[from Jefferys A Descriptive Account of the Isle of Man, 1808]
About three miles from the Tynwald Mount, is the town of
It is reckoned the third in the Island, and, from its security and trade, it became a place of importance; but the Duke of Athol parting with the royalties in 1765, this place, which chiefly subsisted by illicit come, lost much of its importance.
There are here, as in other towns in the Isle of Man, shops well stocked with a variety of goods, and a small but most excellent inn, kept by Long. from Carlisle.
is at the extremity of the harbour. It is a rock of great magnitude and height, on the summit of which stand the venerable and picturesque ruins-of Peel Castle, and the ancient cathedral of the Isle, dedicated to St Germain, the first bishop, who lived in the 'fifth century.
Besides the cathedral and castle, on this rocky isle, are scattered round the remains of St Patrick's church. the ancient mansion of the Lords of the Island, and the episcopal palace; hence it may reasonably be concluded that Peel Isle was once the residence of all that was great and venerable in the Island. It now presents to the eye a complete and beautiful ruin; for all its grandeur is fled, and its glory is no more.
In old times, when superstition and its accompanying terrors had so great a sway on the minds of the Manks, Peel Isle, with its ancient castle and venerable churches, was the seat of much traditionary history in the annals of ghosts and hobgoblins; but that which seems to have infused the greatest terror, was the Spectre Hound, called
THE MAUTHE DOOG.
Through one of the chapels there was formerly a passage from the guardroom of the garrison; this was closed, it was said, upon the following occasion:-
An apparition, called in the Manks language Mauthe Doog, in the shape of a large black spaniel, with curled shaggy hair, was used to haunt Peel Castle, and had been frequently seen in every room, but particularly the guard chamber, where, as soon as candles were lighted, it came and lay down before the fire in presence of all the soldiers, who at length, being so accustomed to the sight of it, lost great part of the terror they were seized with at its first appearance; they still, however, retained a certain aNve, as believing it was an evil spirit, which only waited permission to do them hurt, and for that reason forbore swearing, and all profane discourse, while in its company.
But though they endured the shock of such a guest when altogether in a body, none cared to be left alone with it.
It being the custom, therefore, for one of the soldiers to lock the gates of the castle at a certain hour, and carry the keys to the captain, to whose apartment the way led through the chapel, they agreed among themselves, that every night, the man upon duty should be accompanied by the one who was to succeed him upon the following night; and by this means, no man would be exposed singly to the danger, for as the Mauthe Door, was always seen to come out from that passage at the close of the day, and return to it again as soon as the morning dawned, that place was looked upon as its peculiar residence.
One night a fellow being drunk, and by the strength of the liquor rendered more daring than usual, laughed at the simplicity of his companions; and though it was not his turn to go with the keys, would needs take that office upon him to testify his courage.
All the soldiers endeavoured to dissuade him; but the more they said, the more resolute he seemed, and swore, that he desired nothing more, than that the Mauthe Doog, would follow him, as it had done the others; for he would then try if it were dog or devil.
After having talked in a very re" probate manner for some time, he snatched up the keys, and went out of the guard room. In some time after his departure, a great noise was heard, but nobody had the boldness to see what occasioned it, till the adventurer returning, they demanded the knowledge of him; but as loud and noisy as he had been at leaving them, he was-now become sober and silent enough, for he was never heard to speak more; and though all the time he continued to live, which was but three days, he was entreated by all that came near him, either to speak, or, if he could not do that, to snake some signs, by which they might understand what had happened to him, yet nothing intelligible could be got from him, only that, by the distortion of his limbs and features, it might be guessed that he died in agonies more than are common to a natural death.
The Mauthe Doog was, however, never after seen in the castle, nor could any one be persuaded to go through that passage; for which reason it was closed up, and another way made.
This story was universally believed, and many attested that they had seen the Mauthe Doog times more numerous than they had hairs upon their head.
Mr Walter Scott, in his popular work of " The Lay of the last Minstrel." makes the following allusion to the Mauthe Doog:
" But none of all th'astonish'd train " Were so dismay'd as Deloraine: " His blond did freeze, his brain did burn, " 'Twas fear'd his mind would ne'er return; " For he was speechless, ghastly, wan, " Like him of whom the story ran, " Who spoke the spectre Hound in Man."
Dr. Wilson was the last bishop of Sodor and Man, who was enthroned in the choir of Peel cathedral, the roof of which has now entirely fallen in.