The following is extracted from Dorothy Wordsworth's extensive diaries. William Wordworth's sister-in-law Miss Joanna Hutchinson was then living in Douglas with her mariner brother, Henry, who died 1839 and is buried in Old Kirk Braddan (the extended epitath is attributed to Wordsworth) At the time of writing this journal Dorothy was 56 and justifably proud of her walking. Her brother William Wordsworth visited the Island in 1833 when he penned a number of sonnets including one about Douglas Harbour. In 1828 his son Willie was eighteen and staying with the Hutchinsons. In 1837 Henry is shown as living on South Quay, then an elegant terrace, which address would accord with her walks. Joanna was god-mother to T.E.Brown's eldest sister Margaret so her connection with the Brown family must have been good.
June 26th, 1828, Thursday. Called by Anne at ½-past 2, and breakfasted by kitchen fire. Walked to the end of quiet Terrace1-grey calm, and warbling birds. Sad at the thought of my voyage, cheared only by the end of it. Sate long at Morris's door-grey and still. Coach full, and sour looks within, for I made a 5th; won my way by civility, and communicating information to a sort of gentleman fisher going to Wytheburn. English manners ungracious: he left us at Nag's Head without a bow or good wish. Morning still foggy. Wytheburn cliffs and trees big and soft. Stayed inside till an Inn beside Bassenthwaite, but only another lady in coach, so had a good view of the many cloudy summits and swelling breastworks of Skiddaw, and was particularly struck with the amplitude of style and objects - flat Italian foreground, large fields, and luxuriant hedges, - a perfect garden of Eden with immense rose bushes garlanded with flowers, the white elder rich as ivory and pearls. Dull and barish near Cockermouth, the town surprized me with its poor aspect. [?] Buildings and old market-house to be pulled down. Sorry I could not study the old place. Life has gone from my Father's Court.2 View from bridge beautiful. River, castle, meadows with hay-cocks and with woods. Again cold and dreary after river goes. Dissington very dreary, yet fine trees. Dropped Mr. Lowther's sons from school. Busy-looking fresh-coloured Aunt, looks managing and well satisfied with herself, but kind to the boys ; little sister very glad, and brothers in a bustle of pleasure. Moresby amusing, trim gardens and houses that might have been planked all by makers of ships; a quaintly dressed boy in a Highland cap looking about. Oh ! said I, he looks as if he belonged to a show. Workington very dismal. Frightened in the streets. Parton under the cliffs; cold and a bitter rain. Beautiful approach to Whitehaven ; comfortless inn, but cheared by a Grasmere waiter ; Backhouse's daughter, Mrs. Hodgson all kindness. [?] streets often terminated prettily; a hall, a church; the sea, the castle; dirty women, ragged, children and filthy; no shoes, no stockings. Fine view of cliffs and stone quarry ; pretty, smokeless, blue-roofed town castle and trees a foreign aspect. Embarked at 10. Full moon, - lighthouse - luminous sky. Moved away, and saw nothing, till a distant view of Isle of Man. Hills cut off by clouds. Again sick and below till near Douglas. Beautiful approach, - harbour calm, wind fallen. Henry3 met me at Inn; surprized with gay shops and store-houses. Comfortable breakfast with dear Joanna4 who was overpowered with pleasure - wrote to Sara and went to bed. Pleasant walk after dinner on sands and in in the gardens of the Hills5 ; decayed house, divided luxuriant flowers and shrubs, very like a French place; an Italian lady, the owner. Air very clear; so it was yesterday, though all hazy in Cumberland. Very fine walk after tea on the cliffs ; sea calm, and as if enclosed by hazy dark steeps; fishes sporting near the rocks, a few sea-birds to chatter and wail, but mostly silent rocks ; two very grand masses in a little bay, a pellucid rivulet of sea-water between them. The hills mostly covered with cropped gorse, a very rich dark green. This gorse cropped in winter, and bruised for cattle fodder. The moon rose large and dull, like an ill-cleaned brass plate, slowly surmounts the haze, and sends over the calm sea a faint bright pillar. In the opposite quarter Douglas harbour illuminated; boats in motion, dark masts and elegant ropes; noises from the town ascend to the commanding airy steeps where we rested. On such a night as this no sickness, no commotion in a steam vessel. The night before just as safe, but no peace for the body, and as to the head, no head can rest on a steam vessel sofa, there is such a labour below. Joanna welcomed us with a dish of crabs sent by her kind friend Mrs. Putnam. Stars appearing at our return; after a hearty supper of crabs etc. retired to rest.
June 28th, Saturday. Slept till ½ past 7, breakfast at nine. Lovely morning; walked with Henry to the nunnery6; cool groves of young trees and many fine old ones. General Goulding7 [sic Goldie-Taubman] has built a handsome house near the site of the old nunnery, on which stands a modern house (to be pulled down). The old convent bell, hung outside, is used as a house-bell; the valley very pretty, with a mill stream, and might be beautiful, if properly drained. The view of the nunnery charming from some points.
Walked on to the old church, Kirk Braddan; handsome steeple. Burial-ground beautifully shaded, and full of tombstones. Sought poor Mary Crump's but in vain - sate in the shade till we were quite refreshed. One monument like three giant's legs, and another curious old stone8. Many new houses, ugly architecture, except the nunnery which is very handsome. Tombstone or obelisk to the memory of a son of the Duke of Athol9, commander of the Manx Fencibles.
Douglas market very busy. Women often with round hats, like the Welsh, and girls without shoes and stockings, though otherwise not ill dressed. Panniers made of matted straw -country people speak more Manx than English - the sound is not coarse or harsh. Miss Tobin and Mrs. and Miss Grove call, very pleasant people. The afternoon hot and hazy. Walked with Mrs. Putnam, H. and W.10, on heights and descend northward to sands. Cliffs picturesque above Mona Castle11; a waterfall (without water) ; the castle of very white stone from Scotland, after the style of Inveraray. How much handsomer and better suited to its site [would be]12 the native dark grey rock. The nunnery house is as it should be ; and the castle, with stronger towers in the same style, would have been a noble object in the bay. Mrs. P.'s two houses13 each £200 well finished. Road and flat sandy space to the sea - a beautiful sea residence for the Solitary - pleasant breezes, and sky clearof haziness.
June 29th, Sunday. A lovely bright morning; walk with H., a fine view over the sky-blue sea. Breezy on the heights. At Mr. Brown's14 church. Text from Isaiah, the " Shadow of a great Rock " etc., applied to our Saviour and the Christian dispensation. Market-place and harbour chearful, and, compared with yesterday, quiet. Gay pleasure-boats in harbour, from Liverpool and Scotland, with splendid silk flags. During service the noises of children and sometimes carriages distressing. Mr. Brown a sensible and feeling, yet monotonous and weak-voiced, reader. His ironed shoes clank along the. aisle - the effect of this very odd. Called in the Post Office lane15 at the postmaster's, narrow as an Italian street and cool:, and the house low, cool, old-fashioned and cleanly. Stairs worn down with much treading, and everything reminding one of gentry life at Penrith 40 years back. A chearful family of useful-looking, well-informed daughters, English father and Scotch mother, well informed and hospitable. Crowds inquiring for letters. To Kirk Braddan,1½ miles; arrived at 2nd lesson.
Funeral service for two children, the coffins in the church. Mr. Howard16 a fine-looking man and agreeable preacher. The condition of the righteous and of the ungodly after death his subject. Groupes sitting on the tombstones reminded me of the Continent. The churchyard shady and cool, a sweet resting-place17. We lingered long, and walked home through the gay. nunnery grounds. The congregation rustic, but very gay There seems to be no room for the very poor people in either, church, and in Douglas great numbers were about in the streets during service18. Mr. Putman called, a gentlemanly man, faded, and delicate-looking; brought up at Dublin College for the bar, took to the stage, married a Scotch lady, disapproved by her friends, gave lectures on elocution, had pupils, but obliged to desist, having broken a blood-vessel; now living on a very small income at Douglas in lodgings; sighing for house-keeping, and they have bought the house we visited last night on the sands. After tea walked with Joanna on pier - a very gay and crowded scene19. Saw the steam-packet depart for Liverpool. Ladies in immense hats, and as fine as milliners and their own various tastes can make them. Beauish Tars, their pleasure-boats in harbour, with splendid flags ; two or three working sailors in bright blue jackets, their badges on their breast, straw hats trimmed with blue ribbands. For the first time I saw the Cumberland hills ; but dimly. Sea very bright; talked with old sailor and tried his spectacles. Alone to the Douglas Head20, very fine walk on the turf tracks among the shorn gorse, bright green, studded with pearls in bunches, the ladies'-bed-straw; the green sea-weed with the brown bed of the river produces a beautiful effect of colouring, and the numbers of well-dressed, or rather showily-dressed, people is astonishing, gathered together in the harbour, and sprinkled over the heights. Met Henry and Willy. Fine view of rocks below us on the lower road, lingered till near ten. Lovely moonlight when I went to bed; amused with Miss Fanny Bristow21, her conceit, her long nose, her painted cheeks, not painted but by nature.
June 30th, Monday. Very hot, but breezy in this house; all the morning writing to Sara. Mrs. Putnam called. Before dinner with J. to Mr. Brown's22. At dinner, and after tea called again. An old staircase in front, kitchen on one side - close situation - all smooth and orderly but sadly decayed and dull. Mrs. Brown rather a pretty woman about 34, with sweet countenance. Told little boy to tell his father, who was in the study - he received us as if much pleased, and has a pleasant look when he speaks - told me my name 'was very familiar to him, showed us the room where Bishop Wilson23 used to lodge - a wee place with fireplace in one corner, - dark coloured flock paper, on each window small panes half wood - had not been on good terms with late Bp.24, therefore could get nothing done that he wished. No repairs, and could not afford to do any himself. Baby very nice and clean, and no appearance of discomfort. The present Bishop25 might do something. The people had been well disposed towards him; but he [was] deceived; rashly supposed the Bishop rich with 7,000 per annum, whereas, stretched to the utmost by late Bp., not more than 2000. No hills to be seen from pier - steam packet arrived. On sands to Crescent, ascent to Kirk Cronian 26 [sic Conchan], a village on the steeps. fine view of Douglas Bay etc. but the night dull; dusty long walk home, tired.
July1st, Tuesday. With Joanna to the shore. and alone on the pier. Very little air even there, but refreshing and the water of the bay clear, and green as the Rhine; close and hot in the streets; but the sun gets out when the tide comes in ; a breeze, and all is refreshed. . . . On sofa after dinner. Walk on pier and to tea at Mrs. Putnam's. Excellent fare and neat. handsome plate etc. Mrs. Pinnace27 a handsome dignified, woman in mourning. Note her for 34 years of age and astonished to hear she was the mother of 14 children, 10 of whom, all sons, she had buried at about 3 or 4 years of age. She is quite a friend and companion to Mrs. Putnam, a chastened chearfulness in the expression of her face, with healthy dignity. Her husband a printer [? lost] his senses on the death of one of his children, a pretty boy blooming and healthy, with a cut just got upon his forehead; the mother has yet another son and she expects to lose both, yet handsome healthy children. Home at 10 - grey night.
July 2nd, Wednesday morning. Much rain in night, hazy on the hills, a sudden wind gets up. Mr. and Mrs. Putnam call to inquire after us, rain most of day. In evening walked to Port-a-shee28 [sic Port-e-chree] (the harbour of peace) ; foggy, and hills invisible, but stream very pretty. Shaggy banks, varied trees, splendid rosebushes and honeysuckles. Returned by sands - a beautiful playfield for children. The rocks of gorgeous colours - orange, brown, vivid green, in form resembling models of the Alps. On pier - 2 steam vessels29 - sickish ladies. The foggy air not oppressive.
July 3rd. Thursday. A fine morning. but still misty on hills. Mr. and Mrs. Garside30 calling prevented our walk, but after dinner on Douglas heights, the sea-rocks tremendous, wind high, a waterfowl sporting on the roughest part of the sea. Flocks of jackdaws, very small ; a few gulls - two men reclined at the top of a precipice with their dogs - small boats tossing in the eddy, and a pleasure-boat out with ladies. Misery it would have been for me; Mr. [? Burns] guns fired from the ship, a fine echo in the harbour, saw the flash long before the report. Regardless of the old track I got into the middle of the precipitous rocks above the sea, and had to scramble up. Had I been quite alone my head would have failed. Will never do the like again. Caught in heavy shower. Mr. and Mrs. Putnam to tea. Sir Wm. Hilary31 saved a boy's life to-day in harbour. He raised a regiment for Government, and chose his own reward -a Baronetcy ! and now lives here on 300£ per annum and Miss St. John with him and Lady H., and pays 100. Keep their carriage and are here fine folks. Mrs. Putnam told me of the ruins of Donaughty Castle in Aberdeenshire - noble inaccessible rock etc. etc.
July 4th, Friday. Very rainy night, sun shines now, wind high, hope it will clear the mountains. Walk in afternoon upon heights. Alone in morning. Afterwards walked with Henry to the Harbour of Peace, and up the valley,32 very pretty overarched bridge, neat houses, and hanging gardens, and blooming fences - the same that are so ugly seen from a distance : the wind sweeping those fences, they glance and intermingle colours as bright as gems. The valley altogether very pretty - could not go to the two vallies so much talked of by Henry. Sun retires in afternoon; but Joanna walks with me to pier. I joined Mr. and Mrs. Putnam on the steep -rough sea and wild wind, but very pleasant walking. Mr. and Mrs. P. come home with me and sit till 11.
[July 5th], Saturday. Very bright morning. Wrote to Mrs. H. and then to Duke's gardens 33, which are beautiful. I thought of Italian villas, and Italian bays, looking down on a long green lawn adorned with flower-beds, such as Eve's,34 at one end; a perfect level, with gravel walks at the sides, woods rising from it up the steeps, and the dashing sea, boats, and ships, and ladies struggling with the wind, veils and gay shawls and waving flounces. The gardens beautifully managed, - wild, yet neat enough for plentiful produce. Shrubbery, forest trees, vegetables, flowers, and hot-houses, all connected, yet divided by the form of the ground. Nature and art hand in hand, all shrubs, and Spanish chestnut in great luxuriance. Ate strawberries in the shade. Lord Fitzallan's children keeping their mother's birthday in the strawberry beds. Driven home, by heavy shower. Call at Post Office to add to letter. Loveliest of evenings. Isle perfectly clear, but no Cumberland - the sea alive with all colours, the eastern sky as bright as the west after sunset. Walked on pier with Mrs. P., met William, and. bought gauze and ribband. Trees and hills, houses and bay, most beautiful
July 6th, Sunday. Clear morning. At the old church with H. and W. J. in bed. Walk on pier, and after dinner to Kirk Braddan. Major Tobin's R. Cath. Chapel.35 [?]35a garden and plantations, but mean,building. Country even woody. Pity they make earth fences36, yet these very pretty close at hand. Gorse bright green, and every species of flower. Gentlemen's houses ugly square boxes - plantations thriving. At new Church in evening37 - very hot - very fine and smelling of paint. Not out again - evening gloomy.
July 7th, Monday. Departed for Castletown at 10 minutes past 1038 -hot, but fine breeze. Nothing very interesting except peeps of the sea. Well peopled and cultivated, yet generally naked. Oak Hill 39 a pretty house in a valley, and not an oak near it. Mr. Garside's place naked and cultivated, earth hedges, yet thriving trees and white roses; have lived there 4 years, yet walks all rough, descent of a little glen or large cleft very pleasing, with its small tribute to the ocean. One cottage, and a corn enclosure, wild-thyme, sedum, etc. brffiiant, and dark-green gorse, the bay lovely on this sweet morning ; high rocks. [?] Mrs. Garstang luscious with " Loves " and " Dears ", " sweet Mona " and " sweet Fanny ", and the "darling cow" that gave 8 lbs. butter. Afterwards poor cottages, now and then a large house and plantation -happily the larch does not thrive; high ground, narrow flowery lanes, wild sea-view, low peninsula of Long Ness, large round fort and ruined church 40. Bay of Derby [DerbyHaven] and port, cold, mean, comfortless - a large mansion tenanted by a Cumberland farmer 41 - walk and gateways desolate ; low water at Castletown, drawbridge, river and castle, handsome strong fortress, soldiers pacing sentinel, officers and music, groupes of women in white caps listening, very like a town in French Flanders, etc. etc. Civility, large rooms, no neatness.
July 8th, Tuesday. Rose before six. Pleasant walk to Port Murray[Port St.Mary] Kirk42, along the bay before breakfast; well cultivated, very populous, but wanting trees outlines of hills pleasing. Port Mary, harbour for Manx fleet; Inn court rustic, crowded with furniture upstairs, not over clean. Very pretty green banks near the port, neat huts under those banks, with flower garden, fishing-nets, and sheep, really beautiful. To Port Erin over the height 3 miles43 - a wild walk and beautiful descent to Port Erin; a fleet of near forty sails and nets in the circular rocky harbour - white houses at different heights on the bank. Then cross the country past Christ Rushen44 - a white church, and standing low ; chearful country, a few good houses, but seldom pretty in architecture. Children coming from school, schools very frequent . Now we drag up the hill, an equal ascent ; turf, and not bad road, but a weary way.
But I ought to have before described our passage from Port Mary to Port Erin, over Spanish Head, to view the Calf, a high island, 40 acres, partly cultivated, and peopled with rabbits - rent paid therewith ; a stormy passage to the Calf, a boat hurrying through with tide, another small isle adjoining45, very wild; I thought of the passage between Loch Awe and Loch Etive. To return to the mountain ascent from Christ Rushen: peat stacks all over, and a few warm smoking huts, thatches secured by straw ropes 45a, and the walls (in which was generally buried one window) cushioned all over with thyme in full blow, low sedum, and various other flowers. Called on Henry's friend beside the mountain gate, her house blinding with smoke. I sate in the doorway. She was affectionately glad to see Henry, shook hands and blessed us at parting -" God be with you, and prosper, you on your journey! " Descend : more cottages, like waggon roofs of straw, chance directed pipes of chimneys and flowery walls, not a shoe or a stocking to be seen. Dalby Glen46 beautiful stream and stone cottages, and gardens hedged with flowery elder, and mallows as beautiful as geraniums in a greenhouse. Trees very flourishing. Close and hot, weary descent and ascent to a pot-house on the heights ; no spirits, nothing but ale ; but greedily I fixed my eyes on the potato pot ready for her husband's dinner. "Can I have some potatoes?" "Plenty", was the glad, reply, but it was strange to her that I would not partake of the fish (Mullet, I believe a delicacy). Her husband could not speak an English word, had not yet been out after the herrings, but ready for a call. She seemed quite contented and chearful. Fowls pecking about, a wry-necked lamb, and she produced a cuckow full-fledged with gaping yellow mouth - would have given it us, I doubt not, yet seemed greatly to prize it ; boiled me two eggs, produced a pewter spoon from sugar pot unwashed, then brought her silver one ; no bread - on great days makes tea. We gave her a shilling. " I know not what I must do for change ", with a perplexed countenance, and what was her surprize and delight to hear it was all for herself ! she insisted on our taking another pint.' " We must have it ", and she pledged Mr. H. We shook hands at parting; she was astonished at my walking, but looking after us said " that woman steps so light she's made for walking ". Terrace road delightful, fine coast and views - would have been grand had the air favoured ; only could discover sea by the dark spots of ships. Glen Manx 47 very romantic, deep and hot : bridge, fine trees, flowery gardens - yet I too tired to walk to waterfall ; pretty wide populous vale and hills well shaped near Peel - fine bridge -and steep river banks. Town finely situated under mountain. H. and I soon to [P], most thankful for rest. The vale behind so wildly softly beautiful I should have been delighted in it had I not been so weary. Refreshed by tea, but appetite poor till broiled ham was proposed by hostess, which I enjoyed. To bed by daylight.
[July] 9th, Wednesday. Rose refreshed. Morning bright, a brisk wind and all the town busy. Yesterday the first of the herring fishing, and black baskets laden with silvery herrings were hauled through the town, herrings in the hand on sticks and huge black fish dragged through the dust. Sick at the sight and smell. Tilted 'cross the harbour to the Island Castle48, very grand and very wild, with cathedral tower, and extensive ruins, and tombstones of recent date, several of shipwrecked men. Our guide showed us the place where Fenella,49 as Sir Walter Scott tells us, was confined, and another dungeon where Lady Stanley was shut up 15 years, and died there, and used to appear in the shape of a black dog, and a soldier who used to laugh at the story vowed he would speak to it and died raving mad.50 The Castle was built before artillery was used, and the walls are so thin51 it is surprising it has stood so long. The grassy floor of [the] hill delightful to rest on through a summer's day, and view the ships and sea, and hear the dashing waves, here seldom gentle, for the entrance to this narrow harbour is very rocky. Fine caves towards the north, but it being high water, we could not go to them. Our way to Kirk Michael, a delightful terrace ; sea to our left, cultivated hills to the right, and views backwards to Peel charming. The town [i.e.Peel] stands under a very steep green hill, with a watch-tower 52 at the top, and the castle on its own rock in the sea - a sea as clear as any mountain stream. Fishing-vessels still sallying forth. Fertile and woody near harbour and all the way fine crops. Visited the good Bishop's grave53, and rambled under the shade of his trees at Bishop's Court, a mile further -a pretty glen and stream flourishing gardens and very fine shrubs of every kind - crops beautiful. Thence to Sulby. Sulby river the largest in the Island - handsome bridge - women washing their clothes -with a [? pier] - girls bathing, a chearful scene. At Henry's publick-house53a had a batch of Ramsey news - a wedding the day before that rang through the Island - carts, gigs, everything in requisition. The old mother moved about like a machine as if intent on keeping her body upright and her old Daughter sate to entertain us. Turned out of road to Kirk Christ Lezayre54 embowered in trees on the hill and pretty house near. The whole country pleasant to Ramsey, steep red banks of river. The town close to the sea, within a large bay, formed to the north by a bare red steep, to the south by [? downs] and grey [ ], and backed by a green mountain and glen and fine trees, with houses on the steep. Large church in market place lately erected 55. Hospitably received by pretty Mrs. Duke56, and her 2 pretty little girls - allowed to rest on sofa in her new-dressed drawing room. Lodgers just arrived to whom we must give it up, and we took tea in her little close parlour - flowers and plants and prints of Methodist parsons. A sordi[d]ness in every part, but so much kindness one did not care. Her kitchen surprusingly untidy - a little hole downstairs and she happy and smiling among the dirt. Was ready to put on her bonnet after tea to walk with us and her little lasses to the Cottage, she as smart and tight as if but 17. Ships in harbour, a steamvessel at a distance, and sea and hills bright in the evening time. Pleasant houses overlooking the sea, but the Cottage all unsuspected till we reach a little opening, where it lurks at the foot of a glen, under green steeps, a low thatched white dwelling, the grassy pleasure plot adorned with flowers, and above it on one side a hanging garden - flowers, fruit, vegetables intermingled, and above all the orchard and forest trees. Kindly welcome from the hostess Mrs. Brew and her friend Miss Trivett,57 the one faded and sickly, yet bright, and elegantly formed - the other a lively little shrimp toothless in the under jaw, hard-worked hands and arms, telling of all day labour in her little garden. A bewitching spot the cottage, peeps of the sea and up the glen, and a full view of the green steep - a little stream murmuring below. We sauntered in the garden, and I paced from path to path, picked ripe fruit, ran down to the sands, there paced, watched the ships and steamboats -in short, was charmed with the beauty and novelty of the scene; the quiet rural glen, the chearful shore, the solemn sea. To bed before day was gone.
[July 10th], Thursday. Rose early and half dressed. Could not resist the sunny grass plot, the shady woody steeps, the bright flowers, the gentle breezes, the soft flowing sea. Henry and Willy took breakfast, then walked to Maughold Head, and Maughold Kirk: the first where the cross was planted 58. The views of Ramsey Bay delightful from the Head - a fine green steep, on the edge of which stands the pretty chapel, with one bell outside, an antient pedestal curiously carved, Christ on the cross, the mother and infant Jesus, the Manx arms 59, and other devices ; near it the square foundation surrounded with steps of another cross, on which is now placed a small sundial, the whole lately barbarously whitewashed, with church and roof -a glaring contrast to the grey thatched cottages, and green trees, which partly embower the church. Numerous are the gravestones surrounding that neat and humble building : a sanctuary taken from the waste, where fern and heath grow round, and overgrow the graves. I sate on the hill, while Henry sought the Holy Well, visited once a year by the Manx men and women, where they leave their offering 60 - a pin, or any other trifle. Parted with H. and W. and walked leisurely back to Ramsey; fine views of Ramsey bay, the orange-coloured bar, and lowly town, the green steeps. Walked on to Ramsey, the town very pretty seen from the quay as at the mountain's foot ; rich wood climbing up the mountain glen, and spread along the hillsides. Several good houses among the trees. Called at Mrs. Duke's. Oh ! the confusion and dirt of her kitchen and her servant, as rough and wild as if just fetched from a mountain[?] hovel, and Mrs. Duke herself , smart, pretty and even chearful, in the midst of distress. A lodger was in bed, blinded the night before with playing with gunpowder, and she, jaded with dressing his wounds and hanging over him for hours Home to Mrs. Brew's - walked on sands to small rocky caverns, and after dinner with Miss Trivett to Mrs. Hoskins's deserted cottage - once a place of revelry, or rather of elegant festivity for she was, they say, a very amiable woman. The spot is now desolate and the garden destroyed all but the gravel walks, yet still many a garden flower grows wild. It was since tenanted by a Mrs. Stepney and her pretended husband, who lived concealed for 2 years, were at length discovered by agents of her real husband, and a divorce obtained. She is now married to her paramour who has retaken his own name and given it, to her. The parties all cousins, and as an alleviation of her guilt it is affirmed that she was in youth attached to her present husband, believed him to be dead, and was prevailed on by friends to marry the former. They are returned to a cottage near the old one, going to build, and every one visit her as heretofore. Back by road to Bridge, crossing deep glen 61 behind Mrs. Brew's house, strolled in the wood beyond the mill and missed my companion. After tea had a charming walk ; called on Mrs. la Motte, the doctor's wife 62 - her husband's father driven from France by the persecutions under Lou the 14th. Thence by Clough Bane, among fine woods, crossing,. dell, delightful views of the sea and of Ramsey Town. Returned by ...[Ballure] church 63 on the hill, the burying ground of Ramsey, and formerly the sole parish church, a very pretty building, charmingly situated with trees all round it, but, alas, white-washed roof and walls. A beautiful sunset and quiet resting on garden seat, listening to and viewing the gentle sea - two packets with their stream of smoke.
[July 11th], Friday Morning. Again sunny and delightful,- warm yet, this the sweetest morning place I ever housed in breezy, and so retired that it tempts you to walk out halfdressed from the ground-floor bed-room. With Miss Trivett to Ramsey, called on Miss Forbes 64, a tall thin gentlewoman living with two nieces in the dullest corner of a dull street in this little fishing town now smelling of herrings in every crevice.
Thence to Mrs. Gubbins 65, the aged widow of the late Vicar General who died a few months ago at 83 years of age. She and her 3 daughters reside at a house belonging to Deemster Christian66, a substantial dwelling rather genteel but all unfurbished, the avenue to the house winding, and the garden tangled and rank and dull. A very flourishing tulip tree and nothing wanting but pruning and neatness. The ladies themselves, however, very neat and ladylike, and intelligent in all Manx affairs and evidently much pleased with my approbation of their little Isle. Home by Mrs. Duke's -still the same comfortable kindness, and uncomfortable dirt and close smells, and pretty behaved, pretty curly-headed lasses, who repaid me for their sixpence with a hundred thanks. At dinner the ladies entertained me with the history of the first builder of this little cottage, who there revelled away her summers, feasting all the country round, and forming pleasure parties every sunny day, ordering them by the lodging her servants at different houses and having beds round the little kitchen for her maids. Thus she spent a fortune of 1500 per annum and died penniless. This reminds me of a very simple house in the valley of Peel, which Henry had told me we should see by the roadside; the owner was very rich, but he had made his fortune in " Guinea ", and was always wretched, for he " saw things ". This a Manx man told Henry, and when I came to the place and peeped in upon it I wondered not that he had imaginary visions, for he had contrived to bury his house among trees and, further, to make the approach to it (a long berceau) as dark as a dungeon alley, so that no natural object can be distinctly seen, I should think, even at mid-day. His farm, however, is very flourishing and his crops of corn beautiful.67 After dinner at 2 o'clock parted from my hospitable friend Mrs. Brew and accompanied by Miss Trivett waited ½ an hour on the road for the carrier's cart in which the front place had been taken for me - a most pleasant conveyance. Road smooth and a variety of delightful views all the way to Douglas. At first over very high ground crossing frequent glens with rivulets, and trees thriving, wherever scattered. Fences, chiefly of gorse very green and very pretty. We descend to Laxey, a village at the foot of a long glen headed by Snaefell mountains. One pretty gentleman's cottage. Bridge and rocky bay, a few boats and bleaching ground.
Tempted by the cleanliness of a poor hut to enter it with my companion, a young Methodist, who exclaimed to the poor inmate " How happy you are - here you have every thing -health and contentment ". " Nay," says she, " I have very little. I have only what I get by spinning, and that is but so much the hank, and so much the pound." " Well, but there are good people to help you." " Good people are but scarce in this world. I do not get much in that way." " Well ! but:; you have health and that is the best of earthly blessings." "It is a great blessing, but I have nothing else." Now there, was no reason why the young Methodist should conclude that this poor woman had any unusual share of health. She had no appearance of it, and must have been above 50 years of age. She had never been married, had lived alone, and was one of 9 children, all now dead or dispersed. After all, my friend again exclaimed "How sweet! here is everything that is needed for contentment ", and so satisfied, parted with these words uttered in a soft piping tone, " Peace be with you, think upon Jesus !" Again replied the old woman " that is the only thing, that is the best thing ". I certainly saw but little except the extreme cleanliness of her poor hovel, and divided between her and an aged neighbour who was keeping her company the few halfpence I had in my bag, which certainly seemed to give her more comfort than my friend's felicitations on her blessed condition.
The road still pleasant through the pretty village of Kirk Onchan, on the heights, that looks down on Douglas Bay. Met Henry and William on the sands, and Mr. and Mrs. Putnam. This was certainly one of the loveliest evenings ever seen, sea as still as a mirror, reflecting the streaky sky. I found Joanna, alas ! not much better in health, and thus ends my tour, which. certainly has confirmed my previous notion that with proper culture this island might be made even more beautiful than the Isle of Wight. In many parts the shores are abrupt, rocky and bold ; in others green yet steep, the rocks mostly of a fine dark hue, which I think much more striking than the white Southern cliffs of England. The whole island is well watered, some of the streams (considering their short course) are even considerable, and the glens are fine nurseries for wood. Besides, wherever wood is seen on the high ground it thrives. The small clefts or glens are innumerable, and the whole country except the mountains is sprinkled over with houses and huts. The three towns of Douglas, Ramsey and Peel, especially the two latter, are charmingly situated; yet when I think of the noble Bay of Douglas, and the very pretty valley behind it, it seems almost unjust to prize it less than the other two places. Peel, however, is the most unforgettable place, romantic for its castle, caves (which alas, I did not see), its rocky coast, and green mountains and pebbly stream, with large beautiful pool beside the ivied bridge 67a. Returned early to rest and
[July 12th] (Saturday) not being quite well, I rose late. Mrs. King sate with us an hour, then Mrs. Putnam, then comes Miss Tobin.. I walked to the quay after dinner but stirred out no more - dark colouring and very stormy wet night.
July 13th, Sunday. A very rainy day throughout - saw no one but our own two men, and never stirred out. Fire all day, ,
July 14th, Monday. Cold and rainy, but with intermissions. Henry at a sale. Fetched my cloak to go to Mrs. Putnam's but deterred by cold and shower. Fire all day. Mr. Brown called.
July15th, Tuesday. A lovely sunny morning. Sate an hour with Mrs. King, then with Mrs. Putnam to the crescent68. 2 excellent houses for £400, 2 parlours, both good, good kitchens, grates, dressers, and every convenience and all the rooms with paper, 5 papered rooms ; upstairs bells, gratbs etc. and still above the same number. Dashing sea, white, and blue and purple, the little rocky bay very pretty, cattle at the shore as if wanting to drink of the salt water. Home by sands to dinner. Mr. Charles Hyndman69, the young Irishman, called after dinner, zealous to obtain subscriptions to his card for Deaf and Dumb Institution. I ought to have mentioned that Mr. Brown called on Monday morning, gave us much pleasure; there is a mild benevolence in his countenance, and his voice is sweet. He wished I could prevail on Mr. Wordsworth to visit the little island - it would be " a national honour ". He informed me that 8 scholars were to be taught gratis, besides two others for the ministry, that his school time was 6 hours. Speaking of his laborious life, and congratulating him[self] on the present time of holiday, he told me that besides his public duty, 3 sermons weekly and prayers 3 times Sunday, once Wednesday, once Friday, the private duty was much more than any one suspected ; he had mostly 20 sick persons on his list to whom he paid weekly, in general, 2 visits. With respect to the manners of the people I have observed great courtesy on the roads and in the cottages, when called upon for any service - a Christian simplicity and kindness. At Douglas, as usual in sea-port towns, much quarrelsomeness and loud-speaking, and often drunken people 69a. All are, or may be, taught to read.
July 16th, Wednesday. A lovely morning, went out with Joanna, called on Mrs. Grave, Miss Tobin and Mrs. Putnam and went alone to 4 Gun Fort.70 The calm bay actually disturbed by the boiler of a steam vessel waiting for its passengers. They embarked and off it glides as smooth as gossamer on a Lake. The rocks and small, very small rocky bay enchanting, the sea water in hue like that of the Swiss Lakes, but transarent as glass - every ripple visible ; discovered a gentleman musing on the rock opposite to that on which I was sitting. Pleasure boats below, town beautiful backed by distant hills and Mona Castle beside the woods. Fatigued with heat on quay, though air so clear and refreshing that I could have strolled on heights, the day through. After dinner did not stir out again - grey evening, slight rain in night.
July 17th, Thursday. Most beautiful morning - at National School,71 much pleased. Letter from Sara, good news of Father and Daughter and Mother and Son. Fine evening, beautiful, sunset, walked with Mrs. Putnam to the Crescent and above on the green craggy steep. Beautiful sea views and the cliffs charmingly adorned with green gorse, purple heather, brambles. Mrs. P. hurried home to salt her fish72.
July 18th, Friday. A very slight rain, clears off at 9, charming morning. Mrs. King calls - with her to Mr. Bean's garden73 and the hills, ate fruit ; trees laden and flowers and vegetables luxuriant. Mr. B. enjoying his books and garden. Resorted hither long ago for debt, has now outlived his disgrace. His son a dashing youth to whom a fortune has been left, pleasures away his fortune in boating. His elder brother an attorney. Very fine sunset, walked alone on hills, reached the ruin in large field-gorse, turf and sheep very lonely; no way out and turned back; bright to town, green valley, cloudy mountain, Nunnery, hills sprinkled with cottages, cliffs and sea all beautiful. At Miss Tobin's met her son, and found Mrs. Putnam at home.
July 19th, Saturday. Very fine, walk on pier and (uneasy about Joanna's spasms) called on Mr. Oswald74. Joanna better in afternoon. Packing etc., sate all the afternoon with J. and parted with her and Miss Putnam at ½ past 11. Sailed at 10 minutes before 12. The moon soon set, the night warm. Magnificent castle and mountain- clouds over England. In the opposite quarter Mona lighthouse. And what a sunrise ! more heavenly than any earthly sight. Mountains and sea cliffs and bright sunshine in bay-sunshine and shade. To bed at the Black Lion. At St. James' Church in afternoon and walk towards Parton ; heavy air and rain, yet saw dear Mona distinctly.
The notes are © F.Coakley
1 At Rydal Mount.
2 William and Dorothy Wordsworth were born here at Cockermouth.
3 Henry Hutchinson, Mary Wordsworth's brother (William's brother-in-law), the "retired Mariner" of Wordsworth's Itinerary Poems (1833) Canto xix, was now living at the Isle of Man with his sister Joanna.
4 Joanna Hutchinson - Dorothy had been on several other holidays with her.
5 Hills - famous estate, originally part of Ballakermeen , purchased by Vicar General William Norris, by 1643 owned by Robert Parr, sold 1737 to Philip Moore (patriarch of 'Moores of the Hills) who built Hills House at what is now junction of Circular and Westmoreland Roads. The house was demolished 1922. The Hills gardens, just below Circular Road, were at one time a popular strolling place for Douglas residents but a minor dispute closed them [see S. Slack Streets of Douglas - old and new]
6 Nunnery - just outside Douglas, D.W. saw what was left of the old nunnery buildings (though by then somewhat extended) just before their demolition. See somewhat critical comments on new building by John Welch. In 1769 John Taubman of Castletown acquired the estate, it passed on his death to second daughter Isabella who married Lt Col Alexander John Goldie of Goldie Lea in Dumfriesshire. To preserve Taubman name he adopted name Goldie-Taubman
7 General Goldie-Taubman
8 One of the runic crosses stood in the churchyard
9 Lord Henry Murray
10 Willy W., youngest child of William Wordsworth, who was then staying with the Hutchinsons.
11Castle Mona - built for Duke of Athol from Arran Stone
12 Written of
13 In 1837 Mr Jno Putnam is shown as occuping 7 Strathallen Crescent, these were built from c.1825 on land owned by the 4th Duke of Athol; the name Strathallen derives from his son-in-law James Drummond who was created Lord Strathallen in 1828 and whose wife, Lady Amelia Sophia, whilst living at Castle Mona persuaded the Duke, still then Governor, to change the name from East Mona to Strathallen Crescent. The description of a flat access to the shore would agree with this address at the North end of Douglas Bay just south of the current Tram terminus.
14 Robert Brown was chaplain of St Matthews, Douglas 1817-1836, and then vicar of Kk Braddan(d. 1846). The poet T. E. Brown (1830-97) was his fifth son. D.W. obviously went to the morning service at St Matthews which being in the market place just off the North Quay would suffer from traffic noise and then went to Kk Braddan for the afternoon service.
15 In Pigot's 1823 directory Postmaster given as Mr Grave though later writers refer to a Miss Graves as running the Post-office. All writers comment on the awkward positioning of the Post-office - few are as complimenatary as D.W.
16 Mr Howard - Rev Thomas Howard, 1795-1876. Chaplain of Ballure 1807-9, St George's 1809-10, Vicar of Braddan 1810-1836 and Rector of Ballaugh 1836-1876. Great friend of Robert Brown who succeeded him at Braddan, though Brown appears to have acted as priest-in-charge from 1832. Howard had briefly served as an officer in Manx Fencibles in Ireland; strong evagelical, tall with a 'fine presence and lovable face'.
17 Kirk Braddan was always on the 'tourist trail' in Douglas and has been the subject of many artists see for example that by Ashe of 1833
19 Strolling on the Red Pier was a favourite occupation in Douglas
20 Douglas Head
22 Mr Brown's - At this time the Rev R Brown was Headmaster of Douglas Grammar School as well as Chaplain of St Matthews.
24 Late Bishop - The Hon. George Murray, Bishop 1813-27: he was very unpopular in the diocese, from his enforcing the collection of tithes on potatoes ;
25 Present Bishop - Dr. William Ward
26 - Kirk Onchan
27 Mrs Pinace -
29 Steam vessels
30 Mr & Mrs Garside -
33 - Castle Mona had not yet been sold for use as a Hotel.
34 Paradise Lost, iv. 246-56.
35 Major Tobin's R. Cath. Chapel - Major Taubman gave a site, within a disused quarry on the Douglas-Castletown road, for a chapel. where in 1814 the small chapel of St. Bridget was built
35a - Nunnery
36 Earth fences - dimensions fixed by act of 1691.
37 Presume St George's
41 presume Ronaldsway - one time home of Illam Dhone
42 - see coast path - presume walked along Scarlett past Poilvash.
43 Over height - across Mull Hills
45 The Calf and the Burroo
45a - ropes - sugganes
46 Dalby Glen
47 Glen Maye
49 Fenella, the daughter of Edward Christian, the villain in Scott's Peveril of the Peak. D. W.'s memory is here confused; Fenella was not confined in the castle, though she lived here for some years as her father's spy upon his mortal enemy the Countess of Derby. And it was not Lady Stanley, but the Duchess of Gloucester, that was shut up for fifteen years (1446-60) in the dungeon at Peel, under the custody of Sir Thomas Stanley.
50 Cf. The Lay of the Last
Minstrel, VI, xxvi:
Like him of whom the story ran
Who spoke the spectre-hound in Man, and Scott's note.
51 Peel Castle is overlooked by hill and this undefendable to cannon fire - hence shift to Castle Rushen
52 watch tower - presumeably Corrin's Tower
53 Bishop Rutter's grave
53a Henry's public house - this is possibly one of Munn's Houses at corner of Crown Street - Angus Munn's widow and 3 daughters had a licence here, the three daughters married the lodgers of whom one was a Captain Henry Hutchinson - however the context would indicate that it was along the Ramsey road after Sulby Bridge - possibly Ginger Hall ?.
54 Lezayre - new church not yet built - both churches set back a little from main road with the old church futher up the hill.
55 St Pauls
56 presume Esther Duke, Strand Street
57 presume Mrs Elizabeth Brew and Miss Martha Trevitt Ballure Cottage (there in 1837) - the same conclusion reached by W W Gill from her description of the cottage.
58 Maughold Cross - Kirk Maughold is on site of early (6th C ?) Celtic monastery
59 one face of Cross has 3-legs of Man - one of the earliest representations.
60 St Maughold's well
61 deep glen
62 de la Mothe - tale re driven out of France totally wrong! - see family history; suspect confused with Geneste's
63 Ballure Church - the burying ground was generally used for strangers - the actual parish church is Kirk Maughold, Ballure was chapel of ease, by then replaced by St Pauls.
64 Mrs Forbes - ?
65 Mrs Gubbins - Rev Thomas Cubbon was VG 1808-1827 - second Vicar General was the notorious Wm Roper from 1824-1828
67a - Ivied bridge - presume the bridge over Neb at Raggart
68 Strathallen Crescent was towards north end of Douglas Bay and had been built by Duke of Athol in 1824 with eye to atracting the holiday trade
69 Mr Hyndman - ?
69a Drunkeness - Lord Teignmouth also comments critically on the drunken nature of many Manx at this period.
70 4-gun fort - presume this was the gun emplacement above what is now battery pier on Douglas Head (about a half mile walk from South Quay)
71 National School - established from 1810
72 salt her fish - Herring season would be underway at this time, most manx preserved their own by salting in barrels though air dried red-herrings were produced. The smoke cured Manx Kipper came later in 19th century
73 Mr Bean -
74 Mr Oswald - presume Dr H R Oswald.
T Roscoe Dorothy Wordsworth visits the Island, 1828 Journal Manx Museum v #69 pp113/5 Dec 1943