[From Manx Soc vol 32 - Prayer Book]


Bishop PHILLIPS'S original MS. was, as we have seen, completed in 1610. The only copy of it now in existence, which is in the possession of the Rev. Hugh Gill, Vicar of Malew, seems to have been written between 1625 and 1630, as there is a prayer in the Litany for Charles I. and his Queen, but not for their son, afterwards Charles II., who was born in the latter year. The early portion of this MS., as far as the beginning of the Athanasian Creed, is missing; but, excepting that three or four pages are torn out, the remainder, to the 9th verse of the 144th Psalm, is in a good state of preservation. All its rubrics are in Manx, not in English, as in the modern version.

This copy seems to be written throughout in the same hand, though the size of the handwriting becomes smaller after the end of the Litany, and the portion between the Epistles and Gospels and the Psalms is so small that it is sometimes difficult to decipher. Other difficulties have arisen from the writing having faded in parts, and from the book having been so badly bound that some of the words on the inner margin are hidden. The spelling of the MS., as usual in those days, is very careless, the same word being spelled in half a-dozen different ways. The more flagrant of these variations have been indicated by (sic); but they are so numerous that it has not been thought desirable to do so in all cases. Capital and small letters are used quite indifferently, so that the absence of the former where they would seem to be required must be placed to the account of the original copyist. The stops are equally uncertain, but, in some cases, their absence must be ascribed to the fading of the ink. The accents and marks of abbreviation are very puzzling, as they appear to have been occasionally put in quite at random. With regard to the accent ^, for instance, it was found that, though it frequently appeared to be placed almost entirely over one letter, it was really intended to be over two; and that the mark of abbreviation of nn (i.e. ñ) was often placed over the vowel, as rên instead of reñ, and occasionally between, as re^n. In cases like these, where there is no doubt of the intention of the copyist, the accents and marks have been placed as indicated ; but, in all other cases, my endeavour has been to copy the MS. faithfully, whether it is correct or not, in all respects, merely showing the blunders, when they are serious, by a footnote. The text, of which the MS. is the translation, is, except in one or two places which are duly noted, that of the English Prayer-book of 1604. In addition to appendix (a), which contains the errata made by the transcriber, the following appendices are given, in the belief that they will not only be of use in illustrating the text but in indicating the gradual change in the language : (b) Alternative readings in the same handwriting as the text, which are compared with the corresponding word both in the text and in the modern version. (c) Alterations in handwritings of later date than that of the text, in cases where they have not obliterated the text. For in cases where the text has been obliterated, the more recent version has been inserted in the text with a footnote indicating that it is so. (d) Probable errors in the MS., not indicated in footnotes 1.

The translations of the prayers in the litany, of the collects, and of the rubrics, whenever they vary from the modern version, have been copied by me from Liturgie Britannicae, by W. Veeling, B.D., London, 1851, kindly lent by Sir James Gell; and the translations of the epistles and gospels have been copied from a prayer-book in the Bodleian Library.

With reference to the modern version, which forms the parallel text, it has been taken from the Manx Prayer-book of 1842, which was copied from the first printed Prayer-book of 1765 with some slight alterations. It will be found on comparison that there are no inconsiderable number of errors in this text, which have been corrected with the assistance of Professor Rhys and Mr. W. J. Cain.

In conclusion, I wish to express my obligations to Professor Rhys for the immense pains he has taken in revising the proofs with me, whereby he has saved me from many errors into which I should otherwise have fallen.



Isle of Man, 1893.

1 This has no pretension to be a complete list of errors in the MS.


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