[From Cannell's Guide, 1843]
Having brought our visitor safe back to Douglas, we recommend him to amuse himself for the remainder of the day in any manner most congenial to his habits and. inclination, and make us his companion in his
Like Dr. Syntax, in search of the picturesque. If the tide be out, it should be along the shore, but otherwise the Commercial Bank, up Prospect Hill, and along Finch Road, in which there are many, respectable mansions with fine sea-views; and here we recommend our companion to visit the "House of Industry," which rears it crest upon an elevation on the left hand, having more the appearance of a place of Worship than a receptacle for the destitute, and he will there see what Manxmen, aided and assisted by the kind generous, and open-hearted inhabitants of the parent country, who have selected this happy, salubrious and peaceful Island for their residence, have been able to effect without a compulsory tax. The site on which the premises ate erected was purchased ; the building reared from the foundation, and furnished; and the inmates 80 in number, are annually supported by the contributions of the humane and affluent. Returning into Finch Road. at the extremity of which is a beautiful marine villa, erected by the late R. Steuart, Esq., many years Receiver-general of the Island. Since the decease of that gentleman, it has been purchased by the Misses Dutton, and converted into a Seminary for young ladies, under their immediate superintendence. For its size, it is one of the most complete things of the kind to he met with. The villa and grounds, which are extensive and laid out with great. taste, are enclosed by lofty walls. Proceeding onward, the visitor will arrive at Castle Mona Lodge, where he will find excellent accommodation, and where there is, as we before stated, a very large horse and carriage establishment. Passing through the gates, our visitor can take either the right or left hand road, down to the, princely fabric. The saloon is splendid and magnificent; the other apartments are lofty and elegantly furnished; the spirited proprietor has recently added to the Castle the much desired accommodation of a spacious general coffee and news-room for the reception of parties frequenting the grounds, where steaks, chops, soups, dinners, &c., may be had on moderate terms; the surrounding pleasure grounds are planted and cultivated so as to draw forth and embellish all their natural advantages, and are so truly picturesque and romantic, that to wander over them must afford gratification, and be highly interesting to the stranger. In the Castle is a good billiard table; hot, cold, and shower baths; as well as bathing machines for such as prefer laying in the ocean.
Having viewed the exterior, we recommend our friend to go into the saloon, and after having refreshed himself, to ascend the heights above, which he can do by a winding path, which, by looking around him he cannot fail to discover. On arriving at the summit he will have a view of Woodville, formerly the property of the " Isle of Man Building Company," whose original intention was to erect and form a little town, of which the annexed plate is a representation; unfortunately, however, the company was dissolved before the object was carried into effect, and the property has been disposed of in lots; but as the major part has fallen into the hands of affluent and spirited gentlemen, there is still reason to hope that the undertaking will arrive at maturity. From this elevated station, many delightful residences are in view on the hill, as well as on the lawn beneath. This prospect has none to vie with it on the Island. Descending from the heights, and proceeding along the road which is now fenced off from the sea, the visitor will arrive at Rock Villa, a beautiful and romantic residence erected by the late J. McCrone, Esq., and now occupied by his widow; immediately after which at Marion Ville, the handsome summer residence of - Simpson, Esq.; and then at an elegant Crescent of respectable dwelling houses, erected at the foot of the Cliff, amongst which is a very comfortable and respectable hotel, now occupied by Mr. Scruton, long known as Cloke's Crescent Hotel; and a large Academy, or Boarding School for young gentlemen, conducted with great success by Mr. Steele; farther on is Strathallan Crescent, a number of very beautiful cottages; and at the termination of the sands is Derby Castle, the property of Captain Pollock, a magnificent mansion, fit for the reception of any family of distinction. From hence, the visitor may retrace his steps along the shore, or if he prefer extending his walk, he can ascend the hill, on the brow of which is Summer Hill, the property of Deemster Heywood, and in a very short space of time, he will enter the village of Onchan.
From the eminences in this parish, there are some, charming sea views, and beautiful landscapes, and various parts of the English coast are distinctly seen on a fine day. The eye delighted roves over the vast expanse of water, and admires it under all its fluctuations.
ADDRESS TO THE OCEAN.
When calm thou seem'st, as Phoebus' flickering gleams
With glitt'ring brilliance on thy glassy brow.
Like earthly glory, transient as its beams,
That shine as fiercely and as false as thou.
Thy boist'rous billows batter the rude rock,
That, tow'ring proudly, dares thy fiercest storms,
While thunders sound the charge to every shock,
And banner'd lightnings rear their forked forms.
A world of elemental pow'r art thou,
An agitated universe of soul -
What are a million Caesars to thee now-
Ten million hosts to thy tremendous roll ?
Methinks thy wild waves speak the track of time,
A rapid, rolling, and resistless stream,
Terribly swift, yet solemnly sublime,
No power can reign, no penitence redeem.
From these eminences the vessels coming into, and going out of the bay, present a pretty appearance.
A great variety of marine plants and mosses, tinged with the most beautiful shades are to be met with in the creeks and bays of the coast around this village. and there are also some curious caves scooped out of the rocky shore, which are frequently the resort of picnic boating parties from Douglas.
The land about Onchan is exceedingly fertile, and there are immense nursery grounds, and a remarkably large green-house.
The church and church-yard, are generally the first objects that attract the attention of the stranger, who seems instinctively to take a comprehensive range over the mouldering ashes of those, who, though once alive to the sweetest emotions of the mind, are now removed to a heavenly mansion, where
"Scenes of love, and joy, and bliss immortal reign."
A new church, with a tower and spire, has lately been erected out of the funds raised in England, by Bishop Ward, and the Rev. H. Stowell ; it is capable of containing 500 persons. In the church-yard is a specimen of an ancient cross ; and on the highest step of the old church, was a rude carving of a warrior with some Runic characters thereon.
Having introduced. our stranger into the village by the low or shore road, we shall conduct him back by the high or main one; he will pass Bernahague, the seat of Deemster Heywood, and shortly afterwards Glencrutchery, the admired and romantic residence of Calcot Heywood, Esq. ; after which, there is no seat until he arrive at the mansion of J. Schaw, Esq., nearly opposite the lodge of which, the road branches off, and he will pass Woodbourne, the beautiful villa of Mrs. Harrison, and soon arrive again at Douglas. Should he, however, prefer the strait road from Mr. Schaw's lodge, he will arrive at a very pleasant spot, on which have been erected a great number of convenient houses, constituting "Stanley Terrace," after which he will again reach the shore.
We have been minute in our description, (perhaps, tediously so,) but we were anxious to render this little publication, what its title represents it to be; "a guide to conduct visitors round the Island," without subjecting them to the inconvenience and unpleasantness of applying to strangers on the road for information, and we trust that our intention will be duly and properly appreciated.
We recommend the visitor to make Peel his first visit ; the ruins of the castle, &c. cannot fail to repay very expectation formed of them. The castle, for its situation, antiquity, strength, and beauty, may justly be styled one of the wonders of the world, art and nature having seemed to vie with each other in its formation ; it is built on a high rock. which rears itself a stupendous height above the level of the sea, by which it is surrounded, and is fortified by several of less magnitude.
The insulated rock on which this ruin stands is called Sodor; the etymology of which word has given rise to much discussion, and the origin of the title has been a long time a disputed question; some contend that the Hebrides being divided into two sections. the northern were called Nordureys, and the southern Sudereys; the latter of which constituted the Isle of Man. The Sudereys, one writer says, were latinized into Insulae Soderenses, and that Sodor comes from Soderenses is as clear as the light of the noon-day sun." Camden, Buchanan, and all the early writers assert that the rock on which the castle stands was called Sodor, and as it was the seat of the bishopric, and the site of the cathedral, it was sufficiently important in any ecclesiastical point of view, to give an additional title to the bishoprick, as a spot, "from which savage clans and roving barbarians derived the light of knowledge," it merits being ranked with Iona; for hither Scottish Kings were sent for education by their laws, and Mann was the fountain of all honest learning and erudition. In this conjecture Lord Teignmouth fully concurs.
Part of the road to Peel, as far as Kirk Braddan Church, has been described in page 85th; about half a-mile from which church, are the Union Mills, where them is a manufactory for woollen cloths, conjoined with a corn mill. A short distance from the Union Mills on the right, is Ballavar, Mrs. Howard; and a little further, upon the hill, is Ballafreer, Mrs. Kewley; and Ballagarey, the property of N. Lockart, Esq.; newly opposite the fourth mile-stone, in the meadow, is Ballaquinnea, a well cultivated farm, occupied by Jas. Miller, Esq.; and some distance above that is Ellerslie, the residence of Mr. Faulder. Between the fourth and fifth mile-stones is Eyreton, the property of Mrs. Eyres, and on the left Crosby Chapel. Soon after which the visitor will arrive at the half-way house, by which scarcely a vehicle passes either way without stopping; it is kept by Mr. Jas. Burrow, a very civil and obliging landlord. Soon after leaving the half-way house the traveller will come to the ruins of an old Church, on his right hand, dedicated to St. Trinian, built sometime between the years 1270, and 1344. Near the sixth mile-stone, is Northop, the residence of W. Beckwith, Esq.; beyond Greba mountain to the right, is Banff Place, the property of Mrs. Bonnyman; a little further on is Norfolk Place, the seat of James Burman, Esq. ; and about a mile beyond that is Ballacraine, the Cross-four-ways.
A short distance beyond Ballacraine, is the
It has a pretty appearance from the road, on the side of which it is situated. The mount is supposed to be a Danish barrow. It was formerly walled round, and had two gates for admission. It forms a pyramid of three circles, regularly advanced three feet above each other to the top. When the laws are promulgated the canopy is fixed, under which the Governor is seated, and the officers take their stations around him. Immediately adjoining the Tynwald, is the small Chapel of St. John's, where the Governor and Court first assemble and hear prayers, from whence they proceed along a wide grass walk to the Mount. Subjoined is a sketch of its appearance.
In this neighbourhood was fought the battle that decided the contest for the Island, between the two brothers Reginald and Olave, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, and which is said to have been decided in favour of Olave, by the women of the northern parts of the Island, whose husbands composed the principal part of his army. Their appearance in great numbers on the highlands, with weapons of different kinds, created great dismay and discomfiture in the enemy. Leaving St. John's, the visitor will soon arrive at
a pleasant small town, formerly called Holm town; it is eleven miles from Douglas, and twelve from Castletown. When the smuggling trade was at its height, Peel was a station of importance, since which it has been nothing but a fishing port, annually increasing in magnitude as well as respectability. The bay abounds with cod, haddock, and herrings of the best quality. There is a good pier, 400 yards long, and a light-house at the extremity. There are 70 herring-boats, from 16 to 30 tons each, belonging to the harbour.
From the smallness of the town, the traveller would imagine that accommodation would be difficult to be met with, but at the Peel Castle Hotel, kept by Mr. Frisell, the best of every thing may be procured at all times, and on the most moderate terms. From this Hotel a coach runs daily to Douglas during, the season and vehicles of every description may be obtained.
The parochial church is dedicated to Saint Peter, it will contain about 600 sittings.
But Peel must ever be a place of attraction to the visitors of the Island; the ancient castle, the walls of which even now
"Look great in ruin, noble in decay,"
cannot fail to afford gratification to the antiquarian; and to the giddy and thoughtless, must prove an emblem of human nature; it
"Stands to tell
A melancholy tale ; to give
An awful warning ; soon
Oblivion will steal silently
The remnant of its fame."
A Building Company has lately been formed, and several convenient dwelling houses are in a state of forwardness, which will add much to the respectability of the town.
The rock or island on which the castle stands is very extensive, and is separated from the town by a narrow channel of the sea, which is crossed in a boat in a few minutes, and the visitor will ascend to the ruins by a flight of steps hewn out of the rock. The Castle is reported to be much more ancient than Castle Rushen, and the decay is attributed to the soft crumbling sand-stone made use of in its construction.
The Cathedral, built in the year 1245, was named after Germaine, the first bishop of the Island ; the ground within its walls is now used as a burial-place for Roman Catholics, and for strangers wrecked on the coast. There were also two small churches, dedicated to St. Patrick, which are in a very ruinous state, and the greatest part unroofed. The following sketch will shew their present condition.
Beneath the easternmost part of the cathedral is a low damp dungeon, formerly used as the ecclesiastical prison. The descent into this vault is by eighteen steps; and the roof is vaulted by thirteen ribs, forming pointed arches, and supported by as many short semihexagonal pilasters, only twenty-one inches above ground. The bottom of this place is extremely rough; and in the north-west corner is a well, or spring, which must have added greatly to the natural dampness of the place, to which there is no other air or light, but what is admitted through a small window at the east.
"About the middle of the area, a little to the north of the churches of St. Patrick and German, is a square pyramidical mound of earth terminating obtusely. Each of its sides faces one of the cardinal points of the compass, and measures about 70 yards. Time and weather have rounded off its angles; but, on a careful observation it will be found to have been originally of the figure here described. For what use this mount was intended may not be easy to determine. Perhaps from this eminence the commanding officer harangued his garrison, and distributed his orders; or else it may have been the burial-place of some great personage in very early times.; tumulae of this kind not being uncommon in the Island."
There were other cells under the church, adapted to the purposes of punishment, in some of which the wretched inmates could neither sit nor lie down, and their seclusion in those dens of horror depended on the nature and enormity of their offences, and on the will of their judges. Who, in these days of civilization, can reflect without astonishment on the callous hearts that could inflict, and the patience that could endure, such aggravated torture both of body and mind?
The castle was a common prison for the Island, and sundry noble persons have been long confined there. Elinor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, was banished to that castle in the nineteenth year of the reign of Henry VI. anno 1440, for witchcraft, and died there, after a confinement of fourteen years. The following lines on the subject are extracted from a volume of beautiful poems, entitled "Island Minstrelsy," by Miss E. Nelson, a talented Manx lady:
" Castle of Peel ! within thy sturdy walls
Seemest thou to keep the court of misery
When shall thy dooms,of evil be fulfilled ?
When shall the groans of anguish cease to swell
Thro' thy wave-girdled dens of agony ?
When shall fair Glo'ster's troubled spirit rest?
When shall pale Margaret's wrongs be all repaid?
When shall thy many scatbed and broken hearts
Betake them to their graves untroubledly ?
Oh, thou most dark and drear confessional !-
Thou vault of terrible dreamings !-
thy black roof is arched with horror ne'er to he forgot!
The groans of all thy victims shall be strong!
The midnight screams of anguish, on fierce wings,
Shall burst thy prisonings and lay thee low,
Thou bane of gentle woman's happiness !
The great Earl of Warwick was also detained several years in custody of the garrison.
The guard-room is pointed out as the scene of the legend of the black dog, "the spectre hound of Man," which destroyed a drunken soldier who would fight with it single handed.
The grave of an enormous giant is shown beneath the outer wall of the castle; it was lately opened by two curious young bucks from Manchester, who took only their labour for their pains, as it contained no bones, nor any vestige whatever. The visitor will be conducted over the ruins by an old bombadier, who acts as cicerone, and bolts out his legends like shot from a twelve-pounder.
We will now leave these frowning turrets, massive walls, and gloomy dungeons, wholly at variance with the beauty and serenity of the spot, and convey to the imagination of a contemplative mind, nothing but ideas of sieges, chains. torture. and death ; and, after having taken a little repast at the hotel. we will return to Douglas by
On leaving Peel by a different road to which we entered it, we shall pass a spacious mansion. the property of Mrs. Llewellyn, widow of the late John Llewellyn, Esq., late High Bailiff; a little further on at the top of a hill on the right is a Tower, which goes by the name of "Corrin's folly;" it having been erected by an eccentric character of that name, who caused the remains of his wife and children to be buried there., and over them are laid two black stones with the usual inscriptions engraven thereon. Shortly after crossing a bridge of one bold arch over the river, and passing the Ragget. the residence of the Misses Bridson, we arrive at the Church, which was erected in 1710 by the exertions and benefactions of Bishop Wilson, who consecrated it in 1715, and who proved himself a great friend and benefactor to it.
Not far from hence is the most romantic and beautiful spot on the Island, a valley called Glenmoi. It is a deep and rocky glen, well wooded, through which runs a rivulet, murmuring over its stony bed, and in one part forming a most delightful fall of from 30 to 40 feet. The northern bank is almost perpendicular, covered with luxuriant ivy, intermixed with holly; the south side exhibits a rich plantation. It is frequently the resort of parties of pleasure. As the valley winds considerably, all distant objects are excluded, and the whole has an air of the most pleasing solitude.
By returning to Kirk Patrick Church, and continuing the road, we shall arrive at Ballamoore, the seat of Mr. Richardson, which demonstrates how favourable the climate and soil of the Island are for the growth of timber. A short distance from Ballamoore is the vicarage house, pleasantly embosomed in trees, the residence of the Rev. T. Stephen, beyond which is Ballacosnahan, that of Mrs. Gelling, and Ash Lodge, of Miss St. John, Having arrived at the four cross-ways, our companion can retrace his way to Douglas, without any farther instruction from us.
On leaving Douglas for Castletown which is distant ten miles, we pass the Nunnery on the right, and the Roman Catholic Chapel on the left; a little further on the village and mill of Kewague. At, the second mile-stone, Middle, the delightful villa of Major Tobin; at a short distance beyond the third mile-stone on the left, is Cronkbane, the pleasantly situated residence of T. Tattersall, Esq. of Liverpool, from whence there is some beautiful picturesque and landscape scenery. Four miles from Douglas is Mount Murray, the seat of Colonel Murray, nephew to the late Duke of Athol; on an acclivity above which are to be seen the most perfect remains of a Druidical Temple on the Island; it is called Glen Darragh, and is formed of stones of moderate size placed erect and at regular distances, enclosing a circle fourteen yards in diameter; on each side is a stream of water issuing from fountains about fifty yards higher up the mountain, which by the Druids were hold sacred ; to the east of the enclosure are two Walls or mounds constructed of stones and earth, bending round the temple forming a semicircle, about five yards distant from each other; the spot of ground on which these remains are situated is barren, bleak, and uncultivated, but from the name Glen Darrugh, which in the Manks language signifies the Vale of Oaks, it would appear that it was originally planted with these trees, which the Druids held in great veneration. A little further on the left is the recently erected residence of Major Stewart; at the eighth mile-stone is the village of Ballasalla, two miles from Castletown.
There is another road to Castletown, called the old or low road; it branches out from the main road about half-a-mile beyond the Roman Catholic Chapel on the left. Besides being a little shorter, it is nearer, the shore, and leads through a more pleasant country than the principal highway, and affords several picturesque sea views; by this road two miles from Douglas On the right, is Oak Hill, the villa of Mrs. Bell, occupied by J. H. Garvin, Esq., M.A., as a seminary for young gentlemen ; and a mile further, at the top of the bill, is Hampton Court, - Heighton, Esq. ; opposite, on the left, is Ballashamrock, the property of M. H. Quayle, Esq. Upon the high ground near Hampton is a beautiful view of the Island to the north-east; further on near the sea is Seafield, the property of Captain Bacon ; and on the right is Oatlands, where a picturesque view of the country and sea may be seen. A little beyond Oatlands is Kirk Santon, a short distance from which are some Druidical remains, being a circular range of stones on a mount, with others at a short distance; below which there is an aperture denominated the Fairies' Well, for there be some of the lower Manx people who, at the present moment, actually believe in the existence of those little elfs ; and that
They're here by moonlight often seen
Tripping round the smooth sward green
Her beams reflected from the wave,
Aford the light their revels crave.
A short distance beyond Kirk Santon the traveller will again enter the main road, which is only one mile from
the largest village in the Island. Here the "Ivy vested walls" of Rushen Abbey rear their heads; we exclaim with SOUTHEY,
Fall'n fabric ! pondering o'er thy time-trac'd walls,
Thy mouldering, mighty, melancholy state;
Each object to the musing mind recalls
The sad vicissitudes of varying fate."
Several of the Norwegian Kings of Mann, and also several Bishops, are known to have been buried here, amongst whom is Olave called the black, from his dark complexion, and the third of that name. A monument with crosia, and sword of state, may be seen in one of the gardens. The present Abbey house, with the grounds around it, are the property of the Rev. W. P. Ward.
On leaving the village, and passing the cottage of Mrs. Fellowes on the left, and Ballasalla house, the property of Sir George Drinkwater on the right, we arrive at Lorn House, the residence of his Excellency the Governor, just at the entrance into
which is the capital of the Island, and is a small, pleasant, neatly built town, divided by a small creek, which opens into a rocky and dangerous bay; over which creek there is a draw-bridge and a stone-bridge. It has an indifferent harbour, pier, and lighthouse. In the centre of the town stands Castle Rushen, one of the finest specimens of an old Gothic keep of the middle ages in existence; it was built in 947, (a date inscribed on a beam of oak found in the wall of the cast tower, in 1815, when undergoing repair;) and the material employed in its construction is so durable, that no trace of injury from time, or the action of weather, can be discovered, in any part of it. The castle consists of a keep, flanked by square towers, used as a prison, enclosed by a substantial wall; it is a majestic and formidable object. The early kings used to reside there in barbarous pomp. It underwent a six months siege by Robert Bruce in 1313, and was defended by the forces of Lord Derby, during the civil wars. The Countess of Derby, after the decollation of the great Earl, for his attachment to royalty, fled with her children to the castle as a secure asylum; but when the republican army, under Colonels Birch and Duckenfield, with ten armed vessels, invaded the Island, this fortress was traitorously surrendered at the first summons.
In the area which forms the market place, is a monument, erected to the memory of the late highly esteemed Lieut. Governor Smelt. Near the castle is a neat building, in which the business of the House of Keys is transacted.
St. Mary's Chapel, in the market place, was lately re-built by subscription, assisted by a grant out of the funds provided by parliament for building churches; it is a substantial and commodious edifice; it contains 1,100 sittings, of which 300 are free. When the old chapel was pulled down, three Roman coins, of Germanicus and Agrippina, were found carefully deposited in a square hollow, scooped out of freestone, near the place where the ancient cross stood, exactly under the same portico. The stone, which contained these coins was of the same kind as that composing the Roman altar, which has from time immemorial lain near the same locality, and at present stands near the door of the riding-house-inside the glacis of Castle Rushen.
A detachment of soldiers, the only one in the Island, is stationed here to mount guard at the-castle, and to assist the civil force in case of riot or tumult; but their services are seldom required. In the market place is a most respectable and comfortable Hotel, the proprietor of which is Mr. Kneen.
The visitor will be anxious to take a near view of the College, (which will be found fully described in page 15th of this work ;) in proceeding to it, we shall pass the ruins of "Mount Strange," formerly a summer-house of the Derby family, and the scene of sociable festivity; but
"No more its arches echo to the noise
Of joy and festive mirth : no more the glance
Of blazing taper through its windows beams
And quivers o'er the undulating wave ;
But naked stand the melancholy walls,
Lash'd by the wintry tempests, cold and bleak.
That whistle mournful through the empty halls,
And piece meal crumble down the whole to dust."
Not far from hence is Hango Hill, the place where Captain Christian was shot, as mentioned in page 9; here are the ruins of an ancient tower as well as a tumulus. About a quarter of a mile from the college is
with a fine natural harbour, half a mile in diameter, affording deep water and capital anchorage; it is the principal resort of the herring vessels on this coast. A small lighthouse is placed at its entrance, which is lighted only in the herring season,
The stranger will scarcely leave the southernmost part of the Island, without visiting the " Calf,"' which is separated from the main land by a narrow sound, through which the tide runs with great rapidity, forming what is called " the race of the Calf". The passage to the Calf may be made either from Port-leMary, Port Erin, or the ferry between the two. at the south-western extremity of the main land, at which place there is a boat always stationed, and whence there appears to be not the slightest danger. The distance is very short, and the fare across and back is no more than 3s., whatever number the party way consist of. From Port Erin or Port-le-Mary, the fare to the Calf is 10s. To reach those places, on leaving Castletown, the visitor will pass Ballakaighin, Mrs. Quilliam, on the right; then Balladoole, Captain Woods, on the left; near this estate is Poolvash Bay, where there is a fine quarry of black marble. On the beach there is a curious current of a large body of salt water, issuing from the rocks near high-water mark. It is as salt as the water of the ocean, and in quantity as large as would form a small rivulet, and is never diminished in the driest season, but from whence it proceeds is unknown. On the height between Balladoole Louse and the sea are the ruins of a, ancient chapel, called Kiël Vael or Kirk Michael.
Proceeding westward, we pass Kentraugh, the beautiful mansion of Edward Moore Gawne, Esq. the gardens of which are very extensive, and hothouse fruits are raised in greater perfection here than any where else in the Island. Opposite the house is a large warren, abounding ill rabbits. A little further on is Mount Gawne, the property of Mrs. Connell; soon after which we arrive at
which is a small fishing town, with a good natural harbour much improved and protected by the erection of a substantial stone pier of considerable extent, by the exertions of the late E. Gawne, Esq. A considerable quantity of lime is burnt here.
The admirers of the wonderful works of nature, must be gratified and astonished by inspecting the rocks which here surround the coast, especially Spanish Head, a headland consisting of two promontories united together by a chain of perpendicular cliffs, averaging 300 feet in height, enclosing a bay, and exhibiting in the broken outline of its stupendous precipices, fragments detached from the coast. shooting up into pinnacles, and deep chasms penetrating far inland the ravages of the devouring element. The grandeur of its scenery is enhanced by the black hue of the rocks.
Leaving Port le Mary we pass Ballagawne, the seat of Mrs. Connell. and Kirk Christ Rushen. when we arrive at
which derives its name from being opposite Ireland; it is a pleasant village, and has a natural harbour; Brada Head forms one side of it; it is a stupendous pile of black rocks. second only to those of Spanish Head in grandeur. There are copper and load mines at this place, but they are not much worked as the attention of the proprietors are principally directed to the Foxdale mines.
If the weather be fine, the visitor cannot fail being delighted with a trip to that highly interesting spot
The nearest and cheapest passage to which we have stated to be at the ferry; but. to the courageous tourist, who is a lover of bold and majestic scenery, and who heeds not a trifling expense, we recommend that he make the passage either from Port le Mary or Port Erin; indeed, if he were to take a trip from both places he would be amply repaid, as it will prove somewhat difficult to decide which of the two exhibits the most striking grandeur.
The sail from Port le Mary, along the western face of Spanish Head, will astonish the tourist, by the varied sublime views presented to him of that noble headland. Indented as are both the eastern and western routes with numerous cavernous opening,;, we deem the latter unrivalled, in the possession of one vast cave, existing about half-way between Port le Mary and the Calf, which is not, or rather was not some ten or a dozen years ago, generally known to the boatmen on the station. The outer opening, or that nearest the Calf, could not well have escaped the observation of the adventurous fisherman; but that there existed a passage for a boat through a great extent of Spanish Head, (which, by the way, derives its name from some of the celebrated " Armada" ships being wrecked upon its rugged cliffs) was not generally known within the period specified.
A friend of ours, who has kindly favoured us with a description of the cavern, had often visited the Calf with different boats' crews, accompanied by many intelligent Manx gentry, but neither he nor they were aware of the fact, until, on one occasion, an experienced old man happening to be one of the hands, named the existence of this singular passage, which was not known to his fellow boatmen, and through it he and his friends accordingly went. Some years afterwards the same gentleman was again visiting the Calf, and desired the boatmen to pass through the opening, when, to his great surprise, not one of them knew of its whereabout and even declared it impossible to exist concealed from their knowledge, as each had been bred and born upon the coast. The gentleman, however, being known to the boatmen, and having declared that he had passed through it himself, was desired to point out the opening, and accordingly took the party through, there being in fact not the smallest danger in perfectly smooth water ; though it would be madness to risk the attempt under any other circumstances.
The entrance is extremely narrow, not much exceeding a boat's width; after pushing in for some yards, the cavern becomes perfectly dark, and so con. tracted, though very lofty, as to bring the boat's sides almost in contact with the rock, in fact she must be guided along by shoving with the hands on either side. After passing in this mode for very many yards, a star-like appearance becomes visible at a great height over head, which is but the light breaking through a kind of eye in the rock towards this the adventurous tourist approaches, and when he arrives under it, he will find himself in a vast opening underneath Spanish Head, in a light as clear as noon-day ; the arch over his head towering to an enormous altitude, and the water underneath him many fathoms greater in depth, yet clear as crystal ; the outlet from thence cannot be mistaken, as the tourist can see his way throughout.
The Calf is nearly five miles in circumference, and comprises an area of 600 acres, part of which is under cultivation; it is the property of Mrs. Drinkwater, whose late husband purchased it from the late Duke of Athol; it is in the occupation of Mr. Wm., Shepherd, who has fitted up a comfortable house, where visitors may be accommodated not only with refreshments, but with the use of fishing tackle and guns and ammunition, for the destruction of seafowl and rabbits, with which the Island abounds, nearly 1200 couple of the latter being killed, on the average during the winter season.
Falcons used to abound much in the Island, and Falconry, in all probability, was practised here, as the Lord was obliged to present a cast of them to the Monarch on his coronation ; besides which, the destruction of them was prohibited by law. The Falcons of Mann were celebrated and exported, probably trained in the Island. There are still a few remaining; and Lord Teignmouth accounts for this, by their most voracious enemies, foxes and polecats, being unknown in the Island. Surely his Lordship cannot be serious! !
Between the main land and the Calf is a small Island, called Kitterland, on which numbers of sheep are fed ; or, both sides of which little Island the tide runs with fearful rapidity, yet vessels of considerable burthen pass down the passage between it and the Calf. On the south side of the Calf is a very large mass of rocks, called the Barrow, in its form resembling a lofty tower, and separated from the other masses by an opening of romantic appearance: near it is another, called the Eye, from its resembling the eye of a needle.
Its north-west coast is girt by a broad belt of rent and dislocated rocks, tumbled together in indescribable confusion, and by innumerable apertures of great depth, through which the sea, when agitated by the violent gales from the opposite quarter, rushes with tremendous impetuosity. In point of rude magnificence it can scarcely be matched in any part of the British coast.
The southern extremity rises into deep majestic cliffs, 400 feet in height, on the top of which two handsome lighthouses have been very advantageously erected for the protection of vessels. Opposite these, at the distance of about a mile and a half, is a reef of rocks called the Chickens, which is covered at highwater, and presents a very dangerous obstacle to vessels, as the current of the ebb from the sound sets full upon it. There is also a conical rock called the Stack, the position of which is delineated in the map.
Tradition says that the Calf has, at different times, been the retreat of two hermits. The first in the reign of Elizabeth, who imposed upon himself a residence in that dreary solitude, as a penance for having murdered a beautiful woman in a fit of jealousy.
In one of the recesses is a small circle of erect stones, which appears to have been the temple of some lonely hermit.
"Perch'd on a cliff that awes the astounded sight,
In darkness and in storm he found delight,
Where angry billows rouse the fearful deeph,
And far below the foaming waters sweep."
"And oft the craggy cliff he lov'd to climb,
When, all in mist, the world below was lost;
What dreadful pleasure I there to stand sublime,
Like shipwreek'd mariner, on the desert coast
And view the enormous waste of vapour toss'd
In billows lengthening to the horizon round."
The other a Mr. Thomas Bushel, who took up his residence upon the highest precipice, in the time of James the 1st, in order to try the experiment how far a life of severe abstinence would promote longevity. There is still an old ruin called Bushel's House; it bears the outline of a small building, apparently consisting of two rooms. The following is stated to be the cause of his retirement from the world :
"The em'urions of my mines proving abortive, by the fall and death of Lord Chancellor Bacon, in James's reign, were the motives which persuaded my pensive retirements to a three years solitude, in the desolate isle called the Calf of Mann, where, in obedience to my dead Lord's philosophical advice, I resolved to make a perfect experiment upon myself, for the obtaininy of a long and healthy life, most necessary for such a repentance as my former debauchedness required, by a parsimonious diet of herbs, oil, mustard, and honey, with water sufficient, most like to that of our long-lived fathers before the flood, as was conceived by that lord ; which I most strictly observed, as if obliged by a religious vow, till Divine Providence called me to a more active life."
Whether this extraordinary ascetic died in his melancholy retreat, tradition gives us no certain information, but as there is a place called Bushel's grave, we are led to suppose that he did so.
In returning, the tourist should visit Fairy noble barrow, which tradition reports was raised to perpetuate the memory of Reginald, King of Mann, who, on this spot, was killed in single combat with Ivar ; but from its situation, and its summit being flat, and surrounded by a parapet, it is more likely to have been one of the fortified hills of the early age.
On his return our tourist may either take the road to Douglas, or proceed to Peel; if he select the former, he can accomplish it without any further instructions from us; if the latter, he will pass Ballagawne and Ballachurry, both seats of Edw. Gawne, Esq. At the latter place may be seen, on the pillars of the entrance gate, two immense cannon balls, bearing the following inscription -" Fired into His Majesty's ship Superb, while passing the Dardanelles, in 1806. " Also, Bell Abbey, that of A. Dawson, Esq. then Colby; after which the pretty village of Arbory, which derives its name from having once abounded with trees ; then Parville, the handsome villa of G. Quirk, Esq.; a little further on, Kirk Malew, and the limestone quarries ; three miles beyond which, considerably to the right of the road, is St. Mark's Chapel; then passing between the mountains of South Barule and Cordoman, he will arrive at the Foxdale Mines, which are described at page 48; and at about three miles further he will fall into the road at Ballacraine.