[from Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol 4 #3 1939]
CANON R. D. KERMODE, M.A., VICAR.
February 24th, 1939.
The old Church was situated in the churchyard, about two thirds of the way up from the road. Its east end came to within about five feet from the eastern boundary of the churchyard. No trace of the actual building remains. Its site can be identified by a level piece of ground (the churchyard slopes sharply) now filled with grave stones. Of the original Church only a few memorials remain. It was probably in a ruinous state in the 17th century, for we find that Bishop Wilson caused it to be rebuilt in 1704. A stone was placed over the door to commemorate this. The inscription ran as follows: "To the Honour of the Sacred. Trinity. This Church was rebuilt, A.D. 1704. The Right Rev. Dr. Ts. Wilson, the Bishop, Mr Rob. Parr, Vicar-General, Minister; James Christian, John Curghey; and Edmund Corlett, and Robert Curghey, Churchwardens." This stone is no longer in existence. The Chancel was not rebuilt until 1723, for the Bishop records that he gave personally £5 and also £5 8s 2d from the revenue of Bishopscourt, for this purpose. and also 4s for a door-probably the door in the north wall, at the west end of the chancel.
On February 10th, 1708/ 9, we are told that most of the parishioners were present to meet the Bishop, Archdeacon and Vicar-General Parr, and they allotted the seats to the Quarterlands and Intacks. The inhabitants of each Quarterland had to make their own seats. "If they neglect to do so before Easter, the Wardens are to do it and charge the Quarterland inhabitants, if there is any further contumacy, the commander of the nearest garrison is to be asked to supply a soldier to conduct the delinquent to St. German's prison until he submits to the law and pays all fees." The Church must have been without any seating accommodation for five years, and the latter clause suggests that some of the landowners did not wish to go to the trouble of providing a pew. The seats were to be 2ft. 9ins. wide. I have copies of two lists of the seats as apportioned then. One seems to have been made before the chancel was rebuilt. It only shows 12 seats on the south side. Certain other seats were to be placed in the east end "after the reparation of the Church "-presumably the rebuilding of the chancel, which did not take place until 1723. My second list shows, 20 Quarterland pews on the south side, with five chancel pews. On the north are 18 Quarterland pews, font, door, pulpit (3 decker), two private pews, clergy pew, and two unnamed. The dimensions of the church were: Length, 84 feet, width at east end, 19 feet, at west end, 20½ feet; chancel 22½ feet; gallery, 10½ feet. There were four pews on each side of the gallery. Compare these dimensions with those of Maughold : Length, 70ft. 8in.; width at east end, 16ft. 6in., at west end, 17ft. 6in., chancel, 17ft.; pews, 21 on south and 19 on north.
There must have been some jerry-builders in those days, or the Vicar and Wardens must have been extraordinarily neglectful, for we find from the Vicar-General's Visitation in 1743 that both fabric and fittings are in a very bad state. The Vicar-Generals John Cosnahan and Edward Moore report as follows: "Having on the 8th day of July last visited the Church of Lez we find that many of the Latts upon the Chancel Roof are Rotten and wants to be rendered in some places. That the Chancel window wants to be mended and secured. That the Communion Table wants to be made firm, and that several seats in the Chancel are broken and out of repair." These would be seats belonging to the leading landowners-private pews.
" We find also that many of the seats in the church are broken and out of order. That the church Bible and Communion Prayer Book are very ordinary and much decayed. That there is no Homily Book, and no Herse cloth for the more decent interment of the dead. That there were several breaches in the slating of ye Church, And that the churchyard fence is not yet repaired.
"The Wardens are hereby admonished under pain of Ecclesiastical censure to take care that all things a wanting be sutliciently repaired, maintained and provided after so orderly a manner as becometh the House and Service of God. And this within six months next ensuing. And then the Vicar and Wardens are to return Certificate of the performance of these presents."
I wonder how far the condition of Lezayre Church was representative of the condition of other Churches in the Island. It was certainly in a disgraceful state of neglect, and this at a time while Wilson was still Bishop. The Vicar was Matthias Curghey, later Vicar-General.
Some repairs must heve been carried out, but by 1750, other matters needed attention.
"July 26th-Several of the seats are broken and in very bad order; and that the space supposed to be allotted to the Intacks is crowded with large stones and loose boards; also that several large stones lie loose in the Chancel; all of which loose stones are to be removed out of the Church and Chancel. (Were the stones in the chancel gravestones? People were interred in the church, and I believe the Curgheys of Ballakillinghan were interred in the chancel, where they had a pew, for many generations.) The floor of the Altar is rugged and uneven, and also that its rails are loose and tottering, and the steps thereto in very bad order."
It is hard to conceive to-day of such neglect-and that, too. during the Episcopate of our two, most famous Bishops, Wilson and Hildesley. What must have things been like under some of the others?
Still the tale goes on. In 1758, John Caley, William Corlett, James Clarke and Thomas Teare were sworn in as Wardens on June 12th; and the Bishop orders certain work to be done. They send excuses - It is near Harvest (they are all farmers), they cannot find workers, and had no time to see to anything themselves, and now the time has gone on, and the weather is unsuitable, and so they ask for a little more time. In 1760, very extensive repairs were carried out-the North wall was rebuilt. and the church re-roofed. A stone was erected to commemorate this work. It is preserved in the porch of the present church built into the south wall. For some time there is no mention of repairs being required, but this state of affairs did not last. In 1833, the Vicar and Wardens report that the church is "in a ruinous state." The Vicar was Henry Maddrell. It is to be noted that in his time both church and school were in a ruinous condition, and the Vicarage, after his death, was found to be uninhabitable, and had to be rebuilt.
Before referring to the steps that were taken to build the present church, it may be interesting to quote from some of the Visitations after 1760. In 1766, the fabric is reported to be in excellent repair, being lately roofed, floored and seated. In 1786, Bishop Crigan ordered another chalice to be provided for the Communion Service, the walls of the church to be rough-cast and whitewashed, the seats in the chancel to be reduced to a uniformity, the church aisle needed a few flags, and the surplice a new neck.-1789: The Vicar reports they cannot afford to buy a new chalice owing to the purchase of a new bell. By 1793, two new chalices had been procured. These are those at present in use. The old silver Paten, mentioned in the Visitation in 1743 is still in constant use. There is no inscription on it. Its date, according to Jones, is circa 1685. The old silver chalice mentioned in the Visitations has unfortunately disappeared. It is mentioned in the inventories of 1766 and 1782. Probably it was sold when the new chalices were bought. Its weight was 6 ozs. 16 dwts. The large pewter flagon is also lost.
What I have stated gives an idea of the state of Lezayre Church (and probably of many others) in the 18th century gross neglect, until the Bishop exerts strong pressure; after much delay something is done to remedy matters, and then another period of neglect. The church would be kept in repair by cess; and the landowners would put off paying as long as possible, careless of the state into which the building was falling. The present voluntary system is much better. We cannot imagine today churches being in the condition that I have described. Yet they were well attended. The communicants at Lezayre at Easter in 1757 were about 600, and in 1830, 700.
I have no knowledge of the condition of Lezayre Church in the l7th century. I do not suppose it was in any better condition than others. I will give some quotations from A. W. Moore's History of the Diocese, p. 135. "Tne condition of the churches in the 17tn century seems to have been very bad. They appear to have been little better than barns, and in a miserable state of repair." p. 152: "There was an Enactment by the Council ana Keys in 1657 to the effect that "the assessment for the reparacion of the Churches in this Isle . . . ought to be made on the farmers of the quarterlands according to their respective rents, and upon all Intack houlders, cottage houlders, Tradesmen and T'ownes inhabitants, according to their abilities, and this to bee made and levyed by the churchwardens for the tyme being in each yeare"; and another, issued by the Governor, did away with the ancient method of making up the "churchyard. hedge" by the owner of each treen, whim had been generally neglected, and ordered `' that the churchwardens of every year shall out of the assessment of the parish keep in good repaire the church and the churchyard hedge. . . and not trouble the parishioners to make the said hedge no more than the church, but by paying their assessment." Page 178. (1683) "A great indecency and disorder in all or most of the Parish Churches", for want of "sufficient and commendable seats." The holders were therefore ordered to "take speedy course for the repairing and making up of their respective seates and pewes in some handsome and orderly manner according to their several abilities."
What were the pre-Reformation Churches like? The few pieces of worked stone that are found in some places seem to point to a superior style of building. Did the post-Reformation people let them go to ruin, and were incapable of rebuilding them in the same style?
The only relics of the old church which remain are (1) Two brass tablets relating to the Garrett family of Ballabrooie, along with a small shield with their coat of arms. (a) To the memory of 'Margaret. wife of Captain John Garrett. She was the granddaughter of Governor Greenhalgh and died January 10th. 1669. (b) To the memory of Captain John Garrett (it says "the above" but he died in 1692, aged 29, so it must refer to the son, not the husband) and also of Elizabeth Sutcliffe, wife of John Garrett the fifth, who died March 13th, 1740. Feltham gives an account of these. Harrison states that these brasses were in the possession of Mr. John Garrett of Aspul, near Wigan, in 1868. I do not know when they were restored to the Church. To show how legends grow, I was told nearly forty years ago by John Corlett "the smelter," a famous Lezayre character in his day, that he found them in a public house in the parish and brought them to the church. I have also heard that when the church was pulled down, they were thrown out on a rubbish heap. Judging by the way they destroyed every trace of the old church, it is quite likely they were rescued from such a fate.
(2) The tombstone of Deemster John Curghey 2nd, of Ballakillingham, 1609. This is not recorded by Feltham, and with the exception of one in Malew is older than any recorded by him. It formed part of the chancel floor; the Curphey pew was on the south side of the chancel. He would probably be buried in his own pew. It may be that the stone was under the seat, and so escaped Feltham's notice, and also escaped obliteration by the feet of his descendants. There are several other gravestones that were removed to Ballakillinghan along with this. One has the name of John Curghey 1st. Date 1559; but the stone is of much later date (about 100 years). The date is 19 years earlier than that at Malew. They are still in the possession of Mr. Farrant at Beach House. He has restored the Deemster's stone to the Church, where it is kept in the S.E. porch.
(3) A stone commemorating the restoration in 1760. Feltham states it was let into the wall of the church, north side, near the roof. It is now let into the wall of the porch, south side. The inscription is: "To the glory of the sacred Trinity. The north wall and roof of this church was newly made. A.D.1760. The Right Rev. Mark Hyldesley, D.D., Bishop, Mr Matthias, Curghey, VicarGeneral, minister. Churchwardens, Thomas Arthur Corlett, John Caley, Thomas Tear, James Clark." The stone referring to the restoration of 1704, which is now lost, was, Feltham states, over the front door, that is, the west door.
(4) A block of stone, perhaps the base of a pillar, now, at Beach House. I have not seen this.
A public meeting was held on December 30th, 1829. It, was decided to ask the Bishop to "issue his Authority to summons a jury of four competent men to view and report the state and condition of the said church." No time was lost, for next day the Bishop orders the Sumner General "to convene and swear on the premises a jury of four competent men-namely two, masons and two carpenters, etc." On January 5th, 1830 (how different from the long drawn out delays of the previous century) the jury reports as follows: "We find that the south wall of the said church, about the middle thereof, overhangs or projects into the church about two inches and one half, and that the north wall overhangs or projects out about two inches and a half. Having also viewed and examined the roof of the said church we find that the principals and purlins are rotten in the walls, and in many other places insufficient. The rafters, laths and slating are also in a state of decay. With respect to the interior of the said building, we find the floors and several parts of the seats or pews rather out of repair. Having likewise examined the chancel of the said church, we consider the roof, etc., to be nearly in the same state as the body of the church." The jury consisted of John Quiggin, James Callow, carpenters, and William Callow and John Lconey, masons. The bill of the jury amounted to £1 10s, and 2s 6d was paid to the clerk for drawing up the report.
A Vestry was held on March 26th, 1830. It was reported that "Wm. Farrant, Esq. has handsomely come forward and proposed to give the Parish a grant of land in the field opposite 'Mrs Casement's house, to erect the said church on," etc. It was decided to build a church and levy a cess of not more than £.10 a Quarterland.
On December 6th, 1830, another Vestry meeting was held (they were very fond of Vestry meetings in those days). It was decided to build a new church on a more commodious plan. It was to be sufficiently high to admit of galleries, should they at any future time be deemed requisite. In the first instance it was to be large enough to contain 724 persons. A Cess not exceeding £10 a quarterland was to be levied. Mr Welch, whose plan had been accepted, came forward in the Vestry and proposed to contract for the completion of the church if the parishioners paid this cess, taking upon himself to make up the deficiency out of what the Government may grant for the chancel and what may otherwise be obtained. (We know that Bishop Ward raised a large sum. It would be interesting to know what proportion of that came to Lezayre. By the way, Mr Welch never learned how to spell the name Lezayre. Both in his description of the Island and on his view of the church, he always spells the name, 'Leyzare').
Our records give very little information here. The Vestry Book, which goes back to about 1820, only gives the baldest figures. The assessments are always carried by a majority. I suppose there was always opposition to whatever was proposed. We have all heard of the Sulby Cossacks of fifty years ago. Even to-day Sulby Hall, and the hecklers there, is a place to be feared by our legislators. I have heard that in the old days when there were very few political meetings at which to let off steam, that Vestry meetings were a real safety valve. The warriors from the mountainside used to come down in their hosts to have a go at the Parson.
The land on which an assessment could be levied was reckoned as being equivalent to 74 quarterlands; therefore, the sum raised would be £747 10s. Later on a further assessment of £2 was made. I find that Welch was only paid £680, not the full amount of the assessment. I suppose the rest was expended on pulling down the old church and building a wall round the new one. Soon they wanted a gallery, and they had no money. To avoid levying another heavy Cess, they arranged to sell plots of land or floor space in the chancel and use the sums thus gained to build the gallery. Some of the receipts are to be found in the Diocesan Registry. This is the way they run: "Received from Mr Michael Cowley the sum of £12 10s 0d British, being the valuation placed on the pew sold him in the Parish Church of Lezayre (and of which pew he has taken possession) at the north side of the said church, and which pew, as well as others, was, disposed of for the purpose of raising funds to erect a new gallery in the said church-and I do therefore hereby transfer and grant the said pew to the said Michael Cowley and his heirs for ever. June 17, 1836. W. Sodor and Mann."
To us it seems a strange way of doing things. But we must not blame the authorities of 100 years ago, when we think of Jurby chalice and the way in which the Archdeaconry was severed from Andreas without the Church people having an opportunity of expressing an opinion on the subject.
I have mentioned the name of Michael Cowley. He was guilty of a great piece of vandalism. Before the time of which I am writing, the village cross stood on a vacant piece of ground near the churchyard gate. It was the custom for all funerals to march round it before entering the churchyard. Probably the old Lezayre Fair was held there before it was removed to (I think) Sulby. Well. Cowley bought the adjoining land, and then claimed that the site of the cross was included in his purchase. I have not had an opportunity of searching the files of the newspapers of that time, but I believe that there was a very protracted lawsuit, which finally went before the Keys. Cowley won his case. (1834). That was the end of the Cross. It was broken up. The head is preserved in the church porch. It was suggested that the shaft was used as a lintel when the small stream from Glion-ny-Killey, which crosses the road there, was bridged over. At any rate, Mr. P. M. C. Kermode was very wishful that the roadway should be pulled up in order to look for it.
To return to the church. Once it was built, pews had to be allotted. In 1838, this was done with the most meticulous care. A pew was allotted to each Quarterland and to as much Intact„ etc., as would make up £l 10s 0d. Lord's Rent. It must have been a difficult task-a sort of glorified jigsaw-to see that every pew had exactly £1 10s not a 2d. more or less. And they did it. To one pew no less than 50 portions of land are allotted. Supposing there had been a house on every one of those portions ! According to the views of those days that would not have mattered. It was the land, not the people, who were thought of.
So the church was built, but some did not approve of the action of the Bishop and his supporters. A letter appeared in the "Manx Sun" of June 2nd, 1830, from which it is worth giving some extracts. He writes: "I would further observe that the unnecessary pulling down our Parish Churches (most of which, if they were properly repaired, are sufficiently commodious), is a very excessive tax upon the parishioners, as well as a very serious drain upon the aforesaid fund. I more particularly notice this from my having lately been informed that a new church is contemplated for Lezayre in addition to those already begun in Ballaugh and Lonan. From what I can learn, the present Church of Kirk Christ, Lezayre, is such as is suitable for the parish, and will afford room for a larger congregation than it is probable will ever assemble there. From my own knowledge, I can say that I have never known it (even when best attended) more than two-thirds full. The building of a new church, I understand to be the wish of but three or four individuals, the majority of whom have become residents in that parish very recently. Therefore, anything further than the proper repairs (which I believe the roof at present much requires) or a new roof or steeple, will be a needless waste of money, and quite an unnecessary tax upon the landed proprietors of the parish, who must be assessed to a considerable amount for that purpose.
The site upon which the present church stands is decidedly the most beautiful in the Island, and if the rage for church building should unfortunately prevail as to cause the removal of this church from its present delightful situation, I can only say that it will not be for a better, nor is it the wish of the parishioners in general."-" Observer," June 2nd, 1830.
"Observer" had a better understanding of the position than the Bishop and his supporters. The new church was far too big. To make matters worse, only four years after it was finished, a second church was built at Sulby, and not many years after, St. Olave's was started, in the more populous parts of the parish, leaving the Parish Church in the more sparsely populated district to be a great white elephant. A building of the nature of the ancient church would have been far more suitable.
I have two views of the old church; enlarged to postcard size. That marked (1) is an enlargement of the view in Harrison's edition of Feltham's Monumental Inscriptions (Manx Society. XIV). Harrison states the drawings from which the views are taken were made in the time of Bishop Wilson. Lezayre Church seems to be in very good condition. so perhaps the drawing was made fairly early in his episcopate before neglect had spoiled his work. The only point that differentiates this church from most of the others is that there is a step in the belfrey. There are four windows on the south side. I wonder how many there were on the north. I heard many years ago at Maughold, that that church originally had only one small window. very high up on the north side, the reason given being it was to keep out the devil, who could only enter from the north side.
The view marked (2) shows a very different looking building. It is hard to believe that the two represent the one church.
It looks very dilapidated. it is taken from a sheet of views of churches, which I believe is rather rare. The date must be later than 1822, for the sheet contains a view of St. Paul's, built that year, but does not contain St. Barnabas', built in 1832.
The post of Parish Clerk was a very important one, coming next after those of Vicar and Captain. A. W. Moore, Dio. Hist., p. 106, states: "The Clerk, who was chosen by the parishioners, but with the authorization of the Ordinary, had the Cheese tithe, the lamb, and the fleece mentioned above (in referring to the Sumner, he stated he received one principall cheese from each tenant, also one choice lamb and one fleece of wool; this the reference), also "a groate (fourpence) out of every plow"; and from those "who have no plowes but keep smoak," one penny. He also received a portion of what is called "Clark's silver" at deaths, which "on the south side of the Isle is elevenpence, and the head penny, of which the curate hath sevenpence, the parish clerk threepence, and the parson's clerk twopence." (I would like to know more about the Parson's clerk). On the north side of the Island the "Clark's silver" was fifteen pence, but it is not stated how it was divided. The clerk's corpse present was from a man twenty pence, or his "apparell": and from a woman, seventeen pence. The clerk's duties were "To Ring the bells in due Time, to attend the Minister (when required) at the Visitation of the Sick, at the burial of the Dead or baptizim of Children. To raise the Psalm when required by the Minister, or else to procure it to be done to the satisfaction of the Minister." He had also to accompany the Vicar on Visitations for the Testification of Wills.
In the early part of the 17th century the Lord appointed the Clerk. In 1643, it was agreed "that the parson or vicar of a parish was to have the nomination of the clerk with the approval of the Bishop, as the appointment of clerks by the Lord had been complained of. This would have deprived the people of their ancient right of election for a time. but it was restored by the Spiritual Laws of 1667. (Moore, Dio. Hist., p. 127). Moore seems to be in error here. The actual words of the Agreement of Oct. 30, 1643. as taken from Gell's Statutes, vol. 1. are: "Whereas it is a complaint of the country, that the Lord of the Island makes Clearkes by his special grants, whereas the Parishioners pay the Cleark his dues, his Lordship is gratiously pleased that the parishioners and the Parson or Vicar shall have the nomination of the Clearke. and the Bishop or Ordinary to have the allowance or approbation of him for his sufficiency and ability to perform the place; . . . (p. 94).
It is to be noted that all the earlier Clerks whose names have survived were men of good family-Standish and Corletts ,of Glentrammon. I wonder if they nerformed the duties of their office or did they hire someone to do it for them. The, first whose name we know was John Standish, who died in 1671/ 2.
He would be of the family of Standish of Ellanbane. Perhaps he was the son of the William, "oulder" clerk of Andreas, 1610 and 1630. (See Harrison, p. 92). Harrison includes John Standish among the list of Vicars. That must be quite wrong. Of course, "Clerk" or "Clerk in Holy Orders" is the proper legal designation of a clergyman, and Harrison may have been led astray by that.
In the early part of 1672, probably the beginning of April. the Minister and parishioners sent a petition to the VicarsGeneral, stating "how the Lord hath been pleased to call for John Standish theire parish clearke and the place therefore void, we know of none more fitt for all qualifications and conveniences for compleat performance of this office than Lieutt. William Curlett, of whom we only make choice." The Vicars-General approve and give William Curlett authority to execute the clerk's office and to "receive all dues and profits yt doth anyway belong to the Clearkshipe from Easter Day last and at Apprill 8th, 1672 . . until our reverend Ordinarye's return unto the country." We sometimes grumble at our Bishops being so much away. They are not to be compared with Bishop Henry Bridgeman. He did not return until 1674, and gave his approval on July 20th. The title of the new clerk raises an interesting matter. He is Lieutt., probably in the parochial militia. One comes across such titles frequently in connection with Lezayre. That is probably due to the fact that it was the only parish with two companies of militia. Moore's History of the Isle of Man says: "It is curious that Lezayre, though never one of the most populous parishes, had two companies for the east and west divisions respectively, while the other parishes had one each. But the tables of population, on p. 646, contradict this. In 1726, Lezayre had more people than any other town or parish, viz., 1309; while Douglas had only 810; in 1757, it is surpassed only by Douglas. Were there two captains in Lezayre-a Captain of Lezayre and a Captain of Sulby? (I seem to remember seeing a John Garrett of Ballabrooie called Captain of Sulby). If there were two captains, what was their, relation one to another? Which of them was Captain of the Parish in our sense of the term?
But to return to the parish clerks. William Curlett was succeeded by Edmond Corlett. His appointment was approved by Bishop Levinz on February 12th, 1688/89. (Captain Edmond Corlett of Glentrammon, fifty years clerk of the parish, buried Oct. 27th, 1746).
There is no record of Lt. William Curlett's death. Probably it took place before our Registers begin. Captain Edmond Corlett was succeeded by Captain Thomas Corlett, who was buried on June 7th, 1789, having held the office 43 years. (The Register says "nearly 50"). He was succeeded by John Corlett, also of Glen-tramman,, who was buried on iMay 21st, 1823. He was the last of the "Gentlemen Clerks" of Lezayre. The office had been in the same family for 151 years.
But we are not finished with the Corletts. They had long enjoyed possession of the Clerk's Glebe, which was a piece of very good land, situated between Woodlands and the Garey road, and very convenient to their own property, and they did not wish to give it up. So, on January 15th, 1817, John, the Clerk, and his son, another John, sent a petition to the Bishop. It is worth quoting:
"Whereas there is a small piece of land in the Parish of Lezayre near the centre of the said farm of Glentrammon the property of the said John Corlett, senior, commonly (though improperly) called the Parish Clerk's Glebe, and whereas the ancestors of the said John Corlett have for time immemorial been the proprietors of the said farm, and have each and every one of them been entered in the Seneschal's office for the said farm and every part and member thereof Quarterland or Intack, without any reservation whatever, and have annually and regularly paid the Lord's Rent of it, and altho' neither the present Clerk nor any of his predecessors in office have ever been entered in the Seneschal's office, nor paid any Alienation Fine nor any Lord's Rent for the said pretended Glebe, the only cause or reason why the said lot of land has been called the Clerk's Glebe is this, that some of the ancestors of the said John Corlett gave the temporary use and benefit of the said lot of land to some former branch of his family who was then Parish Clerk, to assist him to support his family, but no deed of Sale, Settlement nor, any other instrument purporting to alienate or separate the said lot from the ancient Inheritance or from the right Heirs thereof was ever granted or can be made to appear in the Records of this Isle. (The two Corletts ignore the fact that all the former members of their family who held the office of clerk were men who held military rank-the first was a lieutenant and the next two, captains, probably in the Parish Militia. They are not likely to have been poor, relations, as the Corletts suggest, but rather the heads of the family.) They are evidently conscious of the weakness of their case, for they go on to say: "To prevent any dispute or lawsuit concerning the said lot of land, and out of their great regard for the welfare of the said parish, and to add to the maintenance and better support of the future Parish Clerk (and more particularly to prevent any lawsuit concerning the said lot of land aforesaid). Moved by the above consideration, we . . . . do hereby propose to your Lordship to alienate, sell, or pass -over in exchange for the said pretented Glebe, a certain lot of land in the said Parish called Lena-Voney (lately purchased from John Frissell, Esq., by John Corlett, junr.) for the perpetual use and benefit of the future Clerks of the said Parish. Should Lena-Voney not amount to the measurement of the present pretended Glebe, the deficiency to be made up out of John Corlett, junr.'s nearest lands to Lena-Voney, or money in consideration. . . . ."
The Bishop ordered this petition to be laid before a special Vestry. This was done on March 5th, 1817, and the proposal of the Corletts was agreed to unanimously-a very unusual event in Lezayre at that time. 45 voted in favour and none against. It took a long time to get the exchange made. From an undated document (probably of the beginning of 1820) it seems that five persons had been appointed at the Vestry to act as jurors and value the land. The five were Daniel Stephen, John Corlett, William Corlett, William Joughin and William Curphey. They gave their report at the Consistory Court on April 27th. It is a long and tiresome document. They have examined (it had taken them three years) a piece of Intack land called Lheaney Vunney (Corlett had spelt it Voney) and also another piece, part of the Nappin Quarterland, called Long Arin or Roih Liauyr, and also another piece of Intack. They report these plots are not equal to the original Glebe in value, and that an acre and near a quarter is required to make up the deficiency. Finally, it was agreed that the land and £50 should be handed over by the Corletts. The land is described as lying to the east of the late marked new highway. This highway was the Bayr-ray-Hara, which was remade and its line re-altered shortly afterwards. John Corlett was the last of the "Gentlemen Clarks"; the few remaining clerks were of a different type. He died on May 18th, 1823, and was succeeded on May 17th, 1824, by William Joughin, who died in 1828. He was followed by Hugh Joughin. The election was keenly contested. There were four candidates, and nearly 200 votes were cast. His successor was William Caley, who was elected on January 2nd, 1852. There were three candidates, and a keen contest. It is amusing to note the Vicar's remarks on the candidates. The good singer never got elected, only the "not so good." Other reasons than musical ability obviously counted. William Caley was the last Clerk of Lezayre. He died 42 years ago.
After this paper was typed, I made what I think is an important discovery. In fact, I thought I had made two, but one of them turns out to be a case of "Bill Stumps, his mark." Though the carving was done about 200 years ago, and the story is amusing, I cannot tell it here. But I feel I am on good ground with regard to the second. I Sounded Mr. Cubbon and foundthat he knew nothing about it, and there is not much that he does not know on the subject, ana so f feel 1 nave really got something new. l'here is a window in Lezayre Church, consisting of two lancets with four pictorial panels in each. The rest of the window is tilled by a rather dull conventional pattern in flowers. In fact, it rather looked like a transfer pattern. The window was hidden behind the organ, and I had been told that it had been erected by a local glass painter, whose name I had forgotten, but I thought it was Christian. We attached no, importance to it. When we were doing work on the church last month, we removed the window to a place where we could see it. Last Sunday, I was looking at it more carefully, and I noticed . that the name of the donor was Daniel Cottier. At the moment, the name meant nothing, but yesterday I remembered the article in the last issue of the Journal of the Manx Museum (September, 1938), and examined the window again. The window was erected by Daniel Cottier, Glasspainter, in 1884, in memory of his grandfather, Daniel Cottier, died 1803, and of his father, Daniel Cottier, died 1847. The grandfather was buried at Lezayre on July 12th, 1803. There is no entry of the father. The sexton, Mr W. K. Lace, who was a young man in the choir in 1884, states he remembered the window being put in, but he had never seen the donor, who lived off the Island; but he had relatives living in Lezayre Road, in the house where Mr A. Chrystal lived later.
To sum up, the Daniel Cottier of the Journal article was (1) the son of a Manxman who married a Scotch wife and settled in Scotland; (2) he was a glass painter; (3) he did not live on the Island, but would probably have Manx relatives. The Daniel Cottier of the window is a Manxman, whose grandfather is buried at Lezayre, but his father elsewhere. (2) He is a glass painter. (3) He did not live on the Island but had Manx relatives. Can there be any reasonable doubt as to, the identity of the Cottier of the window with the Cottier of the Journal ?
The window consists of two lancets with four panels in each. The lowest and the third from the bottom are 22½in. x l0in. The other two are 18în. x 10in. Over each figure there is a scroll with a name. The names are, reading from top to bottom, on the West-Industria, Temperantia, Caritas, Veritas;,on the East - Modestia, Patientia, Fortitudo, Castitas. I think I have said enough to show that we have a genuine piece of work by Daniel Cottier.
| Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received MNB
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