Edward Ferrier, 1827-1899

Born 1827, died 14 March 1899

[From Manx Church Magazine April 1899]

Death of the Rev. Canon Ferrier.

[From the Manx Sun.]

A feeling deep regret, if not of personal sorrow, must have been uppermost in the thoughts of all our readers on hearing of the death of Canon Ferrier. For more than forty years he had identified himself so closely with the life of the island that few men were better known, and certainly none were more respected. Three years ago he was obliged, through ill health, to retire from active work, but we still remember him in his full vigour of mind and body; and although his death may seem to make less of a gap in our midst, because so much of his work has for some time past been done by other hands, yet this fact can in no way lessen. either our respect or our regret.

Edward Ferrier was the last surviving son of Richard Ferrier, Esq., of Great Yarmouth. He entered at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and took his degree of BA. in 1850, his name appearing in the list of mathematical honours of that year, and he proceeded to the M.A. there in 1853. He was Ordained by the Bishop of London (Blomfield), Deacon in 1850, and Priest in the following year,. being licensed to the Curacy of St Martin's in the Fields. After two years' work in London he accepted the Curacy of St James', Southampton, where he also remained for two years. In 1855 he was appointed Government Chaplain at Castletown, a post which he held for 41 years, until he retired in 1896. In addition to the work at St Mary's, he was Chaplain to the Prison at Castle Rushen until the new gaol at Douglas was built and occupied, and Chaplain to the Forces quartered at Castletown. In addition to these clerical duties Canon Ferrier was appointed in 1874 Secretary to the then newly constituted Board of Education for the island, and for the 22 years that in that position he did a very great deal of good work throughout the island, dealing with the school Committees and the teachers in town and Country, always with the same unfailing courtesy and judgment When, in 1895, he was instituted by the Lord Bishop to the Canonry of St Columba, it was universally felt that: the honour was, well deserved, In the same year he also became Rural Dean of the Castletown Deanery. He was also for many years Chaplain to the House of Keys. .

When the " Manx Church Magazine" was started in 1891, Bishop Bardsley asked Canon Ferrier to undertake the editorship, and none can know better than the staff in this office, where the Magazine has since been printed, how largely its success was due to his tact and ability.

As a Freemason Canon Ferrier was most earnest and enthusiastic and members of the craft in all parts of the island will have warm recollections of his genial manner and kindly counsel on the frequent occasions when he took part in the affairs of the Order. As an exponent of the ritual of the craft, he had few equals, and the ready interest he took in every Masonic work entitled him to the high estimation in which he was held by the craft. It was not therefore, surprising that when Sir John Taubman received his, charter of. appointment as Provincial Grand Master be selected Canon Ferrier to be the first Provincial Grand Chaplain 'in the Insular province,' an honour of which he was very proud. Canon Ferrier was also for many years one of the leading Oddfellows of the Isle of Man District. He was initiated in the Hope and Anchor Lodge, Castletown, in 1860 [the lodge itself was founded 1859]; passed through all the offices, was Grand Master of the Isle of Man District, and as delegate has attended 'A.M.C. meetings. He took warm interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the Order, and particularly with regard to the Widow and Orphan Fund. Indeed, few men in the island have done more for the advancement of Oddfellowship

In 1895, finding his health further giving way, he was forced to obtain the help of a curate, and on Christmas Day and the first Sunday in the New Year, 1896, he assisted at the services in S. Mary's for the last time, as he finally resigned, and the present Chaplain was appointed . on January 19th 1896. At the Vestry meeting, held on the Easter following, it was proposed and unanimously decided . that a letter should be written to Canon Ferrier, expressing the great' regret of the congregation at his resignation. Mr Ferrier was conspicuous for the thorough manner in which he always identified himself with every good work into which he threw his whole energy. He was a man who did not believe in a half-hearted attachment to anything he took in hand, as his connection with the Artificers' Society, the Oddfellows, the Rocket Brigade, and the Lifeboat Committee can testify. But one of the institutions which have the most cause, to be thankful to him is the Society that he was instrumental in starting the Castletown Poor Relief Society. When he came to the town in 1855, he found that there was no systematic dispensing of charity to the poor, but begging from door to door was carried on, and money was given to the recipients by the Chaplain and wardens of S. Mary's indiscriminately, many a needful case was overlooked simply because the parties were too proud to let their wants be known. Mr Ferrier saw that this state of things would have to be remedied, and in October of the same year, 1855, the Voluntary Poor Relief Society commenced its operations, and continued its good work until within a few years ago (1893) when the Committee from want of support decided to go under the "Compulsory Act" or Poor Law. There are many in the town who remember with regret the annual tea festivals and concerts in the Town Hall which were held yearly in aid of the Funds of the Society, and the speeches by bygone friends, namely, Dr Dixon, Rev Tom Brown, Rev H. C. Davidson, Parson William Gill, Rev Gilmour Harvey - who have all passed away. The Canon was a man ever ready to help in any good work, and many a young mm has he assisted in days gone by coaching them up for positions they were successful in obtaining. All this he did without fee or reward. We can safely say, that no cause to which he was asked to lend his influence and support, ever received a denial from him and many instances of "not letting his left hand know what his right did" could be recorded.

Canon Ferrier has seen in his career and has assisted in the installation of four bishops of Man, viz., Powys, Hill, Bardsley, and Straton, and during his time has seen six Governors-Hope, Pigott, Loch, Walpole, Ridgeway, and Henniker.

As soon as the news of his death became known, the principal places of business in the town put shutters up, and on Wednesday morning the death bell of St. Mary's was tolled, and expressions of regret and sympathy for his widow and family are apparent on every hand.

A bare record of work such as this cannot adequately Convey to those who did not know him personally the voice of his character and the power of his influence. He was a "man" in the highest, truest sense, and no one could fail to feel instinctively that to gain his friendship would be something to be proud of.

Deep sympathy will be felt by all for his widow and his children in their sad bereavement, and if universal fellow feeling with them in their sorrow can ill any degree bring relief to those who mourn, at they may be assured of this consolation in their sadness.

The funeral took place on Saturday, the 18th inst., at Malew Church, the remains being followed by the principal residents of Castletown and the clergy of the Diocese



Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 1999