Kirk Braddan, New Yard

Even with the creation of a grave yard at St George's from the late 18th century, the growth of Douglas outpaced any possible expansion of Kirk Braddan old yard. Accordingly a new cemetery on the Strang road a little distance from the church was established by the Braddan Burial Ground Act 1848.

cemetery chapel

The cemetery chapel is in classic Manx style; designed by Thomas Jefferson and opened 1843. The view is from just east of the area for' poor Christians and Catholics, south of the central pathway,' as described by Brown.

The east-end window, 'Tree of Life', by Ballie Scott has recently been restored - painted rather than stained glass to come within financial limit.

Ballie Scott Window

The following is an extract from Brown's 1877 Guide to The Isle of Man - included here both as an indication of what was thought would amuse visitors as well as a record of the yard c.1875. It was probably written by J.A.Brown, son of John Brown the founder of the Isle of Man Times; at times one detects a little tongue in cheek - especially in his mention of a secret society when one recalls that the Browns were major figures in Manx Freemasonry!

Ramble V

Taking the Peel road from Douglas, when we see Kirk Braddan ascend the hill on the right to the Cemetery gates, and for the sake of convenience first examine the monuments on our left hand as we enter, commencing at the bottom row. In copying the epitaphs we have marked out the rows in which each maybe found by enclosing the number of the row in brackets; thus, in [2], on a stone over the child of John Kelly, we read—

His little fingers ne’er was made
To labour in the sun;
For he is sleeping in the grave,
And all his work is done.

One of the neatest monuments in this row is in memory of Capt. James Scaddan, and two sons, "whose remains lie buried in the deep." As may naturally be expected, amongst a seafaring community, there are stones in almost every graveyard that tell the same sad loss by death at sea.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath hound the restless wave;
Who bid’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep,
Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

In the 5th row is a handsome marble cross, with monogram, in memory of Thomas Clapham, of Manchester, one of the most elaborately-designed monuments in the place. In the same row, also, is a stone cross inscribed "in memory of Mary Skrimshire, affianced bride of A. W. K. Price. It is well."

[6]. A cross and "Gloria in Deo." Below them these lines:—

Death did to me short warning give,
Therefore be careful how you live;
Prepare in time, do not delay,
For I was quickly called away.

In the same row is a very neat stone surmounted by a cross and "circle of glory," in the centre of the cross being the sacred monogram gilt, and upon the circle "In te Domine speravi, non confundar in aeternum" (In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted; let me not be eternally confounded). Across the arms of the cross are also the words— "Jesus. Mercy," in gilt letters. This stone was erected "by a fond sister in memory of her brother and husband."

[8]. Here is one rude little headstone, simply inscribed "B " by some untutored hand, forcibly reminding us of Gray’s simple yet beautiful elegy, which may be appropriately applied to the graveyards in Man.

[10]. On the grave of the Webb family:—

Like crowded forest trees we stand
And some are marked to fall
The axe will smite at God’s command
And soon shall smite us all.

In row No. 12—

Farewell thou dear one; life’s voyage is o’er,
Its storms and its tempest can reach thee no more;
Thou hart moored thy frail hark on eternity’s strand
And art sharing the joys of Immanuel’s land!

[13]. The first stone to attract attention in this row is a neat marble headstone, on which is carved an anchor and "Poor Alfred," in memory of a master mariner of Preston, who was drowned in Douglas Bay while in the execution of his duty; aged 24. Another young man, also drowned in Douglas Bay, lies in the same row, and has these lines over him :—

Oh, death, how, sudden was thy stroke,
This dearest union thou hast broke,
Nor gave me time to take my leave
Of my dear mother, left to grieve,
Weep not for me, my time was come,
Father of heaven, Thy will be done.

The next stone is worthy of notice, as being erected to the departed by his shop companions.

[14]. Here lies Alexander Spittall, "a member of the House of Keys from the year 1846 until its dissolution in March, 1867’." One of the neatest monuments in the cemetery is that to the memory of Richard Henry Hampton, "erected by a few of his friends." It bears the Divine monogram and that of the deceased on its several faces. In the same row lies James Corran, 18 years clerk of Kirk Braddan ; and close to him we read the following epitaphs :—" Henry Bolton, who for a period of seventeen years was an earnest and conscientious worker in that part (Douglas) of the Lord’s vineyard"; and "In affectionate remembrance of John Luff, an acceptable and useful Wesleyan local preacher, who died February 5th, 1870, aged 34. In the midst of many troubles he faithfully maintained a Christian character; and death, though unlooked for, found him ready. In token of the high esteem in which he was held, this stone is inscribed by his brethren, the local preachers of the Douglas circuit," Close to these is another stone, and which is the only one of the kind we can see, thus inscribed—" + Of your charity pray for the soul of Sarah, wife of Patrick Fisher," and enclosed in a space neatly railed round and planted. It may appear strange to Protestants that such a stone should have place in a parochial burial ground, but in Man all sects "agree to differ," and Churchman, Catholic, and Protestant Dissenter all lie buried in the same consecrated ground, whether churchyard or cemetery.

[15.] in this row is an interesting stone in memory of "Lieut. George Brown Gelling, of the Confederate States army, of Charleston, South Carolina, America, who was killed at the siege of Petersburgh, Virginia, 16th June, 1864," at the early age of 23. On the grave of William Clucas, of the Strang, are the following lines :—

In the grave where I’m lying,
Weep not for me;
Wintry winds around me sighing,
Weep not for me !

Holy angels guard are keeping
Round the spot where I am sleeping,
Whilst immortal joys I’m reaping,
Weep not for me!

At the foot of this row is an obelisk of unpolished granite, "erected in affectionate remembrance of the Rev. Anthony Thompson, B.A., by the church and congregation of the Athol-street Independent Chapel, Douglas, over which he was pastor from June 11th, 1863, till his death on his 31st birthday, April 5th, 1866. During a long and painful illness he manifested much patience and Christian resignation; as a man, he was endeared to his flock by a frank and gentle manner; as a pastor, by the faithfulness with which he discharged his Master’s work. In life most loved where best known, in death for ever with the Lord. His last words from the pulpit were—

"Take not Thy spirit from us,
But take away all doubt;
in ways of wisdom lead us,
With heavenly manna feed us,
To heaven at last receive us,
That we go no more out."

"As a loving son and affectionate brother his bereaved family deeply mourn his loss, but with the hope of a joyful reunion in the home on high."

In the 17th row is a memorial to Ann Addison, wife of the superintendent of the House of Industry, "Erected by the Committee and other friends as a token of the high esteem and respect they entertained for her as matron of that place."

[19] A memorial of John Cannel, who for "thirty-seven years filled the office of Coroner for Glanfaba and Middle Sheadings, in this Island." The Coroner of Glanfaba is chief Coroner in Man. The next grave is that of Thomas Quirk, "for upwards of thirty years in the service of the Northern Lights Board."

[21.] W. J. Kelly’s grave has the following Lines:—

Behold the toil of life is o’er,
And care and pain afflict no more;
How sweet the Christian’s life to close.
How sweet in death to find repose.

In the 25th row we find, perhaps, the most nationally important tomb in the cemetery, which is inscribed "In memory of John Martin, historical painter, born at Haydon Bridge, Northumberland, 19th July, 1789; died at Douglas, Isle of Man, 17th Feb., 1854."

[29.] In this row lies Senhouse Wilson; "he was called to the Manx bar 1835, elected member of the House of Keys 1854, and appointed High-Bailiff of Douglas and Registrar of Deeds 1855." Here is also a monument erected by a master to "William Joseph, a native of Antigua, West Indies; a faithful servant."

[31.] A stone "Erected by the officers and crew of the steamship Douglas in memory of Isaac Vondy, their late second mate."

[35.] A stone commemorates an "Engineer in Chief of the Mining Company, Netherlands, India, who, with his wife and three children, was murdered in Borneo in an outbreak of the Malaya, on the 1st of May, 1859."

[38.] "This enclosure is erected by Catherine Stowell, of No. 1, Auckland-terrace, Douglas, formerly of Ballacreggan, in this parish, who particularly requests that this grave shall never be opened after her interment." Another stone here, ornamented with bas-reliefs of musical instruments, was erected by the members of the 1st Isle of Man Artillery Volunteer band, in memory of John Gawne, a deceased compatriot. There is also a handsome marble monument in memory of Thomas Rogerson, formerly one of the proprietors of the Liverpool Mercury.

[40.] Over Lieut. Burnett is a stone with his crest and motto— a hand with a pruning knife and vine; motto, "Virescit vulnere virtus."

[41.] A memorial of William Macfie, "a native of Rothsay, Isle of Bute, who faithfully discharged his duty both as mate and master in the service of the Isle of Man Steampacket Company upwards of seventeen years, to the entire satisfaction of his employers and a discerning public."

[43.] Here is a Welsh inscription by way of variety :-—

O, faban tlws! i’n daear ni Ce ddaeth i brofi ‘r cwpan sur.
Nacâodd yfed; ‘hedodd fry yn llon, i blith seraphian pur.


Oh, pretty infant! To our earth he came to taste the sour cup.
Refused to drink; smiling, he took his flight above, to be among the pure seraphims.

In memory of Paul Gelling, "who was unfortunately drowned on his passage from Whitehaven to this Island," is the following inscription

Though Boreas blasts and Neptune’s waves
Have tossed him to and fro,
In spite of both, by God’s decree,
He’s anchored safe below,
Where at an anchor he does sleep,
With many of the fleet,
In hopes again once more to sail,
His Saviour, Christ, to meet. "

[56,] A stone bears the following verse

Go home, dear children, shed no tears,
For you I've labored many years;
But now I'm come to take my rest,
In time prepare to follow next.

[58]. On the grave of Henry Cassidy may be read—" Oh, happy is the death of the newly baptized; theirs is surely the kingdom of heaven." A conspicuous headstone in this row has carved upon it the stern of a ship, with crown, flags, guns, sail, and anchor. It is "sacred to the memory of ‘the late.: Vice-Admiral Henry Higman."

[59]. A simple flat stone covers Lieutenant-Colonel Murray, of the Royal Artillery, eldest son: of ‘the Honble. Richard, and grandson of Lord Henry Murray, 15 years member of the House of Keys. This monument may be contrasted with those to the father and grandfather of deceased at Kirk Braddan—the one towering towards the skies, the other likely to be covered with noisome weeds!

[62]. The gravestone covering Wm. Cowle, in this row, bears an elaborate coat of arms, apparently those of some secret order, but the heraldry seems none of the best. The supporters are—dexter, a winged woman with a branch of laurel; sinister, another woman with a cornucopia. No motto. [He was, as the writer almost certainly knew, a member of the Rechabites]

Coming to the last row we have at the top a cross in memory of Christian Christian, with the words "Salus per Christum" (Salvation through Christ). A little lower down is a neat classic column in memory of George Evans Curphey, "who died at East Tamaki, New Zealand; where he had gone for the benefit of his health." Lower down still we find the grave of Henry Mann Fothergill, who died of "Typhus fever, contracted in the diligent performance of his duties as resident surgeon to the Douglas Hospital"; aged 27 years.

Passing over to the south side of the central walk we find many graves of Catholics and other poor Christians, without a "frail memorial" erected to tell who lieth there. But comparatively few monuments exist on this portion of the ground, and still fewer are interesting. Here is one :— ‘ Under this marble (but the monument is an ordinary head-stone, whether it ought to be so or not) rest the earthly remains of Captain Jens S. Riber, born by Arendal, 1811, died the 30th day of August, 1853, on a voyage from America to the Isle of Man. An honest and virtuous man has here, far from his relations, on foreign ground put down his pilgrim’s staff, deeply lamented by his wife and son. Thou quiet, wanderer, who perhaps stops on this lonely spot, turn thy look to this stone and cast over it: a thought." The same inscription is also inscribed in the Norske language. On the grave of Alice Maguire, aged 88, are the lines —.

Far from the world of care and sin
With God eternally shut in.

Another headstone is thus inscribed :—" Harriet Booth, of Manchester, who departed this life on the 20th day of July, 1849, aged 29. This was the first stone erected in the cemetery. W. Commish." Almost behind it is another with the following inscription, and with this our extracts must close, though we have by no means given all the interesting epitaphs which the cemetery contains, but our space is limited. This is the last inscription

In flore venustatis Terra abrepti,
In caelo, per merita Salvatoris aeterne Florere.

(In the prime of life he was taken from earth, but by the merits of our Saviour he will eternally flourish in heaven.)

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Braddan Churches

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001