[From BA handbook, 1896]


By P. M. C. KERMODE, F.SA.Scot.
Hon. Sec. Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society.



NOWHERE within so small a compass1 do we find scenery so varied, surroundings so attractive, or associations so interesting as in the Isle of Man. Its surface is diversified by hills, which in contour and appearance are truly mountainous, and narrow, deep, and tortuous glens; by laughing valley and fertile plain; by sandy beach and rugged precipitous coast.

The highest hills are clustered in the Northern division— Pen-y-pot, 1,772 feet; Clagh Ouyre, 1808 feet; Barrule, 1,842 feet; and Snaefell, 2,034 feet. In the Southern only four exceed 1,000 feet —Slieu Whallian, 1,093 feet; Cronk-ny-Irree-Laa (hill of the rising day), 1,449 feet; Slieu Chiarn, 1,533; and Warfell, now tamely called South Barrule, 1,585 feet. Their general appearance is bare and smoothly rounded on the north-east, but on the southwest they are abrupt and craggy. Though the absence of timber is now so noticeable, the Island in pre-historic days was well wooded —darrags, i.e., bog-oak, pine and birch of considerable size, being met with, not only in the low-lying curraghs, but in peat, well up on the mountain side.

Everywhere among the hills are narrow winding glens, with clearest of mountain streams, and spray-white waterfalls. The largest of these is Glion Mooar—the great glen par excellence of the Island, now known as Sulby from the little village at its mouth where it opens on to the Northern plain. Glion Ruy, Glion Meaye, Rhenass, Glen Aldyn, Dhoon, and many another fairy haunt has each a distinctive character, and a charm of its own.

But the finest scenery is that of the sea coast, for the most part rugged and precipitous, but in the north with low clay cliffs, and sandy and gravel beaches. The average height of the south-western coast is about 700 feet, while in some places the mountains descend into the sea - sheer precipices of 1,200 to 1,400 feet.

The level country in the north, and the lowlands about Castletown in the south, the central valley and the openings of the sheltered glens, are well cultivated. The great earthen hedges dividing the large irregular fields are covered with gorse—a striking feature in the landscape as viewed from any height; and, though the Island is not rich in the number of species of flowering plants, the sloping sides of these green banks in every field and lane exhibit a profusion of small flowers of varied hue, with ferns and flowering grasses delightful to the eye of every lover of nature.

The towns are connected by a railway, and an Electric Railway runs by a romantic and picturesque route from Douglas to the top of Snaefell. Charming as a residence, the Isle of Man has a peculiar advantage as a health resort in respect of its climate, which is remarkable for its equability. Situated in the centre of an inland sea, and protected alike from the piercing east winds, and the fierce Atlantic storm, it is open on the south to the genial influences of the beneficent Gulf Stream. The mean annual temperature is therefore higher than that of any other place occupying the same parallel of latitude, viz.: 49.0° (Spring 46.0°, Summer 57.2°, Autumn 50.9°, and Winter 42.0°). The Island is one of the sunniest spots in the United Kingdom.

The rainfall varies greatly in different districts—the mountains from 62 to 55 inches, the eastern slope of the mountains from 60 to 41, the western coast from 42 to 34, and eastern from 49 at Ramsey to 34 at Castletown. the Point of Ayre, at the extreme N.N.E., and the Calf, at the extreme W.S.W., and Langness, at the extreme south, have all less than 30—the mean for the Island being 46:4.

"The Isle of Man is not parcel of the realm, but of the possessions of the Crown of Great Britain"; it is independent of the Imperial Parliament. It has its own laws, courts of law, and law officers, and an Act of Parliament is only claimed to extend to the Island if specially mentioned. Civilly, as physically, it is divided into two districts, North and South, each having its own Deemster or Judge. These districts are sub-divided, each into three sheadings—the Ship Things, or divisions of the Norsemen; Glenfaba, Ayre, Middle, and Rushen, each send three members to the House of Keys, Michael and Garff send two each; Douglas sends five members, and the other towns, Ramsey, Castletown and Peel, one each, making in all 24—in Manx "Kiare-as-feed "—of which term Prof. Rhys considers the word Keys to be a corruption.

The Tynwald Court consists of the Lieut. Governor, Council, and Keys; may be convoked by the Governor at any time for legislative business; and passes Acts, which, when sanctioned by the Queen in Council and proclaimed in English and Manks, become law. The Governor is appointed by the Crown and represents the Sovereign, is President of the Tynwald Court, and has vested in him the executive authority; he is not only Governor but Chancellor, President of the High Court, and Captain-General of the military forces of the Island. The Council consists of the Bishop, the Attorney-General, the Clerk of the Rolls, the Archdeacon, Receiver-General, and Vicar-General. Practically the the Deemsters are also members of the Council.

The Keys, since 1866, are elected by popular vote, the franchise having, in 1881, been extended to £4 owners and occupiers, including widows and spinsters.

The two branches of the Legislature are equal in authority. Bills may be introduced in either of them, pass three readings, and are signed by the two branches meeting in Tynwald. Owing to the small number of the Keys, a quorum of thirteen, or clear majority of that house, is required to sign; the Bill is then sent to the Home Office for the Royal Assent, and promulgated on the old midsummer day, 5th July, or on some other day specially named by the Governor, at the Tynwald Court held at St. John’s in the open air.

The post office and telegraphic service, the regulation of the army, the conduct of the mercantile marine beyond the territorial limits of the Island, are dealt with by Imperial Legislation; and, since the Island was purchased for the express purpose of terminating smuggling into England, the control of its customs duties was taken over and is retained by the Imperial Government.

It is almost entirely from import duties that the Manx revenue is derived; it amounted last year to £72,752; the expenditure including £13,713 on education, £11,921 on the civil establishment, £2,708 on the customs department, and £1,134 for public works, reached the total of £68,954. The balance, after the yearly contribution of £10,000 to the Imperial Government, goes to the insular general revenue, and is applied by the Tynwald Court towards the improvement of the harbours and other needed public works. The public debt is now £288,452.

Local government has been enjoyedby Douglas and Ramsey since 1860, and about twenty years later by Castletown and Peel; in a limited form it has been now extended to the villages and parishes. Douglas has a population of over 21,000 (enormously increased in the summer), Ramsey about 5,000, Peel (still the chief centre of the fishing industry), 4,000, and Castletown about 2,000. The whole of the northern plain, the larger glens, and the upland regions, especially of the south, contain a considerable though scattered population, but, as elsewhere, though the towns increase, the rural districts are for the most part decreasing. The total resident population for the Island at the last census was 55,608, an increase of 2,000 since 1881.

The people on the whole are prosperous and contented; though the staple industries — agriculture, fisheries, and mining — have all suffered serious depression, this is counter balanced by the new order of things, the Island having become very popular as a health and holiday resort.

Naturally, with an annual influx of over 300,000 visitors, and with the constant addition of new residents since communication has been made so frequent and so easy, peculiarities of language, customs, race and character are fast disappearing.

With respect to race, Dr. Beddoe considers3 their physical characters perfectly agree with their history—the Norse element in the blood is very strong, though less so than the Gaelic or Ibero.Gaelic.

At the dawn of local history, the inhabitants seem to have spoken, as now, a tongue belonging to the Gaelic branch of the Celtic languages. This is fast dying out. There is practically no literature; what there is consists, besides translations, almost entirely of Ballads and Carvals, or Carols, the oldest probably written early in the 16th century, but most of them considerably later. One of them, "Myle charaine," is of little interest in itself, and one is inclined to suppose that the National Air, plaintive and sweet, to which it is sung, is much older than the words. A little work on Manx music, by Deemster and Mr. W. H. Gill, is now being published by Boosey, and another has been promised by Mr. A. W. Moore. Of translations, the earliest is the Prayer Book, by Bishop Philips. In a learned Appendix to this important work, which has recently been published by the Manx Society, Prof. J. Rhys has placed on record the most important contribution to Manx Phonology.

No historian has yet worked out the early history of the Island. It is a subject of great difficulty, there being no contemporary records, only casual and scattered references, chiefly in Irish and Welsh Annals, and later in some of the Norse Sagas; but it seems as if it should be possible to trace it, if faintly, to the beginning of the 6th century, about which time it is probable Christianity was introduced. Among other things, the dedications of the Churches to Irish Saints points to the source of our religion. Between the 5th and 9th centuries, the Island, always in an unsettled state, appears to have been subject successively to the Scots of Ireland and of south-west Scotland, and the Celts of Wales; about 625, Edwin, King of Northumbria, carried his arms to Anglesey and the Isle of Man, at whose death it reverted to the Scots, and again, about 825, to North Wales. Of local inscriptions of this period, perhaps the oldest are those at the south of the Island, in Oghams, which in character and language closely resemble those in Munster. Another at Santon, in Roman capitals, is older than the 7th century, and bears a name Avitus, which may have reached the Island through Wales. There is one also on a cross of the 9th century at Maughold, which bears the Welsh name GURIAD, and it is just possible that this may refer to a prince of that name connected with Howel and Mervyn Vrych.4 Many of the uninscribed cross slabs almost certainly belong to the period between the 6th and 10th century, and are purely Celtic in their origin. To this period also belong the ancient Keeils, with their burial grounds, of which the ruins are so plentiful throughout the Island, and perhaps the Round Tower at Peel, while village fairs, and holy wells, still commemorate the names of early Celtic Saints.

Man now began to feel the wave of Scandinavian invasion, of which Prof. Munch has written in his valuable edition of the Chronicon Manniae, published in 1874 by the Manx Society. The Isle of Man, he writes, and the southernmost islands west of Scotland, are to be regarded as the centre of the Norse settlements in those parts of Europe. From these islands, eminently fitted to serve as a stronghold for these hardy Vikings, whose strength consisted almost entirely in their large and well constructed ships, the tide of invasion flowed to the west, to the north, to the east, and, passing through Oumberland and the territory of the Strath-Clyde Britons, it even reached the eastern parts of Britain, where it met with another current from the north, that of the Danes, with which it easily coalesced. Man, as well as the rest of the islands, seems for the first period either to have been subjected to the Norwegian Kings of Dublin, or to have been ruled by several Chieftains, or Vikings, who did not adopt the title of kings.

Harold Harfagri, in his great expedition of 870, appears to have reached the Island, but his successors did not maintain the suzerainty over the remote Sudreys and Man, and it is most probable that the latter, at least, formed a part of the dominions of the successors of Olaf the White, on the Norwegian throne of Dublin, who were, unquestionably, now the most powerful rulers on these seas.

Subsequent to the downfall of the kingdom of York, we begin to meet with independent kings of Man, or of the Isles, still however, closely connected with those of Dublin, and, among the names of these kings we find Godred, Harold, Sigtrygg, Olaf, all of them belonging to the lines of kings now mentioned, and showing them almost with a certainty to have been their descendants, or near relations.

The battle of Stamford Bridge, so important a landmark in English history, is also a landmark in that of the Isle of Man, and it is from that date the original entries of the Chronicon Manniae really commence. Godred, son of Sigtrygg, was then King of Man, and to him, as a fugitive from the battle, came his kinsman Godred Crovan, son of Harold the Black of Islay—probably grandson to the Godred, son of Harold, who came into conflict with Sigurd, Earl of Orkney, and was killed in 989, who had fought with Tostig and Harold Hardrada of Norway, as a vassal either of the king himself or of the Orkneyan Earls, of whose dominions the Sudreys now formed a part, while the Isle of Man was an appendage of the Norwegian kingdom of Dublin, of which also Godred, son of Sigtrygg, was king. The latter died in 1070, and was succeeded by Fingall his son. But, in 1075, Godred Crovan, having collected a number of ships, again came to Man and after twice failing to land he a third time came by night to Ramsey, when having concealed 300 men in a wood on the sloping brow of Scacafell (now meanly corrupted into Skyhill !), he at daybreak gave battle to the Manx, who in the heat of the contest being taken in the rear by the ambuscade began to fly, and found themselves between their pursuers and the river Sulby, now swollen by the tide.

Godred died in Islay in 1095. His infant son Olave was being brought up in the English court, and for Some time the Island was in a very unsettled state. In 1908 it was occupied by Magnesa, King of Norway, who was slain in 1103, when Olave, son of Godred Crovan, ascended the throne, and enjoyed a long and peaceful reign (1103-1153). In 1134 he "gave to Ivo, Abbot of Furness, a piece of his land in Man, to establish a monastery at a place called Rushen." He formed alliances with "all the kings of Ireland and Scotland," and avoided homage to Norway, but towards the close of his reign, sent his son Godred, who was crowned King of the Isles at Drontheim. Olave’s nephews now claimed a division and share in his Kingdom. He appointed a meeting at Ramsey to discuss matters, when Reginald, "on being summoned to approach the King, turning to him as if in the act of saluting, raised his gleaming battle-axe on high, and at a blow cut off the king’s head."

The following autumn, Godred came with ships from Norway, and put in at the Orkneys; the chiefs of the isles assembled together, and unanimously elected him for their King. He came to Man, and put to death his father’s murderers. The Danes of Dublin also chose him for their King. Torfin, son of Godred’s rival claimant to the throne of Dublin, stirred up Somerled, "Lord of the Isles," who had married one of Olave’s illegitimate daughters, to declare his son Dougal King of the Isles. In 1156, as the result of a naval engagement, it was agreed to divide the heritage of Olave, Dougal receiving the northern Hebrides as his share, Godred retaining Man and the southern islands. Two years later, Somerled put in to Ramsey "with 53 ships," gave battle to Godred, put him to flight, plundered the whole island, and retired." in 1164, Somerled was slain at Renfrew; in the same year Godred’s brother, Reginald, seized the throne, but Godred, returning from Norway with a large body of troops, defeated him and reigned till his death in 1187. His son Reginald, regarded, according to the Orkney Saga, as one of the most warlike princes in the western parts of Europe at his time, was elected King. He and his brother-in-law, John de Courcy, had constant difficulties with John, King of England, to whom finally he swore fealty. Thenceforward England continually asserted her right to fealty from the Kings of Man, which some two centuries later became a dependency of the English Crown. Olave, a younger son of Godred, had been named by him as his heir. In 1223, Olave’s friends rallied around him, and he put in to the port of Ronaldsway with a fleet of 32 ships An agreement was come to, . but Reginald was growing unpopular among his subjects, and in 1226, the Manxmen sent for Olave and appointed him king Finally, in 1229, Reginald returned to the Island, "won over, and gathered round himself, all the Islanders who were in the southern part of Man," while King Olave gathered together all the northern Manxmen; a great battle was fought round the Tyitwald Hill, and Reginald defeated and slain. Olave (Olafr Svarti), went to Norway to render homage; he held the Kingdom of Man and the Isles till his death in 1237. Harold, his son, reigned in his stead. He refused to present himself at the Court of Norway, but subsequently did so, and obtained a confirmation of his authority as King of all the islands held by his predecessors. His friendship was cultivated also by Henry III. of England, who conferred on him the honour of knighthood. He again visited Norway and married Cecilia, the daughter of the king. On his return, however, he was caught by a violent storm near Shetland, shipwrecked, and drowned

On his death, in 1249, his brother Reginald ascended the throne, but within a few weeks was slain by the knight Ivar in a meadow, near Rushen Church. In 1252, Magnus, last surviving son of Olave, the Black, was elected King, and confirmed in the throne by Norway. His reign saw the downfall of the Scandinavian power in these parts, and the victory of Alexander III. of Scotland over Haco of Norway at Largs, Magnus being present with his fleet. On his death, in 1265, the Kingdom of Man and the Isles was transferred to Alexander, who, ten years later, sent a fleet which Put in to Ronaldsway; a battle was fought, and the Manx defeated with considerable loss.

The Chronicle contains two other entries, In 1313, Robert Bruce laid siege to and captured Castle Rushen, and in 1316, Richard de Mandeville, with a body of malefactors from Ireland, put in to the port of Ronaldsway, and spent a month in overrunning and plundering the south of the Island.

Thus ended the Scandinavian occupation of Man. Monuments of their presence remain in the ruins of the Cathedral at Peel, the A bbey at Ballasalla, and Friary at Bimaken, but more especially in the sculptured stones throughout the Island, many of which show pure Scandinavian art and workmanship, superseding the earlier Celtic models, while not a few bear inscriptions in Runes, those peculiar characters known to and used only by the Norse.

During the period of the Scandinavian occupation, the Island nominally owed allegiance to Norway, the kings were elected by the people from among members of the reigning family, and approved by Norway. They had generally accepted the Christian religion in the 11th century, by the middle of which we find Roolwer a Norwegian Bishop. In 1152 was constituted the diocese of Soder (Sudr-eyjar, the Southern Isles), which included Man, since when the Bishops were consecrated at Drontheim; this period saw also the introduction of religious orders of the Church of Rome. The division of the Island into sheadings, and the Tynwald Court, are Norse institutions, if not indeed adopted or developed from something still earlier. It seems remarkable that they have left no trace in language — even of place names and surnames, a very small proportion is Scandinavian; their influence is found, however, in the physical appearance and character of the people.

In 1,290, the people voluntarily placed themselves under the protection of Edward I. of England, who granted the Island to John Balliol, but it was afterwards resumed by the English Crown, and passed through several hands, till, in 1333, Edward III. sustained the claims of a female descendant of the Manx kings, whom he gave in marriage to Sir William de Montacute, also a descendant of Olave the Black, creating him Earl of Salisbury. Montacute, having the support of the natives, easily expelled the Scots. His son however, sold it to Sir William Scroop, on whose attainder it was granted to Henry Percy, and, four years later, on the attainder of Percy in 1406, to Sir John Stanley.

The Island remained with the Stanleys, though with some contests as to the succession, and some partial alienations, till the execution of the seventh Earl of Derby in 1651, when it was seized by the Parliamentry forces and given in charge to Fairfax, At the restoration it reverted to the Derby family, and so remained till the death of the tenth Earl without issue, in 1735, when it passed to James Murray, second Duke of Athole, a descendant of a daughter of the seventh Earl.

The period of Stanley rule began with the struggle between Church and State, the latter, in the long unsettled state of affairs, having sunk to a condition of weakness, the more striking when compared with the power of the former; it witnessed the gradual process of the reformation and dissolution of the monasteries, Rushen Abbey being the last to be dissolved, and not till the reign of Elizabeth.

In 1765, the Crown obtained a surrender of the Island for the sum of £70,000 and an annuity of £2,000, For a century previous smuggling had been increasing, and was estimated at this time to cause a loss to the revenue of Great Britain of no less than £350,000. The claims of the Duke of Athole’s successor were constantly pressed in Parliament and finally, in 1825, the whole of his remaining interests in the Island were purchased for £417,144.

Since the revestment, .the civil government of the Island has been administered by a Lieut-Governor, its ancient institutions, however, being still retained. In 1865, Mr., now Lord, Loch, obtained a re-adj ustment of the fiscal duties on articles imported into the Island, and it was then arranged, that, after deducting the cost of civil government of the Island, together with a sum of £10,000, to be paid annually into the Exchequer, the surplus should be at the disposal of the Tynwald Court, hut subject to the sanction of the Treasury. Since then enormous sums have been expended on harbour and other necessary improvements communication with the surrounding lands has been made frequent and easy, and the Island has become popular, and greatly prospered as a holiday and health resort.

The Antiquities of the Island are of the greatest interest to the student and the specialist, but, with few exceptions, they are not imposing in appearance, and do not appeal to the untrained imagination. There are, however, two medieval monuments to the study of which every visitor to the Island must be willing to devote some time. Peel and Castle Rushen are most intimately connected with the Stanley rule, though both undoubtedly originated at an earlier period. The latter, built of the native limestone, is in an excellent state of preservation, having been constantly occupied and kept in repair, and is, perhaps, one of the finest specimens in existence of military architecture of the middle ages. As at present existing, it is of the Edwardian type of concentric castles, as distinguished from the solid square keep of earlier ages. The height of the keep at its entrance is 74 feet, of the flag-tower 80 feet, the thickness of the walls from 7 to 12 feet. At its northern extremity is a lofty portcullis, passing which is an open quadrangular c.ourt, with a well in the centre. Outside, at a short distance, is an embattled wall 25 feet in height and nine feet thick, with seven square towers at irregular intervals. Exterior to this wall was a fosse or moat, now filled up, and outside of this a glacis, said to have been added by Cardinal Wolsey, when guardian to Edward, third Earl of Derby. On it were three low round towers or redoubts, of which one remains on the north-west side near the harbour. At the entrance were three stone sedilia for the Governor and two Deemsters.

The Clock tower was the old chapel of the Castle, about 15 feet square. On each side of the oriel window is a stone ledge, on which rested the ancient altar; on the south side of it a piscina, and on the north a small niche (an aumbrie, or equivalent of the credence table) for the sacred elements. A small grated window in the north angle, appeared to communicate with a cell, conjectured by Mr. Cumming to have been the confessional. The Clock was a present from Queen Elizabeth, and the bell, as shown by the inscription, from James, tenth Earl of Derby, in 1729.

A small collection of historic relics has been gathered to gether, and the Vicar of Malew has been asked to exhibit some pre-Reformation plate, namely, a silver paten of 1525, and a brass crucifix, probably of the 12th century; there is a cast of a 13th century coffin-lid from Rushen Abbey, and of some of the Scandinavian cross-slabs, for which the Island is celebrated. There are also two Ogham-inscribed stones from Arbory and a cross from Bishop’s Court and some other things.

What strikes one about Rushen is its solidity and perfect preservation. The numerous ruins of Peel, of warm red sand stone, are more picturesque and of even greater interest. The surrounding walls, well built of enormous blocks of grey slate rock, are said to have been erected by Henry, fourth Earl of Derby, in 1593. The approach has been ruined by modern quays and cement, but one may still see some of the rude steps, cut in the solid rock, leading to the ancient portcul]is door.

The Cathedral is cruciform, having a central tower, but without aisles or porches. Its total internal length is 114 ft 6 in., the width at the intersection of the transepts, 68 ft. 3 in.; the height of the tower, including the square belfry turret, 66 ft.; and of the choir wall, 18 ft. and thickness of the walls, 3 ft.

The Rev. J. Quine thinks the chancel was built during the .Episcopate of Michael, about 1195, and that even then it may have been on an older foundation; but the tower, transepts, and nave, were the work of Symon (about 1226) previously Abbot of lona, which may account for the general resemblance to lona, especially in regard to Bishop’s Palace, adjoining the Cathedral on the north. At a later date this so-called crypt was inserted under the chancel, the floor of which was raised nearly three feet. Symon was buried at S. Germans, but the tomb discovered in the chancel was certainly not his. King Godred was buried here in 1187, but afterwards removed to Iona. Eight Bishops are said to have been buried here, from Wymuud, 1151, to Samuel Rutter, 1662.

Between the Cathedral and the Round Tower are the remains of the church of S. Patrick, a rectangular building with masonry rude and wide-jointed. There is a bell-turret ‘for two bells on the west gable; the windows and doors are -circular headed.

On the highest part of the Island stands the Round Tower. Its height is now 50 ft., circumference at the base, 45 ft. About 7 ft. above the ground is a doorway facing eastwards.

It is built of sandstone, regularly laid in courses, the wide .jointings filled in with extremely hard shell mortar. Near the top are four square-headed apertures facing the four cardinal points. If it were not for the medieval parapet, said to be of later work, and if one could imagine it half as high again, it would closely resemble the Irish Round Towers, ..like which, it has the square headed apertures, and door with converging sides.

About the centre of the area, within the castle walls, is a large pyramidal rectangular mound, with a ditch round it, .each of its four sides measuring 70 yards. This has, perhaps, been the earliest fortification on the islet. Some flints have been found in it, also traces of burial.

Built into the Cathedral walls are some cross slabs, one with a runic inscription of the 12th century, some uninscribed, possibly of 6th or 7th century. In the modern guard-room also, are some fragments of crosses, and other relics that have been found in repairing. Some stained glass, one piece with the three legs, is now in the possession of the Attorneythneral.

Of Rushen Abbey scarcely anything of the original remains. Still less of Bimaken Friary, in Arbory, or of the Nunnery, Douglas.

The old Celtic Churches, or Keeils, scattered all over the Island, are interesting, though all, unfortunately, in a complete state of ruin. One of these ruins may be seen at Ballingan, Marown. The surrounding enclosure is 108 ft. by 63 feet, oval in shape. The walls of the Keeil, which is in the south east part, stand 4 ft. high, and 3 ft. thick. In the west has been a window, now destroyed; the doorway is on the south-east, and guarded by rubble stonework, and two monolithic jambs inclining towards each other. In one angle of the building stands the stone font, 2 ft. long by 10½ in. broad, and of a curious shape. Other examples may be seen at the West Nappin, in Jurby, at Ballayelsê, in Arbory, and elsewhere, The foundations of an early one remain at the western foot of Cronk-ny-irree-laa (S. Luke’s). It measures outside 18 ft. by 15 ft., the walls being about 2 ft. 6 in. thick; the floor was paved with pebbles. S. Trinian’s, on the other hand, is a good example of later work, perhaps 15th century.

Among the most interesting of Manx antiquities are the sepulchral monuments, the inscribed and sculptured stones, of which we have a noble series, dating probably from the 6th to the beginning of the 13th centuries. Ninetyfive have now been brought to light, and probably some still remain built into the walls of churches and churchyards. The Ogham inscriptions, at the south of the Island, may be as old as the beginning of the 6th century. A single one in Roman capitals, from Santon, appears to be prior to the 7th, and another from Maughold, in Celtic or British characters, is of the 9th. A very beautifully carved piece from the Calf of Man, though uninscribed, is almost certainly 9th century; while several more uiiinscribed and un-ornamented pieces, to judge from their design and execution, probably range from the 6th or 7th to the 11th century. About the middle of this century the Scandinavian influence appears, and the greater number of the more handsome pieces belong to the 12th century. They are generally thin slabs of clay slate, rectangular in shaje, the designs sculptured in low relief. A regular development may be observed, from the most simple plait and twist to the most complex and beautiful geometric, designs, and from the geometric to the zoomorphic. Certain developments are peculiar to the Manx stones, and the use of others, such as the vertebral pattern, are almost unknown elsewhere. Perhaps the most interesting feature in their decoration is the illustration of scenes from the old Norse sagas, the story of Sigurd Fafui’s bane being represented on three pieces, and other figures from their ancient mythology on several others.

Almost all the inscriptions are in runes of the 11th and 12th century. The characters, the language, the formula, are all Scandinavian. Of the names recorded, about 9 are Celtic and twice as many Norse, while three or four are doubtful. Gaut Bjdrnson, Onon (l Anund), Osruth, Thorbjörn and Thurith appear as sculptors. Unfortunately none can be certainly identified with historic characters, and it is only by the form of the runes and the language and the decorative art that they can be classified and approximately dated.

The greatest number are found at Braddan, eleven, of which five are inscribed; Andreas eight, with five inscriptions; Michael seven, with six inscriptions; and Maughold 25, of which only two show traces of runes. 5 Casts of these Crosses, of which a complete set is being made, will be exhibited at the Masonic Rooms, Ramsey, during the visit of the British Association.

The pre-Christian remains consist of burial mounds and earthwork fortifications. The finest "camp" or fortification is that on South Barrule or Wardfell, interesting also as the spot selected by the officers of the Trigonometrical Survey of Great Britain for the erection of their instruments for connecting the triangulation of the British Isles. On the northern side of the summit are traces of dry stone walls enclosing an irregular area of about 22,000 square yards, the thickness of the base of a wall on the northern side being upwards of nine yards. The approach on this side is an easy ascent; on the south the wall has been much narrower and weaker, and perpendicular to the brow of the cliff, which is inaccessible; it is filled up inside, so as to form a raised way or parapet. There is nothing else like this in the Island; but on the slope of Snaefell, at Lhergyrhennie, is a sort of "Offa’s Dyke," which even now may be traced across a neck of land from one deep highland stream to another, the enclosed area being about 165 acres. What remains of the dyke measures 300 yards, and the ditch can be traced for another 150. It is 10 feet high on the north side and 15 feet on the south; four yards wide at the base and two at the top; the ditch is from three to four yards wide. This is known as the Cleigh-yn-Arragh—Bow and Arrow Hedge. Very good examples of hill-forts may be seen at Cashtal Ward, or Knoc-y-troddan—Hill of the Contest; Glion Gaune. near Laxey; Cashtal lajer, Ballaugh; and Cronk Sumark; and of peninsular forts at Towlfoggy, near Port St. Mary, and Gob-y-Garvane, Maughold.

There are, also, some very remarkable stone alignments about Braddan Church, now so much disturbed that it is perhaps impossible to plan them. Oswald, in 1860, traced an irregular line of wall about 70 yards, turning at both ends southward at sharp angles; the whole remains extending over about 10 acres. Many large circular entrenchments are now almost destroyed, as Mannan’s Chair, German, or entirely erased, as the Camp at Ballacraine. It is difficult to classify these remains, which are met with in every parish. Some, no doubt, were erected by Magnus of Norway about 1098, of whom we read in the Chronicle that he obtained timber from Galloway and from Anglesea, and erected many forts in the Isle of Man; some may date even from Neolithic times.

Of burial places, Tumuli or Cronks are still very numerous, especially in Maughold and Lonan, in Marown, German and Michael. They occur singly or in groups, and run from 15 to 30 feet diameter and 4 to 6 feet high. Though never thoroughly examined, sufficient has been found of their contents to show that they extend from the pagan Scandinavian period, which lasted till the 11th century, backwards even to bronze or neolithic times. A good example of one class may be seen cut through by the high road by Tynwald Mound; it contained three kistvaens, in one of which is said to have been found a battleaxe and spear, in the other a collection of beads and other ornaments, now in Jermyn Street Museum, and an urn. Another good example from which the earth has been removed is near the high road to Castletown, at Ballakelly. Around this chamber, composed of substantial slabs of Santon granite, is a circle of large stones placed near each other, marking the limit of the cairn or tumulus. Three stones of an outer circle, placed at greater intervals, still remain. The Cloven Stones, Laxey, are the remains of a grave with its surrounding pillar-stones A group of cairns at Archallagan are composed of small stones, and contain one or more kistvaens, in which urns have been found. Many, especially in the north of the Island, consist entirely of mould or sand, and contain urns, generally about 12 inches, sometimes 24 inches high, mouth downwards, and filled with burnt bones.

"King Orry’s Grave," at Laxey, appears to have consisted of a large cairn of stones 30 feet in diameter, out of which a tall thin conical slab about 10 feet high; from this extends eastward a line of cists, formed of two rows of flat boulders set edgeways, four feet apart. About 40 yards eastward are remains of a large tumulus, supposed to have been part of the same monument, and separated by the high road, but this seems unlikely. Mr. Barnwell (Sec. to the Cambrian Arch. Association, which visited the Island in 1865), says human bones, the skeleton of a horse, an iron sword and horse shoe were found in opening this cairn 30 years previously, but Mr. Oswald, who was likely to have known, mentions only a "tooth and remains of a horse."

The ruins of a somewhat similar cairn may be seen on Ballagorry, Maughold. it consisted of a circle, composed of massive stones 10 yards in diameter, on the north-east side of which was an oblong platform about 4 feet high. Radiating from this was a line of more than three cists, in which were found a skull and other human bones and a good deal of broken pottery; at either side of this was a line of larger stones set on end.

At Kew, near Poortown, are remains of a passage grave, consisting of a gallery of upright stones covered with flags.

At Mount Murray is a large circle of earth and stones, by the side of which is a remarkable avenue formed by two embankments of earth and large stones, Alongside are two concentric circles of stones, evidently remains of a tumulus from which the soil has been removed.

But the most curious and interesting of stone circles is that on the Meayll, above Port Erin, known as Lag-ny-Boirey. It is composed of six sets of double cists, from each of which radiates a small passage. A careful examination made by Dr Herdman and myself in 1893, showed that the cists had been paved with flat stones; all of them contained a quantity of broken pottery, representing at least 26 urns, charcoal, and calcined bones. Three small flint arrow-heads, some rude and small flint knives, scrapers and flakes, and great quantities of rounded white quartz pebbles were discovered. In a hollow below we excavated the foundations of several huts, finding there a few more flints and pieces of pottery. Around the hill we found three clusters of these hut remains, and we suggest that Cregneash, the most primitive village in the island, is probably on the site of a fourth cluster of such dwellings 6 Elsewhere such hut remains have been met with, as at the Sloc, on the slopes of Cronk-ny-irree-laa.

A few mentoirs or bauta stones, and some instances of cup-marks remain. Bog-oak canoes, and some roughly pointed piles and other remains point to something in the nature of lake or pile dwellings in Santon, German, Maughold and Andreas.

Implements of flint, rudely formed and small, are frequent, consisting of celts, arrows, knives, awls and scrapers, with very many flakes and cores. Remains of a large settlement, showing nothing but flint implements, broken pieces of pottery and calcined bones, have been discovered on the brooghs above Ramsey. Other traces of such settlements occur at Cranstal, Bride, at Glen Wyllin, Michael, Port St. Mary and elsewhere. Polished stone implements, chiefly celts and hammers, are not infrequent. I remember only one instance of bone—a needle from a tumulus in Ballaugh. Bronze is very rare, but some beautiful celts and axe-heads have been met with, and iron swords and spear-heads are not so infrequent.

Space forbids a fuller account of the very numerous and interesting, and in some respects peculiar, Antiquities of the Island.


1 145,325 acres, according to the Ordnance Survey; being about 33 miles by 12.

2 The climate of the Isle of Man. A. W. Moore, F.R.M.S., &c. Yn Lioor Manninagh. Vol. I., p. 145.

3 The Physical Anthropology of the Isle of Man. Manx Note Book, Vol. III.

4 Zeitschrift far Celtische Philologie. Ed. Kuno Meyer. 1 Band, 1 Heft., 1893.

5 For description see "Catalogue of the Manx Crosses, with the Runic Inscriptions and various Readings compared," P. M. C. Kermode, Second Edition. Isle of Man: C. B. Heyes. London: Williams & Norgate.

6 Trans. Liverpool Biological Society, Vol. VIII., p. 159, Plates X.-XII.

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