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Isle of Man Mission

The Isle of Man Mission material details the building of chapels and schools in Douglas and Castletown by Fr Matthew Gahan SJ (1782-1837) and his work on the island. Born in Dublin, he entered the Society at Hodder, Lancashire, England in 1805 and left for the Isle of Man in 1826. He had previously spent 3 months on the island in 1817 and 1825. When he died there in February 1837, the Jesuit mission to the island ended.

Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 1860-

Sale of plot of ground in the Parish of Bradden

Parties:
John Taubman, Proprietor of the Estate of the Nunnery, Parish of Kirk Bradden and Rev. Myles MacPharlan.

Property:
Plot of ground in the Parish of Bradden, part of the estate of the Nunnery on the high road from Douglas to Castletown to be used as a site for a Roman Catholic chapel.

Terms & Conditions:
In consideration of a sum of five shillings and the reserved rent of one shilling.

Fr Gahan's wish to administer to the Catholic population on the Isle of Man

Letter from James Duff, Liverpool to Rev. Matthew J. Gahan SJ, Hardwicke Street Chapel, Dublin seeking confirmation of Fr Gahan's wish to administer to the Catholic population on the Isle of Man. Remarks that he has been in contact with the Bishop who agreed to appoint Fr Gahan to the post as long as his own Bishop agrees.

Duff, James

Letter from William and James Duff, Douglas, Isle of Man to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ

Letter and copy of a letter from William and James Duff, Douglas, Isle of Man to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Hardwicke Street Chapel, Dublin expressing their satisfaction that Fr Gahan is to live and administer in the Isle of Man. Remarks 'we feel that in regard to pecuniary matters you will be a sufferer to a considerable extent by the change. But if the satisfaction of having done an important service to religion as well as to its followers, can be any compensation for this sacrifice you must certainly have an ample recompense.'

Duff, James

Letter from Bishop Penswick to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ on a potential visit to the Isle of Man

Letter from Bishop Penswick, Liverpool to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Isle of Man concerning a visit he had intended to make to the island. Remarks that because the habeas corpus act has not been sanctioned by the legislators he is going to postpone his visit. Remarks 'I have often thought of you and even expected to be in a situation to relieve your wants; whenever my hopes are realised I will not overlook you.'

Penswick, Thomas, 1772-1836, Roman Catholic Bishop

Letter from Thomas Penswick, Bishop of Liverpool to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ

Letter from Thomas Penswick, Bishop of Liverpool to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Catholic Chapel, Douglas, Isle of Man concerning rent money due to General Goldie for the chapel and garden occupied by Fr Matthew Gahan. Remarks that General Goldie is anxious to have the amount paid.

Penswick, Thomas, 1772-1836, Roman Catholic Bishop

Letter from Bishop Thomas Penswick, Liverpool to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ

Letter from Thomas Penswick, Liverpool to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Douglas, Isle of Man concerning a conveyance he obtained in Ireland from William MacPharlan which he gave to Frances Duff, Isle of Man to have it legally completed. Remarks that this was never done and that he feels the conveyance is, as a result, of no value. Remarks 'You will use your own discretion in your settlement with the General (Goldie), his demands can never be very overwhelming.'

Penswick, Thomas, 1772-1836, Roman Catholic Bishop

Lease for Club room, Athol Street, Isle of Man

Parties:
Thomas Crelly, Painter, Douglas, Isle of Man and his wife Margaret Crelly and Fr Matthew Gahan SJ.

Property:
Large house known as the Club Room, yard, stables, offices and buildings, Athol Street, Douglas.

Terms & Conditions:
In consideration of a sum of £600.

Lease for property known as the old Club Room, Athol Street

Parties:
Rev. Matthew Joseph Gahan SJ and Thomas Redfern.

Property:
Stables, yard and dwelling house known as the old Club Room, Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man.

Terms & Conditions
For a term of 5 years at a yearly rent of £15 to be paid on 12 November and 12 May.

Letters from John Duff, Castletown, Isle of Man to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ

Letters from John Duff, Castletown, Isle of Man to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ.[Douglas, Isle of Man]. The first letter thanks Fr Gahan for officiating at his marriage. The second letter refers to a debt of money due to Fr Gahan. Remarks that he is not pleased with the tone of Fr Gahan's letter in which he requests repayment. Remarks that he is not liable for the debt and advises Fr Gahan to contact Robert Duff of the late firm owned by Robert and John Duff for repayment of the debt.

Duff, John

Letter from Fr Peter Kenney SJ to Fr Patrick Bracken SJ, 10 December 1835

From Fr Peter Kenney SJ to Fr Patrick Bracken SJ. Announces that he will not be able to go to Tullabeg that year. Reports on the situation in Clongowes, and on the various Jesuits residents there. Reports also on the Jesuit mission in the Isle of Man, where Fr Aylmer stopped for a time to assess the situation. Refers to the debate on the question of whether the mission there should be retained by the Irish Jesuits, and also to the opening of a new chapel in Douglas.

Kenney, Peter J, 1779-1841, Jesuit priest and educator

Letters from Richard Thompson, Vicar General to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ

Letters from Richard Thompson, Vicar General to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ concerning Fr Aylmer's offer to give temporary assistance to the Catholic community on the Isle of Man due to Fr Gahan's illness. Includes a postscript remarking that the Bishop has appointed Dr Yovens to visit the Isle of Man on his behalf.

Thompson, Richard, priest

Letters from Bishop John Briggs to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ, concerning the chapel property in Douglas

A file of letters from Bishop John Briggs to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ, Catholic Chapel House, Douglas, Isle of Man concerning the chapel property in Douglas and the wish of the Bishop, Dr Penswick, that the property should be '…vested in Trustees of whom the Bishop should name one.' (22 December 1835, 3pp). Remarks that Fr Gahan is not correct in stating that the Bishop agreed that the chapel would be put in Fr Gahan's name alone. Remarks '…I believe Mr. Gahan is mistaken. For I was present when Dr Penswick refused his assent to this proposal made personally by Mr. Gahan.' (22 December 1835, 3pp).

Briggs, John, 1788-1861, Roman Catholic Bishop of Beverley

Letter from Bishop John Briggs, 13 December 1835

From Bishop Briggs to [ ]. Thanks the latter for his letter detailing his visit to the Isle of Man, and gives permission for the new chapel at Douglas to be used for divine service, on certain conditions. Wishes also to have a written assurance from ‘Dr. Kenny’ to the effect that the conditions would be complied with.

Briggs, John, 1788-1861, Roman Catholic Bishop of Beverley

Letters from Fr Matthew Gahan SJ to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ on chapel build progress

A file of letters from Fr Matthew Gahan SJ to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ concerning the progress of establishing a chapel for the Catholic community on the Isle of Man. Two of the letters are written to Fr Aylmer while Fr Gahan was travelling [to raise funds] and Fr Aylmer was supplying for him on the island.

Gahan, Matthew, 1782-1837, Jesuit priest

Letters from Dr Thomas Youens to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ concerning the mission on the Isle of Man

A file of letters from Dr Thomas Youens to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ concerning the mission on the Isle of Man. Dr Yovens was appointed by Dr Briggs to visit the Isle of Man and assess matters following the death of Fr Gahan and to arrange the opening of the new chapel in Douglas. Includes a letter informing Fr Aylmer that he has full permission from the Bishop (Dr Briggs) to bless the new chapel in Douglas and perform divine service in it (28 February 1837, 1p). Includes a letter expressing the Bishop's wish that the mission of the Isle of Man pass into his own hands. Remarks that he does not know who the Bishop has in mind to take over the mission (27 April 1837, 3pp). Includes a letter relating to the sum of money paid by Dr Briggs to the Society of Jesus in respect of the Isle of Man. (16 May 1840, 1p).

Youens, Thomas, priest

Letters from Fr Charles Aylmer SJ to Fr Peter Kenney SJ concerning the Isle of Man mission

A file of letters from Fr Charles Aylmer SJ, Douglas, Isle of Man to Fr Peter Kenney SJ concerning the Isle of Man mission. Includes a letter discussing the finances of the mission and how much money is required to run the mission (24 November 1835, 3pp). Includes a letter concerning some opposition to the opening of the chapel in Douglas. Remarks that if Dr Youens visits the island he will explain the full matter to him and if he does not visit the island he will visit the Bishop himself. Remarks '…it comes exactly to this: that we either succeed or give up the whole and throw the responsibility on the Bishop and the English. Since last Sunday I have received for the new chapel subscriptions and donations…and except Captain Haggeston, not one of the rich have given one shilling - the Duffs and some others amongst whom I am sorry to name John Kelly…have combined and written against the new chapel thro' dislike to poor Fr Gahan and because they cannot do everything as they please - these withhold their subscriptions in the expectation that the opening of the chapel will be prevented by the Bishop.' (7 December 1835, 4pp). Includes a letter remarking that the Bishop (Dr Penswick) has given his permission for the new chapel to be opened as long as three conditions are complied with. Lists the three conditions (18 December 1835, 2pp). Includes a letter referring to the three conditions laid down by Dr Penswick. Refers to the ownership of the chapel property. Remarks '…Mr. Gahan has actually paid £295 (for converting and fitting out the chapel buildings) - one penny of which he never got from any person in the Isle of Man - and consequently he fairly claims that sum as his property.' Continues 'The delay in opening the new chapel is I feel very unpleasant and causes great feeling and disappointment even amongst liberal Protestants and gives a kind of triumph to the bigoted party and to the few Catholics who are adverse to Fr Gahan and wish to have power.' (26 January 1836, 4pp). Includes a letter concerning Fr Gahan's will and medical and funeral expenses. Refers to Fr Gahan's debts. Remarks '…are we to take all this responsibility on ourselves, to discharge all these debts and then to be dismissed at Doctor Briggs' pleasure. If he is to have the whole without any remuneration to the Society or to its benefactors let him take it and become responsible for it with all its encumbrances…' (3 March 1837, 3pp).

Aylmer, Charles, 1786-1849, Jesuit priest

Letters from Fr Peter Kenny SJ to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ concerning the Isle of Man mission

A file of letters from Fr Peter Kenny SJ (Vice-Provincial April 1834-May 1836) to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ concerning the Isle of Man mission and the difficulties that arose in its administration following the illness and death of Fr Matthew Gahan SJ. Includes a letter informing Fr Aylmer that he may go ahead with the opening of the new chapel at Douglas. Expresses his opinion that this should be done without delay. Discusses the finances of the mission (12 November 1835, 8pp). Includes a letter referring to the opposition amongst some residents of the Isle of Man to the opening of the chapel. Remarks 'I hesitated…before I resolved to show your letter to Mr Gahan… I feared that the ingratitude and treachery of his people might annoy him.' (13 December 1835, 4pp). Includes a letter referring to a delay in opening the new chapel. Remarks 'Of course we cannot comply with the conditions proposed and therefore you must let the chapel stay as it is…I should not as yet be inclined to say what we might propose; but from the Bishop making the opening of the chapel dependent on these conditions he seems determined to drive us out of the island…' (20 December 1835, 3pp). Includes a letter asking to be kept fully informed of any communication with the Bishop. Remarks 'It is necessary that we know what is said or proposed by you or Mr Gahan or we may fall into many mistakes…' (29 December 1835, 4pp). Includes a letter referring to Fr. Gahan's headstone and the difficulty in sending it to the Isle of Man. Remarks that it is '…a very commendable piece of work…' (7 May 1837, 3pp).

Kenney, Peter J, 1779-1841, Jesuit priest and educator

Letters from Fr Patrick Bracken SJ to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ on the Isle of Man mission

A file of letters from Fr Patrick Bracken SJ (Vice-Provincial) to Fr Charles Aylmer SJ concerning the administration of the Isle of Man mission following the illness and death of Fr Matthew Gahan SJ. Includes a letter referring to the death of Fr Gahan. Refers to an article in a newspaper concerning his death. Remarks '…it is stated that Fr Gahan had died from the effects of the religious persecution which he suffered. This will be understood as persecution on the part of the Bishop and will I fear make a bad impression on the English and Irish clergy, for many will attribute the article directly or indirectly to us.' Asks Fr Aylmer to send a detailed statement of Fr Gahan's debts and rents and a valuation of the property on the Isle of Man (9 March 1837, 4pp). Includes a letter referring to Fr General's instructions to give up the property to Bishop Briggs on the Isle of Man. Remarks 'I have no doubt that he will award us some compensation; but the amount will depend on his own generosity…what the Society has in property I trust she will gain in reputation, at least in the eyes of the inhabitants of the island.' (18 March 1837, 4pp). Includes a letter referring to the problems with Fr Gahan's will (10 July 1837, 4pp).

Bracken, Patrick, 1795-1867, Jesuit priest

Letter from Bishop Briggs to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, 24 March 1836

Letter from Bishop Briggs, writing from Ushaw College, Durham to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ in the Isle of Man. Writes in relation to the admission to the Sacraments of members of various societies, and advises Gahan in relation to those to exclude (e.g., members of the Knights of St. Patrick), and those not to exclude (e.g., members of the Freemasons).

Briggs, John, 1788-1861, Roman Catholic Bishop of Beverley

Letter from Fr Peter Kenney SJ to Fr Patrick Bracken SJ, 7 January 1836

Letter from Fr Peter Kenney SJ to Fr Patrick Bracken SJ. Discusses the situation regarding the Isle of Man mission. Reports that Fr Aylmer believes that it should be retained, and a trustee appointed. Outlines Aylmer’s suggestions on the matter.

Kenney, Peter J, 1779-1841, Jesuit priest and educator

Letting of stables under the Club Room, Athol Street, Douglas

Document signed by William Quiggin and Robert Quiggin concerning the letting of stables under the Club Room, Athol Street, Douglas and an adjustment in the amount of rent due. Refers to the rent on the room used by Fr Gahan as a kitchen.

Quiggin and Co. Ltd, rope makers and timber merchants, 1821

Letter from Fr Patrick Bracken SJ to Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Isle of Man

From Fr Patrick Bracken SJ, writing from Tullabeg, County Offaly to Fr Gahan in the Isle of Man. Reports on some members of the community in Tullabeg, including Fr Robert Haly and Fr Aylmer, and adds that Fr Esmonde is on his way to Rome. Refers to Fr Gahan’s problems in the Isle of Man in relation to the provision of Mass for Catholics in Douglas, and the question of whether the Bishop would permit this. Asks him to defer the sale of the chapel in Castletown until he (Fr. Bracken) receives a reply from the Fr. General.

Bracken, Patrick, 1795-1867, Jesuit priest

Letter from Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Isle of Man to Fr Patrick Bracken SJ

From Fr Matthew Gahan SJ in the Isle of Man to Fr Parick Bracken SJ. Discusses the situation of the Jesuit mission on the island, the retention of the chapel and school-house, and the difficult relations that existed between the Society and the Bishop. Refers to his own ill-health. Expresses his desire to have a person to assist him on the mission, but fears that such a move is not financially possible. Announces that he is to sell the chapel in Castletown. Adds that he will not be able to move into the new house in Athol Street the following week as planned. Refers to the departure of his house-keeper and his misfortune in acquiring a new servant who is both Manx and a Methodist.

Gahan, Matthew, 1782-1837, Jesuit priest

Letter from Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Isle of Man to Fr Patrick Bracken SJ

From Fr Matthew Gahan SJ, Isle of Man to Fr Patrick Bracken SJ in Tullabeg, County Offaly. States that he regrets that the latter did not inform him earlier of his desire that the sale of the chapel at Castletown be deferred. Reports that he has recently moved to the ‘new house’, and complains about the walk he has to make every Sunday to say Mass, given his present ill-health. Asks for some money to be sent over to him, as he is ‘tormented with one little debt or other’.

Gahan, Matthew, 1782-1837, Jesuit priest

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