Kirk Braddan 1876-1976 Part 3

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Another literary man belonging to Braddan, however, did have a keen interest in the language and folklore and music, and to him the Island owes a great debt for his painstaking collection over many years of the valuable material published in 1896 in the volume "Manx Ballads and Music", and also in his "Manx Folklore" and many works on Manx history and other subjects. This was Speaker of the House of Keys Mr A. W. Moore, who lived at Cronkbourne, and was at one time a churchwarden and lay reader.

Arthur William Moore, born in 1853, was the great-grandson of Edward Moore of Pulrose, who established in 1790 a sailcloth factory in Douglas which was later expanded and moved out to Tromode, and which became known pretty well all over the world for the excellence of its product, which was used throughout the British Navy and Merchant Service. He became head of the family business and retained an active interest in it and in other important Manx businesses all his life. He was also a keen participant in Manx politics, was elected to the House of Keys in 1881, and became Speaker in 1898.

He was an ardent patriot and educationist, but his best and most permanent service to the Manx nation was his literary work, begun while he was still at University and continued right up to his death on Hollantide Day, 1909. He was a prominent member of Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh and of the Pan-Celtic Association which was the forerunner of the present Celtic Congress, was a fluent speaker of the Manx Gaelic and a keen supporter of the movement for its preservation and restoration to general usage.(note 1) When he died the Manx Quarterly referred to him in an obituary as follows:

"No man ever rendered the Island more distinguished service. He was a patriot of pure water, a fine scholar, and a legislator of great eminence."

The chapel to the Cronkbourne estate held a Sunday School run by the Misses Moore, and later was used as a small chapel of ease to Kirk Braddan, but with removals from the area its use diminished and it was closed in 1964 and later sold.(note 2)

A collaborator with Speaker Moore in the publication of his collection of folksongs was another well known Braddan personality, Miss M. L. Wood, who is sometimes referred to as the "mother of Manx music", but might more fittingly be called the mother of the Manx Music Festival, for she it was who introduced musical competitions into the syllabus of the old Isle of Man Fine Arts and Industrial Guild, and worked for the recognition of their value in raising musical standards until in the end they took over the whole show.

Miss Wood is a good example of the incomer who really integrates. Born in London, she came to live in the Island as a child when her family moved here in 1857, and from then until her death in 1925 the Island was her home. She trained as a musician and achieved the degree of ARCO, the organ being her chief instrument. She became an enthusiast for the Tonic Sol Fa method of teaching singing, and taught classes and individual pupils in various parts of the Island from 1867 onward, conducted choirs and was a church organist, first for eleven years at St Germain's, Peel, and then at Kirk Braddan, where she continued for the rest of her long and busy life. She was a composer in a modest way as well as an executive, and wrote at least one popular song, "The Bells of Old Kirk Braddan", which was featured in a recently issued record of popular Victorian songs about the Island entitled "The Old Iron Pier".

Miss Wood was a devoted servant of music in general and helped materially in raising the average standard of musical ability and performance in the Island, largely through her successful efforts, in collaboration with other Manx musicians, to establish on a permanent basis the competitive Manx Music Festival; but she emphatically did not share the musical snobbery of Victorian times which saw little merit in any but classical music.

She was interested in folk music too, and especially, through her association with Speaker Moore, in the folk songs of this island.

She helped the Speaker in the actual notation of many of the songs he collected, and made simple but effective piano arrangements for some 45 of them which were included in his "Manx Ballads and Music", and some of which were members of the Manx delegation to the first Pan Celtic Congress held in Dublin in 1901. As an organist, she was very popular with the Braddan congregation, being a fine player who liked to let herself go in extempore playing after the normal service, a musical treat which many people would linger to enjoy.

Another prominent Manxman lived in Braddan, the late Deemster Sir W. Percy Cowley, principal founder of and worker for the Manx National Trust, which has done so much to preserve outstanding places of beauty and interest.

As with most churches which have endured for a hundred years, the present Kirk Braddan has benefited from donors of memorials over the years. The East window has five coloured sections dedicated to:

John Drinkwater Lawe, 1854-1888, given by his parents.
William Drury, 40 years Vicar of the parish, 1808-1887, given by parishioners and friends.
John Clowes Stephen, 25 years one of Her Majesty's Deemsters, given by his son.
Ann Massey Bromley, 2nd wife of Robert Swan Stephen, MA, JP, MHK, Mayor of Douglas, 1844-1899, given by her husband.
Major Robert Swan Stephen, VD of Spring Valley, Braddan, died Capri, 1903 (59 years), given by his niece, Mona Clucas.

The West windows are dedicated to: (note 3)

James Moore, 1772-1840.
Elizabeth Moore, 1802-1881.
Joseph Christian Moore, 1802-1881, Archdeacon.

The windows in the south aisle are dedicated to:

Florence Christian Moore, 1882 (December 12).
Christian Christian, 1861 (October 23).
Louisa Elizabeth Wynn Clucas, 1937 (November 11).

The windows in the North aisle are dedicated to:

Thornas Frederick Hutchinson, 1882 (January).
Robert Gilmour, 1891 (August).
The Rt Rev. Thomas Drury, DD, born at Braddan Vicarage 1847, curate of this parish 1871-1876, Lord Bishop of this Diocese 1907-1911, Lord Bishop of Ripon, 1911-1920. Died 1926.

There is a window in the men's vestry dedicated to the memory of A. W. Moore, given by his family.

Carved oak choir stalls were given in 1930 by Robert Fargher Douglas in memory of his wife, Katherine Douglas.

The cross on the Altar, inscribed "Salus per Christum", was given as an Easter offering to the Church by parishioners and friends of Kirk Braddan in 1914.

The tall brass candlesticks were donated in memory of Ethel Mary, wife of John Roddam Drinkwater, of Kirby, who died November 8th, 1959.

The War Memorial Chapel occupying the North Transept, with carved oak altar and reredos, was given through public subscriptions. The window behind the Chapel Altar was a gift in 1929 from George Drinkwater in memory of his wife Mary Wyse Drinkwater and their two sons William Roddan and George Roddan, and his father and mother Deemster Sir William Leece Drinkwater and Lady Drinkwater.

The four windows in the Northern wall of the Chapel, designed and executed by Messrs Clayton and Bell the same firm that installed the Chancel apse windows, are of four Celtic saints. The two right-hand windows, of St Brendan, with oar and the sea to emphasise his voyaging, and of the monk St Columba, were given in memory of James William Wilson 1856-1932, by his son. Next to these is a window to St Maughold, shown as a Bishop, given by Canon W. A. Rushworth, himself a Canon of St Maughold, and the inscription reads, "A thankoffering to God by Canon Rushforth for 25 years happy ministry at Kirk Braddan and in memory of his parents Alfred Rushworth of Liverpool 1839-1877 and Elizabeth Rushworth 1835-1910." The fourth window of this group is of St Germain in memory of Amy Sarah Vondy, 1872-1942, "a loving mother and sister".

Great help was given in the construction and furnishing of this chapel by a legacy of Mrs Harriett Lavery (née Oates), who was the last organist of the old Church and the first of the new building. The metal grille that surrounds the chapel was given by Mrs Kirkpatrick in memory of her son, William George, an officer in the Royal Ghurka Rifles who lost his life in 1943. The case for the book of remembrance is in memory of Ronald Lankaster RAF. A large and beautifully bound Bible and Prayer book stand on the desk in memory of George Drinkwater, Mayor of Liverpool 1829.

So many of the furnishings and helps to worship are tied up with the parochial history of Braddan. The lectern, as well as the East windows mentioned, was given by parishioners and friends in memory of Vicar Drury, and the pulpit honours the memory of Canon F. J. Moore.

The War Memorial in the grounds of the Church originally stood in the middle of the road, where it was dedicated on September 4th, 1921, but it was later moved within the wall, a large tree being felled to make way for it.

The silver plate at Kirk Braddan includes both old and new. A 9½" chalice is marked with date 1757 and inscribed "KK Bradon". There is a 2½" beaker, inscribed "The gift of P.M. to Kk. Braddan 1745"; the last old piece is a Charles II plain silver tankard, bearing the London date letter for 1675-6. The initials of the original owners are engraved WKM. The owners of the initials have not been identified, but the donor of the beaker is believed to have been the Rev. Philip Moore, Rector of Kirk Bride, Chaplain of St Matthew's, Douglas, and Chaplain to his great friend Bishop Wilson. He was of the Pulrose family of Moore, a great translator and scholar. (note 4)

To bring the history of silver up to date, we must include two more chalices. A large-bowled chalice was given as a memorial to Mary George Hoyle in February 1972, and smaller one, in memory of his uncle Robert Fargher Douglas, who died in 1943 and himself donated the choirstalls, was given by Major T. E. Brownsdon, OBE, a present churchwarden.

Just before Canon Moore ended his ministry at Braddan, the Parish Hall was built. A huge bazaar and Christmas fair was held in December 1910 in The Palace, Douglas, for which a sixty-page programme was printed. It lasted three days and the target was £1,100. It raised over £700, a splendid effort; the foundation stone was laid in October the following year, and by the opening day in July 1912 generous offerings were still invited to raise £600. The solid well-built structure is still well used. Four clergy were working in the parish at this time.

Gradually the "new" church has come to be the accepted heir of the long Braddan tradition, though the Old Church is still preserved. In the Old Church the Manx Gaelic language was part of the normal pattern of worship until towards the end of the nineteenth century, but Manx services slowly decreased in number and at length were relinquished altogether until they were revived in 1921 on the occasion of the first visit to Mann of the Celtic Congress, and then it was the present church which had the honour of holding this first service of the revival, unnoticed until then by the Manx Church as a whole.

There was some doubt among its promoters as to whether a congregation could be raised as it was thought that most Braddan people would neither understand nor be interested in it; in the event the big church was crowded. Canon Rushworth took part, and the preacher was the late Archdeacon John Kewley, whose fine rolling Manx was a delight to hear. A small string orchestra was led by the late John Edward Quayle and a composition of his, an arrangement of the Carval Abban Rushen, was beautifully presented by choir and organ; service sheets including hymns were printed, and the whole congregation joined heartily in the service. One officer of Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh commented in amazement: "I would never have believed it, everyone, most of them people who had never read a line of Manx in their lives, sang away in the old tongue for all they were worth."

That was a great occasion for Kirk Braddan, and since then it has held many services in Manx Gaelic, for some years past one in the Christmas season of nine lessons and carols, while the Old Church not very long ago also had its share of the revival with a harvest service.

The story of Kirk Braddan is a very long one, but it is a continuous chain of Christian faith and worship linking Manx people of today with the religious practice of their ancestors, away back to the time when "the Saints came over from Ireland", Patrick, Germain, Maughold, Lonan and many another, including our special Sailors' Saint, Brendan, who has a particular appeal for Manxmen, with their long history of following the sea.

We believe that this heritage will be preserved in the future as it has been in the past.


1. A W Moore's 1893 edition of the 1760 translation of the Book of Common Prayer into Manx Gaelic is available on this site. (KFWG)(back)

2. W. F. Moore insisted on [Cronkbourne] Village attending Church each Sunday and he always looked round carefully to see who was absent. He then looked into the case, and, if the case was genuine (ie. ill health) medicines and provisions were promptly supplied. He was actually a kindly man and he converted the Village School, which he had previously built for the Village children before the days of compulsory education (as well as providing the teacher), into the Cronkbourne Chapel. He considered it a wearying journey to the Church, especially in the winter evenings, particularly before the introduction of artificial light in the Church. (ARWM) The Chapel was disposed of in 1967. (KFWG) (back)

3. The correct dates are James Moore 1772-1846 and Elizabeth Moore 1775-1851. (APWM) (back)

4. The silver cup was given by the Rev Philip Moore who was the great-great-uncle of W. F. Philip was, in addition to his other offices, chaplain to the Duke of Atholl, and in particular also Master of the Academy at Douglas. In the opinion of my grandfather [A. W. Moore] "The work done by him which had the greatest influence on his contemporaries was undoubtedly his teaching at the Grammar School in Douglas, and as showing this, it may be mentioned that at his death all the clergymen but four at that time in the Manx Church had been educated by him." (Manx Worthies p.25) (APWM) These items have been lent to the Cathedral Church at Peel for permanent display. (KFWG) (back)

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