The NAMA blog posts news from the Isle of Man and Manx-related stories from around the world. Feel free to exchange ideas, thoughts and suggestions concerning your Manx heritage.
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The National Mills Weekend,
organised by the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient
Buildings, is a popular annual festival celebrating the milling heritage of the
British Isles, providing a unique opportunity to visit a large selection of
windmills and watermills.
Until the advent of the steam
engine, windmills and watermills provided the only source of power for a number
of processes, but here on the Isle of Man little remains of this once vibrant
industrial heritage, with many of the mills having fallen into neglect.
Despite this, a few of them have
been lovingly restored by their owners and during National Mills Weekend
Kentraugh Mill, based in the south of the Island, will be opening its doors to
the public and raising funds for charity.
Located close to the Shore Hotel
at Bay ny Carrickey (also referred to as Gansey Bay), The Little Mill as it was
colloquially known, was run by the Qualtrough family for over 400 years, but is
now owned by Canon and Mrs Elizabeth Sheen.
Inside Kentraugh Mill
Although probably a working mill
for centuries, it’s believed that Kentraugh Mill was largely rebuilt about
1832, when the current machinery was installed, but is known to have ceased as
a working mill in 1943 when the building became redundant.
Lying unused and forgotten for
over twenty years, it was restored by Mr R. M. Nuttall (father of Mrs. Sheen)
when he purchased the miller’s house in 1965, little realising that what he
thought was a garage was in fact a disused watermill.
During the weekend visitors will
be able to join an extensive guided tour of the three-storey building, see the
mill in action and learn more about its colourful history, as well as paying a
visit to the Chapel Garden across the road, which was used historically as a
miller’s store room and as a meeting place for the Primitive Methodists.
Disused Mill Wheel
Admission to Kentraugh Mill, which
is a popular venue during National Mills Weekend, is free but donations are
welcome towards the owners’ chosen charity, the United Society (Anglicans in
Although the route to Kentraugh
Mill will be well signposted during the weekend, further information is
available by phoning 832406, but visitors are reminded that tours of the mill
are undertaken at their own risk and that there are some open steps to
negotiate within the building.
New for this year is Mills in
Art, a competition for artwork in any medium on the subject of windmills or
watermills with prizes on offer for both adults and those aged under 16. Further
details available from the National Mills Weekend website.
The sinking of the luxurious liner
Lusitania just off the Old Head of Kinsale in Ireland in 1915 by a German
submarine resulted in the loss of 1,201 lives. A significant turning point
during World War I, the doomed vessel sank in just eighteen minutes, but this
year the curator of The Leece Museum in Peel, Roy Baker, will be speaking at
the annual commemorative service for the first time about the heroic involvement
of a Manx fishing boat, PL11 The Wanderer, in the rescue of passengers and
Organised by the Merseyside
Maritime Museum in Liverpool, the commemoration takes place alongside the
ship’s salvaged propeller, on the dockside between the Merseyside Maritime
Museum and the Museum of Liverpool, where a wreath will be laid on the 7th
May to remember all those who perished.
Deputy Head of the Merseyside
Maritime Museum, Ian Murphy, said, “Lusitania was Liverpool’s most famous ship
and her sinking sent shock waves around the globe and influenced America’s
entry to the war. It is particularly poignant to hold the service alongside the
propeller which is one of the most iconic objects in our collection.”
The crew of the Wanderer receiving their medals on Tynwald Day 1915 (Courtesy of The Leece Museum in Peel)
It was to be two hours before
rescuers heading from the Irish mainland would reach the disaster, but a lugger
from Peel, The Wanderer, was fishing
a few miles away when crew member, Thomas Woods, on watch duty, sounded the
alarm after he saw the Lusitania listing. The skipper of The Wanderer, Stanley Ball from Jurby, is reported to have said to
Woods ‘Go for her, be British’, so, undeterred by the danger of enemy
submarines, these brave Manxmen headed for the scene of the disaster where they
took on board 160 men, women and children.
The skipper and crew of The Wanderer spared nothing for their
pitiable passengers, gifting their clothes, blankets, food and drink as they
sailed back towards the Old Head of Kinsale with their precious cargo, towing
two boat loads of survivors besides.
Two miles from land The Wanderer was intercepted by an
Admiralty tug, The Flying Fish, into which were transferred the devastated
survivors who then sailed for Queenstown (now renamed Cobh).
It was difficult for some of the
crew members of The Wanderer to come
to terms with this atrocity, reinforced by extracts from surviving letters, but
believing that these men deserved recognition for their services, the
Manchester Manx Society arranged for Mr F. S. Graves to design a special medal,
which was presented to each of the rescuers by the Lieutenant Governor, Lord
Raglan, on Tynwald Day.
This year’s service will also include
a welcome by Ian Murphy, Deputy Director of Merseyside Maritime Museum, an historical
overview by local maritime historian Dave Roberts and the Act of Remembrance
led by Father David Baverstock.
Remember I mentioned in the NAMA Bulletin that you should send money for raffle tickets with your friends who are coming to the Convention? Well, this magnificent quilt is what it's all about. Gorgeous. Make sure you send lots of money to buy tickets!!!!
Thank you so much Mannin Quilters and the ladies who made this masterpiece! See you in July. Mannin Quilters are going to swing by on Saturday 5th to tell us more about how and what they do. It'll be just before the Convention Banquet.
Manx born poet Thomas Edward
Brown (colloquially known as T. E. Brown), will be remembered by members of the
World Manx Association as they gather in Glen Falcon Gardens, off Broadway in
Douglas, for an annual garlanding ceremony on his birthday, 5th May.
Born in Douglas in 1830, T. E.
Brown attended King William’s College before gaining a double first at Christ
Church, Oxford, and entering the teaching profession, eventually retiring as
Master of Clifton College in Bristol in 1892.
His poetry explores various genres,
but he is perhaps best remembered for his work with Manx dialect, and more
specifically his Fo’c’s’le Yarns.
T. E. Brown
The appeal of T. E. Brown’s work
has never waned, with a number of prominent Island figures regularly reciting bite-sized
chunks of his poetry, from some of his lengthy pieces, but there’s been a
renewed push to ensure that school children have a better understanding of the
man and his poetry in the year designated Island of Culture.
During May 1914, the now redundant
Manx Society pursued similar lines by gifting a portrait of T. E. Brown to each
Island school in a bid to encourage them to read more of his work.
The Isle of Man Examiner which
reported on the presentations said, “The rising generation should, as a result
of the actions of the Manx Society this week, be encouraged to devote to the
literary work of the Rev. Thomas Edward Brown that attention and study which
its intrinsic merit should in itself be sufficient to command.”
Their report highlighted how ‘the
poet has not reached the heart of the masses, as Burns, for example, appeals to
the Scots’ citing a lack of education about the poet.
But now the Department of
Education and Children is asking Island schools to seek out those portraits and
discover how they marked the occasion a century ago.
Advisory Teacher for the Manx
Curriculum, Jo Callister, said, “T. E. Brown is one of our greatest ever
cultural figures. It will be fascinating to see how many of these portraits
still exist, whether still on walls or stored away in attics or archives, and
to raise the awareness of today’s pupils to Brown’s work in this culturally
Coincidentally, the World Manx
Association has located eighteen of these portraits tucked away in an attic,
which will be given to the recently built schools, along with copies of a CD of
T. E. Brown’s poetry read by Major Geoff Crellin entitled Treasure of the Island Heart.
Culture Vannin will also be
presenting a copy of Dollin Kelly’s book T.
E. Brown: An Anthology to each school on the Island.
T. E. Brown died in 1897.
Those interested in reading his
poems can do so here:-
If you missed the Registration deadline, in the spirit of traa dy liooar I will extent it until the 10th of May. Remember, if you are not registered for the convention or the events you wish to attend, you will not be able to come and enjoy the fun!
Oh, and if you're thinking of driving, here's the famous Quarterbridge roundabout. If you can navigate this you can drive anywhere in Britain!