[taken from Chapter 9 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]

CHARLES GELL (d. circa 1870),

generally known as Chalse-y-Killey, wandered over the island " going on the houses." But, though he begged, he performed many useful offices for his numerous friends and acquaintances, and for this and his power of quaint and humorous anecdote he was welcomed everywhere. He was supposed to be, and no doubt was, in some respects, rather silly but he nevertheless possessed considerable shrewdness. Truly devout, and to this he appears to have owed his nickname, which signifies "Charles of the Church," he was a fanatic where Roman Catholics were concerned. On one occasion, when asked where he had been, he remarked that he had been at the Union Mills with " Pazon Drury putting the Romans out." Another subject which greatly excited him was the people being deprived of their grazing on the "commons." At a meeting at Sulby, with regard to:it, he said: " We muss put down this Popery, we muss hev a big grave made, and we'll hev the Pope in first, and then we'll hev Thomas Arthur."1 A little later, when Governor Loch, with a possé of police and special constables, perambulated the southern commons to clear them of sheep belonging to the evicted commoners — the battle of Cronk-ny-irree-lhaa as this perambulation was called — Chalse made his appearance early in the day, and walked along " with measured tread and solemn look, carrying aloft a flag extemporised out of a pocket handkerchief. He said very little except that the 'great 'Captain' would in his own good time regulate all things and deal out equal justice to all."2 (Chalse, it should also be remembered, was a temperance orator In this, as in other respects he has been immortalised by the Rev. T. E. Brown, in the charming poem, "To Chalse in Heaven ": —

The ways were cold, the ways were rough
Oh heaven! oh home!
No more to roam
Chalse, poor Chalse.,3

1 The vicar-general of that name, who was then notorious as a purchaser of common lands from the Crown (quotation from Rev. T. E Brown.)
2 Manx Sun.
3 Old John and other Poems," pp. 16.22.

Charles Gell
Manx Yarns)




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