[from Yn Lioar Manninagh Vol 4 pp33/34]




Having only a few Folklore notes, kindly sent in by Mr. P. M. C. Kermode for my report this year, and in the absence of any other matter of that nature, I purpose giving a short account of the "Qualtagh" or "First Foot," a subject which I think may be very fitly dealt with by this section.

It is gratifying to be able to say that the "Qualtagh" is still to the fore, and has lived to usher in another century. Of all the events of the year, few played a more important part than the " First Foot" that crossed the threshold of any dwelling after the old year had expired and the new year begun. The first person who entered the house, was to bring good or ill to the inmates. A fair haired person was considered a better omen than a dark,* man was more acceptable as the Qualragh than a woman ; but, be it who it might, the ‘‘ First Foot" was to be warmly welcomed, brought in and ted ; cake and wine and other dainties were generally in readiness, be the time what it might, after the midnight hour, or when the morn of New Year’s Day was far advanced. On January Ist of this year I heard of a fair-haired Qualtagh being warmly welcomed an .1 fed in one of our northern parishes, where he was visiting several houses for the purpose of collecting a rate, and, though the rate had to be paid, still he happeneu to be the Qualtagh, and ill-luck to the inmates if they neglected their duty to make him welcoille. And, in another house in another parish, the cook was highly pleased because the " Quaitagh" was a fine, strong, healthy, ‘ . genal" iiian, who was sure to bring good luck—true, he was dark—and his good qualities were so pronounced, that the colour of his hair became quite a trivial mattet.

Orignally the " Qualtagh" were Carol Singers, who came at midnighton Dec. 31st tousherinthe new year. Until quite recently I cannot remember the time when a quaint carol, with an equally quaint tune, was not sung under my bedroom window. I have written down the words of the carol as far as I can recall them; other verses there were, which I have forgotten ; the tune I have had harmonized, and am not aware of ever having seen it in print, or the carol either. That carol was succeeded at least in this district, by an adaptation of the hymn

" While Shepherd’s Watch,"

.with the following refrain after each verse :—

.Happy New Year, happy New Year,
A bright and happy New Yeai.
May the Stars shine bright
With their heavenly light.
And, God bless the glad New Year.

The melody of the hymn and refrain were quaint and pretty. I have also had them harmonized, and hope that if they are not already in print, it may be possible to publish them in this magazine. As far as I know they have both entirely died out, but it would be a pity if they should be lost altogether. In the present day, at Christmas and the New Year, there are " Singers", far too many of them, but carol singers are I fear gone, certainly we hear now only hymns of various sorts sung to us ; a very poor substitute, to my thinking, for the old carols and the old times.

March, 1901. ~ A. M. CRELLIN.




When you go to your stable, your mind is on your horse;

Your mind is not on Jesus Christ, who died upon the Cross;
Who died upon the Cross, and so happy may we be,

For we never did for Jesus Christ, as he has done for we.

May the Lord send you a joyful New Year, New Year, New Year.
May the Lord send you a joyful New Year.


When you go to your dining-room, your mind is on your dinner;
Your mind is not on Jesus Christ, who died to save the sinner
Who died to save the sinner, and so happy may we be, &c., &c.


When you go to your cellar, your mind is on your beer
Your mind is not on Jesus Christ, who shed the bitter tear
Who shed the bitter tear, and so happy may we be, &c., &c.

 God bless the master of this house, and bless the mistress too,
And all the little children, that circle round his knee

That circle round his knee, and so happy may we be,
For we never did for Jesus Christ, as he has done for we.
May the Lord send you a joyful New Year, New Year, New Year.
May the Lord send you a joyful New Year.

Note—See Manx Society, vol. XVI., p, 102,

* See Manx Society, Vol. XVI , p. 135. .
Moore—Folklore of the Isle of Man., p 103.


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