Records of the Manx Society for Publication of National Documents of the Isle of Man

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The deposit contains minute books 1858-1879, press notices and press cuttings, annual reports of the Society's Council 1859-1880, Treasurer's annual reports 1860, 1862, proofs of the original prospectus and assorted financial accounts and subscription records. Also manuscripts of certain works published by the Manx Society (volumes 8, 11, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28, 29 and 30), distribution records for delivery of Manx Society publications, printer proofs and other printed material and manuscripts submitted for potential publication or research use by the Society. Further material includes, returns of questionnaires completed by clergymen for the parishes of Andreas, Patrick, chapelry of the town of Ramsey, Santon and St John’s Chapel, journals of Paul Bridson (Hon. Secretary and Treasurer) containing recording incoming and outgoing correspondence and other pertinent Society business 1859-1875, registered letter chits, and assorted correspondence. In addition there are documents relating to an affidavit sworn by Paul Bridson under the Bankruptcy act 1869 in matter of Paul Bridson v Reverend J.R. Quirk (concerning non-payment of Reverend J.R. Quirk's subscription fees to the Manx Society), also documentation of the 1865 visits by the Cambrian Archaeological Association’s (an account of the excursion and list of articles exhibited in the Manx Museum).

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1858 several prominent gentlemen met in Douglas to discuss the possibility of a ‘Manx Society’. Its purpose would be to reprint valuable documents that illustrated the history of the Isle of Man and to promote the future of the Manx people. After several meetings the Manx Society for Publication of National Documents of the Isle of Man was established. The Society was organised under the presidency of His Excellency the Honourable Charles Hope, Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man. First Secretaries were Reverend W. Mackenzie and Paul Bridson. Original members included the Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man Horatio Powys, Earl of Derby, Duke of Argyll and several of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of the Island. The Society set out several objectives, some of which are given below.

  • To reprint scarce and valuable books relating to the Isle of Man, such as the Council may determine.
  • To collect into one volume all the more important notices of the Isle of Man, from that in Caesar’s Commentaries down to the present day.
  • To collect all that is interesting and important of the Rolls and Seneschal’s Office, the Episcopal and Parochial Registries, and other public records of the Island
  • To give in one volume some of the main family pedigrees and chronological lists of kings, bishops, governors, deemsters (judges), members of the Keys and other officials.
  • To publish collections out of the British Museum and Harleian Manuscripts respecting this Island.
  • To conduct diligent searches for the most ancient records of the Isle of Man alleged to have been carried away to the Tower of London, Trondheim or elsewhere.
  • To enquire whether the Stanley and Atholl families and Crown offices have in their repositories relevant Manx documents.
  • To collect and preserve all available remains of the Manx Language.
  • To publish collections of Manx native literature.

The Society's goal was to direct for the first time, a combined and powerful influence towards the elucidation of the national records and monuments of Man ( Archaeologia Cambrenis, Third Series No. XVI October 1858 pp.413-416). The hope was that the statistical and other information would be supplied by many organisations and individuals such as members of the legislature, registers and clergymen. Incoming loans of Manx books, manuscripts, rare tracts and family histories for use by the Society were welcomed. At its peak 236 members paid an annual subscription of £1.1s although one member at least was in severe arrears. In its fifty year existence the Society published 33 volumes including information regarding the history, language, folklore and constitution of the Island. Its last volume appeared in 1894 and from 1892 no business meetings of the Society took place until 10 October 1907 when a meeting was called to propose the Society’s disbandment. The MNH Library and Archives holds all 33 volumes published by the Manx Society.

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

Archivist's Note

The biographical was information gathered from William Cubbon's A Bibliographical Account of Works Relating to the Isle of Man Vol. 1 (1933: 496-504), Archaeologia Cambrenis Third Series No. XVI October 1858 pp.413-416 and web sites: http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/manxsoc/msvol24/p276.htm and http://manxresearch.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/the-manx-society-for-the-publication-of-national-documents/

Fonds-level description created by Eleanor Williams (MNH Project Archivist), October 2015.