[From Mannin #5 1915]
The Annual Meeting of Yn Cheshaght Gailckagh was held at the Town Hall, Douglas, on Hollantide Day, 1914- Mr. J. J. Kneen, President of the Society, occupied the chair.
In the course of the general report, Miss Morrison, the secretary, remarked that it was impossible not to make reference to that which was felt in all hearts and minds-the war. Their kinsmen, and some of their fellow members, were offering their lives for a noble and worthy cause. Enthusiastic unity was the watchword of the hour ; and it made them glad to think that the work of the Manx Society had helped to keep alive the spirit of patriotism and the sense of nationality. During the year an effort had been made to honour and perpetuate the memory of the Island's patriot-poet, T. E. Brown. On May 5th, the anniversary of the poet's birth, a portrait of the poet was unveiled in every school in the Island, and addresses on the poet's life and work given by some competent person, and songs and recitals rendered by the children. It was proposed on May 5th next, to present each school with a well- bound copy of Brown's poems. The Ramsey Committee which had initiated the portrait movement, had promised to join in the new movement, and they hoped their friends in every district would help. Any donor of a book to a particular school could have his name and the name of the school inscribed on the cover. They hoped that May 5th would be observed in the schools in perpetuity. Their literary output had been considerable. The magazine MANNIN continued to flourish intrinsically,if not financially. They thanked their numerous able contributors, and also thanked Mr. Clement Shorter for permitting them to publish an unpublished part of the diary of George Borrow, dealing with his visit to the Island, and Mrs. Rydings and the executors of Mr. Ruskin for permitting them to publish some interesting Ruskin Rydings correspondence. Other publications included -Part I of Mr. H. Percy Kelly's primer of the Manx language, ' Lessoonyn Beggey Gailckagh ' ; a new edition of Mr. E. Goodwin's 'First Lessons in Manx' ; Mr. C. R. Shimmin's plays, so rich in local allusions and true in dialect, which were to be performed by the Peel Players in aid of the War Funds; and the test pieces in the Manx Classes at the Music Guild. They hoped next spring to bring out Part II of Mr. Kelly's primer, and Mr. P. W. Caine's collection of unpublished carols. They regretted to hear of the death of the Rev. E. Priestland, author of 'Manx Memories'; Mr. Priestland wrote little, but that little was full of charm and instinct with the true old Manx spirit. The Society had done a great deal, by means of the Traditional Music Class at the Guild and otherwise, to preserve Manx folk music, and three out of the four test-pieces to be sung at the next Guild had been rescued from oblivion by means of this class. Thanks were paid to Mr. W. H. Gill and Mr. J. E. Quayle, Mus. Bac., for having arranged these airs for singing. MANNIN No. III. had contained an account of a highly successful Manx language social gathering held at the breaking-up for the summer of Mr. Kneen's Manx classes. A conversational class for the study of Manx had been started for the winter at Douglas, and classes in Ramsey and Peel were to be started at the beginning of the New Year.
Mr. W. Cubbon then presented the balance sheet. The year was opened with a credit balance of £14 0s. 10d, and the principal receipts were £6 odd in subscriptions, and £52 9s. 8d. from the proceeds of the performance of two of Mr. C. R. Shimmin's plays. On the other side, they had spent £3 2s. 6d. in Guild prizes, and £3 14s. 6d. in Guild music. They had done a good deal of printing, and it had cost them about £11. The T. E. Brown portraits cost them £24 1s. 11d.- towards which a contribution of something like £5 was to come from the local committee at Ramsey.
Generally, their expenditure ran up to £58 8s. 6d. and left a balance of £25 1s. 3d. The loss on the publication of MANNIN absorbed all that balance except £4 16s. 5d. Miss Morrison had offered to become responsible for the future publication of MANNIN. It would be a great pity indeed if MANNIN were to be discontinued, and they owed a great deal to Miss Morrison for her enterprise and for the ability with which she had hither- to conducted the magazine.
The Rev. C. H. Leece moved the adoption of the report and balance sheet. He remarked that, of course they were largely indebted to the Peel Players for their financial resources. MANNIN was an admirable publication, and he had often thought that they were being given far too good value for their money, and Miss Morrison might very well raise the price to is. 6d. He thanked Miss Morrison for her report, which covered a great deal of ground, and was written with great literary ability.
Mr. P. W. Caine, seconding, referred to the proposal for placing copies of T. E. Brown's poems in the schools. When the portraits were presented, it was felt that the work was incomplete unless they gave the elder children a chance of studying the work of the poet by placing a copy of the ' Poems' in each school. The Ramsey committee had funds in hand which would enable them to make a proportionate contribution to the cost of the portraits and to place copies of the poems in the Northern schools, but they felt that it would be a pity not to make the scheme a national one. It was felt by the Society, that under the present circumstances it was not fitting to make a public appeal for funds, but it would be a very fine thing if sufficient private donors could be found to place copies of the poems in all the Insular schools.
Mr. W. A. Craine, supporting, paid a high tribute to the value of MANNIN.
The report and balance sheet were adopted.
Mr. Cubbon moved the election of Mr. W. H. Gill as President of the Society. Mr. Gill was probably the finest music scholar that the Island ever produced, and the least they could do, when he was approaching old age, was to give him some little recognition. With his brother, Deemster Gill and Dr. Clague, he brought out that noble volume, 'Manx National Songs,' and that less known but equally valuable book, 'Manx National Music,' containing some 300 Manx tunes, which deserved to be more widely known. He enjoyed a high repu- tation in the musical world, and Julian, in his 'Anthology of Hymns,' spoke of him as a gifted and original writer, and ranked his, Manx Fishermen's Evening Hymn' very highly. He had published something like 40 pieces of music-anthems, part songs, hymns, carols, and organ voluntaries. During the past eight or nine years, at his own expense, he had published sixpenny pieces entitled, 'Songs of my Fatherland,' and the fourth instalment had just been issued. Taken altogether, Mr. Gill had rendered magnificent service to the Island and by offering him the office of President of the Society, they would be making some acknowledgment.
Mr. Broadbent seconded, and the motion was carried with applause.
The following officers of the Society were also elected :-Vice-Presidents, the Ven. Archdeacon, the Rev. J. Karran, the Rev. C. H. Leece, Dr. Marshall, Messrs. T. Moore, W. W. Gill, and J. J. Kneen; members of the committee, Canon R. D. Kermode,M.A., Messrs. S. K. Broadbent, W. A. Craine, H. P. Kelly, B.A., P. W. Caine, and C. R. Shimmin; hon. treasurer, Mr. Wm. Cubbon ; hon. auditor, the Ven. Archdeacon, hon. secretary, Miss S. Morrison.
The President then read an interesting paper on Rushen Place Names, in the course of which he remarked that every little glen, hill creek, and rock has its own particular legend. He instanced, among others, a pathetic one, Carrick ny hoaie, 'the rock of the grave' is situated in Giau ny geyrragh at the Sound, and so called because some foreign sailors, whose ship was wrecked on Kitterland and who in trying to land in the ship's boat, lost their lives when their frail craft was dashed to pieces on this rock, and were buried near the spot. He mentioned also Lhiondaig-y-phollinagh, ' the green plot of the merman,' a grassy spot between rocks where, it is said, a merman was wont to come and bask in the sunshine.
Many of the earlier names were of historic interest. They were usually Celtic which had later been replaced by Scandinavian, and very often a name, which now belongs to a certain portion of a district, applied at one time to a much larger area : Cregneish, e.g., was formerly ' Crokness,' In pre-Norse days the whole district was probably called the ' Crok ' from the Goidelic ` Cnoc,' a hill. In later Manx this became "Cronk," to which the Norsemen when they came added Iness'. In many other names there was a strange intermingling of the old and the new, as in Creg ny Mollan, ' the rock of the bollans,' Burroo ny edd ' The fortified hill of the nests'.
Modern names were scarcely less curious and interesting. There were pure colloquialisms, as Cass ny magheryn, 'The foot of the fields'; Corneil y chione veg. 'The corner of the little head'; names of fields, crofts, etc., indentified by the names of their owners, as Bwoaillee Fayle, ' Fayle's Fold' ; Renniagh y Cosher, ' Cottier's ferny place'; others by their owner's nicknames, such as Croit Bill Dee, 'Bill Dick's Croft'; and finally many farm names brought to light names long since obsolete, e.g., Balley Crickard, , Richard's or Mac Richard's Farm'; Balley Cormick, ' Cormac's Farm.'
The Meeting concluded with hearty votes of thanks to the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the retiring President for their services.