[From Isle of Man by John Quine, 1911]

12. People-Race, Settlements, Population.

The Isle of Man, like Ireland, Scotland, and the north of England, can show no traces of occupation by Palaeolithic man-that early race which has left its rude unpolished implements scattered over the south of England and its bones in the caves of south-west Europe. When the Palaeolithic hunters were wandering in the Thames Valley, the island was probably emerging from glacial conditions, and many centuries which it is idle to attempt to estimate passed away before the Neolithic herdsmen made those settlements on the island which can still be traced in all accessible districts, and left their flint imple ments over the Ayre beach and round the shores of ancient fresh-water lakes. Traces of their settlements are found in all districts of the island, on levels that were probably the sea coast when the island did not stand so high out of the sea as at present, namely at about 200 feet, 100, 60, and 20 feet above the present line of high water. In physical characters man of this period with his long (dolichocephalic) head, short stature, slender build and dark complexion, resembled the population which can be traced all round the shores of the Mediter ranean from the earliest times to the present day, whence its name of the Mediterranean Race. Their most per manent relics are the long barrows or mounds in which they buried their dead, and the polished flints, some showing exceedingly fine workmanship, which with the more perishable bone and horn articles provided the only tools and implements for their everyday life. Towards the end of the Neolithic period, but before metals are found in use in Britain, there seems to have been a fresh invasion from the mainland and a change in culture coincides with the change in physical type. In place of long chambered barrows, smaller round barrows were erected, and the bones contained are those of a round headed (brachycephalic) type. Hence these are often referred to as the Round Barrow Race. Later still, when the knowledge of metals was spreading across Europe, came another brachycephalic people, differing again from their predecessors. Whereas the Round Barrow Race was tall, and, to judge from their skulls, must have had a fierce and rugged appearance, the later comers were short in stature with smoother outlines, resembling the type which occupies the Alpine districts to-day, whence it is called the Alpine Race. The next invasion brings us to the threshold of history. Whether the earlier or later round-headed race ever reached Ireland or the Isle of Man is uncertain, but it is the boast of both islands that they contain descendants of the Celtic Race.

The Celts doubtless entered these islands from the mouth of the Rhine and the north of France. It is usual to divide the peoples who speak Celtic languages into two groups according to the manner in which they treated the sound qu, as preserved in a Latin word like quis (who ?). A portion of these peoples retained this qu for a long time, but ultimately turned it into a k or c. These peoples we call Goidels or Goidelic Celts. The other group at some indeterminable time before the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar, had changed the qu to p. These Celts we call Brythons or Brythonic Celts. Some scholars are of opinion that the Goidels entered the British islands about 6o0 or 500 B.c., and that when the Brythons began to pour in from the continent they drove the earlier invaders westwards and northwards, so that now they are chiefly found in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man, where the Celtic languages still spoken have c for an original qu. Hence corresponding to Latin quis, qui, we have in Irish cia, Highland Gaelic co, Manx quoi (in this form qu represents an older c), corresponding in the Brythonic group to Welsh pwy, Breton piou, Cornish pyu. It is however only right to add that others maintain that Goidelic speech has spread to Scotland and the Isle of Man from Ireland. These are very difficult questions which perhaps never will be solved. Certain it is that as far as we can go back the language of the Isle of Man is Goidelic and not Brythonic. Orosius, as we have already seen, writing about A.D. 416, states that the people of Man are Scots, i.e. Irish.

We have no certain means of knowing when and by whom Christianity was introduced into the Isle of Man. It is not impossible that some disciple of St Niman, the early apostle of Galloway (d. 420), may have laboured on the island. In the Tripartite Life of St Patrick there is found a curious legend which may lend countenance to this. After a miracle performed by the saint a wicked Ulsterman named MacCuill had forsaken the pagan faith. At Patrick's behest he put to sea in a coracle made of one hide only. He reached Man and saw two wonderful men there, named Conindri and Romull, who had baptised the men of the island. By them MacCuill was welcomed and on their death he succeeded to the bishopric. In the lapse of time the name of this Irishman has been changed into the more familiar Maughold. That a few Manx inscriptions in the curious Ogam alphabet are of an early type, probably going back to the sixth or even fifth century, may indicate that there is a substratum of fact in this Irish story. Moreover it is hardly necessary to point to the frequent occurrence of the name of the Hibernian apostle in sacred sites on the island. The evidence for the connection of Man with the Columban Church is based partly on the dedications of churches and keills (hermits' cells or small churches) to Columba (now Arbory), Moluoc (Malew), Ronan (Marown) and several others.

As regards the secular history of the island previous to the Viking invasions there are no trustworthy records. The Northumbrian king Edwin is stated by Bede to have conquered the Menavian Isles in 616, though we have no evidence as to whether Man was included in this conquest. In 684 Ecgfrid, another Saxon king, laid waste the eastern Irish coast from Dublin to Drogheda, and it is not unlikely that he turned his attention to Man at the same time. From the considerable number of Saxon coins which have been found it may be inferred that the island was by no means shut off.

The advent of the Vikings towards the close of the eighth century brought a great change. The Danes first appeared on the east side of England in 787, whilst about the same time Norwegian pirates crept down the west coast of Scotland. Their first recorded visit to Man took place in 798, when they burnt Inis-Patrick (probably Peel Island). If we may judge from affairs in Ireland, we should conclude that the island was repeatedly raided during the first part of the ninth century. A little later a number of Norwegian colonists may have settled in the Isle of Man. Certain it is that between 850 and 990, roughly speaking, the island fell under the rule of the Scandinavian kings of Dublin. During this period it must have possessed considerable importance as a base for the oversea activity of such restless spirits as Olaf Cuaran. Between 990 and 1079 it was included in the domains of the powerful Earl of Orkney. In the latter year a northern leader of obscure origin successfully invaded the island. This was Godred Crovan, the prototype in all probability of the King Orry of Manx legend. His descendants ruled over Man with varying fortune but on the whole with success for something like 200 years. The islands over which Godred held sway were termed the Sudreys1 or southern isles, i.e. Man and the Hebrides, in contradistinction to the Nordreys or northern isles, comprising Orkney and Shetland.
1 The name is still retained in Sodor.

The kings of Norway claimed suzerainty over the island but the claim was rarely asserted. In 1263, after the battle of Largs, Magnus, king of Man and the Isles, had to do homage to the king of Scotland, but from this time until 1346 the overlordship of Man formed a bone of contention between England and Scotland. After belonging successively to the Earl of Salisbury, Sir William le Scroope, and the Earl of Northumberland, Henry IV in 1406 made a grant of the island with the patronage of the bishopric to Sir John Stanley and his heirs.

During the Viking period the population of the Isle of Man must have been profoundly affected by the numerous invasions, and also by the influx of Scandinavian colonists. Thus about 1100 Magnus Barefoot, finding the island deserted, is stated to have repopulated it. We have unfortunately no means of determining whether a body of Gaelic-speaking planters was introduced from Galloway or elsewhere, or whether the old inhabitants were merely restored to their possessions. Certain it is that the Manx language stands in a closer relationship to the speech of the Highlands than it does to Irish. Nor is the above the only instance where the island or a portion of it is said to have been deserted. On the other hand traces of Norse men are abundant everywhere. It has been estimated for example that nearly one-fifth of the surnames are of Scandinavian origin.

The Manx people speak English, though two generations ago Manx might still have been heard.

Later racial immigrations were of two kinds-the settlement on the island of officials, garrison soldiers, and traders in the long period of Stanley rule from the beginning of the fifteenth to the beginning of the eighteenth century; and the modern settlement of English, Irish, and Scotch during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The Stanleys, Earls of Derby, as feudal Lords of Man, governed the island through a Deputy or Governor and "officers." The Deemsters or judges were always natives; but the Deputy, Governor, or Captain as he is sometimes designated, and the "officers" were generally, through the three centuries of Stanley rule, members of the great Lancashire families, partisans of the Lords of Lathom and Knowsley. Many of these Governors and officers left descendants in possession of estates acquired by marriage. Garrison soldiers, after service in Castle Rushen, Peel Castle, and Douglas Fort, remained on the island and settled in the towns. In 1511 the population of Castletown was more English than Manx, in the pro portion of two to one; the names being mainly of Lanca shire origin. As the trade of the island was mainly with Lancashire and Cheshire, another element of population was derived from that part of England: so that nearly half of the population of Douglas in 1511 is found to be English, and several estates in the neighbourhood were also held by Englishmen.

During the eighteenth century, in the smuggling period, a considerable number of English, Scotch, and Irish immigrant families settled in the island, attracted by the trading prosperity of the insular towns.

During the nineteenth century the population did not increase at so rapid a rate as in the eighteenth century. From 1721 to 1821 the population rose from about 14,000 to about 40,000; from 1821 to 1891 it in creased from about 40,000 to about 55,000 ; but during the last two decades, viz. 1891 to 1911, the population has actually decreased: thus in 1871, 54,042; 1881, 53,558; 1891, 55,60; 1901, 54,752; and 1911, 52,034 The population per square mile is 229, as against 558 for England and Wales.

There is a steady tendency to a decrease of population in the rural districts; and till recently at least a compensating equivalent of increase in Douglas. Ramsey, which increased in population up to 1891, has decreased in the last decades ; Castletown has decreased steadily since 1871 ; and Peel since 1881. The population of Douglas, which has now become to a considerable extent an English town, has increased as follows : 1871, 13,972; 1881, 15,719 ; 1891, 19,525 ; 1901, 19,223 ; 1911, 21,101. This shows that even Douglas suffered a slight decline for the last decade of the century. What is most to be observed however is that, apart from the towns, the rural districts have shown in the last 50 years a decrease in population from 30,303 to 22,310.

13. Place-names and Surnames. Language.

In the place-names of a country we have survivals of the languages of the peoples that have successively occu pied it. In the various districts of the British Isles the local place-names are generally of Celtic and of Saxon and Norse origin-with a preponderance of Celtic or Saxon or Norse according to the district. Many place names naturally date from the Roman occupation, i.e. are of Latin origin ; others again are Norman-French.

A succession of conquests brought successions of new place-names, though never wholly obliterating those of earlier periods: consequently, when the Saxons ousted the Celts many of the Celtic place-names still survived in the Saxon districts ; and, in the northern and western parts at least, Celtic words to some extent survived in everyday Saxon speech.

There were two main divisions of the Celtic race, the Goidelic and the Brythonic. The former were in earlier possession of England; and, when ousted by the Bry thonic Celts, they moved to the north and west, and also migrated to Ireland. When the Saxons in turn ousted the Brythons or Britons, driving them into Wales, Cornwall, and Cumberland, such of the early Goidels as remained in those districts seem to have become incorporated with the Brythons, and to have adopted the Brythonic or Welsh tongue.

But the Goidelic Celts had, at a still earlier period, ousted other earlier or pre-Celtic peoples, whom it is usual to call Ivernian, who were possibly identical with the Picts of Galloway and of the North of Scotland. The Picts or Ivernians seem to have adopted in the course of time the Goidelic tongue; for of their own language very few traces survive, and these chiefly in place-names.

Whenever the Saxons, and subsequently the Norsemen, occupied the country, some dialect of Saxon became the general language, but with a number of Celtic place names retained ; and these afford evidence of former occupation, and, to some extent, of the local distribu tion of conquerors and conquered in districts where the population ended in being of more or less mixed racial elements.

But it must not be taken as an absolute rule that the language of a conquering race becomes the language of the conquered country. The Franks who conquered France, and the Normans who at a later date conquered Nor mandy, both ended by speaking a language of Latin origin, which had been the speech of the Roman province of Gaul, and ultimately developed into modern French. So in the Isle of Man, the Vikings, who occupied the island in the ninth century and probably became in corporated with the Goidelic Celts of Man, gradually abandoned the old Norse language, and ended by speaking a Goidelic dialect, which we now call Manx.

That the old Norse language was for a considerable time in use on the island, appears certain from (t) the numerous runic inscriptions in Old Norse on Manx crosses, (2) the entire absence of inscriptions in Celtic, (3) the multitude and character of the Norse place-names of the island, and (4) the number of Norse words in the everyday speech of the people at a later period.

In the names of mountains, rivers, and prominent natural features may usually be found the most persistent traces of the names by which these objects were known to the people of a more ancient race that once possessed the locality. In the Isle of Man therefore we find (i) Celtic place-names of a very early period, (2) Norse place-names of the intermediate period, and (3) Celtic place-names that are clearly of later date.

The older surnames of the Isle of Man are nearly all patronymics containing the word mac (son), followed by a name originally in the genitive case. As in Scotland, the common Irish type of name beginning with O (grandson is almost entirely absent. The majority of Manx patro nymics may be divided into three classes, according as the name in the genitive following rnac is of Celtic or Scandinavian or Biblical origin. At the present day the prefixed mac has been worn down to 'c. Hence a large number of surnames begin with K or Q corresponding to the P in such Welsh names as Pryce, Powell and Pughe. In this manner the familiar Irish or Highland names MacDermott, MacNeill, and MacEachan, appear in Man as Kermode, Kneale, and Kaighen. Similarly Kissack, Clucas and Killip mean respectively son of Isaac, son of Luke, and son of Philip. As names of Scandinavian origin may be mentioned Corkhill, Cowley, and Crennell, denoting son of Thorketill, son of Olaf, and son of Ragnall (Ronald). A few Manx names contain an element Myl which stands for mac gilla, son of the servant, e.g. Mylchreest, son of Gilchrist (Servant of Christ).

The Manx mountains are called (i) Slieu (=mountain), identical with the Irish Slieve, e.g. Slieu Dhoo (= black mountain) ; Cnoc or Cronk (= hill), a later form of Cnoc, e.g. Cnoc-aloe (= hill of Olaf) and Cronk-na-Irey Lhaa (=hill of the dawn) ; or (2) by Norse names, generally ending in fell (= mountain), e.g. Snaefell, Sartal (=swart fell -_dark mountain). It is sufficient to say that four of the principal summits have Norse names, and quite a considerable number of hills of secondary altitude.

The names of Manx rivers are (1) Celtic, (2) Norse, and (3) a combination of both ; and this is a very common type of Manx place-name. For example, the Awin Ruy (= red river) is Celtic; the Laxey (= Lax-a = salmon river) is Norse; and the Doway is Celtic and Norse, viz. Dub-a (= Celtic dub, a sluggish stream, and Norse a, a river). The Douglas, or Dub-glais, seems to be derived from dub = black, and glais = a stream (cf. the oft-occurring English river-name, Blackwater). Doway, pronounced Dhooie, seems also to have been an earlier name of the Sulby river, which for several miles of its lower course is a slow moving stream. The Norse name Sulby is properly the name of an estate central to the district through which it flows.

Round the coast Norse names remain attached to nearly all the creeks and lesser bays, from Perwick at the extreme south to Brerick, an old name of the inner harbour of Ramsey; and they are common to the eastern and western sides alike. Not less are Norse names found in the inland parts, for out of about Z00 ancient freeholders' estates, the Norse and Celtic names occur in about equal numbers. The termination by occurs at least 22 times, e.g. Sulby, Raby, Trolby; -stead occurs 14. times, e.g. Ivarstead, Herinstead; and less frequently -garth, -holt, -toft, -dal, -fell, and haughr : the estate being called from occupying a dale, hill, or headland of the steep coast. The Celtic estate names have generally the prefix Baly (= townland), e.g. Baly-tessyn (= townland lying across or athwart); Baly-Nicholas (= townland of the chapel of St Nicholas).

The Norse fos (= waterfall) survives in Braid Foss, Glen Foss, and Foxdale (=foss-dale); but in other cases we have the Celtic -eas (= waterfall), or the borrowed spoot (= spout), e.g. Rheneas (Rhenass), and Spoot Vane. The Norse kirk (kyrke = church) survives in the cases of 15 out of the 17 ancient parish churches; and also in the cases of several other "kyrkes" that, on the establishment of parish churches, fell into disuse.

No Manx churches appear to be dedicated to saints held in special honour by the Norsemen. There is an early dedication to St Cuthbert, as well as a possible one to St Kentigern, a saint of the Strathclyde Britains. Most of the dedications, however, are to Irish saints, e.g. Patrick, Sanctan, and Bridget; and to Celtic saints of the community of Iona, e.g. Columba, Ronan, Lua, and Adamnan : these dating doubtless from the seventh century, when the influence of Iona was dominant in Saxon Northumbria, Scotland, and the whole west.

In the river fords we have names both Celtic and Norse, e.g. ath- (Irish, atha = food), and -wath, -vad, -wat (Norse vad = ford). In ancient roads we have frequent occurrence of the Danish gata (= road), e.g. in Sandy Gate (= sandy road), and Keppell Gate (= horse road).

14. Agriculture - Main Cultivations, Woodlands, Stock.

The three industries of the island are agriculture, mining, and fishing. The industry of smuggling flourished in the eighteenth century, and was the main source of prosperity. The sea carrying trade, in which Manx schooners and sloops were engaged before the monopoly of that trade was captured by steam vessels, is an utterly decayed industry. To the above may be added the quite modern industry of catering for the visitors who make the island their watering-place and holiday resort.

Agriculture on the island has a long history. Orosius, fifteen centuries ago, wrote that the island was "in soil, fairly fertile"; from which it may be inferred that corn was grown, though cattle and sheep were probably the mainstay of life. An advance in the methods of agriculture was probably made under the influence of the religious communities of the Middle Ages, who possessed large areas of land in every district of the island. In the twelfth century the Cistercians of Furness acquired land and built Rushen Abbey. The monks of this order were always patrons of agriculture : they had lands in the south, west, north, and east side of the island, and four other religious orders had also considerable sections of land. To Rushen Abbey is due the erection of water-driven corn-mills ; at the dissolution of monasteries, the abbey had five mills, and the lord thirty-two, having suppressed on his lands the use of the quern, and encouraged the erection of mills as in the abbey lands.

In the fourteenth century corn, horses, and cattle were sent by sea to Scotland. We hear of corn and barley being imported in the fifteenth century from Ireland to victual the garrisons, implying probably a period of scarcity. From the statutes of the thirteenth century it appears that husbandry and fishing were the main occupations ; the clergy had tithe-barns ; there was much brewing and weaving of woollen cloth; and among the produce subject to tithe were pulse and hemp.

A great stimulus was given to agriculture in 1703 by the Manx Act of Settlement, giving security of tenure of land ; but as long as smuggling was carried on restrictive duties were placed on Manx agricultural produce.

Lowland Farms, Kirk Braddan
Lowland Farms, Kirk Braddan

With the Napoleonic wars at the beginning of the nine teenth century Manx agriculture flourished. With the peace of 1815 there was much distress, and the Manx people emigrated in large numbers to America, to settle ments in which agriculture rather than trade was the main occupation.

From time immemorial, as definitely appears in the Lord's Rent Roll of 1511, Manx farms generally seem to have ranged from 60 to 120 acres, but in some few cases were of 300 to 600 acres. In addition to this there was the pasturage in the Lord's Forest, i.e. on the mountain wastes. At present there are only 11 holdings over 300 acres ; 671 between 300 and 50 ; 903 between 50 and 5 ; and 279 not exceeding 5 acres.

During the Crimean War, and at periods when the English farmer felt the effect of good prices, the Manx farmer was affected equally beneficially. To the present day, Manx farms, generally quarterlands, identically those held in 1511, are in many cases in the possession of the same yeoman families that owned them at the time of the earliest Lord's Book, and presumably from a period much more remote. But in the nineteenth century the yeoman proprietor gave place more and more to the tenant farmer ; for while the number of holdings on the island is 1864, only 27·3 per cent. of the acreage is occupied by owners.

The farms extend not only over the coast lowlands, but to a height of about 600 feet up the slopes, and along the sides of the glens to the heart of the hills. Above this limit much land called intack (or intake) was also cultivated to a height of 700 feet at the beginning of last century ; but this upper belt has practically all gone out of cultivation again, and the little homesteads and fences gone to ruin. The emigration movements of the early part of the nineteenth century relieved the pressure of population ; and the uplands that did not repay cultivation were gradually abandoned. Ancient rights of sheep pasture were withdrawn by the Crown about the middle of the nineteenth century : and this further difficulty made the upland belt worthless to small farmers, whose mainstay was the keeping of sheep on the mountains.

Well on in the nineteenth century corn was shorn with the sickle and threshed with the flail ; consequently more labour was needed. There were more cottages of the class of people that worked on the land, and in part followed the herring fishery. With the introduction of the scythe and water-driven threshing-mills, this class continued. About 1860 reaping-machines were introduced, and gradually the steam threshing-machine. With the rapid advance in agricultural machines and the failure of the herring fishery, the agricultural labourer class has also all but disappeared, and there is a steady decline of population in the rural districts.

Till the nineteenth century flax was grown for home use; and carding, fulling, and dye mills for the manu facture of flannel and homespuns were numerous. All this is now changed.

Lime and sea-wrack were the fertilisers formerly used, as well as farmyard manure ; and in the Northern Plain, marl. But their use has declined with the introduction of guanos and patent manures. Since the growing of corn ceased to be remunerative marl has quite gone out of use.

Around the towns the farms are mostly engaged in supplying fresh milk for town consumption. Cheese, formerly made in considerable quantity throughout the island, is made no longer; and even butter is very much less made than a quarter of a century ago. The tendency is for the farmer to raise stock, both for the excellent market provided by the requirements of the summer visiting season, and for export. Agricultural horses are of the Clydesdale and Shire breeds. The main crops are oats, turnips, potatoes, and hay; and much attention is given to pasture grasses. Market-gardening is carried on for the local markets ; but in the holiday season much garden produce is imported by the daily steamers from Liverpool. Stone fruits will not ripen, except under glass. Cherries have been tried in Rushen Abbey gardens but with too little success to encourage the attempt elsewhere. Formerly the country farms had apple orchards ; but a few neglected trees are now the only vestige of this old-time cultivation. The mild autumns and winters of the island are attested by the ubiquitous fuchsia, but the cold and late springs do not favour gardening. Excellent strawberries, grown under the protection of high garden walls, may be said to be one of the main garden crops of the island; and there is everywhere abundance of gooseberries, and red and black currants.

The island is generally very bare of timber : the total acreage of woods on the island being only just 1000 acres. The best wooded districts are around Douglas, and from Ramsey along the foot of the Lezayre hills to Sulby. The central valley from Douglas to Peel is fairly well wooded in parts, And especially that part of it which lies in the parish of Kirk Patrick. There are also woods about Ballasalla and Kirk Arbory, but their actual acreage is small. Plantations of larch cover the largest acreage, on the hills in Lezayre, at Injebreck in Kirk Braddan, at Glen Helen in Kirk German, and on three hill-slopes recently planted by the Crown at Greeba, Archollaghan, and South Barule.

Upland Farms, Glen Auldyn
Upland Farms, Glen Auldyn

The rent of agricultural land ranges from 20s. to 35s. an acre ; though higher rents are paid, especially for small areas of accommodation land near the towns. There is no land on the island capable of producing pasture comparable with that of land in Ireland, such as the rich lands of County Meath. The mountain districts, or Crown Commons, are in the hands of sheep-farmers, at rentals of a few shillings per acre : the obstacle to success in this kind of farming being the heavy loss of stock during the winter and the protracted severity of spring.

The agriculture of the island may be best seen from the following summary of the acreage under different crops. For 1909 the figures are :-oats, 19,180 acres; barley, 2192 ; wheat, 374 ; peas, 88 ; beans, 75 ; rye, 56. The green crops were :-turnips, 7966 acres ; potatoes, 2464 ; mangold, 313 : vetches, 24 ; carrots, 60 ; and cabbage, kohl-rabi, and rape, 574. The clover, sainfoin, and grasses for hay amounted to 9447 acres ; and grasses under rotation, but not for hay, 31,391 acres. The permanent pasture exclusive of heath or mountain land was 20,234 acres.

The total stock of the island was :-sheep, 87,603 ; cattle, 22,688 ; horses, 5987 ; pigs, 3109. The sheep are mainly of Scotch breeds, Southdowns, and Leicesters ; the cattle, Ayrshire and Shorthorn ; the horses, Clydes dale and Shire; and the pigs, Berkshire and mixed breeds.

To indicate the complete change in the agriculture of the island in the past half-century, due to the importation of foreign cereals into England, the Isle of Man about 1860 exported annually 20,000 quarters of wheat ; whereas the total acreage under wheat in 1909 was 374 acres, producing at a moderate estimate considerably less than a tenth part of the amount annually exported 50 years ago.

 


 

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