[From J. J. Kneen - Personal Names, 1937]


THE first Manxman to make a special study of the surnames of the Isle of Man was the late Arthur William Moore, C.V.O., M.A., Speaker of the Keys, who in 1890 published the result of his labour. This edition was followed by two subsequent ones, all of which are long ago out of print.

The present volume deals with the earliest recorded personal names on the Ogam and Runic monuments, down to those contained in the parochial registers and other sources, to the year 1830, about which time there is a great influx of surnames from the surrounding countries, the inclusion of which would have overburdened the text and would not have added materially to its historical value.

In 1924 there was published by the Oxford University Press a work which has proved of the greatest assistance to me and other students of Manx history. This is The Manorial Roll [Liber Assedationis] of the Isle of Man 1511-1515, translated from the Latin by the late Rev. T. Talbot, and edited by Mr. William Cubbon. It contains the first record of the names of the lord's tenants, the land held by them, and the amount of rent paid by each. This important volume was published at the cost of Miss Talbot, as a proper memorial of her father's literary labours. The book is quoted throughout this work under the reference LA 1511 (1515).

I have had access to many documents which have recently come to light, the Castle Rushen Papers, MSS. of the Bishop's Barony, Diocesan Registry, and others of a like nature, all of which repose in the archives of the Manx National Museum.

A personal touch has been given to the work by the inclusion of notes and in many cases a short biography of Manxmen who have served their country or the British Empire in many different ways and in various capacities.

My sincerest thanks are due to his Excellency, the Lieut.-Governor, and Tynwald for making the printing of the work possible by a grant towards its publication.

To the Trustees of the Manx National Museum I am also indebted for the kindly interest they have taken in the matter.

The Manx Rolls and Record Offices are rich storehouses of material which has proved invaluable to me in my research work, and I must acknowledge my indebtedness to the Clerk of the Rolls (His Honour the Deemster Farrant) for permission to examine these historical treasures.

I must also express my thanks to Mr. Christian of the Record Office and Mr. Quayle and Mr. Corlett of the Rolls Office and their officials, for granting me every facility for the inspection of the records under their charge.

To my almost lifelong friend, Mr. William Cubbon, Director of the Manx National Museum, to whom I have had the greatest pleasure in dedicating the present volume, I tender my grateful thanks for the many responsibilities he has undertaken in connexion with the more technical part of the work, especially the publication arrangements, a by no means light task. Mr. Cubbon has also contributed many personal names collected from manuscripts under his care.

There are other helpers whom for lack of space I am unable to acknowledge, but I must mention the following: the late Mr. Pilcher George Ralfe, whose loss we still deplore; Mr. P. W. Caine and Mr. David Craine ; Mr. Richard Foley and An Seabhac of Dublin; Mrs. Rita Brown, Taunton, and Mr. Ernest Weekley, the great authority on English surnames.

To the printers I extend my keen appreciation for the care and accuracy which they have maintained throughout the volume.

J. J. K.

January, 1937.


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