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Edward Faragher

Epithet: Fisherman, farmer, author and folklorist (1831-1908)

Record type: Biographies

Biography: From ‘New Manx Worthies’ (2006):

Edward Faragher (or Fargher) was the eldest of ten children who were brought up in Cregneash. His parents were unusual among the community who were almost exclusively Manx Gaelic speakers. His mother was the only person in the locality able to converse with strangers in English, whilst his father was the village letter-writer.

Ned (or Neddy) 'Beg Hom Ruy', as he was known, took his name from his father Ned Hom Ruy who in turn took his name from his own grandfather, Thomas, who died in 1821. The name Hom Ruy means 'Red (haired) Tom'.

Ned Beg went to an infant school kept by an old lady in Port St Mary who taught 'writing and ciphering' followed by two years at the Parish School of Kirk Christ, Rushen.

From an early age (about 1840) he went fishing around the south of the Island with his father for about seven years.

About 1862, William Milner, a Liverpool safe maker who had a house in Port Erin, offered Ned Beg and his sisters, Eunice and Margaret, work in Liverpool. Ned Beg worked there as a general labourer for five years alongside some Welshmen whose English was worse than his. On his return to the Island he went to the fishing for herring and mackerel off the southern coast of Ireland, around Kinsale and Crookhaven in County Cork.

On 21st December 1870 Ned Beg married Elizabeth Gawne of Ballafesson, and appears to have been living in Surby when Lina (1871) and William Albert (1873) were born. By 1875, when his third child Thomas Gawne was born, he was back living in Cregneash. Ned Beg lived there until 1907. It was some time after this that he met the folklorist Charles [Carl] Roeder, a German living in Manchester, and gave him much of the material for his newspaper articles entitled 'Manx Notes and Queries'. These recorded the stories and traditions of the Isle of Man. Writing in 1901 Roeder describes him thus:

'His knowledge of Manx lore is simply unique; and as a man who can tackle a fish, or know the ins and outs of the coastline and its creeks and its caves, he is, I believe, unmatched.'

From the age of 26 Ned Beg had written down stories, poems, real life experiences and even Manx translations of children's stories. When he was in harbour or ashore in Crookhaven he wrote things down on anything that came to hand. A cabin boy on one of the vessels with him recalled his writing a poem, 'The Wreck of the Dart', on an old sugar bag. Some of his verses appeared in the 'Mona's Herald' and the 'Cork Eagle'.

From about 1880 Ned became teetotal and engaged in composing religious tracts and translating hymns. Two books of his Manx stories have been published together with 'Skeealyn Aesop' (1901) which has been recently republished. Much of his folklore material remains in manuscript, mostly in the Manx National Heritage Library although a few are in private hands. This material was written down either for Charles Roeder or Archdeacon John Kewley.

The last years of his life were difficult ones. Ned Beg lost his wife and then in 1904 William Clague, husband of his eldest child Lina, also died. Ned Beg sold the Faragher croft which had been in the family since 1724. Lina, who looked after her father, took a boarding-house in Port Erin and a year later one in Port St Mary but in November 1906 she was persuaded to emigrate to Canada with her three sons. For a short time Ned Beg lived with his two elderly sisters in Cregneash. His son William took his father to live with him at 56 Blackwell Colliery, near Alfreton in Derbyshire, where he worked as a joiner and PT instructor. Although 'living in the greatest kindness' Ned pined for his homeland. He died in Blackwell on 5th June 1908. He was buried two days later in St. Werbergh's Churchyard, Blackwell.

His epitaph should be the words used by Charles Roeder when notifying readers of the 'Isle of Man Examiner' of his death on 20th June 1908:

'It was entirely due to him that so much traditional folklore has been preserved. He had a fine memory and his knowledge of things Manx seemed to be inexhaustible which he communicated to those who enjoyed his friendship.'

Biography written by John Wright.

(With thanks to Culture Vannin as publishers of the book: Kelly, Dollin (general editor), ‘New Manx Worthies’, Manx Heritage Foundation/Culture Vannin, 2006, pp.170-1.)

Culture Vannin


Nationality: Manx

Gender: Male

Date of birth: 30 March 1831

Date of death: 5 June 1908

Name Variant: Faragher, Edward (Ned Hom Ruy)


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