Life, how uncertain! Death, how sure!

This post will look at the ancient parish church of St Runius in Marown, Isle of Man… and an interesting grave marker for members of the Grose family in the churchyard there.

In the previous post we looked for the graves of the Mining Engineer, Matthew Grose junior (1819-1887) & his second wife, Elizabeth nee Qualtrough (1835-1918), both buried at Kirk Christ, Rushen, Isle of Man.

Some questions remain…

Where is his first wife (Anne Grose nee Read, 1818-1868) buried?

Where is his father (Matthew Grose senior, 1788-1849) buried?
marown sign

Photo © Phil Catterall (cc-by-sa/2.0)

old_mn

Sketch of 1834. Old Kirk Marown with seats for 250. Courtesy of A Manx Note Book

nave

Photo © Richard Hoare (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The Old Church:

The Old Church has been written about by many people, in the past and present day… with various versions of how it got it’s name:

St. Runius, also known as Old Kirk Marown, is a very quaint old church which still has candles for lights instead of electricity.

It is known as Old Kirk Marown because a new church was built in its place in 1853 on the main Douglas to Peel road.

St. Runius is a simple structure dating from the 12th century with alterations and extensions from 1750 to 1755 and in the late 1790’s.

It is called St. Runius as it is dedicated to St. Ronan of Lismore in Ireland and Marown also takes its name from this Saint “Ma-Ronan”, Marown.

From the IOM Photography website, 2014.

The original building was from approximately 1200 AD and was enlarged in 1754 AD.

Three bishops are possibly buried here; Lonnan, Connaghan, and Runius.

The old church was replaced around 1860, when a new church was opened. Old St Runius continued to be used occasionally for special services.

From the Isle of Man Guide website

According to a note by the late Professor Sir John Rhys, in “Mannin” (No. 2) :” the Parish Church of Marown, spelled variously Marown, Maronne, and Maroon. Skeeley Maroon is dedicated to a Saint called Maronog, in the Irish Calendar; and in the Scottish Calendar, Ronan.”

In the Manx Doomsday Book, or Manorial Rent Roll, of 1511, A.D. , the parish is styled St. Runii—St. Runy was evidently one of the Columban missionaries who came to the Isle of Man probably about the 7th Century, and it is in the Old Churchyard of Marown where his remains, with those of St. Lomanus and St. Onca are supposed to be buried, ” and these for ever lie un-molested.”

From A Manx Note Book

Why was a new church built?

With the improvement of the Douglas/Peel main road in the early 19th Century population growth focused on Crosby and the old church became too small and too far from the congregation.

In 1844 Phillip Killey, owner of a brewery in Douglas, gave land from his estate adjoining the main road between Crosby and Glen Vine for a new Church.

Tynwald approved the scheme in 1847, the foundation stone was laid by Bishop Auckland in 1849 and the Church consecrated in 1859.

From A Manx Note Book

Many years later on the 5th Oct., 1924, A.E. CLARKE wrote about this event at Marown Vicarage…

Needless to say that , this gift was accepted. and in a few years time from this date, the Old Church, so far as public worship was concerned, was forsaken for the new.

It was not so, however, with regard to burials.

The people of Marown still clung tenaciously to the old ground, where the remains of their forefathers lay for generations.

Marown Old Church - geograph.org.uk - 3125

Photo of Marown Old Church courtesy of Andy Stephenson [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The ‘Grose’ Obelisk:

In the churchyard of St Runius, Marown, Isle of Man there is a granite obelisk and two fallen headstones surrounded by railings. The granite is possibly from ‘the fine granite quarry’ that the Grose family opened at Foxdale.

2017-07-06 10.54.50

Photo © Robert Cannell


Over the years there have been discussions (and confusion!) about the individuals buried there.
By studying a combination of hard-to-read memorial inscriptions and incomplete burial records, this is our best interpretation of the burials. If any further information comes to light, then it will be corrected and shared on the blog.

 

3626338_56c47eff

Photo © Richard Hoare (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Who is buried there?

The Grose family used St Runius as their main local church for baptising, marrying and burying for many years. There was a track from their home at Cornelly/Jones Mine (part of Foxdale Mines) to the church. Other churches were used too (eg, Patrick), but there is a lot of activity at St Runius.

It is likely that three generations of the Grose family are buried at St Runius, Marown… Matthew Grose senior (1788-1849) with both of his wives, his daughter-in-law and perhaps five of his grandchildren.
The first ‘Grose’ burial was likely Matthew Grose senior’s first wife, Mary Grose (nee Wearn) buried 1839. She doesn’t appear in the burial records, but the inscription on the headstone (see section below) and newspaper obituary indicates this.

mary wearn

Manks Advertiser, Tuesday, January 08, 1839; Page: 3 (Via iMusuem)


An infant, John Grose, was buried in Marown in 1845. This is likely, John Matthew Grose the son of John Grose and Charlotte (nee Clucas).

johnl grose

Via iMuseum


Matthew Grose senior was buried in 1849

matt

Manx Liberal, Saturday, June 23, 1849; Page: 3
(Via iMusuem)


Frederick William Grose (Matthew junior’s son) buried 1858

fred

Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, June 16, 1858; Page: 3
(Via iMusuem)

Matthew Grose senior’s second wife Mary Grose (nee Tregonning) buried 1864

mary treg

Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, November 23, 1864; Page: 3
(Via iMusuem)


Matthew Grose junior’s wife, Anne Weston Grose (nee Read) was buried 1868

annie weston

Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, May 13, 1868; Page: 7
(Via iMusuem)

list of burials marown

From Isle of Man, Burial Index, 1598-2003 via Ancestry UK

Additionally, 3 children of Matthew senior’s daughter, Jane Powning (nee Grose) are buried at Marown.

powning burials

From Isle of Man, Burial Index, 1598-2003 via Ancestry UK

In the Press…

The ‘Grose’ obelisk at Marown has been written about in the newspapers…

From the Isle of Man Weekly Times (1 Oct 1932)…

Comparatively few of the gravestones in Marown are used to point the moral of the shortness of life at its longest and the possible suddenness of death.
Captain Matthew Grose [junior] of the Ballacorkish mine, Rushen, erected a monument to his son [Frederick] in the form of an obelisk, bearing on its four sides the words,

Time, how short! 

Eternity, how long! 

Life, how uncertain!

Death, how sure!

http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/gazateer/gyards/mn.htm


Analysing the Memorial inscriptions:

There are inscriptions on the fallen stones and obelisk.

From a long discussion on a Manx genealogy forum (from 2006) we can see the following incomplete inscriptions were recorded…

http://www.isle-of-man.com/genealogy/messageboard/index.pl/md/read/id/509238

In memory of Ann Mary Grose the beloved wife of Capt Matthew Grose …………….mines…………..January 8th 1839

Weep not for me my ………..

My children dear my ……………

Prepare yourselves………

also the above named capt Matthew Grose who died on the 19th Jun 1848 1849 aged 62 years

Thanks to Rob Cannell for cleaning the headstone, so the ‘Ann’ above could be corrected to ‘Mary’ which corresponds to Mary Grose (nee Wearn).

In memory of Frederick William son of Capt Matthew Grose [junior] and Ann Weston his wife of Ballacorkish Parish of Rushen

Born March 15th 1850 died June 2nd 1858

Conclusion:

Confusion reigned for a long time because there was an 1839 obituary for a Mary Grose, but it seemed her burial was recorded in 1864. Turns out they were both right – they’re two different people! Both wives of Matthew Grose senior and both called Mary!

Add to the mix a memorial inscription from 1839 transcribed as Ann Grose instead of Mary Grose! Then it turns out that there are actually two Mary Groses… and an Anne Grose buried there too! Anne being a wife of a Captain Matthew Grose too… no not that one – his son!

We got there in the end (hopefully!). It’s a reminder to check as many sources as possible and see the originals, not transcriptions where possible.

Originally erected by the mining engineer, Matthew Grose junior, mourning his young son Frederick, the granite obelisk is a fine monument to the generations of the Grose family buried at St Runius, Marown and elsewhere on the Isle of Man.

Matthew Grose junior may now be in an unmarked grave at Rushen, but the monument he created for others in his family has stood for almost 160 years.

Thanks and Further Reading:

I must thank Rob Cannell for providing plenty of information and some of the great photos for this post. Also for cleaning up that headstone!

A Manx Note Book

Ellan Vannin Volume 1

IOM Photography

Isle of Man Guide

 

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Finding Grose Graves at Kirk Christ, Rushen, Isle of Man

Locating the graves of Captain Matthew Grose (1819-1887) and his second wife Elizabeth nee Qualtrough/Luff (1835-1918) has been a challenge.

I am extremely grateful to the people who have helped.

Over the years, fellow researcher, Rob Cannell, has hunted throughout the graveyards at Kirk Chist Holy Trinity Church (Rushen Parish Church) several times. We concluded that Matthew and Elizabeth Grose were most likely buried in unmarked graves, or their headstones were now illegible.

Image of Kirk Christ Holy Trinity Church © (Posted with permission of image owner: Rob Cannell, Isle of Man)

Rob and I even discussed whether they were buried at Rushen at all, when certain records mentioned the place of death as ‘Arbory’.

Could they be at Arbory Parish Church and not Rushen? To confuse myself further, I realised that Arbory Parish Church and Kirk Christ were both in the sheading of Rushen!

A breakthrough!

When Rob found original images of the burial records we studied them closely for clues.

Matthew Grose, buried 14th October 1887


Courtesy of Manx National Heritage via FamilySearch

On the same page, (for other burials) the Vicar’s name was fairly easy to transcribe – a ‘Blundell Browne’ who was easily traced as the Vicar of Kirk Christ, Rushen from 1887-1893. So it was Rushen, not Arbory Church!

The Curate’s name was more difficult to transcribe, but eventually got it as D.M. Jenkyus. This was confirmed with some further online searching which showed there was a Curate at Rushen in 1886, called David Melbourne Jenkyus.

Then there was a code ‘K21‘ the margin. Could this refer to his burial plot?

Rushen Church has several churchyards.

  • The Rushen Old Yard (Southside)
  • The Rushen Old Yard (Northside)
  • The 1899 Old Yard
  • The 1899 Yard
  • The Ashes Plots (in the 1899 Yard)
  • The 1926 Yard
  • The 1967 Yard

Initially, the dates and plots seemed to indicate that Matthew Grose would be in the Rushen Old Yard (Southside) where a row K appeared… but there was no plot 21!

Luckily, I spotted that ‘The 1899 Old Yard’ near the Vicarage garden was probably an extension from 1869.

I’d assumed it was from 1899 onwards, which would have been too late for Matthew Grose’s burial in 1887. However, if ‘The 1899 Old Yard‘  opened in 1869, his grave could be there. Also, a plot ‘K21’ was listed there. It was promising!

Found!

After contacting the very helpful Claire at Rushen (who organised a search), I received the superb photo below of Matthew Grose’s burial plot. Many thanks to Andy Knight for locating & photographing this.

Image of burial plot at Rushen Churchyard © (Posted with permission of image owner: Andy Knight, Isle of Man)

As we’d predicted, there isn’t a headstone or marker here for Matthew Grose junior (1819-1887). Claire advised that few survive – many stones were damaged or lost from this particular churchyard.

Perhaps he had a headstone in the past? Either way, the plot has been found so another mystery SOLVED!

Elizabeth Grose, buried 19th June 1918

We undertook a similar investigation in the hunt for Elizabeth Grose’s headstone, using her burial record found online by Rob.

.

Courtesy of Manx National Heritage via FamilySearch

The curate’s name was transcribed as W.R. Cannell. We discovered he was the Rev. William R. Cannell after finding his name online associated with the erection of the Lychgate at Kirk Christ in 1921.

Code 697 appears in the margin and again this was assumed to be the burial plot.

The maps of the churchyards at Kirk Christ indicated that plot 697 was likely to be in ‘The 1899 Yard’.

Claire and Andy did a great job of researching this – locating & photographing her exact plot too.

Image of burial plot at Rushen Churchyard © (Posted with permission of image owner: Andy Knight, Isle of Man)

No headstone or marker here for Elizabeth Grose (1835-1918) either, but another mystery SOLVED!

In the next post we’ll look at some Grose graves at St Runius, Marown, Isle of Man where there is MOST DEFINITELY something special to see!

Thanks’, Resources and Further Reading:

Many thanks to Rob, Claire and Andy for all your help with locating and photographing these plots.

 

 

 

 

The career of Captain Matthew Grose (1819 – 1887)

Born in Cornwall, Captain Matthew Grose (1819-1887) was a renowned Mining Engineer in the Isle of Man. He managed Ballacorkish Mines on the island and also inspected many others, too numerous to cover in one post.

He was a mining man through and through. His father, also called Matthew Grose (1788 – 1849), born in Loxton, Somerset, was a Mine Agent who worked in Cornwall, then at Foxdale Mines, Isle of Man from 1828-1846, before opening a ‘fine granite quarry’.

His grandfather, another Matthew Grose (1761 – 1824) and great uncle, Samuel Grose (1764 – 1825) were Cornish Mine Captains born in Redruth, who worked at mines in Cornwall and Somerset.

More information about his family can be found here.


Photo of Matthew Grose 1819-1887 (Courtesy of Manx National Heritage)

1819 Matthew was baptised at Phillack, Cornwall on 19th March, 1819.

1828: At the age of nine, Matthew moved to the Isle of Man where his father becomes a Mine Agent at Foxdale Mines.

1841: The census shows Matthew is living and working at Foxdale Mines with his father who is the Mine Agent there. Matthew is working as a miner and his brothers, Thomas and John are engineers. Later that year he married Anne Weston Read.

1846: Slater’s Directory (Douglas) lists Captain Mathew Grose as the Agent to the Foxdale Mining Co. Adress given as Moore’s court, Market place. This is his father, but undoubtably both were still working closely. This is the year his father was dramatically dismissed from Foxdale Mines. The Crown Agent, John Taylor, then stepped in and gave him setts of land & he opened a fine granite quarry.

1846-1851: At some point adventuring, exploration and lead mining begins at Ballacorkish (Rushen Mines) on the hillside above Colby.

1851: The census shows Matthew Grose residing at Ballagawne in Rushen with wife, Annie, four of his children and a house servant. His occupation is given as Agent of Mines.

 1852: The Brig Lily is shipwrecked on the islet of Kitterland. The following morning a salvage team go to save the cargo, but the gunpowder aboard explodes. Miners at Ballacorkish have their candles go out and are thrown over by the force of the explosion.


Manx Sun, Saturday, January 01, 1853; Page: 12

1855: Limited lead mining operations are still ongoing at Ballacorkish.

ballacorkish 1855

Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, April 11, 1855; Page: 7

1856: Captain Matthew Grose supervises all mines in the parish of Rushen

Manx Sun, Saturday, February 23, 1856; Page: 4, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

1857: Matthew Grose inspects Peel Castle Mines



Manx Sun, Saturday, December 19, 1857; Page: 23

1861: The census shows Matthew Grose residing at Ballacorkish in Rushen with wife, Annie, eight of his children and a house servant. His occupation is given as Lead and Copper Mine Agent.

1862: In April, newspapers report on The South Foxdale Silver Lead Mining Company offering shares to purchase

“the lease of an extensive sett of richly mineralised property…”

And

“The sett having recently been surveyed by eminent mining engineers — Captain R. Rowe of the Laxey; Captain M. Grose, Isle of Man, whose report is endorsed…”

Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, April 16, 1862; Page: 4


Manx Sun, Saturday, April 19, 1862; Page: 12

The Manx Mines website states:

Work resumed when the mines were reopened in 1862 and developed on two lodes. Two shafts had been sunk 600 yards apart and the sett was worked as two separate mines which were known simply as North and South with no connections being made underground. The North, or Phosphate shaft (Rushen mine) was sunk to a depth of 360 feet (60 fathoms) with levels at 15, 30, 45 and 60 fathoms. The bottom levels were driven for 180 feet south and 780 feet north. The South shaft  (Ballacorkish) was sunk to a depth of 450 feet (75 fathoms) with levels driven at 12, 24, 36, 60 and the bottom at 75 fathoms which had been driven to a length of 390 feet south and 1470 feet north. Both mines had to pump water out at the rate of about thirty gallons per minute but an adit level driven from the main road also helped to drain the mine and reduce the pumping cost.

Extract from: http://www.manxmines.com/BALLACORKISH.htm

1863: Thwaites Directory (Rushen) lists Captain Matthew Grose as the manager of South Foxdale Mines (Ballacorkish).

The South Foxdale Silver-Lead Mining Company have recently been established for the working of a set of mines lying south of the Foxdale mines. The set includes the Ballacorkish Mine and is upwards of four miles in extent. The capital of the company is £25,000 raised in shares of £6 each. The works comprise an edit level driven about 300 fathoms, which has yielded a considerable quantity of lead ore and blonde. About 200 fathoms from the entrance is a large east and west lode, from which, within a very small space, a cargo of rich silver ore was raised. About 80 fathoms in advance of this edit, two shafts have been sunk about 20 fathoms deep, and several parcels of ore raised; and a few fathoms from the present end of edit, several lumps of ore near the surface have been found in an east and west direction, yielding from 60 to 60 ounces of silver to the ton of ore.

Also, 

“Captain Grose… has for years past entertained a high opinion of the property”


Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, July 01, 1863; Page: 2, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

1863: Matthew is involved with other mining operations on the island.

LEAD MINE AT KERROW – MOAR , LEZAYRE .— Some two years ago a company commenced operations in search of the metal in this district, and after bestowing considerable labour and expense , were so ill remunerated for their outlay and trouble that the project was by them abandoned. Not discouraged, however, by a past failure , a new company has been formed, and a number of miners and labourers are now engaged in sinking a shaft and making other necessary preparations for searching for hidden treasures. The new company have not taken to the old working, but opened a new one a little higher up the hill, though in the immediate neighbourhood of the old mine. We bave been informed, on reliable authority, that they have already, during their progress, obtained large Quantities of ore, with encouraging prospects before them. Under the mining skill of Captain Grose, there is no doubt that the resources of this new mine will be fully developed; and if successful ia the enterprise, it will prove a great boon to the labouring classes of this locality.”

Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, December 16, 1863; Page: 3

1868: Mining operations are going well at Ballacorkish.


Isle of Man Times, Saturday, May 09, 1868; Page: 6

His wife Anne died in May 1868.

He takes out a notice in the newspaper to state that he won’t be responsible for debts contracted by others.


Isle of Man Times, Saturday, June 13, 1868; Page: 8

In September 1868 he marries his second wife, a widow, Elizabeth Luff (nee Qualtrough).

In October 1868, two of his sons are in bother for stealing apples. Matthew Grose is referred to as:

“…the well-known manager of the Ballacorkish Mines, who is respected and beloved by all who know him.”

Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, October 14, 1868; Page: 3 (Courtesy of Manx National Heritage)

1870: Matthew issues several reports on progress at Ballacorkish.


Isle of Man Times, Saturday, January 29, 1870; Page: 3


Isle of Man Times, Saturday, February 12, 1870; Page: 3


Isle of Man Times, Saturday, April 09, 1870; Page: 3


Isle of Man Times, Saturday, April 23, 1870; Page: 3


Image of Ballacorkish Mines © (Posted with permission of image owner: Rob Cannell, Isle of Man)

1870 proves a dramatic year at Ballacorkish. Very shortly after the mining updates it appears in the newspapers that…

“some fresh arrangements have taken place”

and

“Major Thorpe who holds a large number of shares in the mines has taken the sole management of this important undertaking”

and

“Some slight difficulties arose in the fresh management of the affairs.”

The ‘slight difficulties’ being that Major Thorpe made allegations that five young men (including some relatives of Captain Grose) had threatened to “Cook his Goose” and shoot him!



Manx Sun, Saturday, May 14, 1870; Section: Front page, Page: 1

But was it fake news?

Isle of Man Times, Saturday, June 18, 1870; Page: 3

1871: The England census shows Matthew Grose (Mine Agent) with his second wife Elizabeth (nee Qualtrough). He is in Pontesbury, Shropshire, England visiting his older sister Emma Harrison (nee Grose) who is wife of Jonathan Harrison (Mine Agent).

He is also on the 1871 Isle of Man census at Ballakilpatrick road, Rushen with occupation given as Agent Lead Mines.

1872: Matthew Grose inspects a mine at Dalby, Isle of Man.


13 April 1872 – Isle of Man Times – Douglas, Isle of Man

1873: Newspapers report on the issuing of a prospectus for the Colby Mining Company limited

 “for working silver lead mining properties in the Isle of Man, covering nearly 400 acres in the parish of Arboury. Capt. Rowe, of the Great Laxey Mines; Capt. Bowden formerly of the Foxdale Mine; and Capt. Grose formerly of the Ballacorkish Mine all report very favourably of the prospects of the mine.”


1875: Matthew Grose is appointed manager again. 

“…a more competent gentleman can scarcely be found.”

 


Isle of Man Times, 13 March, 1875

1880: Matthew seems to be in some financial difficulties with his goods and effects being sold off.


Mona’s Herald, Wednesday, April 28, 1880; Page: 8

1881: The census shows him at The Level, Rushen with wife and children. He is Captain of Lead Mines, unemployed.

1886: Matthew Grose is ill and residing at Ballakillowey.


Isle of Man Examiner, Saturday, March 13, 1886; Page: 4

1887: Matthew passes away at Ballavayre (or Beal-e-Vere in the newspaper).

Manx Sun, Saturday, October 22, 1887; Page: 13, Courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Conclusion:

These are just a handful of the references to Matthew Grose’s long mining career on the Isle of Man. In future posts, specific aspects might be revisited and discussed in more detail.

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’.

Also thanks to fellow researcher, Rob Cannell – between us we’ve found plenty of newspaper clippings!

http://www.manxmines.com/BALLACORKISH.htm

https://www.aditnow.co.uk/mines/Ballacorkish-Lead-Mine-2/

https://www.aditnow.co.uk/Album/Photographs-Of-Ballacorkish_62848/

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/record?catid=5641891&catln=6

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C4800471