[from History of IoM, 1900]



THE VIKINGS (798-1079)

THE history of the Isle of Man during the Scandinavian domination naturally divides itself into two main epochs-one before its conquest by Godred Crovan in 1079, and the other after it. The general character of the earlier epoch is that of "storm and stress," and unsettled rule, while that of the later is decidedly more stable and peaceful. The first epoch, with which we purpose dealing in this chapter, may be subdivided into three periods. During the first of these, between about 800 and 880 A.D., the Vikings came to Man mainly for plunder; during the second, between about 880 and 990, when they settled in it, the island fell under the rule of the Scandinavian kings of Dublin; while, during the greater part of the third, it was subject to the powerful Earls of Orkney.

It was in 795 that the Irish and Welsh annalists record the first appearance of the Scandinavian robbers in the Irish Sea, and from that time they continued to sweep the countries that were unfortunate enough to be exposed to their excursions of everything that, in the old border phrase, was not " too hot or too heavy."

That Man was a favourite resort of the Vikings,1 during the period when they thought more of plunder than of permanent residence, is clear from the nomenclature of its coast, which abounds in wicks (vik), "creeks," in ghaws (gjá), a name given to narrow inlets, and in clets (klettr) and stacks (stakki), which refer to detached rocks of various kinds in the sea. There are also the significant Scandinavian words Mull (müli), and ness (saes) applied to headlands, and ey and horn (hólmr) to islands; the latter is found in Holme-town (Hólmaticn), " islet-town," which is now called Peel, and the former is part of the name of the town still called Ramsey (Hramns-ey) " Raven's Isle.2 There are also the bows (haugr) or "mounds" by the sea shore, which indicate the spots where many a Scandinavian warrior found his last resting-place. 3

It is said that the first comers were Norwegians, called by the Irish Finn-gaill,4 "Fair Strangers." They were followed by the Danes, called Dubhgaill, " Black Strangers; " 4 but, since both Norwegians and Danes were practically of the same race, the distinction between them and the proportionate numbers of each are of little consequence, and so may be ignored. We may therefore call this period by the general name " Scandinavian," noting, however, that the evidence from Manx place-names tends to prove that the Norwegians had a decided preponderance there. 5 Thus, the purely Norwegian fell, garth,' and gill are common as, are haugh and dale, which are more Norwegian than Danish. On the other hand, the Danish toft is only found twice, and thwpe, which is almost exclusively Danish, only once; though it must be remembered that foss, which is purely Norwegian, is only found once, and beck, with and tarn, which are more Norwegian than Danish, are not found at all. By, which is both Norwegian and Danish, is very common. On the whole we are justified in concluding that the Manx-Scandinavian nomenclature is one in which the test-words of the Dane and Norwegian are intermingled more completely than in any other part of the British islands. Less Danish than East Anglia and Eastern Ireland, the Isle of Man is considerably more so than Cumberland, Westmoreland, and the Western Isles of Scotland. That Norwegians were preponderant amongst the invaders of Man is also rendered probable by geographical considerations, seeing that they would naturally come down the western side of the British Islands, and the Danes on the Eastern. The earliest recorded attack of the Vikings on Man, took place in 798, when " Gentiles " 6 burned InisPatrick,7 broke the shrine of Dachonna, and took the spoils of the sea . . . between Erinn and Alba. 8 Many other similar incursions there doubtless were, of which no mention has been preserved. The recorded history of the relations between Scandinavia and Man begins with the second period, that of settlement, 9 when the Northmen 10 were escaping from the tyranny of their princes, and, like the Puritans of America, were seeking new homes and political freedom across the sea.

The first settler we hear of who had any connexion with Man, was Olaf the White; he according to the Landnámabóc, "harried in the West in Viking cruises, and won Dyflin (Dublin) in Ireland, and Dyflin-shire, and made himself king over it.11 This was in 852.12 Olaf "took to wife Aud, the daughter of Cetill Flatneb, the son of Bearn Buna, a lord of Norway."13 This Cetill, or Ketill Finn, as he is called by the Irish annalists, was, at a somewhat later 14 date, ruler of the Sudreys. But emigration to Ireland and the Sudreys 15 did not take place, to any great extent, till after the battle of Hafursfjord, fought about 883, in which Harald Haarfager conquered the petty kings of Norway, and made himself sole sovereign of the country. His rule was felt oppressively by the Vikings, whom he deprived of their odal, or freehold, right to the land, and reduced to the position of military tenants. Many of them, rather than submit, emigrated to the Nordreys and Sudreys,16 as well as to Iceland and Ireland, and formed a ruling class there, which gradually amalgamated with the native inhabitants to such an extent that the mixed race was called Gallgaidhel, Galgael, or Stranger-Gaels,17 by their Irish and Scottish neighbours. Harald soon followed the Vikings southward and conquered the Sudreys. 18 On arriving in Man he found that the entire population had fled to Scotland, so great was the terror caused by the report of his coming.19 That this terror was well founded is shown by the fact that he "laid waste the tilths " 20 there. He then proceeded to extend his rule " so far west that no king of Norway has ever owned land farther, save King Magnus Barefoot." 18 He divided these dominions into the Nordreys, including the Orkneys and Shetlands, and the Sudreys, including the Hebrides, the southern Scottish islands, and Man. But, as regards the Sudreys at least, his supremacy had hardly been established before it was overthrown by the Vikings, who continued to harry and rob far and wide. Harald's first deputy in the Sudreys, the Jarl Tryggvi, was killed, as was his successor, Asbjorn,21 by relatives of the Ketill already mentioned. We are told, by the Landnámabóc, that Harald sent Ketill to "win back" the islands, and that he accordingly "laid under him all the Southreys, and made himself chief over them, but he paid no gild or tax to King Harald, as was intended." 22 But the Laxdcela Saga states that Ketill emigrated from Norway because he was obnoxious to Harald, and that he took possession of the Sudreys on his own account. 23

It does not seem likely, whether Ketill took possession of the Sudreys for the king or on his own account, that Harald attempted to interfere with him, because he had enough to do in dealing with troubles at home. Nor did his immediate successors, so far as can be ascertained, maintain their suzerainty over these regions, so remote from Norway.24 It is, therefore, probable that Man, if not the other Sudreys, became subject to the rule of the Scandinavian kings of Dublin, who were either identical with or closely allied to the kings of Northumbria of the same race, that kingdom (Northumbria) having fallen into Scandinavian hands in 867. But it is possible that, as long as Ketill's descendants remained in the Sudreys,25 the Dublin rule over them was merely a suzerainty, and that it was not till after their disappearance 26 that the island was ruled by the Dublin kings either directly or through a tributary king or lord. And it must be remembered that, since these Scandinavian rulers were sometimes driven out of Northumbria and sometimes out of Dublin, Man must have been a convenient headquarters for them. Thus, between 872 and 885, the Irish king, Cearbhall, reigned in Dublin, and, between 897 and 919, Dublin was again subject to Irish rulers. It was during this latter interval., in 913, that we hear of a naval battle off Man in which Ragnall, king of a part of Northumbria, defeated "the navy of Ulster," their leader, Barid Mac Ottir, " with almost his entire army being slain."27

Ragnall then probably ruled Man till his death in 921. In the meantime, his brother, Sitric, had conquered Dublin in 919, and, on Ragnall's death, he appears to have taken over his part of Northumbria and to have left Dublin to his nephew, and Ragnall's son, Godred. Whether Man was then ruled from Northumbria or Dublin is not known, but, after 926, it must have been ruled from the latter, because in that year Sitric died and his sons were expelled by the Saxon king, Athelstan. Godred ruled in Dublin till his death in 932, when he was succeeded by his son Olaf, who, in 938, attempted to turn the Saxons out of Northumbria. He was, however, defeated in that year at the famous battle of Brunanburg, when he fled " o'er the deep water Dublin to seek " 28 and, on his way, plundered Man which seems, at that time, to have been under the rule of a certain Mac Ragnall, 29 who, perhaps, thought Olaf's defeat afforded a good opportunity for revolt. However this may have been, he was evidently in possession of Man in 940, when he crossed from it to Ulster and plundered Downpatrick. This action of his was speedily avenged by " foreigners," 30 who " came across the sea, and attacked him and his people on their island." 31 He fled to Ireland, where he was killed by Madudhan, king of Ulster.

About this time the famous Olaf Cuaran (Sandal), son of Sitric, appeared on the scene as king of Dublin, Olaf, Godred's son having died in 942.32 In 949, Eric of Northumbria having been deposed, Olaf got possession of that kingdom also, and held it "by the strong hand for four years." 33 But, in 952, the Scandinavian power being temporarily weakened by internal struggles between Norway and Denmark, he was again expelled,34, and he returned to Ireland. He is mentioned as being " Lord of Dublin " 35 in 969, and he continued in possession of that kingdom till 980, when he was defeated at the battle of Tara by Maelseachlainn, King of Ireland. We are told that his spirit was so broken by this that he went on a pilgrimage to Iona, where he died " after penance and a good life." 31 So ended the supremacy of the Scandinavian kings of Northumbria and Dublin during the continuance of which, Man, as being the centre of their kingdom, must have been of considerable importance.

It is during the earlier part of this obscure period (918-947) that tradition has placed the arrival and rule in Man of " King Goree," 36 or " King Orry." He is said to have been " a son of the King of Denmark " and the first that was called " King Orrye." 37 To Orry is attributed the establishment of a legislative body, the committal of the laws to writing, and the formation of an army.

And now, for a short period, Man was to fall into the hands of another Scandinavian colony. For some time past the " Danes " of Limerick had been increasing in power. As early as 973, one of their leaders, Maccus MacHarald, or Haraldson, a grandson of Sitric, King of Dublin, was styled in the Irish Annals " Lord of the Isles." 38 Three years before this he devastated Anglesey, but did not retain possession of it, and, in 972 or 973,39 he sailed round Ireland with a numerous fleet. On this occasion he was accompanied by "the Lagmanns of the Islands," 40 which shows that he, as chief of the isles, was making his circuit with the "lawmen," or judges, according to Scandinavian custom, to dispense justice in all parts of his dominions. If the Four Masters are correct in stating that he was slain, in 976, by Brian Boroimhe (Boru), his career was a short one; but it has been conjectured that he may have survived "to have been slain at a battle which Maelseachlainn gained in 978 over the foreigners of Ath Cliath (Dublin) and of the islands." 39 There is no direct evidence that this Maccus ruled in Man, though it is probable that Man was one of the islands subject to him, and we know that his brother Godred MacHarald, or Haraldson, who succeeded him, was certainly connected with Man. This Godred is called King of the Insi Gall, or "Islands of the Strangers," by the Irish annalists. In 979, he devastated Anglesey, his services having been "hired" by Constantin, son of Jago, against his cousin Howel.40 Three years later a new power appeared on the scene in the person of Sigurd, Earl of the Orkneys and Shetlands, who, in 982, attacked Man and extorted a heavy penalty from its inhabitants as the price of his departure. In 985, Man received a visit from its long-neglected suzerain, Olaf Tryggvasson, King of Norway, who, "to dissipate grief for the loss of his queen," 41 went on a Viking expedition, in the course of which, after plundering in England, Scotland, and the Hebrides, " he sailed southwards to Man, where he also fought.41 This battle, according to the Annals of Ulster, was against " MacAralt " (i.e., Godred). In 987, Godred, King of Man, whom we do not hear of at the time of Sigurd's first expedition, met Sigurd in Iona and was defeated by hire. In 989, he suffered another defeat at the same hands,42 and, before the end of the year, he was killed by the Dalriadic Scots in Dalriada. 43 So Sigurd came into possession, not only of Man, but of the other Sudreys, which, shortly before this time, are said to have paid tribute direct to Norway. 44 These islands, including Man, were ruled by him through his brother-in-law, Gilli. Man, therefore, became part of a kingdom, consisting of the Nordreys and Caithness, as well as the Sudreys, which was entirely separated from Ireland, and subject to the suzerainty of Norway, a suzerainty which, however, during the greater part of this period, seems to have been merely nominal. In 1014 Sigurd was killed at the battle of Clontarf, near Dublin, to which he had come with his isles men and "the foreigners of Manann." 45 This battle was the culminating effort of Brian Boroimhe (Boru), who, during the whole of his long life, had been struggling against the Scandinavians. Though the Northmen were worsted on this occasion, it does not appear that they were, even temporarily, driven from Ireland, for, soon afterwards, Scandinavian kings are again found in Dublin. As to Sigurd's dominion in the Sudreys, it is not clear into whose hands it fell at first, but it is certain that his youngest son, Thorfinn, grandson of the King of Scotland, ultimately extended his rule over these islands. He is also said to have acquired territory in Ireland, to have ruled over Dublin, and to have been lord over nine earldoms in Scotland, including Galloway.46 This change of rulers, then, as regards Man, simply consisted in its becoming part of an even greater kingdom than before, and, probably in consequence of this, its history for fifty years is almost a blank. In 1040, the death of "Harald, King of Man," 47 who was probably tributary to Thorfinn, is recorded. It is not known who was his successor in Man; it may have been Godred Mac Ragnall, who was its ruler in 1060, when his brother Eachmarcach, who had been King of Dublin, took refuge there. It would appear that Eachmarcach " went beyond the seas" 48 in 1052, when he was succeeded by Diarmid on the throne of Dublin, and that, on his return, in 1060, he vainly attempted to oust the latter, whose son, Murchadh, followed him to Man, defeated him there, and " carried tribute from thence." 49 This carrying of tribute from Man shows that Diarmid had thrown off the supremacy of Thorfinn, who had probably been despoiled of his more southern possessions about this time,50 and died soon afterwards.51 Thus it appears that Man was, for another brief period, under Dublin rule. According to the Chroncon Manniæ,52 or Chronicle of Ma)a, which now begins, Godred Mac Sygric 53 was ruling in Man in 1066 and there he received " Godred called Crovan, son of Harold the Black, of Island [Iceland]," of whom we shall hear more later. The appearance of this Godred Mac Sygric,54 as King of Man, may be accounted for on the supposition that Godred Mac Ragnall was driven from Man in 1060 when Murchadh defeated Eachmarcach there, and that Godred MacSytric had been then substituted for him as a tributary king. In 1070, Godred died and was succeeded by his son Fingall. 55 In 1072, Diarmid was slain in battle, 56 and " Godfrey son of Raghnall," 57 apparently the Godred, or Godfrey of that name who had been king of Man, took possession of the throne of Dublin, as well as Man,58 while the isles are said to have fallen into the hands of Malcolm, King of Scotland. 59 Godred was banished beyond the seas by Turlogh O'Brien, but speedily returned with a great fleet, and re-established himself. In 1074, we find Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury writing to him as king of Ireland, with reference to the consecration of Patrick, Archbishop of Dublin, and the reform of abuses in the Church.60 He died in 1075, and, in the course of the same year, Godred Crovan " collected a number of ships and came to Man," where " he gave battle to the natives but was defeated and forced to fly." 61 Undaunted by this he assembled another army and fleet, and was again defeated and " put to flight." Finally, in 1079,62 he made a successful attack, which is thus graphically described by the Chronicle :-" A third time he collected a numerous body of followers, came by night to the port called Ramsey, and concealed 300 men in a wood on the sloping brow of a hill called Scacafel [Skyehill]. At daylight the men of Man drew up in order of battle, and, with a mighty rush, encountered Godred. During the heat of the contest the 300 men, rising from the ambuscade in the rear, threw the Manxmen into disorder, and compelled them to fly. When the natives saw that they were overpowered, and had no means of escape (for the tide had filled the bed of the river Sulby, and on the other side the enemy was closely pursuing them), those who remained, with piteous cries, begged of Godred to spare their lives. Godred, yielding to feelings of mercy, and moved with compassion for their misfortune, for he had been brought up amongst them for some time, recalled his army, and forbade further pursuit." On the day following his victory " Godred gave his army the option of having the country divided amongst them if they preferred to remain and inhabit it, or of taking everything it contained worth having, and returning to their homes." The soldiers, like true Vikings, "preferred plundering the whole island, and returning home enriched by its wealth." Godred, probably well pleased to have got rid of the most unruly of his followers, granted to the few islanders (i.e., the men from the two Sudreys) " who had remained with him the southern portion of the island, and to the surviving Manxmen the northern portion." The southern was, at that time, clearly the most fertile part of Man, a large portion of the northern part being occupied by the then undrained Curragh.63

From this time, for nearly two hundred years, the Isle of Man was ruled, almost without interruption, by Godred's descendants. A more settled state of affairs obtained and a period of comparative law and order began. It may be convenient then, before entering upon what may be considered a distinct division of our subject, to review briefly the period of nearly three hundred years which had elapsed since the Vikings first appeared in Man. It will have been perceived that, owing to the brevity and the contradictory character of the Annals which record the events of this period, it has been impossible to construct anything worthy of the name of history from their contents. From the first arrival of the Vikings, till about 850, Man with its unfortunate inhabitants was probably at the mercy of any powerful marauders who thought it worth plundering. Then came the period of settlement, after which, for nearly a century, it seems to have been ruled by a dynasty subject to the Scandinavian kings of Dublin and Northumbria, and probably of the same family, if not occasionally identical with them. This was followed by a brief subjection to the Scandinavian rulers of Limerick, from whose hands Man fell, towards the end of the tenth century, into those of the Earls of Orkney. Their power, which continued till about 1060 was exercised through subordinates, who were, latterly, of the Dublin line of kings whose predecessors had ruled it previously. From 1060 to 1079 it again fell into the hands of Dublin. As to the suzerainty of Norway, it seems to have been, for the most part, merely nominal, though it was probably more felt during the time of Orkney than of Dublin rule. It must, however, be borne in mind that there is much room for conjecture about the events of this period; all, in fact, we can state with certainty is that Man inevitably became the prey of the strongest ruler in the western seas for the time being.


1 " Vikingr, a freebooter, rover, pirate, but in the Icelandic Sagas used specially of the bands of Scandinavian warriors, who during the ninth and tenth centuries harried the British Isles and Normandy. . . . The word vikingr is thought to be derived from vik (a bay) from their haunting the bays, creeks and fjords" (Cleasby and Vigfusson, Icel. Dict., p. 716).

2 This serves to remind us that the raven was the traditional emblem on the war standard of the Northmen.

3 Besides the names already mentioned there are about a dozen other Scandinavian generic terms for local features which may have been given by occasional visitants, and do not necessarily imply permanent residence (see Manx Names, pp. 250/302).

4 There is a considerable difference of opinion as to the origin of these titles. Some say that the Danes had darker complexions than the Norwegians, others that the Danes used black sails for their ships, and the Norwegians white (Worsaae, p. 46).

5 It is curious, however, that in Manx popular tradition much is attributed to the Danes, and nothing to the Norwegians. The only reasons we can give for this are the predominant influence which the Danes acquired in England, and the fact that Norway was for a long time subordinate to Denmark,

6 The usual general term in the Irish annalists is Gaill, translated " gentiles " or " foreigners."

7 Peel Island (see p. 75, note *

8 Ann. Ult.

9 Among the names implying the permanent residence of the Northmen in Man maybe mentioned by (bõer, byr), " a farm or estate," which is the commonest Scandinavian affix in the island; hagi and gar)r, which are names given to land enclosed by a hedge; kirk (kirkia) " Church," staõr, " a stead, place, abode," skali, " a house," " a hut." There are also numerous surnames of Scandinavian origin, such as Clel~pr, Geirr, Grettir, Haraldr, Hceringr, Hõgni, Hrdlfr, Ingimarr, Krama, Ormr, Narfi, Osmwndr, Olafr, Goree, Castell, Cottier, Corkill, Corlett, Christian, and Garrett, compounded with farm names.

10 These colonists must have been all Norwegians. See Ynlinga Saga (Manx Soc., vol. iv. p. 56).

11 Vigfusson's translation, p. 76.

12 In this same year Mona, which may have been either Man or Anglesey, was devastated by the "black pagans" or Danes (Ann. Ult.)

13 Ibid.

14 According to Robertson (Scotland under her Early Kings, vol. i. p. 45 note, quoted in Manx Sec., vol. xxii. p. 125) Ketill was a leader of the Gallgael when Harald Haar£ager (King of Norway) was an infant, and the fact of his being a powerful ruler in the Sudreys before 852 would certainly have been an inducement to Olaf to marry his daughter; and, according to the Annals of Ulster, Caitill Finn was defeated by the Irish in Ulster in 856. But, on the other hand, we have the definite statements of the Landnåmabõc and Egrbyggia Saga (see p. 88) which give him a later date.

15 I.e., the Hebrides, the southern Scottish islands, and Man.

16 " Because of the unpeace or civil war many well born men fled from their heritages out of Norway.... There were some that used to keep themselves of a winter in the Southreys or Orkneys, and of a summer they would harry in Norway' (Eyrbyggia Saga, p. 253; in Landnåmabõc, Vigfusson's trans lation).

17 They " were a people who had renounced their baptism, and were usually called Northmen, for they had the customs of the Northmen, and had been fostered by them " (Chron. Picts anc Scots, pp. 403-4, quoted by Skene, vol. i. p. 313).

18 Landnámabóc (Vigfusson's translation), p. 26. 19 Ynlinga Saga (Manx Soc., vol. iv. p. 57).

20 Orkneginga Saga, ch. iv. (Dasent's translation), p. 5.

21 Manx Soc., vol. xxii. p. 126.

22 P. 26. The following version given in the Eyrbyggia Saga agrees with the above: " ° Then King Harald decided to fit out a host to go west over the sea, saying that Cetill Flat Neb should

be captain of this host. And when Cetill came west over the seas, he had certain battles there, and ever he won the day. He conquered the Southreys, and made himself chief over

them." He then sent back his host, the leaders of which reported to Harald that Cetill "was a chief in the Southreys, but that they could not see that this would much forward his (Harald's) rule over the sea."

23 Laxdaela Saga, quoted by Munch (Manx Soc., vol. xxii. p. 125), who considers this the more probable version; but the whole subject is very obscure.

24 And yet it was from this conquest that the later Norwegian kings derived their title to the suzerainty of the Sudreys.

25 Some years after Harald's expedition " Beorn, Cetill's son, came to the Southreys and found that his father was dead, but that Helge his brother and his sisters were there. He stopped two winters and then settled in Iceland, where Aude [his mother] afterwards followed him " (Eyrbyggia Saga, p. 258).

26 We hear nothing of them after Beorn s visit and it seems probable that they all emigrated to Iceland before the tenth century.

27 Ann. Ult.

28 Saxon Chronicle (Skene, vol. i. p. 356).

29 Ann. Four Masters. He may have been the son of the Ragnall already mentioned, and have been in 112an since 913, but there is nothing to prove this.

30 These were doubtless Scandinavians, but from whence we know not.

31. Ann. Four Masters.

32 Skene, vol. i. p. 361. 33 Henry of Huntingdon (Halliday, p. 75.)

34 Skene, vol. i. p. 364. 35 Ann. Ult.

36 " Supposed True Chronicle " (Manx Soc., vol. xii. p. 6).

See also "Traditionary Ballad" (Manx Ballads, p. 11), Sacheverell (Manx Soc., vol. i. p. 27), and Statutes, vol. i. p. 11. Sir James Gell writes: " It is hardly open to me, or to any lawyer, to question the existence of King Orry (the first of the name) since this king was declared by the Deemsters and Keys in 1422 to have existed " (Manx Soc., vol. xii. p. 11).

37 " Supposed True Chronicle " (Ibid., p. 6).

38 Or, according to Florence of Worcester, "plurimarm a rex insularuna." This Maccus is said by English chroniclers to have been admiral of King Edgar's (of England) fleet, and to have swept all pirates from the seas. They are also responsible for the statement that he was one of the eight feudatory kings who rowed that monarch in his barge on the Dee (Roger of Wendover, Manx Soc., vol. iv. p. 52). But these tales must be viewed with suspicion, as the authorities who relate them are not contemporaries, and they all differ about the facts. It should be mentioned also that the signature Ego Maccus Rex insularum to a charter of King Edgar's in 966, and another of Archipirata in a similar document dated 971, are almost certainly forgeries (Codex Diplomaticus Anglo-Saxoniae, vol. ii. p. 412, vol. iii. p. 69, J. T. Kemble).

39 972, Ann. Four Masters ; 973, Annals of Innisfallen (Manx Soc., vol. xxii. pp. 132-4).

40 Chronicles of the Princes of Wales (Halliday, p. 89).

41 Olaf Tryggvasson's Saga, ch. xxxi. (Halliday, p. 89).

42 Niál's Saga, ch. 87 (Manx Soc., vol. xxii. p. 137). 43 Ann. Ult.

44 Floamanna Saga (Manx Soc., vol. xxii. p. 136).

45 Annals of Loch Cë; also War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill.

46 Orkneyinga Saga and St. Olaf's Saga (Manx Sec., vol. xxii. p. 138, and Skene, vol. i. p. 413).

47 Ann. Ult.

48 Ann. Four Masters. He " assumed the kingship of the foreigners" as being descended from their kings, though he was of Irish race on his father's side.

49. Ibid.

50 See notes to Chronicle (Manx Soc., vol. xxiii. pp. 140-1). The date of Thorfinn's death is not certain. Skene (vol. i. p. 413) conjectures that it was in 1057, whereas Munch thinks that it was in 1064.

51 Ibid.

52 See Appendix.

53 As tributary to Diarmid. 54 Sytric, his father, was, according to Worsaae (p. 287) " King of the Danes in Dublin."

55 No special references are given to information taken from the Chronicle of Man, which from this date is our chief authority for two hundred years.

56Tighernac, p. 75 (Skene, vol. ii. p. 352). 57 Ann. Ult.

58 It is not known what became of Fingall. (See note x<^ , below.) There is no mention of a king in Man when Godred Crovan arrived.

59 See Skene, vol. ii. p. 352, who gives no authority for this statement.

60 Baronius, Ann. Eccles., tom. xi., A.D. 1089, No. xii. (Manx Soc., vol. xxiii. pp. 266-8).

61 Worsaae (p. 287) says that Fingall and " Sygtrig Mac Olave, Danish king of Dublin," fell in this battle, but he gives no authority.

62 This was probably the year, as we know that he reigned sixteen years and died in 1095.

63 It is remarkable that at the present day the inhabitants of the northern parishes, judging by their names, are more Scandinavian than those in the southern in the proportion of nearly three to two. This would tend to show that the natives of Man at the time of Godred's conquest were equally, if not to a greater extent, of Scandinavian origin than Godred's followers were.


The Chronicle of Man (Munch's and Goss's translation) is our chief authority for the Scandinavian period. The original is now deposited in the British Museum, and numbered Julius A. vii. of the Cottonian Collection. It is a small-sized quarto, consisting of 132 folios vellum in a tolerable state of preservation. The work itself is bound up in a volume with a number of others, and is in a very fragile condition. At present, either from defect in the parchment, or else through the agency of fire, the membranes have become dry and brittle so that they chip and crumble away before the touch, in spite of the most careful handling. It is 7½ inches long by 5 wide written in a neat black-letter hand. It opens in the usual style of these works, namely, " Ab incarnatione domini," and is probably formed on the same model as the archives of Furness, the parent monastery. Hence the similarity of all monastic productions from the Saxon Chronicle to the Chronicon Manniæ. The work is brought down by the original writer to the close of 1257; after this date it is continued by several contemporary writers. (For a full description see Oliver's " Monumenta," Manx Soc., vol. iv. pp. 222-3; also Ibid., vol. xxii., author's preface, pp. 31-35.) It is unfortunately an authority that cannot be implicitly relied on either for facts or dates, but many of these are rectified by the valuable notes by Munch, Errington, and Goss in vols. xxii. and xxiii. of the Manx Society's edition which is the one made use of. The references to it are so numerous that they are not specially indicated, and it may be noted that it is easy, not only in the Chronicon, but in the Irish annalists to find the passages referred to from the dates given in the text.


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