[Chapter 5 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]



With the exception of "Tom Brown",* Manxmen have not attained any eminence in literature; some of those whose names follow being, at the most, of only secondary rank in this respect, while others may be described as merely having literary tastes.

The Revs. PHILIP MOORE, JAMES WILKS, HUGH STOWELL, JOHN EDWARD HARRISON, and ROBERT BROWN, whose biographies have been given in Chapter I., must be considered as being among the leading names under this category also.

* We do not refer to living men [note most of this chapter was written prior to death of T.E.Brown - a biography was subsequently added]


Among other Manxmen and Manxwomen who have dabbled in literature may be mentioned Thomas CHRISTIAN, Vicar of Marown from 1780 to 1799, who translated selections from " Paradise Lost " into Manx, which were published in a pamphlet in 1796 and reprinted by the Manx Society in Vol. XX. of their publications. It is generally considered a very good translation. JOSEPH BRIDSON wrote, in 1760, a Manx poem entitled Coontey Ghiare Jeh Ellan Mannin, "A Short Account of the Isle of Man," which is terribly dull and prosaic.§

§ Manx Ballads (Moore), pp. 20-8.

JAMES CRETNEY (b. 1767, d. 1851), translated Parnell's " Hermit" and other poems into Manx. He was considered an excellent Manx scholar.

THOMAS STEPHEN (b. circa 1770, d. 1841), Vicar of Patrick and vicar-general, was the author of a " Poetical Guide to the Isle of Man, " published in 1832, also of a rhapsody in Manx entitled O! cre ta Gloyr?* " Oh ' What is Glory ?" which is considered one of the best pieces of verse in the Manx language.

JOHN CANNELL:, Vicar of Conchan from 1798 to 1810, wrote Arrane y Skeddan, " Song of the herring."* Among other Manx poets, not in a lower rank to those already mentioned, are LEWIN generally known as " Fiddler Green, " who wrote Inneenyn Eirinee "Farmers' Daughters."1 John Moore, the author of Marrinys yn Tiger, " The Voyage of the Tiger."2 QUAYLE VESSIE, i.e., Quayle the son of Bessie, the author of the " Loss of the Herring Fleet,"3 and WILLIAM SAYLE, who wrote the temperance dialogue called Illiam as Isabel, "William and Isabel."

* Manx Ballads, p. 195.
1 ibid
p. 170.
2 Manx Ballads
p. 158, and see Chap. VIII.
3 ,,
p. 150,

The only Manxwoman who wrote verse in her native tongue of whom there is any account, is WIDOW TEAR, the authoress of the lament, entitled Illiam Walker as Robin Tear, on her two sons thus named.** This dates from about 1740, of similar date are the carols written in Manx by the REV. HENRY ALLEN, Vicar of Maughold (see p. 45).

Among minor Manx writers of English verse at the end of the eighteenth century are ROBERT CALLISTER and MARGARET CRELLIN. The former lived in Liverpool, and published a volume of poems there in 1785. One of these is an invitation from him as captain of the north division of Manx archers in Liverpool to Captain Harrison of the south division. The feet that there were to be fifty men on each side shows that the number of Manxmen then residing in Liverpool must have been considerable. The proposed meeting place was at Bank Hall. The latter was a daughter of the Rev. John Crellin, Vicar of Michael from 1771 to 1799, and sister of Deemster Crellin. She composed a poem on the Herring Fishery, which was published by Feltham in his account of the Isle of Man in 1798.+

** Manx Ballads, pp. xxviii. and 203.

+ Manx Soc., Vol. VI., pp. 83-7.




No account of literary Manxmen would be complete without mention of those who translated the Bible, Prayer-book, and other religious books into Manx: The Rev. WILLIAM MYLREA, archdeacon and Rector of Andreas, in collaboration with the Rev. ROBERT RADCLIFF, vicar-general and Vicar of Patrick, translated Genesis. The Rev. HENRY CORLETT, Vicar of General (see Chapter I.) translated Exodus. Leviticus was translated by the Rev. NICHOLAS CHRISTIAN, Vicar of Rushen; Numbers, by the Rev. WILLIAM CREBBIN, Vicar of Jurby ; Deuteronomy by the Rev. JOHN MOORE, Vicar of Arbory and vicar-general ; Joshua, by the Rev. JAMES WILKS, Vicar of Kirk Michael (see Chapter I.); Judges and Ruth, by the Rev. ROBERT QUAYLE, Curate, and afterwards Vicar, of Braddan ; I Samuel, by the Rev. SAMUEL GELL, Vicar of Lonan ; 2 Samuel, by the Rev. JOSEPH COSNAHAN, Vicar of Kirk Braddan ; 1 Kings, by the Rev. THOMAS QUAYLE, Vicar of Conchan; 2 Kings, by the Rev. JOHN CHRISTIAN, Vicar of Marown ; 1 Chronicles, by the Rev. DANIEL GELLING, Vicar of Malew; 2 Chronicles and part of the Psalms, by the Rev. JOHN GILL, Vicar of Lezayre ; Ezra and Nehemiah, by the Rev. THOMAS CUBBON, Vicar of Santon ; Esther, by the Rev. JOHN CRELLIN, Chaplain of Ramsey (who was afterwards vicar-general and Vicar of Michael); Job, by the Rev. THOMAS CORLETT, Curate of Bride, and afterwards Vicar of Lezayre; Psalms, by the Rev. JOHN GILL and the Rev. PHILIP MOORE; Proverbs, by the Rev. W. J. WOODS, Vicar of Maughold, afterwards Vicar of Braddan; Ecclesiastes, by the Rev. CHARLES CREBBIN, then Curate of Douglas, afterwards Vicar of Santon ; Song of Solomon, by Rev. WILLIAM CLUCAS, Curate of Kirk Marown (who was afterwards Vicar of Malew and then Vicar of Bride ) It is not known who translated Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations, but it was probably the Rev. PHILIP MOORE. Ezekiel was translated by the Rev. NICHOLAS CHRISTIAN ; Daniel, by the Rev. PHILIP MOORE ; the Minor Prophets by the Rev. W. FITZSIMMONS, a Manxman, and minister of the Episcopal Chapel at Edinburgh. The Gospels and Acts, according to the Rev. William Crebbin, were translated by Dr. WILLIAM WALKER; the Epistles and Revelation, by the Rev. JAMES WILKS. The whole was revised by the Rev. PHILIP MOORE, with the assistance of the Revs. JAMES WILKS, MATTHIAS CURGHEY, and JOHN KELLY (see page 94). The Prayer-book is said to have been partly translated by Dr. WALKER, but we learn from the minutes of the Convocation held in 1761 that it had then been recently translated by the Revs. R. RADCLIFFE, MATTHIAS CURGHEY, PAUL CREBBIN, JAMES WILKS, JOHN CHRISTIAN, WILLIAM MYLREA, PHILIP MOORE, NICHOLAS CHRISTIAN, and WILLIAM CREBBIN.

Lewis's Catechism was translated by the Rev. HENRY CORLETT, and the Christian Monitor by the Rev. PAUL CREBBIN.* In 1778, DANIEL COWLEY, of Kirk Michael, translated an explanation of the Church Catechism, and, in the same year, he published some of Wesley's Hymns in Manx, which had been translated by him. He had been educated by Bishop Hildesley, who apprenticed him to a printer. In 1799, a larger number of Wesley's Hymns and some of Watts's, translated into Manx by GEORGE KILLEY (b. 1763, d. 1842), parish clerk and schoolmaster of Conchan, were published in the first edition of the "Book of Hymns" or Lioar dy Hymnyn. He is said to have been very ready at impromptu rhymes, and the following story is quoted to show it .

An old man called Hugh, who could neither read nor write, asked KILLEY to write something in his new Bible, so he promptly sat down and wrote in Manx and English ;

Lesh Hugh yn Lloar shoh, slelh my chree,
As shen-y-ta na~h geld shin ee;
Son Tragh vo e scrieu ny lha*h,
T'an oar cunys echey ny-yel.

This Book, good friends, belongs to Hugh,
Steal it not then whate'er you do;
For tho' he cannot read or write,
To have this Book is his delight.

*Memoirs of Bishop Hildesley, pp. 252-6.


George Borrow, who visited his (Killey's) daughter when he was in the Isle of Man, remarked that the hymn-book had been translated by him in a manner which showed that he " possessed powers of versification of the very highest order."1 GEORGE KILLEY was a Wesleyan Methodist. (See also WILLIAM KENNISH, Pp. 118-121.)

1 " Life, Writings, and Correspondence " (Knapp), 1899, Vol.. II., P. 130.


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