Isle of Man Natural History & Antiquarian Society


Click here for the Winter programme in PDF form



With two exceptions: 22 February 2020: event at The Dome at the Nunnery Stables at 2.00 pm
                                  28 March 2020: AGM in the Manx Museum Lecture Theatre at 2.00 pm


Saturday 19th October - The Manx Constitution: a constitutional anomaly?
William Cain
Based on a lecture which he gave at University College, Isle of Man, in December 2018, William Cain will explore the origins of the Manx Constitution in the Viking Age and its evolution and development to the present day.

Saturday 9th November - Gerald Gardner and Witchcraft
John Callow
The modern revival of Witchcraft, or Wicca, drew its most powerful inspiration from the work of Gerald Gardner (1884-1964), who lived and worked on the Isle of Man for the last thirteen years of his life. Through his Witches’ Mill museum in Castletown, he profoundly reshaped the public perception of the witch’s activities and art, refashioning and publicising his vision of Paganism and creating a highly successful tourist attraction, an important pillar of the Island’s tourist industry for more than two decades. This lecture looks at the role of the Isle of Man as the crucible of an ‘old magic’ that spawned a new world religion.

Saturday 7th December- The Reformation and the Isle of Man
Dr Tim Grass
In many parts of Britain, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a period of unsettling religious change. What happened on the Isle of Man? How did a movement which majored on the importance of the word cope with the language barrier? The Island’s distinctive political and linguistic features makes it a fascinating case study, with the potential to shed light on wider scholarly thinking about the local and regional impact of Protestant reform. The reform process was still ongoing when Bishop Wilson arrived in 1698. A widerranging overview of the topic is long overdue, and this paper (in part a report on progress) will sketch out the course of events, drawing on attention to key issues on which further research is needed. Dr Grass is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a senior research fellow at Spurgeon’s College, London specialising in Church history.


Saturday 18th January - Butterflies
Gail Jeffcoate – co-author of The Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland
The butterfly fauna of the Isle of Man, how it compares with that of the British Isles as a whole, and the effects of climate change.

Saturday 8th February - Keeping Occupied: Arts & Crafts behind the wire at Knockaloe and Douglas Civilian Internment Camps during the First World War
Yvonne Creswell – Curator: Social History, Manx National Heritage
Incarceration during wartime in a civilian internment camp was a sentence where the prisoner had no idea of when they would be released. One way of coping with the uncertainty and doubt was to keep occupied and to fill as much of the time available as possible. As a result camp life provided many people with an opportunity of being (and having to be) creative, whether they were skilled craftsmen or not and whether they had the right tools or materials or not. The one thing they had was time (a lot of time) and it was used by many of the internees to create a wide variety of different types of arts and crafts.

Saturday 22nd February - N.B. at 2.00 pm in ‘The Dome’ at the Nunnery Stables - BOOKING ESSENTIAL
Howard Parkin of AstroManx
Manx Dark Skies
This event will take place in the ‘Dome’ 360-degree theatre (which is situated alongside the former Culture Vannin / Centre for Manx Studies premises at the Nunnery Stables) for which there is a charge of £10/person. There are only 30 seats available, bookings will only be accepted if accompanied by the £10/head fee. Booking is essential – there will be no admission ‘on the day’ unless pre-booked. To book, in the first instance please contact Ian Burrell by email at or on 461768. N.B. bookings are being handled by IoMNHAS, not The Dome, so please book via Ian and don’t try and book directly with The Dome. The event is for IoMNHAS members only; but if any seats are un-booked by 8th February then bookings will be accepted from the general public.

Saturday 28th March - N.B. at 2.00 pm
Annual General Meeting, followed by Manx Marine Megafauna
Bryony Manley (Researcher) and Jen Adams (Outreach and Education Officer) – Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch
The work of the charity will be explained and how to spot and identify the species of whale, dolphin and porpoise found in Manx waters.