Parochial records of Lezayre, predominantly for Holy Trinity Kirk Christ Lezayre but also St Stephen’s Chapel of Ease, Sulby and Glen Auldyn Chapel of Ease

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The content consists of:

Registers:Mixed registers, 1696-1849, baptism and confirmation register 1806-1849; confirmation, marriage and burial register, 1857-1860; baptism registers 1849-2012; marriage registers, 1757-2012; burial register, 1849-1882; confirmation register 1958-2011; preacher’s books, 1878-1911; service registers, Lezayre, 1911-1997; service registers, Sulby, 1924-1978; Lezayre banns book, 1887-1965.

Minutes:Parochial Church Council minute books, 1926-1985; 1994-2005;Vicar and wardens’ minute books, 1879-1957 (includes church accounts for many years in 1920s and 1930s), 1988-2002; Easter Vestry minute book, 1953-1989 (includes burial ground accounts for most years, many taped into book)Lezayre Men’s Fellowship minutes, 1958-1968; Lezayre Men’s Fellowship minutes and accounts 1966-1968.

Financial accounts:Receipts and payments book, 1957-1961; Churchyard rate accounts, 1955-1966; Churchyard cess accounts, 1948-1956; 1957-1960; Church Wardens’ accounts, 1821-1952; Annual parish accounts for Easter 1917/1918-1992; benefactions and charitable donations, 1807-1886; receipts and payments, 1889-1903; 1929-1956; Church Hall receipts and payments, 1949-1956; Poor Fund receipts and payments, 1953-1956; Vicar and wardens of Lezayre, 1889-1924; St Stephen’s, Sulby endowment fund account book, 1950-1956; Glen Auldyn receipts and payments, 1962-1963; Collection journal, 1872-1878.

Papers:Structural report on church, 1976; report on spire inspection by Northern Steeplejacks, 1993; Quinquennial report, 1995; specification for dwelling house to be built for the chaplain of Sulby, December 1859; posters, prize certificates etc for special events, mostly in connection with Lezayre church, 1920s-1930s; ‘The Manx Texts’, concerning the texts on the church wall; file of general Parochial Church Council correspondence, 1968-1980; folder of correspondence etc regarding new vicarage, 1969-1973; envelope of correspondence, drawings etc regarding memorial doors to A. A. Clague, 1984; ‘Which way in’ diocesan study course regarding Christian Initiation, 1974.Folder of drawings, papers, orders of service, programmes, annual returns etc; copy of indenture between Caesar Bacon and William Perceval Ward, 4 June 1835, regarding land for new church; arrangements for garden party and Christmas fair, 1974-1975; Visitors’ book, 1991-1997; dismantled album commemorating the 150th anniversary celebrations, 1985.

Administrative / Biographical History

The parish of Kirk Christ Lezayre (also known as Lezayre), situated in the northern Sheading of Ayre, is the largest parish in the Isle of Man, measuring approximately 16,276 acres. Three Church of England churches lie within the parish: Kirk Christ Lezayre (Holy Trinity) Church, St Stephens, Sulby and St Fingan’s, Glen Auldyn.

Kirk Christ Lezayre (Holy Trinity) Church was built in 1835; before that an older church had existed, situated further up the hillside in the old churchyard. Its east end came to within about five feet from the eastern boundary of the churchyard (the building no longer exists but the site is marked by a plaque). By the 1830s the church had fallen into disrepair. William Ward (1762-1838) Bishop of Sodor and Man (1828-1838), began advocating the rebuilding of many old parish churches as well as establishing new more commodious churches. The skills of Welsh architect John Welch (1810-1855) were employed, resulting in the new parish church for Lezayre. Welch was responsible for constructing at least nine other churches on the Island under Bishop’s Ward’s scheme, for example St Barnabas, Douglas (1832), Kirk Onchan in the village of Onchan (1833) and St Luke’s, Baldwin (1836). Welch was also involved in the building of the Tower of Refuge, Douglas (1832). Inside the new Kirk Christ Lezayre Church Manx text decorated the walls, including a stained glass window dedicated to Deemster John Christian (1776-1852) after his death. Another stained window was created in 1884 by Scottish glass painter Daniel Cottier (1837-1891) in memory of his father and grandfather. The church was registered as a listed building in 1991, however by the early twenty-first century its congregation had dramatically decreased, resulting in the church closing in November 2013.

St Stephens, a Chapel of Ease to (the former) Kirk Christ Lezayre Church, is situated in the village of Sulby, Lezayre. Its construction began in 1838 after Captain Caesar Bacon (c.1791-1876) gave a portion of land from the Staward Estate, Lezayre, for its development. The chapel included a schoolhouse and like Kirk Christ was designed by John Welch. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Ward’s son, the Revd William Harry Perceval Ward (c.1812-1875) on 4 June 1838. In the years 1879-1880 St Stephen’s was rebuilt and extended; extensive restoration work occurred from 1976 to 1978. With an ongoing steady programme of maintenance and conservation, St Stephen’s has continued to perform its duties to the Sulby community as an attractive and well maintained church.

Glen Auldyn Chapel of Ease, originally a small Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, is now a Church of England Church rechristened to St Fingan’s. The origins of the building are unclear but it dates back to 1835 approximately. In 1960 the premises were sold and later adapted to an Anglican (Manx Church) place of worship.

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 information was gathered from pamphlets such as Alan Rough's St Stephen's Church, Sulby, Isle of Man (1979) [MNH M 12497], Deemster Henry Calllow's pamphlet A Tour Through the Church : Kirk Christ Lezayre (1995) [MNH M 17497] and Juan Vernon's A Sulby Heritage Trail (2009) [MNH M 31385]. Further information was gathered from websites http://www.achurchnearyou.com/sulby-st-stephen/ & http://manxscenes.com/2015/09/glen-auldyn-church-or-st-fingans/.

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