[pp14/6 W Kneale "Oddfellows Companion and Guide to Douglas, Isle of Man" 1897; issued in conjunction with the Annual Moveable Conference held in Douglas in 1897 - this guide book also contained many useful biographies of leading figures in Manx Oddfellowship of the time]

P.P.G.M. James Rae Fielding.

J R Fielding (from IoM Examiner Annual 1899)

P.P.G.M. [Past Provincial Grand Master] JAMES RAE FIELDING, the "Grand Old Man" of. Manx Oddfellows, son of Elijah and Mary Fielding, formerly. of Blackburn, was born in that town in the year 1817. Coming to the Island in 1820 or 1821, with his parents, who subsequently kept the " Eagle and Child Inn," in Heywood Place, he was educated at the Commercial School, kept by Christopher Imerson, in Bath Place. Bro. Fielding served his apprenticeship as hairdresser under Mr. Joseph Ellison, after whose death he continued the business in the same. premises on the North Quay, until November, 1895 — a period of 63 years—when the shop was acquired by the Corporation, in pursuance of the Town Improvement Scheme. Early in. life Mr. Fielding became a member of the Mona Lodge of Oddfellows, M.U., but, owing to the temporary suspension of that Lodge, he, with a few others, transferred to the Victoria Lodge. Since his initiation, Bro. Fielding has taken an active interest in the progress and welfare of the Order, and has been continuously in office during the past 59 years. He was. appointed Deputy Grand Master at Christmas, 1858, and became Grand Master of the District in 1859. In 1861 he was again elected Deputy Grand Master, and in the. following year was once more installed as Grand Master of the Isle of Man District. He assisted in the opening of the Hope and Anchor Lodge, Castletown, in 1859, and in 1867 as present at the opening of the St. John’s Lodge, serving s N.G. during the first six months of its existence. When the St. Michael’s Lodge was founded at Kirk Michael, some years later, he filled the same office for that Lodge during its initial period, and in 1895, performed the same service for the Howard Lodge, Onchan. When we point out that St. John’s, Kirk Michael, and Onchan are, respectively, distant from Douglas eight miles, sixteen miles, and two miles, and that here was, at the period under consideration, no railway or other regular communication between the respective places, some idea of the enthusiasm and devotion to the interests of the Order actuating Bro. Fielding may be gathered from the act that, during the three periods of six months referred he did not miss attendance at a single fortnightly Lodge, though in several cases younger and more robust members ere prevented attending owing to tempestuous and stormy weather. Bro. Fielding was present at the A. M. C. held in Douglas in 1841, and has been appointed one of the representatives of the coming A.M.C. to be held in Douglas Whit-week, 1897. Four of his sons, two of whom are past officers, have been members of the Victoria Lodge, and threee grandsons are members of the Juvenile Branch of the Order. When Bro. Fielding joined the Order, the Douglas Lodges were held in the Steampacket Vaults, kept by W.Topliss. Afterwards they removed to the Liver Hotel, Lord Street, and thence to their private rooms, on Douglas Bridge. his latter move was strongly urged by Bro. Fielding as one likely to prove beneficial to the best interests of Oddfellowip, and he is now able to point with pride to the fact that, though, at the time of his initiation, every Lodge in the Island held its meetings in a public house, at the present time not a single Lodge meets within the doors of a house licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor. Bro. Fielding was also mainly instrumental in initiating the Sunday Processions of the Douglas Lodges, a step suggested to him by the late .P.G.M. Thackeray, of the Pontefract District. These processions have been the means of raising a sum of considerbly over £170. in aid of the various local charities. Bro. Fielding takes an active interest in all charitable and public Institutions in Douglas, and has been for many years a member of the Isle of Man Hospital Committee, Member of the Douglas Poor Relief Committee, Treasurer of the Douglas Coal Fund Committee, &c., as well as serving as Peoples Warden of St. Matthew’s Church, in which latter office he at present busily engaged in pushing forward the erection the handsome new Church, in Ridgeway Street, which is replace the old structure in the Market Place. Bro. Fielding has been presented with a framed address by the members of the Order, and he has also received from the members the Victoria Lodge, a handsome lever watch and gold chain bearing the following inscription, "Presented by the Loyal Victoria Lodge, I. O. of Oddfellows, M.U., Isle of Man District, to P.P.G.M. James Fielding, for his meritorious conduct as treasurer to the above Lodge, Douglas, November 1859." Again, in 1885, he was the recipient of a very handsome marble clock, bearing a suitable inscription, which was subscribed for by the members of the Mona and Victoria Lodges, who combined in making acknowledgement of many services to the Order during a long and honourable career.

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