[This is included as a mixture of some facts and much fiction]
Those who are interested in genealogy, usually find the subject a pleasant pastime. Numerous important incidents and exciting discoveries are unfolded which gives the seeker encouragement to continue the search. Down through the ages names have been subjected to alteration according to a scholar's opinion of pronunciation and spelling in whichever country, the name was found.
Mrs. M. A. WATTERSON
(Nee Annie Quirk I.O.M.
The name Quirk is undoubtedly Irish, but at, the time of the Rebellion many families fled from Ireland and made their home in the adjacent isles. Some made their way to the Isle of Man, while others found homes in Scotland.
It is believed that the first family of the name of Quirk on coming to the Island settled in Braddan. They named their farm Ballaquirk, which is now known as Lamb Hill. The Quirk's held this land for centuries, finally selling the place to Senhouse Wilson, Esq. There is a Ballaquirk pew in old Kirk Braddan Church. Branches of this family farmed Ballavar, Knockaloe and other farms in the Patricl and Foxdale districts. [?Quirk is found in Patrick from earliest records - eg Richard McQuyrke was coroner in Patrick in 1511]
A number of Quirks became large landowners in the western districts of the Island, and it has been stated that they owned all the farms on the west coast from Peel to Dalby Point.
With reference to the name Quirk, we find it mentioned by our Manx historian, A. W. Moore, Esq., in his book of Manx names, as being contracted from MaeCuirc, Core's son. The letter C has the same sound at K, Cuire, pronounced Kirk.
Core was King of Munster early in the fifth century. An article written by the late Canon Quine, our Island's great Latin scholar, and published in the "Examiner" in 1932 under the heading: "An Early History of the Isle of Man," deals with the life of St. Patrick. In his translation of the Latin book "Confessio," written by St. Patrick, he states that King M'Quirocatos, who was King of the Red Branch of Ulster in the fifth century was St. Patrick's personal friend, but St. Patrick describes the king as being lukewarm towards Christianity. Although St. Patrick had definitely converted the king from paganism to his faith, the king refused to order his subjects to accept the same belief. While St. Patrick resided in the Isle of Man, a son of King M'Quirocatos visited him, and was ultimately buried on the Island.
Latin names generally end with the letters "-os" or "-us". The name M'Quirocatos abbreviated from its Latin form could easily develop into M'Quirc or M' Quirk .
At a later period, we find the name Ceinnedigh O'Quirc, Lord of Muscraighe, who was slain A.D. 1043.
As early as 1430, the name was found at Patrick, Isle of Man, as Quirk and M'Quirk. From this date, the name underwent many processes of alteration in spelling, probably due to lack of education. It was the duty of the parish clerk to write out burial certificates-; obviously he spelled the names according to his own idea, and it is a known fact that in many cases the surname of -members of the same family were spelt differently.
The name was at one time pronounced Kirk and Kurrik. Elderly Manx folk always pronounced the
Manx names beginning with the letters "Qu-" correctly, such as Quilliam, Quayle, Qualtrough, etc., but not so with the name Quirk.
A quaint story has been told of how the name Quirk became known on the Island. "A newcomer, on landing, when asked his name hesitated for such a lengthy time with his answer that he was called a quirk, which name he accepted."
Another story goes as follows:- "A Scotch woman when passing near old Kirk Patrick Church heard the cries of an infant. After a search, she found a baby on the church step. She brought the child home and reared him, giving him the name Patrick MacKirk. Patrick, for the parish in which he was found; Mac, for the Scot who reared him; and Kirk for the Church."
The ancient Quirks were of a retiring disposition, cautious in friendship, dubious of strangers, industrious and hard-working. They were religiously inclined and of a studious nature. The remark has - often been made : "Where there's a Quirk, there's a book."
Many became prominent leaders in religious work, and a number were capable local preachers.
Bishop Quirk was for many years Bishop of Sheffield. He was formerly associated with St. Thomas' Church, Douglas.
James Quirk was a Member of the House of Keys in 1797 and Captain in the Manx Fencible Army in 1780. He was afterwards Attorney-General.
James Quirk's son was a lieutenant in the Fencible Army. He was afterwards Receiver-General.
In 1820, James Quirk was High-Bailiff of Douglas. Richard Quirk, lieutenant in the Fencible Army, was afterwards Receiver-General.
In 1752, Captain Quirk of the "Prussian Hero" was attacked by three French privateers and after a two hours fight, they sheered off.
Edward Forbes, the famous botanist, of whom a plaster bust is in the Douglas Museum, was a descendant of the Quirks.
Gatie Gilbert, sister of our great sculptor, Sir Alfred Gilbert, whose magnificent model, Eros, won him world fame, married George Quirk, Alfred's college chum. Later went to Canada.
John Quirk, schoolmaster at Rhenny about the year 1800.
Major Quirk, owner of Knockaloe in 1808, also part of Folieu, Maughold.
Joseph Quirk, "Ash Lodge," Patrick, 1840. Retired Gentleman.
Philip Quirk, advocate in Douglas, 1826.
Hugh Quirk, of Kiondbooiag, Foxdale, became navigation tutor in the Mathematic School, Peel. Admiral Quirk, Admiral of the Manx Fishing Fleet, mentioned in the Manx Song Book.
A training ship on the Thames at Chelsea, is named "Quirk."
Eleanor Quirk married Captain Stevenson, German, 1755.
The widow of Field Marshal Lord Wavell, former Commander-in-Chief, India, was a Miss Quirk.
Captain Richard Quirk, Captain of the Parish of Patrick for more than fifty years, was also a member of the self-elected House of Keys. His grandson, Richard Quirk, succeeded him as Captain of the Parish, member of the House of Keys and a member of the Legislative Council.
John Quirk, Carn-e-Greie, Glen Rushen, Patrick, who had been a delicate youth, spent much of his time indoors. He was fond of books and learning and studied incessantly until he became a proficient scholar and poet. His name is mentioned in A. W. Moore's book of "Manx Worthies" as, a writer with vivid imagination and a tinge of poetic faculty. His writings showed what he might have accomplished if greater educational advantages had been obtainable by him. He is also mentioned in the Manx Song Book as translator of the Manx Carols "Farmers' Daughters."
Many others descrended from male and female lines became famous.
Copied from Edmund Goodwin's genealogical list of Quirks at the Douglas Museum:-
Mary Parr, daughter of James Parr and Margery Radcliffe, granddaughter of Deemster Parr and great-granddaughter of the Rev. Robert Parr, a connection of Bishop Parr, who was Bishop of the Isle of Man from 1635 to 1644. Mary married Philip Quirk, of Ballavargher. They had fifteen children, many of whom died in infancy.
Their son, Philip, was a shipbuilder in Liverpool and owned considerable property about Prince's Park and in Cheshire. He married Miss Finchet, aunt of William E. Gladstone, who was for some time Prime Minister of England.
A daughter of Philip Quirk and Mary Parr, married Samuel Moore Looney, son of Captain Looney. Their son was one of the first pupils in King William's College, Isle of Man. He obtained a Treasury appointment at Liverpool Customs. Died 1843.
Another daughter, Emma Elizabeth, married John Saunders Swan, wine and spirit merchant, of Liverpool and London. Their daughter, Christian Swan, married Arthur Matthews, of St. John's, Isle of Man, and her sister married -. Vertigan, of Manchester.
Philip Quirk, son of Philip Quirk and Miss Finchet, was father of Major Philip Quirk, of Knockaloe.
Philip Quirk who married Miss Finchet, died January 24th, 1807, in his eightieth year. "It was said of him that he was greatly respected all his life."
Mary Parr died in 1777, and her husband, Philip Quirk, married Christian Bridson.
William Quirk, relative of Philip, of Ballavargher, married Jane Ellison, of Woodchurch, Cheshire. Their daughter, Mary Quirk, stayed on a visit to Captain Cameron's, Glenfaba House, Raggatt, Peel, in 1865.
William Quirk, of Ballachrink, Dalby, married Ann Cowell. Had four sons, William, Philip, Hugh and Peter.
William died unmarried.
Philip, merchant, of Peel, married Eleanor Cottier, 1749. Their son, Hugh Quirk, of Ballachrink, married Anne Lace, daughter of Deemster Lace. Sold Ballachrink to Corris, of Peel.
Eventually the Quirks were again in Ballachrink. Hugh, son of William and Ann Cowell, married Elizabeth Wattleworth, of Peel.
Peter, merchant, of Peel, died 1769.
Daniel Lace Quirk, great-grandson of Hugh Quirk and Anne Lace, married a daughter of Ceaser Wattleworth, of Peel.
Hugh Quirk, Coroner of Glenfaba, 1808.
About the year 1422, Scotch folk were driven from the Island and threatened if they sought to return, their goods would be seized and their bodies imprisoned. Nevertheless, before 1500, a number of Scots had risked the severe penalty and ventured to the Island. Being unmolested, they finally settled on the Island.
This law was repealed in 1697.
For many generations, families of the name of MacQuyrke owned and farmed land at Stranraer, Scotland.
Among the Scotch folk who came to the Island about the year 1500, were men of the name of MacQuyrke. Some of these settled in the north of the Island, where the name eventually became McQuark. Others settled in Onchan, Patrick and Foxdale.
It is recorded that about 1540, the MacQuyrkes were among the principal families in Patrick.
On the estate of Ballanias was an old church on the brink of a stream. There was an old prophecy "that until the stream has carried away the burial ground, the clan MacQuyrke will be in Ardole" (Slieuwhallian). Strangely enough, when the last portion of the old church was washed away, the MacQuyrkes were no longer in Slieuwhallian.
In the year 1638, a body of Scottish Presbyterians known as the Covenanters, in the cause of religious liberty, pledged themselves to uphold the Presbyterian faith against Prelacy and popery. There was a covenant as early as 1557, and another in 1581. It had been signed by James the First. Noblemen travelling about the country carried with them the National Covenant and gathered signatures for it.
Anyone travelling in Galloway hills must have a thought of the Covenant.
In 1660, in the reign of King Charles the Second, came the struggle for supremacy of the Episcopal Church, when the Covenanters, being severely persecuted, took up arms in defence of the Presbyterian form of church government.
Every graveyard in Galloway bears witness of the deadly struggle, when much blood was shed.
Robert Louis Stevenson composed the following verses in remembrance of the Covenanters' warfare
Blows the wind to-day, and the sun and the rain are flying;
Blows the wind on the moors to-day and now,
Where about the graves of the martyrs the whaups are crying,
My heart remembers how !
Grey, recumbent tombs of the dead in desert places;
Standing-stones on the vacant, wine-red moor;
Hills o f sheep, and the homes o f the silent, vanished races,
And winds austere and pure !
Be it granted to me to behold you again in dying,
Hills of home ! and to hear again the call-
Hear about the graves of the martyrs the peewees crying,
And hear no more at all.
Among those who adhered to the Scottish National Covenant were members of the MacQuyrke families. In 1640, when war seemed imminent, a family of MacQuyrkes, rather than enter into warfare or change their religious views, decided to leave the country. Accordingly, they left Stranraer in a small boat, taking with them their valuable possessions; including their family Bible, books on astrology and many silver articles, besides provisions for the journey.
After about three days' sailing, they landed on the Traie Ein shore near the Niarbyl, Isle of Man. They knew that here they would find relatives who had been associated with the Island for many years.
They found lodgings in Borraine farmhouse with Margaret Gill, a. lone young orphan. Her parents had died but a short time before. Here they stayed while waiting expectantly for a farm to become vacant. Meanwhile, they helped Margaret and the neighbours on their farms.
At that time a great portion of the land in the Dalby district was rough and barren, and it has been stated that these men laboured strenuously to prepare and cultivate the waste ground.
It was rumoured that the Covenanters had sovereigns enough to fill a large pancrock, which on hot summer days were spread on a sheet in the surd to prevent them from becoming mouldy. These sovereigns were eventually spent in buying land.
The small boat was preserved in a specially built shed near Borraine farmhouse, always ready if any of the family desired to return to Scotland.
But peace did not come to Scotland until many years later, when to return and view the place where merciless destruction and slaughter had ran rife, would be to them a poignant grief.
They finally settled down quietly in different homes but always with a longing for their old homestead in Scotland.
Early in the twentieth century the boat and shed together with farmhouse and outbuildings fell into decay.
After a few years, Margaret decided to sell her portion of the farm to her uncle, Donald Gill, of Ballelby, Dalby.
Eventually, two of MacQuyrke's sons, Phillip and William, secured the Kerrowdhoo, and MacQuyrke, with his younger sons, farmed Trellsey (Threljea) Treen of Rheaby. Rheaby and Threljea MacQuyrkes were cousins. Many years before, a MacQuyrke had farmed Threljea, presumably a son of the Rheaby MacQuyrke.
The Threljea MacQuyrkes eventually acquired Ballabenia and Ballanias farms in Foxdale, but after another generation the Ballanias family again branched out to Dalby.
It is a noticeable fact that one generation after another inherits similarity of character, as well as resemblance in form and features, to that of their ancestors. In families of tradespeople we find tailors, carpenters, shoemakers, etc., following from father to son for many generations.
The dominating trait of character in the MacQuyrkes was achievement. Apart from farming, professions and the fine arts appealed to them, such as music, literature, painting, carving, doctoring, fancy needlework and penwork, etc.
One of the MacQuyrkes became famous as a doctor of cancer in Ireland.
Many won distinction in music as instrumentalists and vocalists.
Philip MacQuyrke, of Threljea, was leading fife player in the Manx Fencible Fife and Drum band and together with his younger brother harmonised many melodies. He was taken prisoner in the French- English war, 1815, and died in a French prison. His fife has been placed in the Douglas Museum.
The name MacQuyrke gradually drifted into the Manx form "of spelling, the old Scotch name being last seen on Threljea farm carts about the year 1840, although before this date the younger members of the family had adopted the name Quirk. The name Quirk and MacQuyrke merged into one through marriage. The name Quirk was chosen as being more closely associated with Island names.
MacQuyrke of Threljea was the last of the old clan to hold to the original spelling of the family name. Relatives of the MacQuyrkes came from Scotland about the year 1825 to visit their Manx relatives. It can be understood that they did not appreciate the change of spelling in the name.
McQuyrke the Covenanter-as he was styled- settled in Threljea, Glenmeay. (At that time, Threljea was Trellsey. Norse name. Glenmeay was Clanmy, and later Glanmoij. Manx name Glionmoij. Now Glenmaye).
MacQuyrke had astrological learning, which he taught to his children and grandchildren. He was a proficient scholar-a distinction few could boast of in those days.
When an old man, he consulted the planets on the night of the birth of a prospective heir, and his predictions concerning the child's future and the manner in which his birth would affect the coming generations proved correct.
Another prediction was that, after a few more generations, his branch of the family would be saved from extinction by one male member whose children would be weak in strength but strong in mind and would be. endowed with powers of mysticism.
He also prophecied that treasure lay buried in a hilly field on Threljea farm. This prophecy has passed unheeded, so the treasure has not yet been found. Some of the descendants have a thought that the buried treasure was some of the silver articles the old Covenanter had brought with him from Scotland.
It is a known fact that some of those old heirlooms were buried in a hilly field in the "oues" during the French-English War which ended in the year 1815, when Napoleon was defeated. In fear of a French victory, many people hid their valuables by burying them in fields, gardens or old unused wells.
About the year 1910, the story was told of how some of the silver articles were unearthed and presented as a wedding present to a member of the family in the year the war ceased. A granddaughter of the lady to whom the silver was presented made this known. She was then about seventy years old.
Many of these silver heirlooms may yet lie buried. In each generation of the MacQuyrkes, one or two members of the family were endowed with the peculiar gift of psychology and could foretell many events through dreams, omens and signs. In those days, especially in outlying districts, spiritualism was an unheard of creed, and anyone who received prophetic warnings was looked upon as one of Heaven's chosen few, while the person who possessed such knowledge was not in the least perturbed, but waited calmly for any untoward event which might materialise.
In the year 1825, William Quirk, of Threllea, carpenter and farmer, married Catherine Gill, of Ballelby, Dalby. He had a house built on Upper Threljea in readiness as a home for himself and his bride, and they lived there all their married life and were buried from that same house.
The house was the largest in the village at that time and the only house to have running water from a tap indoors. He also had communicating doors to all the rooms, and an inside door leading to his carpenter's shop, which was attached to the main building. They had five children, only one of whom had descendants.
In 1830, there passed away one of the old clan who was very proud of his ancestry, proud of his appearance and proud of his possessions. He wore knee breeches, buckled shoes and the usual accessories and looked a fine manly figure as he walked to and from church on Sundays. He did much to improve the general appearance around his home and allowed of new roads to be cut through his land and sold much land for building purposes, when soon a new and busy village sprang into being, instead of a few old cottages dotted here and there.
This old gentleman, MacQuyrke of Threljea, was the first farmer in the district to have wheels on his farm carts, and he had the proud honour of making them himself. Wheelless carts, called sleds, were in use before this time.
In the year 1841, William Quirk, of Threljea, son of the last MacQuyrke, a Methodist local preacher, gave a plot of ground and part-time workmanship to having a chapel erected at Glenmaye.A stipulation was made that if the trustees ever found it necessary to sell the building, the heir-at-law must have the first refusal.
The chapel was the means of much religious work, and stirring revival meetings sanctified its walls. Here it was that Phil Philip (Philip Clucas) the far-famed missioner, did most of his ardent gospel work.
Before organs or harmoniums were introduced into the chapels, fiddles led the singing. When the fiddlers were absent, a member of the congregation raised the tune. Sometimes the tune was pitched too high, consequently, they had to have a fresh start. If the tune was pitched rather low, the bass singers generally brought the tune to a finish. For special services, the fiddlers and a, goodly number of singers could be relied upon to put in an appearance and always gave a creditable performance.
One evening, a Mr. Quirk, a Methodist local preacher, was passing a chapel and heard the fiddlers practising for a coming special service. With a feeling of gratification he went on his way. However, later in the evening, when returning home and passing the public-house, he heard from within the same tunes being rehearsed. His anger was aroused. It was sacrilege.
It so happened that on the following Sunday he was planned to, preach in that same chapel. During his sermon, he poured out his wrath to his congregation, and said : "If they were going to throw the Lord's tunes to the devil, the fiddles better follow." The next hymn to be sung, he read the first lines as
"Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing And not a thousand fiddles." (With the accent on "tongues").
About the year 1250, after a battle on St. Michael's Isle, at Derbyhaven, two large silver candlesticks were missing from the chapel. Many years after, a Catholic priest had occasion to call on a Mr. Quirk, and on seeing a pair of magnificent silver candlesticks on the sitting-room mantlepiece, asked Mr. Quirk how he came by them. Mr Quirk explained that a gentleman to whom his great-grandparents had shown a kindness had presented them with the candlesticks as a gift of appreciation. "'Those candlesticks were stolen from a Catholic Chapel," answered the Priest, and no luck will ever come to anyone who holds in their possession an article taken from a Catholic Chapel." Mr. Quirk readily parted with the candlesticks.
About the year 1703, Quirks farmed Ballacooil, Dalby (formerly Knockishtey). Previously, they had farmed Ballanias, Foxdale, and came to the Cregganmooar, Dalby, where they stayed only a short time before taking over Ballacooil. These Quirks were descendants of the MacQuyrkes.
Eventually, there were seven sons, consequently, they needed a large farm to keep these boys employed. Mr. Quirk was an industrious, active and hard-working man and watched vigilantly for any shirkers among his workpeople. Any signs of slackness brought a shout from him: "Lhiggey, lhiggey," which means in English "Loiterer." This won for him the nickname "Lhiggey -myr-thraa" "Loitering the time."
Of these seven sons, one married his cousin and settled on the Kerrowdhoo farm in Dalby, where descendants are yet to be found. Admiral Quirk, whose name is mentioned in the Manx Song Book, was a descendant of another son, and who farmed Ballacallin, Dalby. Another son settled in the Cregganmooar. Two others left their Island home to seek fortunes in Texas, America. The eldest son farmed Ballacooil, and as far as can be gathered, the seventh son married a Miss Quane, Dalby, but died at an early age..
The man who settled in Ballacooil was the first farmer in Dalby to lime his land, bringing the limestone from Castletown in a small boat. He burnt the lime on his own ground.
Of the two men who went to Texas, nothing further was heard of them until many years later when a great-great-neite visited America and made her way to Texas to seek her uncles. She found that both men, lonely but wealthy bachelors, had died some years before, leaving no instructions for. the disposal of their estates. Being a relative, she put forward a claim, and came back to the Island to obtain proof of relationship, but her efforts were of no avail owing to the fact that old Kirk Patrick Church, where the men had been baptised, was partly destroyed by fire and the baptismal register was among the lost articles. But it has been stated that these men had spelled their name MacQuyrk.e, while their neite had adopted the name Quirk.
An old lady, over eighty years of age, named Quirk, and who lived in Dalby, was visited by some folks who made enquiries as to her origin. The old lady replied: "I am one of the proud race of MaeQuyrkes which at one time held sway over half the parish of Patrick." She pronounced the name "MacKurrik." Before her death she expressed a wish to be buried in the Rullick of the old Keill -Lhag-ny-Keilley.
When she died, her wish was granted, and the funeral procession went along the narrow road by Eary Cushlin, through the stream at Gob-yn-Lshtey, over sheep tracks and rough stones, the old grey mare carrying the body wrapped in a white sheet, until it reached the ancient graveyard where her fathers for centuries before her had been buried. She was the last to be buried in that old graveyard.
Many old houses in the West district were said to be haunted, and weird stories have been told of midnight visitations. Around the old farmhouse the fairies revelled at midnight and mixed freely with the animals. In the orchard, shadows glided mysteriously around the trees, while the leaves shook with a faint rustle, and the trammon trees at the gable of the homesteads creaked as if a host of fairies played hide-and-seek in the branches, and in the moonlight the surroundings surely looked somewhat uncanny.
In the old days, many people believed that white stones from the shore placed around a building prevented ground damp from creeping up the walls. Usually, when a new house was being erected, large white boulders were placed one at each of the four corners of the building.
At that time,, there was no easy access to Glenmaye shore. The ony road was a path at the top of the headland. When the farmers needed wraick on their fields, they brought it in creels up the cliff where horses were waiting to carry the' creels home and thence to the fields.
The large boulders were carried in the same laborious way, and it has been stated that the men grew tired of this heavy work and contrived to confiscate a few large stones from a nearby graveyard, thereby committing a, violation of consecrated ground.
This act was supposed to be the real cause of disturbances around the old homes and gave rise to the thought that the place was haunted.
It was said that a farmer took a slate slab, which was a fallen headstone, from a graveyard to serve as a "bink" outside his house. In the evening the empty milk cans were placed on the bink, but during the night the inmates were disturbed by a violent rattling of the cans. This disturbance continued for a few nights, and the farmer thought it better to return the slab to its former resting place. After he had done so, peace was restored.
A story was told of how a farmer was returning home late after a long day's journey when he saw what he thought to be his own horse grazing by the wayside. He spoke to the animal, patted it, then mounted. No sooner was he comfortably seated than the horse bolted off like a deer, past the entrance to his home and on to the "ghill." When about to spring into the dark ravine,. the man shouted: "My Yee" (My God) and immediately his foot caught in a huge gorse twig and he tumbled to the ground. When he arrived home, he entered the stable and found that his own horses were safely housed. He began to wonder what strange animal had he ridden. Could it have been a f airy horse ?
The shock proved too much for him. He became seriously ill and died shortly afterwards.
Another story goes as follows: A young woman about to marry the heir to a farm was told that she was signing her death warrant because many women who had lived in that house had died suddenly and mysteriously.
She was told that when she would see an apparition in white robes coming from the stairway into the kitchen, she would know that she was doomed. The young bride defied superstition and made the venture.
For a long time nothing unusual occurred, but late one night when she was sitting alone in the kitchen awaiting the return of her husband, who was on business at another part of the Island, she heard the creaking of the stairway door and saw it opening, while a tapping of feet like the dancing of a quadrille commenced on the floor above. Fearful of what she might see, she called out: "What in the name of the Lord is coming ?" In an instant the door closed and the dancing ceased. Sheer determination and courage kept her from fainting.
Never again were they disturbed by a nocturnal visitor. The old wise folk declared that by calling on the name of the Lord at the precise moment, she had broken the spell. Strange to say, there never was a death again in the old house as long as it remained standing.
A story was told by a man named Quirk, who lived in Dalby, that there had been copper mines in the caves under the cliffs at Lhag-yn-Keilley.
In the summer, many Danish men in their sailing boats landed on the Traie-Ein beach and took the metal from the caves, or mine-holes. They returned to their own country with their stores in the winter.
While working at the cave mines, if their food supplies showed signs of shortage, they would climb the cliffs at night-time and steal fowls and food from the farms. But when they murdered a farmer who had caught them in the act of stealing, the men of the parish were determined to put an end to these thefts. One night they watched for the Danes, and caught them going back to their boats carrying a number of fowls.
A fight ensued in which the Danes were defeated and driven back to their boats in a wounded and subdued condition:
That same night there was a great earthquake which shook the whole Isle of Man, and the tall cliffs slid down and covered the beach, Danes, boats and all.
For a long time afterwards cries and shouts could be heard, but the place had become so dangerous that no one would attempt to venture near. When the moaning and shouting continued for a considerable time, the people became frightened and thought the ghosts of the dead Danes made the disturbance.
The people of the district had the chapel built at I,hag-ny-Keilley as a shrine where they could offer prayers for peace for the souls of the dead Danes.
A lady named Quirk who lived in the West district, was considered to be very proud and haughty. She was tall, with a dignified appearance and particularly polite in her manner of speech. She always contrived to dress in the height of fashion and was the envy of many of her associates.
But her pride did not deter her from doing the usual housework or farmwork, and she was a very capable woman. When a child, she would not attend the ordinary school, which was the parlour of the pillage tailor, where he did his sewing as well as teaching his scholars. There was a private school for young ladies at Patrick, so one day this girl, accompanied by her sister, made bold to ask at the private school for herself and sister to be accepted as scholars.
"What is your father's position ?" asked the mistress.
"He is a seafaring man," the little girl answered. "I am sorry," said the mistress, "but we do not take fishermen's daughters as scholars."
"Our father is not a fisherman," replied the child, "he is an admiral."
The two little girls were accepted as scholars.
In later life, this lady was called "Lady Quirk." She did not marry.
In Sophia Morrison's book "Manx Fairy `hales" there is a story of a child without a name. The heiress of Eary Cushlin had a child who died. No one knew of the birth of the child. The mother buried it in the ruins of the little Keill at Lhag-ny-Keilley. When the men would be fishing close to land under Cronk-ny-Irree-Laa, they would see a light and hear a child crying. The men got so frightened that they would not go to that fishing ground after dark. Illiam Quirk, an old man who had not been to sea for years went in one of the yawls to see for himself. They used to say of old Illiam that he had power in his -prayer and he would dare almost anything. It was a beautiful moonlight night, and when he was near to Cob-ny-Ushtey, lie heard crying.
He listened and he heard a child walling: "Slee lhiannoo beg dyn ennym mie," that is: "I am a little child without a name." Old Illiain replied "God bless me, bogh, we mus' give thee a name!" He threw a handful of water towards the child, crying out : "If thou are a boy, I christen thee in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Juan !
If thou are a girl, I christen thee in the name of the Father, Son . and Holy Ghost, Joanney !"
The crying was never heard again.
In 1781, when John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher, visited the Island, there were no chapels, but each parish had a church. Many were influenced by Wesley's teachings and accepted the new form of service.
After his departure from the Island, his converts held religious meetings in barns or in farmhouse kitchens. Among the new members in the Dalby district were two young men, Charles Quane and Jonas Quirk, who were cousins. They became powerful Methodist leaders and the number of their followers increased so largely that they found it necessary to provide a more adequate building. The two young men set about to build a chapel, choosing a place near to where John Wesley had stood when preaching in Dalby. However, before the chapel was completed, Charles died, and his funeral service was the first to be held in the chapel.
Jonas, disheartened by the loss of his cousin and co-worker, relinquished the task, and the chapel was eventually finished by the residents.
John Wesley was entertained at the home of the Quirks, Lheakerrow, Foxdale, while preaching on the Island.
He had numerous converts, and chapels were built in almost every parish on the spot where Wesley stood to preach.
Judith Quane (sister of Charles Quane, who helped to build the first Wesleyan Chapel in Dalby) married Henry Graves, merchant, Peel. Had three children, Charles, Ann and Jane. After Mr. Grave's death, the family sold their house to Doctor Higgins.
The house is still in good condition, standing in its own grounds at Glenf aba Road, Peel.
In their shipbuilding yard in Peel, the Graves built the famous little schooner "Vixen," which sailed on its memorable voyage from Peel to Australia in the year 1853, leaving Peel on Wednesday, 26th of January and arriving in Melbourne on the 3rd day of May, 1.853.
When Mr. Graves was building the "Vixen" he was asked what name he intended to give the vessel. "Maybe I shall name her after my wife," he said. After the schooner was christened, he was asked why he did not give the ship his wife's name.
"But maybe I did," he answered quietly. Thirty-seven brave men risked the journey to seek their fortunes in the Australian gold mines. Among the number were four of the Graves' family.
From the Museum Journal:-
About the year 1843, two candidates applied for the position of assistant schoolmaster at Patrick Parish School.
One man, named Kaye, was to be selected, but the parishioners thought Gill the most capable man. The Vicar notified Mr Richard Quirk, Captain of the Parish, of the proceedings; therefore Mr. Quirk was determined to show fair play.
There was no time to lose, as the selection had to be made at the Easter Vestry meeting, only a few days distant.
Before this time, a wooden cross, painted red, was used to summon the parishioners to a special meeting, but this custom had fallen into disuse. To serve the summons in due time, the Captain revived the old custom.
He asked William Quirk, Treljah, who was a carpenter as well as a farmer, to make a Cross. Owing to short notice, the Cross was not painted, but he turned it on his lathe with simple ornament, like the leg of a chair.
The Captain gave the Cross to his manservant and sent him round the parish. The journey took him three days. When he stopped at a house, he would hand the Cross to the people there to kiss it and vow they would attend the Vestry meeting at Kirk Patrick Church at eleven o'clock on the morning of Easter Monday.
Hundreds of people came to the meeting, the church would not hold half of them, so the meeting was held outside.
Mr. Quirk ended his speech by saying : "I called upon you to attend this meeting so that you could decide whether your children will go forth into the world well-educated and well-trained, or whether they will remain hew ers of wood and drawers of water to the end of their days."
Gill was elected, and afterwards he became headmaster of the School of Navigation, in Liverpool. But Captain Quirk received a summons from Governor Readv to attend at Castle Rushen to surrender his commission as Captain of the Parish, by causing such a commotion in sending round the Fiery Cross. He engaged a lawyer to go with hm~, and he explained the affair so satisfactorily that the Governor was well pleased and glad to know that Gill had been elected.
That was the last Cross used in the Isle of Man. The Fiery Cross was called "Crosh Vusta" (Cross Muster).
A summons by the Cross was an old Scottish custom.
Captain Quirk died on June 10th, 1892, aged 87. His only son, Richard Stephen, instead of being a farmer as was usually the recognised profession of a farmer's son, became a ship's engineer. His last voyage was in the "Great Eastern." The boiler burst when he was giving it some attention, and he was scalded so badly that he died shortly afterwards. He died on May 7th, 1874, aged 39. His son, Richard Barton Quirk, became Captain of the Parish of Patrick.
The old Manx people had firm belief that about midnight on old Christmas Eve-January the fourth -bullocks, about three years old, would kneel and groan, bees would hum in their hives, and the flowering myrrh would burst forth from the ground. These actions were supposed to be the signs of Jesus Christ's birth.
Mr. Quirk, of Raby-beg farm, endeavoured to have bullocks of the required age each Christmas, and people in large numbers congregated in the cowhouse at midnight to witness the solemn performance.
William Quirk, of Upper Threljea, had the flowering myrrh growing in his garden, and on the night of January 4th - Old Christmas Eve - he would retire to bed early, but at midnight he would get up, and with a lighted candle lantern, go into the garden to see if the myrrh had made its appearance. Sometimes the tiny shoots did not appear until dawn, when a dark ring of moisture could be noticed where the plant lay, especially if thick frost or snow covered the ground, and soon the little shoots grew one to two inches in height. Usually, Mr. Quirk took the tiny sprays into the house on a plate for the family's inspection next morning. In severe cold and frosty weather, the myrrh would fade away, but would bloom again when the milder weather came.
But the days of prosperity have faded from the district where the MacQuyrkes had made their home and most of the land is bleak and barren for want of cultivation. The villagers are mostly old and infirm and there are few young children. When the Young folk attain the age of manhood and womanhood they seek employment in the towns, for their home district has nothing remunerative to offer, but, as surely as one generation follows another time effects change upon change.
Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2010