[From Cannell's Guide, 1843]



The climate of the Island is pure and mild, varying often from dry to wet, and may be denominated moist ; but only a small proportion of days occurs in which some hours of exercise in the open air may not be comfortably taken. In the generality of winters, the frost does not continue longer than a few days, and is always much checked by winds from the sea. Summer heat is also moderated by the sea breeze, and it is by no means uncommon for the night to be warmer than the day. Hence the winters are mild and open, and the temperature at all seasons, in a very considerable proportions, is softer and more equable than in the neighbouring kingdoms.

It is, therefore, well suited for those conditions of health and constitution that are -benefited by such circumstances, and a more healthy climate than that of the Isle of Mann, can no where be found.


The mountains are numerous and lofty, and though not fringed with ornamental plants and shrubs, as the mountains in Devonshire, and other parts of England are, they are adorned with heath, gorse, and fern, which present a very picturesque scene, ; and the outline of the whole is fine in perspective. They range from South Barule at the southern extremity of the Island, to North Barule at the northern. Snafield is the loftiest, it being nearly 2,000 feet above the level of the sea. It is verdant to the summit, and bears the snowy tufts of cotton grass. On a fine clear day, from the summit of this mountain a grand and magnificent panoramic view of the coasts of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, extending to Solway Frith, Ailsa Crag, the Mull of Galloway, and the noble mountains of Morne presents itself to the eye. Pen-y-pot is the next highest, The two Barules, Garrahan, Greba, and Colderan, are nearly of equal height, being about 200 feet lower than Snafield. The mountains are the Crown's waste, and are stocked as commons by the landed proprietors with numerous flocks of sheep, from all parts of the Island. They also contain vast quantities of excellent turf, which annually supplies the country people with fuel.


is an object of interest to the sportsman, as near its summit the earliest and latest woodcocks of the season are found. These birds do not in these Islands frequent strong covers ; indeed they are seldom found in cover except in very bad weather, but amongst the heath which covers many of the mountains, and particularly the one in question ; they are tolerably numerous. South Barule is of considerable extent, intersected with numerous small running streams, many of which require very severe frost to close them. It is a favourite calling place for woodcocks on their journey southward, in October and November, and also on their return to the northern regions, in February and March. Snipes are found on its sides and summit in great numbers, and,the Goldern Plover is plentiful in July and August. It is the best beat a sportsman, who is a stranger to the Island, can select. A small public-house with convenient stabling is situated at the foot of the mountain. The distance from Douglas, by way of St. Johns, is 11 miles. The road from St. John's to Castletown divides South Barule and the Mica Mountain, which also occasionally affords good cock shooting. The walking is very bad on this mountain,, which is covered with immense blocks of shining white and grey stones with deep heath growing between them ; notwithstanding which it is very wet. On the northern side of this mountain are situated the Foxdale Mines


is on the right of the road from Douglas to St. Johns and is of very rugged and precipitous ascent. On the northern side of the mountain is an amphitheatre or valley, surrounded by high hills, One of the best trout streams in the Island has its source from hence, running down Renais Glen, and forming the beautiful waterfall known by that name. 'The name of the mountain forming the northernmost side of this amphitheatre is Blaiba or Blaybel, a name little known except to shepherds and sportsmen, Blaiba is a capital exposure for woodcocks, and second only to Barule or Ingebreck. At the foot of Renais Glen and Craig Willie Syl is a comfortable roadside public-house where refreshment may he procured at a reasonable rate, and, if not served up in first-class style, easy clean and neat. This house is a much better rendezvous, for the angler and the shooter than any in, the Island; it is nine miles from Douglas, by the highroad to Ballaugh and Ramsey, and six and a half across the mountains The, land on each side of the river in Renais Glen, belongs to Mr. Marsden, of Liverpool, who is about to plant in the glen many thousand forest trees, which will very considerably enhance its. beauty.


just mentioned, is the property of A. Spittal, Esq.; it is situated in an immense amphitheatre, formed by the mountain of Garrahan on the north and east, and Colderan on the northwest, the sides of which aye covered with plantations of larch-the favourite haunt of woodcocks. It is one of the prettiest places in. the island. The mountain-road to Ballaugh and Sulby pass through Ingebreck.

At the southern extremity of the Island is the promontory of Spanish Head, consisting of bold precipices,, rising perpendicularly from the level of the beach to the height of more than 200 feet, and divided by extensive chasms, into pyramidal and conical masses, which overhang the shore. In one of these recesses,, which penetrate many yards into the solid rock, is a circle of erect stones, appearing to have been a druidical temple, for which, from the solitude and sublimity of the situation., no place could be more appropriate.

Grandeur is confined to the coast ; and the rude magnificence of its lofty precipices contrasts strikingly with the softer scenery of expanding. harbours, shelving shores, towns, and villages.

The interior of the Island is somewhat boggy, but the hills are on all sides perforated by glens, which are partially adorned with wood, fast rising into timber, and watered by torrents, forming in several places picturesque waterfalls. The northern part of the Island is flat, but richly cultivated.


No country is better watered ; the riven and springs are numerous, and the water good. Every little ravine has its stream, but the ocean being near at hand, the rivers are short in their courses. Sulby is the, largest and longest in the Island, it rises in the northern part of Snafield, and the mountains adjoining,, it takes a course along the base of the mountains, and after running about nine miles discharges, itself into the sea at Ramsey. The lover of trout fishing will be amply gratified by throwing. the fly in this stream, Douglas river is formed of two branches, one rising in the bogs of Marown, and the other in the mountain above Ingebreck, joined by a stream from the foot of Pen-y-pot, which form a junction immediately above the town, one named the Dhoo, the other the Glas - hence the name Douglas. In this river also, the Piscator may, at times, meet with much diversion, Peel river, anciently called the Neb, rises in the northern side of Greba, and is joined by several tributary streams uniting to form Renais Waterfall. When it reaches the base of Mount Sliewallyn, a stream from the northern side of South Barule adds much to its volume of water, and dividing the parishes of German and Patrick, empties itself into the Irish Channel through Peel Harbour. As a trout stream, it is inferior only to Sulby river, and is a convenient distance from Douglas. Hundreds of salmon are destroyed in this river by poachers, who spear the fish at illegal seasons of the year, when ascending the fresh water for the purpose of spawning.

Laxey river, formerly the best fishing stream in the Island, is now comparatively worthless, owing to the lead washing at the Laxey mines. Woodcocks are abundant in Laxey Glen, the upper part of which, (Glen Roy) is preserved by John Banks, Esq.


These consist principally of remnants of antiquity, such as-1. Mounds of earth, which are thought to have been thrown up for judicial purposes, the pre sent Tynwald being one so used to this day-2. Cairns, or circular heaps of stones, supposed to be burying places-3. Long stones,set end-ways .; they are thought to be of Danish origin, and meant to perpetuate the memory of some warriors, or some warlike events-4. Stones placed circularly; these are conjectured to be places of worship, but some writers have conceived them to have been used as civil courts of justice. The cloven stones, near Laxey, having had bones dug up within them, seem to have been intended as a sepulchral monument, unless it may be conjectured that,the ancients used their places of worship as we do ours for places of interment likewise,

Most of the curiosities will be noticed and alluded to in the different tours throughout the Island.

The bones of the gigantic Elk, now extinct, the Cervus Alces of Linnaeus, are frequently found in the pits of shell marl at Ballaugh. The largest head of this species over found here is now in the British Museum ; it measures from the tip of the highest antler to that of the other, 8 feet 6 inches; largest horn, 5 feet 8 inches long ; and its broadest palmative part, 14 inches. A skeleton of the animal, nearly complete, was found in 1819, fifteen feet below the surface, and ingeniously put up, by Mr. Kewish (of which the following cut is a representation).


Distance between the tip of the horns,. 8 ft. 0 in.
Length of horn 5 10
From the ground to the tip of the horns. 13 0

 It was presented to the University of Edinburgh by the late Duke of Atholl, and is now in the Museum there.

The head and horns of one found at Ballaugh, may be seen in the shop of Mr. Gell, druggist, Douglas.


Before the time of the revestment, the exertions of the mass of the peasantry were devoted to the herring fishery, and the contraband trade; and agriculture was almost entirely neglected, the task of cultivating just as much land as would supply the wants of the family, and pay the Lord's rents, being performed entirely by the women. Since that period, however, great improvements have taken place, and the natives have turned their hands with much spirit and diligence to the cultivation of the soil. Industry and sobriety have, since that demoralising period, diffused their influence over the Island, and the advantages have been annually increasing, and are very apparent. Still, at the present day, the herring fishery, during the summer months, engages so much of the attention of the men. that the getting in of the harvest is left almost entirely to the women, who are expert reapers, and perform many other parts of husbandry. Threshing is frequently performed by them on the Upland farms; and in digging up of potatoes, they are little inferior to men.

Many large farms, cultivated by enterprising natives, or by experienced agriculturists from England and Scotland, demonstrate the great capabilities of the soil, when properly managed, and produce crops which amply repay the cultivators ; but the small proprietors are much indisposed to the adoption of plans of improvement. they pursue the beaten track of their forefathers, and regard projects of improvement, if suggested to them, as innovating upon established practice, and will not incur the risk of what they conceive to be merely experiment. They are incapable of adopting any enlarged system of management; the land is therefore inadequately cultivated, and the breed and growth of cattle are neglected.

Near the towns, where the means of enriching the lands are at hand, the most luxuriant crops are produced, and exhibit a wonderful difference from those where manure is scarce. Sea weed is extensively used by farmers near the shore, and with much advantage, it mixed with dung. Lime has also become a general dressing for land, but the expense of carriage prevents the small farmers from applying it so very bountiful as they should do. The following lines are extremely applicable to the subject:

"The prudent farmer all manure provides,
The mire of roads, the mould of hedge-row sides,
For him their mud the stagnant ponds supply
For him their soil, the stable and the stye.
For this the swain on Kennet's winding shore,
Digs sulpherous peat along the sable moor,
For this, where ocean bounds the stormy strand,
They draw dank sea-weed to the neigbb'ring land."


Every year produces a greater attention to the breed and rearing of stock of every description; many hundred head of fine fat beasts and sheep are sent annually to Liverpool, and the meat exhibited in our market will vie with that produced in any part of England. The cattle on the Island are short-horned and soon fatten, but much attention has been bestowed by some landed proprietors, and the breed has been successfully crossed. The native sheep are of the usual mountain kind - small, hardy, sweet-flavoured, but coarse woolled. They endure the severest weather with little loss. The Leicestershire and other sheep have been introduced. Pigs abound, and are very large. Poultry of every kind is plentiful.

The Island yields a race of very hardy ponies, capable of much labour with little food. They are exported, and horses of a larger size, for draught and other purposes, are imported, as well as bred upon the Island.


The principal minerals are lead and copper ore, veins of which are found in various parts of the mountains. The largest are at Foxdale and Laxey, and are carried on to a great extent by companies of gentlemen. Those at Foxdale, between Castletown and St. John's, have several powerful steam engines and water wheels. The ore at these mines contains from 15 to 20 ounces of silver in the ton of lead. In one of the mines (Bethwick's vein) is to be seen one of the largest bodies of ore over discovered in Great Britain ; the depth of the present level is 43 fathoms, which has been driven through in a horizontal direction for a length of sixty fathoms, and the ore is setting down equally as strong on the sole of the present deep level. The great Foxdale vein, of which a very small portion has yet been explored, although upon it the principal mines are now working, runs nearly east and west, and extends across the Island from sea to sea.

A lead vein has recently been discovered and opened on the Ellerslie estate, in the Bishop's Barony. It is a continuation of the great Foxdale vein (Beckwith's) and contains about the same quantity of silver to the ton as Foxdale; but the ore appears to be of better quality. It is worked by a number of gentlemen, calling themselves the " Mona Mining Company." The first cargo was shipped in April, 1840.

About a mile and a half from the village of Laxey, up the glen, are other valuable mines ;-they are worked in two levels, and contain copper, and lead ore rich in silver, varying from 80 to 120 ounces of silver in the ton of lead. The mines are rented from her Majesty, as Queen of Man, the lessees paying one-tenth part of the produce.

F. Gelling, Esq. of Castletown, has recently discovered a vein of marble, from which he has had manufactured some beautiful columns, slabs for hall tables, vases, and candlesticks of chaste design and fine workmansbip. A cylinder of large dimensions has been forwarded to the Geological Society for their museum. Specimens of the marble may be seen at the shop of Mr. Gell, druggist, on the Quay.

Limestone of excellent quality is found in various parts of the Island. On the south of Poolvash bay there is a deposit of black limestone of sufficient fineness of grain to be worked as marble, and is used for tombstones. The steps at the entrance of Saint Paul's Cathedral, in London, are from these quarries, and were presented by Bishop Wilson. At Spanish Head, below high water mark, there is a quarry of very strong clay slate of a dark grey colour, from which are raised blocks 12 feet long, and of sufficient thickness to be used as lintels, gate posts, piles, and for various other useful purposes. Excellent veins of slate, fit for covering houses, have been found at North Barule and South Barule, and other parts of the Island; but coal, we regret to say, has hitherto baffled every search that has been made after it.

A valuable body of Manganese has been recently discovered at Foxdale, which will be worked by a company in Douglas. This mineral, which is somewhat similar in appearance to the Black Jack found at Laxey, is much used in bleaching, and is very valuable, producing, we understand, from £16 to £18 per ton. Black Jack, which is scarcely half the value of it, is used in the manufacturing of Zinc.


The coasts of the Island abound with a variety of fine fish. The salmon frequents the bays at certain periods, but the Island is supplied chiefly from Scotland. Cod is plentiful, and of superior flavour. Turbot, skate, soles, blockins, eels, lobsters, crabs, oysters, and almost every kind of fish are to be met with, and the prices in general are very moderate. The shell fish are not abundant, except crabs and lobsters;, the latter of which are, to a great extent, exported to the Liverpool and Dublin markets; but


are the staple commodity of the Island, and the chief food of the poor. It is these fish that rouse the dormant energy of the Manxman's mind, stimulate him to industry, and enliven the whole Island. The herring fishery is a fountain from whence flows great private benefit and public good. In its season, its novelty inspires sensations of astonishment and delight; the boundless ocean on which is displayed a beauteous fleet, composed of 500 sail, some steering north, others south, east and west ' all in search of the finny tribe, and heaving gently its majestic bosom, as if proud of its burthen, and willing to exhibit Mona's industrious, dauntless, and intrepid sons to her view, is a sight truly grand and imposing. The herrings appear off the coast in June and remain till the end of September, when they deposit their spawn, and after November they are no more seen. They are first met with on the western side of the Island, and are there very prime and remarkably fat. As the season approaches the fish are looked for and their arrival indicated by the quantity of gulls that hover around them, no less eager than the Manxmen to feast on the delicious fare. The boats engaged in the fishery are from fifteen to thirty tons burthen, and not fewer than from four to five thousand men are employed. The produce is divided into nine shares, two for the owner of the boat, one for the proprietor of the nets, the other six for the fishermen. The nets are buoyed up by inflated bags of dog-skin, dried in the sun, and smeared over with tar, which are found to be much better adapted to the purpose than those of sheep. The season for fishery, by Manxmen, commences on the 5th of July, and they shoot their nets invariably at the close of day ; the Englishmen, however, who frequent the coasts in the herring season, commence in June, and shoot their nets whilst the Sun is up, and there is no law to prevent them. On leaving the harbour, the fishermen invoke the blessing of Providence, and Bishop Wilson's form of prayer for herring fishery is used. Upon no consideration whatever would the fishermen go out on the Saturday, or the Sunday nights. The fishery is subject to the jurisdiction of the Water Bailiff or the Admiralty Judge, who delegates the immediate superintendence of it to an admiral and vice-admiral, nominated by himself; these are masters of boats, themselves fishermen ; they direct the time of sailing. and of casting the nets, and adjudge all disputes amongst the fishermen. Their decisions are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the Water Bailiff, but that officer seldom or ever receives complaints respecting them. Mr. Quirk, the present Water Bailiff, has, by his judgment, and conciliatory conduct, greatly checked their former litigious disposition. On the return of the little fleet to the harbour, women and children are employed to convey the fish to the several receiving houses, where the operation of salting is immediately performed, as much of the excellence of the herring is thought to depend on the speedy performance of this process. The fish are rubbed with salt as soon as brought in, and left in heaps till the following morning, when they are regularly packed in barrels, with a layer of salt between each row. Those designed for red-herrings are differently treated; they are, after being well salted, washed, and hung up by the gills on small rods, placed in houses built for the purpose, suspended in rows from the roof, to within eight feet of the floor; underneath are kindled large fires made of oak wood, which are kept constantly burning, until the fish are sufficiently dry and smoked, after which they are barrelled for exportation.

A very beautiful poem on the herring fishery, has been written by a Manx lady; it is too lengthy for this little work, but the following is an abridgment of it :-


Hail ! mystic myriads!
Mona's pride and boast,
From Arctic regions pour'd upon her coast
Whose annual visits since the world began,
Have cherish'd and curich'd the sons of man
Your praise I sing: Ye guardians of our Isle,*
Deign on my native patriot muse to smile,
Welcome with me the kind aquatic band,
And greet this blessing to a grateful land.

Spread on the moss-crown'd rock, prepar'd and dry'd,
The nets made ready for the next kind tide ;
The expectant fleet, five hundred strong and more,
With sails expanded quit Eubania's shore,
Then cheerful scud, the curling billows rend
Tho' first a fervent pray'r to Heav'n they send,
Uncover'd eacli-not more intent to guide
The bark, than Heav'n invoking on their side.
The historic muse instructs that priests of old,
Consulted birds, their myst'ries to unfold ;
HERE the crews, that would by fishing thrive,
Steer to the spot where gulls and gannets dive;

With truth, concluding that the ground to fish on,
And leave to pagans-pagan superstition.
The station gain'd-when sable night has spread,
Her gloomy curtain o'er the Manxman's head
The signal made-each to his bus'ness gets,
Some gently ply the oar, some drop the nets.

The master now inclines his nets to try,
Attention's fix'd-hope sparkles in each eye
They haul !-What luck ? The spangled net is seen,
Glowing with glitt'ring fish in guillotine;t
All hands are eager, kept in full employ,
Successive heaps now multiply theirjoy.

Now morn appears,-the crews, as each have sped,
Find schemes of Interest floating in each head
Some steer their cargoes for Hibernia's shore,
To British markets some convey their store,
But eager homeward bend the major part,
Joy in their looks, and pleasure in their heart.

Herring's the toast through all our happy isle,
And when you meet a face, you meet a smile.
'Tis true my friend, fresh herring on the dish,
Would leave no Roman epicure+ a wish ;
When drest with all our garnishes of art,
Proud might an Alderman play well his part:
But cloth remov'd-o'er port I hear him sing,
Of viands delicate-herring is the King.

Now busy factors cure, and smoke, and dry
To distant climes export the scaly fry ;
While foreign marts the welcome bounty own,
And send back treasures of the Torrid zone,
May commerce, then, still flourish round our coast,
MONA'S GLORY be our heartfelt toast.

*The Governor and Council.
+Herrings are caught by their gills. the herring was unknown to the ancients.


The commerce of the Island before the act of re vestment consisted, principally, of importing and ex porting contraband goods ; the average returns of which, amounted to nearly £500,000. During that period the Island was the grand shelter for smugglers. On the act of revestment, the Customs of the Ports became vested in the British Crown, and are placed under the control of the British government. By an act recently passed, a new code of revenue laws was framed, the principal feature of which is the system of licensing the importation of certain goods charged with high duties, by this mean. confining them to an extent proportionate to the consumption of the inhabitants, and preventing the Island from again becoming. a depot for smugglers ; but the increase of population, and the number of visitors who favour us with their company in the summer, and who generally furnish themselves with a bottle on their return,render the quantity allowed, particularly brandy, very insufficient. Distilleries of all kinds are disallowed, under a penalty of £200, with forfeiture of all implements employed in the process. The following is a list and amount of the principal articles for which the commissioners of customs are authorised to grant, licences for importation into the Island:-



£ s. d


10,000 gallons

0 4 6 per gallon.



0 4 6

Rum .


0 3 0


110 tuns of 225 gals.

16 0 0 per tun.

Wines (other sort)

12 0 0

Bohea Tea

70,000 Ibs

0 0 6 per lb.

Green Tea

5,000 Ibs

0 1 0


8,000 Ibs

0 0 4

Muscovado Sugar.

10,000 cwt

0 1 0 per cwt.

Refined Sugar

800 cwt

0 1 0


60,000 lbs

0 1 6 per lb

Playing Cards

4,000 packs

There is a duty of £2 10s. per £100, on the importation of other merchandise, which causes great dissatisfaction, as the articles are chiefly English manufactured goods, and have paid the English duties.

With very trifling exceptions the exportation is confined to goods that are the produce or manufacture of the Island, on which no duty is paid; they consist chiefly of herrings, corn, cattle, lead ore, paper, linen, butter, poultry and eggs. The English Corn-laws extend to this Island.

The local taxes arise from a duty upon all

Bankers £20 0 0
Brewers 5. 0 0
Hawkers 2 0 0
Ale and Spirit Merchant 3 0 0
Wine Merchant 2 0 0
Do. Do. in the Country 0 10 0
Wine, and Spirit Do. wholesale 4 0 0
Four wheeled Vehicle 1 0 0
Two Do. Do .. .. .. .. 0 10 0
Pointer or Hound 1 1 0
Bull-dog or Spaniel 1 1 0
Terrier or Quester 0 6 0
Cur 0 2 6
For every House 0 4 0
License to kill Game 2 0 0

and the amount so raised is expended in keeping in repair, altering and improving the high roads and bridges. The public roads in every part of the Island will be found equal to the finest turnpike roads in England, and the improvements yearly progressing reflect the greatest credit upon those who have been appointed to the arduous situation.


consists chiefly of One Pound local notes, issued from three banks in the town of Douglas, which notes are confined to the Island, not being payable elsewhere. The silver coinage of England is plentiful ; but of late years much inconvenience has arisen to shopkeepers, in consequence of a scarcity of copper, none having been coined since 1786. In 1733, £300 in pence, and £200 in halfpence were put in circulation, They bore on one side the Derby crest, an eagle and child, with the date below, on the reverse, the three legs of Mann, with J. D. between the bend, and the motto quocunque jeceris stabit. In 1758, £250 in pence, and £150 in halfpence, were put in circulation ; the impression then was, the Ducal coronet, with a cipher A.D., and the date under; the reverse as before, without the initials J.D.


In 1786, the impression was the King's head, with the date under, the motto round it Georgius III. Dei Gratia; the reverse as before. The above coinage passed current fourteen pence to the English shilling. In the winter of 1833-4, the Island being inundated with base metal from every part of the Globe, the merchants attempted to remedy the evil by importing the English copper currency, twelve pence to the shilling. This measure was decidedly opposed by the country people in the market, and by the lower orders in the towns, who became ripe for riot on the occasion, and who opposed the change on the ground that it would be to their disadvantage. The insular legislature, for a considerable time objected to pass a Bill to assimilate the Manx currency with that of England, and the Lords of the Treasury refused a coinage until they were assimilated; in consequence of which the retail trade was materially obstructed. From the many petitions forwarded to the Governor, a Bill was brought into the House of Keys, which, after much procrastination, was passed into a law, and a coinage of pence, halfpence, and farthings, to the amount of £1000, having on one side the head of her Majesty, and on the reverse the three legs, was struck otf at the mint, and it arrived on the Island in April 1840.


The ancient Armorial bearing of the Island was a ship, and its motto Rex Mannia, et Insularum ; but when the Scots obtained possession, the legs were substituted. It is said of the three legs that with the toe of the one they spurn at Ireland, with the spur of the other they kick at Scotland, and with the third they bend to England. The subjoined cut is a representation of the arms at the present day.



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