[From King Orry to Queen Victoria, 1899]

[Please note this chapter is a real jumble of errors]




THE very early history of Mona is derived from tradition, from the fact of most of the ancient archives of the island having been carried away by the Norwegians to Drontheim, where they were destroyed at the burning of the cathedral. The historian’s researches are consequently attended with considerable difficulties.

Tradition states that formerly this island was much larger than it is at present, or, rather, that it consisted of a large group of islands, of far greater extent than the one now there; and also that they were much nearer to both the Scottish and Welsh coasts. Polydore Vergil says: ‘See what time can do. This Island of Mona is now remote from the land 23 miles, which, in old times, was scarce i mile distant from Anglesea, and joined unto Wales.’ Again, Holinshed, in his ‘Chronicles of Scotland,’ quoting Hector Boetius, says: ‘Agricola, the Roman general, determined to pursue his good fortune, prepared to subdue the Isle of Man; but wanting vessels to carry his army over from Scotland, he found means that such as could swim and knew the shallow places of the coast made shift to pass the dividing strait, and so get on to the land, to the great wonderment of the inhabitants.’

Mannanan-Beg- Mac-y- Lier, the first conqueror of Man, from whom the island is reported to have derived its name, is stated to have been the son of a King of Ulster, and a brother of Fergus II. of Scotland; but this is denied by some Scottish historians, who state that Eric, the father of Fergus II., was not an Irish King. Be this so or not, long before this period the Manx assisted the Gallovidians in their resistance to the Romans.

We read of a King of Man, 134 B.c.—Firman, son of Josuia—who appears to have been a great friend of the Druids, and to have been the first to turn his attention to constitutional legislation, for he is recorded to have ordained that the King should make no great or important determination without the consent of his people. For some centuries the Isle of Man seems to have been a refuge for political exiles from the neighbouring shores, during which period of its history truth, fiction, tradition, and even fairy tales are so mixed up together that it is next to impossible to unravel a clear thread.

All accounts, however, agree in stating the Manx to have been a most indomitable and warlike race.

In A.D. 34, when the Picts rose against the Roman general Cestorius Scapula, in Galloway, the Manxmen made such fearful havoc in the Roman ranks that one of the articles in the treaty afterwards concluded between Casius Nasica and Corbried stipulated that neither Picts nor Scots from henceforth should receive or succour, by any manner of means, the inhabitants of the Isle of Man, who had done many notable displeasures to the Romans during the last war.

There are no certain accounts that the island was ever subjugated by the Romans, although many Roman remains have been found. There is still preserved at Castletown the remains of a Roman altar, which appears by the inscription to have been dedicated to Jupiter by Marcus Flavius Volinius, of the Augustinian Legion, Prefect of the Tringian cohort of the province of Narbonne.

In 517 A.D. the island became subject to the kings and princes of Anglesea and North Wales, Maelgwyn, son of Caswallon - Lau - Lier, being the first Welsh King of Man. The Welsh line of kings—gentlemen with names that no one but a Welshman can pronounce—closed their sway in Man in 913 A.D., on the death of Anarawn - ap - Roderic, who, together with Barred -o- Rivan and Ryswald - Mac - Ivor, was slain in a great sea-fight with a numerous fleet of Danish Norsemen.

For many years the Norsemen had been contesting the sovereignty of Man, even prior to 857 A.D., when they landed in large numbers, under Regnar Lodbrog (one of the most noted of the Vikings who roamed the Western waters), and seized a large portion of the northern side of the island.


Back index next

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001