Church, and convener of the Assembly's Committee on Tenures and Trusts, which corresponds to our Law and Historical Documents Committee. Mr. Greer was appointed to the Senate on the establishment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.

Mr. Jones, another grandson, lives in Australia.

Several grand-daughters of Mr. McCrone are still living. One of these, Miss Doule, who is a member of our church at Hampstead, London, presented Mr. McCrone's portrait to the congregation, and one or two interesting letters written by him.

Mr. Maclean's ministry terminated in 1841, and he died in Glasgow two years later. His household furniture, after due allowance for the natural exaggerations of the auctioneer, must have been "extensive and of excellent quality." There were silver ladles, no doubt toddy ladles "and a choice collection of wines of various kinds." This item would occasion no surprise in those wine-bibbing days, but now a minister with a it cellar" would be wise to dispose of it privately. Otherwise he would be courting the indignant protest of total abstainers. In those days alcoholic liquors were cheap in the Island; and in common use. There is no indication that Mr. Maclean ever exceeded the bounds of sobriety.

The vacancy lasted from May till October, when the REV. WILLIAM WILSON was inducted into the pastorate.

Mr. Wilson was born at Trochichouse, Kells, Kirkcudbrightshire, on Dec. 10th, 1796, and was the son of John Wilson, farmer. He was educated at the Parish school, and Edinburgh University, being assisted in his studies by the Rev. Alex. Murray, D.D., Professor of Hebrew, and a cousin of his mother. For some time he was an assistant at Balmaghie, and Kirkcudbright. He was ordained and inducted into the charge of Whitehaven, where he ministered for a number of years, and succeeded Mr. Maclean, as stated above, his induction being on Oct. 14th, 1841.

The Rev. Mr. Munro, of Manchester, presided and preached, and the Rev. James Cleland, of Bolton, delivered the charge to the congregation. The stipend promised was about £100 per annum, plus the manse, and any balance in money after paying all working expenses and £8 ground rent.

The Precentor is first mentioned in the Church records, though, doubtless, this important functionary was in evidence from the earliest days of the congregation. reference is made to "Mr John Curphey, and a band of helpers to assist the singing."

Lighting by gas, instead of oil lamps and candles, was introduced.

Early in 1843 Mr. Wilson took seriously ill, and was sent to Scotland to recuperate. In the month of August he resigned. The following year he was inducted into the parish church of Balmaclellan, in his native county, and died on June 28th, 1851. He was unmarried. Diligent search has been made for a portrait of Mr. Wilson, but without success. His grandniece, Mrs. Sutherland, living in Australia, has kindly presented to us his pulpit Bible, which is in good condition, and an interesting link with his Douglas ministry.

The year 1843, will be for ever memorable in the annals of Scotland. It witnessed the Disruption of the Scottish Church. The conflict between Church and State, and between what was known as the Moderate and Evangelical sections of the Church, terminated, as far seeing men had prophesied, in the Evangelical party, led by Dr. Chalmers, surrendering their emoluments, quitting their churches and manse, and as the phrase went, "going out into the wilderness." They founded the Free Church of Scotland, which, as their great leader declared, was just "the Church of Scotland free."

This ecclesiastical and religious upheaval had its repercussions in the little church at Douglas. A meeting of the congregation was held in the Church, on Sept. llth,1843. As the Church was without a minister, Dr. Oswald was called to the chair. Among those at the meeting, in whom the present generation are interested, were Mr. Alexander Steele,M.A., Mr. Charles Craine (the grandfather of Mr. F. W. Forrest and Mr. Robt. Forrest,) Mr. Wm. Thorburn (a relative of Mr. W. J, Corlett,) and Mr. John Moffat (whose daughters lived in Finch Road, well within the memory of many in Douglas. Their father was the son of the parish minister of Newlands, in Peebleshire.) Mr. James Stafford, who was an elder within the past thirty years, was also present; or it may have been his father. The following resolutions were passed, (a) That the congregation unite and co-operate with each other in their endeavours to obtain a faithful and evangelical minister, who shall minister to them in holy things, according to the Westminster Standards. (b) That whereas a large number of excellent and pious clergymen of the Church of Scotland have found it their duty to secede from that Church, and to form themselves into a separate communion, yet this congregation are not called on to take a decided part with either side, and resolve to sink all difference of opinion, and to secure a minister who shall be in connection with the Presbytery of Lancashire. (c) That the congregation shall advertise for a minister in suitable newspapers, and make application to some of the leaders of both the Scottish Churches.

An advertisement was sent to the Edinburgh Witness, the Scottish Guardian, and the North British Advertiser. Applications were to be sent to Mr. Dillon, Bookseller, Douglas, or to Mr. Steele, Crescent Academy, near Douglas. The committee got in touch with a young minister, named Alston, who was living in the Island, and he agreed to take the services during the vacancy, for the princely sum of fifteen-shillings per week. I met many years ago the sister of this minister, then a very old lady; her daughters worshipped in our Church.

In December 1843, the congregation sent a unanimous call to the Rev. Athol Stewart, of Blair Athol, offering a stipend of eighty-pounds to be paid quarterly. The call was declined.

Among the candidates who preached, was the Rev. James Cleland, who had taken part in Mr. Wilson's induction. He accepted the call given him, and was inducted in due course.

The Church records are missing about this date; they were probably destroyed in the fire at Dr. Steele's School. We have a clue to the date, as Mr. Cleland signalised his coming by scratching with a diamond the following words on a bedroom window pane in the old Manse, "Rev. James Cleland came to Island May 18th 1844". From other sources we know that, when he began his ministry, there were only five elders and thirty-nine members in full communion.

REV. JAMES CLELAND

was the son of Mr. Thomas Cleland, of Calton, Lanarkshire. Like Mr. Wilson's father he was a farmer. A very considerable proportion of Scottish ministers have been drawn from the farming class, many of whom have risen to places of distinction in the pulpit, and in the counsels of the Church,

Mr. Cleland was born in 1803. He was educated at the Parish School, and the great majority of the Parish Schools were in the hands of splendid teachers, many of them being University graduates. When fourteen years of age he repaired to Glasgow University, and he studied there until 1825, when he went to St. Andrew's University, attracted by the fame of Dr. Chalmers, then Professor of Moral Philosophy. Mr. Cleland was a prize winner in the class, and won the warm approbation of his famous teacher. He afterwards entered the Divinity Hall of the Burgher Synod, and in 1830, was licensed by the Associate Presbytery of Edinburgh, and the same day was ordained first minister of the Burgher congregation at Stewarton, Ayrshire. In 1835, he attained the high honour, for so young a man, of being elected Moderator of the Associate (Burgher) Synod. This section of a badly-broken Presbyterianism, was incorporated into the Church of Scotland, in 1838.

[from information received from the family - the above is incorrect, though based on the 'Fasti' (record of Scottish Churchmen) at the time, this was incorrect (though has since been corrected) in that it conflated two James Cleland's -The James who was minister at Douglas was the son of Arthur Cleland of Carluke, not Thomas Cleland of Calton, and he studied only at St Andrews, not Glasgow being born in 1806 - he was not a 14 year old student. However he does have a starring role in Scottish church history - as he was the minister at the centre of the Stewarton Case, the test case which successfully disputed the right of a congregation to choose their own minister, which was the trigger to the Disruption of 1843 - the Kirk Session minutes from Stewarton give some indication of his attitude full of trenchant comments and he also seems to have been fairly 'old guard' being totally opposed to music in church and was apparently shocked to find there was a choir in Douglas. His first year on the island was also eventful as father Arthur, daughter Margaret and son Arthur all died in that year]

Mr. Cleland, in 1840, accepted a call to become the first minister of St. Andrew's Church, Bolton, and four years later came to Douglas. That he was not to be trifled with is shown by the following incident. A few months after his settlement in Douglas, he was appointed to preach in a certain church in Liverpool, at ten hours' notice. It appears that these appointments were taken in rotation. It was not Mr. Cleland's turn, and he resented being made a convenience of. He did not go. The Presbytery censured him, we presume in his absence. He declared that if the vote of censure was not expunged from the minutes, he would withdraw from the Church. When the Synod. after a heated discussion, decided to admit organs into churches, Mr. Cleland threatened to leave, but thought better of it.

There is no doubt that the minister, and the majority of the congregation were in sympathy with the Free Church of Scotland, to which the far greater number of congregations in England, adhered. But a real difficulty arose about the terms on which the church property was held. We have seen that it was thirled to the Church of Scotland. How was the bond to be legally broken?

Mr. McCrone had granted a mortgage on the ground to a Mr. Manzies. A demand for payment was made in 1850, which was not forthcoming. An execution was obtained for the amount, and the property was sold to Mr. Cleland for £262. The present Trust Deed which governs the property, was then drawn up. It is held by a body of trustees who must be members of the Church. Should the congregation become defunct, the property passes to the Presbytery of Liverpool, and eventually to the Supreme Court of the Presbyterian Church of England. That this arrangement was not satisfactory to all members, is shown by a letter of protest in the Mona's Herald, signed by four gentlemen; Charles Morrison, William Innes, Thomas Alston, and William Gray.

In 1851, the Session discussed the propriety of opening a Preaching Station at Castletown, and another at St. John's. Mr. J. Muter, who lived at Kerrow ny Glough near St. John's, made an offer to the Presbytery to build a church in the neighbourhood. Services were held for a few months only. Two retired ministers, the Rev. Wm. Mackenzie, and the Rev. Alex. Murdoch, came to live in Douglas, and were elected members of Session. Mr. Cleland, and Mr. Mackenzie, were along with Dr. Oswald, prominent members of the Manx Society. On leaving the Island in 1867, Mr. Mackenzie gave part of his library for the use of the congregation.

James Fettes Joseph Forrest T.J.Dixon

Two of Mr. Cleland's children died, which told on his health, and in 1865, he accepted a call to the small rural charge of Risley, near Warrington. This he resigned in 1880, retired to Warrington, and died on January 29th 1888, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, and the fifty-eighth of his ministry. He was then Father of the Presbyterian Church. His eldest son John, was Parish Minister of Lugar, Ayrshire, and several of his grandchildren still survive. Mr. Cleland was a man of real ability, and of a kindly disposition. He was succeeded by

REV. JAMES FETTES.

who was born at Alnwick, Northumberland, in 1819, and received the rudiments of his education at the Duke's school. He trained for the ministry at Edinburgh University, both in Arts and Theology, finishing his seven year's course about 1843, the year of the Disruption. Like many of his brethren, he threw in his lot with the Free Church.

On being licensed, he had an opportunity of being settled at Glenluce, where he preached for one year. But, having made an engagement with the Colonial Committee, he was sent as a deputy to Canada, where he was employed in organising congregations in the neighbourhood of Quebec, then, as now, a Roman Catholic stronghold. Before leaving Scotland, Mr. Fettes married Mary Gordon Huie, one of whose ancestors had been Moderator of the General Assembly. Her health broke down under the rigours of the Canadian climate, and in three years they were compelled to return to this country.

Two years later, Mr. Fettes accepted a call to Ladhope Church, Gallshiels, to which he was inducted in 1850. There he laboured for fifteen years, with conspicuous ability and success. He was ever a fighter, and he fought without gloves. But he never consciously hit below the belt. He had strong -convictions, which he expressed with force and directness. Infidelity was rampant and aggressive in the town, and he fought it tooth and nail. He was a sturdy Protestant, who hated the Scarlet woman and all her devices. Without the flicker of an eyelid he would have gone to the stake or the scaffold for his religious convictions.

He belonged to the extreme right wing of the Free Church in ecclesiastical policy, and was a devoted follower of the Rev. Dr. Begg, one of the Conservative die-hards. Dr. Russell, the famous editor of The Scotsman, described Mr. Fettes and Mr. Sorley, a ministerial neighbour, as "the two fighting devils from the Border." When the union was proposed between the English Presbyterian Church and the United Presbyterian Church in England, he opposed it with vehemence, and in the Synod, seconded the motion against it. A member of Ladhope Church characterises his preaching thus: - "With unsparing hand, he would strip off the rags and tatters in which the selfrighteous Pharisee clothed himself, while at the same time he failed not to point out the only available covering, the garment of Christ's righteousness." A local poet thus contrasts his delivery of the Gospel message with that of his predecessor:

"By Fettes thundered
Or by Falconer poured in gentle stream."

Many years elapsed before he again preached in his old church, and the testimony borne by the same member was:-"We found him changed. Like good wine he had mellowed with age. The old combative spirit had disappeared, and the loving kindness of his heart now predominated."

Such was the man chosen to succeed Mr. Cleland, and he made a deep and lasting impression on the congregation, and the community, during the nineteen years of his ministry. The langour and staleness which had been gradually creeping over the life of the Church, speedily disappeared under the fiery energy of the new minister. More than once, before and since, the congregation has been diminished and discouraged, and yet has shown remarkable resilience and recuperative power when properly handled.

Very speedily the empty pews were filled to overflowing, and a new and larger church became an urgent necessity. The old building was demolished, and the present one erected on the same site. During its erection, the congregation worshipped in St. James' Hall in Athol Street, kindly lent by the Congregational friends. The foundation stone which is invisible, being under the main entrance, was laid on October 2nd., 1867, by Dr. Steele, who was presented by Mr. Fettes with a solid silver trowel, bearing a suitable inscription. The trowel is now in the possession of Mr. E. S. Toomer, who married a daughter of Dr. Steele. The architect was Mr. John Robinson, and the contractors, Messrs. Caley and Gelling, all of Douglas. The contract, including alterations in the Manse, was only £2,900, an amazingly small sum. It was stated on the floor of the Presbytery when Mr. Fettes demitted his charge, that the total cost, of the Church was over £3,770. This included the clock in the Tower, which cost £65 10s; also the heating apparatus. The members of the Church raised about £1,200, Mr. Wm. Muter gave £500, Mr. G. Torrance £150, and Mr. J. S. Jackson, manager of the Bank of Mona, though neither a Scotsman nor originally Presbyterian, gave £100. The grandson of this gentleman, is Mr. Arthur Jackson, who is well known in the business and religious life of the town. After Dr. Steele had spoken at some length, Mr. Fettes gave a characteristic address on Presbyterianism. The only other minister present, at least who took any part in the proceedings, was Rev. J. Williamson, of Finch Hill Church, who still survives, in a green old age.

The new church was called St. Andrew's, after Scotland's patron saint, and was opened on December 8th, 1867, when the Rev. D. Henderson, of Rock Ferry, who had been moderator during the vacancy, preached at the morning, and Mr. Fettes at the evening service. The collection was £57.

At a social meeting, held shortly afterwards, Mr. Fettes was presented with a pulpit gown, and bands. These sacerdotal garments, worn by myself, brought a comical remark from the lips of a young child. She knew me quite well in my ordinary clerical attire, but failed to recognize me in the pulpit. After gazing earnestly at my bands for a few seconds she whispered to her mother, "Look, mummy, what a funny little feeder the man has on." Another small worshipper was startled and shocked by a word I used quite legitimately in the course of my sermon. Perhaps it was the only one word she remembered. Immediately it was uttered she whispered to her mother, who quelled her advances. She continued in an excited state of mind and body till the close of the service. When they had crossed the threshold of the church, she burst out -

" Mother, wasn't Mr. Davidson awful?"
" What do you mean ? "
" He said a bad word."
" What did he say ?
" He said devil'! "

In 1872, the Presbytery of Lancashire was divided into Liverpool, and Manchester. Our congregation was naturally placed in the Presbytery of Liverpool, and has found the connection an exceedingly happy one.

Mr. Fettes was a good German scholar, and although we might not expect it from one of his temperament, he wrote poetry, some of which was published.

He possessed a fine and extensive library; his study, now the vestry, had more ample wall space than now, and it was lined with books up to the ceiling. Latterly they were stacked on the floor, and callers had to walk warily. When he left Douglas, the sale of his books occupied over two days, and some of them are still to be found in various parts of the Island.

Mr. Fettes was also an educationalist of the old school. He believed in definite Church teaching, and the Education Act of 1870, with its colourless Cowper-Temple clause, provoked him to scorn and contempt. He described the result of the new system as "School Board ignorance, and School Board impudence." Whether the ignorance and impudence was to be traced to the members of the Board, or to the teachers, or the scholars, history does not record. His protest took the practical form of opening a school in the badlylighted, ill-ventilated room under the Church. For a time it succeeded, but gradually fizzled out. The humanitarian and benevolent instincts of Mr. Fettes found a worthy outlet in helping to establish the Industrial Home (now the Children's Home) along with two or three kindred spirits connected with his own and Finch Hill Church. For a number of years the children worshipped regularly in St. Andrew's. The link between this splendid institution and our congregation was tightened when Mr. and Mrs. Fraser were appointed to the management.

He was also a vigorous controversialist and many letters from his pen appeared in the Insular press. once and again, Mr. A. N. Laughton and he crossed swords, as one could imagine who knew both men. Mr. Laughton referred to him as "St. James the Less," alluding to his stature, with perhaps the ghost of a jibe behind it. If Mr. Fettes was a little man, he was not small.

The description of his preaching at Galashiels applied also to his Douglas ministry. It was biblical and doctrinal, and of a severely Calvinistic type. But there was no bigotry. Any apparent narrowness and hardness were counterbalanced by his warm sympathy and consuming earnestness. His sermons to-day would be reckoned intolerably long and heavy; but to those who had cars to hear, and hearts to understand, they contained fine spiritual nourishment. He, on his part, would have despised what he would call the "snippets" which pass for sermons, to which we are growing accustomed. For several years before his resignation, Mr. Fettes suffered from a painful and irritating disease, which hampered his usefulness, and affected the prosperity of the congregation. He resigned in 1884, and the Synod of 1885 made him a minister emeritus, with a seat in the Presbytery of Liverpool.

Mr. Fettes' place of retirement was Edinburgh, the Mecca of retired ministers. It was feared he would not long survive, but he lived on till 1896, when he passed to his rest in the seventy-seventh year of his age.

More than once he paid a visit to the former scene of his labours, and was warmly welcomed by his old friends in the church and the town. His only surviving descendant is Dr. Mary F. Nannetti, who specialises in tuberculosis.

During the greater part of Mr. Fettes' ministry, St. Andrew's was reputed to be the wealthiest Nonconformist church in the Island. Many families of position and influence belonged to it. Among the office-bearers were Dr. Alex. Steele, his son Alex. Johnstone Steele, advocate, Gilbert and Joseph Torrance, the Rev. Wm. Mackenzie, the Rev. Alex. Murdoch,Colonel Guise, Captain McGregor,R.N., Commander Jones, James King, P.C.Hirschfeld, Robert Hamilton, James Duff, James Muter, brother of William Muter, a princely benefactor of the Presbyterian Church of England. (The late Mrs. David Evans was a niece of Messrs. W. and J. Muter).

The only two office-bearers whose memories stretch back to Mr. Fettes, are Mr. Cuthbertson and Mr. W.R.Macdonald, for many years a Superintendent Engineer under the London County Council. He was an elder in one of our London Churches. When the time for retirement came, the lure of the Island proved irresistible, and he and his wife returned to the scenes of their childhood. Mr. Macdonald is now a member of our session.

As boy and youth the writer's memory recalls Mr. Fettes as a kind of benevolent autocrat. To be ushered into his study was an impressive, but not an awesome, experience. That short bulky figure with the leonine head, in the study chair, in dressing-gown, snuff box in hand, comes up before one's mental vision. He bade you a kindly and fatherly welcome, and you quickly felt at your ease. Every detail of your personal history, hopes and fears, were known to him, and you felt that your best interests were a matter of real consideration to him. In the pulpit, he was the mentor ; in the study and the home, the friend. There are those now grown grey, who look back with reverence and gratitude for careers influenced all through by his wise counsel, and kindly but firm handling- in their youth.-A.B.C.

REV. JOSEPH FORREST, M.A.

The congregation again went to Scotland, this time to the shores of the Firth of Clyde, and found a successor to Mr. Fettes in the Rev. Joseph Forrest, of Stevenston, the seat of Nobel's chemical works. He was ordained in 1876, and for nine years did excellent pioneer work there. The death of his wife and little baby made him long for a change of sphere. Mr. Forrest was born in Aberdeen in 1845 and was a graduate of Aberdeen University. He trained for theology at the Free Church College in that northern city, and for some time was engaged in the teaching profession. But he was as unlike the typical Aberdonian portrayed, say, in the pages of Punch, as one could possibly imagine. He was warm-hearted, impulsive, and outspoken. He was a fearless and enthusiastic advocate of temperance, and in this respect he was far in advance of any of his predecessors in Douglas. In his preaching the evangelistic note was dominant, and he proved a faithful and sympathetic pastor. He started a Mission in a room in Fort Street which met with a fair measure of success. During his ministry Church Praise was introduced, and also instrumental music in the form of an American organ.

In 1889 he resigned his charge and returned to Scotland, and, in less than two years he was settled in Fraserburgh, in his native county.

In 1896 his second wife, a talented Manx lady, died, and was buried in St. George's churchyard. The funeral service was held in our church, and the whole congregation showed their sympathy in unmistakable ways. Afterwards when Mr. Forrest came to the Island he preached to his old flock with much acceptance. In 1906 a stroke of paralysis rendered him incapable of active service, and he died at Fraserburgh in the year 1912.

His session clerk pays this handsome tribute to his old minister: "Mr. Forrest was a most charitable man, and the poor never called on him in vain. He was a true and faithful shepherd, and was the means of winning many souls for the Master's kingdom." This estimate of his work and worth is warmly corroborated by Miss Lily Morrison, who knew something of his zeal and devotion in Douglas and Fraserburgh.

REV. THOMAS J. DIXON.

To fill the vacancy the congregation looked southwards and chose a minister from the Presbytery of London, the Rev. T. J. Dixon. Mr. Dixon was born at Woolwich in 1845, the son of a soldier and an Ulster Presbyterian. He received his early education at the school attached to our church at Woolwich, and in due time took his Arts course at Edinburgh University, and his Theological training at Queen's Square House, London. He and Mr. Campbell were the only ministers who received the technical equipment for their life work in the College of our own church, now Westminster College, Cambridge. After being licensed, Mr. Dixon courageously undertook the pastoral charge of one of the most difficult churches in the Presbytery of London. Millwall, in the East End, with its dust and grime and slums, has much to repel and little to attract. The congregation was small and poor, but Mr. Dixon laboured in unwholesome surroundings with great fidelity for fifteen years. Meanwhile his health suffered and he resigned, and the change to Douglas promised a welcome relief. He was inducted in July 1889, but his hopes for better health were not fulfilled. He was subject to recurring attacks of illness which were hurtful to the congregation. After a ministry extending over five years, Mr. Dixon acted on the advice of a deputation from the Presbytery and resigned his charge. He made his home in Liverpool. Physical rest and freedom from responsibility had a beneficial effect on his health, and he was able to give valuable assistance to ministers in the Presbytery as occasional preacher.

He died of pneumonia in 1901, at the comparatively early age of fifty-six, leaving a widow, one son and three daughters. Mr. Dixon was gifted with a melodious voice which he cultivated to good purpose. His reading of the Scriptures and especially the Burial Service was full of meaning and power.

The outstanding event of Mr. Dixon's ministry was the installation of the organ by Messrs Hewitt, of Leicester. The cost £400 was defrayed by the proceeds of a very successful Bazaar, the first in the history of the congregation.

In 1890, the metal tokens which had been in use since the days of Mr. Mellis' ministry, were superseded by Communion Cards. Two of these tokens, dated 1835 and 1844, are preserved in the Museum of the Historical Society, in Regent Square Church, London; others are in our possession and an illustration of one of them is given herewith.

An important change was made in the organization of the congregation. Since its formation Deacons had been in charge of its temporal affairs. In 1892 the Deacon's Court was abolished and Managers were elected. They, with the Elders and Trustees, have ever since formed the Board of Management.

THE PRECENTORS.

The advent of the organist and choirmaster, brought the exit of the precentor, who for centuries was an important functionary in Presbyterian public worship. Little is known of the Leaders of Psalmody, to give them their other title, up to the time of Mr. Fettes. They were probably as numerous and varied in their attainments, as the ministers had been. .",

The precentor followed the minister into the Church and took his place in a small edition of the pulpit, and just below it, called the Lettern or Lectern. He wore a gown of similar make to the minister's, but of inferior material, In the old days there was no choir. After the metrical psalm was announced, and the portion to be sung was read over by the minister, the precentor gave the key-note from a tuning fork, which he struck vigorously on the back of his hand or on the bookboard, and then held it upright with the point of the handle on the wood. The note was heard all over the building.

The precentor started the tune, and the congregation followed, more or less promptly.

To many a child this double action of the precentor was the most interesting part of the service. In those days there was neither hymn nor sermon for children.-J.D.

The last of the precentors was Mr. Alister Proctor, the well-known Manx baritone, and now leading baritone in the choir of Hereford Cathedral. Within the writer's recollection three precentors have occupied that old-established Presbyterian office. Mr. Matthew Sharp, a good tenor and a genial man, took his place at the desk beneath the pulpit and led the singing for many years. When he resigned, Mr. Thomas Brockbank, a notable baritone, occupied the position and filled it so well that he was known as the "Presbyterian organ," the organ not having been installed in the church. Mr. Fettes was wont to say to those who asked why he objected to an organ, "We don't praise the Almighty by machinery. Come to the Kirk next Sabbath and you will hear a Godmade organ. Mr. Brockbank's talent as a concert singer and his influence among the singers of the town made St. Andrew's annual tea meeting and concert a conspicuous success in those days, as it still is. We believe that prior to these men Messrs. Kay and Morrison were precentors, and each of them is represented in our congregation to-day. Henceforward the organist took the leading role in the musical part of the service.-A.B.C.

The Rev. Dr. Lundie, of Liverpool, was appointed Moderator of Session during the vacancy, caused by Mr Dixon's resignation, and after a few months the congregation chose for its minister

REV. JOHN DAVIDSON, J.P.

Mr. Davidson is a native of Auchtergaven, in central Perthshire, where the family lived for many generations, and are still represented. There is a tradition that they fled from the West Country to escape persecution in the days of the Covenanters and settled on the Highland Border.

J. Davidson P. Cambell A Hunter Wray

Mr. Davidson was born on August 10th, 1852, and received his early education at the parish school, and later, at a revived subscription school in the village. He afterwards went to Carlton Place Academy, Glasgow, and after spending a year or more in a merchant's office, became an agent of Glasgow City Mission. In 1875 he entered Glasgow University. He took the full four years' curriculum, and, in 1879, started his theological course in the United Presbyterian Hall, Edinburgh.

On the result of the entrance examination he was awarded the MacKinlay bursary of tc30 a year for three years. Immediately his studies were completed, he took charge of a preaching station at Walton, a rising suburb of Liverpool. Within three months it was formed into a congregation, and he was invited to be the first minister. For health reasons he declined, accepting a call to Beaumont, Northumberland. He was ordained and inducted in the closing days of 1882. In 1886, he married Elizabeth Helen, daughter of the Rev. John Whyte, a United Presbyterian minister in Nairnshire. Both at Beaumont and St. Andrew's Mrs. Davidson was a true helpmeet to her husband, and entered with zest into the work of the congregation. Four years after coming to Douglas, she had a very serious illness, which crippled her activities, but her interest in church work never flagged. During his ministry of twelve years at Beaumont the membership was greatly increased, and important additions were made to the church and manse. For several years prior to leaving, he was Clerk of Berwick Presbytery.

In January, 1895, a call was addressed to him from this congregation which he accepted, and he entered upon a long and fruitful ministry at St. Andrew's in the month following. The name of Mr. Grant Paton, a respected Liverpool elder, known in both Synod and Presbytery for his ardent support of the Sustentation Fund, should not be forgotten in connection with Mr. Davidson's happy settlement in Douglas. At the induction service the Rev. J. Mellis, then of Southport; and a son of the first minister preached, and, as he still survives, though retired from the active ministry, there is a living link with the origin of the Church a century ago.

By patient and tactful work, both in the pulpit and by pastoral visitation, the new minister gradually drew the people about him, and the first outward expression of the new spirit was the decoration of the church in 1897. At the same time the need of additional rooms for meetings was realised, and a project started to provide a new and more modern manse for the minister, thus freeing several rooms in the old manse for church purposes. A large bazaar was organised, and with the proceeds a commodious house was purchased in Somerset Road, which visiting preachers and others have often characterised as a model manse. It cost £800, and when the minister took possession there was not a penny of debt.

St. Andrew's Signal was launched in 1902, and has ever since formed a valuable means of keeping congregational matters before members and adherents, as well as providing a means of addressing stimulating and helpful words to those unable through infirmity to attend public worship.

Another break with old methods was in 1904, when the individual communion cup was introduced.

It is an interesting fact that the first meeting inaugurating the Christian Endeavour movement in the Isle of Man was held on St. Andrew's premises. This was about 1900.

The interests of the young, in the shape of better school accommodation, next became the subject of careful deliberation. The old school, situated under the Church, had doubtless witnessed good work, but a cellar school is not the present-day idea of accommodation for children. The driving force in this matter, with the minister, was the late Mr. W. J. Corlett, M.H.K.,J.P., a member of Session, Superintendent of the Sunday School, and a man well beloved by all. Mr. Corlett, was a lifelong member of St. Andrew's and one of the most earnest, tactful, and energetic of men. His heart was in the Sunday School beyond everything else, and he sacrificed many things on its behalf. A successful business man, a member of the Town Council, and later a member of the House of Keys, his life was a full one, but never too full to prevent him giving of his best to St. Andrew's. When in 1917 he was called to his rest at the early age of fifty-five, his loss seemed irreparable to both minister and people. But the heritage of a great enthusiasm helped to carry on his work after he was taken, and there are those active to-day in the good cause of Church and School who readily acknowledge their indebtedness to his teaching and example.

The erection of a new schoolroom was a big undertaking for a small church. We had the land on the seaward side of the old manse, but the contract price of £1,600, needed faith and courage. These elements and hard work were not wanting. Mr. Robert Williamson, Laxey,and the late Mr. James Spittall, gave handsomely. The ladies of St. Andrew's rallied to the cause, as they always have done, with the result that in 1909 the new school was opened and is alight and well-proportioned room, second to none in Douglas, with excellent classrooms adjoining. The last of the debt on the school, £150, was generously paid off by the late Mr. Joseph Cunningham, an elder of the church, as a thank-offering for victory in the Great War. This was but one of the many generous deeds of Mr. Joseph Cunningham, M.L.C., to St. Andrew's, always performed in the simplest and most unostentatious manner.

Although comparatively late in life when his connection began with our Church, it was throughout the years of the closest and most interested character. As founder and proprietor of the great Holiday Camp in this Town, his deep interest in, and work for young men was known all over the land. He became a member of the House of Keys after Mr. W.J. Corlett's death, and later was elected to the Legislative Council. He was an ardent temperance advocate and zealous in every good work. St. Andrew's sustained a great loss in his death in 1924. Happily he passed his mantle on to his son, Mr. William Cunningham, now Superintendent of the Sunday School. Both Mr. Corlett and Mr. Cunningham have passed away, but their works do follow them, and both the adults and the children of St. Andrew's remember them with gratitude and affection.

The work of the Sunday School and kindred agencies was actively carried on during Mr. Davidson's long ministry. He knew how to draw kindred sprits around him, and in Christian Endeavour and Sunday School work he was ably helped by some who have been called to their reward, and some who are still happily with us. Mrs. Latham and Miss Cliff have passed away, but Miss Lily Morrison, Mrs Hutcheon and Miss Anderson still 'carry on,' while Miss Bannister is still with us in spirit though unable to be actively engaged. Mr. F.W. Forrest, now in New Zealand, was a faithful worker, while the school owes a great deal to the business ability of its Secretary, Mr. J. M. Gibson, over a great number of years. Another branch of work was carried on for many years by Mr. Cecil Callister as head of the Boys' Life Brigade until it was absorbed in the later Boy Scout Movement. It may be mentioned here that two members of our Session are the head of this world-wide organization for training young life in self reliance and helpfulness to others. Mr. Wm. Cunningham has succeeded his father as Chief Commissioner for the Island and Mr. W. A. Fyffe is District Commissioner. Mrs J. Cunningham is also head of the Girl Guides for the Island, so that St. Andrew's contributes a good quota of workers for the boys and girls of the Island as a whole. During Mr. Davidson's quarter of a century as pastor many good members, office-bearers, and others passed over. At one time the Captains of the I. O. M. Steam Packet Company steamers were well represented in our church; Capt. McQueen (Commodore) Capt. P. McQueen, Capt. Robt. Gibson, Capt. John Hill, Capt. Wm. Hill, and Capt. Andrew Gibson, were all loyal to St. Andrew's, while Messrs G. Torrance, Wm. Lowe, D. P. Cuthbertson, Wm. Knox, D. Cregeen, Alex Hill, D. Mitchell, A. H. Macnair, C. L. Fraser, A. F. McAdam and Robt. Knox, among many others, gave good service and are still remembered gratefully by Mr. Davidson and those associated with them. There is no record of Mr. H. B. Noble being connected with the church-but he came of distinguished Presbyterian ancestry in Cumberland going back to the 17th century. Mr. Davidson took an active part in the work of the Manx Free Church Council in the hey-day of its activities, being more than once President and he always preserved the friendliest possible relations with his fellow ministers as well as with the Bishop and clergy of the Church of England.

During the war time St. Andrews had difficulties, financial and otherwise, owing to its isolated position, and it is fitting that the great help and sympathy afforded both by the Synod and Liverpool Presbytery should be acknowledged. It should also be recorded that Mr. Davidson was appointed a chaplain at Knockaloe Camp where 20,000 Germans were interned and carried out those duties in addition to his own work. When Mr. Davidson's health broke down in 1918, and a serious operation became necessary it was then seen in what esteem and affection he was held by all. Before he left for the Royal Infirmary, Liverpool, the congregation presented him with £100. The sympathy took practical shape and the Liverpool Presbytery during his necessary absence took the oversight of the congregation and supplied the pulpit, and in every way showed its deep interest in St. Andrew's and its minister. A further expression of sympathy took the form of a personal gift to Mr. Davidson of £80, from friends in the Presbytery.

No record of Mr. Davidson's ministry would be complete that did not refer to his splendid work in Douglas apart from his own immediate sphere. Charitable and religious agencies found in him always a hard and efficient worker, especially Noble's Hospital and the District Nursing Associations of the town and Island. He has been a member of the Hospital Committee since 1901. Mr. Davidson is deeply interested in Archaeology, and is a past President of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society. He is also a member of the Council of the Historical Society of our church.

In 1920 he felt himself compelled through failing health to resign his charge. At a farewell social meeting, ministers of all the Protestant Churches were on the platform, and testified to the esteem in which he was held, and he was presented by the congregation with £120. Presentations were also made to Mrs. Davidson by members of the Women's Missionary Association, and to Miss K. Davidson, by her fellow teachers in the Sunday School, by her Sunday School Class, and by the Girl Guides, in which she was an officer. Shortly after his resignation 'the powers that be' recognised Mr. Davidson's public services by making him a Justice of the Peace. The Isle of Man had cast its spell over him and happily he is still in Manxland, and we can only hope for him and Mrs. Davidson a bright and peaceful time, well earned by faithful and efficient service to God and His Cause.

REV. P. CAMPBELL, M.A., B.D.

Mr. Campbell was born in Leith in 1869, but in his early life the family moved to Birmingham, where he attended King Edward's School, gaining a scholarship of £50, tenable for four years. He gained a high entrance scholarship into the University of Edinburgh, and the First Undergraduate Exhibition given by the Presbyterian Church of England of £30 a year for three years, in 1888.

At Edinburgh University he gained the Gray Essay Prize of £20, and obtained distinctions and prizes in all subjects taken, including prizes in extra subjects-Law, History, and junior and senior medals for Hebrew, and honours in Classics at his M.A. examination.

He entered the Presbyterian College at Queen's Square, London, in 1892, taking the First Entrance Scholarship of 5C50, and the First Scholarship of £50 each year of his residence. In 1893 he won the Dr. William's Theological Scholarship open to students of all Nonconformist colleges. Mr. Carnpbell was an athlete as well as a scholar, and played football for his college and for Durham Amateurs.

After his distinguished educational career he was appointed as assistant to the Rev. A. N. Mackray at Croydon, and in 1896 passed his examination for the B.D. degree at Edinburgh. In 1897 he received and accepted a call to Durham, where he remained for fourteen years, going from that city to Grimsby for five years, and afterwards to Doncaster for four years. After the resignation of Mr. Davidson the Presbytery of Liverpool appointed the Rev. John Mackintosh of Heswall Interim Moderator of Session, and through his good offices Mr. Carnpbell came to Douglas in 1920. Mr. Campbell was our minister for but a brief two and a half years; but the happy memory of that ministry will long linger with us. He was a scholarly preacher, as his student successes would lead us to expect, rather retiring in his manner, but, when known, endearing himself to all by his sincerity and sweetness of disposition. During his ministry our War Memorial was unveiled, and Mr. Davidson was to have undertaken that mournful duty, inasmuch as every one of the man remembered there had been his "bairns," Unfortunately his state of health would not permit, and Mr. Campbell called on the Session Clerk (Mr. A. B. Cuthbertson) to take his place.

Mr. Campbell was a born musician, both in theory and practice, and a feature of his life amongst us was the lectures on Scottish music illustrated both vocally and on the piano by himself, which he gave from time to time. On the 18th of January, 1922, the congregation were overwhelmed with sorrow when they heard that Mr. Campbell had passed away in his sleep during the previous night. The evening before he had appeared to be in his usual health, and on the previous Sabbath had presided at the united communion service in our own church. A lovable personality had been suddenly called home, and on all sides from his fellow ministers in the town, public men, and not least his own congregation, came the sincerest expressions of grief, and of sympathy with his wife and children. Mr. Davidson conducted the funeral service, assisted by Rev. H. A. Cupples, our Ramsey minister, Rev. M. C. Taylor, Congregational minister in Douglas, and Rev. J. Nichol Grieve, Clerk to the Liverpool Presbytery. Mr. Taylor paid a beautiful tribute to our late minister. Mr. Campbell was interred in the Borough Cemetery, Douglas, and the congregation have placed a marble cross on the grave. Mr. Campbell was the only minister of St. Andrew's who died while in the pastorate. Mrs. Campbell elected to remain in Douglas, and she and her two little girls are still with us.

REV. A. HUNTER WRAY, M.A. (T.C.D.)

The Rev. A. Hunter Wray is a native of Londonderry. During boyhood he lost by death his father, who was Clerk of Session of the Dungiven Presbyterian Church. He was educated at Foyle College, Derry, the Macrae. Magee College, and Trinity College,. Dublin. He took his Divinity course in Macrae-Magee College. He was a most successful student, gaining the following distinctions: the Houston Scholarship, the Kyle Bigger Scholarship, the John Knox Scholarship in advanced Hebrew and New Testament Greek. He also gained "firsts" in Junior Hebrew, Senior Hebrew, New Testament Greek, Theory of Music, Elocution, Scripture Reading, etc.

In 1919 he took the M.A. degree of Trinity College, Dublin.

Mr. Wray is an athlete of no mean order. He represented his school in the Ulster Schools Cup competition (Rugby) and later captained his college Rugby Club. He had also the honour of captaining his college Hockey Club team. He represented both the college and the city of Derry in lawn tennis.

Mr. Wray belongs to a patriotic family. His four brothers served in the army during the Great War, namely-the late Capt. D. W. Wray, died on active service, Lieut. W. L. Wray (Seaforth Highlanders), E. J. Wray (Canadian Mounted Rifles), and Lieut. H. H. Wray (East Lancashire Regiment).

In 1916 Mr. Wray was licensed by the Derry Presbytery, and after that, he did a good deal of work in connection with three churches -first in Ray, Co. Donegal, then as assistant to his uncle, the Rev. Wm. Witherow of Westbourne Presbyterian Church,Belfast, and later in the Banbridge Road Church, Dromore. During his college days he went out to the far North-West of Canada and did Home Mission work for the Canadian Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Wray's first charge was at Rostrevor, a picturesque spot in Co. Down, where he was ordained and inducted in 1919. On the vacancy ensuing on Mr. Campbell's death, the officebearers decided to ask the Liverpool Presbytery to appoint the Rev. John Mackintosh, M.A., of Heswall. again Interim Moderator. This was a tribute to that gentleman's tact and resource which was well deserved. The issue was that a call was sent to, and accepted by, Mr. Wray, and everything points to that having been a God-directed choice. Mr. Wray had hardly settled down when a big Bazaar was held, which the ladies had been working hard for during the vacancy. it realised £671 nett, and electric light was at once introduced into the whole of the premises, and the Church spire thoroughly repaired, and there is still a balance of £450 to decorate the Church and carry out other improvements. The Young Men's Club has also developed, and it has been found necessary to rent a large room adjoining for them. As has been said, Mr.Wray is an athlete, and the young people have enthusiastically taken up Badminton and other sports under his guidance. Mr.Wray, as a preacher, is forceful and original, and makes a persuasive appeal to young life.

We wish him, under God's guidance, a long, happy and useful ministry amongst us.

With characteristic modesty Mr. Cuthbertson, in his narrative covering the last three pastorates, omits his own name. That omission must be made good, otherwise this record would be sadly defective. All that Mr. Cuthbertson says of Mr. Corlett, his bosom friend, is equally true of himself. From car!y manhood until the present time, his life has been bound up with the history of our church, which he has served with unstinted devotion. He has been a Sunday School teacher, and Superintendent, a prominent official in the Literary Society, Treasurer and Session Clerk. Every organization has come under the spell of his uplifting influence. To the ministers during the last thirty years he has been a true yokefellow, and a trusted adviser.

Long may he live to take an honoured place in our church and municipal life, as well as in the intellectual and religious life of the community which holds him in high esteem.

J. D.

A. H. W.

 


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