[From Manx Soc vol 28]
THE documents contained in the records which are here given of St. Mark's Chapel are copied from a quarto manuscript book of 350 pages, written by the Rev. J. T. Clarke, who was chaplain of St. Mark's for rather more than thirty-six years. They consist chiefly of copies from the originals in the ecclesiastical record office, with some few from other sources. The book contains minute particulars of the various subscribers to the funds, as well as of the disbursements for the buildings and purchase of the glebe lands, condensed statements of which are here given.
The different remarks which Mr. Clarke thought proper to make have his name or initials attached to them, and the editor has added others that he considered necessary as explanatory, or to carry out a connected narrative. In the Isle of Man Charities 1831, there is only an extract from the old register at St. Mark's, incorporated in the present account, which xvill be found to include every particular connected with the founding of this chapel of ease to Kirk Malew, as also the result of Mr. Clarke's exertions for so many years to render the living respectable for a minister of the church. The account has been brought down to the time of Mr. Clarke's resignation, when the Rev. Thomas Henry Gill was appointed his successor.
Amidst his various labours, and at a time when he was suffering from a severe domestic affliction, Mr. Clarke found leisure to join in the editorship of the English and Manx Dictionary which was issued under the auspices of the Manx Society, and for which he was eminently qualified from his intimate knowledge of the Manx tongue. He was not only conversant from his youth with the colloquial knowledge of his native tongue, speaking it as perfectly as the English language, but was also, at the age of nineteen years, called upon by the "Manx Society for promoting the education of the inhabitants of the Isle of Man through the medium of their own language," to translate for the press various tracts and other publications in the Manx dialect for the use of the schools.
He moreover instituted in his native parish of Jurby two adult Manx schools, in which he personally taught 150 scholars until he had to remove to Castletown to prepare for orders, and he afterwards officiated in the Established Church upwards of forty years, principally in his native tongue, by which he became more eminently qualified for such a work as the Manx Dictionary than any of his contemporaries in the diocese. It is to be regretted he was not allowed by the Council to correct the many inaccuracies which appear in the first part of that work, edited by the Rev. William Gill, as also others which have found their way into the second part of the same work, thereby rendering it less useful as a guide to the enquiring scholar. It is but doing justice to Mr. Clarke to say that he expressed great anxiety to cor rect those inaccuracies before the volume was bound, annexing them to the work as an errata; but he was overruled, and therefore it was issued from the press as a standard of the dialect, marred by its many deficiencies.
After Mr. Clarke's retirement from St. Mark's he officiated as curate to the Rev. J. J. S. Moore, chaplain of the Mariners' Church at Swansea. On the 14th December 1875 he was presented by Samuel Holland, Esq., M.P. for Merioneth, to the district parish church of Caerdeon, Merionethshire, built by his steadfast friend the Rev. J. L. Petit, where, in his green old age, he at the present time resides, greatly respected by his parishioners.
These records tell their own tale without further comment, and it is to be hoped will be an acceptable contribution to the ecclesiastical history of one of the chapels in the diocese of Sodor and Mann.
ROCK MOUNT, May 1878.