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Arthur Caley: Skeeal yn Foawr Manninagh

By John Quirk
Author of 'The Manx Giant: the Amazing Story of Arthur Caley'

Arthur Caley

Arthur Caley was born in Sulby on the Isle of Man in 1824 and was probably the tallest man in the world during his lifetime.

Va Arthur Caley ruggit ayns Sulby ayns Mannin sy vlein 1824 as s'liklee dy re eshyn va'n dooinney s'lhiurey sy theihll sy lhing echey.

At his physical peak, Caley was a true 'man mountain', standing 7ft 11ins and weighing more than 28 stone.

Tra v'eh slane aasit va Caley dy firrinagh 'ny ghooinney gollrish slieau', as eh 7 trieyn as 11 oarleeyn er lhiurid as ny smoo na 28 claghyn er trimmid.

The legend of the Manx Giant was an enigma for 150 years, known by many but a mystery to most.

Va far-skeeal y Foawr Manninagh ny ghoo-cheisht rish 150 bleeaney, far-skeeal va mie er enn da ymmodee sleih agh ny folliaght da'n chooid smoo.

Now, a new book attempts to reveal the truth behind one of the most colourful characters in Manx history.

Nish, ta lioar noa ayn ta geabbey soilshaghey magh yn skeeal firrinagh mychione nane jeh'n sleih smoo neuchadjin ayns shennaghys Vannin.

Early in 2009, I gave a talk at the Henry Bloom Noble Library in Douglas about Arthur Caley, the Manx Giant.

Ec toshiaght 2009, ren mee loayrtys ec Lioarlann Henry Bloom Noble ayns Doolish mychione Arthur Caley, yn Foawr Manninagh.

Everyone at the talk - and it was standing room only - knew who Caley was, but they knew next to nothing about the man himself.

Ec dy chooilley pheiagh ec y loayrtys - as va'n chamyr lum-lane - va enn er Caley, agh s'goan va'n fys oc er y dooinney hene.

Therein lies the enigma that has been Arthur Caley for the last 150 years; well-known, but a total mystery.

Shen doo-cheisht Arthur Caley t'er ve ayn son y 150 bleeaney chaie: mie er enn, agh ny folliaght vooar neesht.

Caley was 7ft 11ins tall and weighed over 28 stone at his physical peak

Va Caley 7 trieyn as 11 oarleeyn er lhiurid as 28 claghyn er trimmid tra v'eh slane aasit

It was this that led one of the Giant's descendents, Carlton Mealin, to research Caley's life and which eventually brought him to my door.

She shoh ren cur er nane jeh sluight y foawr, Carlton Mealin, bea Chaley y ronsaghey as ren cur-lesh eh dys y dorrys aym fy yerrey.

That was two years ago, and the book 'The Manx Giant: the Amazing Story of Arthur Caley' is the result of Carlton's dedication and my ability to string a few sentences together.

Shen va daa vlein er dy henney, as y lioar 'Yn Foawr Manninagh: Skeeal Slane-yindyssagh Arthur Caley' she yn eiyrtys jeh slane-jeeanid Carlton as yn ablid aym dy cur ry cheilley raa ny ghaa.

Arthur Caley was a phenomenon, a force of nature the likes of which the island will probably never see again. But he wasn't quite so phenomenal in his formative years.

Va Caley ny ard-yindys, ny skelim dooghyssagh jeh'n lheid nagh beagh ry akin arragh syn ellan, s'cosoylagh. Agh cha row eh kiart cho neuchadjin sy lambaanid echey.

Caley was most commonly known as Colonel Routh Goshen

Va Caley smoo er enn da'n theihll myr Curnal Routh Goshen

Caley was born in 1824 at a place called The Well, a mile or so west of Sulby, and the shell of the cottage remains today.

Va Caley ruggit ayns 1824 ec boayl enmyssit Y Chibbyr, meeiley ny ghaa cheu-heear jeh Sulby, as ta voallaghyn follym y thie beg foast er mayrn jiu.

It was long thought that Caley lived at the Sulby Glen Hotel, which has huge doorframes, but research proved this wasn't the case, as an Ordnance Survey map from 1870 - long after the Giant had left the Island, reveals the hotel hadn't been built at that point.

Rish foddey v'eh goll er credjal dy ren Caley cummal ec Thie-oast Glion Sulby, ayn ta frameyn dorrys feer vooar, agh ren ronsaghey prowal nagh row shoh kiart, son ta caslys-cheerey OS voish 1870 ayn - foddey lurg da'n Foawr v'er n'aagail yn Ellan - ta jeeaghyn nagh row yn thie-oast troggit ec y traa shen.

His father, Arthur senior, was a farmer and Caley learned the trade, but it wasn't until he reached his late teens that he started to really grow, and he kept going until he was in his late twenties.

Va'n ayr echey, shenn Arthur Caley, ny eirinagh as dynsee Arthur aeg y cheird cheddin, agh cha nee derrey v'eh ayns ny bleeantyn jeig s'jerree echey dy ghow eh toshiaght er gaase dy mooar, as hie shen er derrey v'eh bunnys jeih as feed.

The remarkable thing about Caley is that he was a 'true giant'; most giants tend to be tall and thin, but Caley was a man mountain, his body developing in proportion to his height.

She yn red smoo cronnal mychione Caley dy row eh ny 'foawr firrinagh'; ta beoyn ec y chooid smoo dy foawryn dy ve ard as keyl, agh va Caley stoamey as daase y corp echey dys mooadys va co-chiart rish yn yrjid echey.

He left the island in 1851 to seek his fame and fortune in the UK, exhibiting in Manchester and London, before heading to Paris, where he became a regular fixture in the salons.

Daag eh Mannin ayns 1851 dy chosney ardghoo as berchys er e hon sy RU, as haink eh rish ayns taishbynyssyn ayns Manchuin as Lunnin roish my jagh eh dys Paris, raad haink eh dy ve ny hayrnys ennymoil ayns ny 'salons'.

Caley left the Island in 1851 to seek his fame and fortune

Daag Caley Mannin ayns 1851 dy chosney ardghoo as berchys

After just a year in the French capital, Caley's mother, Ann, received a letter informing her that her son was dead.

Lurg agh blein syn ard-valley Frangagh, hooar moir Chaley, Ann, screeuyn hug fys jee dy row e vac marroo.

That, as far as the Isle of Man was concerned, was it - the Manx Giant was no more, just weeks after his life had reportedly been insured for £2000.

Shen, choud's va fys ec ny Manninee, va jerrey yn skeeal - va'n Foawr Manninagh marroo, shiaghtin ny ghaa lurg da'n vea goll er cur fo urryssaght son £2000.

No one really knows what happened in Paris. Was his death an insurance fraud, and was it true that a giant tree trunk was buried in the coffin instead of him?

Cha nel peiagh erbee slane shickyr cre haghyr ayns Paris. Row yn baase echey ny volteyrys urryssaght, as row eh feer dy row corp billey mooar oanluckit sy choyr-merriu syn ynnyd echey?

Several years later, a character appeared on the streets of New York, and presented by the legendary showman P.T. Barnum as 'Colonel Routh Goshen, the Arabian Giant', with a colourful military history to match.

Blein ny ghaa ny s'anmey, haink rish dooinney quaagh er straiddyn New York, va goll er taishbyney liorish y fer-taishbynys ennymoil P.T. Barnum myr 'Curnal Routh Goshen, yn Foawr Arabagh', as skeeal coorse-kiartey sidooragh daahoil echey neesht.

It was only on his deathbed, in 1889, that the world discovered that Goshen and Caley were one and the same, and that Caley had not perished in Paris, but had gone on to lead a long and successful life in New York, appearing in Barnum's Greatest Show on Earth and many other exhibitions and circuses.

Cha nee agh tra v'eh er raad e vaaish, ayns 1889, dy ren y seihll geddyn magh dy re yn un pheiagh va Goshen as Caley, as nagh row Caley er n'gheddyn baase ayns Paris, agh dy row eh n'gholl er dy cheau bea liauyr as speeideilagh ayns New York, as eshyn cheet rish sy Taishbynys Smoo sy Theihll ec Barnum as ayns ymmodee taishbynyssyn as kiarkyssyn elley.

Caley and his peers were watched by several thousand people each day, and in a day and age without movie stars and pop stars, it's fair to say that Caley and his co-stars were the celebrities of their time.

Haink thousaneyn dy leih dagh laa dy yeeaghyn er Caley as ny co-yantee echey, as ayns eash dyn rollageyn fillym as kiaull pop, s'feer gra dy re mastey yn sleih smoo ardghooagh sy lhing ocsyn va Caley as e cho-rollageyn.

Caley was discovered in New York by the legendary showman P.T. Barnum.

Va Caley er ny gheddyn magh liorish yn fer-taishbynys ardghooagh P.T. Barnum

It would be interesting to see what Caley would make of today's world, and what we in turn would make of Caley.

Veagh eh symoil fakin c'red veagh Caley coontey jeh'n theihll t'ayn jiu, as c'red veagh shinyn hene coontey jeh Caley neesht.

One thing's for sure; it will be a long time, if ever, before we see his like again.

Ta un red shickyr; bee traa foddey ayn, my nee eh taghyrt edyr, roish my vaikmayd e lheid arragh.




SEE ALSO
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