Papers of Kermode family including Philip M.C. Kermode, his sister Josephine (Cushag) and other relatives

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The contents of this deposit consist of a wide variety of material that, not such as the papers of multiple Kermode family members. The remaining contents relay the career of PMC Kermode (PMCK), ranging from his professional career as an advocate to his career within Manx antiquities

Family papers

The contents of family papers of the Kermode family include the diaries of PMCK (1877-1932), sermons of his father William Kermode are included as are his notebooks, items on the Bishop of Sodor and Mann, pastoral work in his parish, correspondence to his wife and a registry of the congregation. Other items relate to PMCK’s siblings such as printed poetry of Josephine ‘Cushag’ Kermode and her correspondence with PMCK and folklorist Sophia Morrison (1859-1917). Notebooks, diaries and account books of Caroline Matilda ‘Cherril’ Kermode (c.1861-1946) and a handwritten novel by Mary Anne ‘Minnie Emily Kermode (b.1848) are present. Other journals, notebooks and exercise books including poetry and correspondence belong to William Kermode (b.1841) and Frederick Bishop Kermode (b.1849). Further items include various Kermode family correspondence and correspondence belonging to the Manx Museum’s second director William Cubbon and Cherril Kermode after the death of PMC Kermode.

PMCK’s correspondence

A large majority of the deposit is made of incoming (and some outgoing) correspondence of PMCK with correspondents’ aphetically arranged. Examples such as Bishopscourt, linguist and runologist Erik Brate (1857-1924), William Cubbon (1865-1955), designer Archibald Knox (1864-1933) and Governor of the Isle of Man 1st Baron Loch (1827-1900). Other correspondents include the naturalist Cyril Ingram Paton (1874-1949), Governor of the Isle of Man Lord Raglan (1857-1921), naturalist Charles Swynnerton (1877-1938) and Manx language expert George William Wood (c.1852-1927). Further correspondence from societies or institutions includes the American Archaeological Society, Folklore, Isle of Man Government Office, Port Erin Biological Station, Royal Society of Antiquities of Ireland and the Viking Society.

PMCK’s advocacy work

Papers, articles and correspondence relating to PMCK’s advocacy work, his business with the Ramsey Town Commissioners, the Clerk to Justices, the Ramsey War Memorial and Ramsey Golf Club are present.

Archaeology and Natural History papers

Items relating to PMCK’s work in archaeology of the Isle of Man consist of his archaeological notebooks and sketchbooks (an index was created by German archaeologist Maria Bersu [1902-1987]), items on runic inscriptions and crosses such as notebooks and illustrations. Also present is a proof book of Manx Crosses. Papers and notes on various topics include Norse inscriptions, the Sheadings of Mann, excavations, Archaeological Survey work, geology, ancient monuments, bronze implements, keeils, Manx antiquities and numismatics. Also included are illustrations of ancient English crosses. Documentation relating to Manx Natural history includes bird migration, insects ( Entomologia Manniae), mammals and notes and correspondence concerning the Great Deer.

The Manx Museum and the National Trust of Ancient Monuments (MMNTAM) papers

Items present include papers, correspondence, catalogues, a museum diary and curator’s book and printed material relating to the MMNTAM. Topics covered include the lobbying for the establishment of the Manx Museum and post 1922 work after the museum was created.

Publications and printed material

Folders of manuscript material on PMCK’s Manx Antiquities (1914), Manx Crosses (1907), Traces of Norse Mythology in the Isle of Man (1904) plus reviews and articles of each publication are present. There are also numerous newspaper cuttings, printed material and printer proofs connected to the Manx Museum and Manx antiquities. Also included is printed material on non-Manx antiquities.

Administrative / Biographical History

Philip Moore Callow Kermode (1855-1932) a naturalist and pioneer in Manx archaeology, was the son of William Kermode (1814-1890), chaplain to St Paul’s Church Ramsey (later Vicar of Maughold) and Jane née Bishop (c.1819-1858) of Shelton Hall, Staffordshire. Kermode was the younger brother of the poet Josephine ‘Cushag’ Kermode (1852-1937) and one of seven children. Born in Parliament Street, Ramsey and raised in the family home at Claughbane, near Ramsey, he was educated at King William’s College; he read for the Manx bar and was articulated to Sir Alured Dumbell (1835 - 1900). Kermode became an advocate in 1878 and was Clerk of the Northern Deemster and Sumner General. He was also a town commissioner for Ramsey and Clerk to the Justices from 1888 to 1922.

Kermode’s fascination in natural history and the archaeology of the Isle of Man began from a young age: his inspiration was widely attributed to an uncle by marriage, surgeon and naturalist Robert Garner (c.1808-1890). Kermode was a founding member (as was his father) of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society (IOMNHAS) in 1879; he was its first secretary and editor for twenty-five years. Kermode was also nominated five times to be IOMNHAS’s president between 1886 and 1929.

Kermode had a keen interest in birds and after becoming a member of the British Association he took part in a bird migration project running from 1881 to 1883; in 1883 he joined the British Ornithologists’ Union. In 1876 his ‘After Cormorants’ was published in Science Gossip and in 1880 his first list of Manx birds was published in Jefferson’s Almanack (the same year he read ‘A Plea for the Study of Natural History’ to the IOMNHAS). A final list of birds (175 species) followed in Yn Liaor Manninagh, the journal of IOMNHAS, in 1899. Other published work included a list of mammals and butterflies in 1885, ‘An Introduction to the Study of Lichens’ (1886), ‘Contributions to a vertebrate fauna of the Isle of Man’ in The Zoologist (1893) and in 1916 a review of the listing of Manx mammals.

Kermode contributed many articles to international journals, for example Archaeologia Cambrensis, The Antiquaries’ Journal, The Reliquary, The Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Saga Book of the Viking Society, Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie, Sörnlandsbygden and Blandinger. In 1899 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and he served as a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science. Throughout his career he travelled widely both on business and pleasure.

A great discovery for Kermode was participating in the IOMNHAS excavation work that revealed the remains of a great deer at Close y Garey near St Johns in 1897 (the stag’s skeleton is still on display at the Manx Museum). In 1891 a fossil shell from glacial drift in the north of the Island was named after Kermode Nassa Kermodei.

Kermode’s other passion was archaeology and in 1893 he excavated at the Meayll Circle site with Professor William Abbott Herdman (1858-1924), providing the first evidence of early farming in the Isle of Man. Other work included the 1926 excavation of the Neolithic tom at Ballafayle, Maughold and in 1927 he excavated the Viking ship burial at Knock y Doonee, Andreas. Kermode’s List of Manks Antiquities published in 1904 (revised in 1930) set out to list all Manx monument of historic and antiquarian interest. As secretary of the Manx Archaeological Survey initiated by the IOMNHAS in 1908 he played a pivotal role in reporting on the remains of the ancient churches and burial grounds, the keeills and rhullicks of the Island.

Kermode spent much of his life researching the ancient crosses located all over the Island. He tirelessly located, identified, deciphered, conserved, published and presented the ancient crosses to the rest of the world, wishing to relay their significance to the history of the Isle of Man. In 1907 he published Manx Crosses and opened the cross-house in Maughold. The 1907 publication listed 117 crosses. By 1932 161 were known and this number has since grown to over 200.

The pinnacle of Kermode’s career was the establishment of the Manx Museum in 1922 and his appointment as its first director and curator. In 1929 he became president of the Cambrian Archaeological Association and was awarded an honorary degree of Masters of Arts by the University of Liverpool. In 1932 he became a Knight of the Order of the Falcon by the Government of Iceland. He was also made a Knight of St Olaf by the Government of Norway. In 1932 Kermode died a bachelor aged 77. He is buried in Maughold churchyard.

Conditions Governing Access

No regulations or restrictions are implemented on this material.

Advance notification of a research visit is advisable by emailing library@mnh.gov.im.

Other Finding Aids

A partial summary list is available for consultation.

Archivist's Note

The biographical information was gathered from the Manx newspaper the Isle of Man Examiner (9 September 1932), Dollin Kelly’s (ed.) New Manx Worthies (2006: 247-249) and David M. Wilson, ‘Kermode, Philip Moore Callow (1855-1932)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [ http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/66184, accessed 7 March 2016].

Isle of Man newspapers available online at http://www.newspapers.gov.im/Default/Skins/IOMDemo/Client.asp?skin=IOMDemo&enter=true&AppName=2.

Fonds-level description created by Eleanor Williams (MNH Project Archivist), August 2016.

Separated Material

Separated material held by Manx National Heritage includes sketches, rubbings, plans and assorted illustrative resources of PMC Kermode (reference number: P.6381).

Related Material

Related material held by Manx National Heritage includes photographs of Philip M C Kermode and family including his Manx crosses images (reference number: PG/13721).