[From Isle of Man, Cumming 1848]
THE names which have been given at different times to this navel of the Irish Sea, as Gildas calls it, are as various as the methods of spelling that under which it is now generally known. The following notice in Camden is interesting:-" More northward lieth that Mona whereof Cæsar maketh mention, in the mids of the cut, as he saith, betwen Britain and Ireland. Ptolemee termeth it Moneda, as one would say Mon-eitha, that is, if I maybe allowed to conjecture, the more remote Mona, to put a difference between it and the other Mona, i. e. Anglesey. Plinie Monabia, Orosius Menavia, and Bede Menavia Secunda, i. e. Second Menavia, where he termeth Mona or Anglesey Menavia Prior, i. e. former Menavia, and calleth them both islands of the Britons, in which writers, notwithstanding, it is read amisse, Menavia. Ninius, who also goeth abroad under the name Gildas, nameth it Eubonia and Manau, the Britons Menow, the inhabitants Manning, and we Englishmen the yle of Man."-Folio Edition, Scotland, p. 203, letter E.
The translator of 'Polydore Vergil' says, "There are manie iles adjacent to Britayne, and two of indifferent fame,the one called the Isle of Wighte beinge against the south bancke of England; the other ilond, beinge somewhat famous, is the Isle of Mone, or Man, by the exchaunge of one letter, which one the north side enclineth toward Scotlande, southeastward towards England, on the weste towards Irelonde. In olde time, whensoever there appeared decrease or ebbe in the ocean, it was divided with so small a sea, and was so near with the lande, that a man might have gone thereunto without shippinge, which thinge (as Cornelius Tacitus recordethe) was donne of the Romaines. There are some which dare afrme that yt is the Ile of Mone which men call Anglesea, beinge nearer Walles."
The inhabitants themselves call the island Mannin or Ellan Vannin (Isle of Mann). Amongst the derivations of the name we may note the ingenious one of Bishop Wilson, who says, " The Isle of Man very probably had the name it goes by now from the Saxon word mang, among, as lying almost at an equal distance between the kingdoms of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales."
Mr. Feltham (copying from Mr. Quayle's MS.) says, " Some suppose the word to originate from 1Vfanne, the name of St. Patrick, the apostle of the island, before he assumed that of Patricius." It is however hardly necessary to observe, as destructive of both these derivations, that the name Mona, from which Man is clearly taken, was applied to the island long before the days of St. Patrick, or the Saxon occupation of England. It is in ancient British that we must look for the derivation, and the word Môn, and isolated may be adduced as a not improbable root. I am however myself inclined to derive it from `Maen,' a pile of stones or rocks ; the rather from observing that in other instances this word has passed through similar changes to that which we see in the name of this island. Whilst we have in Wales `Pen-maen-mawr' (Great head-stone), 'Maen-twrog' (the stone of Twrog), and so on, in which the root occurs ; a pile of stones as a mark on the top of a mountain which the Welsh call Maen is in Cumberland (the land of the Cymry, Cimbri or ancient Britons) called Man. Whilst we have Caeruarvon (Caer-yn-ar-fon), the fort over against Mona, i. e. Anglesey; close by it is the Menai Strait (the strait of the water of Mona), in which the letter "e" of Maen seems retained*. By inspecting the following table the character of the different changes will at once be perceived :
Caesar and Tacitus ...... Mona.
Ptolemy ..................... [in greek]
Pliny ........................... Monabia.
Bede ......................... Menavia secunda.
Gildas ........................ Manau and Eu-bón-ia.
Britons ....................... Menow.
Manx ......................... Mannin.
English ........................ Man.
* There is in the Baltic an island called Moen.
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