P.M.C. KERMODE AN APPRECIATION ON THE CENTENARY OF THE MANX MUSEUM

Marshall Cubbon, O.B.E.,B.A.,F.M.A.,F.S.A.

It is only some six or seven years since I had the privilege to address the Society from the Presidential chair on the occasion of its Centenary, and in looking back and taking stock at that milestone one naturally had to pay glowing tribute to the one man more than any other who virtually established our Society, and guided and nurtured it for over fifty years. In the course of that labour of love he saw not only the fulfillment of his long-held dream of the establishment of a Manx Museum, Library and Art Gallery, but he was entrusted with the all important duty of serving as its first Director. In that capacity P. M. C. Kermode played the vital role in establishing the essential character of the Manx Museum, and establishing the all-important standards of academic integrity that we trust will at all times be emulated.

We now find ourselves at another milestone, the Centenary of the first Act of Tynwald that set up a body of Trustees responsible for the establishment of such a museum (in due course) as well as undertaking straight away the preservation of the ancient monuments of the Isle of Man. Your committee has asked me to prepare a paper on P. M. C. Kermode on this occasion, and while I appreciate the honour inevitably I have to cover again some of the ground dealt with in my Centenary Presidential Address, and other speeches I was called upon to give at that time.

From the accounts in our Proceedings of our Society's fiftieth anniversary celebrations in 1929, for example, it would appear presumptuous to attempt a survey of his life; but time marches on, and Kermode himself on that occasion regretted that he was the only surviving founder member of our Society then. Alas, not many of our Society will now be able to remember P. M. C. Kermode personally. I cannot myself; though it is indeed possible that in some of my earliest visits to the Manx Museum I might have seen him — though I'm afraid I can claim no such early childhood memory! However, it was of course my privilege late in life to know personally Manx Museum personalities from whom I have derived some impression of the man. My study draws also on the many obituary notices which appeared at the time of his death, in particular the full and sympathetic tribute submitted by P. G. Ralfe to The North Western Naturalist, as well as William Cubbon's paper read to our Society in 1945, 'The Kermode Family of Ramsey' (Proceedings Vol.V, No.l, 1948,pp.109-21).

Philip Moore Callow Kermode was born at Auckland Terrace Ramsey, on 21st March 1855. He was the fifth son of Rev. William Kermode, then chaplain of St. Paul's, Ramsey, later Vicar of Maughold and then Rector of Ballaugh. His mother was formerly Miss Jane Bishop of Shelton Hall, Staffordshire. The Rev. William Kermode s mother was the daughter and heiress of William Callow of Claughbane, who married Thomas Kermode of Bride and Marown. The family inherited Claughbane, near Ramsey, and the young Philip Kermode lived for a number of years in the old mansion house there. It is doubtless from this period that an interesting relic dates, that passed to the Manx Museum in the early 1950s. This is a tombstone marking the grave of a dog in the garden of the house, on which the unusual name of the dead pet ,'RUNE', is deeply cut in runes, below which is incised the outline of the dog's head. This is no doubt a graphic illustration of the antiquarian ambiance in which Philip grew up, and in the true tradition of funerary runic inscriptions has recorded for posterity the name of the family pet.

Parson William Kermode had three wives over a period of 21 years, and in all 14 children. The first marriage produced a delicate boy, who died at the Parsonage, Ramsey, aged 23. P. M. C Kermode's mother, Jane Bishop, was the second wife, who had nine children, of whom two died young. The third wife had four children. From the viewpoint of Manx studies, the notable members of the family besides Philip were his sisters Josephine who wrote charming dialect verse under the nom-de-plume 'Cushag', and Minnie, who married Rev. S. N. Harrison, a distinguished member of this Society in its formative years. P. M. C Kermode's half-brother, Rev. Alfred Kermode, was also a member of this Society, especially active in the field of botany. William Cubbon's paper stresses Parson Kermode's achievement in bringing up a large family — all devoted to him — and instilling in them a love of learning, a love of country and a love of service. A picture of a close-knit and intellectually inclined family circle comes through to us, with many of both the boys and the girls contributing to family journals containing poems and natural history and antiquarian articles.

Parson William Kermode was a member of the Committee of the old Manx Society on its foundation in 1858. He was one of the signatories of the first official Manx Commission on Ancient Monuments published in 1878. He was a founder member of our Society in 1879, and was President in 1884. When Rector of Ballaugh he compiled a splendid Parish Record recording its antiquities. Clearly these antiquarian interests of his father were to have a profound influence on the young P. M. C. Kermode. However, through his mother's family Philip Kermode was to develop particularly his parallel absorbing interest, in the fields of natural history. He had been interested in nature as illustrated in the north east of the Island from his earliest youth, but the impulse to serious work in Natural Science came from a visit to Robert Garner, his uncle by marriage, who was known as the Staffordshire Naturalist'. Philip's visit to Staffordshire showed him an active Field Club in operation, and made him eager to see the establishment of a similar Society in the Isle of Man. Our Society is the outcome of that impetus. In its first few formative years our Society benefited enormously in the visit of the North Staffordshire Naturalists Field Club and Archaeological Society in 1884 (which was followed up by a further visit in 1906).

P. M. C. Kermode, in common with most, if not all, of his brothers attended King William's College for some years, though I recall the late William Cubbon telling me that Kermode himself had said his education there had not afforded him training in Manx studies or in any of the fields in which he was later to make his reputation. He was articled to Mr. (later Sir) Alured Dumbell, and was admitted to the Manx Bar in 1878 (aged 23). He never married. His legal labours continued throughout most of his life, when we tend to think of him only in antiquarian and natural history terms. From 1888 to 1922 (when he was appointed as first Curator of the Manx Museum) he was Clerk to the Justices at Ramsey, and I have heard tales of him jotting down his antiquarian notes on the back of legal envelopes. Pecuniary reward was seemingly always low on P. M. C. Kermode's list of priorities. While he grew up with the attitudes and social standing of a reasonably well-to-do clergyman's family, he was himself by no means wealthy, and it has been suggested to me that he was at times in part supported by some of his sisters, making it possible for him to develop his academic pursuits. In this his family were probably happy to render support. I have also been told that there were occasions when members of the Manx Bar actually 'purchased' books from his personal library, until such time as he was able to redeem them again. One also has heard of Kermode bicycling to the corners of the Island in following up his researches. It is easy perhaps to say that Kermode's deep academic interests rose above such mundane considerations and h'~t I think it behoves us all to recognise the price that he paid in terms of personal ease and social aspirations in order to follow his intellectual vocation.

One should mention however that the young Philip Kermode also had political interest and ambitions. He stood unsuccessfully for the Keys in 1901 and 1903 against Mr. (later Sir) Hall Caine no less. However, perhaps it is as well that politics did not divert Kermode from his academic destiny. Kermode's first recorded publication is a paper entitled 'After Cormorants', which appeared in Science Gossip in May 1876, in which he describes the capture by hand of cormorants and shags by himself and some friends on Maughold Head. Just as this was to be published the young Kermode's natural history pursuits and aspirations were to lead to a grim disaster, in an event which (in the words of David Craine) formed " a tragedy which cast its dark shadow for the rest of Kermode's life". On Good Friday, 14th April, 1876, Philip Kermode and his close friend Alfred Rudd went to search for a raven's and a falcon's nest on the precipitous cliffs at Skinscoe, Lonan. Kermode slipped and fell a hundred and twenty feet into the sea. Alfred Rudd pulled him, severely bruised to safety, and then went for help. He too slipped, and fell to his death. This tragic accident happened on the day before Rudd's 19th birthday, when Kermode was 21 years and 1 month. This soul searing event clearly had a deep and lasting influence on Kermode. Among his papers in the Manx Museum library is a newspaper cutting of the verbatim account of the inquest on Alfred Rudd held while Philip Kermode was still confined to bed recovering from his fall. He had however obviously submitted an affidavit on the circumstances of the tragedy, though minor amendments to this occur in the newsprint in Kermode's characteristic cramped, precise handwriting; and significantly the word 'amateur' is crossed out from the phrase "our object being to take up the study of amateur ornithology". Also preserved is Kermode's copy of Tennyson's 'In Memoriam', underlined and annotated in a manner that makes clear that the whole tenor of the work is seen in relation to his sense of loss of, and obligation to his friend. The book is also embellished with accomplished pen and ink drawings including Maughold church and the Crux Guriat, as well as plants, birds, butterflies, etc. William Cubbon, in his paper on the Kermode family, indicated that in his twenties Kermode (in common with so many of his brothers and sisters) expressed himself in verse, and Cubbon adds "we who knew Philip intimately in his Museum days can hardly conceive such a possibility". One of his poems, written on New Years Day 1882 (five and a half years after the tragic accident) is preserved, and includes the verse:
Alfred, best friend, who gayest thy life for mine:
I here devote what days to me remain
To God and to thy Memory, to the end
That, through my life, thy influence shall shine,
And I, ere long, may be with thee again,
My brother, Alfred, my beloved friend!
In 1915, at the age of 60, following the publication of an account of the Skinscoe tragedy in a children's series entitled 'True Stories of Brave Deeds', Kermode contributed a somewhat idealised account in the magazine Mannin (No. 6, pp 335-46). David Craine's laudatory address in 1950, on the occasion of the unveiling of a plaque on Kermode's birthplace in Ramsey, records the ironic conclusion to this topic: "on the day of Kermode's own death more than fifty years later, when the flame of life was flickering to its end, a message came to his house that the government of Iceland had made him a Knight of the Order of the Falcon.

Kermode's academic pursuits, in the fields of both natural history, and later particularly in antiquities, were to become all absorbing, and led him to occupy a pre-eminent position in the field of Manx studies. Publications flowed from his pen, and the products occupy almost seven pages of William Cubbon s definitive Bibliography (Vol I, 1933, pp 704-10). Let us review his main achievements briefly in chronological terms:

In 1879 (aged 24) he was largely the prime mover in founding the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society, and was normally its Secretary, and the editor of its Proceedings for 25 years (as well as a frequent contributor).
In 1881 (aged 26) he published the first of his many papers on Manx antiquities: 'Brief Note on the Runic Stones of the Isle of Man' in Blandinger til Oplysning, Copenhagen. This presaged his lifelong study of the Manx Cross-slabs.
In 1886 (aged 31) he delivered his first Presidential address to this Society, the year the first Manx Museum and Ancient Monuments Act was passed.
In 1893 (aged 38) he first excavated at the Meayl Circle, with Professor Herdman.
In 1896 (aged 41) he was appointed to be a member of the Manx Museum and Ancient Monuments Trustees.
In 1897 (aged 42) he excavated the 'Irish Elk' Cerrusgiganteous, at Close y Garey, north west of Tynwald Hill, on behalf of the British Association.
In 1904 (aged 49) Manks Antiquities was first published in Joint authorship, with Professor Herdman.
In 1905 (aged 50) he mounted the first displays of the collections of the Manx Museum, then temporarily accommodated m Castle Rushen; and he became the secretary of the Manx Museum and Ancient Monuments Trustees
In 1907 (aged 52) he published his great work Manx Crosses.
In 1908 (aged 53) he inaugurated the Manx Archaeological Survey, and commenced the systematic study of all keeill sites and burial grounds in the Isle of Man, with the excavation of many of them. This ambitious project was to occupy much of Kermode's time for the next decade and more, with four reports published between 1909 and 1915. The project inevitably was slowed by the first World War, and then Kermode had virtually no time to continue it after his appointment to the Directorship of the Manx Museum on its establishment in 1922. Responsibility for the project was transferred to the Manx Museum Trustees in 1925, and it is gratifying to record that so far as the survey of the keeill sites was concerned this was eventually carried through, first by the publication of Kermode's fifth report (edited by William Cubbon) in 1935, as a posthumous tribute to his labours, while coverage of the remaining sheading of Rushen was completed by Volume Vl, published in 1968, complied by J. R. Bruce, a long-serving and distinguished member of the Trust, who as a young man on the staff of the Marine Biological Station at Port Erin had assisted Kermode both in the field and in cataloguing the embrionic collections of the Manx Museum.
In 1911 (aged 56) Kermode excavated again at the Meayl Circle(during the period of his numerous keeill site excavations)
In 1922 (aged 67) Kermode saw the fulfillment of his great ambition: the establishment of the Manx Museum, and furthermore his appointment as the first Director of that institution. Certainly the most vital of all policy decisions endorsed at that time was the wise and far-sighted resolve of the original Trustee body, as advised by Kermode, to confine the collections to Manx material. His museum work occupied the remaining ten years of his life.
In 1923 (aged 68) The Manx national war memorial was erected at St. Johns. Designed by Kermode, it is based on the Irish high crosses, and derives from the motifs of interlacing patterns he had become an authority on from his lifetime study of the Manx crosses.
In 1926 (aged 71) he excavated at the Neolithic burial site at Ballafayle, Maughold, revealing evidence of intense burning and cremation burials within the megalithic cairn.
In 1927 (aged 72) Kermode excavated the pagan Viking ship burial at Knock y Doonee, Andreas.
In 1928 (aged 73) Kermode published the last of the five supplementary papers he compiled on Manx cross-slabs which came to light subsequent to the publication of his great work Manx Crosses, in 1907.
In 1929 to 30 (aged 74) he served for the fifth time as President of our Society, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, and during the same period as President of the Cambrian Archaeological Association, which visited the Island in September 1929. His presidential address to the Cambrians as on 'The Ancient Monuments of the Isle of Man, and the Cambrians assisted our Society in the publication of P. M. C. Kermode's List of Manx Antiquities in 1930.
On 5th September, 1932 (aged 77) Kermode died.

Having reviewed the chronological outline of P. M. C. Kermode's impressive career, can we say anything about the personality behind those achievements? It is not easy. Ralfe in his obituary stated "P. M. C. Kermode was not a man who spoke or wrote about himself", and now at this more distant point in time can only give impressions from the published references, from stories and reminiscences I received from some of his younger contemporaries in the Manx antiquarian circle, and from a random
Kermode was like as a person and got the reply that he was not easy to get to know , but once you did get to know him he was a splendid person to work with. I followed this up wa with the question sense of humour?", and after a lengthy pause got the typically scientifically considered reply "I never saw any evidence of one
This general impression of Kermode has perhaps been emphasised by the contrasting personality of William Cubbon, who was appointed Secretary and Librarian of the Manx Museum on its establishment in 1922, and who succeeded Kermode as its Director. With his experience of Manx journalism and librarianship, his country background and wide human contacts throughout the Island, and his bubbling and infectious enthusiasm for the Manx cause; William Cubbon was the perfect foil to Kermode's impeccable scholarship, and on all sides one has heard and read what a splendid complementary team they formed. I heard the opinion that Kermode was not always an easy person to work with, but William Cubbon revered his scholarship and always praised Kermode's painstaking dedication. Whenever one visited William Cubbon in his last home in Albany Road in Douglas, a copy of P. M. C. Kermode's Manx Crosses reposed in honour at the centre of the chenille table-cloth that covered the table in his sitting room. I remember a very distinguished museum director in Britain reminiscing about Kermode and Cubbon to me in my early days in the museum profession. He said he always recalled them as characters of the middle ages: Kermode as a detached, scholastic, medieval mystic living in the world of the Celtic crosses and the Celtic twilight; Cubbon as a prince bishop, with an outward air of piety, but with a twinkle in his eye and never missing an opportunity to advance his cause.

William Cubbon in his 'Kermode Family of Ramsey' paper states "I only knew Philip and 'Cushag' intimately. Both had the same gentle kindliness and old-fashioned courtesy; proud yet modest; sensitive yet lovable. I worked alongside Philip for ten years and observed with admiration his critical judgement. He thought, planned and worked unselfishly, and made a contributionto the Manx people of great cultural value. He built well and will be remembered. Without hesitation I would claim him to be among the first half-dozen great Manxmen."

An article by Miss Mona Douglas of 1962 affords a charming human picture of P. M. C. Kermode and his sister Josephine:
When the present century was in its teens there might often be seen on the roads in and about Ramsey a small, oldfashioned pony-trap drawn by a fat and friendly pony and driven by a charming lady with golden hair, gone slightly grey worn in a coronet of shining plaits. Driven is, perhaps, hardly the operative word, although I believe the lady was quite a competent horse-woman, for the pony evinced some independence of spirit, and responded rather better to verbal instructions than to a pull on the rein. The Courier office was a frequent stop; but on occasion as the equipage slowed up there, a silvery voice could be heard saying firmly, "No, Brownie. I want the Post Office today." And on Brownie would go round the corner by the Court House.
Sometimes the lady would be accompanied by a scholarly looking middle-aged man with an alert expression; both of them engaged in a lively conversation while Brownie went on his accustomed way with very little guidance .... Certainly these were people whose minds operated on a different level from the conventional one, to whom the mental world was more important than the physical .... Those two were famous and beloved figures in the Manx community: Philip Moore Callow Kermode and his sister Josephine, better known as the poet, 'Cushag'.
They lived together in a secluded house away up Glen Auldyn, with the river running through its garden and stabling for Brownie at the back and a pleasant, sheltered meadow beside the river for him to graze in. I had the great privilege, as a child, of enjoying their friendship and paying many visits to that house. With 'P. M. C.' as he was usually called, I was not on quite such intimate terms. He was always kind and indulgent, but inevitably I absorbed his sister's attitude to him, which was, quite frankly, one of reverence for a genius. And certainly, if not actually that, he was a man of very great attainments....

As always when thinking of Kermode one thinks of his academic achievements, and in this it must not be forgotten that he was virtually self-taught. I am not qualified to judge his work in the field of natural history, but the range of disciplines he covered is very impressive, and the regard he clearly carried in the eyes of leading naturalists of his day speaks for itself. On the antiquarian side the calibre of even his early writing is impressive, and demonstrates his familiarity with the recognised authoritative sources of his day, while his correspondence with the leading scholars of his time indicates his patient application, working away here in the Isle of Man, largely in academic isolation, though certainly with the stimulation of some other local scholars of distinction, as well as visiting experts. One must acknowledge the enormous dedication required to achieve such self-taught academic eminence.

Of course while he did not have the benefit of a University education, or any formal association with an institute of advanced scholarship, that was not as vital then as now. He forged his own academic links, and travelled in and beyond the British Isles, to Denmark, Iceland, the Faeroes, and also to Italy where he was particularly interested in early Christian as well as classical antiquities. His letters and notebooks show the extent to which he prepared himself for the sites and antiquities he planned to see. He was awarded a Master of Arts degree, 'honoris causa' near the end of his life, by Liverpool University.

While undoubtedly Kermode's reputation of careful academic scholarship is the image that comes through to us from his lifetime of study and publication, he clearly was always attracted to the outdoors, and it is significant that his academic pursuits were infields that were not confined solely to book learning.

Kermode's published work, almost inevitably, gives an impression of cold, detached academic scholarship, but there are clear indications that he could see the human values through the dry bones and stones of archaeology. His story of Juan the Priest, serialised in the splendid journal Mannin between 1913 and 1917, gives a graphic and warm human identification of a twelfth century Manxman who. the world of learning only knows from two brief runic inscriptions scratched onto slabs of slate in Maughold. Preserved with the Kermode papers in the Manx Museum library however is a note-book entitled 'Juan', in which Kermode has compiled copious detailed notes to form the historical basis for his short novel, from 'Juan born at Clenaig 11 p.m. Wednesday 23rd July 1171' to notes on English, Scottish and Irish, as well as Manx history of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. There are also detailed notes on twelfth century ships, Tynwald procedure, provisions, trade, weapons, food, dress, occupations, the role of women in society, sport, dogs, children's play, Christian burial customs, priests' hours for daily prayer, nick-names and placenames, as well as various sources for words and phrases from Chaucer, the Vision of Piers Plowman etc. It is a telling indication of the extent of social history background required to write a piece of historical fiction. The finished story of course also shows very clearly Kermode's intimate knowledge of the north east of the Isle of Man, and his detailed awareness of the natural history background of the Island in the twelfth century. Indeed it may not be too fanciful to see P. M. C. Kermode identifying personally with his hero 'Juan'.

His lifelong study of the Manx crosses was clearly undertaken with an awareness of them as human works of art. At the dedication of the cross-shelter at Maughold he spoke of marking"our respect for those who, with faith and devotion, and patience, and ever increasing artistic skill, designed and wrought these beautiful monuments", and on another occasion he said "upon these rude and weathered stones we are able to see and to touch the very handwork of those whose skilful fingers crumbled into dust a thousand years ago!"

I recall another story which gives us a glimpse of Kermode the man. The late Major Harris, of Union Mills, told me he was once sitting on Peel promenade when he saw Kermode coming towards him. He said, "What are you doing here Philip? I thought the Antiquarian Society was at Peel Castle this afternoon." He got the spirited reply, "Yes they are, and their excursion leader is building castles in the air on insubstantial foundations!" Perhaps this maybe seen as showing that Kermode did have a sense of humour — albeit of an astringent variety, to which may be applied that wine tasting phrase that seems peculiarly applicable to an archaeologist:'flinty dry'!

While we rightly praise P. M. C. Kermode's outstanding academic achievements, it must be recognised that some criticisms can be levelled against his work. It is of course always easy for later generations to criticise the work of the pioneers, who were having to try and establish standards that are now taken for granted. Of course it is no criticism at all that scholarship has advanced, and some of Kermode's opinions have now been superseded in detail such as the dating of the crosses, and even in some cases their separation between the Celtic and Viking periods. As Kermode's own publications made clear, he saw his work as constructing academic foundations on which he fervently hoped future scholarship would be built. In 1929 (three years before his death) he wrote "....we have now reached that hopeful stage when we can realize how ignorant we really are and how much still lies before us to be examined, considered and studied .... " When we turn to his excavations however it must be said that he was in too much of a hurry, even when judged by the standards of his own day, and clearly he was so conditioned by his over-ambitious approach to the Manx Archaeological Survey that he certainly excavated too many of the keeill sites on the Isle of Man. It would have been much wiser to have surveyed and recorded but not actually excavated at least half of this category of site, until excavation techniques had improved and comparable sites had been examined in detail in Ireland, Scotland and elsewhere. It is also unfortunate that in 1928(when he was 73) he instituted a new numbering system of the Manx cross-slabs, revising the numbering that he had established in his great book of 1907. Every one who has worked on the Manx crosses since 1928 has experienced the confusion and frustration that the dual numbering has produced. But there is no way this can now be rectified satisfactorily: the brass discs he had let into the carvings perpetuate the later numbering system, and photographs of the crosses showing these brass numbers have been supplied to scholars all over the world, and have now been — and will continue to be — widely published. That is the official numbering established by Kermode, recorded in the Manx Museum's register of cross-slabs, and it will in time supersede the numbers used in his own great book. Having recorded these criticisms however, they must be regarded as of minor importance when set against Kermode's remarkable achievements, both as an academic scholar and also as the prime mover in the long campaign to establish a Manx Museum.

In this year, 1986, which the Manx government has designated 'Heritage Year', I would suggest that the event which most clearly signifies achievement in the heritage field was the enactment of the first Manx Museum and Ancient Monuments Act a hundred years ago, in 1886. That Act set up the Trustee body. By an interesting quirk of fate it was in the same year, 1886, that the foundation stone was laid of the first Noble's Hospital, at the top of Crellin's Hill in Douglas, the building which in 1922 was to become the first Manx Museum, and still forms the core of the much extended building of the Manx Museum, Library and Art Gallery.

We cannot ascribe the initial idea of a Manx Museum to P. M.C. Kermode. Bishop Hildesley was writing of the idea of a museum at Bishopscourt in the third quarter of the eighteenth century, while Trevor Ashe in 1825, and J. R. Wallace in 1835 until 1842, established brief private museums in Douglas, which certainly included Manx exhibits. In 1852 Rev. J.G. Cumming (VicePrincipal of King Williams College from 1841 to 1855) published a circular suggesting the establishment of a Manx Museum in the College, and offering his important 'cabinet of rocks, minerals and fossils' collected by him during his eleven years' residence in the Island. It is interesting that a letter survives from Cumming to Rev.William Kermode (P. M. C. Kermode's father) asking for his interest in this project.

P. M. C. Kermode himself however, in his Presidential Address to the Cambrian Archaeological Association in 1929,states "We owe the conception of a Manx Museum to our distinguished Governor, who, later, became Lord Loch. I believe it is to him we are indebted for the invitation for your (the Cambrian Archaeological Association's) first visit (in 1865), when you elected him your President; this (visit) did more than anything else to awaken local interest, which has grown until now, and, happily it is in the Manx Museum that this session of your Association is being held." Loch's initiative had certainly moved the concept of a Manx Museum into the ambit of the Government of the Island. The first and only Report of Archaeological Commissioners, appointed by Governor Loch, appeared in 1878, and the establishment of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society the following year illustrated the growing popular support for the cause: and in this of course P. M. C. Kermode was the prime mover. In 1886 the first Act of Tynwald established a Trustee body who straight away undertook responsibility for ancient monuments, and started tobuild up collections against the day when a Manx Museum would be established. As we have seen Kermode became a member of the Trustees in 1896, and its secretary (and virtually its executive officer) in 1905, when for the first time space was provided on a temporary basis for some museum displays to be mounted in Castle Rushen.

It was not until 1922, over forty years after the formation of this Society, that the Manx Museum proper was established, following the move of Noble's Hospital to its new building on Westmoreland Road. For Kermode there had been more than four decades of campaigning and negotiating, of hopes and disappointments. One can well see him, encumbered by his legal duties, and turning to his studies of the Manx crosses, or his archaeological excavations, from the frustrations and set-backs of his campaign for a museum. At one stage I was tempted to entitle this paper 'P. M. C. Kermode, the Impatient Pioneer', as a picture came through of Kermode being increasingly aware of time slipping away. He was champing for the establishment of the museum, he was hurrying his excavations with a growing sense of the scale of the challenge represented by the archaeological potential of the Isle of Man, he was complaining about not getting immediate replies to the enquiries he directed to eminent academic experts. However, there was a happy ending to the story: not only did Kermode see his dream of a Manx Museum realised, he served as its first Director for its vital first ten years.

To undertake the Directorship of a new museum at the age of 67 was no light commitment, but of course it was the fulfilment of his life's dream; he had spent all his days acquiring the vital background academic knowledge, and he clearly threw himself into the work. The scope of the collections was established and the highest standards of scholarship were set. It was left to others to enlarge, popularise, and develop the institution, but the role of Kermode as the original directing influence had established the essential academic integrity.

As Ralfe put it, he was the Manx Museum's "real creator"and "remained daily at his post until his death." He had suffered a severe illness a year previous, but had made a remarkable recovery with only slight diminution in activity and application. On Saturday 3rd September 1932 he had eagerly anticipated spending a short leave at Professor Fleure's excavation at Cashtal yn Ard, but on the Monday 5th September he passed away at his home, 8 Thorny Road, Douglas. Again quoting Ralfe, "he was laid to rest in the immemorial cemetery where above the sea St. Maughold's church lies girt with cross and rune and grave .... near to the great series of carved stones of the parish, for the collection and preservation of which he laboured with such love and zeal".

On that last Saturday at work in the museum, William Cubbon has recorded that Kermode left with him the text of the last piece of work he prepared for publication. This was an article on the Manx Museum to appear in a series entitled 'Some Notable Museums' in The North Western Naturalist. Significantly Kermode had added one short sentence to his draft on his last day at work: "visits from schools are encouraged". This presages the development of a schools service in the long-planned forthcoming further extension of the Manx Museum.

The death of this distinguished Manxman understandably drew tributes from the academic world, as well as from the Island itself. Our Society held a special memorial meeting at which appreciations were read from representatives of Liverpool University, the museum profession, Professor Marstrander of Oslo, Professor Fleure of Manchester, Professor Macalister of Dublin and Sir Arthur Keith, while P.G. Ralfe summarised the outstanding services he rendered to the Isle of Man as a naturalist. Among the obituary notices published outside the Island I must particularly refer to that by J.R. Bruce in Archaeologia Cambrensis, as well as Ralfe's tribute in the North Western Naturalist, to which I have already referred several times.

I would like to close this tribute to P. M. C. Kermode by referring to the regard that he achieved in the eyes of scholars beyond our shores. It was said that he was never happier than when working with scholars who were visiting the Island, and many have paid tribute to the totally unselfish way in which he made his scholarship available to professional colleagues. The repayment of one of them perhaps rendered to Kermode the compliment that I can well imagine he would have prized above all others. It was from Professor P. F. Kendal, the distinguished glaciologist, whose paper 'On the Glacial Geology of the Isle of Man' appeared in our Society's Proceedings in 1894. This study won for the author an award from the Lyell Fund of the Geological Society. In that still classic paper, where the author is discussing the fossil shells here covered from the glacial deposits of the extra-insular drift from the cliff exposures of the northern plain, he wrote: " .... among my shells are 8 nearly entire specimens of a Nassa which I regard as clearly distinct from any known British species, either recent or fossil, and I am unable to identify them with any fossil from any continental tertiary deposit. Messrs Newton and Smith confirm this view, their comment upon my specimen being: 'Nassa, probably a new species.' It devolves upon me to describe the species and propose a name for it. It affords me great pleasure to do honour to a naturalist native to the Isle of Man by naming my shell after my valued friend, Mr. Philip M. C. Kermode." Thus Kermode's name is immortalised in scientific terminology. This, surely, is the supremely appropriate tribute to P. M. C. Kermode.


Index