[From The Manxman, #13 1914]

A Good Cooish

Or in the native lingo Ta'n Cooish Mie.

A Cooish, you might like to know, is a friendly yarn, and these yarns are sent in by friends, which brings the Manx Proverb " Tra to un dooinney bogtet cooney lesh dooinney boght elley, to Jee hene garaghtee," which means " When one poor man helps another poor man

An Old Manx Tale. Vicar Gill and his man John.

In the year 1830, the Rev. Wm. Gill came to be Vicar of Malew. He found the glebe, which consisted of seven acres of very wet land, with no house upon it. He soon set about draining the land and building a vicarage house. He succeeded in getting the land into such a high state of cultivation that it was the general wonder of the farmers in both the north and south of the Island, so large were the crops the Vicar got out of the glebe. When the ground for the house, the garden, and the drive were taken off, there would be only about six acres left, which were divided into four plots. The plot of wheat was supposed to be good, being above the average, and the 12 acres of seed sown in the furrows; a woman following the plough and sprinkling the seed in at the rate of one bushel of seed to the 12 acres.

The Vicar had to go off the Island for a short time, and when he got back he said to his man: " John, I have found out that we are sowing the wheat far too thick. I want you hereafter to sow it in every other furrow, instead of in every furrow." This proposal met with such disfavour from John that he tried to argue his master out of it, but it was no use. John said "he would leave the place sooner than he would make such a fool of himself by doing such a thing." The Vicar said very little more in the way of argument, but still thought he would like to see the experiment tried. When the time of sowing came round he went to his man and said: " John, I have been thinking a good deal about the sowing of the wheat. Will you be agree able to sow half of it your way, and do the other half my way?" John was quite agree able to this proposal. In due time the wheat was sown in the manner the vicar proposed, and his man, John, watched the growth of it, hoping that his half would outgrow the Vicar's half. For a time John thought his part of the field was doing the best until it came out in head. One night it came on very wet, and in the morning John's half was lying all down, having been beaten with the heavy rain, while the Vicar's half stood upright like a hedge. When the harvest came John saw he had the worst of the argument. The Vicar never spoke about the matter until the corn was cut, when he came to the glebe and said: " John, which, your sowing or mine, is the best?" and John shouted out: "Yours, sir; yours, sir."

After that John never asked to have his own way of sowing corn again, for he said that "there were bowlls more on the Vicar's half."

John and his esteemed master are now lying together in the quiet churchyard of Malew, a stone's throw from the glebe where the above occurred.

Medallion on Bishop Powys Charity
Ancient Medallion on Bishop Powys Charity,
near the Packet Office, Douglas
Observe that the Angel is dressed in a modern 'slashed' Skirt

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The only hen roost I can't rob!

The very happy cartoon, which " Poy " has been good enough to contribute to the present issue, brings to my mind a Parliamentary report of two or three years back, namely:

Mr. Alfred King asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, under the Finance Bill, residents in the Isle of Man would be able to claim exemption, abatement, or relief under the Income Tax Acts.

Mr. Lloyd George: The Isle of Man is not included in the United Kingdom for purposes of taxation, and persons resident in the Island are not residents in the United Kingdom for the purposes of the Finance Bill.

 

Mrs. E. Blakemore.

In the Isle of Man there are many cleve business women, Mrs. Blakemore being one of them. She is a most capable and charming lady, well known in the musical world of Douglas.

A wider circle than the Manx home com munity will mourn the loss of my old friend, Mr. Harry Ross Brown, of the Isle of Man Times, for he had been abroad, and was known and liked in other lands than his own. Hundreds of visitors were acquainted with him personally, and very many more knew him by sight. For my own part he was good comrade on the old cricket field at Pulrose, and com radeship on the green grass' of the national game means a good deal. The sturdiest reproof to any action not of the highest type is that "It is not cricket." Well, he always played cricket. Poor Harry. T.E.E.

The Bishop's Difficulty.

It is not generally known that in the Manx Litany there is a suffrage relating to the herring fishery, praying that God will " restore and continue to us the blessings of the sea."

Bishop Short, one time Bishop of Sodor and Man, used to recount the difficulties he experienced in preaching that smuggling was actually theft, for the people argued, " How can that be wrong for which we pray in church'," They considered that the suffrage was meaningless unless it included smuggling! But times are changed now, and the present Bishop does not suffer from such like annoyances.

The Votes for Women Land.

You know very well that Mona is a highly favoured little Kingdom. Many excellent laws which differ from those in Great Britain are in vogue there, these including Votes for Women. The Manxman is in the happy position of being able to copy any English law which he thinks good or of leaving severely alone those-and there are quite a few-for which he very properly entertains a rather poor opinion.

The King Hurry.

The new King Orry was out for so short a time last season that she hardly had the opportunity of getting her turbine machinery into that thoroughly smooth and easily running order which it will soon attain. Nevertheless she gained ground and reputation almost daily. One of her earliest passages was a 3 hour 34 minutes' one, from Douglas Head to along side the stage, at Liverpool-a mean speed of 19? knots for the whole distance. Later on she went between the Head and the Bar Ship at the rate of 204 knots. Later again-it was July 8th-she travelled between the Rock Light and the Battery Pier-all the official passages are measured from these points-in 3 hours 11 minutes, or 2112 knots, and later still- September 5th, just before she knocked off-at a speed of 2192 knots per hour. Travellers by her this season will therefore see exactly how she keeps on improving. King Orry the Third!

Mr. S. H. Marsden.

S H Marsden

Mr. Marsden is now one of Ramsey's busiest townsmen. He is proprietor of the prosperous Prince of Wales Hotel, which is close to the harbour entrance. As he formerly had the Old Pier Inn, Douglas, now part of the Steampacket Offices, we shall interview him about the lore of that ancient spot.

What the Douglas Court House was.

A little beyond the " Times " Office in Athol Street, and at the corner of Church Street, stands a large building of pretentious appearance, which is now called the Court House. It is not an unhandsome building, having in front large Corinthian columns sur mounted by a portico, whilst the roof is protected by a low balustrade of short ornamental columns.

This building was originally erected by the Isle of 'Man District of Oddfellows, M.U., at a time when the Manx District gained some notoriety on account of the Annual Movable Conference of the Order holding their meeting in the Island in the year 1841.

The causes which gave rise to the erection of the fine structure are as follows:

In 1840 a desire was expressed by the local Oddfellows that a Hall should be built wherein to hold the Lodge Meetings. There being no funds on hand for such purpose, the members decided to build on the co-operative principle, taking shares as far as they could afford. A start was made with the hall, the Architect and Builder being two brothers-Messrs. John and Henry Robinson, of Finch Road, Douglas-and it was so far completed that the first A.M.C. (1841) was held in it.

Unfortunately for the Order, the members who had taken shares became dissatisfied with the large amount of money the Building had cost, and, as a result, by some unfortunate means the " Oddfellows' Hall " (as it was then called) parsed from their hands. It was sub sequently a Theatre, but when new Law Courts were required for Douglas, this building was selected as the most suitable for the purpose, and thence it obtained its present name of the Court-House, and to-day it is one of the principal buildings in the Island, owned by the Government, and in which all the Law Courts are held.

No. 79 on the Roll.

Some Other Junes.

June 1st, 1830. "The Majestic and City of Glasgow will sail from Douglas for Liver pool every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings." These were Scotch steamers, who ceased to call when Mona's Isle (I.), began.

June 10th, 1830. Launch of Mona's Isle (L), the first steamer of the Company.

June 6th, 1831. John Forrest, seaman, whilst helping to set the sails on the Mono's Isle (I,) was thrown into the sea. He was rescued. June 11th, 1832. The Mona's Isle (L) arrived " with no fewer than 120 passengers." This was something to talk about then.

June 19th, 1832. Mail contract renewed for the first time.

June 23rd, 1833. Married at St. Peter's Church, Liverpool, Mr. John Kermode, mate of the Mona's Isle, to Mrs. Cleghorn, of Douglas. Captain Kermode was afterwards commodore for many years.

June 25th, 1833. First public excursion Round the Island. The Mona - will sail from Douglas at 7 o'clock each alternate Tuesday, and remain one hour in the Bays of Castle town, Peel and Ramsey !

June 1st, 1834. Announcement that during fourteen days in May there were launched at Peel the John and Henry, 70 tons, the Paddy from Peel, 50 tons, the Express, 32 tons, and the Pelican, 15 tons, " which proves that that town cannot be so lifeless as some represent it to be! " By the way, how would the Paddy from Peel do as a name for the new Manx steamer? She might be going on the Irish stations, you know.

June 20th, 1834. First arrival of the Queen of the Isle at Douglas.

June 20th, 1834. Stranraer first mentioned in connection with Manx tourists.

June 26th, 1835. Plot of land in Finch Road for sale. " Desirable spot for the erection of a residential country villa! "

June 19th, 1836. The opposition steamer Monarch was launched this day. Captain Bacon, who lived in a portion of the Royal Hotel still standing, was one of the co Owners.

June 16th, 1837. Captain Gill, struck by a bale of goods, is thrown into the hold of the Queen of the Isle and " taken up senseless."

June 26th, 1837. Patent feathering floats first used on the paddle wheels of a Manx steamer, the Queen of the Isle.

June 30th, 1837. The Mona's Isle (T) advertised for sale, " not being commodious enough for the station." She was not sold, however.

June 8th, 1838. A party of Manx visitors, boating, off Langness, are blown over to Beaumaris ! Brought back to the Island by Captain Quayle in the Queen of the Isle.

The Observer's Observations.

Over the signature of " J.M.," and headed " Nuns and Novelists," the following letter appeared in the London Sunday newspaper, " The Observer," on September 14th, last:

Sir,-It is a puzzle to me why a man so clever as Mr. Hall Caine is should undertake to write of things and people he does not in the least understand. To anyone well up in the matter, his description of convent life, and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in particular, shows utter ignorance of his subject.

Roman Catholic nuns are bound by very strict rules. They do not gossip in corners. The Reverend Mother does not retire for rest to a villa in the country. The Sisters never go home on visits to their friends, and one nun is never left alone in a convent with the chaplain, who never, by any chance, takes tea with the community at large, much less with one nun in particular; nor does he ever have his living rooms in the convent garden.

Mr. Hall Caine's idea of Roman Catholic religious life is like a fine water colour copied in coarse house paint. Why is it that these holy women who retire from the world can't be left in peace? There are a few authors for whom, strangely enough, Roman Catholic nuns and priests have a perfect fascination. They constantly drag them forth to be dressed up in their literary shows as romantic puppets, surrounded with sickly sentiment and often disgusting immorality.

More Queer Queries.

Here are a few questions, all relating to Douglas, which the Editor will be glad to hav- answered :

Who remembers " Redferns? " What was Redfern's? When was it started? Where was it?

Who remembers the "Brown Bobby?" Where was it? What was it?

Who remembers the "Pig and Whistle," at Douglas? Who can tell anything curious about it?

Who remembers the " Labour in Vain? Where was it? Was its sign an old lady trying to scrub a black boy whicc?

Who lived in the Adelphi before it was a public house? Was it a bank? or was it a private mansion?

Lights that never fail.

Passengers on the Isle of Man steamers are often interested in the lightships and light houses which they pass when leaving or nearing Liverpool. The following may interest those who happen to pass them during the dark hours: -

Bar Ship-Group of triple white lights. flashing every 30 seconds, visible 1J miles.

Formby Ship-Light flashing red every 20 seconds, visible 8 miles.

Crosby Ship-Light flashing white every 10 seconds, visible 8 miles.

Rock Lighthouse-White light flashing every 20 seconds, 77ft. circle, visible 14 miles. North Wall (end of Liverpool docks')-- Occulting white light, one long flash and one short, every 30 seconds, visible 15 miles.

[Best known man in Port St. Mary]

The Yarn of a Yacht.

The Isle of Man Yacht Club are now doing their best-yes, really working pretty actively to remove the stigma, which had grown during recent years, that the Island was falling behind in the sport of yachting, and all yachtsmen wish them good luck in their endeavours. On July 6th next they will provide prizes for a race between any boats which took part in the famous " midnight " contest fixed for Friday. evening, July 3rd. This ought to provide a good spectacle for the visitors. Once upon a time Manx yachting was rather strong. The following appeared in Hunt's Yachting Maga zine, August 30th, 1862:-" The Manx-built yacht Iolanthe, the property of H. Bridson, Esq., was amongst those assisting at the Royal Yacht Squadron and Plymouth Regatta last week. The Iolanthe was entered for one of the chief races, but owing to the extreme lightness of the wind the vessels could not get round the marks." What a pity!

Praising Hoefner's Pictures.

The following letter has been received from Mr. H. F. Neale, a Liverpool solicitor:

Dear Mr. Editor,-May I be permitted to congratulate you upon the literary and artistic value of your little journal. I read in your last issue with very great pleasure your article on The Island and its Painters, by the Old 'Un. and was particularly interested in your reference to a very old friend of mine, Karl Hoefner, who undoubtedly loved Manxland as he loved his native country, and was only happy when he could paint a beautiful and salient magnificence. I have in my possession several pictures which I purchased from him personally, one being a lovely oil painting of an oak near Bishop s Palace, which I value. I also bought a picture exhibited by him in the Liverpool Autumn Exhibition, old Frodsham Church, which I stitl retain and value, and which was marked in the catalogue of his year at 80, and for which the late Sir Andrew Walker made an offer, which was not accepted, hence my proprietorship. 1 have other pictures of more or less value by the same artist, who, had he lived, would undoubtedly have a magnificent position in English Art.

This is only a preliminary to a correction of your statement that the original picture by this brilliant artist is to be seen at Derby Castle, Douglas. I mean the "Sugar Loaf Rock." There is no doubt a replica there, but I have the original in my possession, which was painted by the artist for exhibition at Liverpool, and measures on canvas alone 6ft. by Oft. loin. It is magnificently painted, and I purchased it after certain troubles, which we need not otherwise refer to, compelled him to release his association with Manxland. You are no doubt aware of his untimely death at Liverpool, when his mind was deranged, and what otherwise might have been a great career sacrificed by his own act.

The picture is still in my collection, and I should be very glad to transfer it to those who would appreciate it at a satisfactory price. It ought certainly to be acquired by a Gallery which values Manx scenery and artistic worth.

Bishop Hill's Witticisms.

On occasions certain of the Manx prelates have prided themselves on possessing "the exquisite gift of humour." Perhaps they have been imbued by the rollicking spirit of fun that made light the heart of Dr. Rowley Hill, one time Bishop of Seder and Man, who found something to laugh at in nearly every phase of human life. He never tossed aside his lawn sleeves without giving rein to his wit. He had serio-comic thoughts of persuading the Isle of Man Railway Company to make his curates drivers of the trains in Manxland, believing that these young men, anxious for preferment, would put on steam, and give the Island a lesson m rapid travelling, even at the' risk of sweeping off the track the local proverb " Maybe the last dog is catching the hare."

It was this Bishop who, arriving at 'Rotherham station, was respectfully asked by a porter: " How many articles, my lord? " and gravely replied, " Thirty-nine, my man! "

It was in a railway carriage in the Isle of Man, travelling home from a meeting of the Tynwald Court, as the Manx Legislative Assembly is styled, that Rowley Hill per petrated a joke at the expense of a well-known Manx family-:or rather two families, the Gells and the Gills, the pronunciation of which names by Manx folk is very like.

Beware of Partitions.

They are influential people. One of the family had been appointed to a high judicial position, and in an adjoining carriage, separated from that in which the Bishop sat by only a low partition, some members of the House of Keys were discussing how this " queer fish," as they called him, had got the appoint ment. The Bishop, looking over the partition, informed them in his best episcopal manner that this "queer fish had been dragged in by the 'gills.'"

When he was appointed Bishop of Sodor and Man-the ancient name of the diocese-he was being entertained by a party of English gentlefolk, one of whom laughingly remarked, in proposing his health, that he had gone_ to be Bishop of a diocese in which the cats had no tails and the cathedral no roof. " Gentle men," said the Bishop, in responding, " I am afraid that it is beyond your power to put tails on the cats, but you can easily, if you try, put a roof on the cathedral." " Sodor," by the way, stands for " Sodorenses," or " Southern Islands," the Hebrides, which were formerly included in the episcopate. The diocese is a very old one, its first Bishop having been appointed by St. Patrick.

The above appeared in the " Kentish Mercury " some twenty odd years back. It gives you an idea of the charming humour of the late Bishop Rowley Hill, but not very many of his jokes. One Tears, a local wit, was once teasing him about heavenly plains, but not hills, being mentioned in the Bible. " There are no tears in heaven, at any rate," was his quick and witty reply.

The Travelling Manxman.

The most travelled copy of the " Manxman " would appear to be one of the last September issues, which Mr. Harry Crellin packed securely in a big envelope and posted to Mr. Eric A. George, who was in Auckland, New Zealand. There had been a change in his address, and the packet came back, unopened, to the office of the Shipping Co. whose name was on the envelope. Mr. Crellin re-posted it by the next mail, so that it is probably the only number of the "Three-legged Magazine " which has made two such long journeys. Of course, it is perfectly well known that hundreds of residents in the Island send the " Manxman " practically all over the world.

"Sashok Reid."

Alexander is a. great name in Russia, and Maxim Gorky, the world - famed Russian novelist, says that Lesa, Sashok, Sasha and Sashka are all diminutives of Alexander. This is grave news, for Alexander is also a great name in the Isle of Man and is borne, :in particular, by one of the most popular men the Island has ever known-but think of anybody on the Empress-Queen, who wanted Captain Alexander Reid, having to call him " Sashok " or " Sashka"' The paddles would stop turning round!

Kelly in Rangoon.

A steward on one of the Bibby liners told a queer tale, the other day. The ship was at anchor, at Rangoon. There was the loveliest of warm sunshine about, and everyone was lazy and happy, and a good many were lolling over the liner's rail. Presently the air of a familiar song floated up from the port, and all grew sentimentally interested. What was happening? Twelve native urchins were dexterously paddling four logs of wood-three lads to a log-and' merrily singing, in broken English, "Has any body here seen Kelly? " Somebody in Rangoon must have previously been in the Isle of Man!

The Tobins and Tynwald.

"The Tobin family, at present (1897) residing at Eastham House," says Mrs. Hilda Gamlin, in " Twixt Mersey and Dee," " have in the past obtained distinction in Liverpool, their name '. being associated with its commercial and political history for many years. The family came originally to Liverpool from the Isle of Man, they were among the leading residents of Mona, and some of them were connected with the framing of those ancient laws and customs which are still proclaimed annually on Tynwald Hill." The late Mrs. Gamlin was so charming a writer that we shall not take her last sentence to mean that the same laws are promulgated, at Tynwald, again and again. Who can tell us about the Tobin family in the Isle of Man? That is the point. Somebody will please come forward as quickly as possible.


 

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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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