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

Date(s): 1840s-1930s

Creator(s): Various

Scope & Content: This deposit consists of the papers of several Kermode family members but predominantly those of Philip Kermode (PMCK) ranging from his professional career as an advocate to his career within Manx antiquities.

Family papers
Contents include but are not limited to the sermons, notebooks and pastoral documents of PMCK's father Reverend William Kermode; papers of sister Josephine Kermode ('Cushag'), her poetry and correspondence with her brother and folklorist Sophia Morrison (1859-1917); notebooks diaries and account books of Caroline Matilda 'Cherril' Kermode (c. 1861-1946) and a handwritten novel by Mary Anni 'Minnie' Emily Kermode (b. 1848). Also journals, notebooks and exercise books of William Kermode (b. 1841) and Frederick Bishop Kermode (b. 1849).

PMCK's correspondence
Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by individual and subject. Correspondents include lingjuist and runologist Erik Brate (1857-1924), William Cubbon (1865-1955), designer Archibald Knox (1864-1933) and Governor of the Isle of Man 1st Baron Loch (1827-1900). Other correspondents include the naturalist Cyril Ingram Paton (1874-1949), Governor of the Isle of Man Lord Raglan (1857-1921), naturalist Charles Swynnerton (1877-1938) and Manx language expert George William Wood (c1852-1927). Further correspondence relates to subject matter such as the discovery of the 'Giant Deer', publication of 'Manx Crosses', Knock y Dooney ship burial excavation and aftermath 1927-1929 and visit of the Cambrian Archaeological Association in 1929.

Research notes and articles
Archaeological notebooks (subnumbered and indexed by German archaeologist Maria Bersu (1902-1987) ), additional notebooks, sketchbooks, articles and incomplete articles and research notes on assorted subject matter including numismatics, Manx antiquities, natural history and archaeology.

Manx Archaeological Survey papers

Ancient Monuments and Manx Museum Trustees
Correspondence, catalogues, PMCK's 1922 desk diary (the year of the opening of the Manx Museum, Douglas), curator's book, library catalogue, printed matter. For some correspondence regarding lobbying for the establishment of the Manx Museum see under individual correspondence such as Lord Raglan.

Legal work work and links to Ramsey Town
Documents relating to PMCK's work as an advocate, business with Ramsey Town Commissioners, the Clerk to the Justices,
Ramsey War Memorial and Ramsey Golf Club.

Personal papers
Diaries of PMCK (1877-1932), travel journals, University of Liverpool papers,

Printed matter
Newscuttings, printed material, printer's proofs.

Illustrative material
Sketches, original artwork by PMCK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Language: English

Extent: 40 boxes & 1 outsize item

Collection: Manuscript Archive

Level: FONDS

ID number: MS 08979

Record class: Private

Access conditions: No regulations or restrictions are implemented on this material. Advance notification of a research visit is advisable by emailing

Subject tags : #MM100


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