Matthew Grose opens ‘a fine granite quarry’ at Foxdale

Quick recap

You will recall from a previous post, (The Saga of Matthew Grose, John Taylor and The Isle of Man Mining Company) that during January 1846, Captain Matthew Grose (1788-1849) was dramatically and unfairly dismissed (handcuffs indeed!!) from the Isle of Man (Foxdale) Mining Company.

By July 1846, the Crown Mine Agent, John Taylor had stepped in and deprived the company of their lease to land throughout the island, (apart from their mines at Marown). He gave Captain Matthew Grose setts of land taken from the company.

So what happened next?

A fine granite quarry:

By September 1846, the Manx Liberal newspaper reported on an exciting new venture by the entrepreneurial Captain Grose, his sons and Richard Powning (his son-in-law):

“We are gratified to learn that in consequence of the recent eruptions at the Foxdale mines, our Island is likely to he benefitted to a considerable extent. A fine granite quarry has just been opened in the neighbourhood of the mines by Messrs. Grose and Powning, and we learn that orders have been received for large shipments of the stones to Birkenhead, to be used in the construction of the docks now building there.”

Manx Liberal, Saturday, September 12, 1846; Page: 3, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

The first shipment:

By January 1847, the Manx Sun newspaper reports on the first shipment of Foxdale granite leaving the island for Birkenhead. There is also interest from London for paving blocks.

“The first shipment of excellent granite, raised at Foxdale, took place this week at Peel, for Birkenhead. Some of the blocks weighed five tons, and are intended for the construction of Birkenhead docks. We likewise have heard that a party in London are in treaty with the workers of this quarry for smaller blocks, suitable for paving. The stone is reported to be of excellent quality.”

Manx Sun, Saturday, January 16, 1847; Page: 4, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Paving Douglas:

In January 1847, it is reported that Douglas is to be paved with Foxdale granite…

“We understand that the High Bailiff of this town [Douglas] intends to order -from the proprietors of the granite quarry, at Foxdale, stone to pave the market-place. If found to answer, of which there can be no doubt, the streets are to be all paved with the recently-explored Foxdale granite, of which there is an inexhaustible supply. It is said to surpass the Scotch granite, the only place where that stone is to be had in Great Britain.”

 

Manx Liberal, Saturday, January 30, 1847; Page: 3, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Church at St. John’s:



In May 1847, the Manx Liberal newspaper reported on the enormous quantities of granite being shipped and how the new church at St Johns’s will be built of Foxdale granite:

The granite quarry at Foxdale, is likely to become of great benefit to this Island. Tbe number of men has been increased of late, and carts from the different parishes in the Island are employed in conveying the blocks of stone to Douglas daily, from whence it is exported to London; one day this week the dray of Mr. John Hogg, of this town, brought down three tons, in company with a train of other carts. Several of the hands who worked at the Scotch quarries are employed here, and by them the stone is acknowledged to be of a superior quality, and is of easier transition for exportation than in Scotland. The new church at St. John’s, it is said, will be built of this stone.

Manx Liberal, Saturday, May 22, 1847; Page: 3, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage


Image of Tynwald Church, St John’s © (Posted with permission of image owner: Rob Cannell, Isle of Man)

Stone for sale:

In May 1848, we see Matthew Grose, Richard Powning (his son-in-law) and a business associate, Charles Berry, selling off granite stone:


Manx Sun, Wednesday, May 17, 1848, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

(If anyone knows what this ‘Coroner’s Sale’ might imply, please let me know!)

Death:

In 1849, Captain Matthew Grose passes away on 19th June, 1849 and buried on 23rd June at St. Ruinus, Marown.

“On Thursday last at Laburnum Cottage, near this town. Capt Matthew Grose, for many years manager of the Foxdale Mines, aged 70 years.”

Manx Sun, Wednesday, June 27, 1849; Page: 5, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

The Albert Tower:

Just a month after Captain Grose’s death, the Manx Liberal newspaper reports on the opening of the Albert Tower in Ramsey and how Foxdale granite was used for the window corners:

The Tower was built by subscription by the inhabitants of Ramsey, from the design of G. W Buck, Esq.; it is a square building, about forty feet high, built of blue slate, with the exception of the window corners and coping, which are built of granite from the Foxdale quarries. The door is on the eastern side, over which are the three legs of man, and the following inscription :

—”Albert Tower. Erected on the spot where H.R.H. Prince Albert stood to view Ramsey and its neighbourhood, during the visit of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria to Ramsey Bay, the XXth September, MDCCCXLVII.”

Manx Liberal, Saturday, July 28, 1849; Page: 3, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage
img_4243
Image of Albert Tower, Ramsey, Isle of Man © (Image owner: Adventurous Ancestors)

A tribute:

Perhaps it is a fitting tribute to the adventurous ancestor, Captain Matthew Grose. He was baptised in the tiny hilltop village of Loxton, Somerset in 1788 whilst his Cornish father and uncle were there on a speculative copper mining venture.
After his own mining adventures (in Cornwall, Somerset and the Isle of Man), he ends by contributing materials to build Birkenhead docks, pave the streets of Douglas and London, build a church at St John’s and finally decorate the Albert Tower – which is built on a hilltop, celebrating the visit of Royalty.

Further reading:

Quarries
Albert Tower
Church at St John’s
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8 thoughts on “Matthew Grose opens ‘a fine granite quarry’ at Foxdale

  1. laxeyman March 6, 2017 / 4:12 pm

    A lockman serves on behalf of the coroner for the sheading, in this case Braddan. A Coroners sale, or auction is impounded goods from a bankrupt company/ person, seized at the time of bankruptcy, to get some money back for the creditors etc, all their assets including land property chattles etc, would be taken, & sold in other auctions, unless of course it was a Ltd company, then only assets from the company are sold off. These goods on South key sounds like they were awaiting shipment off island at the time of seizure?

    Liked by 2 people

    • adventurousancestors March 6, 2017 / 4:23 pm

      Thanks! This info is very interesting. Also, I’ll try & find another newspaper article I saw about this Mr Berry having some sort of “bother” & Captain Grose offering himself “as bail”. Also, I believe some of the major building work at Birkenhead docks was delayed – due to general economic pressures of the time. Could be a factor leading to their granite company facing some difficulties.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy March 6, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    Sounds like he bounced back quite well! Interesting story.

    Liked by 2 people

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