[from Jenkinson's Practical Guide, 1874]
CASTLETOWN, formerly called Russin, or Rushen, derives its modern appellation from the fact that it contains a fine old castle (Castle Rushen), the ancient stronghold of the island. The principal hotels are the George, and Union.
Although the town has a population of only 2318, it is the Manx metropolis ; and here, until about twenty-five years ago, resided the Lords and Lieutenant-Governors of Man. It presents an air of quiet respectability, the natural result of being the seat of government for centuries ; but since the Governors have lived in the thriving town of Douglas it has gradually lost much of its importance.
The harbour, situated between the stone and swing bridges, is small, but safe, 45001. having recently been expended in deepening it, and twenty-five years ago a substantial lime-stone pier, 200 yards in length, was erected.
In the Market Square is a monument erected to the memory of Colonel Cornelius Smelt, who died in 1832, after having occupied the position of Lieutenant-Governor of the island for twenty-eight years.
A remarkable sun-dial, which formerly stood on the site of Smelts monument, is now placed a few yards distant. We consider this dial as perhaps the greatest curiosity on the island, although it is rarely if ever noticed, and none of the inhabitants appear to know anything of its history. It is a solid stone ball inscribed with thirteen dial-faces, each differently marked, covering almost every part of it, and is said not only to tell the time of day, but also the time of night by moonlight.
On one side of the Market Place are the Barracks, where are situated about fifty men of the 22nd Regiment of Infantry, the only soldiers on the island.
On the opposite side of the Market Place is the Custom House, and at the southern end is St. Marys chapel, built in 1826, on the site of one erected in 1698 by Bishop Wilson. A still more ancient Christian church is thought to have existed on this spot, and also a heathen temple in the time of the Romans. When the foundation was being made for the present building, a pedestal of freestone was discovered, in a square hollow of which were some Roman coins. This pedestal is supposed to have been the foundation-stone of a temple, or to have been surmounted by a beautiful Roman altar, which is now placed in the Castle, and has at various times been moved about. Until lately the altar was in the grounds of Lorn House, then the residence of the Governors, and previously we read of it having been in the House of Keys, and in a niche inside the Castle wall. Bishop Wilson tells us there was a tradition that it was brought from the Roman station of Ellenborough, near Maryport, in Cumberland, but for this there appears to have been no better foundation than that similar altars have been found there. The likeliest supposition is that it was originally fixed in Castletown.
A small unassuming building, with two pillars at the door in front, standing nearly opposite the entrance to the Castle, has been the place of meeting of the House of Keys since 1706, before which time they assembled in the Castle.
The principal, and almost the sole attraction in the town, is the Castle, which is in a fine state of preservation, and almost as fresh as when built. It is massive, and a grand model of the strongholds of the middle ages, resembling, according to some authors, the castle of Elsinore, in Denmark. It is composed of limestone blocks, taken either from the shore close by, or from the quarry at Scarlet Point ; and the timber is said to have been from Anglesey. Although this limestone is very durable, it is difficult to believe the statement, made by many historians, that the Castle was erected almost in its present form in 960, by King Guthred, or Godred, the second of the Orrys. He is said to be buried within its walls some think in a small tomb in the chapel, whilst others main-tam it is not known in what part of the Castle he was interred.
The date of the building may be 960, but most of the present structure seems not older than the 13th or 14th century, although its original form of a plain square keep points to the period of Newcastle and Rochester castles.
It has suffered several sieges. One by Robert Bruce, or, as some write, his brother Edward, in 1313, when it was defended for more than a fortnight, and then demolished ; Train and some other historians are in error in stating that it was defended six months. We are also told that in 1094 the Welsh destroyed a castle in the Isle of Man ; perhaps identical with this one, after its erection by Godred.
In 1816, when some alterations were being made, the date 947 was found on an old oak beam, and this has been considered to fix the time of the foundation of the building.
The keep of the Castle is circumvallated by a battlement 25 feet high, and 9 feet thick, with seven square towers at irregular intervals. Exterior to this is a fosse or moat, now filled up, and partially used as a garden. Outside of the moat is a glacis, erected, it is said, by Cardinal Wolsey. This evidently means that it was built during the period when the Cardinal and others acted as trustees for the youth Edward, afterwards third Earl of Derby, and Lord of Man. At three several points in this glacis were formerly round towers or redoubts, now in ruins. The only remaining specimen of them is seen on the north-western side near the harbour.
It is difficult to understand how the ditch was supplied with water, as the river and sea are now much lower, but the sea is supposed to have been in those days at a higher level, which hypothesis is borne out by observations in other parts of the island. It is, however, stated that a few years since some wooden pipes were discovered conducting water to the Castle from a reservoir on the higher ground.
The clock on the southern tower was presented by Queen Elizabeth in 1597, when she was holding the island in trust, whilst the claims between the rival heirs of the Earls of Derby were being litigated. It is of simple construction, having only three wheels, and keeps excellent time, apparently none the worse for its two hundred and seventy-seven years of work.
Waldron says, " Just at the entrance of the Castle is a great stone chair for the Governor, and two lesser for the Deemsters. Here they try all civil cases. When you are past this little court, you enter into a long winding passage between two high walls, not much unlike what is described of Rosamonds labyrinth at Woodstock. In case of attack, ten thousand men might be destroyed by a very few in attempting to enter." We are told that it was here, in the open space between the portcullis and the keep, that Henry Byron, Lieutenant-Governor to Sir John Stanley the second, held a court of all the Commons of Man, in 1430.
The keep, which was the ancient residence of the kings of Man, comprises a square, from which rise four towers, con-taming altogether thirty-five compartments, including a chapel and banqueting-room. At its northern extremity is a lofty portcullis, passing which is an open court (with a well in the centre), into which all the doors and windows and inner staircases open from the various stories of the building. The outer windows are narrow casements, and comparatively few. The walls are 12 feet thick at the base and 9 feet at the summit. The northern tower is 80 feet high, and the other three 70 feet. The later additions to the Castle were erected in 1644, and contain the Court House and Council Chamber, and the Rolls Office, where the Law and Tynwald Courts are held, and records kept, and which were formerly occupied as a residence by the Derby family, and by the Governors and Lieutenant-Governors of the isle to the time of the late Lieu-tenant-Governor General John Ready.
On the left of the portcullis is the room where Bishop Wilson was confined, and here the visitor enters his name in a book, and pays 2d. for admission to the keep. On gaining the open court the rooms on the right are those which were occupied by the Countess of Derby when she was kept a prisoner by the Parliamentary forces, after the surrender of the island to the Commonwealth. Male felons are now confined there, female offenders being on the opposite side of the keep. The Castle is used as the common prison of the island.
The tourist is allowed to ascend to the summit of the southern tower, where he obtains a beautiful and extensive prospect. At his feet are the town and adjoining bay. More distant, southwards, are the Burrow and Eye Rock, the Calf of Man, Spanish Head, Mull Hills, and Port St. Mary. On the opposite side of the hollow, where rests Port Erin, are Milner Tower and Brada Head, and the Mourne mountains in Ireland are discerned on the distant horizon. Then the Carnanes, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, South Barrule, and intermediate country crowded with farmsteads. In the opposite direction are Hango Hill, Ronaldsway, Derby Haven, the fort and chapel on St. Michaels Isle, and the tower and peninsula of Langness.
Tradition tells of a dungeon in the Castle for prisoners, who were lowered into it by ropes, or descended by a ladder; there was not the least glimmer of light admitted into it, except that which penetrated through the chinks of its covering.
There are vaults contiguous to the harbour which appear to have given rise to many fabulous accounts. Some of the islanders firmly believe that they lead to a beautiful country underground, inhubited by giants. Amongst the many tales they relate is the following : Several efforts having been made to explore the passages, which in general proved unsuccessful, a number of daring young fellows agreed to attempt the enterprise in company. Having armed them-selves with staves, &c., and procuring torches, they dc. mended. After proceeding a little way they found an old man of great size, with a long beard, and blind, sitting on a rock as if fixed there. He, hearing them approach, inquired of them as to the state of the island, and at last asked one to put forth his hand, on which one of them gave him a plough-share which he had, when the old giant squeezed the iron together with the greatest ease, exclaiming at the same time, " There are yet men in the Isle of Man." This is often said when anything has been done of a more difficult nature than usual.
Waldron says, " There is an apartment in the Castle of Rushen which has never been opened in the memory of man. The persons belonging to the Castle are very cautious in giving any reason for it, but the natives, who are excessively superstitious, assign this, that there is something enchanting in it. They tell you that the Castle was first inhabited by fairies, and afterwards by giants, who continued in the possession of it till the days of Merlin, who by force of magic dislodged the greater part of them, and bound the rest in spells, which they believe will be indissoluble to the end of the world. For proof of this, they tell you a very odd story-. They say there are a great number of fine apartments underground, exceeding in magnificence any of the upper rooms. Several men of more than ordinary courage have in former times ventured to explore the secrets of this subterranean dwelling-place, but none of them ever returned to give any account of what they saw. It was therefore judged expedient that all the passages to it should be kept continually shut, that no more might suffer by their temerity. About half a century ago a person possessed of uncommon boldness and resolution begged permission to visit these dark abodes.
He at length obtained his request, went down, and returned by the help of a clue of packthread which he took with him, which no man before himself had ever done, and brought this amazing discovery :That after having passed through a great number of vaults he came into a long narrow place, which the farther he penetrated he perceived that he went more and more on a descent ; till, having travelled, as near as he could guess, for the space of a mile, he began to see a gleam of light, which, though it seemed to come from a vast distance, was the most delightful object he ever beheld. Having at length arrived at the end of that lane of darkness, he perceived a large and magnificent house, illuminated with many candles, whence proceeded the light which he had seen. Having, before he began the exploration,well fortified himself with brandy, he had courage to knock at the door, which, on the third knock, was opened by a servant, who asked him what he wanted. I would go as far as I can, replied our adventurer ; be so kind, therefore, as to direct me how to accomplish my design, for I see no passage but that dark cavern through which I came. The servant told him that he must go through that house, and accordingly led him through a long entry, and out at a back door. He then walked a considerable way, till he beheld another house more magnificent than the first ; and, all the windows being open, discovered innumerable lamps burning in every room. Here also he designed to knock ; but he had the curiosity to step on a little bank which commanded a view of a low parlour, and looking in, he beheld a vast table in the middle of the room, and on it extended at full length a man, or rather monster, at least fourteen feet long and ten or twelve round the body. This prodigious fabric lay as if sleeping, with his head upon a book, and a sword by him, of a size answerable to the hand which he supposed made use of it. This sight was more terrifying to our traveller than all the dark and dreary passages through which he had passed. He resolved, therefore, not to attempt an entrance into a place inhabited by persons of such monstrous stature, and made the best of his way back to the other house, which was opened to him by the same servant as before, who informed him that if he had knocked at the second door he would have seen company enough, but could never have returned. On which he desired to know what place it was, and by whom possessed ; the other replied that these things were not to be revealed. He then took his leave ; and by the same dark passage got into the vaults, and soon afterwards once more ascended to the light of the sun."
Waldron also tells us :" A mighty bustle they make of an apparition which they say haunts Castle Rushen in the form of a woman, who was some years since executed for the murder of her child. I have heard not only persons who have been confined there for debt, but also the soldiers of the garrison, affirm they have seen it at various times ; but what I took most notice of was the report of a gentleman of whose good understanding, as well as veracity, 1 have a very great opinion. He told me, that happening to be abroad late one night, and caught in an excessive storm of wind and rain, he saw a woman standing before the Castle gate, where, being not the least shelter, it something surprised him that anybody, much less one of that sex, should not rather run to some little porch or shed, of which there are several in Castletown, than choose to stand still, exposed and alone to such a dreadful tempest ; his curiosity excited him to draw nearer, that he might discover who it was that seemed so little to regard the fury of the elements ; but as he proceeded she retreated, and at last he thought she went into the Castle, though the gates were shut. This obliging him to think he had seen a spirit, he went home very much terrified ; but next day, on relating his adventure to some people who lived in the Castle, and describing as near as he could the garb and stature of the apparition, they told him it was that of the woman above-mentioned, who had been frequently seen by the soldiers on guard to pass in and out of the gates of the Castle, though they were locked and bolted, as well as to walk through the rooms, though there was no visible way of entering. But though she is so familiar to the eye of the inmates of the Castle, no person has yet, however, had the courage to speak to her ; and as they say a spirit has no power to reveal its mind without being conjured to do so in a proper manner, the reason of her being permitted to wander is unknown."
No wonder this is the favourite walk of the Castletown people, for the lovely, ever-changing, and extensive prospects which it commands are equal to any on the island. Not an inch of the ground is monotonous, and, there being no hills, the traveller is free from toil, whilst the sea washes pleasantly at his feet, amongst low jagged rocks, and a pure healthy breeze imparts to him an exhilarating and joyous feeling. It will also be found especially interesting to the geological student.
The distance to Scarlet Point is 1 mile, and thence to Poolvash Bay 2 miles ; from Poolvash to Castletown, by footpath passing Balladoole House, 1½ miles, and by road 2 miles, thus making the walk 4½ or 5 miles ; but if the journey be continued round by Strandhall the distance will be increased to 6 miles.
From the Market Square turn round St. Marys church, and down Queen street. After proceeding a few yards the Scarlet Point appears, and is unmistakable, as it has a lime-kiln upon it. The road runs along the shore of the Castle-town Bay, with the Langness peninsula on the opposite side. In the rear is a fine view of Castletown, with the church, castle, college, Hango Hill, and Derby Haven. On passing the houses of Knock-Rushen, Sea Mount, and Scarlet Farm, Castletown presents a picturesque appearance, and the heights of South Barrule and Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa are well displayed in the distance.
The waves wash over smooth sloping beds of limestone, and near the limekiln are quarries whence the principal stone has been obtained for the buildings in the adjoining town. Here the view is very beautiful, the eye ranging over a wide extent of country, bounded by the Mull Hills, Brada Head, the Carnanes, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, and South Barrule. The northern mountains of the island, including Greeba, Carraghan, and Snaefell, appear well clustered together, and form a fine background to Castletown and its bay, at the head of which the college, facing in this direction, is seen to great advantage. Sweeping round to the east we have the white-washed cottages of Derby Haven, then the fort and ruined oratory on St. Michaels Isle, and the round tower on Langness.
The rock called the Stack of Scarlet now presents a rugged, jagged appearance, standing 40 feet above the ocean, and at high tide being completely surrounded by the waves. It is said to be composed of basalt from an ancient submarine volcano ; and the stranger will at once remark that the wild picturesque rocks extending from it westward along the shore are of the same material. Cumming tells us that the basalt was pushed through the limestone, and has contorted the ad-joining beds ; but, judging from a cursory glance, we are inclined to doubt the correctness of this statement, and to believe that, if the Stack and neighbouring rocks be basaltic, they existed before the limestone was deposited, and that the latter has not been disturbed. If the Stack Rock be of later origin, then we believe it will be found to be of the same geological era as the limestone, and to have flowed over the latter as molten lava, in the bed of an ancient ocean.
Leaving this problem in the hands of our geological friends for solution, we will continue our ramble westwards, along pleasant smooth ground, covered with short grass. The sea rushes with great fury amongst the rocks, and the view now extends to the Burrow and Eye Rock, the Calf Islet, and the bold headland of Spanish Head.
A quarter of a mile from the Stack there is a path in the rocks, familiarly known as Cromwells Walk, but how it derived that appellation we have failed to learn. Cromwell was never on the island, but some of the Parliamentary forces were here for a time. This spot will often be visited by Strangers sojourning in Castletown, for it commands a prospect of great excellence, and the air is remarkably pure and invigorating. The sea breaks wildly upon the rocks, and over the broad expanse of Port St. Mary bay are seen the lighthouse on the Chickens, the Burrow Bock, and Spanish Head ; whilst inland are Brada Head, Milner Tower, the Carnanes, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, South Barrule, Greeba, and Snaefell ; the land rising gradually from the sea to their Summits, and dotted with innumerable houses. Castletown presents a pretty appearance with its castle, church, college, and mill, and the circle is completed by the Langness and Scarlet promontories.
Crossing a stile close to a gate the traveller wends his way over smooth grass-covered land, with charming prospects in every direction. Indescribably lovely is the scene when the sun shines on the crests of the waves in the bay and lights up the houses on all the hill-sides, and the sea comes rolling in amongst the rocks, forming beautiful silvery spray. After proceeding some distance and arriving at Poolvash there is a remarkable change, and the scene presents a wildness and desolateness which, though on a small scale, it is impossible to realize from mere description. Here are the Poolvash lime-stone or marble quarries, possessing a sort of historical celebrity from having furnished the steps which ascend to the entrance of St. Pauls Cathedral in London. It is a black marble, and is often wrought into chimney-pieces, tomb-stones, &c., but it does not take a natural polish in consequence of its soft character. By varnish, however, it is made to look not much inferior to the best Derbyshire black marble.
Not far from the quarries are some cottages which the tourist having passed he may continue along the shore for 4 mile to Strandhall, noticing on the way a salt spring, which is said to be filled from the sea at high water, and continues to run as a salt stream some hours after the ebb of the tide. Near this spring the geologist may obtain an abundance of fossils. At Strandhall the road running between Castletown and Port St. Mary is entered. From Poolvash, Castletown may be gained by following a road which leads past the Balladoole House. At the latter place the wall may be crossed at a stone step-stile, and a clean carriage-road entered conducting into the main road for Castletown.
On leaving Castletown cross the river Silver Burn at the stone or footbridge, and after proceeding a few yards on the Douglas Road with the College, Hango Hill, the houses at Derby Haven, and the peninsula and tower of Langness in view, branch to the right, and pass the houses called The Green. The road runs along the shore, having in retrospect a view of Castletown, the castle, church, lighthouse, and Stack of Scarlet.
After a walk of ¾ mile the picturesque ruin is reached which stands on the mound known as Hango Hill, or Mount Strange, the latter name being taken from one of the titles of the Derby family. The mound is year after year being washed away by the waves, and human bones are daily exposed, so that it must have been an ancient burying-ground, in all probability before the erection upon it of the building, generally termed a Blockhouse, as bones appear beneath the foundation of the ruins.
It is said to have been the place of execution of criminals in former times (hence called Hango Hill), and is now principally memorable as the scene of the execution of William Christian, called by the Manx people " Illiam Dhone," who was shot here for treason, January 2nd, 1662.
William Christian held high positions under the seventh Earl of Derby, during the period of the struggle in England between Charles I. and the Parliament, and when the Earl went over to England to take part in the battle of Worcester, he left the Countess of Derby to act as Regent ; and Christian, who was Receiver-General, was made Captain-Genera of the militia of the island. The Earl was taken prisoner by the Parliamentary forces, and beheaded at Bolton, in 1651 ; eight days after the execution the islanders rose in rebellion, and persuaded Christian to present their petition of grievances to the Countess, which principally referred to the " tenure of the straw," that is, the uncertain tenure by which they held their lands, and the free quarterage of the soldiers. The Countess granted their petition. Though no doubt a faithful servant to the Derby family, Christian appears to have sympathised with the people, and to have used his influence with the Countess, with the view of securing their attachment to her, and their co-operation in the defence of the island. Soon afterwards the Parliamentary forces appeared under the command of Colonel Duckenfleld, and the island was surrendered, and the Countess became a prisoner.
Christian was made Receiver-General and Governor of the island, by Lord Fairfax. At the time of the restoration of Charles II. he was in England, but, trusting to the Kings Act of Indemnity, he returned to the Isle of Man, and was at once seized and charged with treason, for having taken part in the insurrection against the government of the Countess, and after a hasty trial was condemned and shot. Immediately afterwards an order arrived from Charles II. to stay the execution and bring Christian to London for trial.
It has been said that blankets were spread on the green under his feet, that not a drop of blood should be spilt when he fell ; others again assert that not a drop of Christians blood issued from his wounds when he fell.
The following entry is in the parish register of Malew : " Mr. William Christian, of Ronaldsway, late Receiver, was shott to death att Hangoe Hill, the 2nd January . He died most penitently and most curragiously, made a good end, prayed earnestly, made an excellent speech, and the next day was buried in the chancele of Malew."
Directly opposite Hango Hill is King Williams College, a stately structure, of mixed early English and Elizabethan character, erected at a cost of 65721. The foundation stone was laid on April 23rd, 1830, by Lieut.-Governor Smelt, and the College was opened for the reception of students on August 1st, 1833, receiving its name from his majesty King William IV. by his express permission.
Its length is 210 feet, and at right angles runs a transept containing the chapel, some class-rooms and private studies, the depth of the building in this direction being 135 feet. In the centre rises a massive tower to the height of 115 feet.
Perhaps we may trace the origin of the structure to the seventh Earl of Derby, who was executed at Bolton in 1651. In a letter written in 1643, to his son Charles, he says, " I had a design, and God may enable me to set up an university without much charge (as I have contrived it) which may much oblige the nations round about us. It may get friends unto the country, and enrich this land. This certainly would please God and man." His own troubles and the disorders of the time prevented him from carrying out this laudable intention, but a few years afterwards Bishop Barrow, out of moneys collected in England in aid of the poor clergy, &c., had 6001. remaining, which he directed should be applied towards furnishing a master for the proposed academic institution. He also bequeathed a sum of 201. per annum arising from his estates of Ballagilley and Hango Hill for the maintenance of three boys at the school, should it be founded ; and, in default of this, towards the maintenance of two youths at some university. The Barrow Trust Estate now brings in a revenue of about 6001. per annum, and is expended on the endowment of eighteen scholarships, tenable in the College itself, ranging in value from 101. to 251. per annum each : and of four exhibitions, to the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, or Dublin, for students intending to take holy orders, and willing to serve for a time in the Mann Church.
This endowment has been considerably increased by sub-sequent benefaction, and the trustees supplement it by supporting, out of the ordinary school income, two open exhibitions, of the value of 401. per annum each, to the Universities, and five open scholarships of 201. per annum each, tenable in the school itself.
By a scheme recently devised and carried out, the College and the grammar-schools of the island are brought into partial co-operation.
The governing body of the College is made up of ex officio members, viz., the Lieutenant-Governor, the Bishop, the Attorney-General, the First IDeemster, the Clerk of the Rolls, and the Archdeacon, or the two chief ecclesiastical, and four chief civil functionaries of the island.
The present principal is the Rev. Joshua Jones, D.C.L., of Lincoln College, and late Senior Mathematical and Johnson Mathematical Scholar, Oxford. There is a staff of ten masters.
The course of education is that usually given in the public and highest class grammar-schools.
The College was much damaged by fire in 1844, and a valuable library was almost wholly consumed ; some of the volumes had constituted the original library in the Grammar School, Castletown, and had been given by Bishop Wilson. The cost of repairing the building was 38001., it being insured to the amount of 20001., and 18001. was raised by subscription.
The new library contains contributions from Bishop Short, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, British and Foreign Bible Society, and the Parker Society ; also several curiosities from old pupils, and a collection of geological specimens, made and arranged by a former vice-principal, the late Rev. J. G. Cumming, M.A.
Between Hango Hill and Derby Haven there is a long strip of level ground close to the shore, extending nearly a mile across the peninsula of Langness, and covered with short herbage. It will be looked at with interest by many visitors, for here the seventh Earl of Derby, who succeeded to the royalty of Man in 1627, instituted races, known as the " Manx Derby," the precursor of the celebrated race, " The Derby" of the English turf. The latter was first run for in 1780, and thus the Manx Derby was the senior of its now renowned namesake by about a century and a half. it is interesting in the present day, when the " Derby " has attained a world-wide fame, to trace it up to its origin in this out of the way spot, where a party of English noblemen and gentry, exiled from their fatherland, used to assemble together on the 28th July to witness the race run by horses bred in the Isle of Man, or in the Calf Island, for the silver cup, instituted as a prize by the Earl of Derby. The Clerk of the Rolls, a Member of the Supreme Council of the isle, held the office of steward of the races, and every person intending to compete had to deposit in his hand for every running horse, mare, or gelding, the sum of five shillings towards augmenting the plate for the year following, and one shilling to the steward for entering their names and engrossing the articles.
From the Race Course the traveller at once enters the pleasant little fishing village of Derby Haven, situate 14 miles from Castletown, where there is the finest natural harbour on the island. In the middle of the harbour is a breakwater, and on the right of which is a causeway connecting the peninsula of Langness with
Upon this little isle is the ancient chapel of St. Michael, and an old circular fort, named Derby Fort, both in ruins. The little chapel is of great antiquity, and around it is a grave-yard where Roman Catholics are sometimes interred, the last burial being about six years ago. Shipwrecked mariners were also interred there until within recent years, but they are now taken to Malew church.
The circular embattled fort is stated by Train in his History to have been erected in 1603, but others think it was built by the seventh Earl of Derby, as over the doorway is a date, rather indistinct, but thought to be 1650. The thick-ness of the walls is 8 feet. Thirty years ago it was furnished with four iron cannons. A turret has been raised upon the wall on the eastern side as a lighthouse, in which, during the herring season, a light is kept burning from sunset to sunrise.
From Derby Haven it is a pleasant stroll past Ronaldsway and by the side of the Santon Burn river to Santon church. In the graveyard are two or three noteworthy tombstones, and in the church, close to the old font, which has recently been removed from an adjoining garden, where it had lain neglected for some time, has been placed an ancient inscribed stone which was found close to the church when digging for repairs, but for some time afterwards was used as a lintel over a doorway in a neighbouring outhouse. The inscription is in characters resembling the old Teutonic, and seems to be " Avit. Monoment," which is thought to be intended for " Avitum Monomentuin "the Tomb of Ancestors.
A large flat rough stone, called the " Great Broad Stone," which covers the remains of six clergymen of the name of Cosnahan, four of whom were vicars of Santon. A few years ago some antiquaries had the stone raised, and accidentally broke it when it was being lowered to its original position. It bears no inscription, but an adjoining stone gives particulars of the ages, and the dates of the decease of the clergymen. Singular to note, the title " Sir" is prefixed to some of the names, it being the custom in ancient times for the vicars and curates to be so styled, the title being in all probability the translation of Dominus, the designation of those who had taken their first degree in the University. Some say the clergy bore the title as " the Popes Knights," and others maintain it is merely a translation of the older form, Magister. We have in Shakespeare " Sir Hugh " in the Merry Wives of Windsor, " Sir Topas " in Twelfth Night, " Sir Oliver" in As You Like It, and " Sir Nathaniel " in Loves Labour Lost. But that this title is quite distinct from knighthood is plain from what Viola says in Twelfth Night " I am one that had rather go with Sir Priest than Sir Knight."
On another tombstone, erected to the memory of Daniel Teare, who died in 1707, at the age of 110 years, is the following epitaph, said to have been written by an Attorney-General of the Isle of Man :
" Here, friend, is little Daniels tomb:
To Josephs age he did arrive,
Sloth killing thousands in their bloom,
While labour kept poor Dan alive.
How strange, yet true, full seventy years
Was his wife happy in her tears."
Having strolled round Scarlet Point the stranger will be anxious to visit the neighbouring promontory of Langness, which he will find a delightful spot, presenting views exceedingly picturesque. To the geologist it is a place of pre-eminent interest, for there he can trace the regular passage from the Silurian through the old red conglomerate to the carboniferous series of rocks.
The whole distance from Castletown to the extreme point of the peninsula, and back again by the northern shore, and Derby Haven, is 7 miles.
On crossing the river by the stone bridge, or the iron swing footbridge, the road runs along the shore, past the Green, the College, and the ruins on Hango Hill. Here it is well to deviate and walk near the shore along the smooth green land known as the Race Course. The old fort and chapel on St. Michaels Isle appear, and the rock-bound coast past Derby Haven and Ronaldsway as far as St. Anns Head.
The traveller passes some sand-hills which cover the two or three hundred yards of low land composing the isthmus which separates the Castletown and Derby Haven bays. When past Langness farmhouse, the Chickens lighthouse and the Burrow and Eye rock appear, and presently the scenery around is of the finest description, there being a magnificent land view which embraces almost the entire mountain range of the island, whilst below are some exquisitely picturesque chasms. When the stranger first comes upon the beauties of this spot he will be delighted with the sea-side grottoes, romantic arches, grotesque pillars and pinnacles of rock, which the sea, when at a higher relative level with the land, has made by dashing against the beds of the old red conglomerate.
There is a tradition regarding the existence in former ages of a splendid city at Langness, which is supposed to be still sometimes seen from the hills, raising its gilded turrets and bristling battlements above the surface of the waves.
Much time might be spent on the southern extremity of this peninsula by the geologist, and the lover of picturesque scenery, for there the sea eddies and foams amongst slate rocks of the Silurian era, which are exceedingly wild, and will to many persons be most interesting, as upon them rest unconformably the old red conglomerate.
Returning by the northern shore we quickly arrive at a building possessing the characteristics of the round towers of Ireland, but which we are informed was erected as a landmark by the English Government in 1818, and the wonder is that it is not now used as a lighthouse, for Langness has been the scene of many shipwrecks. it is 60 feet high, and is ascended by spiral steps ; the inside of the building is in ruins, there being no room or floor remaining.
The prospect around the base is extensive and beautiful, and embraces the Chickens and Burrow rocks, the Calf Islet, Spanish Head, Mull Hills, Mimer Tower, Brada Head, the Carnanes, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, South Barrule, Greeba, and Snaefell ; and at the feet of these heights a wide extent of smiling country stretching to the sea. Nearer the spectator are Scarlet Point, Castletown, the College, Derby Haven, and the coast as far as St. Anns Head, tvith Douglas Head beyond.
The return journey may include a visit to the old fort and chapel on St. Michaels isle, and the fishing hamlet of Derby Haven.
A coach leaves Castletown every week-day at 12 noon and 6 P.M. for Port St. Mary. Fare 6d.
After quitting the Market Square the antique-looking ruins of a flour windmill (damaged by fire some years since) are passed, and presently the hills are seen extending from the Burrow rock, past Spanish Head, the Mull Hills, Brada Head, the Carnanes, and Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, to South Barrule, with most of the southern part of the island in sight, stretching from their feet to the sea ; whilst in the far distance are the heights of Greeba, Carraghan, Pen-y-Pot, Snaefell, and North Barule. Malew church is a prominent object at some distance on the right.
When the slight ascent of Crosswilken hill is made there is a pleasant retrospective view of Castletown and the College, and a few yards farther Port St. Mary bay bursts into view, with that romantic fishing village resting on the opposite side, at the foot of the Mull Hills. Milner Tower is a prominent object on Brada Head, revealing the hollow in which rests Port Erin, though from this point out of sight.
At Strandhall the road touches the shore, and runs pleasantly for 14 miles by the edge of the bay, and close to the waves, with a fine view of the country on the right, stretching to the base of the mountains, and scattered all over with Pleasant-looking houses and hamlets.
A mansion called Kentraugh, surrounded by trees, is on the right, the residence of Mrs. Gawne, and on the opposite side of the road is a warren of black rabbits.
Port St. Mary bay is subdivided into smaller bays, the first that is passed being called Strandhall bay, and the next Mount Gawne bay. On the shore of the latter is a comfort. able hotel and lodging-house combined. A shoal of rocks, visible at low water, in the middle of the bay, is called " The Carrick."
When beyond Mount Gawne house, the road leaves the shore at some buildings called the Smelt Mill, so named owing to the Dukes of Athol having formerly used the place for smelting lead from the neighbouring mines of Ballacorkish, Brada Head, and Fistard. Here is also a flour-mill, driven both by water and steam-power.
A large upright stone is observed in a field on the right hand, and another on the hill-side behind the Ballacreggan farm. They are designated the Giants Quoiting Stones, and are said to have been thrown by a giant from the neighbouring heights.
Here four roads meet, the right-hand leading to Port Erin, the direct road to Craignaish ; the left, which leads to Port St. Mary, less than 4 mile distant, commands an excellent view over the bay as far as Scarlet Point and Castletown.
The Chasms are upon the cliffs overlooking the sea, on the east side of the Mull Hills, 14 miles from Port St. Mary, and near to Spanish Head.
They are curious, and being in an extremely wild and romantic situation, are well deserving a visit. Those who have had their expectations raised by the exaggerated accounts to be met with in some histories and guide-books, will probably be disappointed by the actual appearance of what have been styled " the greatest attraction in all the island."
They are deep rents in the rock, and are evidently the result of an immense landslip, caused by the sea having undermined the base of the high perpendicular cliffs.
Some of the openings are more than a yard wide, and are deep, though they appear to narrow as they proceed down-wards. At the top they are overgrown with gorse and heather, and it behoves the tourist to thread his way amongst them with care, lest he should step into one of the crevices. Although the simple and natural result of a landslip, such as might be expected amongst the immense cliffs existing on this part of the coast, they appear to have been looked upon as the effect of the action of a volcano or earthquake.
It is amusing to read with what wonder and mystery these chasms have been treated. From one book we extract the following :" Rent asunder by the great upheaval which caused these phenomena, the high headland, on whose shattered face you now tread with such caution and curiosity, affords unmistakable proofs of the giant powers of nature in travail. The action of the subterranean volcano is seen in the ashy scoriæ as far as Castletown. This elevated cliff was once below the ocean, and the twelve chasms which you see are the effects of hidden central fires. Sometimes parallel, but generally in all directions, spreading longitudinally, latitudinally, and diagonally - these great, misshapen, rugged fissures (frequently not a yard broad, but many yards in length) penetrate I know not how far. Your eye cannot search their depths. They are unknown. In many places the sides of these terrible chasms are as cleanly split as though with a knife, and thus, rising perpendicularly, their depths awe you, when, gazing down hundreds of feet, you can per-ceive no bottom, but only a continuation of darkness and mystery. The chasms divide the mountain into gigantic blocks, a barren unproductive area, where little verdure is visible, or can be expected."
From Port St. Mary the Chasms may be visited by boat, by carriage, or on foot. The journey by sea is most romantic. Some grand vertical cliffs are passed, and then a landing is effected in the Bay of Stacka, just beyond the famed Sugar Loaf rock, and equidistant between Port St. Mary and the Calf Islet. A steep climb from the shore leads direct to the point on the summit of the cliffs where the Chasms are situated.
Those who take a carriage can ride to the village of Craignaish, a hamlet on the Mull Hills, 2 miles distant, and thence stroll through the fields for 4 mile. Craignaish is resached by following the first road which branches to the left from the Port Erin road.
Few visitors adopt either of the above plans, but generally walk direct the whole way, a distance of 14 miles. Leaving Port St. Mary by a road on the right, a short distance below Millers Hotel, a gradual ascent is made to the hamlet of Fistard, with Perwick bay below on the left. After passing an old lead mine, the view gradually expands, and embraces most of the southern part of the isle, up to the top of South Barrule, with Castletown, and the promontories of Langness and Scarlet, and intermediate bays. Also on a clear day Wales may be seen.
When at a house which stands alone on the hill, the Chasms will be discovered over the wall on the brow of the cliffs. Threading amongst them until vantage points are obtained for looking down the wild vertical cliffs into the deep sea, 400 feet below, the scene is wondrously grand and impressive. The Sugar Loaf is a fine object, and rocks are strewn in the Stacka Bay in every direction, the relics of masses of cliff which have tumbled in former years, the precursors of others soon to follow.
On leaving these giddy heights, and passing the house,.the Calf Islet comes in view, and the lighthouse on the Chickens Rock. From the high ground in the rear of the house is had an excellent prospect. The Craignaish hamlet, the most southern cluster of houses in the Isle of Man is seen close at hand, and the whole of the Calf Islet is spread to view, with the Burrow and Eye rock, and the Chickens lighthouse. Inland are Brada Head, the Carnanes, Cronk-na-Irey.Lhaa, South Barrule, and beyond the gap where is Fleshwick Bay peers Corrins Tower. A wide extent of level country is visible, with Castletown, the Scarlet and Langness promontories ; and Derby Haven, Castletown, and Poolvash bays. Looming in the distance are the coasts of Ireland and Wales.
The visitor will, in all probability, walk to the Craignaish village, and then descend either to Port St. Mary or Port Erin ; the former is 14, and the latter 2 miles distant. The Sound is well worthy of a visit, being only 4 mile from the village, and sometimes a boat may be had there with which to visit the Calf Islet. Craignaish is generally considered one of the most primitive spots on the island. It consists of two farms, the houses of a shoemaker and joiner, and nine fishermens cottages. Cumming says :" Here the Manx language lingers, and may linger some time longer. Here, if anywhere, we may see the women in their Sunday blanket, a relic of the plaid, and possibly may obtain an old pair of cccrranes, i.e. a Manx shoe formed by placing the foot in the midst of a raw neats hide, cutting round a sufficient quantity, and then drawing it up over the foot, tying it, and leaving it there to dry to the shape. The hair is outside, and the sole is often stuffed with rags or pieces of tarred skin which have been used for buoysto the herring nets."
At Craignaish the visitor may glean strange stories connected with the Glashtin or water-horse, and the Tarroo Ushtey or water-bull, two amphibious creatures which occupy a prominent position in the superstitious mind of the Manxman.
The wife of a respectable farmer in Ramsey told us, that fifteen years ago a person brought news into Ramsey one Sunday afternoon that the Glashtin had been seen in a field near the Ballure Glen, and immediately my informant and hundreds of the inhabitants left the town to catch a sight of the creature, but they were doomed to disappointment. The people around Glen Meay believe that the glen below the waterfall is haunted by the spirit of a man who one day met the Glashtin, and thinking it was an ordinary horse, got upon its back, when it fled to the beach, disappeared in the ocean, and the rider was drowned. These, and similar tales, which may be heard in every part of the island, seem to show that in the mind of the Manxman the Glashtin and Tarroo-Ushtey are absolutely real, and not mythical creatures.
Five hundred yards from Craignaish, in the direction of Port Erin, is a circle of stones, 15 yards in diameter. It is unlike any other stone circle we have met with, in this respect, that, instead of one, there are two rows of upright stones in the circle, about a yard apart ; and these are divided into a number of oblongs, resembling graves, by stones placed about 8 feet apart. We have heard it suggested that the circle was the spot where justice was administered, and in each of these divisions sat one of the judges or jury. From this point may be seen the hills as far as Pen-y-Pot and Snaefell, and a glorious combination of sea and mountain, and cultivated level and upland country, spread over with cottages, hamlets, and farmsteads.
On the south end of the Chasms there is also a small circle of stones about 6 yards in diameter, which we examined with interest, in order to see whether it or the Chasms were the most recent ; thus endeavouring to settle the point whether the Chasms had been formed since the island was inhabited by the human race. We could not satisfy ourselves on this point, for although the circle stands on a sunken part of the cliff, and on the ocean side of a crevice, it rests so snug and perfect that the most likely supposition appeared to us to be that it was made in its present position, and since the landslip.
An old resident at the hamlet of Fistard informed us that about forty years ago he helped to clear away a number of circles and heaps of stones, between Fistard and the Chasms, where had evidently been an ancient village ; and when at work they found a quern, two small stones made of granite, which had evidently been used by those primitive people as mill-stones for grinding the corn by the hand, one exactly fitting into the other. We afterwards saw one of these stones in the garden of Mr. Thomas Lace, of Port St. Mary. The companion stone appears to have been lost.
When descending to Port St. Mary from Craignaish, 4 a mile may be saved by branching to the right at the hamlet of Corvallie.
The Calf is a bare rocky islet, separated from the southern part of the Isle of Man by a channel about 500 yards broad, called the Sound. It is 5 miles round, and contains an area of 616 acres, being bare of trees, and principally covered with gorse and heather. It is famed principally as a rabbit warren, as many as 2000 rabbits being killed in one year ; and upon it, in a depression in the centre, is a farmhouse, around which is a cultivated plot of ground, where may be seen a few cattle and sheep.
In old histories we read that the isle was once garrisoned; and it is said to have had red deer upon it in ancient times, and to have been used as a park, and stocked with fallow-deer, about the beginning of the last century, by one of the Earls of Derby, Lords of Man. Also we are told that it was the abode of the falcon, and of a sea-fowl called the puffin, which built its nest in the burrows made by the rabbits, and is said to have almost deserted the isle owing to Norway rats having been cast on shore from a Russian vessel which was wrecked on the coast. The sea around swarms with fish, and at the Sound the ocean at times seems alive with them.
At the southern extremity, on the high cliffs, are two lighthouses, two keepers and their families residing in each. These men have succeeded in cultivating about fourteen acres of the land, and it is fortunate that they have found such occupation, for their life in this wild solitary spot must be extremely monotonous.
The Chickens Rock (so named in all probability from being visited by innumerable numbers of the stormy petrel, a bird familiarly known to mariners as Mother Careys Chicken) is ½ mile south of the Calf, and upon it is being erected, by the Northern Lighthouse Commissioners, a magnificent light-house, which is nearly completed, and is built of Dalbeatty granite.
The Calf Islet is sometimes visited from Port Erin and oem-sionally from near Craignaish, by crossing the Sound ; but the best starting point is Port St. Mary. By taking a boat from the latter place the traveller passes Spanish Head, and there sees the most magnificent cliffs to be met with round the island, the rocks rising perpendicularly from a wild deep sea to a height of nearly 400 feet.
The charge for boat and four men (four being required) to the Calf and back is lOs., and 15s. if a visit to the lighthouse on the Chickens Rock be included. If the tourist delay long on the Calf an extra is. is looked for. The boats may be had at the Port St. Mary quay, the principal proprietor being Mr. James Kelly (the only survivor of the explosion on the wrecked brig Lily ), a mariner who has spent all his life on the neighbouring seas, and has brought up his family to the same occupation. They are steady, trustworthy men, and take an interest in showing the stranger the wild nooks of this romantic coast. The distance from Port St. Mary to the place where the visitor is landed on the Calf is 3½ miles, and the journey each way will occupy from one to one hour and a half.
Only at rare intervals, and in fine weather, can the visit be made, the sea around the Calf being almost always rough, and often exceedingly dangerous. Notwithstanding the cost, and the wild character of the journey, the stranger ought on no account to omit it, for it is in the highest degree romantic and pleasing.
On leaving the harbour of Port St. Mary, and passing Kallow Point and Perwick Bay, where the rocks are generally tenanted by hundreds of sea-gulls, cormorants, and sea-parrots, we arrive at Kione-y-Ghoggane or Noggin Head, and are over-awed by high frowning precipices of bare rock, with the sea dashing wildly at their base. On no part of the Manx coast, and in few places around the British Isles, are there scenes of the kind more striking.
The rock called the Sugar Loaf, which is detached from the cliffs, and rises picturesquely from the breakers to a height of 150 feet, is now reached, and if the sea be tolerably calm the boat may be taken through the narrow channel ; or a highly romantic voyage may be had through an adjoining water-worn cave, called Fairy Hole, entering at the opening which the natives call the front-door, and emerging from the cavern by the back-door into the Bay of Stacka. Here, if the stranger choose, he may land, and climb the cliffs to the Chasms directly above.
Leaving Stacka Bay, Black Head is passed, and the Burrow and Eye rock and the Calf Islet burst into view, the whole presenting a remarkably wild scene.
Spanish Head joins Black Head, and the name will reïnind the visitor that according to tradition this bluff headland proved disastrous to a part of the Spanish Armada. The men in the boat will also point out some markings on the cliffs, which are no doubt natural, but present the appearance of human workmanship. They are like Roman numerals, and we are asked to believe they were made by giants, whom tradition places among the early inhabitants of the isle of Man. The boatmen will also point out where the two samphire gatherers, husband and wife, had discovered a fine bed of that herb (Erithmurn maritimurn), on a rocky ledge several feet below the top of the cliffs. They determined to be possessed of the prize, and for this purpose procured a rope, which the wife permitted to be passed under her arms, and in this manner she was let down by the husband to the spot. When she signalled to be drawn up, the rope being chafed against the sharp edges of the rock, gave way, and the woman was dashed headlong from pinnacle to pinnacle, and thence into the rolling surge.
In turning the point of Spanish Head we find ourselves suddenly on the rake of the tide, which sets, when near the full, with great rapidity through the narrow channel separating the Calf Islet from the main island. In boisterous weather the passage from the one to the other is not without great risk, and though the width of the channel is not more than 500 yards, there have been occasions when for many days no communication could be made across. There are several sunken rocks, and the strait is full of breakers. In mid-channel, though rather to the northern side of it, is a small island called Kitterland, of about an acre and a half, on which the tide breaks in full fury, and becomes divided into two powerful river currents, running from 8 to 10 miles per hour, when the wind blows strong at high water from east to north-west.
Between the Calf and Kitterland the channel is called the Big Sound, and in the centre of it are some rocks called Thousla, visible at low water. Upon them has been erected, by the Northern Lighthouse Commissioners, an iron beacon, up which a wrecked mariner might climb, and get into a hollow ball, and thereby be saved from a watery grave.
Between Kitterland and the southern point of the Isle of Man is the Little Sound, a channel about 100 yards broad at high water, and 50 yards broad at low water. On Kitterland is a plot of grass-land, a rood in extent, upon which at times a few sheep may be seen grazing.
When on this spot the stranger will probably hear from the lips of Mr. Kelly, or some of his sons, the story of the dreadful calamity which occurred on Kitterland in December, 1852. A brig, called the Lily, of Liverpool, had, during a storm, been driven right upon the rocks on the east end of this islet. Three of the crew were washed overboard, the carpenter was killed by the fall of the foremast, and the cap.. tam was drowned in an attempt to reach the land. The remaining six of the crew were ultimately rescued, and brought to Port St. Mary. Soon afterwards thirty men were engaged in unloading the vessel, when, from some unknown cause, sixty tons of gunpowder, which formed part of the cargo, became ignited, and the vessel and all on board were blown to atoms, with the single exception of Mr. Kelly, who was thrown up into the air with a part of his cheek shattered, but alighted in other respects unhurt.
According to the traditionary history of the Isle of Man, this tiny islet of Kitterland derived its name from Kitter, a great Norwegian baron, who resided in Man in the days of the King Olave Goddardson.
Kitter was so fond of the chase, that he extirpated all the bisons and elks with which the island abounded at the time of his arrival, to the utter dismay of the people, who, dreading that he might likewise deprive them of their cattle, and even of their purrs (wild swine) on the mountains, had recourse to witchcraft to prevent such a disaster. We are told that when this Nimrod of the north had destroyed all the wild animals of the chase in Man, he one day extended his havoc to the red deer of the Calf, leaving at his castle on the brow of Barrule only the cook, whose name was Eaoch (which signifies a person who can cry loud), to dress the provisions intended for his dinner. Eaoch happened to fall asleep at his work in the kitchen. The famous witch-wife, Ada, caused the fat accumulated at the lee side of the boiling pot to bubble over into the fire, which set the house in a blaze. The asto.. nished cook immediately exerted his characteristic powers to such an extent that he alarmed the hunters in the Calf a distance of nearly 10 miles. Kitter, hearing the cries of the cook, and seeing his castle in flames, made to the beach with all possible speed, and embarked in a small currach for Man, accompanied by nearly all his attendants. When about half way the frail bark struck on a rock (which, from that circumstance has since been called Kitterland), and all on board perished.
The fate of the great baron, and the destruction of his followers, caused the surviving Norwegians to believe that Eaoch the cook was in league with the witches of the Island to extirpate the Norwegians then in Man, and on this charge he was brought to trial, and sentenced to suffer death. The unfortunate cook heard his doom pronounced with great composure, but claimed the privilege, at that time allowed to criminals in Norway, of choosing the place and manner of passing from time into eternity. This was readily granted by the king. " Then," said the cook, with a loud voice, " I wish my head to be laid across one of your majestys legs, and there cut off by your majestys sword Macabuin, which was made by Loan Maclibhuin, the dark smith of Drontheim." It being generally known that the kings scimitar could sever even ~ mountain of granite, if brought into immediate contact with its edge, it was the wish of everyone present that he would not comply with the subtle artifice of such a low varlet as Eaoch the cook ; but his majesty would not retract the permission so recently given, and therefore gave orders that the execution should take place in the manner desired. Although the unflinching integrity of Olave was admired by his subjects, they sympathised deeply for the personal injury to which lie exposed himself, rather than deviate from the path of rectitude. But Ada the witch was at hand; ~he ordered toads skins, twigs of the rowan tree, and adders eggs, each to the number of nine times nine, to be placed between the kings leg and the cooks head, to which he assented. All these things being properly adjusted, the great sword Macabuin, made by Loan Maclibhuin, the dark smith of Drontheim, was lifted with the greatest caution by one of the kings most trusty servants, and laid gently on the neck of the cook. But ere its downward course could be stayed, it severed the head from the body of Eaoch, and cut all the preventitives asunder, except the last, thereby saving the kings leg from harm. When the dark smith of Drontheim heard of the stratagem submitted to by Olave to thwart the efficacy of the sword Macabuin, he was so highly offended that he dispatched his hammerman, Hiallus-nan-urd, who had only one leg, having lost the other when assisting in making that great sword, to the Castle of Peel, to challenge King Olave, or any of his people, to walk with him to Drontheim. It was accounted very dishonourable in those days to refuse a challenge, par-ticularly if connected with a point of honour. Olave, in mere compliance with this rule, accepted the challenge and set out to walk against the one-legged traveller from the Isle of Man to the smithy of Loan Maclibhuin in Drontheim. They walked oer land and they sailed oer the sea, and so equal was the match that when within sight of the smithy, Hiallus-nan-urd, who was first, called to Loan Maclibhum to open the door, and Olave called out to shut it. At that instant, pushing past him of the one leg, the king entered the smithy first, to the evident discomfiture of the swarthy smith and his assistant. To show that he was not in the least fatigued, Olave lifted a large forge-hammer, and under pretence of assisting the smith, struck the anvil with such force that he dave it not only from top to bottom, but also the block upon which it rested.
Emergaid, the daughter of Loan, seeing Olave perform such manly prowess, fell so deeply in love with him, that during the time her father was replacing the block and the anvil, she found an opportunity of informing him that her father was only replacing the studdy to finish a sword he was making, and that he had decoyed him to that place for the purpose of destruction, as it had been prophesied that the sword would be tempered in royal blood, and in revenge for the affront of the cooks death by the sword Macabuin. "Is not your father the seventh son of old Windy Cap, King of Norway ? " said Olave. " He is," replied Emergaid, as her father entered the smithy. " Then," cried the King of Man, as he drew the red steel from the fire, " the prophecy must be fulfilled." Emergaid was unable to stay his uplifted hand till he quenched the sword in the blood of her father, and afterwards pierced the heart of the one-legged hammer.. man, whom he knew was in the plot of taking his life. The sequel of the legend is that Olave married the fair Emergaid, and from that marriage descended a long line of kings of Man down to Magnus, the last of the race of Goddard Crovan.
The landing on the Calf Islet is usually made at a small creek called Cow Harbour, on the northern shore, whence parties proceed by a winding road to the lighthouses on the southern cliffs.
Perhaps the best plan is to land at a creek called New Harbour, which is on the south-eastern side of the islet near the Burrow and Eye rock. A road thence conducts to the lighthouses, and while the visitor is strolling round the islet the boat might be taken to the north side by two of the men.
If the landing be effected on the east side, a rather risky, but romantic scramble may be made at low water, first to the opening named the Eye, and thence to the summit of the Burrow rock, where there is an excavation (probably an ancient place of refuge and concealment) called " Bushels Grave," which is described by Mr. Wood, in 1811, in the following terms :" It is in the form of a cross, each of the two longitudinal cavities being about 6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 2 feet deep. Immediately at the edge of the cavities is a wall of stone and mortar, 2 feet high, except at the southern, western, and eastern ends, which were left open, perhaps for ingress, egress, observation, and the admission of light. The whole is covered with slate and mortar. Salt water is found at the bottom, the consequence of the sea breaking over the rock in stormy weather."
By following the road, the two lighthouses are reached. They are placed so that their lights when brought into one shall bear on the dangerous reef of the Chickens. There are twelve catoptric reflectors in each, a revolution being made and a light shown every two minutes.
Close to the lighthouses are some fine cliffs, at the base of which is the Stack rock, a grand pyramid rising to a height of 100 feet from the ocean, and separated from the Calf by a distance of 50 feet, with the sea rushing and roaring between.
On the top of the hill, which is 421 feet above the sea level, a few yards from the lighthouses, is a signal-post, and close to it will be seen the remains of what appears to have been a building, about 12 yards long and 3 yards broad, bearing the name " Bushels House."
Bushel was a reclusea somewhat singular person, who has left us a short statement of his reasons for retiring to that solitary spot. He had been a favourite of, and attendant on, the Lord Chancellor Bacon, and had spent a dissolute life about court. It is said he gloried in a coat splendidly buttoned all over, whence arose the common jest, on the disgrace of the Chancellor, that he made buttons and his man Bushel wore them. After the fall and death of his patron Bushel betook himself to mining speculations, which, though for a time successful, ended at length in great loss. In his melancholy he determined to retire for a season from the world, and condemned himself " to a three years unsociable solitude in the desolate island called the Calf of Man." Here, in obedience to his dead lords philosophical advice, he resolved " to make an experiment upon himself for obtaining a long and healthy life, by observing, as if obliged by a religious vow, a parsimonious diet of herbs, oils, mustard, and honey, with water sufficient." Bushel is said to have been living in a green old age, near the close of the 17th century.
There are few spots on which he could have fixed his habitation presenting grander views of earth and sea than this does. The panorama is one which at all times and seasons must inspire intense feelings of admiration. Southward of the Calf Islet is the reef of the Chickens, always dangerous, but now containing a magnificent lighthouse ; beyond these, on all sides spread out the waters of the Irish sea, bearing over commerce from Liverpool to every quarter of the globe. On a clear day Anglesey, Great Ormes Head, Snowdon, and the Welsh mountains are seen rising up in the far horizon. A further sweep round to the north-westward gives us the Ingleborough and Whernside Fells in Yorkshire, and then the Cumbrian mountains ; the Scotch are hidden by the nearer intervening mountains of Mona, though the Mull of Galloway is seen opposite the extremity of the north-western shore of the Isle of Man. In a westerly direction we may also catch a glimpse of Ireland, with the mountains of Mourne and Arklow and the coast along Carlingford Bay and Lough Strangford. The nearer view includes the southern portion of the Isle of Man, spread as on a map. In front, directly north, are the Mull Hills, and the Craignaish village, to the right of which are Spanish Head and Langness promontory; and to the left is a grand rocky coast, the heights of Brada Head, the Carnanes, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, and South Bar-rule rising as it were one upon the shoulders of the other to a height more than 1500 feet above the level of the sea. Looking further upwards along the western shores we catch sight of Niarbyl Point, Corrins tower, and Peel hill. Flesh-wick Bay is hidden by Brada Head, but we get a good peep into Port Erin, though we see not the hamlet at the head of it.
When the tourist regains the boat he may return to Port St. Mary, or continue his voyage to Port Erin ; or he may land on the north side of the Sound, and walk to Craignaish and thence to Port Erm, or to the Chasms and Port St. Mary.
Close to the Sound, and on the northern shore of the Calf of Man, is a circle of upright slabs of slate far larger than any similar circle on the Isle of Man. Not many years ago there was found on the Calf a tombstone which is now in the possession of the Clerk of the Rolls, at Castletown. Cumming speaks of it as a " Runic cross bearing the representation of the Crucifixion, with a singular development of knotwork on the vestures of our Lord, and of the Roman soldier with a spear."
On leaving Castletown a grand view is obtained of the whole mountain range of the island, stretching from Spanish Head to Snaefell, with the southern land extending to the sea.
One and a half miles from the town the parish church of Malew is passed, and those who are conversant with the his-tory of the island will probably enter the building expecting to see a cup which Waldron tells us was given to the church by a person who had received it from the fairies. The cup has disappeared, and the vicar gives it as his opinion that its existence at any time is as incredible as the origin assigned to it.
Waldron says, " I have heard many of the natives of the island protest they have been carried insensibly great distances from home, and without knowing how they came there, found themselves on the top of a mountain. One instance was that of a fiddler, who, having agreed with a per-son, who was a stranger, to play for so much money to some company he should bring with him, all the twelve days of Christmas, and received earnest for it, saw his new master vanish into the earth the moment he had made the bargain. Nothing could be more terrified than was the poor fiddler; he found he had entered himself into the devils service, and looked on himself as already damned ; but having recourse to a clergyman, he received some hope. He ordered him, how-ever, as he had taken earnest, to go when he should be called, but that whatever tunes should be called for to play none but psalms. On the day appointed the same person appeared, with whom he went, though with what inward reluctance it is easy to guess ; but punctually obeying the ministers directions, the company to whom he played were so angry that they all vanished at once, leaving him at the top of a high hill, and so bruised and hurt, though he was not sensible when or from what hand he received the blows, that he got not home without the utmost difficulty."
" I was told of another man who had been led by invisible musicians for several miles together ; and not being able to resist the harmony, followed till it conducted him to a large common, where were a great number of little people sitting round a table, and eating and drinking in a very jovial manner. Among them were some faces whom he thought he had formerly seen, but forbore taking any notice, or they of him, till the little people offering him drink, one of them, whose features seemed not unknown to him, plucked him by the coat and forbad him, whatever he did, to taste anything he saw before him ; for if you do, added he, you will be as I am, and return no more to your family. The poor man was much affrighted, but resolved to obey the injunction ; accordingly a large silver cup, filled with some sort of liquor, being put into his hand, he found an opportunity to throw what it contained on the ground. Soon after, the music ceasing, all the company disappeared, leaving the cup in his hand, and he returned home, though much wearied and fatigued. He went the next day and communicated to the minister of the parish all that had happened, and asked his advice how he should dispose of the cup ; to which the parson replied, he could not do better than devote it to the service of the church ; and this very cup, they tell me, is that which is now used for the consecrated wine in Kirk Marlugh."
Although this cup cannot be found, there are preserved within the church some relics which were evidently in use prior to the Reformation. There is a very beautiful little silver paten, of great antiquity, which is used at the present day, and bears on the rim the inscription " Ora pro nobis, Sancte Lupe," St. Lupus being the patron saint of the church. There is also a curious old brass crucifix, which must be of a very early date, and with it portions of a brass crozier or pastoral staff. The granite font, rudely shaped, also very ancient, stands just inside the south door. In the aisle is a stone inscribed thus : " John Reddish, Esq., Lieut.-Colonel in the army, died 17th May, 1717, aged sixty-nine.
" When he sought death with his sword and shield,
Death was afraid to meet him in the field;
But when his weapons he had laid aside,
Death, like a coward, stroke him and he died."
Leaving the church, the limekilns near Ballasalla are passed, and, after crossing the Silver Burn river, 2½ miles from Castletown, a road branches on the right for St. Marks, and runs through a district rendered famous by Sir Walter Scott in his Peveril of the Peak. During the ascent of the hill, many times will the traveller turn round and enjoy the prospect, and on gaining the summit he will see spread before him a glorious panorama, embracing most of the southern part of the island, with Castletown and its adjoining bays and promontories.
Close at hand is the summit of South Barrule, with a. wild, heath-clad land around, overspread with large blocks of granite and quartz from the neighbouring granite hill. A descent is quickly made to Foxdale ; Snaefell, and the central mountain chain being well displayed in front.
The road runs close to the lead mines and through the straggling village of Foxdale, which is occupied principally by a mining population. The spire of St. Johns church is a pretty object in front, but, some distance before it is reached, the Hamilton Waterfall and bridge are passed. The fall is not so beautiful as it was a few years ago, owing to the rock over which the water flows having been used as a quarry.
The natives tell a strange story about a Mr. Hamilton, who is said to have built the bridge now called after him. Before his birth his mother was thought to be dead, and was buried. At night some men went to the grave to steal the rings from her fingers, when she was found to be alive. Afterwards she had twinstwo sonsone of whom was the builder of this bridge. This story is known to hundreds on the island.
The road runs direct to Ballacraine, and there joins the road from Douglas to Peel ; but, by entering a road which branches to the left and follows the course of the stream, and leads to St. Johns, about ½ mile will be saved. The remainder of the journey to Peel is described at page 59.