Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man

From the Archives

Items of interest from our archives:

The following was reported in the Peel City Guardian, 6 November, 1897

The Funeral of Manx National Poet T. E. Brown and Memorial Service in St. Matthew’s Church

Funeral oration by the Rev. T. A. Taggart

The funeral, which was of a very quiet description, took place at Clifton, on Wednesday morning at eleven o’clock. The mortal remains of the poet were laid to rest in the same grave that contains those of his wife, who predeceased him. At about the same time that the last rites of the Church of England were being performed in connection with the funeral of the Rev. T. E. Brown at Clifton, a memorial service was held in St. Matthew’s new church.

In St. Matthew’s Churches - old and new - the dead poet took a deep and affectionate interest., and it were only fitting that in the church now used for Divine Worship by the parishioners of St. Matthew’s there should be consecrated the memory of the most distinguished man ever given birth to in the parish. For Tom Brown was born in St. Matthew’s parish, and was baptised in old St. Matthew’s. His early education was supervised by two chaplains of St. Matthew’s, and perhaps the happiest period of a happy life - his early boyhood - was spent - or a good deal of it was - in the parish.

When Tom Brown came to manhood, and took orders, he was ever ready to take the pulpit at St. Matthew’s, and it is only a few weeks ago that he preached at the new church. Of course to such a lover of old Douglas, it was a grief that the Old Church had to go, but he was not the man to allow sentiment to stand in the way when there was an imperative demand for the building of a new church. Accordingly he threw himself heart and soul into the New Church movement, and gave it substantial aid. The last service he rendered in the New Church was the writing of the verse and prose descriptions that were such a feature of the programmes of the bazaar held last week in aid of the New Church fund.

The memorial service of Wednesday had not been well announced, and consequently it was not astonishing that the attendance was but a sparse one. The officiating clergy were: The vicar (Rev. T. A. Taggart) and the vicar of Braddan (Canon Moore). Before the clergy entered, Mr J. D. Looney, the organist of St. Matthew’s, played a funeral march on the organ. The Rev. T. A. Taggart read the opening sentences of the burial service, and after the reading the Psalms were chanted. The lesson was read by Canon Moore, and the hymn, ‘Christ will gather in His own’, was next sung. The vicar delivered a brief address, taking his text from St John’s Gospel 10 -11 ‘The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep’. He sketched the ideal Christian life, and said that such was the life of their departed brother, who was ever trying how much he could do to serve God and his generation.

Their friend was generous to the excellences of the Manx character, but was not blind to, and was not afraid to point out the weakness of that character so that the weakness might be removed. He was a great poet and writer, and there was not a line of his writings but was pure and lofty in aim. Many a man with half his ability would be unapproachable, but he, like his Master took on the form of a servant, in order that he might be of service to his fellows. The preacher concluded by urging his hearers to take example by the pure and holy life that their illustrious countryman had led. At the end of the sermon the hymn ‘My God, my Father, while I stray’, was sung, which concluded the service. The Dead March in Saul was played on the organ as the congregation dispersed.

The Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA)

Last year we were able to present a play entitled “Saint Martin of Tour”, on behalf of funds for the Mission, which benefited to the extent of many pounds by the effort. May we solicit the interest and support of our readers in a similar undertaking and for the same object. This time the play will be “The Monks of the South.”

Waifs and Strays

We have received the following report from the matron of the Bradstock Lockett Hospital Home, with reference to a little girl who left us for the Home some months ago.

 “Knowing you are interested in the case, I am writing to tell you how much she has improved since she came here. From a forlorn sad child, she is now a bright and happy child who can smile and play with other children. She has gained over four pounds in weight and her cheeks are rosy, and one would hardly recognise her.”

 The Vicar is writing to express his pleasure in receiving such a report, and would like to have a contribution to send as a thank-offering for the work of the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society. The Misses A. Robinson and Gertie Radcliffe have kindly consented to organize a Silver Thimble League among us, and we hope that they will receive every encouragement in their good work. Each member of the League undertakes to provide two articles of work, either of a useful or ornamental nature, and also subscribe annually one shilling towards defraying the expenses of the League. The articles are sold annually at a small sale of work held in the School.

P.S. The Waifs and Strays Society became the Church of England Children’s Society which we still support.

Girls’ Friendly Society

 The following is the programme for the month: March 6th Astronomy, March 13th Cookery, March 20th Pictures, March 27th Members Admission.


The following letter and report have been received from the London headquarters of the Coral League: “I am sending you the report of Achiliana, which you will be pleased to have. Will you kindly see that her Saint Matthew’s friends know about it as it may help to keep up their interest in the child they have adopted. People have been very generous and we are most grateful for your help; in these difficult times when our financial position is extremely grave, we simply trust that all will continue to do their level best to help us to carry on with the great work we have in hand. Yours sincerely Ethel C Douglas.” The report reads as follows: “Name of child, Achiliana; school, Lulindi; nice pleasant child; frightfully stupid at school, but quite sensible at home, I hear. She is often employed now in nursing her nephew Jermano, the son of her sister Lois. Her brother Gerard has left school and begun to work. I think she is anxious for baptism.”

Church Renewal 1820-1920

Those who were present at the Lantern Lecture given by Mr Clifton Kelway, at Noble’s Hall, on the 4th April, enjoyed a great treat. It was shown that the English church herself was Catholic, in spite of much that might appear to contradict it. Attempts to deprive her children of their heritage had failed. Men had been imprisoned and persecuted because they would obey the Church and her Prayer Book. The result, under God, was that the worship of the church today, was, generally speaking, of a very different order from that which obtained a hundred years ago.

Ascension Day and Whitsuntide

Describing St Matthew’s Church and its Chaplain some 90 years ago, a certain writer used the words: “Holy Thursday was the same as any other Thursday”. It is true that things are not as they ought to be, but, thank God, they are very much better than they have been, and the day has long since passed away when it was possible to make such a statement as the above. So far as the last Holy Thursday is concerned, we are very happy to be able to state that it was well kept by young and old; better, so far as we can judge, than on any previous occasion. A number of brass vases were presented by the scholars of the Middle School, who paid a special visit to the church on the Sunday within the Octave for the purpose of offering their gift. The kindergarten scholars and teachers made a similar present on Whit Sunday, the special purpose of their gift being the decoration of the windows of the Church, when we are keeping Festival. It was a fitting celebration of our Mother’s Birthday.

Parish Band

 We are about to re-start our Brass Band and shall be grateful for any help our readers may give us in the form of gifts of instruments or money to purchase new ones or mend the instruments we have. If this notice meets the eye of any old bandsman who still has an instrument in his keeping, may we ask him to be good enough to return it as soon as possible to the Vicar or to Mr. Spence, who kindly placed his knowledge and experience at our disposal to put us on our feet again.

Parish Brass Band and Football Club

We had a very successful evening at the Villa Marina, on the 20th November, and are very grateful to those kind friends who helped us so splendidly by offering prizes for the occasion…We hope to collect a sufficient sum of money to enable us to pay the £30 required for the thorough overhauling of all our Band instruments, and at the same time enable St Matthew’s Albion FC to carry on.

The Anglo-Catholic Congress Film

This was shown at the Strand Cinema, on the 12th December, to an audience which must have consisted of 600 persons. The pictures themselves were very interesting illustrating as they did the story of the Catholic revival from the days of John Keble to the present day; but it was the lecture of Mr. Clifton Kelway, who, with his vast knowledge of the subject and his large experience as a lecturer, made the occasion such a memorable one.

House of Industry

The vicar had the pleasure of presiding at the New Year’s party on the 3rd January, when an enjoyable programme was provided by a number of friends of the Institution, and each of the inmates received some useful present. It must be gratifying to all who are interested in the House to note the vast improvements that have been made in recent years.

The World’s Fair

Although so far ahead, we have to keep this big event before us. November 18th to the 20th is the date, and Villa Marina the place. In a month or so, we hope to publish a full list of stall-holders, so that our friends may know to whom to send their gifts in coin or handiwork. We cannot but feel that they will be many, considering the fact that the object of the Church House for the purchase and equipment of which this grand bazaar is being held, is not solely for the benefit of the Church and its young people, but also for the sake of the sailors and those who have to spend so much of their time on the quay-side. Have you joined the Deposit Bank yet, and are you making something for the fair?

P.S. The House of Industry is now, of course, the Ellan Vannin Home. The vicars of the Douglas parishes are still ex-officio members of the Board of Directors.

The Church House was the building next to the hall which is now Milan Indian Restaurant. Saint Matthew’s Band had a band-room there and there were other recreational facilities. Father Burnett sold the building to pay for the installation of the old radiant gas fires which were fastened to the pillars, eventually some of these were used to heat the halls.

The Parish Brass Band

The instruments have been thoroughly overhauled, and were no sooner in our hands than they were in use. The players, under the capable and painstaking tuition of Mr. Spence, are making excellent progress. We are badly in need of more instruments. If others would follow the example of a gentleman who recently presented us with an instrument, we would be very grateful.

Station Day

We are happy to be able to say that the 10th June was very faithfully observed…. There was continuous intercession for the conversion of our land. There must have been an average of a dozen persons in Church during the whole time until midnight, when the responsibility of maintaining the intercession passed to the faithful on the other side of the water. The alms, amounting to £2. 13s, are to be sent to the Anglo-Catholic Congress Committee for the training of candidates for the sacred ministry.

Guilds of the B.V. and St Joseph

A meeting of members was held on the 30th May, when the Vicar gave an appropriate address and admitted nine new members.

Holiday Camp

Every August for the last eleven years we have run a Camp for our Sunday School children. Before the Great War swallowed up so many of our boys in Camps of quite a different kind, we had CLB Camps at Andreas, Perwick Bay, and Port St Mary. Three times we have shared our pleasures with parishes across the water, in that way giving pleasure to about sixty Englanders. On an average we have taken forty into the country every year - a week for girls, and a week for boys. People say, ‘How is it done?’ Its early history had its birth in the Vicarage kitchen, for with the first treck went nearly all the Vicarage pots and pans, and rugs and blankets too. By the kindness of friends, gifts and a few subscriptions, we now have the tenancy for some years of the Old School House at Ballaugh. We charge 5s per head for a Camp week, which includes travelling. Again, the uninitiated ask, ‘How is it done?’ First, the Camp mother is one who has had long experience in ‘making a dinner for a big family of what some people would throw into the dust bin!’ Economy of scraps is the first thing. The generosity of people in the country in gifts of ‘kind’ is the next thing, including picnics, etc., which all save on the food bill. The kind gifts from a few men in business in Douglas, who know something of our work, all help the feeding department. And last, but not least, the paying guest fees of the ‘home party’ - that is the vicarage party, who have, since the youngest boy was three years old, camped with the rest; and as they grew old enough, have joined the ‘staff’, and so given up two weeks of the summer holidays to help to ‘run the Camp’, ending up with a free week for real fun when the Vicar has been able to be with us, which he has always managed until the last two years; his work has been organiser of outings, etc. Last, but not least, what we have missed so much this year and last, were the services he held daily in the Camp, whenever we have been, that was always catered for, and the happiness, joy, and geniality of our Camp centered in and radiated from that early morning worship. The days are spent in bathing, picnics, tales round the Camp fire, concerts, games, parades, orderly duties, and fun of all sorts - wet days no exception! And ‘that’s how it’s done.’ One who visited the Camp as a camper was heard to remark, ‘Now this is what I call ideal community life’ - and they had all things in common.

 Special date to remember, Patronal Festival September 21st

With our Patronal Festival recommences, year by year, our winter’s campaign. Let us try and start together ‘with a long pull, and a strong pull’, not frittering away in a week or two. Just as the summer season is for making money, our harvest of visitors is short, so our season for harvesting souls, our own and others, is short; the winter is soon gone, and we have much to do. Every year the ‘season’ is responsible for some back slides, and we know it. It is hard to get into the swing of regular hours and duties towards God. September 21st (St Matthew’s Day) is our rallying date….Preparation for St Matthew’s day begins now, with a resolution to go one better than this time last year towards making our little Island the House of Saints that it was in days of long ago. The very names, the ancient stones, the kiels, cry out to us today:-

Faith of our Fathers, faith and prayer
Shall win our country back to thee.

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

English Church Union

A very successful Festival was held on the 4th September, when a large number of members attended from all parts of the Island. The programme for the winter’s session is already in hand, and the secretary is to be congratulated not only on the excellence of the programme itself, but on the early date at which it has been placed in the hands of the members. The opening meeting of the session will take place on the 29th October, when the Vicar has been asked to give an address on ‘The Practical Life of a Catholic’.

Bible Class

On Sunday afternoon, October 5th, we hope to re-open our Bible class. The subject will be ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. The loan of copies of Bunyan’s masterpiece will be gratefully acknowledged. Any girls over seventeen will be welcomed at the Schools at 3.45 o’clock. We are hoping to see many new members. Officers, treasurer, registrar, secretary, pianist, and album keeper will be selected at this meeting. The treasurer’s account shows £2 subscribed to UMCA since Christmas; the secretary’s record shows a very regular attendance of senior members, but a most irregular attendance of juniors. We began the year with 34 members. For the sake of some whose time is limited, we hope to close the Class by 4.20, so hoping to make for regularity. The album is a great feature of our Bible Class; in it the secretary writes notes of the lesson, and pictures to illustrate it are pasted every week opposite the notes. Mr Lewthwaite, Duke Street, has made us a specially large scrap book of brown paper for the purpose. Postcards, sketches, and etchings, culled from many sources, fill the pages. We owe a debt of gratitude to some fellow-members of the National Home Reading Union, London, for the loan of study books and portfolios of illustrations and cuttings. -(NB -Would the members who borrowed ‘Omar K’ and ‘Fairie Queene’ please return.)

Patronal Festival

The feast of St Matthew falls at a very awkward time for many. The 21st September is just about the time when the season ends, and the local holidays begin. Nevertheless, the Festival was duly kept and the services well attended. It is usual to have a luncheon in the School on this occasion, but as the Festival fell on a Sunday this year we had to forgo this pleasant extra. On the evening of the 21st the Vicar read the sermon preached by Bishop Wilson at the dedication of our Mother Church on that day 216 years ago. It was long, and must have taken ¾ of an hour to deliver, but its faithful teaching of the Catholic Faith on the authority of the Church, and the Apostolic Ministry, the necessity of the Sacraments and the Ministry of the Holy Angels, the duty of worship and the reverent conduct of the worshipper, made it well worth while.

Lecture at Villa Marina

On the 19th and 20th January the Rev Father Vernon of the Society of the Divine Compassion is giving two addresses at Villa Marina on ‘The Catholic Religion’. We hope that all our readers will attend and do their utmost to ensure a large audience. The lecturer belongs to one of our Church’s Religious Orders, and is a well-known Missioner across the water, where it is no uncommon thing for him to address vast audiences of working people, who have been deeply impressed by his ability and fervour.

Organ Recital

On the 7th December Dr Tootell, Mus.Doc., Dunelin, FRCO gave a most excellent recital, consisting of six items by some of the great organists and musicians, chosen with that taste and played with that ability which we have learnt to look for from him. Miss L. Kaneen was the vocalist on this occasion, and sang her two solos, ‘O rest in the Lord’ and ‘Abide with me’, with great clearness and devotional feeling. The collection is to be devoted to the purchase of new Prayer Books and Hymn books for use in the church.

Memorial to the late Miss M.L. Wood

We are very pleased to be able to announce that a beautiful stained glass window is to be erected in the Lady Chapel by His Worship the High Bailiff of Douglas (R.D. Farrant, Esq.), as a trustee of the Murray Estate, in memory of our dear old friend and fellow-worshipper, Miss M.L. Wood. We are very grateful to him for helping us in this way to commemorate one to whom we of St Matthew’s, and indeed the whole Island, owed so much. The work is being done by Morris and Company, of Merton Abbey, which was founded in 1861 by William Morris, the poet, to carry out his great revival of the decorative arts. It will be remembered that our beautiful window over the High Altar was the work of this firm.

The Church Institute and the Sailors’ Room

We have already commenced work on the new building, and, if all goes well, the opening ought to take place in the second or third week in December. When it is known that the purchase money of the building itself is £1400, and that the cost of the work, which we are at present taking in hand, will amount to over £1100 it will be realised that we are in need of all the help we can obtain. We are hoping that we may shortly receive substantial help and encouragement in the form of donations from the charitable persons in the town who have realised that we are doing the work not only for the benefit of the people connected with the church, but for the comfort and welfare of the sailors, porters and coal-heavers, who have to spend much of their time on the Quayside, and have no place in which to meet and find shelter, particularly through the winter months.

(This is now the Indian restaurant next door. Father Burnett sold it to pay for gas heaters which were fixed to the pillars in church. Ed.)

Harvest Festival

Never did the church look more beautiful and never was it more eloquent of thankfulness and devotion than on Thursday, the 1st October, when we began our harvest festival. Large numbers of people gathered for the tea, so excellently prepared by the ladies, at six o’clock. This was followed by Evensong…..The festival was continued over the Sunday….At the close of Evensong, a most delightful organ recital was given by Dr. Tootell, who enabled us to realise the truth of the words of Carlyle, who described music as

‘an inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the infinite, and lets us for moments gaze into it.’

The following extract is from the Isle of Man Examiner 12th February 1926

St. Matthew’s Sailors’ Room

The new church institute and sailors’ shelter adjoining St. Matthew’s Schoolrooms were opened by the Lieut. Governor on Thursday week. The premises were acquired and converted out of the proceeds of the bazaar held by the workers of St. Matthew’s Church just over a year ago, and comprise a large room in the basement for the young men’s club, and a similar spacious room on the ground floor for the use of seamen and quay workers. Lack of funds has delayed alterations to the upper part of the building but it is hoped that clubrooms for girls will be provided at no far distant date.

The purchase price of the building was £1,450, of which sum £700 has been paid; the cost of altering and renovating was £1.125, and about £300 is still required to meet the latter liability. The vicar invites anyone who would care to assist in furnishing the premises to communicate with him.

The Sunday School Festival

The Manx Church Magazine, when the vicar of St. Matthew's was the Rev. Theodore H. E. Japing, B.A

Father Waggett’s visit is not likely to be forgotten. His subject, ‘The Church a Divine Revelation’ was handled as few even such learned scholars could do, interspersed with delightful humour and illustrations. Do you know he spoke for 50 minutes on Sunday night, and yet many of us said we wanted more. It was good to know he has promised to come again if at all possible, and he was so delighted with the evident signs of life and progress in St. Matthew’s.

The Manx Church Magazine, when the vicar of St. Matthew's was the Rev. Theodore H. E. Japing, B.A

On January 13th I shall have completed my second year’s ministry amongst you. Sometimes the period seems far longer, so much has occurred; sometimes far shorter, the time has sped by and so much remains to be done. Both for my wife and myself the years have been happy ones, and we look hopefully to the future. But with regard to the ministry, many - very many - have helped, encouraged, prayed; some have just looked on and waited for signs of progress or retrogression; some have criticised and discouraged. To the first I would say from the bottom of my heart ‘Thank you’; their friendship and cooperation has been invaluable. Of the rest I would say, I am hopeful that the love of Christ will yet constrain them to do many things which otherwise they might not do, so that His Kingdom may come ‘on earth as it is in Heaven’.

Emmanuel. ‘God with us’ be our watchword!

In accordance with the directions in our Prayer Book, the Vicar will be in Church for the purpose of administering ‘absolution, together with ghostly counsel or advice’ on Saturdays at 2.30 and 8 pm and at other times by appointment.

Gifts to the Church

A new alms box for our Tract Rack was kindly made by Mr. W Gill. The Vicar desires to acknowledge a donation of £5 from Mrs. Fenton and £1 14s 7d in the box for the special Church Expenses Deficit Fund. Thanks are due to the children, who brought 147 eggs, two apples and a chocolate hen to our Easter Gift Service, thus giving cheer to many of our sick and poor. The number of eggs contributed last year was 102.

The event to which we are all looking forward to this month is our annual Sunday School Festival on Sunday, June 30th. Our preacher this year will be the Rev. Cyril Bickersteth, of the London House of the Community of the Resurrection. He is well known throughout the Anglican communion, and may be remembered by many of us as the author of two delightful little books ‘Letters to a Godson’. I personally have always had a sincere affectionate regard for him, because on the few occasions I have heard him preach, or otherwise come into contact with his sympathetic personality, it has always brought real spiritual help. Moreover he is intensely fond of children, and at his own request he will preach not only morning and evening, but address the Sunday scholars in the afternoon as well. I feel sure that everyone will make a special effort to be present at the services, and I know that those who have not done so will be very sorry for it afterwards.

My dear Friends,
Since I last wrote to you my wife and I have returned from a delightful holiday in Devonshire. The scenery round Torquay is very beautiful, indeed reputed to be some of the loveliest in England, but not more so than our Island. Indeed we remarked many times that nothing could compare with the glorious view of Douglas Bay from the sea, or the wonderful variety of some of our glens, and by contrast wild mountain scenery or rockbound coasts. The great pity is that so much here is spoilt by rude and vulgar advertisements, automatic machines and certain ugly wooden or corrugated iron erections. A wise and tactful committee for the preservation of natural scenic beauty, similar to those in certain parts of the mainland, if given sufficient power, might do wonderful work here.

Churches with services similar to those at St Matthew’s abound in the South, and it was encouraging to find in how many the Lord’s own service (Holy Communion) was evidently regarded as the chief act of worship on the Lord’s Day, just as it used to be in the time of the Holy Apostles.

My dear Friends,
Sometimes I view with trembling anxiety the tendencies of the present day. It is in just such a time of careless forgetfulness of God, ‘happy-go-lucky’ drifting away from His counsels, lukewarmness and overwhelming materialism, that we are told He may come again. How shall we stand in that day? I bid you dear friends of generous hearts and willing works, and you also whom I have prepared for Confirmation, and you all who look upon St Matthew’s as your home, and yet only come now and then even to the Lord’s Service, not to repress the best instincts of your souls, nor fail to heed the still small voice of conscience directing attention to spiritual things. Let us make the month of December a time of new endeavour, so that Christmas may find us rejoicing in the newborn King

Our new curate.

We welcome in our midst the Reverend Sydney Victor Pressley, appointed assistant curate of our parish. He comes to us after six years’ careful training at Kelham Theological College, that great centre of Catholic influence worked by the Society of the Sacred Mission. We wish him not only happiness, but God’s grace in fostering his vocation and then surely his ministry at Saint Matthew’s will be richly blessed.

My dear friends,
Perhaps the most important local event during the present month will be the Anglo-Catholic School of Religion, to be held on February 21st – 24th. The subjects chosen concern us all, to whatever school of thought we belong and I feel sure that all who come will benefit by the instruction to be given. We all need to know clearly and definitely the reasons for the Faith, but this knowledge can only be gained by taking the trouble to learn and such connected course of instruction is one of the best ways of acquiring this knowledge.

Seamen’s Hot-pot and Smoker

As usual, this even, held on January 27th, was most enjoyable, over eighty men sitting down to a sumptuous meal, provided by members of the congregation. A very jolly smoking concert followed, in which many of the seamen themselves took part. It has been decided to redecorate the Seamen’s Shelter and to carry out certain other improvements. We should be glad to receive donations from any who are interested in the work amongst seamen. Our thanks are due to all who, by donations or by work, helped to make the hot-pot supper so enjoyable. We also desire to thank Captain Pugh for the gift of many interesting magazines.

(The Seamen’s Shelter was the building next to the Church Hall. Its original use and intention declined and it was used as a Band Room and for other recreational uses until sold by Father Burnett. For a long time it was used by the Manx Farmers and it was then sold to Mr Gubay who made it into a restaurant with various different tenants. The money from the sale was used by Father Burnett to buy the old radiant gas heaters which were on each of the pillars in church. When the new system was installed some of the gas fires were put in the halls.)

Kindness to Animals

As in past years, Sunday, July 13th, will be observed as our ‘Animal Sunday’ when our duty to our animal friends will be the subject of the sermon, and special intercessions will be offered. The celebrant and preacher at the 11 o’clock Sung Eucharist will be the Rev. J.N.E. Tredennick, Principal of Bishop Wilson Theological College.

My dear Friends, - I trust everyone of us has been spiritually strengthened and encouraged by our Patronal Festival. The visit of our Bishop with his encouraging message, and that of the Rev. Hugh Taggart, made it indeed a time of special significance. Father Taggarts sermon on our Festival Sunday, tracing out the wonderful history of St. Matthew’s in the past, was particularly appropriate. All his earnest exhortations as well as his genial, sympathetic personality, was a delight to those who came. Naturally, the church was crowded, not only by St. Matthew’s people. but by many who came out of sheer affection for their dear old friend, but to many of these latter our beautiful Sung Eucharist made perhaps little or no appeal.. Nevertheless, we were glad to see them, for the Church opens her doors to everyone. But now that our Patronal Festival is over, let us hope it was the beginning of a revival of spiritual energy and renewed enthusiasm. Let us say to ourselves, quite candidly, it is not by any spasmodic efforts, or occasional waves of attendance that our church can go forward. St. Matthew’s cannot rely on those who make their spiritual fervour or co-operation depend upon choice human leadership, whether clerical or lay. St. Matthew’s depends upon those whose faithful allegiance is to their Divine Saviour, and whose faith in Mother Church is strong, active and enduring. Such people are not far to seek, and there are also the other sort, who just look in and criticise.

Bur even as St. Matthew’s has great traditions, so let us remember it has a great part to play in the future. Our Church stands for truths which have in many places been misunderstood, forgotten or neglected. At times we suffer persecution, ridicule and even contempt. Let us rejoice if these are suffered for righteousness sake. Let us not shrink from such things in the future. Let us by precept and constant practice be true to our belief in the Sacraments, in the church as a Divine Society, not a human organisation, and in the full Catholic Faith once delivered to the saints. Thus will the Grace of God continue, and we need not fear.

Our special visitor for the ECU Festival was Rev. W.J. Crouch, organizing Secretary from London who preached at the Sung Eucharist and at the meeting gave an instructive address on the recent Lambeth Conference. How thankful we ought to be that the dangerous pitfalls of that Conference were averted and that our Bishops as a whole stood firm for the Catholic faith and practice. Miss McKnight, who had attended the Anglo-Catholic Congress in London, gave a vivid description of that inspiring event, and made us all long to have been present. As we go to press, it is encouraging to record a general re-awakening of enthusiasm and activity after the summer months and the same spirit of harmony and good fellowship prevails, which is so characteristic a feature of St. Matthews.

Just as we go to press, I have had a delightful surprise. I had invited my friend Canon Cooper, the Rector of Prestwick, Manchester, to conduct a retreat in St Matthew’s on December 3rd and 4th, but remembering the dreadful crossing he had last year in September and the serious effects it had on him, it was almost too good to expect he would accept. Now, however, he has written a most kind letter, saying he is looking forward to his visit with much pleasure.

The idea of a retreat arose from one or two members of our congregation, who suggested that I should conduct one. It is true I have done so on a very few occasions before coming to the Island, but I do not feel so competent to do so, and perhaps my ministry mat not be entirely helpful to everyone. We know each other very well, and therefore our faults and failings are constantly evident. A more unfamiliar voice can speak with such freshness.

A retreat is for those who really desire to serve our Lord and to know His will. I am persuaded that there are several in our congregation who really do desire this and only wish they knew how to do it better. Will you pray for God’s blessing on our conductor in his preparation?

The Anglo Catholic Centenary

It is generally agreed that the Oxford movement which brought about the great Anglo Catholic revival in our Church, originated in the famous Assize sermon, preached by John Keble in the University of Oxford on July 14th 1833.  We are now therefore within two years of that centenary and already men in various quarters have been considering how best to organise a suitable and impressive celebration of it.

We are glad to note a strong desire on the part of churchmen of every school of thought to observe the centenary, but all will agree it is especially OUR task in the Island, as a centre of Catholic Faith and practice, to plan a worthy celebration.  The centenary year ought to mean very great things to us.

As in other Catholic parishes throughout the British Isles, a start has been made at Saint Matthew’s by enrolling all those who wish to join the movement and presenting all such members with a special badge of membership at a cost of 1s each, which we hope they will wear constantly and interest others.  A great membership is essential and we trust that every single member of Saint Matthew’s may be relied upon to join.  

Remember the centenary preparations in your prayers and at the Holy Communion when offered with special intention for the movement.  Enrol now for the centenary.  The vicar will gladly supply membership badge and prayer card on receipt of name and address together with 1s.  A meeting of all enrolled members to form plans for our local celebration of the centenary year will be announced in due course.

Since my last letter my wife and I have returned from a very enjoyable holiday in Yorkshire, during which we visited several seaside resorts - Scarborough, Whitby, Filey, and also Morecambe. It is natural to draw comparisons with our rivals, and we returned convinced that for beauty and variety of scenery the Isle of Man far excels them all. We are both of us enthusiasts for Manxland, and I might add, the Manx people, amongst whom we have found so many good friends. But comparing our town in Douglas with those I have mentioned, I am bound to admit that we have far too much bare concrete promenade, unrelieved by trees, grass plots and flower beds such as are found in other places. Similar arcades to the one we possess outside the Villa Marina (an undoubted improvement) are adorned in these towns with a profusion of plants and flowering baskets. The result is perfectly delightful, and I can’t help thinking that if we would really improve the attractiveness of our town, there is hardly a better method.

The churches in Scarborough seem very much alive, and it is encouraging to find so many in which the Lord’s own service (Holy Communion) is given the chief place., just as it used to be in the time of the Apostles. That, too, is the case in York Cathedral, where the type of service in its ceremonial is almost exactly the same as our own. After a varied experience in different churches, it was nevertheless a delight to get back to our dear church by the harbour, where the spirit of reverence and worship is so manifest, and to services in which the whole congregation seems to join with heart and soul.

The following extracts are taken from The Manx Church Magazine and other sources, when the vicar of St. Matthew's was the Rev. Lewis Cecil Watson, A.K .C.A and the Assistant Curate was the Rev. J. Kirkpatrick, B.A.

From the Isle of Man Times:

After the official and legal ceremonies, the Bishop, addressing the congregation, said there was probably no task resting on a bishop which was more solemn and responsible than choosing a new vicar, and he assured the parish of St. Matthew’s that he had only one motive in choosing Mr Watson - to secure a parish priest who, above everything else, desired to consecrate his life for the good of the people and for the deepest spiritual interests of the place. Mr Watson had been commended to him by varying types of clergyman including the present headmaster of Eton. For many years Mr and Mrs Watson were responsible for the splendid piece of work done by the Eton school, known as the Eton Mission, in one of the most congested and poorest parts of the great city of London. They would have in their new vicar one of very rich experience in parish work, and in administrative and organising work, and one with a very good academic record. But he had the greatest essential of all; he was a man of definite spiritual conviction, whose aim would be to bring the people committed to his charge to a knowledge of God in Jesus Christ.

My dear People,

The Nativity pageant was performed with great reverence and beauty by our Communicants, and this was helped by a splendid team of workers who put in many hours of devoted service voluntarily. The Pageant has made a great impression on all who saw it, and I have had innumerable expressions of gratitude for the spiritual help it has given them, and the many mental pictures of the Bible scenes of Christ’s birth. Many people went away with tears in their eyes and felt they had been to Bethlehem. It was quite evident our message ‘got across’, as we say, and the Press accounts showed this quite clearly. It was, therefore, amazing that some people took the opportunity, through the newspaper correspondence, not only to belittle the Pageant and the spirit in which it was produced and acted, but to make this beautiful and reverent act of worship another opportunity for an attack on St Matthew’s. Personally, I get rather tired of these one-sided attacks. People imagine that because there are only one or two churches on the Island like St Matthew’s that we are most peculiar, when as a matter of fact there are hundreds like us in England, and the Anglo-Catholic movement grows.

The aim of the movement with which St Matthew’s is identified is nothing less than bringing men, women and children through the full faith of Christendom to the love and service of the Incarnate Son of God.

I believe that the Catholic way - a definite way of life - of Prayer, of Communion, of the daily offering of the Holy Sacrifice, of a living fellowship with the Saints and all the blessed dead - is an assured and tested way whereby the redeemed may find union with their Saviour and Redeemer. That is the way for me, and the way you have been led in the past, and it is up that way I shall try to lead you, however haltingly, whilst I remain

Your Vicar and sincere friend,

Lewis C Watson

My dear People,

My first thought is to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. A New Year is always full of hope. Time passes, and we do not get younger. Familiar faces that were with us last New Year’s Day are missing. This reminds us of the transistoriness of life which is just a journey to a fuller and happier life beyond. This fuller life can only become an accomplished fact if all our hopes and aspirations are centred on Him who is our Hope. In the Festival of Christmas we have had placed before us the humble picture of the condescending Love of God Incarnate in order that a fallen world may have Hope.

Advent has not been kept as well as I should have hoped, and many people have been absent from church. I am sure that the weather and sickness have played a large part in this; indeed it has been an unfortunate time for me, for I have been laid aside for two weeks or more, and I have had to leave many things undone. May I thank all those that have kindly inquired or sent tokens of esteem and all who have kindly taken services for me? It is in times of sickness when one realises one’s true friends.


The Press gave us excellent reports, but one or two people should be mentioned who are not members of our congregation. We were grateful to our two openers, Mr Clegg and Mr Farrant, who spent a lot of time and money at the Sale. We were fortunate in securing the kindly services of Mr F.D. Johnson to auction the pictures given by Her Majesty the Queen. We were also glad to see Mrs Stanton Jones among the purchasers and many other well known ladies who came to show their sympathy. We were sorry that Mr Gale, the verger, could not be with us during the Sale owing to an accident sustained whilst erecting the stalls. We must congratulate the coupon sellers (especially Mr Duggan) on their energy and powers of persuasion in selling coupons. Finally we must say a very big ‘Thank you’ to the band led by Mr Bert Ralph and obtained through the kindness of Mr H Harris.

Lewis C Watson

My dear people,

Easter will probably be over before you read this. I hope and trust that those who have been so regular during Lent will keep it up after Easter for that is always the test. Many devout people make an effort during Lent, but slack off when Easter is over. But Lent is surely meant to help us after Easter as well as before.
I have been kept very busy these last few weeks in sick visiting, and it is a cause of thankfulness that so many look for the ministrations of the priest. At one time there were no less than seven people attached to St Matthew’s in one ward in the Hospital. Two men asked to have their Communions, and this needed some courage, I am sure, in days that can hardly be called the ‘age of faith’. In passing may I pay a tribute to the members and staff at the Hospital, and the readiness to help to prepare patients for their Communions. This understanding of the Matron, Sisters and Nurses is a great help in the common task of healing body and soul.

I am beginning Confirmation classes immediately after Easter. This year I propose to have an even longer preparation than last year because I find after even the most careful preparation some have not fully understood their obligations.


The annual meeting was held last month, and an excellent state of affairs was shown. The uniforms have all been paid for, and the debt on the instruments is being gradually reduced. Under the able conductorship of Mr T. Lewin, the Band has progressed, and there is a splendid team spirit and plenty of new blood, if the noise on certain nights is anything to go by! May the recruits soon learn to play the cornets!

My dear People,

The first thing I must refer to is that Fr. Taggart has written to say he cannot come to our Patronal Festival but he has offered to come to our Children’s Festival. I have written accepting his offer and asking him to open our garden fete as he did last year.. It will be a good opportunity for his friends to meet him again, and he will receive a warm welcome to his old parish.. The garden fete will be in aid of the New Electric Blower and New Boiler Fund.


THE CHOIR AND BAND are to be congratulated on their successes in the Manx Guild. The choir won the Sharp Column for the first time. And the band quartette won the first prize for the first time. The Girl Guide Troop put up a splendid performance in the country dancing and were bracketed third.


This was kept as usual, with the exception that on Rogation Sunday we went to the Quayside in procession to ask for God’s blessing on the visiting industry and the fishermen and boatmen. Another year I hope to organise this on a larger scale.

My dear People,

We have had our children’s Festival, which was a most happy day. We had the pleasure of a visit from Fr. Taggart, who, although far from well, preached two fine sermons and spoke very nicely to our children. The outdoor procession through the streets was most beautiful and well organized. I should like to express my appreciation to the parents of our children who saw to it that the children looked their best that day. In their pretty frocks and hats, carrying new nosegays of flowers, the little ones holding on to the banner streamers and the wee ones holding little banners. All helped to make the procession a beautiful sight. There were crowds of people to witness the children’s witness to their Lord and His Church, and I have never seen more cameras busy. I think these outdoor witnesses are a great help, and they teach and encourage the children not to be afraid of witnessing to their faith in the open. We sang our Festival hymns at two stations and these were appreciated by the people in the vicinity. The band was in particularly good form and was a great help as usual. Altogether it was a happy day.

My Dear People,
I hope Mr. Kirkpatrick will be ordained priest shortly, and I hope you will all pray for him that his ministry may have God’s blessing and he may be a blessing to many souls and be a good priest. ‘The office and work of a priest in the ‘Church of God’ entails great responsibilities, as you will see if you read carefully the ‘Ordering of Priests’ in your Prayer Book. It means something more than being merely popular. A man may be quite a good preacher and quite good at games or he may be a ‘good fellow’ socially, and yet be a failure as a priest. A priest is one who has a ‘cure of souls’, and therefore must have in his heart a deep longing to bring people to Christ. He must be prepared to give himself up entirely to that work, for that is his ‘calling’. It does not mean a 48-hour week but it means at any time, day or night, he may be on duty. There is much more one could say on ‘the work and office of a priest’, but I only want to ask you to pray for Mr. Kirkpatrick that he may be a ‘good priest’.

My Dear People,

By the time you receive your magazine I shall be far away for my holidays. The first two weeks will be a ‘busman’s holiday’ as I am organising the annual Summer School of the UMCA (Universities Mission to Central Africa) this year at Abingdon-on-the-Thames. It is nine years since I organised the first one. We then had 32 students for the inside of a week. It has grown to such an extent that this year we shall have 96 staff and students the first week and about 86 the second week. I have been honoured this year by being asked to be the chaplain the second week. The school is being held at one of the boarding schools run by the ‘Wantage Sisters’, and is delightfully situated and only four miles from Oxford. My wife is being responsible for the catering. This will be a huge task, but she always has a willing band of voluntary helpers. It will be hard work, but it is a great change from parochial life, and the delightful atmosphere of friendliness of scores of people all keen about missions and keen to know more about Africa is stimulating and refreshing in spite of the organising work

My dear Friends,

Our Patronal Festival is over and we have had a happy time. Our numbers can never be very great because it falls just at the end of the season, when everyone is tired and many are just going away or are already away. This year the day coincided with the opening of our organ with its new electric blowing apparatus. It was a joy to hear it once again, and the choir evidently appreciated it, if the singing was anything to go by. Most of you will have read in the leaflet I sent round for the Patronal Festival the position with regard to the heating and lighting of our Church and Schools. After a very long discussion the Council decided to reheat the Church by a hot-water radiator system which would, at the same time, keep the Schools warm. This new system will cost £212 and has been placed in the hands of Messrs Todhunter and Eliot. The Council decided to relight the Church and Schools by electricity.

p> My dear people,

We have come round once again to the month when we remember those who gave their lives in the Great War. This November 11th falls on a Sunday, so that our Sung Eucharist will be a Requiem in Thanksgiving for those who lost their lives for their country. We sometimes wonder if it was in vain when we think of the unsettled state of Europe, yet no sacrifice for a noble and righteous cause is in vain. Nothing could seem so utterly hopeless as the innocent Christ on the Cross, yet his supreme sacrifice of love can ‘ draw all men ’ if only He can be lifted up for all men to see.

The arrangements for Armistice Day will be seen below.

The installation of the heating system and the electric lighting of church and schools should be well on the way to completion by the time you read this.

The collecting boxes for our ‘ Christmas Gift ’ to the church will also be out. If you have not got one, will you ask for one?

Sincerely yours,

Lewis C Watson


November 18th - At the request of several people, a performance of the musical works of B. E. Sargeaunt, Esq., M.V.O.,O.B.E., will be rendered after Evensong in church. The collection will be given to the Lighting and Heating Fund. The Vicar hopes that all our people will come and hear the work of the Vicar ’ s warden.

November 28th- Church Union. Address on ‘ The Canon Law ’ by the Ven. Archdeacon of Craven.

November 29th, St Andrew ’ s Eve - All day of intercession for Foreign Missions.

November 30th, St. Andrew ’ s Day - Holy Communion, 8 and 9.15.

p>My dear people,

We are now approaching the season of Advent, when we think of the coming of the Lord Christ. Advent is the beginning of the Church’s year, and the Church begins once again (through the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels) to go through the chief events in the life of Christ. We find that the chief note of Advent is that of repentance as a means of preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ. This should always be a perpetual state of the soul, but as the physical body needs tonics now and again, so the soul needs fresh stirring, and Advent is one of those seasons in the life of the Christian when we are bidden to think of the Incarnation, or what we call the Coming of Christ, the Son of God, into this world of sin. The world today thinks little of sin or as a kind of disease, and therefore true repentance is hardly ever sincerely sought. Repentance is a matter of the will, not of the feelings. To put it shortly, repentance is sorrow for sin, confession of sin, and a desire to avoid sin, and all this for the love of God. Let us then, once again, look into our own lives this Advent and see what is in them that offends the love of God., and let us turn our wills as well as our affections to God by prayer, self-examination, confession, and resolve to try and do better. We shall then find, if we are faithful, that we have made some advance in the spiritual life.

I am sending out a special leaflet with the arrangements for Advent, and it will probably be enclosed with the Magazine.
With all good wishes for a happy Christmas,
Your sincere friend and Vicar,
Lewis C Watson


We shall have some lantern services after Evensong on Sunday nights in Advent and Tuesdays in Advent for children. The pictures will be beautifully coloured ones.

My dear people,
I expect most of you will know that I am going out to Central Africa, for a trip of four months, to the Universities Mission to Central Africa. A member of the UMCA Council offered to pay all my expenses if I would go. It so happened that the only time that I could visit Central Africa (when the rains are over) is the summer when most of you are busy with visitors. I felt that I could not shirk what seemed to me a great opportunity of widening my own knowledge of the mission which I have loved and worked for so long, and which you have supported for so many years. I consulted the Bishop, and he readily consented, and has given me leave of absence, and very kindly looks upon it as an honour for the Diocese that I should be asked to go. I shall sail on the last day of April, and shall visit the Dioceses of Zanzibar and Masasi, and return in early September.

Although we had extremely bad weather when the Bishop came (for the first time) to our Sung Eucharist, there was quite a good congregation to welcome him and hear his message. He dedicated our heating and lighting systems, which are most affective.. It was a great joy to me, and I know to all who were present, to have him with us at our Sung Eucharist for although our service is elaborate, he felt that everything was done reverently and in a spirit of devotion to the Lord Christ, and I hope he will come and worship with us again in the near future.

( In 1965 UMCA merged with Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts to form the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel which St. Matthew's still supports)

“EAGER HEART”, a Christmas Mystery Play, will be given by Communicant members of the Church in Church at 8.15 pm, on Monday, January 7th (children and adults); Tuesday, 8th, and Thursday, 9th January. I hope that not only St Matthew’s people will come but that others will support us in these efforts to set forth the beautiful story of Christmas in a devotional and artistic manner. Mrs. Watson has had a long and unique experience in the production of these Nativity plays. The dresses are all designed by her and many are of Eastern origin. The gorgeous coloured wings are her own original design and make. This year the play is quite different from the pageant performed the last two years, and is in story form. The Bishop has promised, if possible, to come on Tuesday, 8th January, and read the Prologue and Epilogue to the play. And the Vicar of St George’s on Thursday, 9th. Admission will be by programme (1/- and 6d), and 1/- programmes may be booked at Messrs Blakemore’s and Miss Kirton. This method is necessary, not to make money out of it, but because the seating is limited and the expenses of production heavy.

I had to write the notes for January before the Christmas festival had taken place. We had a beautiful Midnight Eucharist. There is something very beautiful to receive the Lord Christ in the early hours of Christmas morning when all the world is still. The peace and quiet of that time enables us to concentrate on the extension of the Incarnation which we have in the Eucharist. The Crib was again beautifully decorated, and many found it an aid to prayer and devotion.

Our Christmas play is now over for this year. It was a particularly beautiful presentation, and the story of Eager Heart gripped in its telling simplicity all who came to see it.

I should like to express the thanks of Mrs Watson and myself to the many people who kindly wrote and expressed their appreciation of its reverence and beauty. That is the best thanks that we could have for having these Christmas plays. I am grateful for the attendance and sympathy of Lady Butler, the Bishop and Mrs Stanton Jones, and the clergy of Douglas who urged their people to go.

The players responded splendidly, and with great patience to long rehearsals; the singers who never get a real chance of seeing the play were most self-sacrificing; and the orchestra was a great help to our local musicians. Then there were the men of the congregation who gave their time and labour in putting up the stage; Mr Pascoe and his men did their electrical work with great effect and keen interest. A word must be said, too, about Messrs Blakemore’s and Miss Kirton who undertake all the booking of seats free of charge. All helped willingly to make the play a success.

A beautiful service was held on January 21st when the Deemsters, Mayor, and other members of the legal profession came to St Matthew’s Church. This was the first time they had done so as a corporate body. The procession was very impressive indeed and the Church was more or less full for the occasion.

I shall be away for a few days in February when I have been asked to conduct a missionary school in Carlisle.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,


The church, as the Body of Christ, calls you each year during Lent to ‘take stock’ of your spiritual life and to make a spiritual ‘spring cleaning’ of your soul. Half the churches today live on stunts, and we might almost say ‘the church that doesn’t advertise is lost’. It is pathetic how in these modern days the church and her parsons and ministers have to strain every nerve to get a few extra people to come to church or any place of worship even on a Sunday. We advertise, send our special appeals, cajole plead, send personal invitations and the like, to try and persuade people to come to God’s House. But think of the early church when her members were persecuted, driven about from place to place and put to death. Read Acts 2 verse 42, ‘They continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers.’

Let every confirmed Christian who reads these words ask himself or herself - ‘Have I the steadfastness and fervour of the early Christians? Do I hear the Apostles’ doctrine every Lord’s Day or only when it suits me? Do I join the fellowship of Christians all worshipping and praising God Sunday by Sunday? Do I continue in prayer, or have I given them up or say them perfunctorily?’

Lent has not been so good this year as in past years. We have had splendid women’s services on Mondays. These are a great feature of our Lenten observance, and we were very much helped by the addresses of Father Leadley Brown and the Vicar of St Thomas’s. The lantern services should have been better attended

We had a beautiful Confirmation service, and the Bishop was at his best, and all those concerned would take to heart his fatherly and spiritual advice. We had Canon Spanton with us, and he was very much touched not only with the simplicity of the service, but with the deliberate care the Bishop took in confirming each candidate. As the confirmation was in Holy Week, we postponed the social welcome into the family of St. Matthew till Easter Monday. There were not as many present as I had hoped, but all who took the trouble to come were rewarded by some delightful music from Miss Ryding’s trio, and community singing. Canon Stanton gave away the Confirmation certificates, and gave delightful reminiscences of Manxland as he knew it fifty years ago. The first Communion of the newly-confirmed was a beautiful service on Maundy Thursday at 7 a.m. on the day of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. It was nice to see so many friends and relations present supporting the candidates with their prayers. The Communion was followed by the usual parish breakfast, a delightful kind of Agape. I only hope that the latest full members of the Church will be faithful and persevere ‘unto their lives’ end.’

The outdoor procession on Good Friday had to be curtailed a little on account of the rain; but I was glad to see the Band, servers and congregation, who were not afraid to turn out and give the witness in spite of the rain, and we had the church nearly full for the lantern service. The annual witness in the open-air is really valuable, I am sure, in showing that the church is not afraid to go out and preach Christ crucified.

The Church was beautifully decorated for Easter, and, as usual, we had glorious services. There is a triumphant note about Easter which tells us in no uncertain way of the reality of Christ’s Resurrection and the hope it gives to us.

Your Friend and Vicar,
Lewis C. Watson

h3>The Manx Church Magazine

My Dear People,

I write this two days before I sail for Africa. May I ask you all to back up my colleague whilst I am away. I have arranged for two priests to come and help Father Kirkpatrick - one in July and another in August.

The Bishop has kindly promised to come and preach whilst I am away. Other clergy have offered to help by preaching. I am grateful for the friendly spirit shown by my brother clergy.

The Missionary Festival was not well supported even by the churches in Douglas, and it is disappointing to bring first rate speakers from England and not to have more than 350 people in the hall. Perhaps the chief reason for the poor attendance was the fact that several diocesan functions were too near. We must hope that next year there will be some real co-ordination.

The Girls’ Friendly Society Rally and Pageant was a great success, though here again it seemed to be a mistake to have the two events together. However, we are all grateful for the fine message of the pageant and the magnificent co-operation of all branches of the GFS in the Island. It speaks well for the real friendly spirit that all worked hard for its success, and I know that not only those who saw it, but those who organised it, were impressed by the real Christian spirit of unity shown by all the members. Personally, if I had not been sure of the value of the GFS, the pageant would have convinced me.

I shall be glad of your prayers, whilst I am away in Africa, for health and strength to get through my journeying, and I shall look forward to being amongst you once again.

Will you tell Father Kirkpatrick (4, Westminster Terrace), of any case of illness. He will be in charge during my absence. May God bless you.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

Isle of Man Examiner, 28 June, 1935

St. Matthew’s American Tea

As a means of reducing the debt on St. Matthew’s Church in connection with the new lighting and heating, which have been installed at a cost of £500, an American tea and sale of goods took place in the Schools yesterday. The function, which could not be held in the open air at The Hermitage, owing to the uncertainty of the weather was organised by Mrs L.C.Watson, wife of the vicar, and was declared open by Mrs R.D.Farrant, who was accompanied by the Deemster. Mrs Farrant was introduced by Mr. B.E.Sargeaunt, M.V.O., O.B.E., and thanked on the motion of Mr Mark Carine, seconded by Miss Taylor of Castletown. Mrs Drinkwater and Mrs Sargeaunt had charge of the flower and garden produce stall, Mrs A. Rowell gave the sweet stall, and Miss Dawson and Miss Cox supervised the general stall, while refreshments were served under the direction of Mrs Thornton, Mrs Duggan, Mrs Cain and Mrs J.D.Fell. An excellent display of dramatic dancing was given by the pupils of the St. Aubyn School of Dancing and Mrs.A.D.Kenna. The display was repeated in the evening, when the programme was supplemented by selections by St. Matthew’s Brass Band.

PICNICS - Both the Choir and the Mothers’ Union had ideal weather for their trips round the Island, and everybody had a really jolly time.

The Sunday School, unfortunately, was not so lucky when it went to Silverdale, for rain set in at lunch time and grew worse as the day went on. Although (for a wonder!) nobody managed to fall into the lake, most of us were wet enough just through being on top of it. Still, the youngest element, at any rate, made the best of things, and we came back quite cheerily, many of us ending the day in the comfort of ‘the Pictures.’

THE CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL - Father Lovell, of St Paul’s, Stoneycroft, gave excellent addresses to our children on this occasion.  We should like to say ‘Thank you’ to him for coming to help us. The services were really beautiful, and the Outdoor Procession particularly impressive. The Band was a great help to us in our singing as we went round the parish. Altogether it was a day to be remembered.

BAZAAR - In order to complete the payment for the heating, electric light, and electric organ-blower, it has been found necessary to have a bazaar in November of next year. Bazaar bank deposit books are now in circulation. Will you please ask for one?

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,


This is just a few lines to let you know how I am getting on. I am now on the boat going from Zanzibar to Lindi. It is a small coastal steamer which is very slow indeed. We have the wind and current against us, so are doing not much more than three or four knots an hour. I am having a wonderful time and am keeping quite fit in spite of the heat. I have visited most of the places that UMCA has in the Zanzibar diocese, Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar, Tanga, Msalabani, Korogwe, Kideleko, Vugiri, Kwa Mkono, Mkuzi, Hegongo, Tongwe, Kiwanda. I have been much impressed by the efficiency of the work, the loneliness of the European staff, the wonderful work of the African teachers, often struggling alone as Christians in districts full of witchcraft and Mohammedanism. They not only teach in the schools themselves, very often understaffed, but they act as catechists when the school work is over and look up the Christians and the lapsed communicants and those under public penance, and reserve any difficult cases for when the priest or European teacher comes round. They make wonderful teachers and often have to manage three and sometimes four classes at a time. The Africans’ thirst for knowledge is amazing, and at some schools there will be over 200 children, although there is no compulsory system of education…..

The medical work on the mainland is very wonderful. I sat in one of the dispensaries for a morning and saw the nurse assisted by two African dispensary boys, deal with 120 cases, several of whom needed injections for various diseases like yaws, which is a terrible disease which breaks out in ulcers. Then bilharzia is a disease which they get bathing in rivers, the snails infect the water. They have to have a course of 12 injections. Often the nurse has to do minor operations like opening up abscesses. Difficult cases she has to keep until the only mission doctor comes round. If they can’t wait, the nurse has to hire porters to carry the patients to Msalabani, where the doctor has the chief operating theatre. I saw one poor woman who had internal swelling who had walked all night from the hills with her husband to the hospital. The nurse didn’t like to deal with her, so she had to hire porters and send her in a machila (a kind of framework on poles) 18 miles to the doctor, who would have to be sent for at Korogwe, two hours away by train (two trains a day). It would take about six hours to carry the sick woman in, because the way is only by single paths sometimes.

… In one village I met a medicine man with his bag of tricks. At first he didn’t want to come. However, I persuaded him to let me see his medicines, which were black seeds wrapped up in husks. He had a prescription which was merely a lot of paint daub and scribbles. I learnt afterwards that he was a witch doctor as well. He was an evil-looking man.

Yours very sincerely,
Lewis C. Watson

My dear People,

November is an autumn month when we think of falling leaves. It is also a month when we think of souls gone on. There are the Saints whom we remember on All Saints Day. These the Church believes are in heaven itself, ‘having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ Then on All Souls Day we think of our own ‘near and dear’ ones who are ‘at rest’ and in Paradise waiting for that great day when Christ will come again to judge the world. We do not know much about the state of the ‘blessed dead’, but we can pray for them just as we did when they lived on earth; for we still love them and they love us. They know more than we know, having experienced death itself and we are quite sure their souls live, and therefore they can help us on earth as we can help them in Paradise.

Our annual Requiem will be held on November 6th, when the names of all who have ‘passed on’ will be read out, and we will offer the Holy Sacrifice on their behalf.

Then there is Armistice Day - another day fraught with poignant memories. We shall keep November 10th as Armistice Sunday, and as usual we shall lay a wreath on our beautiful War Memorial after the Sung Eucharist, and read the names of the fallen. On Armistice Day itself the Two Minutes Silence will be kept in church. There will be a celebration of Holy Communion at 10.45 and the Silence will be observed in the midst of the Lord’s Service, when we will offer the sacrifice the fallen made in union with the greatest sacrifice ever made. It is terrible to think that whilst the Great War is fresh in our memories, a great Christian nation is not only sacrificing its own men, but a Christian nation is attacking a defenceless little nation. All members of the Church of England should be glad that our Archbishops have given such a lead in the expression of horror that Christian’s should feel that the spirit of war is once again let loose. Let us pray that the war may be brought to a speedy end.

I have decided to do without a curate for some time in order to help our church funds to regain their proper balance. It will mean heavy work for me but I do not mind it so long as I have good health, and I know that I shall have the backing of the congregation.

The Daily Eucharist will be kept going, for I place a great value on the offering of the Lord’s Service day by day. We get little time for prayer and intercession therefore it will help all of us to know the world’s needs, the needs of the diocese and parish are remembered day by day at the altar, and that the sick and dying may not only be prayed for but ministered to from the altar. It may interest you all to know that at on average the Sacrament is taken once or twice a week to the sick and dying. I am always glad to go any time of day or night to the sick and I shall be grateful if you will keep me informed of those who are sick.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

My dear People,

Advent Sunday falls on December 1st, and the season of Advent comes round year by year to all God’s children as a time of reflection on the Second Advent. As we approach the delightful festival of Christmas, with its memories of childhood, we recall the advent of the King of Kings, the Child of Bethlehem, born in a stable, for ‘us men and for our salvation’. The thought of the Christ Child should humble us and remind us of our unworthiness to approach Him. Our unworthiness will call forth our repentance, for so often we forget to let the Holy Child lead us into the paths of righteousness.

As Advent season approaches let us learn afresh to be more worthy of the greatest of all Christmas gifts - the Son of God Incarnate.

There are many communicants who have not yet approached God’s altar, and the ‘season’ finished. Do not put it off, for here we receive the Divine Life which ‘strengthens and refreshes us’.

May I wish you all a happy Christmas when that time comes round.

Very sincerely yours,



ALL HALLOWS PARTY. This was a great success, both for the adults and children, though the numbers were not so many as in previous years, but everyone entered into the fun of the evening.

ARRANGEMENTS FOR CHRISTMAS. Christmas Eve (December 24th); Blessing of the Crib, 11-45. Christmas Day (December 25th); Mid-night Eucharist (Those who wish to communicate at this service are required to have cards of permission - these can be obtained from the Vicar); Holy Communion at 8.00am; Sung Eucharist, Procession, and Sermon at 11 am.

DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CONVERSION OF ENGLAND AND THE ISLE OF MAN. December 12th. A full 24 hours’ Day of Prayer will be kept on December 12th for the conversion of our country to the Faith. Particulars will be given on separate leaflets.

The Manx Church Magazine

My dear People,

We’ve had a quiet Advent with no special services. One outstanding event was the 24 hours of continuous intercession for the conversion of the world. There was a splendid response. The stimulus for this act of devotion and intercession was the Fiery Cross Association of the Church Union. Some 14 servers kept the watch through the night and there was not a break during the 24 hours. About 60 people took part. One can feel happy about a church when so many will come and spend half-an-hour to intercede for the conversion of the world. This day was only two weeks after we had kept the St Andrew’s Day of Intercession for Missions. Incidentally, I never cease to wonder why this day is not more universally kept in the diocese.

I have been deeply gratified by the expressions of approval at my remarks on the Mayor’s Sunday about public decency. There is no doubt that the public generally is alive to the question and determined that something must be done about it, and we ought to be grateful to the Press for their leading articles on the subject. I can assure you that the matter is not being dropped.

When the Christmas festivals are over, we must settle down seriously to work for the bazaar. This will be held on November 24th, 25th, and 26th, in St George’s Schools by the kindness of the Vicar and wardens of St Georges.

With all good wishes for a very happy New Year,

Very sincerely yours,


The Manx Church Magazine

My dear People,

The Christmas festivities are almost all over, though the mothers’, G.F.S. and lads’ parties are still to come. The services on Christmas Day were well attended, and our communions were quite up to the average. We had our Christmas party which was very successful, the tree being particularly beautiful. We were indebted to Mrs A. D. Kenna and her pupils for a delightful cabaret show prior to the lighting of the tree.

The Crib is always a great feature of our church at Christmas and Epiphany-tide, and it is nice to see how many people use it as an aid to devotion. We really ought to get a larger set of figures for next year. I wonder if anyone will offer a set? If they are procured unpainted, the price is quite reasonable, and they can be painted.

Another great feature of St Matthew’s at this season of Christmas is the Nativity Play which we do each year. This is valued by many people quite outside our congregation, and is a means of bringing the Bible story of the Incarnation more clearly before our eyes. This year we did a more difficult play, and a fine setting for the angels’ choir was provided which made the play more beautiful than ever. We did not have such large audiences as usual, and this is perhaps because we put the play a week later than usual. There was a wonderful team spirit shown, not only in the actual performances themselves, but in the preparation. The servers did all the work on the big elaborate stage, putting it up and taking it down, and much self-sacrifice was shown. It was a very moving sight the Sunday before our first performance to see over 60 communicants present at 8.00am to pray for God’s blessing on the play and those who took part in it. The play is worth doing, if only to produce such devotion as has been shown. We are looking forward to going down to Ramsey (St Paul’s) with the play on the 30th January.

Very sincerely yours,


The Manx Church Magazine

My Dear People

Lent is a time provided by the Church when we should pause and consider our spiritual life. Today life is such a long round of rush, and few people do much real thinking. The result is that year after year goes by without much thought on the really deeper things of life. We allow other people to do our thinking for us, consequently our religion is not very deep.

This Lent I am trying through my series of addresses and sermons to cover a large field of our spiritual life in order to help you.

At the women’s service on Mondays in Lent I shall speak on ‘Jesus, our Example’; on Wednesday evenings at the mission service addresses on the ‘Anima Christi’ will be given.

Each Sunday morning I shall deal with the subject ‘The Presence of Christ’, whilst on Sunday evenings I shall preach on ‘Prayer’ in its various aspects. I hope that each of you will do your best to come to as many services as possible. More particularly I would urge you who are communicants to be present at the Holy Communion each Sunday early, and also at the Sung Eucharist at 11.00, and also in the week if possible. There has been a general slackening of our communicant life which is not all due to sickness or bad weather. So I hope that Lent will be well observed by all.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

The Manx Church Magazine

My Dear People,

I write this on the eve of  Mid-Lent Sunday, which we also observe as Mothering Sunday. Lent is half over, and I hope that all of you are finding this season a help to your spiritual life. The services are being well attended, though there are many who have not been touched by Lent at all.

There is still time to use this season for quiet reflection, as we meditate on the Passion and Crucifixion of our Blessed Lord.

The arrangements for Holy Week will be as usual. I am glad to say that Canon F. Stokes, a missionary on furlough from the Masasi diocese, is going to help me from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. He will preach on Palm Sunday, take the Meditations in Holy Week, conduct the Three Hours on Good Friday, and preach on Easter morning. This, as you know, is a time of great strain to the clergy, both spiritual as well as physical, and this can be borne more easily if we have the knowledge that our people are really sincerely and earnestly trying to follow the last earthly steps of our Lord. Our extra services are put on in order that we may gain inspiration to carry out our Christian life more nearly like Christ’s.

With all good wishes for a happy Easter.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

My Dear People,

Lent and Easter are over, and I think it has been a helpful time for many. I am glad that so many used the special services in Lent. We were fortunate to have Canon Stokes, of Masasi, with us from Palm Sunday to Easter, and we shall remember his simple and earnest addresses in Holy Week and Good Friday. He had only been home from Africa three weeks, and had a heavy week, but in spite of his advancing years he did not seem to tire. He set an example to all of us the way he went round in our out-door procession on Good Friday. He asked me to tell you how much he had enjoyed being amongst us.

The Three Hours’ Devotion was used by many people from all over the Island as an opportunity for meditation on the last three hours of our Lord’s crucifixion. It is nice to think that St Matthew’s is able to help many people not regular members of our congregation.

The Church seemed more beautiful than ever this Easter, and much loving care was bestowed on the decorations, and I am grateful to all those who sent flowers or subscribed money. There were more - in spite of many who are ill - communicants than last year, and the services were crowded. The Sung Eucharist was a glorious service, and the voluntary orchestra added something to the Easter joy, and we are grateful for their help.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

The Manx Church Magazine

My Dear People,

I write the following just after our Children’s Festival. The weather was kind to us all day, and the congregations were very good. The children sang their special hymns very well and looked beautiful in their new dresses. The parents must have gone to a lot of trouble to make them look nice, and their efforts were well rewarded for the children never looked nicer. The real object of our Festival, of course, is to give thanks to God for the work of our Sunday Schools in teaching the faith to our children.

There is a lot of quiet and devoted work going on in our Sunday Schools and many of our young people give their Sunday afternoons to teaching Christ’s little ones. There is no more noble work. The work is not easy in these days; in fact, I think it is more difficult than it was, and when the season has begun the children catch the ‘visiting fever’, and often stay away when there is no need to do so. It is a good thing, then, to give thanks to God for the young.

We had some excellent teaching from Father Maitland, and we appreciated his ministrations amongst us. He was very impressed by the spirit of reverence shown at all the services, and he was charmed by the orderly and reverent way the children, teachers, and members of the congregation made their annual witness to Christ. The Procession was certainly one of the most beautiful that we have had, helped by the St Matthew’s Band.

The Sunday School Picnic was a very happy affair this year, and went off without a hitch. Instead of going to one place, we hired charabancs and went to Laxey, Point of Ayre (where we had sports); then to St Paul’s, Ramsey, for tea (kindly lent by the Vicar and Wardens). The teachers were responsible for the tea and nearly 200 had a most bountiful meal. The children spent over two hours in Ramsey, and then we went home via Peel, where an hour was spent. We were blessed by a glorious day and a most delightful outing. The teachers worked hard and their efforts were crowned with success, and we hope to repeat this plan another year.

We rejoiced in a visit from the Bishop, who came and preached at our Sung Eucharist on Trinity Sunday, and his visit was appreciated not only by our own people, but many visitors who were in the church.

I write this on the eve of our vicarage Garden Fete, and, provided the weather is fine, we should have a successful and happy affair.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

The Manx Church Magazine

My Dear People,

I shall be away from the parish the whole of August. The first fortnight I will be organising the U.M.C.A. Annual Summer School at Whitby which I started eleven years ago. This year I have to give three of the lectures on Africa. It is somewhat of a ‘busman’s holiday’, but I feel I cannot give it up just yet. Eleven years ago we had six days with 32 people; now we have a fortnight and over 100 students each week. The latter half of my holiday we go to Buxton.

A priest friend of mine will take charge during my absence. The Reverend H.S.P. Warren will be staying at Mrs Quiggin’s, Hawarden Avenue, and any urgent sick call should be notified to him there. Father Warren was for several years Chaplain of Denstone College, and then went out to U.M.C.A. He is therefore a priest of experience, and I commend him to your prayers and friendship. He will preach a course of sermons both in the morning and in the evening. A list of his subjects will be appended below. May I urge you all to get to church at least once on the Lord’s Day.

The Dedication Festival is on Sunday, 16th August. It comes at an awkward time, for our own people, but we must not forget the good Bishop Wilson who gave us St Matthew’s Church.

On the subject of our Church, I am happy to announce that another old friend of mine, the Rev. W H Aglionby, Vicar of St Frideswide’s, Poplar, and brother of the Bishop of Accra, will preach at our Patronal Festival, September 20th and 21st. He and I worked together at the Eton Mission till he became a Chaplain to the Forces in the War. He did great work as a chaplain, being mentioned in despatches and winning the M.C. I still have a letter wrote to me describing the Battle of Gaza, when the troops were without water for two days. Father Aglionby has spent the whole of his ministerial life in East London. He is coming to the Island for the first time.

Another priest of great experience who is coming to visit us is Father E.D.Sedding, a member of the Community of St John-the-Evangelist, commonly known as the Cowley Fathers. He will visit us for the week-end of October 3-5. He is going to talk to us about the possibility of a mission so I am anxious that all of you will hear what he has to say. If you are going away for your holidays at the end of the season, please try to avoid that date.

The Harvest Festival will be held on October 15th and 18th. I hope you are bearing in mind our great bazaar at  the end of November. Have you got a collecting box?

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C. Watson

THE MAYOR. We are all glad to know that the Mayor has successfully undergone his operation and is progressing well. The Vicar hopes to see him when he crosses to the mainland.

Course of sermons to be preached by the Rev. H.S.P. Warren, M.A. - Sunday mornings in August. ‘Some aspects of the spiritual life’ (from St Luke xviii) ; August 2nd, ‘Men ought always to pray’; 9th ‘I am not as other men’; 16th, ‘Dedication Festival, ‘As a little child’; 23rd, ‘It is easier for a camel’; 30th, ‘Receive thy sight’.

The Manx Church Magazine

My dear People,

This letter must be confined to just a few lines because I am on holiday.

We had a very successful UMCA Summer School at Whitby, when we had about 90 the first week and 80 the second. On the whole, the weather was fine. The school, in its recreation time, visited Whitby Abbey, where the great Abbess Hilda trained the very first  Christian girls in the north. We visited Lastingham Abbey, which is still used as a Church and saw the beautiful Norman crypt, one of the most perfect in England. Then we had another glorious excursion over the Whitby moors to see Rievaux Abbey and Byland Abbey. These ruins make one very sad at the destruction and deformation at one period of our history, and reminded one of the horrible things going on in Spain today. We were looked after by the Sisters of the Holy Paraclete, a religious community dedicated to the teaching of girls. As we looked across from the refectory of the school which these good Sisters run, to the ruined Abbey, one could not but be thankful to the fine and growing work these Sisters are doing for girls’ education in England, both secondary and elementary. And also for their work in Accra, in West Africa, and that the work of St Hilda begun so many centuries ago is still being carried on today.

Now, with regard to our Patronal Festival. We shall have a visit from Father Agliouby, the vicar of St Frideswide, Poplar. He will preach on Sunday evening, September 20th and at our Sung Eucharist on St Matthew’s Day. I am not sure whether we shall be able to have our usual luncheon owing to Mrs Watson’s illness but we must have some public function in the evening.

I think I told you that the Father Agliouby was at the Eton Mission in East London when Mrs Watson and I were there, and he has worked in East London all his ministerial life. He is an eloquent preacher, and is going to spend a week of his holidays on the Island. Incidentally, his brother is the Bishop of Accra in West Africa. I hope you will all do your upmost to come to the Patronal Festival.

Then you will not forget Father Sedding, of the Cowley Fathers - a society of Mission priests - is coming to St Matthew’s for the weekend of October 3-5. He will preach morning and evening, conduct a Quiet Afternoon on the Monday, October 5th and speak to our youth in the evening. If you are going away at all please could you arrange to go after his visit?

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

The Manx Church Magazine - October 1936

My Dear People,

THE PAROCHIAL TEA AND ENTERTAINMENT - was a great success, over 200 people attended in spite of the bad weather. Everyone came to enjoy themselves and they did so. The play ’Vice Versa’ was extremely well done, everyone taking his part splendidly. Perhaps we ought to mention Robert Cubbon, who not only learnt his big part in less than two weeks, but played it with conviction  and imagination. We ought to acknowledge the help given to us by Mr Gill, who made all the jackets for the boys. The Vicar would like to thank all those who catered or took trays or subscribed or helped in any way. The result  will be well over £20.

GIFTS - We were glad to receive gifts from the Misses Dawson of a beautiful burse and veil to match our best white vestments, and also a green burse and veil made by Miss E. Dawson. Miss Clague has kindly given us the white alms bag which she made for the GFS rally.

RIP - We were sorry to lose the earthly  presence at our church of  Mr R.H.Kelly, who served the church for just 40 years, and who was warden from 1907 to 1929; his name first appeared at the Vestry meeting of 1898; the mark of his life was his devoted and faithful service to God and His Church; a permanent memorial of his life is to be set on foot.

A JUBILEE - The vicar discovered that Mr Mark Carine first attended the St Matthew’s Vestry meeting in 1886! So he has served the Church over 51 years1 What a wonderful record of service he has given to us! And he is practically always at his communion at 8 each Sunday. What about it, you  young people.

Your Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

The Manx Church Magazine - November 1936

My Dear People,

PICNICS - The spate of picnics is over for the moment, and we have been favoured with good weather. The GFS had a glorious afternoon and evening for their picnic, when Ramsey, Maughold and Point of Ayre, and Peel were all visited. The mothers had a whole day picnic round the Island. The day was fine, but rather cold, and the mothers enjoyed the day very much. They had lunch at Port Erin and tea at Ramsey. The Sunday School was a wonderful affair. Ten char-a-bancs left the Schools carrying 260 children, parents, and friends, and spent nearly two hours at Laxey. Then on to Ramsey where sports took place in the park. What a delightfully happy crowd it was, and such a glorious day. Thanks to kind friends, every child got some sort of a prize and sweets. Tea was held in St Paul’s Schoolrooms, by kind permission of the vicar and wardens.

THE ACTORS’ CHURCH UNION - The most successful annual service and luncheon was held this month when well over 100 actors came to St Matthew’s for the annual service and Eucharist. It was most inspiring to see the nave full of members of an honourable profession taking part in the worship of God. Every show in Douglas was well represented. The vicar had visited each show two or three times and given pastoral visitations to all. The actors showed their appreciation of the Church’s interest and care for them by turning up in full force. Everyone joined in the singing of well-known hymns and Father Karran preached an eloquent and moving sermon.

At the happy luncheon party at the Majestic Hotel, led by Mr Sargeaunt, whose interest in actors is so well known, the work and advantages of the Actors’ Church Union was described, and innumerable funny stories were told. It was of interest to know that two children of one of the actresses was in the ACU Home for Children of Actors when on tour, whilst another was the Godchild of one of the headquarters’ secretaries. We had a striking appeal from Mr Charles Fox, JP (who never misses the service) for clean shows, and he assured the actors that the public really wanted clean shows. Mr Fox’s admirable speech was warmly applauded.

Your Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

The Manx Church Magazine - March 1937

My Dear People,

We had a welcome and helpful visit from the Bishop on Ash Wednesday evening , when he spoke to us of the Archbishop’s Recall to Religion and gave us a lead in the beginning of the preparation for our Mission. I cannot help quoting from the words from the sermon of a well known priest who sums up the drift of our people from religion as forgetfulness of God. Here are his words: - 

‘Forgetfulness of God is the great sin of our nation’. Well perhaps you say ‘What has this to do with me?’ It has this to do with each of us, that we form part of the nation, that we share in its responsibility before God, that our sins  and slackness have  made their contribution to the national apostasy, and that it rests on us more than on others just because we are the disciples of the Lord Jesus and members of his mystical body  the Church, to repent of our sins and to consecrate ourselves anew to the service of Christ, that we may give a good example to our neighbours and shed forth through our own character and influence the light of His Gospel amid the darkness of a naughty world. The call to  reconsecration, of which the royal anointing is the symbol, is a personal call. Let us each one hear it as if it was spoken to us by name.
Surely we cannot be unheeding, content to go on unchanged in a careless, self indulgent life, while God is calling us so clearly, and his cause has such need of us.

‘The Recall to Religion’ is a personal challenge to each one of us to make that choice anew. Let us make it by purifying our hearts from all sordid ambitions and all unworthy aims; by bringing to God a deeper sense of the eternal verities which have been falling into the background of a pleasure-loving age by laying at His feet the tribute of a  regenerated national soul. ’Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon’

A great deal more than our own personal salvation, a great deal more even than the welfare of the nation is at stake. It may be that the future of civilisation depends upon the choice England makes today. It would indeed be sad and a sorry thing if we the consecrated disciples of Christ Jesus, solemnly pledged to fight under His banner, and to proclaim abroad His great Name, failed  in the region of our own personal allegiance, and by treachery within our own hearts , hindered instead of aiding the advancing march of the armies  of the living God.
I hope you will take these words to heart.

Your Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

The Manx Church Magazine - May 1937

My Dear People,

The Coronation is uppermost in all our minds at this time. I hope you will all be in Church at least once on Coronation Sunday itself (May 12th), for the King and Queen need our prayers for health and strength and for grace to fulfil their great responsibilities to the Commonwealth of the British Empire. All Christian people who have a real regard for the true meaning of the Coronation will lift up their hearts in prayer for our King and Queen, and will preface their rejoicings by being in church on Coronation Day.

I hope to have an opportunity on May 9th of explaining the service itself and its meaning but for the present remember that the Coronation is essentially a religious act. The oath, the anointing, the crowning and the partaking of Holy Communion are the chief features of the service.

The Confirmation service on May 2nd will give us an opportunity of welcoming into the inner fellowship of the Church some more people. I hope you will all be present at 2-45 to pray for them that they may be faithful and bring forth ‘fruits of the spirit’.

There are two great festivals of the church in this month of May which we should all observe - Ascension Day, Thursday, May 6th, and Whit Sunday or Pentecost, May 16th.

The Confirmation candidates will make their first communion on Ascension Day at 6.30 a.m. Whit Sunday, the services will be as usual. The season is upon us when many will be unable to come to church, but as Whit Sunday is early this year, I hope you will come as often as you can before the real season begins.

And do not forget to pray for the Mission.

Your Sincere Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

The Manx Church Magazine - July 1937

The Coronation festivities are over, and we are all settling down to the season. Douglas played a worthy part in celebrating the Coronation, and everyone was able to take part in one way or another, and everyone has expressed general satisfaction in the carrying out of all the arrangements. I am glad that so many of you regarded the Coronation as something of deep religious significance, and that so many of you spent part of the day in church. Many made their communion early, and the children turned up in full force for the Sung Eucharist at 9 o’clock, and were delighted at receiving the little Communion books provided as a memento of the Coronation by the congregation. The Mayor and Mayoress gave us a lead by being present at the Service of Preparation. The broadcast of the Coronation Service itself was quite worthwhile, and Messrs Hinton’s supplied us with a very adequate set. We were able to imagine ourselves in the Abbey, and I was much struck with the reverence shown by all in the service, and by the fact that most people stayed to the end of the service. The service brought us in close touch with our King, and I am sure we resolved to be more worthy of our Christian calling and service to God, King, and Empire.


CONFIRMATION - The Lord Bishop administered the Sacrament of Confirmation on Rogation Sunday , May 2nd, to the following: (Mrs) Anne Livesey, (Mrs) Phyllis Varey, (Mrs) Doreen Crampton, Thomas Alfred Lewin, William Henry Brown, Douglas Quine Taggart, William Thomas Partington, Muriel Charlotte Harris, Edith Kathleen Kennaugh, Elizabeth Iris Kewley, Elizabeth Rachael Coole, Joan Rachel Moughton. The Bishop gave two simple addresses and a text for the candidates to remember, and after the service the candidates were given tea and presented with Confirmation certificates, and Mr Sergeaunt welcomed them into the greater fellowship of the church on behalf of the congregation. They made their first communion early on Ascension Day, at 6.30 am. May God grant they will all remain faithful.

Your Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

The Manx Church Magazine - August 1937

My Dear People,

I write this on the eve of my holiday. I am feeling the need of a change. The first two weeks of my holiday will be taken up organising the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa Summer Schools, at St Helen’s Schools, Abingdon-on-Thames. It is twelve years since I first started these Summer Schools for the Missionand they have developed in a remarkable way. I expect some of you wonder what they are all about. We started with thirty-two people for six days at Southport, and have grown until this year we shall have over two hundred people attending over a period of two weeks.

The object is to give any who are interested in Missions and in Central Africa Missions in particular, a holiday, which has three sides to it, i.e., spiritual, educational and recreational. The students are drawn from all classed of society of any age.

We begin each week with a quiet day and the spiritual side is provided by a daily Celebration, Missionary intercession each mid-day, and a short address by the chaplain at the end of the day. Educationally, we have three lectures a day on missionary subjects relating to Africa. For instance, this year lectures will be delivered on such varying subjects as; ‘Islam today in East Africa’; ‘The Heathen in His Home and Tribe’; ‘The philosophy of a missionary’ and many more. These are given by missionaries with first hand knowledge and always prove very attractive and interesting. There are also Group Discussions on many of the problems raised.

The recreational side is catered for by visits to Oxford Colleges, excursions to Wantage Downs, steamer trips on the river, cricket matches, tennis, swimming. When you realise the charge for one week is 37s. 6d., no one could say it is exorbitant! My particular job is to see to all the arrangements and excursions and Mrs Watson is responsible for the catering side. Everybody is well fed and with her genius for catering she has never handed over less than £50 for mission funds at the end of the fortnight. I only wish some of you who are keen on missions could come, but the school has to be held in August.

The rest of our holiday will be spent in Sussex and we hope to return early in September.

Do not forget that Mr Japing is coming to us for our Parochial Festival.

The Rev. Harold Godwin MA, chaplain of Queen Ethelburgha’s School, Harrogate will be in charge of the parish during my absence, although of necessity he will not see many of us. I hope those who do will give him a warm welcome to the Island. He is here to have a holiday as well, and with his wife and children he will stay at The Hermitage.

Any urgent case of sickness should be referred to him. He will preach courses of sermons during his stay.

THE GARDEN FETE. The result of this effort has produced just over £20 thanks to another donation received from the Mayoress, who so charmingly crowned the Festival Queen, and a donation from our friend, Mr E B.C. Farrant, J.P., M.H.K. We are grateful to all who helped us in any way.

THE ACTORS’ CHURCH UNION. The most successful service and luncheon was held this month, when well over 100 actors came to St Matthew’s for the annual service and Eucharist. It was most inspiring to see the nave full of members of an honourable profession taking part in the worship of God. Every show in Douglas was well represented. The vicar had visited each show two or three times and given pastoral visitations to all. The actors showed their appreciation of the Church’s interest and care for them by turning up in full force. Everyone joined in the singing of well-known hymns, and Father Karran preached an eloquent and moving sermon.

At the happy luncheon party at the Majestic Hotel, led by Mr Sargeaunt, whose interest in actors is so well known, the work and advantages of the Actors’ Church Union was described, and innumerable funny stories were told. It was of interest to know that the two children of one of the actresses was in the A.C.U. Home for Children of Actors while on tour, whilst another was the godchild of one of the headquarters’ secretaries. We had a striking appeal from Mr Charles Fox, J.P. (who never misses the service) for clean shows, and he assured the actors that the public really wanted clean shows. Mr Fox’s admirable speech was warmly applauded.

It is a good work to encourage members of a hard-working profession, who do so much to amuse and make us laugh, and to give them opportunities of remembering God, who created us to be happy and to laugh.

Your Sincere Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

Manx Church Magazine - September 1937

My Dear People,

I am writing this whilst on holiday in East Sussex. We had a wonderful U.M.C.A. Summer School at Abingdon, with perfect weather all the time. It was a tiring time for Mrs Watson and myself, but well worth it, for it was a real refreshment both mentally and spiritually to see so many people of all ages so keen to spread the Gospel of Christ.

We are now staying in a beautiful mansion which has been turned into a Hotel standing in 400 acres of park land. The house overlooks a large lake, and from our room we can see the South Downs between Eastbourne and Seaford, fifteen miles away. It is a perfect spot for a real rest, and we are enjoying it.

Many of you will be still in the thick of visitors and I only hope they are having the glorious weather we have had since we left the Island. I am sure you are very happy with Father Godwin.

I am glad to hear that Father Taggart was able to preach at the Dedication Festival. We shall be looking forward to having Father Japing amongst us for the Patronal Festival when I get back. He will be preaching at all services on Sunday, September 26th, so I hope you will all make a note of the day.

As soon as I get back we must get down to the immediate organising for our Mission. In the meantime, I know you will all pray for God’s blessing on it.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

Manx Church Magazine - October 1937

My Dear People,

I am glad to be back again amongst you after an excellent holiday. I am most grateful to Father Godwin for looking after the parish, which I hear he has done with great ability and interest.

When I went away, I was not sure if I should be asked to take over the assistant secretary-ship of the UMCA, for two months before Dr Broomfield, the new secretary had written to ask me if I would consider taking this post.

Although UMCA is very near to my heart, I was not at all sure whether it was my vocation to go back to London, and so end my work here. I therefore wrote a letter, giving all the reasons why I felt my work was not finished here yet, and left it to him and the committee to decide whether UMCA or St Matthew's had the greater claim on my services.

When I got to Abingdon, Dr Broomfield told me that in view of all the circumstances, he did not feel he could take me away from here. I was frankly relieved for I love the Island and St Matthew's, and I have always felt that a vicar should stay at least ten years unless there was a really strong call to greater work. So here I am ready to begin the winter's work.

I write on the eve of our Patronal Festival. We have a great deal to thank God for at St Matthew's. First that God put it into the heart of Bishop Wilson to provide for the spiritual needs of Douglas in building St Matthew's Chapel over two hundred years ago. Secondly, we must thank God for the devoted work of the Taggart family for nearly fifty years, and all that has meant. Thirdly, that for over twenty five years the Catholic Faith has been taught and practised in our beautiful Church. Then we cannot forget the five years' devoted work of Father Japing, whom we are looking forward to seeing and hearing this Patronal Festival.

I personally am thankful for the sympathy and encouragement of the Bishop; for although we do not always see eye to eye on some matters, yet he has never failed to be a true Father in God, and has helped us in whatever way he could.

These are some of the thoughts that pass through my mind as I contemplate what we owe to God in our Church.

DIVORCE. - As no doubt you know, a Divorce Bill is to be introduced into the House of Keys in October, which seeks to extend the grounds for divorce in the Isle of Man on the lines of the Bill now passed in England. As Christians we know that these Divorce Bills are not only meant to separate 'those whom God has joined together', but to give them opportunity to 're-marry'. When divorced persons 're-marry' (according to the State laws), they are living in the sin of adultery if we are to believe Christ's words, which we can find in the gospels according to St Mark (x. 11-12) and St Luke (xvi. 18 ). When people marry, they promise to take one another 'for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, 'til death us do part'. Divorce only makes a mockery of these words, and, as Christians, we should oppose divorce on any grounds. There are petitions that we can sign, either as members of the Church or members of the Mothers' Union, and I hope you will not fail to sign one or the other. We shall be called narrow and rigid but we need not be afraid to follow Christ's Laws.

THE HARVEST FESTIVAL will be held on Thursday October 14th and Sunday October 17th. Arrangements will be announced later.

May God bless you.
Your sincere Friend and Vicar
Lewis C. Watson

My Dear People,

The winter's work is now in full swing and the organisations have all begun.

Our Patronal Festival, though small in numbers, was a happy time and it was a delight to welcome Father Japing again. The reunion had quite a Manx air about it. Father Japing thoroughly enjoyed himself, and was so very pleased to see many of his old friends. Our Harvest Festival was well observed, and the parish tea was well attended. We were grateful to Canon Kermode who preached on the Thursday, and also to the vicar of Maughold, who took the service and preached on the Sunday night to a full Church.

By the time this is in print, we shall have had the Church Union Festival, when Father Rowlands will have visited us.

I am very grateful to all of you who have backed me up in our opposition to the Divorce Bill now before the House of Keys, and especially to the Mothers' Union, every member of which signed the petition. It is a cause of surprise and great sadness to me that the clergy of the Island are so divided on the subject, for, after all, the Christian people of the Island look to us for a lead in the matter of moral principles and precepts. At a time when the Archbishop of Canterbury has given us a Recall to Religion, it is sad to think that the leaders of religion in the Island cannot give a clear and strong lead in something that affects so vitally the moral life of the Island. 'If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?'

Concerning the Divorce Bill, may I quote the words of the Bishop of Ely: 'I am always conscious of the august figure of the Son of Man, who is the Son of God, and I remember that with all His limitless love to us sinners whom He redeemed, He would never qualify His teaching to win adherents, and still less to win applause. In the wilderness the tempter suggested that He could have the kingdoms of the world, at a price - 'All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.' 'Admit my sovereignty; admit that evil cannot be helped; lower your standards, make concessions, and the kingdoms of the world are yours.' We know the issue of that trial. When the way to which He was calling men seemed to be harder than they could endure and they were forsaking Him all He did was to turn to the inner circle and say, 'Will ye also go away?' There was never a hint that He could smooth the rough way of Christian discipleship. Is it possible to disregard what He had said so plainly?'

Do not forget that Christ said, 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away.'

THE MISSION, DECEMBER 2-13. The Mission is drawing near. I hope you are filling in the names of people who used to come to St Matthew's, and who have lapsed. Please let me have them at once. I should like to see more people at the intercession service on Wednesday evenings at 8 o'clock to pray for the Mission. Father Sedding has secured the services of two Sisters of Mercy to help in the visiting during the Mission. The children's missioner will be the Rev. R. O. Stephenson, of St Augustine's, Tong Moor, Bolton.

Very sincerely yours,

L. C. Watson

My Dear People,

The Mission will be on its way by the time this reaches you. If you have not been to it yet will you do so, for such an opportunity of bringing us all back to God does not come often. Do not miss this opportunity of this recall back to our religion. A mission is a time when we can have our faith in God rekindled with fresh warmth, of learning what sin is and what sin does, of helping us to realise our need of God's forgiveness and of giving us that encouragement not "to weary in well-doing", which we need so much in these days. Our ideals, our principles get watered down so much by the world's standards that we need to clear up our doubts and understand once again why Christ came on earth, why He died on the Cross, why He conquered death and rose again, why He ascended into heaven, and why He continually intercedes for us in heaven. A mission teaches us all these, and the missioner is like the prophet of old proclaiming God's truth and the need of our repentance. The missioner comes with a fresh voice, a fresh presentation of the age long story of "Jesus and His Love", and it does concern you and me because there will be a time when these calls will no longer come to us; the time is short and life is short, and we only sojourn here and life here is only a preparation for that fuller life "which is in the heavens". Advent teaches us quite clearly of that "second coming", when the Judge of all the earth will come again to claim His own. We must get ready for that call, and the mission will help us to see ourselves as we really are in God's sight. It is not a selfish thing to have regard for our soul's salvation because if we are truly converted, and in our re-creation, and this will have its influence on those around us when people see that we "have been with Jesus".

A converted life is one of the most powerful influences for good in this world.  Can you honestly say that you are really converted?  Is your life really based on the Love of God?  Or has the world, the flesh and the devil tainted your life? The mission will help us to get rid of those taints. "Rend your heart and not your garments and turn unto the Lord your God". "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus".

I am glad to say that the Bishop has kindly consented to come and commission the missioners at the outset of the mission on Thursday 2nd December.

May God bless us and crown our efforts with much happiness and fruits of the spirit.

Do not forget that Christ said, 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away.'

Very sincerely yours,

L.C. Watson


My Dear People,

I write this almost on the eve of Christmas and I hope you have all had a happy and peaceful time at this joyous Christmas festival, and I hope and pray you may have a prosperous New Year.

This autumn has been an eventful one for us at St Matthew's, culminating in our Mission. It is too soon to speak of any lasting effects, but there is no doubt that by God's Grace the Mission has made deep impressions upon the souls of many, and many have viewed fresh visions of God and His Love, and have found deeper penitence, and somehow there is a real feeling of joy, fellowship and peace among us all.

The weather, as we all know, was atrocious, but in spite of it people turned out night after night to hear the wonderfully earnest, sincere, catholic and evangelical teaching he gave us - no striving after emotionalism but just simple teaching of the good news of the Gospel.

What a privilege it was to have such a man amongst us, one living an absolutely dedicated life, helped by those two charming Church of England Sisters of Mercy, who visited splendidly and made friends with all. They were much touched by the warm welcome they were given everywhere and wish to thank everyone for it.

Mr Stephenson did a great piece of work with the children, and I don't think they will either forget him or the lessons he taught giving them a wonderful time, and I believe that this will have lasting results.

In the New Year we shall have time to discuss the "follow-up" of the Mission and what it has meant to us all.

May God bless you all,
Your sincere friend and Vicar,
Lewis C. Watson

My Dear People,

Before the next Magazine is out Lent will be upon us. The usual special leaflet will be issued.

In view of the Mission, I hope this season will be kept even better than it has. I would suggest that we join the Bible Fellowship and so learn to read a portion of scripture each day.

Lent has been called a "Season of Grace". It is a time when we ask ourselves the question " Where am I?" Am I growing in grace and knowledge of spiritual things, or am I just at a standstill?

It is not the fashion to make rules for ourselves, but I am quite sure that it is a good thing to make a rule of life and to revise it in Lent and make some special rule about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The Church provides us with the opportunity of special almsgiving by Lenten boxes, but there is the question of prayer and fasting. Try to make some rule about prayer - make them better said, more reverently, less hurriedly. Get up a little earlier to say your prayers, for the morning is the best time to pray because then we are fresh.

Resolve to come during the week to church to say prayers. The best time is at the Eucharist. Then as to fasting, I quite realise that some people, and even Church people, regard fasting as foolish. But at least it helps to discipline the body, and no one can deny that it is needed in these days. Lent rules are not meant to be irksome, formal things, but are ways of reminding us that our bodies "are the temples of the Holy Ghost", and make good servants but bad masters. So, try to make Lent a time of honest spring-cleaning of the soul. A Lent well spent for a happy Easter.

Your sincere friend and Vicar

Lewis C. Watson

Manx Church Magazine - March 1938

My dear People,

Lent will be on its way before you receive this. If you have not received a copy of the arrangements for Lent, you can procure one from the Church porch. May I suggest the following rule for Lent:

  1. Attend Holy Communion each Sunday (preparing carefully beforehand);
  2. Use the Church for prayer and meditation;
  3. Read a few verses of the Bible each day;
  4. Examine your conscience carefully and seek pardon and absolution through the sacrament of penance if you cannot 'quiet your conscience';
  5. Deny yourself luxuries, abstaining from flesh meats Wednesday and Fridays;
  6. Try to conquer your besetting sin;
  7. Give alms to others by taking a Lent savings box. 

If the above are carried out in the widest sense the three principles of prayer, fasting and alms-giving will not only help us to keep 'our bodies in subjection,' but will help spiritually and materially the extension of God's Kingdom in your own heart, your own home, your own town, and indeed throughout the world.    God bless you.


A course of sermons by the Vicar on Sunday mornings on the 'The Holy Eucharist.' On Sunday evenings, Evensong will be at 6.00 pm; the Vicar will conduct a lantern service at 6.30 on 'The Men Who Crucified Christ.' On Mondays at 3 o'clock the Rev. H. Gordon will give a series of addresses. On Wednesdays at 7.30 pm, intercession service with address.

A RELIGIOUS PLAY in preparation for Easter entitled ' The Upper Room' by R. H. Benson, will be given in Holy Week. Particulars later.

Your sincere friend and Vicar

Lewis C. Watson

Manx Church Magazine - May 1938

My Dear People,

What a glorious Easter we had. The church looked beautiful, and we are grateful to all who gave flowers and decorated the church. We had a good Lent, and many made a real effort to deepen their spiritual life. Palm Sunday was observed in the usual way. The first part of Holy Week was given up to the Passion Play, which created such a deep impression upon all who saw it.

The second cantata which the choir sang deserved a better congregation than it got on the Wednesday in Holy Week, and it was sung beautifully on Good Friday just before the Lantern Service.

We were grateful for the help of Father Linder over Easter. He had only just returned from the Australian Bush and was very much impressed by the reverence and gloriousness of our Easter services. The Children's Gift Service was a real delight, and the sick have appreciated their gifts.

The number of Communicants at Easter were about the same as last year. I am glad that there are only a few who appear then and then only. The real test of the Communicant life is the regular attendance month by month or week by week. This means self-sacrifice and real devotion.

Good Friday was observed as usual by the Three Hours' devotion attended by people from all over the Island. Then our outdoor Procession of Witness round the parish, which is always received with great respect and is always headed by the Band. The nave was full for the Lantern Service. All this enabled us to appreciate the glorious message of Easter, which we need in these days of European anxiety.

I hope to get away for a few days rest in May.

Sincerely yours,

Lewis C. Watson


- Benson's 'Upper Room', which was performed in church in Holy Week, was a great success, and over 600 people saw it. It brought home the story of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in a most telling way, and most people were deeply moved by it. The acting reached quite a high standard for amateur actors, who were all Communicants of the church, and the high standard attained was due to the reverent spirit in which they approached the play. They all tried to be the characters they represented. In fact, the reverence and simplicity shown produce the atmosphere and told the story in the way we wished. The effects behind were well done, and the music helped tremendously the action of the play. It is true to say that the play could not have been produced except for the fact that all the servers helped to put up the stage and removed everything from the church in 45 minutes after the last performance. It is our custom not to mention the names of performers, but we must thank those who came from outside to help us e.g. Miss Rydings and her orchestra; Messrs Lawton and Co., of John Street, for lighting; Mr Miller, for scenery; Mr Wrangham, for make-up and lighting; and Messrs R.C. Cain for curtains; and the committee of the Mothers' Union, who helped Mrs Watson to make dresses. To all of them our very best thanks.

Manx Church Magazine - June 1938

My Dear People,

I was glad to get away for a few days after Easter, after a strenuous winter. As some of you know, I went to a Priests' Convention at Tewkesbury Abbey. It was a most inspiring experience, for there were something like 250 priests gathered together from all over the British Isles to study and discuss the 'Liturgy' of the 'Holy Eucharist' - 'What it is, what it does, and the Liturgy at work.' Tewkesbury Abbey is one of the most beautiful Norman abbeys in existence, and a most fitting place for such a convention. Before the Reformation there were 18 altars in the abbey. They have all been restored, and it was a wonderful experience to know that each morning between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Over 100 priests celebrated the Holy Mysteries at those altars before the ordinary work of the day was begun. Nor shall I ever forget the inspiring Sung Eucharist with the Bishop of Brechin as celebrant at the end of the conference. The choir part of the abbey accommodated over 200 priests who sang our familiar Merbecke service with great devotion and beauty.

We are asked to take part in the thanksgiving meeting in Douglas on Sunday, June 19th, in the Villa Marina, offered for the blessing of the English Bible. The Bible is a priceless possession. We can never be too grateful to those who did their part in enabling us to read that Holy Book in our mother tongue. I hope you will make a note of the date and come and bear your witness.

The Sunday School Festival will be on June 26th. The Archdeacon of Luatala, in Africa, had promised to come, but unfortunately has had to cancel his promise. The special preacher will be announced later.

May I remind you of Whit Sunday. Many of you will have visitors, but I hope you will be able to get to church on that day.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C. Watson

Manx Church Magazine - July 1938

My dear People,

I write on the eve of our Children's Festival. Although this festival does not appear in the regular calendar of the Church's festivals, yet there is something very joyous about a children's festival. Probably this is because as we get older we realise that the future of the world, both in Church and State, depends on this young generation growing up. When we look at the world today, we realise what a mess the older generation has made, and we naturally wonder what kind of a world the generation growing up will make of it. A feeling of hope comes into our hearts when we listen to sweet young voices singing, when we hear their laughter and their innocent chatter, and when we see their excitement and enthusiasm for play and fun and make-believe. This brings to us, surely, an added sense of responsibility when we contemplate the importance of their education and spiritual training. Parents, clergy, teachers, all share in this. If it has its responsibilities, there are compensating privileges and joys, provided children's education and spiritual training are based on sure foundations.

True education is not the filling up of the mind with facts, but teaching the art of learning, for our education is never finished. I sometimes think in these days we try to teach our children too much. The materialism, the Godlessness, and the mad rush for pleasure of this age are not a happy commentary on education. We have not emphasised sufficiently that the Kingdom of God is not of this world, nor have we taught sufficiently that the things of the spirit are the really important things of this life. If the present younger generation is to tackle the problems of the world in the right way, it will only be done if we can instil into their minds and hearts that that the problems cannot be solved except with the help of God. If we are to know God, then we must read our Bible to get a picture of what he is like, to see through God's Son the need of our personal salvation, and as His Spirit dwells in His Church as Guide, Teacher and Comforter, we must 'not forsake the gathering of ourselves together' as a corporate body to worship and praise Him, to place our individual and corporate problems before Him.

With all good wishes,

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C. Watson

Manx Church Magazine - August 1938

My Dear People,

I am writing these notes from a delightful part of East Sussex, and from the hotel we have an uninterrupted view over pine forests to the south Downs. I am taking a locum tenancy at Cross-in-Hand, 15 miles from Eastbourne, where I spent my holidays last year. It is delightful country, and although the weather is not at all good, Mrs Watson and I have been able to get about and see many places of interest with which Sussex abounds. We have visited Eastbourne, Brighton, Seaford, Hastings, Bexhill, all seaside resorts on the South Coast, and also historical places as Battle Abbey, Lewes, Pevensey, Rye.

The climate is warmer and softer than the bracing Island climate but is very restful when one gets used to it. I am ministering in a lovely little country church, and we are able to visit a Sisters' chapel, a Retreat House which is four miles away.

The Sussex Churches are old and most beautiful, and windmills are a feature of the country. Perhaps the most attractive parts are the soft undulating downs, where shepherds tend thousands of sheep. There is a quietness and soft beauty about the South Downs which even the modern motor car cannot dispel.

From here I go to Whitby and spend the last two weeks of my holiday at the UMCA Summer School. I am sure you have given Father Wake a warm welcome, and my thoughts and conversation often turn to the Island.

With all good wishes,

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C. Watson

Isle of Man Times, 3 September, 1938 (from the i museum, Douglas)

Rev. H.S.Taggart at St. Matthew’s shakes hands with Large Congregation

After the service at which he preached at St. Matthew’s Church on Sunday evening, the Rev H.S.Taggart stood in the porch and shook hands with each member of the congregation.

Vicar for many years (and his father before him) at St. Matthew’s, he was without doubt the most popular clergyman in the Isle of Man, and many of his old friends, who held him in great affection, attended the service. Father and son took part. The Rev. J Paul Taggart of Grantham, son of the Rev. H.S.Taggart, read the lessons.

A welcome to them was given by the Rev. L.C.Watson, the present vicar.

At the beginning of his sermon, the Rev.H.S.Taggart spoke of the pleasure it was to see so many of his friends again, and his thankfulness for the privilege of being allowed to worship once again ‘in these dear walls’. He preached a heartening sermon, pointing out that it was the Christian’s faith not to despair of the present and desire the past, but in the knowledge that Christ lived, to look forward with hope to the future.

The Manx Fisherman’s Evening Hymn was sung during the service. The St. Matthew’s Band played selections outside the church.

The Manx Church Magazine

My Dear People,

We are glad to be back again amongst you after a good holiday, and I was glad to be present for the first time at our Dedication Festival, especially as we were able to hear Father Taggart tell us some of the history of the old St. Matthew's Chapel.

Before you read this, we shall have had both father and son taking part in our Evensong. It is a pity that it is in August, when so many are busy, but I hope a good many will have been able to come to hear Father Taggart. It was a pleasure to hear from him how much he appreciated the beauty and reverence of our Sung Eucharist, for we do try to carry on the work the foundations of which he so truly and faithfully laid.

I was glad to be at the installation of Archdeacon Stockwood. It was a very impressive service, and everything was done so beautifully and without a hitch.

There are two seats left in the party going to London in October, and the arrangements are well in hand. Details of the arrangements will be given to each member of the party later on.

The garden fete postponed from June will be held at The Hermitage on Thursday, September 22nd. We shall run it as part of our Patronal Festival, which falls, as usual, on St Matthew's day, Wednesday 21st September. There will be the usual Sung Eucharist that day at 11-30, when the preacher will be the Rev. M. Harrison. The garden fete will be next day, in the afternoon at The Hermitage when the children will give a play. In the evening there will be a concert in the Schools, when the children will give two plays, and there will be other items, which will be announced in due course. Please support this effort.

I was glad to hear on all sides that the services of Father Wake were appreciated. He told me he loved the church, and had a really good holiday, one of the best he has had, here in the Island.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C. Watson

Manx Church Magazine - October 1938

My dear people

I write this letter in the midst of our Patronal Festival. We had an inspiring service on the Eve of St Matthew, when the Guild of Servers of the Island sang their office with a good congregation present. On St Matthew's day we had our Sung Eucharist as usual, when Father Harrison, of S. Paul's, Ramsey, preached an excellent sermon to us from the text "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy House and the place where Thine honour dwelleth."

He pointed out that there were two festivals that belonged to every church in its dedication and patronal festival. From the earliest days of Christianity, the day on which the church was consecrated has been kept as a holy day. Gregory the Great, in his instructions to S. Augustine of Canterbury, ordered that the anniversary of the consecration of the church was to be kept as a solemn feast, and the preacher pointed out that the laws of Edward the Confessor provided for the observance of the rule.

Although the dedication and patronal festivals are usually quite distinct, yet many lessons to be drawn from them are applicable to both. And festivals should cement the ties that bind priest and people together: and should teach us to love and value the services in which we join and should enable us to estimate our religious privileges and to recognise the claims the Church has upon our time, our money, and our affections. Jesus still walks in His Temple now, as when he walked on earth, in the House which God has chosen to put His Name

here, and of which He has said, "Here will I dwell, for I have a delight therein."

Your sincere friend and Vicar

Lewis C. Watson

Isle of Man Examiner, 18 November 1938 (from the imuseum, Douglas)

Manx Servers For London Festival

At the monthly meeting of the St. Maughold Chapter, which followed, it was decided to send two representatives to attend the festival of the G.S.S. in London on December 2nd, when altar servers from all parts of the country will take part.
The servers nominated were Bros. Harold Broadbent (St. Matthew’s), and Sydney Boulton (St. Paul’s Ramsey), with Bro. Robert Cubbon of St Matthew’s as the deputy representative.
It was also suggested that the monthly gathering of the Guild in December should take the form of a Sung Eucharist at Ramsey on the morning of December 27th, to be followed by the monthly meeting of the Guild at which the London representatives will give their report.

The Manx Church Magazine - November 1938

My Dear People,

The European crisis is over, and I am thankful that so many of you responded to the call to deep intercession for peace in Europe.

But this call to pray for peace must not be a passing phase; if we are to have peace "in our time" we must continually pray for our leaders and the leaders of the world, that they will "seek peace and ensue it". There is no doubt that all the peoples of the world want peace and hate war, and all Christian people must pray without ceasing.

We must thank God that one little nation, the Czech nation, was willing to sacrifice herself for the civilised world, and we must do something to help them in their distress. We must thank God for the efforts of the British Prime Minister, for without him we should now be at war.

Those of us who went on St Matthew's trip to London realise from the state of the London parks and all the sandbags, the balloon barrage which we saw, how near we were to war. The visit to the Imperial War Museum made us realise something of the horror of the last war, and it made us sad to think that all that sacrifice seems in vain as we see the world piling up armaments.

I am convinced that while the nations pile up armaments, there will always be some men who will want to use them. Do let us pray most earnestly that the nations will all disarm so that peace may come not only for our time, but for all times.

Your sincere friend and Vicar

Lewis C Watson

The London Trip

What a happy time it was! Part of the St Matthew's family holidaying together in the heart of the Empire, tracing the history of Britain from the earliest times till the present. What memories we have of the Abbey, St Paul's, the Houses of Parliament, the Royal Mews, Southwark Cathedral, the Mint, Tower of London, Lambeth Palace, Chelsea Hospital, Windsor and Eton, Temple Church and Hall, and the dozens of places we saw! None of us will forget the churches we saw - the Eton Mission, All Saints', Margaret Street; St John's, Red Lion Square; St Martin-in-the-Fields - and what hospitality we had at the convents of Wantage and Clewer! It was a real adventure, a most successful one, and some are already talking about another tour farther afield!

My Dear People,

By the time you read this, Advent will be on its way. This season is the beginning of the Church's year. November is often spoken of as "the month of the falling leaf", when we think especially of our dear ones who have passed on to Paradise. All Souls' Day was kept with its usual solemnity, and I always think that Remembrance-tide comes with special significance at this time. This year all the more so, because we were all conscious of war averted. I cannot help thinking that if the nations of the world had been able to forgive, we should not have the present position in Europe today. "Forgiveness" should always be one of the marks of a Christian. If we are not prepared to forgive one another in private, that same spirit is bound to make itself felt nationally, and also internationally. Let us pray more earnestly this Advent for a spirit of forgiveness amongst ourselves and amongst the nations of the world.

May God bless you and give you a very happy Christmas and New Year.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C. Watson


As Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year, the usual Sunday services will be held. I would suggest that our home festivities take place this year on St Stephen's Day. The services on Christmas Day are - Eve, 11.45 pm, Blessing of the Crib; midnight, Sung Eucharist; 8am Holy Communion; 11am Procession, Sung Eucharist and Sermon; 2.45pm Children's service and Carols; 6.30pm, Solemn Evensong and carols. Those who wish to communicate at midnight are required to have cards of permission. These may be had from the Vicar. For times of Confession, please see the notice in the church porch.


The usual Watchnight Service will be held at 11.15pm.


This year we are to have a new set of Crib figures. These have been given by Miss McKnight in memory of Miss Taylor, her friend and ours. Miss Taylor always felt that the figures lent by Mrs Watson were too small for our church, so the new ones will be much larger and a worthy addition to our church. Mrs Watson is very kindly painting them for us. The Crib is not merely a pretty model for children but has real teaching value for all of us. It stimulates our devotion to the holy Child Jesus, and as we kneel before it, we are taught humility and the need for purity and the innocence of Jesus in our lives.

Lewis C. Watson

The Manx Church Magazine - January 1939

My Dear People,

The first thing I must do is to wish you all a very happy New Year. At the end of this month I shall have been seven years your Vicar. The longer I stay here the happier I am, although I am conscious of not being able to do as much as I should like.

The last year has been of real spiritual growth for many people, and I think that the Mission we had made a difference to many people. We have started our St. Matthew's Fellowship, which is growing. Before very long we shall have the full programme of our winter's work out, and then we shall have an admission Service. Then this last year has seen the admission of most of our Servers to the Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary, which is a worldwide guild of servers banded together to promote more faithfulness, reverence, and regularity of altar servers. They do a great work in the services of the Church and help tremendously in the reverent and orderly conduct of the divine liturgy of the Church, and I am glad to place on record the faithfulness of our servers at St. Matthew's and their readiness at all times to help the Vicar in any work he asks them to do. Not least is the way they help in the practical work of getting the stage ready for our religious plays, which are such a feature of our winter's work at our church. This year has also seen the beginning of the Fellowship of Marriage for our young married women. So, in many ways I look back on a year of real advance in the things that really matter. I only hope that this year will see an advance of "the things which belong unto our peace". 

I am glad that at last the Government has declared that they are not contemplating the transference of the Mandated Territories or our Colonies back to Germany. Not because I think that they are not able to govern properly but because in the present state of affairs I tremble to think what the lot of the natives of those territories would be if they were to be handed over to the German nation. I was glad to see also that no territory would be transferred without considering the interests of the natives living there. Under the Mandates, we are there to govern in the interests of the natives living there, and I saw enough, when I was in Africa, of the British policy of indirect rule which is teaching the African the elementary principles of justice, to be satisfied that our Government is doing its best to carry out its Mandate, both in the letter and in the spirit. Moreover, I asked all the Africans I met whether they would prefer to be back under German rule, and not one of them said he would.

Without any sort of cant or hypocrisy, we can pray for a change of heart in people who are treating the Jews as they are being treated at the present time. Let us all pray then at all time, for peace on earth and good will to men of peace.

May God bless you and give you a very happy New Year.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

Lewis C. Watson

Manx Church Magazine - February 1939

My Dear People,

The first thing I must do is to thank all those who helped to make our Nativity Play such a success. As you know, we never mention the name of any individual performer, as we regard the play as a corporate act of worship; but I can say that everyone did his or her part to the best of his or her ability, whether they were players, members of the choir or musicians, or whether they were working on the stage. Only those who are in it can know the amount of time and work and self-sacrifice that it all entails.

The play this year seems to have made a greater impression than ever, and both Mrs Watson and I appreciate all the very many expressions of gratitude for the help it gave to those who came to see it, and they came from all parts of the Island. The performers too will be very glad that their work has helped people to catch afresh the story of the Incarnation. We must say a big "thank you" to Messrs Lawton & Co. for all their lighting effects that they gave us. They never spare any pains to give us the very best that they can. Then Miss Rydings and her voluntary helpers added greatly to the musical side of the play. The whole thing is a piece of work well worth doing to the glory of God.

The next thing of importance to mention is that we are having a series of religious film services on Sundays after church, at 8pm in the Schools. We hope thereby to get non-going Church people to see and hear pictures that will present the Gospel message in a wider way than we can in the ordinary church services. The services will be open to any of our own people as well. A list of the films to be shown will be found underneath, and the dates. The pictures will be shown to children on the Saturdays previously at 6.00 p.m. I shall be glad if you will make them known and come yourself.

We are glad to welcome in our midst Mr Goodall, lately a missionary student of Warminster Missionary College, who is going to spend the few months he has before his Ordination with us here at St Matthew's. Ultimately, he is going out to Africa as a missionary to the UMCA we shall hope that he will enjoy his stay with us, and we shall be glad of his help in various ways.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson


February 12th, Biblical Palestine and The Coal Mines; February 26th, William Tyndale, and The Rock and the Sand.

The Manx Church Magazine - March 1939

My Dear People,

I was very glad that so many of our people helped to give Lent a good start by being in God’s House on Ash Wednesday. The day was kept as a day of intercession extremely well in spite of the wet weather. It is still true that some will keep the parochial party sacrosanct but will not keep Ash Wednesday sacred. I felt very happy to see the crowd at the mission service at night, and the large number of young people. I hope we shall keep it up. What is the meaning and purpose of Lent? The forty days of Lent are appointed by the Holy Catholic Church (of which we are members) as a solemn season of humiliation for sin. If you follow the Collects, Epistles and Gospels of the Book of Common Prayer, you will see how we are led from sorrow for our sins which caused the Passion of our Lord to the rejoicing of Easter. If Easter is to be a time of rejoicing, we must keep Lent strictly. May I urge you to make a rule, something you can keep and mean to keep. This will naturally fall under five headings:

First, self-examination. Set apart time once a week, and use the “Ten Commandments” or, better still, the “Duties towards God and neighbour” in the Catechism and ask God to show how you have offended in thought, word or deed or by omission. Then confess them either privately or before one of God’s priests and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Secondly, by amendment of life. It is little use to confess one’s sins if we are not determined to amend or do better. So do your best to root out or conquer the sin or sins “which most easily beset you”. For instance, selfishness, conceit, untruthfulness, impatience, laziness, impurity. Carry on the battle with courage and faith. You may fail, but if you persevere you will gain the victory.

Thirdly, by prayer and Bible-reading and Holy Communion: Be at church Sunday by Sunday and receive Jesus through his Sacrament. Read a few verses of his Word each day, or at least on Sundays. Let your prayers be regular, said carefully, and try to meditate on what you have read in the Holy Bible.

Fourthly, by fasting: Most Church people think this is out-of-date or are quite indifferent. Take no notice of this. The Church orders us to fast but leaves us free to choose in what way. Fasting helps us to keep our bodies in control. It helps to remind us of our Lord’s fast and of the cross he has bidden us to take up.

Fifthly, almsgiving: We should make a definite effort to give alms.

Let us all keep Lent well that on Easter Day we may be ready to greet our risen Lord.

May God bless you.

Your sincere friend and Vicar,

Lewis C Watson

Manx Church Magazine - April 1939

My Dear People,

Lent is nearly over, and I am glad to say that our people have kept this solemn season very well. When you read this, we shall be in the most solemn week of the Church year - Holy Week. May I ask you to make a point of following the steps of our Lord’s Passion and crucifixion as closely as you can? There will be daily Eucharist at 7 and 9-15 each of the first three days. On Maundy Thursday there will be a sung Eucharist at 9-15 a.m. in commemoration of the institution of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or what we call Holy Communion. There is a special Epistle and Gospel for each of these days. If it is impossible for you to come to the Eucharist, will you read through devotionally the story of Christ’s Passion which you will find in the special Gospel for each day? Compare those days to these and see how by our own sins we crucify afresh the Lord Christ both individually and nationally. All social functions of the parish will shut down in Holy Week. This is done to give us time to meditate on the reason why the Son of God went through all His sufferings. Ask yourself why he did all this, why He hung upon the Cross with outstretched arms. Examine afresh your own conscience. Use the time given in the special evening service to think about these things. We have so little time to think in these days. It is to me an appalling thought that all who profess to call themselves Christians are not crowding into our churches to pray for the peace of the world. If the war breaks out, people will ask again, “Why does God allow it?” And yet so few in these terribly anxious days find their way to God’s House to pray for the peace of the world. Surely, if prayer is any use at all,

we ought to be praying with all our minds and souls for the averting of what seems to be almost unavoidable, instead of leaving it to a time when a crisis comes swiftly upon us. Although men and women are horrified and incensed at the crucifixion of small nations, yet it is amazing that their horror does not bring men to their knees. The truth is that the majority of people have forgotten how to pray, even if they ever knew. In so far as practising Christians have not made Christ a living person, let us confess our own failures. So use Holy Week as a real time of penitence and concentrated prayer that the pride, envy, hatred and lust of men may be changed into the love and spirit of Christ. When we realise the failure of politics, diplomacy, and personal agreements, when we see the personality of evil stalking through the world, causing fear, suffering and death, we are forced (if we read the signs of the times aright) to the conclusion that the only true way of peace is the way of love. Christ is crucified afresh when His children forsake His way. Christ died and rose again that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Let it not be said of us “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.”

That you should have a really happy and peaceful Easter is the earnest wish of

Your sincere friend and Vicar

Lewis C Watson

Isle of Man Examiner, 12 October 1956 (from the imuseum, Douglas)

A Monk at St. Matthew’s

A youngish - looking fellow, in black habit, leaned over the pulpit in St. Matthew’s Church, Douglas, on Sunday, and talked earnestly to the congregation. He told them of his plans for the Liturgical Mission to be held in the parish.

Later as he met the congregation in the Church Hall and smoked his pipe, he gave his hearers some words of wisdom as to the methods of visiting and other information concerning the modern approach to a mission of this kind.

This Missioner-designate, who next spring will be accompanied by a lay brother - Brother Benedict, whom he described as a good type of Lancastrian - is Father Gabriel Sanford, and he is being sent to St. Matthew’s following an approach by the Vicar (Rev. B. P. Burnett) to the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, one of the best known of Anglican Communities, famed for its missionary and social work, which is run on monastic lines. Father Trevor Huddleston, who has been causing the spotlight to fall on apartheid and other problems in South Africa, belongs to this community.

Father Sanford came to the Island on Saturday, on the Manxman, and on board met the skipper, Capt. P. J. Bridson, who is a member of St. Matthew’s congregation. On Sunday after names of visitors and helpers had been enrolled, he told his hearers that the Mission will be a ‘flop’ unless people pray for it each day and there is much advanced preparation.

The Liturgical Mission is being held in connection with the Forward Movement or diocesan mission throughout the Island which has been initiated by the Lord Bishop.

Not only was last Sunday a day of preparation for the Mission at St. Matthew’s, but it was also the harvest festival. There were about fifty communicants at 8 a.m., and there was a High Mass at 11 a.m., those taking part being the Vicar and the Curate (Rev. Stephen Freshwater) and Father Sanford. Following Solemn Evensong and Procession, the parishioners met in the Church Hall, and after a cup of tea Father Sanford gave his talk and answered questions.