From Manx Soc vol. 19


" There — the tapering spire that points to Heaven
Here — the playful children just let loose from school."

St John's New Church

THE dilapidated state of the old Chapel at St. John's having been often the subject of conversation with some of the residents in the neighbourhood — the authorities in the Island not taking the matter into their consideration, for it appeared to answer their purpose for the short time they had occasion to use it — it was considered that some steps should be taken to erect a new fabric, if possible ; but the difficulties they saw in the way of accomplishing this object caused it to be put off from time to time.

At length, after repeated slight repairs, the old Chapel continuing to decay, it was found absolutely necessary to do something more than these occasional renovations ; for, on wet days, the rain came through the roof like a riddle, often driving the occupants from their seats. Under these circumstances a few of the residents met to devise the best mode of raising a new building. It was considered that the most appropriate time to bring it before the public would be at the opening of the new Parish School at St. John's, then just about completion, and shortly to be publicly opened.

The Committee for the building of this School having decided to open it on the 12th February 1845 with a tea-party, the occasion was considered favourable to bring the dilapidated state of the old Chapel, as also its unfitness for the purposes for which it was intended, and the increase of inhabitants in the immediate neighbourhood, for whom the building had become much too small, before those assembled. For this purpose the Rev. Dr. Carpenter of Douglas had been requested to address them, which he did in a most eloquent appeal, and ended by proposing that a subscription be forthwith commenced, for which he would give £5, and guarantee to find £50.

This was received with every expression of gratification, when the Rev. W. B. Christian said he would also give £50. This gave an impetus to the movement, when others announced their intention to assist in so good a work, — the Rev. J. S. Stowell, the vicar of the parish, promising £5 ; Messrs. Henry Cadman, £40; J. T. Threlfall, £10; Thomas Mylchreest, £3; Thomas Mylchreest junior, £10; John Gell, £5 ; William Harrison, £10; Thomas Blundell, £5; George Radcliffe, £5 ; William Gell of Douglas, f,5; Frank Mathews, 120; with many others of minor amount; and before the company separated the sum of £237 was subscribed. The appeal having been so spiritedly responded to, the work was at once taken in hand by calling a public meeting, on the 17th February, in the new School-room, when the following resolutions were unanimously passed. The details of these proceedings are taken from the minutes of the Committee which was then formed to carry out this object.

February 17, 1845.

At a public meeting held this day in St. John's School-room, the Rev. Wm. Bell Christian being called to take the chair, it was unanimously resolved —

First, That the Chapel of St John's being too small for the wants of the neighbourhood; being in a very dilapidated state, incapable of repair; and being wholly unsuitable for the National purposes for which it is set apart, therefore the Rev. Wm. Bell Christian and Frank Mathews, Esq., be deputed to present to his Excellency the Governor the following memorial, and be requested respectfully to solicit his Excellency to press upon the attention of Her Majesty's Government the propriety of rebuilding the aforesaid Chapel, and enclosing the same : —

May it please your Excellency,

We, the inhabitants of the district of St. John's, being assembled at a public meeting on the 17th day of February 1845, called to take into consideration the dilapidated state of St. John's Chapel, beg most respectfully to call your Excellency's attention to the accompanying resolutions, passed unanimously, with reference to the present state of the Chapel, and the propriety of rebuilding it without delay, and likewise to solicit your Excellency to make such representations to Her Majesty's Government, or to take such steps as may seem best calculated to effect so desirable an object. And your Memorialists will ever pray, etc.

Second, That the sum of £240 having been subscribed by the inhabitants of the district towards the rebuilding of the Chapel, a Committee be appointed to carry into effect this object, and that the following gentlemen form the Committee : —

The Rev. Wm. Bell Christian. Mr. Henry Cadman.

„ John Gell.

„ William Harrison. „ Frank Mathews.
„ Thomas Mylchreest.
„ Thomas Mylchreest jun. „ George Radcliffe.
„ John T. Threlfall.

Third, That, as the Chapel of St. John's is used for National purposes, subscriptions towards its restoration may be expected from members of the Legislature, and from the inhabitants of the Island generally. The Committee are requested to canvass the same.

Fourth, That the Rev. Wm. Bell Christian be appointed Treasurer, and that Mr. William Harrison be appointed Secretary.

Upon the formation of this Committee, the Rev. W. B. Christian was appointed Chairman of their meetings, and a deputation named to wait upon the Lieutenant-Governor with the foregoing memorial and a copy of the resolutions. It was also resolved that a copy of the latter should be presented to the House of Keys, through the Speaker, Edward Moore Gawne, Esq. Districts were appointed to the various members of the Committee to collect subscriptions, and it was considered that a chapel, capable of holding about 400 sittings, would be sufficient for the wants of the neighbourhood.

The deputation, having waited upon his Excellency, reported, "That in consequence of the illness of his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, the memorial was presented through his Secretary, George Quirk, Esq., who stated that his Excellency would take an early opportunity of favourably representing the same to Her Majesty's Government"

It having been also determined that a deputation should wait upon the Lord Bishop, Dr. Short, before any definite plan should be adopted, and more particularly as permission had to be obtained to take down the old Chapel before a new one could be commenced, standing as it does on Government ground, the deputation accordingly proceeded to Bishop's Court to consult his Lordship and obtain his co-operation. They were received with every courtesy, his Lordship observing it was a most unusual thing in the Isle of Man for people to set about building a church of their own accord, and more particularly such a one as St. John's, it being Government property, and made inquiry what the Committee intended to do if permission was not granted to take down and rebuild the chapel. He also named many other obstacles that might arise to prevent the object being carried out, which had partly the effect of disheartening some of the gentlemen present. He was at length told that the Committee had not anticipated they would meet with so many obstacles from the authorities in carrying out what they considered so necessary and praiseworthy an object ; and if they found such should be the case, they would give up the idea of taking down the old Chapel, but would purchase ground in the immediate vicinity, and build a small chapel on it for the urgent wants of the people, and would trust to his Lordship to find a suitable person to administer therein when the fabric was completed. Upon this his Lordship, rubbing his hands, smilingly said, " Well, gentlemen, now I see you are in earnest; let me know what you want, and I will assist you all I can; you may put my name down for £100." After various suggestions from his Lordship for carrying out the work, the deputation retired, highly pleased with the result of their visit.

It was now decided to call in the aid of various architects to supply plans and estimates; when several were written to, and furnished with the necessary information as to what was wanted, it being requisite to provide accommodation for the Lieutenant-Governor, Council, and House of Keys, when assembled therein as a Tynwald Court.

After considerable correspondence on this subject, the following architects sent in plans : — Messrs. Bonomi and Cory, Durham ; Ewan Christian, London; Richard Lane, Manchester; Weightman and Hadfield, Sheffield; and Edward Welch, Liverpool. After considering the merits of these, the Committee decided upon adopting the designs of Mr. Lane, who was accordingly requested to furnish working plans and specifications. It was also decided to face the whole of the exterior with granite from South Barool, and to procure the building stone chiefly from the quarry of Ballavar, in the neighbourhood.

Upon the death of the Rev. John Gell, who had held the appointment of chaplain for some time, the right of appointing his successor was claimed by the Rev. J. L. Stowell, as the right of the vicar of German (St. John's being in that parish), versus Her Majesty's Government, who had hitherto acted as the patrons. The Committee, considering this might materially affect the erection of a new chapel, and might cause the withdrawal of Government support, which had hitherto been given, drew up a memorial to his Excellency Major-General John Ready, Lieutenant-Governor of the Island, praying "That he would urge Her Majesty's Government to retain their control over the Chapel, as heretofore."

The memorial was signed by 102 landed proprietors of the district, and was presented to his Excellency; and a letter from George Quirk, Esq., dated " Castle Rushen, 11th April 1845," says, " he is directed to say that the Lieut.-Governor will endeavour to give effect to the wishes of the petitioners,"

The matter was referred to the Attorney-General in England and the Clerk of the Rolls in the Isle of Man, when Her Majesty's Government decided upon their right of appointment, which was confirmed by a letter of the 23d April 1845, from the Lieutenant-Governor, stating "that Her Majesty had been pleased to appoint the Rev. Wm. Bell Christian as Government chaplain of St. John's, Kirk-German, to be held during pleasure."

This affair, which had created considerable excitement, and would certainly have prevented the erection of the chapel from the threatened withdrawal of the promised funds by many of the subscribers, being thus settled, the committee renewed their exertions to procure further subscriptions in the island, and wherever they had interest. The members of the Legislature responded for the most part in a liberal spirit, as will appear from the following list of their subscriptions: —

The Honble. Charles Hope, Lieut.-Governor

£25 0 0

The Lord Bishop, Dr. Short .

100 0 0

The Hon. Robert J. Eden, D.D., Bishop

20 0 0

Deemster Christian

10 0 0

Deemster Heywood

5 0 0

Ven. Archdeacon Moore

10 0 0

C. R. Ogden, Esq., Attorney-General .

5 5 0

J. M'Hutchin, Esq., Clerk of the Rolls

5 0 0

W. W. Christian, Esq., Water-Bailiff .

1 0 0

Rev. F. B. Hartwell, Vicar-General .

1 0 0

Rev. G. S. Parsons, Government Chaplain, Castletown .

5 0 0

Rev. John Fry Garde, Government Chaplain,St. John's

3 3 0

Dr. Underwood, Surgeon to the Household .

1 0 0

Members of the House of Keys.


Edward Moore Gawne, Esq., Speaker .

25 0 0

John Quayle

2 0 0

Francis Mathews .

5 0 0

Thomas Carran .

2 0 0

William Farrant .

1 0 0

John F. Crellin .

2 0 0

Mark H. Quayle .

0 10 0

George H. Woods

10 0 0

H. R. Oswald

3 0 0

John Teare

1 0 0

George William Dumbell

5 0 0

Richard Harrison.

1 0 0

Evan Gell .

2 0 0

Lieut.-Col. Taubman

5 0 0

Having thus obtained the promise of supplies for the work, Mr. Lane came over to the island. to see the site, examine the stone, and make various inquiries to enable him to make an accurate estimate, and in due time sent over his working drawings and specification.

A memorial to the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Woods and Forests was prepared, which, with the plans and specification, — was submitted to the Lord Bishop, who approved of the same, and recommended the committee to lay them before the next Tynwald Court. This was accordingly done, when the following memorials were presented by the Speaker of the House of Keys on the 19th of February 1846 : —

To the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Woods and Forests,

The humble Memorial and Representation of the undersigned, appointed as a Committee at a Public Meeting held on the 17th day of February 1845, at St. John's, to take into consideration the best means of restoring the chapel of St. John's, in the Isle of Man,

Showeth ;

That your memorialists beg to draw your attention to the present ruinous condition of the Government chapel at St. John's, which chapel has from time immemorial been used as the place for the assembling of the Legislature of this island, and for the performance of the paramount duty of divine service.

That divine service is regularly performed every Sabbath in the said chapel, and it is now essential to the supply of the spiritual wants and accommodation of a great portion of the inhabitants of the district.

That a salary of twenty-five pounds per annum was formerly granted by Her Majesty's Government, and which was subsequently increased to forty pounds, the amount now received by the Government chaplain of this place.

That Her Majesty's Government derive considerable revenue from the royalties of the mines in this island, a portion of which are situated in the immediate neighbourhood of St. John's, thereby causing a great increase of inhabitants.

That the said chapel is in a ruinous state and condition, and from the smallness thereof is incapable of any considerable improvement or addition, so as to accommodate the wants of the neighbourhood with convenient seats or pews, which renders it totally unsuitable for the solemn purposes to which it is dedicated.

That it is expedient a new church, on a more commodious plan, and better adapted for the worship of Almighty God, should be erected in place thereof.

That the plot or parcel of land now surrounding the present chapel, and extending round the Tynwald Mount, where the laws are promulgated, having been heretofore fenced off, the said fences, from the great lapse of time, having become decayed, it is greatly desired by the inhabitants of the island to preserve the usages of the ancient Tynwald, and it is highly desirable that such be re-inclosed.

That, in order to accomplish this, your memorialists were appointed a committee at the meeting before mentioned, and were empowered to take such steps as they might deem proper and necessary to carry into effect these objects.

That, after consultation with various architects, your memorialists have adopted the accompanying designs of Mr. Richard Lane of Manchester, they being considered the most suitable for the purposes required ; and find by estimates sent in that the same cannot be carried out in a substantial and effectual manner for a less sum than two thousand pounds.

That the inhabitants of the said neighbourhood of St. John's, greatly wanting and desiring the enlargement of the said chapel, have, with others, consented to subscribe the sum of five hundred pounds towards the rebuilding the same. That your memorialists beg to draw attention to the facts, that the chapel of St. John's is Government property, and has been repaired from time to time at their expense, and that no quarterland, landed proprietor, or other person, has any right, title, or claim to any pew or sitting in the said chapel or the intended one, the whole being free.

Your memorialists would therefore, with great deference, humbly beseech your Lordships to urge on the consideration of Her Majesty's Government the necessity of granting the sum of fifteen hundred pounds, with which aid your memorialists guarantee to provide a more suitable edifice for the purposes before-mentioned, according to the plans and specification herewith.

And your memorialists will ever pray.

JOHN FRY GARDE, Government Chaplain.

John T. Threlfall. George Radcliffe.
Thomas Mylchreest. John Gell.
Thomas Mylchreest jun. Frank Mathews. Henry Cadman.

WILLIAM HARRISON, Secretary. ST. JOHN'S, 29th October 1845.

To his Excellency the Honourable Charles Hope, Lieutenant-Governor; the Council, Deemsters, and Keys of this Island, in Tynwald assembled;

The humble Memorial of the undersigned Showeth —

That your memorialists, having been appointed a committee for the purpose of rebuilding a new church at St. John's, in the place of the one now in so dilapidated a state, beg to hand you plans and specifications, with a memorial to the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Woods and Forests. Your memorialists humbly beseech your Honourable Court to support the prayer of that memorial, so that this desirable and necessary object may be speedily carried into effect.

And your memorialists will ever pray.

ST. JOHN'S, Nov. 1845.

Signed by the same as the foregoing. On the presentation of these memorials the Speaker moved "That the memorial to the Woods and Forests be accompanied by a resolution of the Court recommending the prayer of that memorial to be adopted." This was seconded by George Wm. Dumbell, Esq., and received the unanimous consent of the Court.

A few members of the Court were deputed to confer with the committee, to examine the plans in order to ascertain their adaptability for legislative purposes, and to report to his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor prior to the memorial and plans being sent to Her Majesty's Government. It was then agreed that the committee should advertise for contracts in the English and insular papers, which was accordingly done. After several conferences with the Tynwald Committee, the plans were once more sent to the Lieutenant-Governor on the 2d May 1846, who reported that he would forward them to England that day.

Upon the plans being submitted to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, Mr. Inman, their surveyor, in a report of the 9th July, pointed out various alterations which were considered necessary to be made before the Commissioners could recommend the Treasury to make the grant asked for in the memorial. These alterations consisted, for the most part, in the substitution of open seats for pews, fixing marble seats within the communion, with some other minor details, entailing some additional cost.

The Office of Woods and Forests, in a report, dated 26th October 1846, to the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, state, " The Board are of opinion, as there are no proprietary rights, that open seats and not pews should be adopted ; that the drawings and specification be revised to include the adoption of Mr. Inman's suggestions of the 9th July last ; that tenders be obtained for the whole of the works, with the proposed improvements, the fittings, furniture, fencing, and drainage, so that the total cost may be ascertained previously to the commencement of the works ; and that, subject to these conditions, a donation of £1500 should be made in Her Majesty's name towards the expense of the new building, provided it be previously certified to their Lordships' satisfaction that the same will be finished, fit for use, and a fund provided, adequate (with the proposed grant from Government) to pay for all the costs to be incurred." A letter was also received from the Hon. Charles Hope, Lieutenant-Governor, dated Whitehall, 30th November 1846, stating " that the Lords of the Treasury will be prepared to direct a donation of £1500, upon its being certified," etc., according to the Office of Woods and Forests' report of the 26th October.

The committee having at length attained the object they had so long and anxiously sought, the plans and specification were at once returned to Mr. Lane to make the necessary alterations, as suggested by Mr. Inman, and were again advertised for contract.

Upon application to the insular builders, it was found they were unwilling to enter into any contract on account of not understanding the working of granite, with which the chapel was to be faced. Mr. Benjamin Hollins of Manchester, who had previously sent in a tender for the works, being seriously unwell at this time, had signified his intention of retiring. This occasioned considerable delay, but on giving an additional gratuity to his foreman, he consented to undertake the work. This was considered by the committee the best plan to adopt, more particularly as Mr. Hollins had been extensively engaged in church-building, and would be able to carry on the work in a satisfactory manner and save much trouble. His estimate was therefore accepted, which choice the committee had no reason to regret.

Application was now made to the Incorporated Church-Building Society in London for a grant of money to enable the committee to carry out the completion of the building, the subscriptions having fallen short of the sum necessary to accomplish it ; upon copies of the plans and estimates being furnished they made a grant of £105 for the purpose.

The committee having undertaken to guarantee the completion of the chapel according to the plan and specification, the following was sent to the Treasury in London, to the conditions of which they agreed: —

To the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury. We, the undersigned, having been appointed a committee to superintend the rebuilding of the Government Chapel of St. John's, in the Isle of Man, according to the plans and specification of Mr. Richard Lane of Manchester, and the suggested alterations of Mr. Inman, and having (by Mr. C. E. Trevelyan's letter to S. M. Phillipps, Esq., dated Treasury Chambers, 27th November 1846) the sanction of your Lordships that you will direct a donation of £1500 to be made from the public purse in aid of the rebuilding of this chapel, do hereby bind ourselves to provide the rest of the funds, and guarantee, with the proposed grant of £1500 from Her Majesty's Government, that the building shall be finished and fit for use according to the said plans and specification, the payment of the said grant being made in conformity with the condition mentioned in the specification: — " That payments be made from time to time during the progress of the works, upon certificates being given by the architect that the amount applied for does not exceed two-thirds of the value of the work executed, and the balance to be paid within three months after the architect has signed a certificate that the contractor has executed and completed the work to his entire satisfaction."

Signed by all the Committee.

ST. JOHN'S, ISLE OF MAN, 16th July 1847.

Before the committee could proceed to take down the old chapel, it became necessary to obtain the authority of the Ordinary and Patron of the same, the Lieutenant-Governor of the island, with whom it was thought fit to associate the Lord Bishop, Robert J. Eden, afterwards Lord Auckland — which ran in the following form: —

Authority to take down the Old Chapel at St. John's. We, the undersigned, being the Ordinary, Patron, and Bishop, do hereby authorise you to pull down the Chapel of St. John's, upon the condition of erecting a new chapel upon the same site.

Given under our hands this 17th day of July 1847. CHARLES HOPE, Lieut.-Governor. R. J., Sodor and Man.

To the Committee for erecting the Government Chapel at St. John's, in the Parish of German.

Upon receiving this authority — the plans, estimates, guarantee, and money, being now all satisfactorily arranged — the committee at once gave Mr. Hollins's foreman, who had come over, orders to take down the old chapel which had been commenced by Bishop Wilson in 1699, and had stood a period of 148 years, during which time it had received many repairs. During the progress of taking down, it was found in a much worse state than had been supposed, particularly the roof, the timbers of which were entirely decayed, and only kept up by the goodness of the mortar, thus being in a highly dangerous state to those accustomed to assemble therein.

There was no inscription or token of any kind found in the foundations; a few Manx and English coppers under the flooring were picked up, dropped no doubt by the congregation at the usual Sabbath collections for the poor. The shaft of a Runic cross, with a portion of its inscription, was however found, built into the old walls ; this was carefully taken out, and placed in safe custody until the completion of the new chapel, and was then placed on the south side of the tower, near the porch entrance.

Runic Cross at St John's
Runic Cross at St John's

The Rev. J. G. Cumming, in his " Runic and other Monumental remains of the Isle of Man," London, 1857, 4to, p. 5, says, " Three, if not four of these monuments, were found in the old walls, of which only one has been preserved." This was not the case; one only was found as stated above; he also gives a wrong date (1850) for taking down the chapel. Mr. Cumming reads this inscription, part of which is wanting, as follows, p. 19, and Plate 11, Fig. 5, of the same work : — INOSRUIR RAIST : RUNAR : THENR : AFTIR . . . . that is, Inosruir carved these runes to . . . . "but does not feel sure of the reading of Inosruir, who would seem to have been the workman who made the cross." The inscription is along the edge, but the stone is defective.

Mr. William Kneale of Douglas, who has devoted considerable attention to elucidating Manx runes, reads this inscription : — INA SVRTR RAIST RUNAR THSER . . . that is, Ina the Swarthy engraved these runes.

* Professor Munch of Christiania, in his Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys, 1860, reads it as follows : —


In Latin . . . . ineirvir sculpsit literas haste post . . . The name INaIRVIR, evidently not complete, is perhaps a Gaelic one ; to the Norse language it hardly belongs.

When the last remains of the old chapel had been removed, and the foundations prepared for the new one, his Excellency the Honble. Charles Hope appointed a Tynwald Court to be held at St. John's, on Thursday the 12th August 1847, on which day the foundation-stone was to be laid.

The following inscription, in Latin, English, and Manx, was written on parchment, and placed in a sealed glass bottle, with sundry coins, etc., and inserted in the cavity of a large granite stone prepared for the purpose, at the south-west corner of the tower, over which the foundation-stone was to be placed : —

Hujus a Aedis sacrosanct — Deo. Creatori. Sospitori, Sanctificatori, in honorem. B. Joannis Baptist — , dicata lapidem auspicalem posuit nobilis Carolus Hope Præfectus Gubernator Insulae Mone — Prid. Id. Aug. A.D. MDCCCXLVII. Anno un-decimo Regui Victoriæ, et prima episcopati Roberti Joannis Eden, D.D., Joannis Fry Garde Hujus Sacelli Sacerdos — Ricardus Lane, Architectus — Benjamin Hollins, Structor.

The foundation-stone of this chapel of St. John was laid on Thursday, August 12, 1847, by the Honourable Charles Hope, Lieutenant-Governor of this isle, in the eleventh year of the reign of Queen Victoria, and the first of the Episcopacy of the Honourable Robert J. Eden, D.D., Bishop of Sodor and Man; Rev. John Fry Garde, Government Chaplain of St. John; Richard Lane, Architect; Benjamin Hollins, Builder. Building Committee. — Henry Cadman, Wm. Bell Christian, John Fry Garde, John Gell, Wm. Harrison, Francis Matthews, Thomas Mylchreest, George Radcliffe, John T. Threlfall.

Va. yn cheid clagh Undin jeh Cabbal Cheeiloine layet er Jerdein yn nahlaa feig jeh August sy vlein 1847 ayns yn un vlein feig jeh Rheal yn ven reyn Victoria lorish yn Ard Oashley Echey Charles Hope Lieutenant Kianoort yn Ellan shoh sy cheid Vlein jeh yn Ard Oashley Echey Robert J. Eden, D.D., Aspick er Sodor as Mannin, as John Fry Garde Saggirt fo — yn Rhualtis ec er Cabbal chiddin. Richard Lane yn fer va soiagh magh oummey yn obber, as Benjamin Hollins va harrish yn Buildal.

The following were placed in the bottle The inscription on parchment in Latin, English, and Manx. Population of the Isle of Man in 1841 on parchment. Hymns sung on the occasion of laying the stone. Medallion of Queen Victoria in copper.

Silver Coins, 2s. 6d., 1s., 6d., of 1845.
„ 4d. of 1844.
„ 3d., 2d., 1½d., of 1838.
Copper Coins, 1d. of 1841.
„ ¼ (sic ½d?). of 1838.
„ 1/8 (sic ¼d. ?)of 1844.
Copper Coins — Manx, 1d., ½d., ¼d., of 1839.
Sample of Manx wheat.

Several of the latest Manx newspapers were also placed in the cavity of the stone.

At length the important day arrived for which the Committee had been strenuously working for so long a time. At eleven o'clock, on the 12th August 1847, the Honble. Charles Hope, Lieutenant-Governor, arrived on the ground, and was met by the Lord Bishop of the island, the Ven. Archdeacon, the Clergy, the various members of the Council and House of Keys, the Architect, Contractor, the Building Committee, a great number of residents, and strangers visiting the island.

After morning prayers had been read in the school-room, the Lieutenant-Governor, with the various members of the Legislature, etc., proceeded to the south-west corner of the, tower, when his Excellency laid the large granite foundation-stone on its bed, and after pronouncing it duly fixed, the Lord Bishop made an address to the assembled people, when the ceremony ended.

A gentleman present wrote the following impromptu on a slip of paper and placed it on the stone

In Faith the Stone was laid by Hope,
Thro' Charity the funds were rais'd,
By Eden's lips the work was bless'd,
By all assembled God was prais'd.

During the progress of the work the Committee were engaged in making arrangements for various internal fittings not included in the builder's contract — as the warming with hot air; bell, from Messrs. Mears of London, the weight of which is 62 cwt.; stained glass windows for the chancel; organ ; church furniture, etc. The building progressed gradually to its final completion, when preparations were made for the consecration and the opening services.

St John's Chapel
St John's Chapel

A description may here be given as to the style of the fabric and its internal arrangements. The style of architecture adopted is of the latter part of the thirteenth century, being the period of transition from the Early English to the Decorated or Geometric style. The plan is cruciform, comprising nave, transepts, and spacious chancel, terminated with a semi-octagonal apse. The tower, placed in the centre of the west front, is in three compartments. The lower storey is occupied by the principal doorway, the mouldings of which are deeply recessed, and, with its surrounding label, is very effective. In the second storey is a handsome two-light window, with trefoil-head. The upper storey contains the clock-face and the belfry windows. Buttresses of four stages are placed at the angles; and the whole is surmounted by a well-proportioned broach spire, with canopied openings, and is terminated by a carved finial. The total height of the spire is one hundred feet. The porch, on the south side, is of simple character, in which are introduced the arms of the island, carved in the stone, with the motto, " Quocunque jeceris stabit," with the date 1848. The windows throughout are of two lights, with quatrefoil heads and label moulding over, and in the gables of the transepts quatrefoil lights within a circle are introduced. These are decorated with stained glass, emblematical of the Holy Trinity, and are a gift from Benjamin Witham Booth, Esq., surgeon, of Swinton, near Manchester. The buttresses between the windows are in two stages, the lower stage being pedimented. The vestry is placed at the north-east angle, and is fitted up with book-shelves to receive the library belonging to the district. The roof is open, and framed with arched principals resting on stone corbels, the timbers and boarding being stained and varnished in imitation of oak. A small organ-gallery is constructed at the west end, approached by a circular staircase in the angle of the tower. In this is placed a full-toned organ, of thirteen stops, with swell, built by Mr. Jackson of Liverpool, stained to correspond with the interior of the building.

The interior is well arranged for the purposes of divine worship, and also for the accommodation of the authorities officiating at the Tynwald ; and the centre aisle is sufficiently spacious to allow room for their customary processions. Open benches are used throughout ; they have stall ends, surmounted with carved poppy-heads, of various design. The stalls for the members of the House of Keys are arranged at the intersection of the nave and transepts, those for the Council being in the ante-chancel, where are also placed the seats for the Governor and the Bishop — those last being decorated with carved canopies. The steps to the chancel and sacrarium are of polished black marble from Poolvash, and the floor laid with encaustic tiles of elegant and appropriate design, furnished by the Messrs. Minton. The railing to the communion is of massy character, neatly carved. The altar table, of oak, stands on a dais of polished black marble, and on each side is a seat of the same material. The windows are filled with stained glass, executed by Casey of Dublin, in the antique style, the centre light containing the Agnus Dei and monogram of St. John the Baptist; those on each side the emblems of the four Evangelists, in vesicas, the quatrefoils having the sacred monogram, the Alpha and Omega. The window on the south side of the chancel is also in the antique style, with the arms of Man in the quatrefoil. The subdued light and varied tints give a rich and imposing effect to the whole. On the north side of the chancel is a stone pulpit, entered from the vestry, and on the south side is a richly carved oak lectern. A stone font, with carved panels, is fixed at the south-west angle of the nave, near the porch, opposite to which is the alms-box. The altar is covered with fine rich crimson cloth ; on the front is the sacred monogram, embroidered in silk and gold. The kneeling and pulpit cushions are of the same material. Cushions are also provided for the Governor and Council — these, with the altar-linen, are from Mr. French of Bolton. The service-books have been forwarded by the Secretary of State.

The extreme length, from the tower to the chancel, 85 feet; transepts, 52 feet 10 inches; width of nave, 22 feet.

The total number of sittings, including those assigned to the authorities, is 414, all of which are free. There is a lych gate at the entrance from the high-road, but no burial-ground belongs to the chapel.

plate 11

plate 12
South Side

The consecration was fixed to take place on Thursday the 8th March 1849, which was done in the usual form by the Lord Bishop of the diocese. The attendance was most numerous and respectable, including the Lieutenant-Governor, the Deemsters, the Clerk of the Rolls, the Vicar-General, the Archdeacon, the Insular Clergy, the Members of the House of Keys, Building Committee, and many parties from distant parts of the island.

The service of consecration was performed in a very solemn and impressive manner by the Lord Bishop, assisted by the Rev. J. Brown, of Michael ; Rev. J. S. Parsons, Government chaplain, Castletown ; and the Rev. John Fry Garde, Government chaplain of St. John's. On the conclusion of the service, the Rev. Mr. Brown read the formal deed of consecration



In the Name of God. Amen. WHEREAS the fabric of the ancient Chapel. R. J. SODOR AND MAN. of Saint John the Baptist, near the Tynwald . Hill, in the Parish of German, having become dilapidated, it was deemed proper to erect and build a new chapel, decent and convenient, for the worship of God and for the meeting of the Tynwald Court, which, by a grant from Her Majesty's Treasury, and benefactions and donations from sundry piously disposed persons, being now, under the blessing of God, finished; and his Excellency the Honourable Charles Hope, Her Majesty's Lieutenant-Governor of this Isle, having requested Us to consecrate the same-We, Robert John, by divine permission Lord Bishop of Sodor and Mann, have by the blessing of God proceeded and accordingly consecrated the said chapel to the honour of God, and for all holy offices and uses to which other chapels have been and are set apart, hereby publicly and openly declaring and pronouncing the said chapel to be separated from all profane and common uses, being now dedicated and consecrated as St. John the Baptist's Chapel.

Given under our hand and seal, at St. John's, this 8th day of March in the year of our Lord 1849, and the second of our consecration.

The altar plate belonging to St. John's Chapel consists of two chalices and two patens of electroplate.


His Lordship then preached, from 2d Samuel vi. 11, a very excellent and most appropriate sermon for the occasion. In referring to the events of 1848, the Bishop adverted to the political revolutions on the continent — thrones and powers, even of the popedom, had been shaken as a reed. From Moscow to Lisbon, there had been war, and revolution, and bloodshed, and commotion. Our own country alone had been exempt alike from commotion, arising either from popular tumult or legal tyranny. There had been no outbreak in this country of the slightest consequence during the last 100 years. In this country the administration of justice was pure and untainted ; the people enjoyed, and had secured to them, a large measure of civil and religious liberty, and otherwise enjoyed, in a pre-eminent degree, the mercies and protection of God. He reasoned in favour of a special Providence in the affairs of this world. Everything, to be great or permanent, must be based on religion. Our evil passions and our ignorance cried aloud against us ; all must be sanctified by God's Holy Spirit, which could alone protect us. There were none too insignificant to be useful to their country; none but might exercise a beneficial influence, in their several spheres, in shielding and protecting it. Upon those in authority there rested the greatest responsibility. It was for them to exercise the influence of showing good example to others ; God's ministers must be faithful, and unceasing in their efforts to enlighten and instruct the people. The nation ought to be as much distinguished for spiritual dignity as for temporal greatness ; and it rested with the people to do all that in them lies to promote these desirable ends. They were to get knowledge and exercise their thinking powers. There was no man who could not in this way exercise a beneficial influence on his country. Above all, let their knowledge and civilisation be based on true evangelical religion ; in that was constituted the purest morality, and in that lay our main strength, as a nation and as individuals. It was religion that made us happy citizens here and hereafter. It was not in fleets or armies, in our science and literature, or practical knowledge, wherein our strength lay, but in the Spirit of God, which overruled, and silently, though powerfully, united them, and moved them as one man. In conclusion, his Lordship recommended them to liberality in the collection which was about to be made. There had not been an excessive expenditure beyond what was sufficient for the decent worship of Almighty God. Let the edifice remain a temple of evangelical piety; let it be protected from the corroding influences of time ; let it long be distinguished by the glad sound of the Sabbath-bell, summoning them in the pleasant duty of listening to the glad tidings of salvation.

After the sermon a collection was made in aid of the funds, which was liberally responded to. On the Sunday following, March 11, the chapel was opened for public worship, and was filled in every part, so desirous were the people to see the interior of the new building which had been the cause of much comment during the progress of its erection.

The labours of the Committee were now drawing to a close ; a contract was entered into with Messrs. Kelly and Craine for the enclosure of the Tynwald Hill and avenue, by a low stone wall, and a spacious gravel walk made from the west door to the foot of the hill, opposite to which is an entrance by stone steps, with a similar one in the centre of the avenue. A flagstaff was some time after erected on the top of the Tynwald Hill, the foot of which is secured in a large granite stone some feet below the surface ; stones were also placed round the top mound, with rings to secure the tent-ropes on Tynwald days.

A contract was also entered into with Mr. Richard Jackson of Liverpool, for a new organ, which occupied a considerable time in building. It was opened on Sunday, the 7th March 1852, on which occasion the Lord Bishop preached, and a collection was made in aid of the Organ Fund.

When the plans were submitted to the Tynwald Court, they expressed their entire approbation as to the accommodation provided for them. A short time before the opening of the chapel, some few members of the House of Keys complained it was not sufficient for them. It was, however, too late now to make any alterations. The Keys some time afterwards submitted a design of what they considered more suitable for them. On a deputation waiting upon the Governor on the 13th of March 1850, his Excellency called their attention to the proposed alterations in the chapel for the better accommodation of the Keys, and explained what steps he had taken.

The Secretary, on returning to the House of Keys, reported " that his Excellency had bestowed much attention on the subject, had been to inspect the chapel, had got an estimate of the cost of the proposed alteration of the Committee of the Tynwald Court; that of the south transept would amount to £20; did not object to the plan if the Keys wished it, but did not think he could call on the Government for that sum, nor did he think that the Keys should bear that expense ; he had therefore prepared a plan which he would lay before the Keys for their approval ; it was one which would cost only about £6. This plan was not to disturb the present seats of the Keys, but to erect swinging seats, which could be raised or put down for the accommodation of the Court. This was to be done with some movable iron plates and screws, so that the seats could be turned up."

The plan was reviewed by the members, and seemed to give satisfaction. The House therefore resolved to adopt the alterations proposed by the Governor, at their own expense.

Had this wish on the part of the Keys been communicated to the building Committee at any time before the interior of the chapel was finished, they would have made a much more commodious place for them, and saved the constant removal of the seats, and replacing them again, whenever the Tynwald Court met at St. John's — thus verifying the saying, "Manxman like, a day behind the fair."

The Keys, when they have occasion to consult together apart from the Governor and Council, retire to the place appointed for them ; this is at the end of the south transept, where the promulgation of the Acts is signed, and other business they may have to transact apart from the Council. The arrangement is, — the Keys to take the seats appropriated to them in the centre of the chapel during the prayers ; on returning from the Hill, after the Acts have been read, they proceed to their place in the south transept, and when requested by the Governor to attend in Tynwald, again take their seats in the centre of the chapel, the Governor and his Council occupying movable seats in the centre of the chancel.

It now only remains in this record to give a statement of the amount of funds collected, with the expenses of building and enclosing the Tynwald


Government grant

£1500 0 0

Incorporated Society's grant .

105 0 0

General subscriptions .

817 12 10

Subscriptions for organ

43 3 0

Bank interest

65 9 1


£2531 4 11


Hollins, Manchester, contractor of building

£1822 0 0

Ritchie, Belfast, roofing-felt

22 5 6

Casey, Dublin, stained glass in chancel

53 18 6

Lewis, London, warming stove

14 14 0

Bottom, Sheffield, steel disc

16 5 6

Mears, London, bell

54 17 0

French, and others, Bolton, church furniture

40 13 6

Jackson, Liverpool, organ

149 5 6

Jackson, enlarging organ gallery

16 17 9

Kelly & Co., St. John's, enclosing Tynwald .

128 2 0

Lane, Manchester, Architect

134 0 0

Sundry payments

82 11 9


£2535 11 0

Thus terminated the labours of the Committee, after seven years' constant attention and anxiety to accomplish the object which was first brought before the public on the 12th February 1845. Well might Bishop Short place before the gentlemen who waited upon him the difficulties they would have to encounter; and well it was they did not foresee a tithe of them, or they might have shrunk from the encounter.

May the fabric which was thus raised by their exertions be a source of comfort to thousands yet unborn, and long remain a temple for the worship of Almighty God !

Chaplains of St. John's, in the Parish of German, Isle of Man.

The vicars of German usually performed Divine service in the Chapel, until the appointment of the first resident chaplain in 1820.




Cause of Vacancy.


William Gill


Present Vicar of Malew.


Samuel Gelling


Vicar of Santon.


William Drury


Present Vicar of Braddan.


John Gell .


Died 29th January 1845.


William Bell Christian, Curate

June 20,1840.



William Bell Christian

April 22,1845.

Vicar of Lezayre.


John Fry Garde

Aug. 27,1845.

Present Vicar of Patrick.


John Corlett


Present Chaplain.


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