[From Churches of South Ramsey,1923]


St. Pauls
St. Paul's

The old Chapel served the needs of Ramsey till the population grew to more than 1500, and it was felt that there ought to be a larger Church. The site was obtained from Bishop Murray who, with the consent of Lady Sarah Murray, his wife, made over the ground to the Northern Deemster, John McHutchin, Rev. Daniel Mylrea, Archdeacon, and Thomas Arthur Corlett, High-Bailiff, as Trustees.

A Building Fund was set on foot, and on October 12th, 1820, a meeting of subscribers, convened by order of the Bishop, was held. The subscribers were divided into classes according to the amount of their subscriptions, and then pews were allotted by means of papers placed in a ballot box. The Chaplain was to content himself with the salary of £65, finding a Clerk, but after the debts of the building had been met, he was to receive £80, finding a Clerk with a salary of £5. Upon the receipt of this £80 he was expected to secure to the Town a well-conducted Grammar School, and, in case he should decline the management of the school himself, he was to find a qualified person to be licensed and approved by the Bishop.

Two Wardens were to be annually appointed by the Chaplain and the proprietors of the pews.

The new Church, S. Paul’s, was opened for divine service in 1822, the date of the Consecration by Bishop Murray being August 18th of that year (the XI. Sunday after Trinity. ) Possibly the choice of Patron Saint was determined by the fact that the dedication of the Church in Peel, which was also in the Bishop’s patronage, was to S. Peter. There has always been a close connexion between S. Peter and S. Paul, and in both the Eastern and Western Churches they have for many centuries been commemorated on the same day. The new Church was certainly much larger than Ballure, but all it gained in size it lacked in beauty. It was an oblong building with square tower and square windows containing square panes of glass, and the interior had a flat ceiling.

The Rev. Philip Corlett was the Incumbent at the time of the opening of the Church. He was succeeded by the Rev. Archibald Holmes (1825-43), who married a sister of Mr. F. Tellet, High-Bailiff of Ramsey, and afterwards became Vicar of Kirk Patrick.

In 1827 a declaration was signed by the Chaplain and Wardens that certain pews indicated by a plan were to continue free for the use and benefit of the poor.

Three years later a gallery was erected at the west end, for the accommodation of the children, a grant of £45 towards the expenses being made by Bishop Ward.

The duties of the Clerk were among other things to "raise the tune," and also to sing psalms at funerals as the procession made its way to the Church. Sundry people however were from time to time paid for "conducting the choir." In 1845, £4 16s 3d was paid for a Clarionet. Mr Killip, Clerk, played the Bass-fiddle, and Mr John Boyde, whose son was afterwards in the choir, played the Serpent. This instrument is now in the possession of Mr G. W. Kewin, the Surveyor, who kindly lent it to be photographed. [PLATE IV. ] An Organ was put in by Foster and Andrews in 1852, and the place of the choir and organ was in the gallery above-mentioned till 1874.

In 1843, Rev. William Kermode, who had come to assist Mr Holmes, succeeded to the Chaplaincy. He was educated at King William’s College, where he secured the prize for the English poem for two consecutive years, and at Dublin University; ordained in 1839 by Bishop Bowstead, and priested the following year by Bishop Horatio Powys, his successor.

On his ordination he was licensed to Patrick for the District of Dalby, where he secured a site and built a house of residence for the Chaplain.

In the year following his appointment as Chaplain of Ramsey he raised money and enlarged the Church by the addition of the north and south wings, and two years later presented a large silver flagon. [PLATE IV.]

In September, 1847, the Royal yacht with Queen Victoria on board anchored in the Bay. H.R.H. the Prince Consort landed at Ballure and viewed the Town and surrounding landscape from the hill behind the ruined Chapel. Albert Tower marks the spot. While the Prince was on shore, the Bishop, the Archdeacon, the Northern Deemster and the Chaplain went on board the yacht and had the honour of being presented to the Queen, who was asked to accept a beautiful bunch of grapes from the green-house at Claughbane.

In 1849 St. Paul’s was licensed for the solemnization of marriages, and in this year a number of trees were planted along the yard walls and a substantial iron railing and gates put up fronting the Market Place.

The restoration of Ballure has already been spoken of.

Through the efforts of the Chaplain the Parsonage House was erected in 1856 on a site granted by deed of gift from Thomas and Margaret Kermode, of Claughbane, his parents. His mother, Margaret, née Cowell, had inherited Claughbane from her grandfather, William Callow. Before the Parsonage was built, the Chaplain had lived in Parliament Street, at house No. 75, which he afterwards sold to Mr Skillicorn.

Reference has been made to "keeping school."

By a deed dated 1762, Charles Cowle, of Ramsey, made over to Rev. John Crellin, Chaplain of Ramsey, and the Wardens and their successors in office, a parcel of ground for the erection of "a Chapel and School House for the Clerk and children of the town of Ramsey" thereon.

This Rev. J. Crellin was one of the translators of the Manx Version of the Scriptures and translated the Book of Esther. A school, the old Grammar School, was built, but in course of time became dilapidated. Leave was eventually obtained by Act of Tynwald to sell the premises.

The Rt. Rev. Lord Auckland, Bishop of Sodor and Man, having become possessed of a certain commodious building eligibly situated in Church Street, and commonly called S. Peter’s Chapel, a place which originally belonged to the sect called Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion, made over the property, by deed dated November, 1849, to the Archdeacon, the High-Bailiff of Ramsey and the Chaplain and Wardens of S. Paul’s and their successors in office, in Trust for the purposes of a school for the education of the poor of the town.

The proceeds of the sale of the other school were applied for the purposes of this Trust, and money was also raised by subscription. The new school was erected 1850. This was used as a National School, and very strenuous efforts and much sacrifice on the part of the Church, as the Wardens’ accounts still serve to show, were constantly devoted to it.

The Ramsey School Board came into existence in 1872, but its duty did not go beyond that of enforcing attendance at the Voluntary Schools, which were then in existence and sufficient to meet the needs of the town till 1901.

During the time of the erection of the Albert Road School the Board took over from the Church and continued to use the premises. School Boards are now a thing of the past. There is a Central Education Authority for the whole Island. The present Vicar was the last citizen to hold the office of Chairman of the Ramsey School Board.

The School in Church Street continued to be used and looked after by the Church pending a legal settlement as to the exact ownership of the property and the monies connected with it. In spite of efforts made from time to time to have the question settled, it was not till August 5th, 1922, that a definite settlement was made. The premises, which require to have a large sum of money spent upon them, are now the property of the Church, the Vicar and Wardens and their successors in office being Trustees ; and the endowments have passed to the Central Education Authority.

In December, 1862, Frederick John Dominique LaMothe, in consideration of the sum of £600, provided out of the proceeds of a Bazaar held in 1860 and certain other funds otherwise available, sold to the Rt. Rev. Horatio (Powys) , Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, Frederick Tellet, High-Bailiff of Ramsey, and Rev. William Kermode, Incumbent or Chaplain of S. Paul’s, a piece of ground known as "Joe’s Lough," that a Grammar School might be built.

Two years later the Trustees sold to Miss Elizabeth Cubbon, whose father had been Vicar of Maughold and Vicar-General, a part of the land. She built thereon the "Mysore Cottages", naming them in memory of her brother, Sir Mark Cubbon, K.C.B., who made such a magnificent reputation as Commissioner of Mysore, which during the Indian Mutiny remained perfectly quiet under his wise rule. Sir Mark died in 1861, in the Suez Canal on his way home, and was buried in his native parish of Maughold. The Vicar of Maughold is Trustee of the Mysore Trust, and amongst the official managers is the Chaplain of S. Paul’s and his successors in office.

The School Trustees then bought some more adjacent land and the building was erected.

In 1869 it was arranged that the management, direction, control and government of the School should be in the hands of seven "managers" or "governors" (of whom three (official managers) should be the Bishop, the High-Bailiff, and the Chaplain and their successors in office, and the other four (elected managers) , residents possessing a certain property qualification in or near the Town of Ramsey.

The Grammar School, reaching its highest point in the time of the Headmastership of Rev. A. S. Newton, carried on good and useful work till last year. It then passed under the jurisdiction of the Central Education Authority for use for educational purposes in connection with the newly-established Secondary School, which continues to use the old title. In the event of the Authority ceasing to make use of the building, the property is to be sold and its value apportioned between the Church Authorities and the Education Authority.

The Rev. W. Kermode, of whom we have been previously speaking, not only faithfully attended to the ministrations of the Church, but interested himself deeply and efficiently in everything that concerned the health, prosperity and progress of the Town. In 1840 he was mainly instrumental, in connection with the High-Bailiff, in forming the Ramsey ‘ ‘Health Association"— an association which was practically the beginning of the self-government of the Town. In 1849 he was foremost in suggesting sanitary precautions against Cholera, and four years later, when Cholera visited Ramsey for the second time, he tended the sick and laid the dead in their coffins with his own hands. In acknowledgment of his services, both at this time and in the education of the children of the Town, he received a presentation of silver from the inhabitants of Ramsey. The Ramsey Sanitary and Medical Dispensary was also instituted by him.

Mr Kermode was a man of dignified and polished manner, scholarly and courteous, and in all business matters punctual, punctilious and exact.

He kept a manuscript book, now in the Vicar’s possession, in which he duly from time to time entered everything of importance in relation to the Church and Town of Ramsey. When at Ballaugh he compiled a book on similar lines.

A note shows that in Ramsey in 1842 there were 65 poor on the regular list for relief, and 8 or 10 casual recipients; while in 1849 the former numbered 55, and the latter 12.

The Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society had in Mr Kermode one of its most valued and useful Presidents. He was also one of the earliest members of S. Maughold’s Lodge of Free Masons, and the third to occupy the office of Worshipful Master of the Lodge.

When at Maughold, of which he was made Vicar in 1871, in succession to Rev. Bowyer Harrison, he obtained an increase in the Vicar’s stipend by the success of a suit which he brought against the Crown, at his own risk, for the recovery of the royalties of the iron mines running under the glebe lands. He also enlarged and improved the Vicarage.

Mr Kermode had a large family of whom two, Mr P. M. C. Kermode and Miss Kermode, the authoress of Cushag’s Manx poems and plays, are still living in the Island, having recently left Ramsey for Douglas, where the former is in charge of the Manx National Museum, of which the inception may not unfairly be attributed to him.

Another son, Rev S. A. P. Kermode, Vicar of Haddenham, was for twelve years Vicar of Onchan.

The members of the family helped their father in the work of his parishes, and the present Vicar has found some parishioners who were taught in S. Paul’s Sunday School by his mother, or sang with her in S. Paul’s Choir.

After being twenty-eight years at Ramsey and six at Maughold, Mr Kermode succeeded Rev. Thomas Howard as Rector of Ballaugh. Here he found the old Rectory house inconveniently situated, being half-an-hour’s walk from the present Parish Church, which had been built some forty-five years previously. He immediately took stops for the sale of the old house and glebe and for the purchase of the estate of Squeen adjoining the Church, and by enlarging and improving the house he secured the present convenient Rectory.

When the ancient office of Rural Dean was revived by the Church Act of 1880 he was appointed first Rural Dean of Peel. His brother clergy elected him as their Proctor to York Convocation on five occasions. He died at the age of 76, at Ballaugh, in 1890. As the funeral cortege passed through Ramsey on the way to Maughold, the shops were temporarily closed and there was a notable expression of respect to his memory.

His wife survived him and lived for several years at Hillside, Ramsey.

The Rev. George Paton had been assistant to Mr Kermode for six years, and in 1871 succeeded to the Chaplaincy. He was born near John o’ Groat’s House, and received his early education not far from Land’s End ! He was further educated at the Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University with the object of entering the Medical profession, but, his parents residing in the Isle of Man, he came under the influence of Bishop Powys, who persuaded him to take Holy Orders.

He was a strong man of commanding personality. Though most genial, kindly and sympathetic, possessed of keen wit and much beloved by all sorts and conditions of men, he delighted in a battle, and few were his equals with the exact weapon of the pen.

He took the greatest interest in the affairs of the Town, notably in the matter of Poor Relief. The Voluntary system initiated by his predecessor continued for many years until it was found inadequate in view of the increase of expenditure and growth of population. it was succeeded in 1887 by the Statutory Committee appointed under the Poor Relief Act of that year. In the following year an Act was passed under which the Chaplain and Wardens handed over the capital of their endowments to the Committee, which also assumed the responsibilities of the Ramsey Sanitary and Medical Dispensary.

The old list of Benefactors of the Poor may still be seen on the boards in the Church tower.

Mr Paton had been Chairman of the Committee and he was first Chairman of the Guardians holding that office till the time of his death.

The Rev John Kewley, who was for eight years his assistant-priest, helped in the Poor Relief work by acting as Secretary; and he was also Captain of Company of the Rocket Brigade, receiving on his resignation of the office a vote of thanks from the Board of Trade.

The cause of the Life-Boat found in the Chaplain an enthusiastic friend and supporter. The first Life-Boat was put on the Ramsey Station in 1868. Mr Paton was a member of the original Committee, and in the following year was appointed Secretary and Treasurer of the Branch. He faithfully discharged the duties of the dual office for twelve years, being succeeded as Secretary by Mr Edward C. Kerr. He was then appointed Chairman, and held that office till his death. At the meeting in August, 1900, Mr J. M. Cruickshank, his successor in the chair, in a very able and feeling speech, moved a vote of sympathy with the family of the late Chairman "who for more than 30 years as Secretary and Chairman had so nobly filled those positions."

The Chaplain also interested himself in Friendly Society work. A branch of the Oddfellows Society had been formed in Ramsey in 1820, but it made little head-way till his enthusiasm put new life into the dry bones. In 1899 [sic 1897] the High Movable Conference of the Order was held in Douglas, and in view of this Mr Paton was elected Provincial Deputy-Grand Master of the I.O.M. District.

The Rev E. C. Paton, who came to assist his father in the closing years of his ministry, was a Forester, as was also Mr Kewley, who in 1887 attended the Annual Session of the High Court at Glasgow as delegate from Ramsey.

The Friendly Societies used to turn out in their regalia on one of the Sundays of August and march to the Mooragh, where an open-air service was held.

Through Mr Paton’s efforts S. Paul’s was reseated, and, in spite of much opposition from certain influential quarters, all seats were made free.

In front of the apse at the east end of the Church there was formerly a wall, and the circular space behind it served as a vestry till 1874, when the wall was pulled down and the choir stalls erected. The flat ceiling of the Church was removed at this time and the wood-work of the roof opened up. A new Pulpit, which I have been told was given by Bishop Powys and designed by Dr. Tellet, was obtained, and about this time the old Font was replaced by the present one of carved stone.

Some ten years later the Chancel was raised by four white marble steps, the flooring being laid with encaustic tiles and new Altar rails erected.

Mr Bates, who is still Organist, was appointed October 4th, 1879, and Mr C. Kissack, the present Choirmaster, also served in that capacity in Mr Paton’s time, in succession to Mr E. B. Moysey. Mr Kewley also acted some time as Choirmaster, and in his time the surpliced Choir was introduced . After several months of training it first sang on Easter Day, 1884.

The present Organ was erected by Foster and Andrews in 1883, at the cost of £540. The vestry made in 1874 was altered at the same time. It was enlarged in the time of Mr Paton’s successor, but is still awkward and inadequate.

The wood on the walls of the East end, and the Bench are of walnut from Ballakillinghan. Mr H. S. Prebble did the carving at the cost of 5/- per panel. The panels show, in sets of four, representations of the wheat and the vine symbolic of the sacred elements in the Holy Eucharist, and of the lily and the rose, typifying Him who is "the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys". The preparing and fitting-up of the wood-work was done by the late Mr William Boyde, who in his early days sang in the choir.

The Chair was the gift of Rev. H. Victor McDona, Vicar of Cheadle-Hulme, and Mr G. Patterson presented the portrait of Bishop Wilson, which hangs in the vestry.

As may be gathered from this brief account a great deal was done from time to time to improve the Church in various ways. There were some notable collections for that purpose—for example :— May, 24, 1874, Mg., £39 14s 2d ; Eg., £12 2s 3d. May, 16, 1875, Mg., £74 17s 0d ; Eg., £9 18s 7d. Sept. 1, 1876, Mg., £20 3s 9d ; Eg., £8 13s 0d. June 9, 1878, Mg., £31 14s 0d ; Eg., £10 12s 6d.

Mr Paton was the preacher on each of these mornings.

In 1877, during the tragically short vicariate of the Rev. Gilmour Harvey as Vicar of the other Parish, suggestions were made as to the separation of Ramsey from Maughold, and the Vestry meeting of that year passed a resolution, of which a copy was sent to the Lieut.-Governor, pointing out that it was desirable that the Township of Ramsey should be separated in matters ecclesiastical from the Parish of Maughold and created into a separate parish.

The windows of S. Paul’s are of exceptionally artistic merit. The East window of three lights (The miracuous draught of fishes; The Good Shepherd; The Sower) was erected by Mr Paton in 1876, as were the windows flanking it, depicting "The Resurrection" and "The Conversion of St Paul " The window behind the choir stalls, placed in memory of Henry Robert Scott, who died in 1873, shows on one light S. Peter, S. James, S. John; S. Lawrence and S. Stephen; Edward the Confessor and S. George; and on the other David, Moses, Abraham; the Blessed Virgin Mary and S. Cecilia; S. Ambrose and S. Gregory. In the centre is Our Lord over all.

In the south wing one window, depicting "Our Lord walking on the water and S. Peter leaving the boat to go to Him," was erected by a number of his friends to the memory of Mr Paton’s younger son, George Herbert who perished in the North Sea while trying to save a comrade, 1894.

The other depicts "Christ stilling the Storm" (in memory of Henry Christian, a chorister, drowned with his father and the crew of the "Margaret" whilst on the way home from Whitehaven to Ramsey, 1885); "Dorcas" (in memory of William Garrett and his wife, who was afterwards Mrs Henry Gill, and died in 1898, erected by their daughters, Emily and Isabella Garrett); "The incident of the sick man let down on a bed" (in memory of John William Wood, a "beloved physician and a faithful warden" of the Church, died 1887.)

In the north wing one window, depicting "The Ascension," is to the memory of Mary Ann and John Robert Kneale and Jane Elizabeth Boardman. The other, depicting "The Crucifixion," was erected by J. E. Boardman in memory of her parents, Thomas and Mary Christian.

The window on the south of the doors, shewing "Christ blessing little children," "The Nativity," "The Baptism of Our Lord," was put in by Mr Paton to the memory of Margaret Cowle, a pupil and afterwards Headmistress of the Church Infant School, died 1887.

That on the north, showing ‘ ‘The Israelites passing through the Red Sea," "Pentecost," "Noah and the Dove", is in memory of Catherine Sprainger, a faithful teacher of two generations in the schools, died 1875.

The windows are by Hardman, except that to the memory of George Paton, which is by a Manxman, Kayll.

In the Tower are two bells. The bell from Ballure had been used for some time and was restored to the Old Church in 1886, in which year the tenor bell, weighing 15 cwt. and intended to be the foundation of a complete peal, was ordered. It was erected outside, and on its first appearance caused no small stir among the people, of whom many promptly had a pull at it. At the present time it is "struck" not "rung." The smaller bell, weighing 2 cwt. , the treble bell of the intended peal, was presented through the efforts of the Misses Harvey and their pupils.

Mr Paton bought the house No. 13 in Church Street. It is still known as "The Home" because it was used in his time and afterwards for the housing of some old and poor folk. A disastrous fire occurred there on one occasion and two of the inmates perished. To the rear of this house is the S. Paul’s Soup Kitchen, and there is a right-of-way through to King Street. The work of the Kitchen, which still continues, was started by Mr Paton and free breakfasts were also given to children of the poor, chiefly fishermen whose lot was very precarious at that time. The Chaplain by his will dated 1887, bequeathed the whole property to the Chaplain and Wardens and their successors in office. "The Home" is still in constant use for various parish purposes, and the Poor Law Guardians have held their meetings there since the Board was first formed.

The School of 1762, referred to previously, had been purchased by Mrs Hall, whose husband had been Arch-deacon. By her will dated March, 1886, she bequeathed the property to the Incumbent or Chaplain and the Wardens of S. Paul’s and their successors, to be used for such purposes as they should see fit. This is now used as the "Church Institute" , a Men's Club with Billiard room and Reading and Lecture room. The Billiard room has upon its walls an interesting memorial of Ramsey’s services in the Great War, in the shape of 360 photographs of the Ramsey men who served. They are framed in sets in large dark oak frames, and there is also a list of the 110 who fell. An attempt was made to obtain as many photographs as possible, but the set to be complete would need to be increased to over 430.

Mr Paton always looked forward to the day when. Ramsey should have a hospital, but the Cottage hospital was not built till after his death. Through the efforts of Miss Paton a cot there is endowed to his memory. He died suddenly in January, 1900, to the great grief of the townspeople, who, together with many others who knew him, attended his funeral at Ballure in extraordinary numbers to pay their last token of affectionate respect to one who had served the Church and Town so long and faithfully.

Mrs Paton (née Ellen Mylrea Farrant) , who was much beloved by all who knew her, survived her husband , for fifteen years, and lived at Brookfield, Ramsey.

A tablet on the wall of S. Paul’s Church bears this inscription

"This tablet and a window in the Chapel of St. Catherine, Ballure, have been placed by many friends in affectionate memory of George Paton, Clerk in Holy Orders, who was Chaplain of St. Paul’s, Ramsey, from 1871-1900 ; and who for about forty years ministered faithfully and devotedly in this town. Born 11 Oct., 1836. Died 13 Jan., 1900."

The financial position of the Church and parish was adversely affected in 1900 through the failure of Dumbell’s Bank.

The Rev. E. C. Paton remained in charge till the appointment in the following year of Rev. Henry Thos. Devall. Mr Devall was the first Vicar of South Ramsey.

After he left there was a short interregnum and Rev. Mark Wilks Harrison, grandson of Rev. Bowyer Harrison and of Rev .William Kermode, was collated by Bishop Drury Aug. 30th, 1911.

Some improvements were made and several gifts presented to S. Paul’s. Very much requires to be done, and, during the past few years, an effort has been made, and is still on foot, to gather together a sufficient sum of money in the hope of thoroughly renovating and improving the Church, which has been in various ways so closely connected with the life of the community, and of which the Centenary has lately been reached.

"Prosper Thou the work of our hands upon us"

"Omnia in gloriam Dei facite."


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