[From Manx Quarterly, #9 1910]
Died August 31st, 1910.
It came as a great shock when the news rapidly spread on Wednesday, Aug. 31st, that Mr Armitage Rigby, H.K., of Ballamona, Braddan, had passed away. Few people were aware that Mr Rigby was indisposed, and fewer still that he was dangerously ill. Yet it turned out that for several days past he had been at deaths door, and that on Tuesday all hopes of recovery had been practically abandoned. In the last week of July, Mr Rigby, who was senior lieutenant in the Isle of Man Volunteers, went under canvas with the troops near St. Johns. Very wet weather was experienced during the seven days the camp lasted, and Mr Rigby. who was an ardent citizen-soldier, did not spare himself in regard to duty, although the fact that he had not been in the best of health might well have excused him going on the invalided list. On returning home after the weeks training was concluded, he suffered from an abscess in the jaw, which followed on a cold he had contracted in camp. Blood-poisoning developed, and was the immediate cause of death which occurred about six oclock on Wednesday morning. During his illness he was assiduously attended and treated by Dr Mackenzie, and devotedly nursed by his wife, but neither medical skill nor the best of nursing were of avail.
Mr Rigby was an Englishman by birth, and was connected with families of importance in the manufacturing districts of Lancashire and Cheshire. His father was Mr John Rigby, one of the founders of the firm of Armitage and Rigby, cotton manufacturers Manchester and Warrington and his cousin is Professor Armitage, Principal of a famous training institution for students . for the Congregational ministry. His relatives yet carry on extensive business: as cotton manufacturers in Manchester. Pendleton, and Chorley. On leaving school, he was articled to an architect, and on completing his articles, practised first in England and subsequently in the Isle of Man. He was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and was head of the firm of Rigby and Heslop, practising in Douglas and Port St. Mary. He was mainly responsible for the plans of several buildings of note in the Island, including the British Hotel, Douglas ; the Ridgeway Hotel, Douglas ; the "Examiner" Buildings, Douglas : the Wheatsheaf Hotel, Douglas ; and Billown Mansion House, near Castletown. He also designed and supervised important alterations at the Athol Hotel, Douglas. Skillful and rapid in conception and execution of plans, it may be remembered that he prepared designs for an important section of the " Examiner" block of property in less than one day, in order to have then; in readiness for a meeting of a committee of the Douglas Town Council. But as an architect, he will principally be associated with the judicious restoration work which, at the instigation of the Lieut.-Governor (Lord Raglan), has been accomplished at Castle Rushen. An authority on medieval building structure, Mr Rigby so directed he works undertaken in connection with the famous palace-fortress at Castletown as to bring the building into as nearly as possible it original condition, and it now stands confessedly the most complete example of a fourteenth century castle to be found in Europe. Mr Rigby threw himself into this work of restoration with enthusiasm ; with him it was a labour of love ; and he spared no pains to so order matters that the Castle should be pre served to posterity as it stood in the days when the Kings of Man resided there. In pursuit of this object, he visited most of the old fortresses in the United Kingdom of like date, and read deeply of literature devoted to mediaeval fortification. He also supervised excavations undertaken at ho instance of Lord Raglan. at St. Trinians and other ancient church buildings in the Island On ecclesiastical architecture he was an authority. and was constantly consulted in regard to church alteration and extension here and elsewhere A keen antiquarian and archaeologist, he was a prominent member of the Manx Antiquarian Society, for whom he did valuable work in the direction of investigating the keeils, barrows, old-world fortifications, and other ancient remains with which the Island abounds. In politics Mr Rigby was a Conservative, and his main concern in. his political work was to combat he advancing tide of Socialism. Up to 1908 he took but little interest in the affairs of the Manx Legislature. and it came as a great surprise when he contested at the General Election of the House of Keys in November. 1908, to seek return. as one of the members for North Douglas in opposition to Messrs J. T. Cowell (now Receiver-General), W. Goldsmith, and W. J. Kermode. He was very influentially supported by the Church element of the electorate, who resented the representation of the division being monopolised by Nonconformists. In the course of his election campaign he displayed considerable platform ability, but his principal asset lay n his unfailing good humour and constant urbanity. He fought most fairly, and even his opponents conceded that in him they had a most courteous antagonist. Owing mainly to the solid support he received from Churchpeople, who to a voter almost plumped for him, be was returned at the head of the poll., with Messrs Cowell and Goldsmith as colleagues. Upon most of the questions which have agitated the Legislature since his return, he has been opposed to the :great majority of the House, and particularly has this been the case in regard to taxation proposals and the Old Age Pension scheme, compensation for agricultural Improvements and Constitutional Reform In his opposition he has ever been perfectly and delightfully candid, and it w was characteristic of him to be considerate of the feelings of those members with whom he differed
Personally he was a great favourite with the House, and he is always sure of a respectful hearing what time he amiably propounded high Toryism At present there is before a committee of the House a bill which he introduced as to the registration of voters, and he also had in contemplation the preparation of a bill providing for Old Age Pensions on a contributory basis. Along with Mr Mark Carine, Mr R. D. Farrant, Mr W. Ashburner, and others, he was mainly instrumental in founding the Manx Political Associationnow the Manx Constitutional Associationfor the propagation of Conservative views among the Manx people, but the association has not had a brilliantly successful career. Though bred a Nonconformist, Mr Rigby was for many years before his death a strong adherent of the Church as by law established, and was for some time a licensed lay reader in connection with Kirk Braddan. He was, too, some years ago a hard-working member of the Church of England Temperance Association, and often presided or spoke at meetings held in the Island at the instance of the association. He was a vice-president of the Douglas Progressive Debating Society, and for several winters past his name was always down for a paper, which was carefully prepared and illustrated. The society will greatly miss him. It has been mentioned that Mr Rigby was an enthusiastic volunteer. Into the citizen-soldier movement he threw himself with great ardour, and he proved himself a very capable officer, and a self-sacrificing one at that. Also he was a good sportsmana sportsman in the truest sense of the term. For many years he was a very thorough member of the Isle of Man Hunt, and constantly followed the hounds, sometimes mounted and sometimes afoot. A good horseman, he was wont to take part in the riding competitions at the gymkhana meetings promoted by the Hunt. and in. these he ever bore himself well. Some twenty years ago he commenced to take a great interest in agriculture, and this he maintained to the end. For a few years he farmed Ballamona, and was instrumental in introducing into the Island the most up-to-date methods of dealing with dairy produce. In private life he was a courteous and kindly gentleman. Fond of a good story, he himself was a fine raconteur, and his best " yarns" were those he told against himself. Mr Rigby, who was about fifty years old, married the elder daughter of the late Mr Paul Henry Leece. of Ballamona, who for many years was one of the representatives of Middle Sheading in the House of Keys. Mrs Rigby, who is sister to the Rev C. H . Leece, Vicar of Rushen, survives her husband, and since Wednesday has been the recipient of countless messages of sympathy and condolence with her in her great bereavement
The funeral of the late Mr A. Rigby, H.K., took place on Friday, Sept. 2nd, the interment taking place at Braddan Cemetery. A large concourse of people assembled at the house and at the lodge gates to join in the cortege, and others joined in as the funeral procession passed through Douglas. The coffin was heaped with wreaths of flowers sent by sorrowing relatives and friends. Amongst the family tokens were wreaths from " Jeanie and Alfred " (Simpson) ; " Annie and Faulkner" (Armitage) ; "Lily and Arthur" (Haworth) ; a wreath from " all at Rushen Vicarage" ; flowers from Mr and Mrs John Rigby ; and "Kessie" and Beaumont Rigby. The Governor and Lady Raglan and Colonel and Mrs Moore sent floral tributes, and there was one from Mr Rigbys brother-officers of the volunteers. The members of the Manx Constitutional Association sent flowers in the design of an anchor in memory of " a good friend, a loyal comrade, a patriotic citizen." There was a wreath from "all at Hampton Court" (Messrs Penketh) ; a cross from Mrs Moore and the Misses E. and M. Moore, Cronkbourne ; a wreath from Mrs and Miss Hodgson ; a cross from Mr and Mrs Penketh ; bunches of flowers from Mrs Christian and Mr R Dodd ; a wreath from the Manx Motor Hiring Co ; a cross from Mr J. W. and Mrs Pickering; a wreath from Mr Joseph Mylchreest, of Whitehouse; and a wreath from Mr and Mrs Reship. The chief mourners were ; the first carriage, Messrs Wm. Rigby, John Rigby, Marshall Rigby (brothers), and the Rev C. H. Leece (brother-in-law); in the second carriage, Mrs and Mrs G. Faulkner Armitage (brother-in-law and sister), Mr and Mrs Arthur A. Haworth, M.P. (brother in-law and sister), and Mr Alfred Simpson (brother-in-law, also Mr Frank D. Leece (nephew). There were some 30 carriages following the hearse, including those of the Governor and Lady Raglan, the Speaker of the House of Keys, Col. Moore, the Rev Canc Moore, the chairman and representatives of the Constitutional Association, Mr George Drinkwater, Mr Jos. Mylchreest. Mr J. C. Bacon, OP., D Wood, the directors of the Villiers Hotel, Dr Richardson, Mr J. W. Pickering (Liverpool), Mr James Kissack, officers of the Douglas Volunteers, etc. In the cortege were noticed Mr F. Heslop (partner with Mr Rigby), Mr Hugh Thornton-Duesbury, Mr H . Race, M.R.C.V.S., Mr William Keggan, Mr John Penketh, Mr Alfred 0. Penketh, the Rev J M. Spicer (Vicar of Malew), Mr F. Quaggan, Mr C. E. Lamb, Councillor F. Gale, Mr R. Cain (Port Soderic), Mr Gill (Bailacreggan), Mr H. E. V. Lowry, Mr It. Cunningham, Mr G. J. Burtonwood ; Bandmaster F. C. Poulter, Sergeant-Major Thomas, and Quartermaster.Sergeant J. H. Cubbon, of the Douglas Volunteer Corps, in uniform; Mr Joseph Mylchreest (White House), Mr Bernard Mylchreest, Mr James Kissack, Mr T. E. Acheson ; Mr J. Maclean, Mr E. Bedford, and Mr John Caine (representing the Villiers Hotel Co.) ; the Speaker of the House of Keys (Mr D. Maitland), Mr W. M. Kerruish, H.K , Mr W. J. Radcliffe, H.K. ; Messrs Mark Carine, W. .Ashburner, R. D Farrant, Wm. Cowin, and F. Powell, representing the Manx Constitutional Association ; Mr T. Kneen (Clerk of the Rolls) ; Mr .J. W. Pickering (Summer Cot), Mr Jos. Cubbon (Douglas), Mr S. K. Broadbent, Mr Wm. Horrocks, Mr D. Everard the Receiver-General (Mr J. T. Cowell), Mr R. H. Mimer, Mr W. F. Dickinson. Mr J. M. Cruickshank ,High-Bailiff of Ramsey), Dr Wood, Mr W. Thomson, Mr A. A Whiteside, Mr G J. A. Brown, Mr H. J. Grindley, and others. Mr Harry Cowle supplied the coffin and superintended the arrangements, and Mr R H. Collister marshalled the carriages. At Braddan Cemetery gates the coffin was met by the Bishop (the Right Rev T. W. Drury), the Rev Canon Savage (Vicar of St. Thomass, and the Rev H . E. Barlow (curate of Braddan). The service in the church was read by Canon Savage; and the Bishop impressively rendered the committal service at the graveside