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Dr Brian Stowell RBV TH (1936-2019)

Manx Speaker, Teacher and Broadcaster

Brian Stowell was born in Douglas in 1936. He was educated at Murray’s Road School and Douglas High School, before studying physics at Liverpool University. After graduation in 1958, he worked in England as a physicist, gaining a doctorate in applied physics.

Stowell was one of the prime movers behind the revival of Manx Gaelic in the 20th and 21st centuries. He had learnt Manx as a teenager from the last native speakers of the language. In 1991 he returned to the Isle of Man to take on the newly created role of Manx Language Officer in the Department of Education.  After retirement, he  continued to be active in the Manx revival movement through his teaching, writing, and radio broadcasting.

He wrote several Manx courses and published numerous articles in and about Manx and Celtic matters. He was a prolific translator in a variety of media, and is particularly known for his translation of Alice in Wonderland (Contoyryssyn Ealish ayns Cheer ny Yindyssyn). A member of the Gaelic Broadcasting Committee, Stowell presented a radio show and news items in Manx on Manx Radio. In 2006, he published the first full-length novel in Manx Gaelic, Dunveryssyn yn Tooder-Folley (The Vampire Murders).

As one of the organisers and founders of the Celtic Congress, Stowell was considered a father figure in the maintenance of Celtic languages, both on the Island and further afield.

In 2008, Stowell was awarded the Manx Heritage Foundation’s Reih Bleeaney Vanannan for his outstanding contribution to Manx Culture.

Pioneer of the Manx Gaelic revival movement