Stephen Miller was awarded the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan (Manannan’s Choice of the Year) at Culture Vannin in St John’s recently, in recognition of his passionate research into Manx folklore, music, dance and its collection.
As well as a dedicated researcher, Stephen also seeks out the important figures and collectors involved with the Celtic revival. His persistence, energy and expertise during a period of forty years, has resulted in an impressive body of work – which he shares freely and generously in both print and online.
An early adopter of technology, Stephen’s work is available for anyone through his website now in its twenty fifth year (Chiollagh Books), the Manx Music and Dance Newsletter (Kiaull Manninagh Jiu – subscribe through the manxmusic.com website), the Ballaugh Heritage Newsletter, as well as numerous personal publications and lectures.
Director of Culture Vannin, Dr Breesha Maddrell commented, “He remains someone determined to tease remarkable stories relating to Manx cultural and social history out of the archives in order to bring life to some of the key characters who have shaped our Island; to understand what their focus was in terms of collecting, recording, or promoting Manx culture – and to share his findings with other researchers.”
His interest in Manx folklore encouraged Stephen to subscribe and reprint important work, such as William Cashen’s Folk-Lore and the Manx Folklore and Superstitions by John Rhys. An extensive list of transcriptions and historical detective work has allowed us a better understanding of several Manx antiquarians and the cultural revival.
Stephen was presented with a medal, certificate and a cheque, naming Mooinjer Veggey (the Manx Gaelic playgroup) as his chosen Manx cultural cause for the additional donation.
Although now based off the Island, Stephen remains a frequent visitor and can usually be found amongst the national archives held by Manx National Heritage.
© March 2020
(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)