New member | Isle of Cider | April 2021

The Isle of Cider brand takes you back in time 200 years to Victorian Douglas

Date: Thursday 22 April 2021

Hello my name is Philip Jolley. I am the founder of Isle of Cider ( I operate a wholesale business of 100% juice real cider brought to the Isle of Man from my home counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. I grew up in a 16th century black and white cottage that was a cider house in its hay day. It still had the original cider mill in the barn when we moved there in the late 1990’s. We held a couple of community apple pressing events to make cider for the whole village back when I was growing up; and this is what has given me my passion for cider today.

I moved to the Isle of Man in October 2015. Since moving here I have found out that I am a direct descendant of the late James Rae Fielding who was Grand Master of the Manx Oddfellows in 1862. He is my Great Great Great Grandfather. So I have decided to tell his story through my cider.

The Isle of Cider brand takes you back in time 200 years to Victorian Douglas, Isle of Man, centred around the North Quay area. This next part is told in the first person of James Rae Fielding himself and I’d love for you to find out all about him if you read on……

James Rae Fielding’s Story

“Good day to you. My name is James Rae Fielding, The Grand Master of the Manx Oddfellows. I was Born in Blackburn, England in 1817. My Great Great Great Grandson is the founder of Isle of Cider.

I came to the Isle of Man in 1821. My parents kept the Eagle and Child pub in Haywood Place on North Quay Douglas and then the Old Market Inn, Chapel Row Douglas. I was educated at the Commercial School in Bath Place next to where the Steam Packet sea terminal building stands today. I had a Barbers Shop on North Quay and continued my trade there until 1895; a total of 63 years.

I was a member of the Manx Oddfellows in Douglas all my life and I became Grand Master of the Isle of Man in 1862. We often held meetings at the Steam Packet Vaults public house on North Quay, and on occasions the Liver Hotel Lord Street. We were a very charitable organisation helping institutions such as the Isle of Man Hospital Committee which later became Nobles Hospital, and the Douglas poor relief committee. Personally I was the peoples Warden of St Matthews Church, Douglas.

While in office I commissioned the construction of the new St Matthews church in Ridgeway Street which replaced the Old Structure in Market Place (now the site of the Manx Legion) a little further along the Quay. Work started on new St Matthews Church in 1895 and was consecrated in 1908. It was all part of the redevelopment of the North Quay area including The Municipal Buildings, Town Library and Market Hall (Noa Bake House) that you still see standing today. I lived to the age of 94 and in 1912 was buried in Old Kirk Braddan Church Yard just off the TT course. The first ever TT race took place in the summer of 1911. So I may well have seen the beginnings of this great Manx tradition”

In honour of James Rae Fielding the Old Grand Master Oddfellow I have selected a medium sweetness cider made in Herefordshire very close to where I grew up; and have called it “Oddfellas” Thank you for reading this and I hope I have inspired you to come and take a walk around the North Quay of Douglas to retrace James Rae Fielding’s steps and possibly enjoy a cider or two in one of the many great establishments on the Quay.

All the best, Philip Jolley, Isle of Cider.