[From Oswald's Guide,1831]
Though the Island is in many parts badly wooded, it is by no means devoid of inland beauty,' nor altogether destitute of silvan scenery. The deficiency is partly made up by a never-ending succession of hill, and dale, and running water, and cot tages. It is universally enclosed, but in an irregular manner, with clumsy mud fences topped with furze; and nothing but wood can relieve a degree of bleakness, which even the most fertile parts of it present. Its capabilities of improvements in that respect are not yet sufficiently appreciated, otherwise it might become one of the most beautiful of the British Isles.
Excursions may be made either in a general tour round the Island, or by visiting the different parts, subsequently to be pointed out, individually, from Douglas as from a centre. If the first is preferred, it must be done in a hurried manner if it occupies less than four days. Castletown and its environs will occupy the first day; Peel the second ; Ramsey the third ; and fourth the return to Douglas. But it may be run over in two, and if taken as a race, even in one. The country is intersected everywhere with numerous bye paths, but those kept in good repair are only the highways connecting the four towns. The committee of highways have lately turned their attention to bye paths and cross roads, and, doubtless, they will be better soon.
FIRST DAY's EXCURSION-
On leaving Douglas for Castletown, which is distant ten miles, we pass the Nunnery on the right, and the Roman Chapel on the left. A little farther on, we pass the village of Kewague. At the second milestone, Middle, Caesar Tobin, Esq., of the House of Keys; and four miles from Douglas, Mount Murray, the property of the Hon. Col. Richard Murray. A mile west from this on the road side towards Ballakew and St. Mark's Chapel, which appears distant two miles, there is a good example of the old fortified hill, known by the name of the "° Burrough." About halfway you see Kirk Santon Church, a. mile seaward, to the left ; and at the eighth milestone pass the village of Ballasalla. The ruins of the old Abbey of Rushen, stand here within the grounds of the Abbey House, Rev. Mr. Hartwell ; through which Castletown river runs southwards. This Abbey was founded by Olave, King of Man, in 1104. Several of the Norwegian Kings of Man, and also several. Bishops, are known to have been buried here, amongst whom is Olave the black, the third of that name. There are some interesting views on the river in this neighbourhood ; and along its banks are several pleasant cottages. On leaving the village, Captain Fellowes' cottage on the left, and Ballasalla-house, Sir G. Drinkwater, on the right, two miles farther is Castletown.
OLD ROAD TO CASTLETOWN.-
The old road, or, as it is commonly called, the low road, from Douglas to Castletown, besides being a little shorter, it is nearer the shore, and leads through a more pleasant country than the principal highway does, and also affords several picturesque sea views. Therefore, although the road is much worn out and in bad repair, and there are some rivulets to ford, it may be recommended to those who travel on horseback, or who walk, in order to see the country at leisure.
Leaving Douglas, and having passed the Nunnery and the Roman Catholic Chapel about half a mile, the road divides into two. That on the left is the low road. Two miles from Douglas, Oak Hill, the villa of Mrs. Bell, is seen in the hollow, on the right ; and a mile farther, Hampton, on the top of the hill. In this neighbourhood the small bay of Port Soderick, and the high shores bounding it, are very picturesquely situated, and are frequently visited both by land and water, by parties of pleasure from Douglas. Upon the high ground near Hampton, also, there is a fine view of the Island to the north-east-ward. A little more than four miles from Douglas, you see Oatland, J. J. Moore, Esq. on the right, at present occupied by J. Stone, Esq., where a picturesque view of the country and sea to the south-west is seen. Greenstone rocks will be found in this neighbourhood and at Crugga. Then Seafield, the property of Captain Bacon, is seen near the sea, on the left of Port Grenack; where a large barrow called the Cronk na Myrrhow, occurs on the shore, and two caves in the rocks on both sides the estuary of the rivulet, one of which is called the Devil's Cave, the other the Parson's Cave. Soon after you pass Kirk Santon, and join the main road about a mile from the village of Ballasalla.
Is the capital of the Island, and is a neatly built small town, containing 2,036 inhabitants, by census of 1821. It has an indifferent harbour, pier, and light-house. In the centre of the town stands Castle Rushen, one of the finest specimens of an old Gothic keep of the middle ages in existence, which was built in the year 947, (a date inscribed on a beam of oak found in the wall of the east tower in 1815), by Guttred, son of Orry, the first Danish King, who is reported to he buried in it : it is certain, that the ground story of the south tower is a burial-place, filled with mould and bones. The main building is a square, enclosing an inner court, flanked with four square towers, on its four sides, the highest of which is about eighty feet, and closely surrounded by a lofty antierit parapet wall, defended by square machicolated towers, a ditch, and modern glacis, in a circular form. It underwent a six months' siege by Robert Bruce in 1313 ; and was defended by the forces of Lord Derby during the civil wars. Much of the ancient warfare was waged in this vicinity. This Castle is now the prison of the Island, and most of the Law Courts are held here. The Deemster's, weekly; those of Chancery, the first Thursday of every month. The residence of his Honor Cornelius Smelt, Lieutenant-Governor of the Island, is situated on the walls, on the east, which is an erection of the days of Queen Elizabeth, dated 1566, and is a building quite distinct from the Gothic keep in the interior.
St. Mary's Chapel in the marketplace, was lately rebuilt by subscription, assisted by a grant out of the funds provided by Parliament for building churches. It is a substantial and commodious edifice. In a vault under the centre of the chapel, Reginald, son of Olave the black, is said to have been buried in 1249, and his brother; also Colonel Small, late a Lieut.-Governor of the Island, and other officers. When the old chapel was pulled down, three Roman coins, of Germanicus and Agrippina, were found carefully deposited in a square hollow, scooped out of freestone, near the place where the ancient cross stood, and exactly under the new portico.
The House of Keys is in the street leading to the draw-bridge. Kirk Malew, the parish church, is two miles up the country. There is also a capital inn, called the George. In the suburbs, several gentlemen have substantial and elegant villas and gardens, and in the neighbourhood some comfortable cottages are scattered over the country.
The rock here is limestone. On the east of the bay, a red sandstone conglomerate is superimposed on the clay slate. Coal was bored for at Ronaldsway, with some appearance of success.
If the party has time, some little excursion may be undertaken in the neighbourhood ; that to Port-le-Mary and Port Erin-the mines of Brada-and the natural curiosities in the southern extremity of the Island, four miles distant, is the most agreeable. On this road, about a mile from Castletown, we first pass Ballakeighin, Mrs. Quilliam, on the right; then Balladoole, Mr. Woods, on the left. On the beach at Poolvash, behind the latter place, there is a curious current of a large body of salt water issuing from the rocks near high water mark. It is as salt as the water of the ocean, is in quantity as large as might form a small rivulet, and never ceases to flow in the driest seasons. It has been supposed to originate from some immense cavity of the earth becoming filled with sea water at flood tide, by means of the same channel from which it reissues during ebb ; but the nature of the openings, out of which it proceeds, and the stream continuing to flow, even at the lowest neap tides, are against this supposition. A little eastward from it, the black marble is found, and also some rocks of trap tuffa. The general underdrainage of the limestone basin that constitutes this part of the country, is directed to this vicinity. Some limestone gravel pits above Strand Hall, exhibit a regular stratification. On the height between Balladoole-House and the sea, the ruins of an ancient chapel exist, called Kiel-Vael or Kirk Michael.
Proceeding westwards along the shore, we pass Kentraugh and Mount Gawne, Edward Gawne, Esq. of the House of Keys; and near the base of the mountains, in this neighbourhood, Ballagawne and Ballachurry, Thomas Gawne, Esq. ; and a little to the west, the parish church of Kirk Christ Rushen. Farming is conducted in this neighbourhood with great spirit and success ; and at Kentraugh, garden and hot-house fruits are raised in greater perfection than anywhere else in the Island. The lead and copper mines of Brada are at present in active operation, and are sometimes visited as a curiosity. The metal is found in the grey wackë.
Port Erin and Port-le-Mary are small villages; at the latter, tolerably good lodgings may be had for the night. It has a good harbour, which was lately protected by the erection of a substantial stone pier of considerable extent. There is some trade and industry at Port-le-Mary in the burning of lime, and. in exporting corn. Besides farming, the inhabitants are principally employed in fishing for cod and lobsters, of which quantities are exported to the Dublin market.
But the objects most worthy of the notice of the admirers of the operations of nature, on a large scale, are the rocks of the coast, especially the high perpendicular precipices of Spanish-head, rent by extensive and tremendous chasms ; and if boating is not considered an impediment, a visit to the Calf of Man, where the number of sea fowl that cover the ledges of the cliff, generally astonishes the stranger.
The road to the chasms is somewhat rough, and cannot be well travelled by a carriage, but their appearance will repay adventurous curiosity. The visitor must either proceed directly from Port-le-Mary, by the farm road that leads along shore, or he may ascend that to Craignish, a small mountain village of the most aboriginal, wild, and desolate appearance; and from which neighbourhood, the country to the northwards is looked down upon as another world, of one continued series of gay cottages, and luxuriant cultivation, happily illustrating the blessed effects of modern industry and improvement.
The chasms are on the left from Craignish. The precipice they traverse is about three hundred feet in perpendicular height from the level of the beach. They are fissures in the solid rock several feet wide, that penetrate many fathoms into the hill, and are in several parts so dark and so deep, that the bottom cannot be seen. At the edge, they divide the precipice into aecuminated and sugar loaf masses, that overhang the water that far below breaks against the rocky shore. In one of the recesses thus formed, there is a small circle of erect stones, that appears to have been the temple of some lonely druid, who ;probably had fixed his hermitage here on accountof the sublimity of the situation.
" Perch'd on a cliff that awes the astounded sight, In darkness and in storm he found delight; Where foaming billows rouse the fearful deep, And far below the foaming waters sweep."
" And oft the craggy cliff he lor'd to climb, When, all in mist, the world below was lost; What dreadful pleasure ! there to stand sublime, Like shipwreck'd mariner, on desert coast; And view the enormous waste of vapour, toss'd In billows lengthening to the horizon round."
On the top of the highest precipice of the Calf of Man, there is an old ruin called Bushel's House,-a man of the name being said to have lived as a hermit there in the days of Queen Elizabeth.
BARROWS, FAIRY HILL, &c.
In the neighbourhood of Kirk Christ Rushen, as well as along the coast towards Castletown, there are several examples of the Barrow. That called the Fairy Hill is the most known. It is an uncommonly large artificial earthen cone, situated a little west from the church, in a morass near Ballachurry. It is said to have been raised over the body of King Reginald, who was killed in single combat by the knight Suam, or Ivar; but from its situation, and its summit being flat, and surrounded by a parapet, it is more likely that it is one of the fortified hills of the early age. Several erections of this kind, to this day, are known to the natives by the appellation Burgh, or Burrough.
It may also be remarked, that besides Barrows, other reliques of antiquity of a different kind, are thickly scattered all over the Island, namely, the Kihls or small Kirks of the early Christians. These are merely small enclosed spaces, containing some mounds or rubbish, and are so numerous that it is said that every treen anciently possessed one. They appear to have been a kind of domestic chapels, and are said to have been visited occasionally by itinerating monks. To this day, tradition affixes the chaplaincy of one in Braddan named Kiel-Albin, to the proprietor of a neighbouring farm, Awhallyon. But in general, they are now entirely forgotten, and only superstitiously venerated as containing the remains of the dead, for they have all been used as burying places. As an example of one, Kiel-Vael, or Michael, which signifies Kirk Michael. situated on the top of Balladoole hill, may be pointed out as occurring on this road. Another, near the Douglas road, may be seen on passing Bulreinny hill, Mount Murray.
KIRK ARBURGH, or ARBORY.
On returning to Douglas, or on. proceeding to Peel, from the southern extremity of the Island, the road leading along the base of the mountains by Culby bridge and the village and church of Kirk Arburgh, affords an agreeable variety; passing Crescent Cottage, T. 1\loore, Esq., it leads into the Peel and Douglas roads at the Four-cross-ways, near the parish church of Malew. On the cultivated acclivity of the mountain a mile up from Culby house, there are some interesting Druidical remains, consisting of a semicircle formed by five tall moss grown stones, erect and of large magnitude, near which are the ruins of a small circle and some tumuli. A few hundred yards down the hill, on the farm of Kiel-patrick, there is a curious small ruin of an ancient chapel called Kiel-Patrick, opposite to the door of which there were lately two erect sugar-loaf-looking stones, worn quite smooth by attrition.
before leaving this part of the country, it may be necessary to observe, that Derbyhaven, a fishing village, with an excellent and magnificent natural harbour, lies a mile east from Castletown, and is a great resort of the herring fleet.-On the small Island called St. Mary's, at the entrance of the bay, the ruins of St. Mary's Chapel stand, of the Roman Catholic era, and near it a small fortified tower, built by the Earl of Derby, in 1603, on which the lighthouse is now placed. In the narrow channel that divides this Island from the peninsula, a low rock projects from the main land, known to some by the name of Ango,borough, on which there are some low mounds, apparently the rubbish of ruins; and upon the north: ascent of which, a pathway is cut out of the solid rock, having grooves across to give footing to passengers. These circumstances give this small rock some interest; and there can belittle doubt that it is one of the fortified hills of the early age, denomi nated by the natives, Buroughs. Several others are to be seen in this neighbourhood- At Hango Hill, about halfway between Castletown. and Derbyhaven, there are the ruins of an ancient tower, as well as a tumulus. This is said to have been the ancient place of execution for criminals. Here William Christian, Receiver-General of the Island, was shot for treason, in 1662, and was buried in Malew church. Adjacent to Hango Hill, the new Manks College, patronized by his Majesty, who condescends to give it his name, William the Fourth, is building by subscription, and the funds at the disposal of the Bishop. It promises to be a noble structure.
In passing through the country, it will be remarked, that as in most Islands of a similar magnitude, the establishments, the divisions of property, the mountains, and the rivers, are all on a small scale. It may be added, that the farmhouses, have in general a substantial and comfortable appearance, being for the most part, covered with slate, and healthily situated. Many of the cottages or cabins of the day-labouring classes, are built of mud sods, and covered with thatch, and are sometimes partly, beneath the surface, exposed to damp, badly ventilated and badly lighted, but, nevertheless, healthy. Few, however, occur in which the interior is naked and desolate looking, all being in general crowded with lumber and clothing, and what the Manksman considers comforts, conjoined, perhaps, with a little want of cleanliness and neatness-virtues which he seems too much to undervalue ; but he is improving rapidly, and will do so more and more, as his confidence in himself increases. Many of the better description of cottages have their windows ornamented with flower-pots of geraniums, hydrangeas, and myrtles ; but their laziness leads them to neglect the cultivation of the useful cottage garden.
The English language is universally spoken with considerable accuracy and correctness by the younger part of the inhabitants. The taste for music is in a very low state, although many of the natives are fond of it. Amongst the peasantry there is not only no national style, but in some districts music of any kind is hardly, if at all, cultivated. Four or five simple ditties, under the cognomen of the Mona Melodies, apparently of genuine Celtic original, have been lately published by Mr. Barrow. They are, most probably, similar to those used in bardic recitation amongst our neighbours, the Welsh, in early ages.
Smallpox is the only epidemic that has at all pervaded the population within the last ten years ; and excepting very partially, there is no record of any other but measles ever having prevailed.
EXCURSION TO PEEL.
The foregoing excursion will occupy one day very agreeably; and if the party, instead of returning to Douglas for the night, prefer proceeding to feel next morning, they pass Malew church and the lime-stone quarries, a mile and a half from Castletown; about four miles from Castletown, St. Mark's Chapel lies considerably to the right of the road. On the banks of a rivulet near it, a large stone, by some called Goddard Crownan's stone, lay, close to a Danish encampment now destroyed. The summit of South Barrool is enclosed by the remains of a strong fence, but for what purpose is unknown. Ascending the acclivity, you cross the mountains by a good road, and near to the sixth milestone, pass
Foxdale lead mines, which are now carried on extensively. At Hamilton bride, at the foot of the northern acclivity of South Barrool, a torrent fronr tite mountain forms a very pretty waterfall. About three miles further, you fall into tite Douglas road to Peel, at St. John's and the Tynwald hill, another two miles and a half bring you to Peel, passing Glynmoore, Mr. Clarke, on the right, and the villas of J. Quane, Esq., and that of Capt. St. John, on the left, on tite western banks of the river Neb.
is situated about the middle of the west coast of the Island ; twelve miles from Castletown, anti eleven and a half from Douglas. It is a fishing town, with a good pier and light-house, a good inn, kept by Mr. Grant, and a post-office. The fish caught her(-are principally herrings of the finest quality and greatest abundance; also, haddock and cod. It contains 1,900 inhabitants, the parochial church of German, and the small Court-house. In former times it was more famous on account of its Castle than it now is. This extensive ruin is more interesting from its antiquity and from its being lately noticed in the Scottish novels, than from any intrinsic beauty it possesses as a ruin. Its situation, however, is tine and picturesque, and in feudal times must have. been of great importance as a place of strength. To visit it you must cross the river. It occupies a small rocky isle;, about 200 yards in diameter, and situated on the northside of the mouth of the harbour, and formed at the north-east termination of Peel hill. This islet is enclosed by its battlemented walls from three to four feet thick, in the form of an irregular polygon, containing five acres, flanked by square towers, about bow shot distance. The space within the walls is full of ruins of masonry much dilapidated, and mounds of earth in good preservation : the most distinguished of which are, the ancient square keep or tower, surmounting the principal entrance, opening upon the harbour; with its vaulted guard-room of mautha doog notoriety ; the lord's mansion, ruinrd to the foundations; the cathedral of St. Germain's, (of which the annexed cut is a representation) ; the spacious arches of the transept of which coigned and faced with timeworn red sandstone, bespeak its former magnificence; the square mound surrounded by fossa and other similar ruins. It is supposed to be considerably older even than Castle Rushen, and in it some of the early kings of Scotland are said to have been educated. Along the neighbouring shores, there are some curious caves and sinuosities in the rock, and agates and carnelians, fit for jewellery, are found along the sands of the bay and shore to the northward, where the primitive red sandstone occurs.
At Glen Moij. three miles south-west from Peel, a mountain torrent forms a very pretty waterfall, decorated with planting, which is frequently the resort of parties of pleasure, and is well worth seeing. After passing the bridge over the Neb, contiguous to which is a meadow called Sour Close, there is a good example of the barrow, known by the name of Ei Four, or the Giant's Grave. opposite to the Ragget farm, Mrs. Bridson. After which you pass Kirk Patrick parish church. Knockaloe, James Quirk, Esq. ; Ballamoore, Philip Moore, Esq. ; and Ballacosnahan, Mrs. Gelling, are the principal villas seen from the road. At Ballarnoore, a Portugal laurel and an arbutas, are objects of curiosity, from the great height they have attained, being about 40 feet high, but the steins are naked, and they have been much injured by the weather and the crowding of forest trees. The finest of the group, which once consisted of three, was blown down by a gale of wind, in 1822. There can be no better example than these, of how favourable the climate and soil of the Island are to the growth of evergreens. From Glen Mo1j, there is a mountain path through Glenrushen, and across South Barrool to Kirk Arburgh and Castletown, where the tourist will enjoy some. of the finest mountain and sea views in the country, and which we shall therefore notice. Having returned from the waterfall, and from visiting Fairy bay,* at the mouth of the rivulet, the mountain road rises for several miles with an easy ascent up the western acclivity of South Barrool, but is not passable by carriages, though it is well marked by cartwheel ruts. The distance of Kirk Arbory may be about seven miles. On descending near Kirk Arburgh, some tumuli may be observed.
+ see Legend of Mona, by MISS CRAVAN.
If this is taken by setting out from Douglas, you travel nine miles on the Peel road to the Crossways, near St. John's; if from Peel, you return by the Douglas road, three miles to the same point, and turn to the northward through the mountains; or if you do not travel with a carriage, there is a very tolerable road close along shore, which is considerably shorter than the route just mentioned. If the carriage road is taken : at St. John's is the Tynwald Hill, used during the ceremony of promulgating new laws, situated near the Peel river, on a small plain surrounded by hills and high grounds. It is a low cone, the sides of which are cut into three platforms, and which terminates in a flat summit. These are respectively the stations of the Governor, and Church, and State, during the ceremony. (The subjoined is a sketch of its appearance.) Immediately adjoining on the east, is the small chapel of St. John's, attached to the institution, and which, in the first instance, is used at Tynwald Courts for the purposes of prayer, and, subsequently, for those of deliberation and other business of the constituted authorities. This chapel is one of those, the ruins of which have been alluded to as occurring commonly throughout the country. This, and the Mount to which it is attached, are the only examples that have continued to exercise their ancient functions to the present time. All are
" Fa'll'n, fall's, a silent heap I their heroes all Sunk in their urns."
" To those whom nature taught to think and feel,
Heroes, alas ! are things of small concern.
Could history man's secret heart reveal,
And what imports a heavenborn mind to learn,
Her transcripts to explore, what bosom would not yearn."
In this neighbourhood was fought the battle that decided the contest for the crown of Man, between the two brothers, Reginald and Olave, in the beginning of the thirteenth century. The fortune of this day, or at least of some other of a similar nature, during the civil wars that distracted the country about that period, is said to have been determined in favour of Olave by the women of the north parts of the Island, whose husbands composed the princi pal of his army. They, on perceiving their friends to loose ground, made their appearance on the adjoining high lands, hearing branches, and arrayed in good order, to the dismay and discomfiture of the enemy. As a reward for their presence of mind, the victor decreed, that whereas the surviving wives of 1\lanksmen were, according to law, entitled to a life-rent of one-half of the property of their husbands after their decease, thenceforth the women of the north should be entitled to two-thirds on the same tenure, whilst those of the south of the Island should remain with the allowance of one half, according to previous custom-a law which is in force to this very day. The country here is thickly populated. Upwards of a mile to the northward, between Rock Mount and Ballakilmurray, there is a formation of hornblende rock.
The road to the north of the Island leaves that to Douglas at the four Cross-ways, and passes through a defile of the mountains ; but before leaving the south, it is necessary to take some notice of the drive from Douglas to the same point.
St. John's is about nine miles from Douglas, and Peel upwards of eleven, directly across the Island. Starting from Douglas, the road runs to the left of the river for nearly two miles through the vale of Braddan, which as far as Kirk Braddan, has been already noticed. A little after passing to the right of the river at Kirk Braddan, you recross it again at the Union Mills, Mr. Grellier, where there is a manufactory of woollen cloth, of some extent, conjoined with a corn mill. Approaching the four mile-stone, you see Marown church on the slope of the rising ground to the left; a little lower on the same slope, Ellerslie, the residence of Mr. Faulder ; and lying in the meadows, near the rivulet, Ballaquinnea, the farm of James M`Crone, Esq. About a mile farther, Greeba rock appears on the right, with the ruins of St. Trinian's, a chapel of the Roman Catholic age, at its base ; and a little further on, upon the opposite side of the road, Northop, the residence of Captain Hay. The road here passes through that narrow defile, almost wholly occupied by morasses, which intersects the chain of mountains in the centre of the Island, and extends nearly in a level between the eastern and western shores, opening into the sea at Douglas on the one side, and at. Peel on the other. After a short distance the country again opens considerably in good farms; and at the four cross ways, nine miles from Douglas, you turn to the right, and proceed northwards for some miles through a hilly country, and along a glen formed by the Peel river. This glen is badly wooded, but not devoid of alpine beauty. About the twelfth mile stone from Douglas, as well as from Castletown, the road leaving the river, ascends Lammal-hill, after which the country possesses no attraction for several miles. The river, about a mile and a half above where the road leaves it, forms, a Rheinyas, a high waterfall, which, though small, is possessed of considerable interest, and which receives additional effect from the solitude and wildness of the surrounding waste.
As you approach the village of Kirk Michael, the country improves, and presents several pleasant cottages to view, such as Cronk-urleigh, Clyeen, Erinville, and Glenwillan ; and the road opens into the extensive flat that constitutes the north part of the Island.-The Mull of Galloway, in Scotland, and the mountain of Morne, in Ireland, are seen in the distance in clear weather.
To those who travel on horse-back from Douglas to this part of the country, it may be proper to remark, that there is another road than that described. It is a bye-road through the glens of Baldwin, and across the mountains by Injebreck, and is considered three or four teiles shorter in absolute distance, but not in fatigue. The ride is not devoid of beauty, especially about Injebreck, and presents several very good general views of the country and of the mountain scenery. If this road is chosen, instead of crossing Kirk Braddan bridge, you keep to the right, and at about three miles from Douglas, pass Cronkrule on the left. In this neighbourhood there are some specimens of the old Kiels, one on the right of the road, about a quarter of a mile before you come to Cronkrule, another in a clump of trees a few hundred yards back from it. Then follows the vale of West Baldwin, near the head of which you begin to ascend the mountain, through the grounds of Injebreck, seven ruiles. from Douglas-the most central residence of the Island. Passing through the mountain gate, the most beaten and frequented track leads you into the regular high-way, above a mile from the village of Kirk Michael.
Is sixteen miles distant from Douglas, about the same from Castletown, and seven from Peel. It is within half a mile of the sea on the west, and between nine and ten miles from the northern extremity of the Island. Near the inn, which is the Crown and Mitre, there is a Courthouse, lately erected, and in which the northern Deemster occasionally holds his courts. Fronting the entrance to the church, there is a runic cross, with an inscription-a fine specimen.
Leaving the village, you pass Whitehouse and Cooley on the right, at the north base of the hills or mountains ; and Orrisdale on the left, a little back front Bishop's Court, towards the sea. There are many Barrows in this neighbourhood, and also a line of Watch-and-ward Barrows on the heights along shore. Fishing affords good sport on this coast ; and it is said that there is a good oyster bank off Jurby and Ballaugh.
* This inscription has been variously translated. " Walter, son of Thurulf, a knight right valiant, Lord of Frithur. The father Jesus Christ"sir John Prestwich" For the sins of lvallir, the son of Dural, this cross was erected by his mother Alfride."Mr. Bewnford. [Nonsense!]
Is a mile east from Kirk Michael. It is the episcopal palace of the diocese, and is a very ancient resitlenee, being mentioned in history so early as the thirteenth century. The original form of the house was a massive tower, surrounded at some distance hy a deep fosse; but many additions have been stlccessiveiy made to it. The late Bishop especially, the honorable Dr. George Murray, made great improvements, and reared a beautiful little chapel on the site of the old one. The principal part of the old growing timber was planted by the patriotic Bishop Wilson, of pious memory, whose tomb, it may be added, may be seen at the parish church. But the grounds have been lately modernized, and laid out in the best taste, and possess much beauty. The shrubbery surrounding the house, and the American garden in the glen, that leads to the right of the road towards the mountains, are well worthy of attention in that respect. The spirited example set by the present Bishop, in agricultural improvement, is is producing the best effects in this neighbourhood.
The distance from Bishop's Court to Ramsey is about eight miles. The road runs along the base or abrupt termination of the mountains, which, on the right hand form a graceful and variegated line of hills, leads through a fine champagne and wooded country, passing at every turn the comfortable residences of the Manks farmer and country gentleman. A mile east from Bishop's Court, you pass the village of Ballaugh, and on the left, see the new church of that parish, a handsome structure, just erected, after a plan by Mr. Welsh, out of funds subscribed for in the parish, assisted by money raised in England, for the poor churches of the Isle of Man ; for which purpose the Rector of this parish, the Rev. Hugh Stowell, at the direction of the Bishop, made an extensive itenerating tour,-and by his eloquence in preaching, and the goodness of his cause, raised £4,000 in the course of the summer of 1829.
The parish church of Jurby may be seen in the distance, towards the shore. Near the village of Ballaugh are the pits of shell marl, in which the heads, horns, and skeleton of the gigantic ante-diluvian Elks are found. The country towards Jurby, and also the adjoining parish of Andreas, contain beds of common marl of great depth and extent. Nearly midway to Ramsey, Sulby glen, a a deep and narrow valley through which the river of that name issues from the mountains about Sna field, opens into the plain. On ascending it, several fine alpine pictures open to the view; and a tributary stream, descending from the mountain that forms its western boundary, makes a remarkably high waterfall. The road is good, and altogether, if the party has time, a drive up the glen forms a delightful interlude to the general excursion. At the mouth of the valley is Staward, the property of Capt. Bacon. Nearly opposite to this part of the road, the central parts of the plain of the North constitutes what is generally called the Curragh, an extensive morass, containing vast quantities of turf and bog timber. The Curragh is partially drained by two canals, that open into the sea at Ballaugh old church, and at the Lane Moore, in the parish of Andreas. A mile further east, you cross Sulby river, by the bridge of that name. The road to the left leads to Kirk Andreas, Kirk Pride, and the Point of Ayre-the northern extremity of the Island, which is distant about seven miles. There is a supply of rabbits in the sand-hills in that neighbourhood. About a mile from Sulby bridge, on the Kirk Andreas road, and adjacent to Ballachurry, there is an extensive quadrangular encampment, in good preservation, said to have been constructed by the division of Cromwell's army that took possession of the Island; but this is uncertain.
From Sulby bridge to Ramsey, the base of the mountains is prettily wooded, and adorned with many pleasant country residences of the flanks gentry and landholders-such as Cooilbane, J. Harrison,. Esq. ; Bellevue, J. C. Gelling, Esq. ; Ellanbane, F. La Mothe, Esq., surgeon ; Glenduff, L. L. McWhannell, Esq.; Glen trammon, Mrs. Corlett; Loughan-Eyii, J. Corlett, Esq. ; Ballakillinghan, Wm. Farrant, Esq., with the Church of Kirk Christ Lezayre adjoining ; Milltown, the elegant mansion of Deemster Christian ; Claughbane, 1'. M. Callow, Esq. ; and many others. One of the most beautiful situations amongst these, or indeed in the island, is that of Claughbane, between the town of Ramsey and the mountain ; it is a picturesque example of the old residence of a Manks statesman of the last century.
Is a pleasantly situated town, on the eastern coast, at the mouth of the river Sulby, in the parish of Kirk Maughold, containing about 1,523 inhabitants.
The streets are cleanly, and well paved, and it is .accommodated with a. very neat Courthouse, where the Deemster of the northern district holds his courts once a fortnight; and with a.handsome new chapel, built within these ten years by subscription. One of.the Vicars-General also holds his courts here. The inns are good, and afford, comfortable accommodation. Oysters of excellent quality are found scattered thinly over the floor of the bay. The trade consists principally in the exportation. of corn and agricultural produce. :there are no imports except coals, lime, and such articles ; all colonial and foreign goods being imported solely at Douglas. The same remark applies to the other seaports of Peel, Castletown, Derbyhaven, and Port le-Mary. A great proportion of the fleet of herring boats belongs to Ramsey, where, they are dismantled and laid up during the winter months. Several, battles were fought by the ancient Kings of Man near Ramsey. Fingal, son of Godred, and Olave the,2d, were both slain in battle near it.
The environs are particularly pleasant, abounding with agreeable walks, and interspersed with neat cottages and agreeable residences. A walk along the Douglas road affords some good views. Between the road and the bay, close to the town, the remains of a circular encampment are very distinct, but the sea annually encroaches upon it; and towards the west for some miles, the surface of the narrow tract of grounds that intervenes between the town and the abrupt termination of the mountains, is picturesquely disposed, and well ornamented with young timber. Several fine views present themselves from positions in that direction. That from Skylaw is superb-a rich plain seven miles square, covered with hamlets and cultivation, the granary of the Island, lies extended at its feet, and terminated by the elegant obelisk of Ayre light-house. Beyond the blue sea, adorned with many a passing sail, rolls round the various promontories, and to a width of from twenty to thirty miles, divides the coast of Man from those of Cumberland and Scotland, the distant and ether enshrouded mountains of which, bound the view of the magnificent amphitheatre. To him who looks for scenery of a more retired character, the umbrageous glens of Milntown, Claughbane, and Ballure, will afford considerable gratification. He may here expect-
"To roam at large the lonely mountain's head,
Or where the maze of some bewildered stream,
To deep untrodden groves his footsteps lead."
Milntown-house is one of the principal ornaments of the neighbourhood. The champagne country extends northward from Ramsey seven miles to the Point of Ayre, interrupted only by the low range of the Ballachirrim hills. A ride to the Point of Ayre light-house, by Kirk Andreas and Kirk Bride, forms a pleasant excursion. It is nearly four miles to Kirk Andreas church, where there is an ancient Runic cross, and five to Kirk Bride, which lies on the north aspect of the Ballachirrim hills ; and beyond it, the flat Point stretches about two miles farther.
To the antiquary, Kirk Maughold possesses some interest. It is situated to the southward about three miles, at the back of the elevated headland of that name, and is visited by taking the Douglas coast road. A few hundred yards from the town, and close to the base of the hill, you pass Ballure, the property of T. Christian, Esq. From Ballure, the road by Laxey to Douglas ascends the hill. About a mile from Ramsey, you take the road along shore to the left; and after passing Folieu, W. Christian, Esq.,the villa of - Stepney, Esq., and Lewague, on the right, soon arrive at the rustic and antiquated Kirk of St. Maughold. The legend of this saint is trite to every readerof Manks history. Here there are several ancient crosses and fonts lying about.* In old times, the precincts of this consecrated ground, which is extensive, constituted the only sanctuary in the Island. The ruins of the water conduit, that brought water to the refugees, and traces of some kind of erections along the north wall of the burial ground, are still, or were within these few years, discernible. Towards the top of the headland, in the face of the cliff, seaward, the legendary well of St. Maughold will be found. Its vrtues are principally those of the imagination.
" The blushing maid, who sips the pearly drop
The solid rock distils, dreams of bliss to come,
And of maternal cares and honour'd age,
By.a long line of progeny carcss'd."
The traditional superstition of the natives, points out the necessity of every visitor leaving on the spot some relic, however trivial, as a memento to the spirit of the place.-
* For delineations of these crosses, and others found in the Island, see the Transactions of the Society of Scottish Antiquarieis for 1828, i Part. II.
The following memorandum is extracted from the parochial Register of the above parish :- Edmund Christin, sumtime Captaine at ye sea, and afterwards for a time Gouernour of ye Isle of Man, departed this life in the Peele Castle, being a prisoner there for some words spoken concerning ye King when ye great difference was betwixt King and Parliament. He was committed by James, Earl of Darby, being then in the Isle, and John Greenhalgh, Gouernour, and afterwards buried in Kirk Maughold Church, where he was baptised. Was buried January ye 22, 1660."
Note.-It may be necesary here to remark, that the word' Edward' is engraved on the tomb-stone in the chancel of the church.
The road along shore presents little but a succession of hill and dale, badly cultivated ; and mountain glen, with "little claims to the picturesque. Some.good sea-views are, however to be observed from the tops of stupendous sea cliffs, along which the road passes.
" What Iris lines of purple, green, and gold,
Play on its glassy surface; and when vex 'd
With storms, what depth of billowy shade,
With light of curling foam contrasted."
On winding up Ramsey hill, Kirk Maughold is seen on the headland on the left ; and to those travelling northward from Douglas, the view, partly the same as described from Skylaw, that bursts suddenly on the sight, on descending this hill, is exceedingly pleasing. At Ballaglass, about three miles further, and nearly a mile seaward from the road, there is a very pretty waterfall, beautifully wooded, which, if the party has leisure, is well worth visiting ; and on the top of the cultivated rising ground, immediately on the south-west, there is a Druidal circle, to which, till very lately, some ruins called Castle-ri-Orry were attached. About two miles from this, the Doon rivulet, a few hundred yards below the bridge, makes one of the highest water-falls in the Island, leaping into an uncommonly deep ravine, which is not at all generally known. Were the banks and glens here well wooded, the scenery would be very picturesque. About seven miles from Ramsey, on descending the hill above Laxey, the road passes through another small ruin of the Druidical kind, but to which no name has been given.
It is on this coast that oysters and lobsters are found ; and there are also extensive banks of flat-fish, three or four miles from the land, as well as midway to the Cu'niherl'and'shore, which are much frequented by the trawl-boats, from Whitehaven. Liverpool, and other places.
Is a small village, possessing some herring boats. Up the glen there is a small paper mill actively, employed, and well conducted; and about a mile higher up, the lead mines, in which miners are at pesent at work, on account of a company formed in Douglas. Laxey glen presents a good land-scape picture, with Snafield and other mountains for a back ground. This village is considered eight miles from Douglas. After ascending from the deep glen, at the mouth of which it is situated, the parish church of Kirk Lonan lies on the, table land to the right, about half a mile distant; and it may be rernarked that in the ravine leading into the south angle of Laxey-bay, you pass, on the left, the Druidical cairn, called the Cloven Stones, (of which the annexed cut will give the visitor same idea). A few hundred yards to the right, up the margin of the same rivulet, you will see a good example of the fortified hill of the middle ages. Soon after this, passing Ballamenagh, G. Tate, Esq., the two Baldrommas, Bibaloe, and Howstrake, on the left, and Begode, Ballakilmartin, the villa of Mr Ashley, and several other neat country residences, you arrive in the village of Onchan, which has been already noticed,
EXCURSION TO SNAFIELD.
It you wish to make a visit to the top of Snafield, a day ought to be chosen calculated to allow of a clear view of the extensive prospect seen from it-, You may either proceed by taking a guide from Laxey ; or by setting out from Douglas, which is about eight miles from the summit, you may go by the mountain road that leads from the sands, by Cronk-na-Dona and Loch-na-Bay, or that by Balla-Breech and Ballamenagh, to the mountain gate, from whence there is a pathway so tolerable, that in dry weather you may ascend almost the whole way on horseback, Arrangements are generally. made so as to secure some little refreshment on the Mountain. If conducted under favourable circumstances, it forms a delightful excursion. When the horizon is clear, the mountains on the opposite coasts of the four ancient kingdoms of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, besides the whole Island from one extremity to the other, are seen either at the same time, or in succession, according to the state of the horizon. The ranges of Snowden and Cumberland, on the southward and eastward ; the mountains of Morne and Arklow on the west; and the elevations from Dumfries to Portpatrick, and the Mull of Galloway, towards the north.
" Where Britain's genius the wide wave bestrldes,
And, like a vast Colossus, towering stands,
With one foot planted on each Continent."
" Hail, sacred polity, by freedom rear'd !
Hail, sacred freedom, when by law restrain'd !
Without you, what were man? A grovelling herd,
In darkness, wretchedness, and want enchained.
Sublim'd by you the Greeks and Romans reign'd,
In arts unrivall'd. O I to latest days,
In Albion may your influence, unprofan'd,
To god like worth the generous bosom raise,
And prompt the sage's lore, and fire the poet's lay.,