RBV Cultural Award for 2009 goes to Peel man

Mon, 19 Jan 2009

Robert Farrer receiving the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan from the Hon Anne Craine, MHK
Robert Farrer receiving the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan from the Hon Anne Craine, MHK
The Foundation’s prestigious cultural award, the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan, has been presented to Peel man Robert Farrer in a ceremony in the Millennium Room. The award is made on a annual basis to a person or group who is considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the preservation and greater understanding of Manx culture. Robert Farrer has devoted more than 30 years to the discovery and rescue of many important historical finds in the Isle of Man. His interest began when he took up metal detecting in the 1970s and since then he has built up an immense knowledge of Manx historical events and archaeological sites. He shares his knowledge with great enthusiasm and he regards every discovery, however humble, as shedding more light on the Island’s history. Even modest finds can be exciting, but his find of a lifetime was made last year when he and a fellow detectorist discovered a rare Viking sword pommel. Robert was praised by archaeologists at Manx National Heritage for follow the correct procedures (not removing the associated soil &c) and for handing it in immediately for identification. This important artefact has now been added to the national collection, adding significantly to our knowledge of Vikings in the Isle of Man. Robert was the driving force behind the Manx Metal Detecting Club in the 1980s, and this led to the discovery of a large Mediaeval coin hoard. He has encouraged others to take up the hobby, always emphasising responsible metal detecting, and he has set a very high standard in following the required protocols in this increasingly popular pastime. Robert’s responsible attitude towards metal detecting has promoted a better understanding amongst academics and the public alike to this past time which is increasingly respected and recognised as being an important method of finding rare and historically significant objects. Latterly he formed the Manx Detectorists Society of which he was chairman until recently. Throughout this period Robert has taken a keen interest in field walking which has resulted in the discovery of a number of new archaeological sites, most notably the Billown Neolithic site. The Manx Museum now houses a number of important artefacts which have only have come to light as a result of Robert’s work and those of his colleagues. This was recognised some time ago with the presentation of an exhibition at the House of Manannan on finds brought to light by metal detecting. The award was made today by the Chairman of the Manx Heritage Foundation, the Hon Anne Craine MHK. A cheque for £500 was given to Mr Farrer to give to a Manx organisation of his choice, and he choose the Leece Museum in Peel to be the recipient of this grant.