Manx Methodist Historical Society - Newsletter 15


It is with great sorrow that we record the death of our Vice-Chairman, Rev. Fred Costain. Because of his protracted illness he had not been able to share our meetings for some time, and we greatly missed his experience and knowledge of things Manx at Committee meetings. We remember with affection his two main contributions to our programmes - a visit to the Howe, and a lantern slide show of 'Old Manx Worthies'. Mrs. Costain very graciously consented to allow us to call our new library after Fred.
As we go to press, we have just learned of the death of Miss Doris Garrett. Doris had been involved with the Society since its very early days, and from 1976 (if not earlier) had been its Assistant Secretary. She very much enjoyed its meetings and outings, (I will never forget the way she tackled the walk down Glen Rushen) and it was only latterly when our meetings seemed to coincide with World Manx meetings that she was unable to join us. Her quiet, gentle presence will be sorely missed. We extend our deepest sympathy to her niece.


30th October, 1991
We remember and give thanks for the people who started the Society, 20 years ago, and especially Mrs. Eve Chapman whose collection of notes from the Archives provided the first collated record of Methodism in the Isle of Man. Questions have been asked about the existence of a definitive history of Manx Methodism, and the preparation of that is perhaps the Society's long term work.It was a fact that in the 19th century, the Methodist influence had been to move society on. There was, for instance, William Collister (Ballaugh) who struggled to get the House of Keys an elected chamber - and petitioned the Queen to do so. The building blocks for a definitive history are the stories of little Methodist societies, like Colby and Baldrine who produce pamphlets of their own history when celebrating anniversaries. People like Cyril Renshaw have a photographic record of abandoned buildings, and Mr. Bell at Sandygate - a collection of photos of churches in the Circuit. Mr. Cashin has also been recording the memories of older members. All the Circuits could make it an opportunity to record their history by using a map f the island to mark where all the old buildings were. This sort of recording work was now urgent before local knowledge passed away completely. It was King Edward who remarked that the chapels were 'too big to be cottages, too small to be factories'. And what about our relics - Mrs. Creer's teapot? And the chair for John Wesley at Mrs. Kelvin's, Nedderdale, Sulby (1781?) The commemorative stamp issue some years ago -where is the original picture of John Wesley on his father's tomb? And another teapot - Mrs. Stocks' at Andreas? We remember with gratitude the early stalwarts of the Society - Miss Doris Garrett and Miss M. McHardy who kept the secretarial work going, Arthur Craine, Cecil McFee and Miss Kneen. We are grateful too that the Society is flourishing now.

In the discussion that followed Rev. Kissack's talk, several interesting suggestions were made - the possibility of a questionnaire to local chapels to record relics, items of special interest, etc.; the preparation of video films of brief interviews, sites, customs, etc.; how to preserve old hymn books with the chapel's name indented - including those that are pre-1933 - Primitive and Wesleyan.

[NB - Ref.was made in the course of the discussion to the pulpit at Lonan, which is now in America, and to two chairs, which may be in Trinity. also to a tape of an American woman as a young girl in Peel, singing at a piano. . Willy Teare also has a lot of information. Brian Thompson referred to chapel pottery, (some in the Museum) - plaques? loving cups? prints of 'the brand plucked from the burning' etc. Reference was also made to the pulpit in Peel chapel.)

At the Annual Ceneral Meeting Rev. Terry Isherwood officially opened the new library of the Society in the Howard Room of the Promenade Church, Douglas. This had been constructed by Mr. John Moore, and paid for with the help of the offering from the Wesley '88 celebration service at the Cathedral. The Society records it gratitude to Mr.Moore for his very skillful construction, and to the Promenade Church Property Committee for their permission to house the library there.


The following are extracts from a tape-recorded conversation between Mr. Teare and Mr. Tom Cashin in 1986.Mr. Teare's mother was a Curphey, whose family went back 200years. His grandfather was a Sunday School teacher in the Sandygate Chapel when it was first built. He died in 1899.Before this, there had been a chapel 'out there'. At Sandygate the day-school had served as a Sunday School as well,the school master was one Aboer Kerruish, who was secretary of the Sandygate Chapel when it was built in 1862. Children then paid one penny per week for their education, and brought a sod of turf to keep the fire going. Because it was so hot at the front, when Mr. Kerruish gave the sign each row would move one step forward, and the front row would go to the back. Had John Wesley any associations with Sandygate? - It was reported that he had lodged one night in (Brook House) on the Ballameanagh Road, and that he had ridden past the crossroads, and along the headlands to a Methodist Meeting House at Close William. But there was a hostile crowd on hand, and the clergy chased them up the Killey road to Sulby. The first chapel at Ballaugh Curraghs was built of sods.

Mr. Teare moved from St. Jude's to Sandygate in 1918, when he was seven years old, and had been associated with the chapel ever since, apart from time overseas during the war.When the chapel was built, the roof and rafters cost £70.It was reckoned to be the first well-built chapel on the island, at a cost of under £500. When it was opened, there was a tea party in the field opposite, which 700 people attended. On the left hand side of the chapel there were 'poor seats' for those who could not afford a pew rent or collection. In the middle of the chapel there were doors on all the seats, which held 4 - 5 people. A very sensible arrangement of doors on alternate seats ensured that there was no jamming when a large congregation sought to leave the building. They attended Sunday School in the morning, and in the afternoon, chapel in the afternoon and at night. Did he enjoy it? -'Yes, because you were brought up to it.' Mr. Teare also recalled the Open Air Anniversaries, with big stages, and a platform at the bottom. On the day of the anniversary, four or five people would bring the organ from the chapel and set it on the platform. Then ten days later, there would be the Picnic - gathering at the corner at 10.0am, walking to Sulby station, train to Ramsey, and electric car to Laxey. Sometimes they would go to Silverdale or Peel. In the Sunday School at that time were about 30 scholars, although before Mr. Teare's time, there were many more. Some of the outstanding people he remembered from those days were Mr. Kissack, Mr. Curphey from Ballacrly, Mr. John Kelly the Cobbler, and Mr. John Willy Garrett (one of the nicest men he ever met.) Oil Voirreys were another great event in chapel life. At one time there was a vagrant in the neighbourhood called 'Clicky Even' who walked out from Ramsey to perform at the Oil Voirrey - he would be given cakes from the tea. and some of the collection to take home. He sang solos which 'were more like yelling, because they rocked the building', but he sang several hymns from memory. He would sit by the pulpit, and Robert C.orlett was chairman. When there was a lull in the proceedings, Rob. Corlett would give Clicky a tap on the head' and he would .jump up and oblige with a song. For the Harvest Homes, there would be twenty people decorating the chapel, and after there were the tea parties. Some would come from Ramsey, and although the event was due to start at 6 o'clock, by the time everyone had arrived itwould be 10 o'clock before they could start. so the party didn't finish till midnight. Although of course the roads were very dark at night, country folk were used to finding their way about. One time there was a mission at Sandygate, and 'a fellow from England' was leading it - preaching on the text -'If you walk in the darkness, you stumble and fall'. After the meeting he had to be assisted home, because he was used to the city lights, and couldn't see his way in the dark.Those who prevented him from stumbling, reminded him of his text. One of the outstanding preachers of the 1920's that Mr Teare particularly remembered was E.H. Corkhill from Kirk Michael. Because they were Wesleyans, they did not have the opportunity to hear Primitive Methodist preachers, and so he regretted he had not heard Jonathan Kelly from Michael, but when Mr. Corkhill was preaching at Ballaugh, it was often the case that folk would leave their church worship to be at the chapel. Mr. Teare also recalled evangelical meetings led by Mr. Gorry from Peel. In the course of the conversation Mr. Teare spoke of how he learned to speak Manx, and then recited the Lord's Prayer in Manx. At the time when organs were being introduced into the chapels, there was a story told of a Primitive Methodist talking to a Wesleyan 'I hear you've got an organ in your chapel - all you need now is a monkey!' To which the Wesleyan replied 'Yes, all you need is the organ!' The conversation ranges over a wide field of subjects besides life at Sandygate Chapel, A copy of the tape is now in the Rev. Fred Costain Memorial Library.

In 1839, Hugh Bourne visited the Isle of Man. He attended a large camp meeting at Douglas, where 'many souls were made happy in the field...When the meeting was near its close, I had a manifestation of Jesus Christ which affected the body.' By this he gained sufficient strength to preach in the chapel at night. 'There was a breaking out among the children....He turns His hand upon the little ones.' There is no further record of a visit by Bourne to the Island.


An impressive word for those who study Circuit Plans using them for research William Leary has produced a very helpful pamphlet, a copy of which now resides in the Rev. Fred Gostain Memorial Library, indicating that at one time poems appeared on the Plans either to instruct the preachers, or for other reasons. One such poem appeared on the Camelford United Methodist Free Church plan of 1865 -
Art thou a hearer? Doest thou reason thus -
Come now let us see who are plann'd with us;
Are any preachers whom we have not heard
Sent here to minister the gospel word?
No - Just the same we have from year to year,
I wish we had some new ones stationed here.
Art thou then curious, and fond of choice,
Eager to hear the stranger's tuneful voice,
And art thou led by novelty to roam
To other meetings distant from thy home;
But ask thy conscience; Is this conduct wise?
New things may feast thy fancy - please thy eyes,
And tickle itching ears - but truth's refulgent ray
Beams without novelty, nor knows decay;
And truth should be thy object of research,
Wher're thou goest, to chapel, or to church.

Has anyone yet found a Manx Plan in poetry?


Bro. Jas Costain of Ballachrink, Colby, was born in May1815, and died December 2nd 1883. He joined the Society in January, 1837, was made a class leader 5 years afterwards, and also came upon the plan at the same time. He was a Sunday School worker for 32 years, during 20 of which he held the office of Superintendent. He was a quiet, good, man, much respected. His end was sudden, and was in the chapel in which he had so often worshipped, and of which he was a steward. Mr. H., Clague was conducting a lovefeast, and after he had spoken, Bro. Costain rose to tell of God's goodness to him. He said he had found religion good at the beginning, good in the middle, but sweeter and better at the end. They were his last words - He fell, and he "was not, for God took him", from the lower sanctuary to be for ever with Himself. "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord."

Bro. Henry Clague, of Ballanorris, Arbory, was born in the year 1808, and died in September 1884. Converted in early life he came upon the plan as an exhorter in 1832. Of a genial temper and good ability, he filled in turn nearly if not all the offices open to him, but his great work was done in the Sunday School. For twenty eight years he filled the Superintendency of the school at Ballabeg. He used to say of himself that he lived in the children's world" and he has his reward in seeing many of his scholars truly converted to God. Ever jovial and kindly his home was always a favourite one with the preachers, both travelling and local. He died regretted by a large circle of friends."His labour was not in vain in the Lord."


by Edward Corderoy.

'There is one thing I do think the Methodist people....generally need. They need to be told a little more about Wesley's character, what manner of man our founder was. I was once asked by a Sunday School teacher whether John Wesley was a Methodist. ....,..Other denominations may accuse us of honouring a man unwisely; but let it be said once for all that, though no society on earth can beast such a founder, so pure in his character, so simple in motives, so truthful in his utterances, so superior to money and every petty and ordinary thing - a man who went about doing good the whole of his life - yet we will not glory even in Wesley apart from the grace of God, which made him what he was, and enabled him to achieve what he did.


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