The saga of Matthew Grose, John Taylor and the Isle of Man Mining Company

Before we cover the career of Captain Matthew Grose (1819 – 1887), we’re going to look back more closely at his father’s time with The Isle of Man Mining Company.

Just to recap – his father was Captain Matthew Grose (1788 – 1849) born in Loxton, Somerset to Cornish parents. He was a first cousin of the ‘most scientific engineer in Cornwall’, Captain Samuel Grose junior (1791 – 1866).

FIRSTLY… HAPPY TIMES!

In 1828, The Isle of Man Mining Company is formed by three adventurers from the Chester area. The mines at Foxdale are under the management of Mr. William Jones. Captain Matthew Grose (1788 – 1849) is employed as the Mine Agent there.

In 1833, local newspapers indicate that Matthew Grose is a popular Agent and member of the community. By this time he’d worked for the Isle of Man Mining Company for approximately five years.

After a company dinner, the engineer of the water wheel, Thom Anthony, expresses his gratitude by writing into the Mona’s Herald newspaper.

…we have great reason to be very satisfied and thankful in this neighbourhood, as so many of us are employed by the Isle of Man Company

Thom praises his employers…

…while the worthy adventurers carry on at the rate they do, and employ so worthy Agents, who behave like gentlemen ought to…

and he describes the music and dancing on Captain Grose’s street…

…cheering the ladies and gentlemen with all our might, three fidlers came forward, and played up as hard as they could, when a ring was made on Captain Grose’s street, and there we enjoyed ourselves and danced away in great style until it became dark…

Thom describes the staff raising a glass to the company…

…drinking the health of the Isle of Man Mining Company and their Agents



Mona’s Herald, Friday, October 04, 1833; Page: 3, Courstesy of Manx National Heritage


In 1844 Captain Grose advertises for a schoolmaster for the Foxdale Mines School. It is understood the school has been open on the Isle of Man since 1833, or earlier.

Mona’s Herald, Tuesday, May 14, 1844; Section: Front page, Page: 1 Courtesy of Manx National Heritage.

DRAMATIC DISMISSAL!

In January 1846, after eighteen years of employment with the Isle of Man Mining company, Captain Matthew Grose is dramatically dismissed from his position. Rumours swirl that he has been ejected from his dwelling in handcuffs and not paid his salary.

The company place a Public Notice in the newspaper announcing his dismissal:


Manx Liberal, Saturday, January 10, 1846; Page: 2, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

As ‘the skeet‘ (gossip) spreads across the Isle of Man, Matthew Grose responds a week later by placing his own advertisement in the newspaper, showing that he is…

“..as ignorant of the cause of my Offence as the Public themselves.”


Manx Liberal, Saturday, January 17, 1846; Page: 11, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

During March 1846, Matthew Grose further defends his character by publishing documents from the Isle of Man Mining company – which state he was considered…

“…honest, sober and attentive and having a good knowledge of practical mining operations.”

It seems that after the death of the general manager, Mr William Jones, the company were just having a ‘general change in management’ at Foxdale mines and…

“…now express their regret that so harsh a mode was adopted as they are informed was done–as it was far from their intention to cast any imputation on Capt.Grose’s character…”

 


Manx Liberal, Saturday, March 07, 1846, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

JOHN TAYLOR INTERVENES!

By July 1846, there is a dramatic conclusion to the saga when the Crown mining agent, John Taylor, intervenes. He deprives the Isle of Man Mining company of their lease to land throughout the island, (apart from their mines at Marown) and gives Captain Matthew Grose setts of land taken from the company. The rest of the island (except Lonan) is thrown open to the public.

The newspaper reports…

“The advantages to be derived to the inhabitants by the visit of Mr. Taylor are incalculable; and much is due to Capt.Grose for having been the chief instrument by which all these beneficial changes have been effected.

 

The company takes action too:

“The Company, determined not to be outdone by Mr. Taylor, have crowned his operations by paying Captain Grose the money due to him, and by a second time dismissing Mr. Beckwith from his situation as cashier! ! “

 

Undoubtably capturing the relief and mood of the public at the time…

“This is retributive justice with a vengeance. Handcuffs indeed!!



 Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, July 15, 1846; Page: 3, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage.

 

 …

In the next post, we’ll see what opportunities and risks were taken by Captain Matthew Grose (and his sons) after these dramatic events!

Thanks’, Resources and Further Reading:

Many thanks to iMuseum Newspapers & Publications  for providing digital access to the Isle of Man newspapers (from 1792 to 1960). Images and text are shared on this blog in accordance with their policy of using & sharing for ‘non-commercial personal use’.

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10 thoughts on “The saga of Matthew Grose, John Taylor and the Isle of Man Mining Company

  1. Amy February 28, 2017 / 2:21 pm

    How remarkable that all this is reported in the newspapers and that they still exist! Quite a story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • adventurousancestors March 2, 2017 / 11:35 am

      Yes, it is remarkable – sometimes just the way things are reported in old newspaper articles can really bring information to ‘life’!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy March 2, 2017 / 1:33 pm

        It sure can. I love doing newspaper research for that reason. And old newspapers were the social media of their day, reporting on all the comings and goings and gossip of the day.

        Liked by 1 person

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