[taken from Chapter 1 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]

WILLIAM GILL (b. 1797, d. 1871),

son of Henry Gell,* Customs Officer at Peel, and Marcia daughter of the Rev. Henry Corlett, was ordained in 1820 by Bishop Murray, and was, in the same year, appointed Government Chaplain at St. John's. In 1824, he became curate of Ballaugh; in 1827, he went to Malew as curate in charge, and in 1830, he was presented to the vicarage of that parish by the Crown, his being the first appointment after the purchase of the Church patronage from the Duke of Atholl. This living he retained till his death, 41 years later. To such an extent was he devoted to his parish that he rarely preached in any church but his own, and so ardent was his love for his home, and his native island, that it was most difficult to persuade him to leave either the one or the other. A most rigid disciplinarian, he was himself a stranger to self indulgence in any form. His fare was of the simplest kind; he was a total abstainer, being one of the first leaders in the movement in the Isle of Man, and, even in his old age, he could not be persuaded to sit in an easy chair. By constant self denial he was enabled, not only to give largely in his own parish, and to keep almost open house for the poor, and his friends, but, though his living was less than £200 a year, to send four of his sons to the universities and the fifth to the Manx Bar, besides educating his four daughters; and then, as if this was not enough, he adopted two nephews, and reared and educated them from childhood. As the records of his achievements will show, he was an indomitably hard worker. Thus, his glebe, which, when he came, was merely a bog, was drained by him; by the help of subscriptions, he erected a vicarage at a cost of £500 ;* rebuilt the parish schoolhouse, and built another schoolhouse in a mountainous part of the parish. His schools were, indeed, his hobby a parishioner of his remarking that he was " terrible for the schools." But, while attending to the educational wants of his parishioners, he was specially earnest about their religious needs, his Sunday Schools being also the objects of his most tender and constant care. Not content with these labours, he did most important work for the Church as organiser and secretary of the " Diocesan Association " in the provision of additional clergy, and he undertook the arduous task of editing the Manx English portion of Kelly's Manx Dictionary, of assisting the Rev. J. T. Clarke in compiling the English-Manx portion of it, and of revising the whole for the press, also of editing the Manx Grammar, originally published by the same author (Kelly) in 1804. His official post as translator of the Acts of Tynwald into Manx entailed more labour than it does now because the whole of the Acts were translated, not a summary of them as at present. It is no wonder that a man of his character, so endowed with singular judgment, moderation and charity, and with, moreover, a mind well cultivated by severe study and thought, should have been one of the leaders of the clergy, whose proctor be was, and that he had great influence for good. In appearance, he was a tall. fine, muscular man. In his views, he was, according to the Rev. T. E. Brown, " a doctrinal High Churchman," and, in this respect, he differed both from the men of his own day and those who followed him.

* William changed his name to Gill. For a charming account of him see the papers by the Rev T.E.. Brown in the Ramsey Church Magazine.
* the largest subscription he received towards this was ,£2.
1 Published by the Manx Society in 1866.
2,, ,, 1859.


Rev William Gill
Rev Wm Gill


 

Back index next

 

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001