Commemorative Gravestones, Monuments and Plaques
This section deals with the gravestones and memorials that were designed by Archibald Knox, or were executed in the style of Knox.
There is some controversy over which graves were designed by Knox because some designs have been challenged by Miss Annie Knox (niece) and Tim Quayle (grandson of Thomas) as not by Knox. The Manx Museum has a 1964 collection of photographs, some with annotation attributed to Annie Knox or Tim Quayle – the deterioration of some of the gravestones since they were created is quite marked.
Yvonne Cresswell of Manx National Heritage describes Knox’s work and life as an enigma. in that his underlying inspiration and motivation remain elusive. Unique amongst artists and designers Knox designed many memorial stones, nearly all on the Isle of Man and all inspired by, though seldom copies of, the Manx carved cross slabs and especially of the interlaced patterns found on many. Knox was also an Anglo-Catholic and some of this comes across, especially in his use of the ‘sacred heart’ motif for many of the ‘O’s in the lettering – it has been remarked that the lower the churchmanship of those memorialised the more hearts Knox gave them !
Most of the memorials are in Douglas, either at Braddan New cemetery or in the Borough cemetery; they are generally easy to identify being very distinctive both in design and lettering. However, though the Island is free from industrial pollution, the wind and rain of some 80 to 125 years has left some of the stones in less than pristine condition.
Knox worked mainly (but not exclusively) with Thomas Quayle, stone mason and sculptor, and his stonemason’s company. (Quayle’s son (Thomas) and grandson (Tim) were all stonemasons). Knox’s first memorial was for the daughter of Thomas Quayle and was apparently sculpted by Thomas Quayle himself, who left the various panels for members of the family.
The Archibald Knox Forum has helped in the repair and restoration of several of the graves/memorials. All of Knox's outdoors creations are wonderful and some of them are in a sorry state of repair. It is a big undertaking to carry out remedial work on all the monuments and graves but a start has been made.