Wednesday, June 8, 2011

To Exalt a Nation – a Glimpse into the life of Ballaugh Church Hall



This modest, but delightful publication, celebrating the centenary of Ballaugh Parish Church Hall is written by village resident Joy Ling (née Craine), providing us with a glimpse into the life of a much loved building in the Manx countryside.

Upon its official opening in 1910 Ballaugh Parish Church Hall was considered to be the finest of its kind on the Island, and it was hoped that such a fine building would serve as both Sunday school and Village Hall.

It all began in 1904 with a suggestion put forward by Rev. Kneale the Rector of Ballaugh. The book recounts in detail the remarkable efforts made by this small community to raise funds for the building, and after six years concerted effort the Rector and Wardens were also able to purchase a field on Ballacrosha which became known as ‘the Church Hall Field’.

The foundation stone was laid on the 6th July, 1909, by Lord Raglan in heavy rain and dedicated to the building’s most generous benefactor Mrs Cross of Ravensdale, followed by a grand concert in the village hall. An account of the life of Mrs Cross in the book makes interesting reading.

This slim volume captures the spirit of the age over many decades recounting entertainment by the ‘Lady Raglan Quartet’, Magic Lantern Shows, Manx dialect plays and Mr Bridson’s trusty ‘Ballaughophone’!

The hall has been used extensively over the years with a particular emphasis on community events, coming to the fore in times of need during two World Wars.

The book’s author has dug deep into the archives for her latest publication, but she has also included a selection of personal memories from contributors along with a variety of thought provoking photographs. But if you want to know more about the stories behind the ‘Shepherd Castors’ and the ‘National Egg Collection’ you’ll have to read the book!

Priced at £6 ‘To Exalt a Nation’ is available from the ‘One Stop Shop’ in Ballaugh, ‘Novel Experience’ in Peel and St. Paul’s Bookshop in Ramsey, with all proceeds donated to Ballaugh Heritage Trust.

(Courtesy of Manx Tails) Valerie Caine © June 2011

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