[From Manx Soc vol XXI]
THE following correspondence between Bishop Ward (who was an Irishman) and the Duke of Atholl, about a site for a new church in Douglas, produced the accompanying poetical address. The author appears to be unknown.
Bishop's Court, July 23d, 1829.
My Lord Duke-I flatter myself your Grace will excuse my communicating the accompanying appeal. Your Grace knows the deplorable state of the poor of Douglas with regard to church room, which I know your Grace had long wished to remedy by promoting the building of a new church, had not the people marred the good purpose and hindered their own blessings. I have a fair prospect of being enabled by the public bounty to build a new church in that town. But we are greatly at a loss for an eligible situation. There is not one suitable spot except a small timber yard by the bridge, which is in your Grace's possession. Archbishop Cranmer, it is said, was never so happy as when he had an opportunity of exercising the Godlike principle of doing good to his enemies. I will not say the Manx are your Grace's enemies; but they may have given your Grace cause of vexation, and used the Bishop worse. But as that is all over, and can never recur, and you are never more to meet, till you meet before the tribunal of the Great Judge at the last day, I am persuaded your Grace would like to have a memorial in the island of your forgiveness and good-will, and help them to a new church.
What I have to request of your Grace is an exchange of the timber-yard by the bridge for the enclosed piece by the Seneschal's office, which, the Crown will grant me for that purpose. There is very little difference in the quantity of land, nor perhaps in the value.
The piece at the bridge is about 100 or 120 feet square. The church there would be a beautiful object on entering the harbour, and from the road coming in and out of Douglas to and from the country. It could never be surrounded by buildings, being close on the banks of the river, and flanked by the bridge and the highway. It would stand as a beautiful and sacred memorial of your Grace's munificence Iona after you were gone to receive your reward in the church trium phant in heaven. And though many of the present generation might not feel the obligation as they ought, yet as we do not build churches for the present race alone, generations yet unborn would bless your posterity, and I would most gratefully pray God to bless you and reward you a thousand fold as long as I lived.- I have the honour to remain, your Grace's most faithful and humble servant, W. SODOR & MAN.
To his Grace the Duke of Atholl.
Dunkeld, 28th July 1829.
My Lord Bishop-I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's letter of the 23d inst., relative to the spot of ground near Douglas bridge., which you consider a suitable place for the erection of a church, and proposing to give in exchange the enclosed piece, adjoining the Seneschal's office. In reply, I beg leave to inform your Lordship that a few days since I wrote to Mr. M'Crone, desiring him to accept an offer of £600 from Genl. Goldie for the piece of land, at the same time to give the refusal of it to your Lordship, which before time I suppose has been done, but in consequence of your letter I have this day again written Mr. M,Crone, desiring him, in case he has not closed with General Goldie's offer, to defer doing so until he receives further instructions, and that he should make me a report upon your Lordship's proposal, which, as soon as I receive, I shall write you again on the subject. I have the honour to be, etc. etc.
Dunkeld. 10th August 1829.
My Lord Bishop-With reference to the Duke of Atholl's letter to your Lordship of the 28th July, in reply to yours of the 23d, relative to the spot of ground adjoining Douglas bridge, which your Lordship wishes to have for the site of a new church, I am directed by the Duke to inform you, that having communicated your Lordship's proposal to Mr. M'Crone, who had received previous instructions to offer the ground to Genl. Goldie for £600, giving, however, the refusal of the ground to your Lordship, he finds Mr. M'Crone has gone too far into negotiation with Genl Goldie to have it in his power to comply with your wishes. I have the honour to be, etc. etc. R. C. CARRINGTON,
MY LORD BISHOP TO my LORD DUKE.
I'm head of the church in Sodor and Man,
You, the great chief of a mighty great clan;
You wear the kilt, I wear the cassock,
You pray, sans culotte - I on a hassock.
But most of my flock, they pray not at all,
For the sinners are many-the churches are small.
And och! botheration o'ertake them I say,
From their Lord, and your Bishop, they went far astray;
Scorn'd your rank and your power, his mitre and wig,
Disputed your rights, and refused his tithe pig;
For which awful sins they're in danger to go
Where they'll broil, and torment, and roast them below.
I've a scheme in my brain (in my wig if you please),
More churches to build,. and chapels of ease ;
If you'll join in this plan, we'll remove all complaints,
And the next generation we'll turn into saints.
We've both got our saints in story who shine,
Saint Andrew is yours, Saint Paddy is mine ;
And we've each gotten grace-of a different sort,
For mine's of the Church, and yours of the Court
Your grace from below, my grace from above,
Your anger and rage, my mercy and love;
We'll join in one plan to gain our own ends,
And the Duke and the Bishop continue good friends.
The children we'll save from all that is evil
The parents we'll send just plump to the devil;
On earth you'll ne'er meet them, but this is my text,
If they scape you in this world, you'll meet in the next.
The site discussed is that for the now demolished St. Barnabas - the two sites can be seen on my copy of Taggart's 1834 plan of Douglas.
The first line of verse two refers to Bishop Ward being the last Bishop to wear a canonical wig.
Mr M'Crone was the Duke's agent, detested by most Manxmen - the verse refers to the attempt by Bishop Murray (the Duke's nephew) to raise £6000 pa from the tithes, with the help of Mr M'Crone, and the riots that ensued. General Goldie owned the Nunnery, adjacent to the Bridge.