[From Quiggin's Guide, 1841]
In the neighbourhood of Douglas are numerous beautiful villas, rural seats, and genteel residences, the property of wealthy individuals. Leaving Douglas at the end of Atholl-street, and proceeding a short distance on the Peel Road, on the left handside is passed the recently erected mansion of Colonel Goldie, brother of the General of that name, but which is so completely enclosed by a high wall, that its beauties are not discoverable; a few yards further on the right are extensive strawberry-gardens, kept by Mr. J. Jolly. After descending the hill, the first mansion is Belmont, belonging to G. W. Dumbell, Esq.; then Thornton Lodge, the property of Edw. Forbes, Esq.; near which is the beautiful villa of F. Byne, Esq.; next is Mount Vernon, the seat of Dr. Curran, which, though pleasantly situated, is scarcely visible from the road; directly opposite the first milestone is the Gothic mansion of R. MGuffog, Esq., Comptroller of the Customs at Douglas. A few hundred yards further on is the Quarter Bridge, at the foot of which on the right hand side, a road branches off to the village of Onchan and another on the left, to Castletown. From this bridge there is a beautiful view of Kirby, the property of Sir John Buchan, at present the summer residence of Sir George Drinkwater; at the top of the flat meadow on the right is Port-e-chee, formerly the residence of the Duke of Atholl, now the property of Sir George Drinkwater; proceeding onward is the parish church, of Kirk Braddan. This church contains 400 sittings and service is performed every alternate Sunday in Manks; in the afternoon in English exclusively. There is scarcely a spot in the Island which presents scenery more interesting and picturesque. The church is quite embosomed in trees, and the churchyard is crowded with tombs and monuments; amongst the latter is one of a splendid kind, erected to the memory of Lord Henry Murray, brother to the late Duke of Atholl; near the base of the monument is the following inscription :" This sincere testimonial of affection, and deep regret for their commander and their friend, is erected by the officers of the regiment. His saltem accumulen donis et fungar inani munere. Virg. Aeneid VI." In the centre of the church yard stands a stone with the following inscription in runic characters.
The letters still remain in a very perfect state:
Tradition relates that a Danish chief was interred beneath this stone, and his family or exploits are supposed to be recorded on it.
Another stone, bearing marks of great antiquity, stands against the tower of the steeple ; the sculpture on which is but of a rude nature. The date of the erection of the church is unknown, but it was rebuilt in 1773.
LINES TO THE ANCIENT MONUMENT
By Miss E. S. CRAVEN.
On, dark and nameless ! I have gazed on thee
Until the silent dweller in thy shrine
Was to my heart no more a mystery
And in each wildly traced and fading line
There was a spell for spirits such as mine;
The very winds around seemed the tone
Of an unearthly voice at days decline,
Breathing the legend of the lonely stoner.
I lingerd oer the silent characters
Of a forgotten language, darkly gone
With those who traced them to their sepulchres,
Until it seemed their shadowy lore was won-
The mystery of the deadand dreams came on
In fearful beauty, such as might not last
The lineagedeedsof that departed one:
His lifehis love a moment they were past
The winds came o'er the dwellings of the dead,
The wild grass waved up to their passing sigh,
And from my heart the mystic trance had fled,
The shadowy legend seemd at once to die
And be forgot !the freshness of the sky
Bending in beauty oer me, and at times
The music of the birds and waters nigh,
With the far sad cadence of the Sabbath chimes,
Seeming to swell amid the silvery clouds
And die in the bright west. The winds of balm,
The flowers that shone around in dewy clouds,
(The incense shrines of earth), the holy calm
Breathd oer the hailowd spotthe oerpowering charm.
Nameless, yet sweet in its intensity,
All that was bright, and beautiful, and warm
Oh! who could look on these and lonely be?
They mingled with my spirit; it was one
With these bright elements, and might not rest
Oer the dark memory of ages gone
Down to-the dust,for there was in my breast
All glorious hopes, and thoughts too long represt,
That were not of this earth, and lived alone
In the hearts silent worship; breathd not, lest
There- should be dimness oer their beauty thrown-
And Thou! 0 silent dweller in the dust,
Was this fair earth as full of bliss for thee ?
Hadst thou as bright a hope, as firm a trust,
A heart of such enthusiastic fervency?
Thou answerest not !the silent mystery
Of the grave has no voice, or will not show
The secret of its power; and such shall be
My resting place. as nameless, and as low,
And full as silent. This young heart, that springs
To meet the sunbeams, and would pierce their light
Whose thoughts in ock the wild eagle~ dancing wings
In their free ranging, and their uncheckd flight,
Shall there come darkness oer its visions bright,
Coldness oer what is now the impassiond shrine
Of life and hope !Yessuch shall be my night.
The solitude of death, as deep as thi~
* * * * * *
Didst thou come proudly oer the ocean foam
To the lone Island of the storms, to reign
A northern Sea-king in thy desert borne,-
The dark usurper of the trackless main,
Whose proud heart yielded in the Pagan fane, -
Spelled by their runic rites and mystic force,
But when far sweeping on the waves again,
What power might check the wild marauders course?
Or woke thy spirit in this lonely Isle
First to the lightchild of the wilderness
Free as its stormy waters, by the smile
Of sunbeams seldom blest, (not loved the less
Fm all their tempests?) Was it there to press
With the first wind of morn, amid the still
And shadowy mists, from thy lone caves recess,
To wake the red deer on their silent hill?
Tired hunter of the Isle thy chace is past: -
Dark ruler of the waterswe can trace
The shadow of thy course oer ocean cast;
It is forgotten, like thy resting place!
Whence is the legend of thy name or race!
Far in the mist of ages time has shed
Oblivion oer thy glory or disgrace
We know hut thisthy rest is with the dead.
Close to the principal entrance to the church is a stone with the following remarkable intimation : "Here underlyeth the body of the Rev, Mr. Patrick Thompson, minister of Gods word 40 years, at present Vicar of Kirk Braddan, aged 67, anno 1678, deceased an. 1689." The reverend gentleman, it would appear, had the stone engraved eleven years before he died.
The traveller who has a taste for rural scenery would hardly find that taste more amply gratified than by a visit to that hallowed spot, where lie in deep silence thousands and tens of thousands who once trod the busy stage of life. He can scarcely behold the venerable sanctuary with the solemn surrounding scenery, without being forcibly reminded of those beautiful lines of Grays :
"Beneath these rugged elms, that yew trees shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep."
On leaving the churchyard, in the opposite direction to that which was entered, on the return to Douglas, on the left hand, the lodge leading to Kirby, is passed, and on the right that to Ballaughton, the residence of John Wulff, Esq., and shortly after reach some very delightfully situated modern villas at Mill Mount, all of which with the mill, meadow, and Bridge-house, are the property of Mr. J. Donaldson. The high-road is then crossed, and, although there is no appearance of a thoroughfare, mounting a few stone steps will conduct you to a foot-path, in pursuing its track after going through a mill yard and crossing another meadow, you arrive at the grove adjoining the Nunnery,
"Where lovers do
In sweet retirement court the shade
It is a beautiful spot, with a delightful plantation extending along the bank of the river, and has around it an air of seclusion that cannot fail to give delight to the visitor, for
"There waving trees a checkerd scene display,
And part admit, and part exclude the day."
Leaving the grove you arrive at the Nunnery, the-delightful seat of General Goldie, Speaker of the House of Keys, that takes its name from an ancient priory which is said to have been built by St. Bridget when she came to receive the veil from St. Maughold, in the sixth century. Scarcely a vestige of the ancient building now remains; but a beautiful modern structure is erected near its site. The Nunnery is much admired by all visitors; the park and gardens are extensive, and the evergreens are remarkable for their beauty. The Nunnery cannot fail to arrest the attention of the antiquary who may perchance visit Mona, there lie may yet see the ruins of the Convent. Waldron in his history of the Isle of Man, tells us of a grave stone with the following inscription "Illustrissima Matilda filia," and a little lower down on the same stone, "Rex Mercice." This he supposes to be Matilda the daughter of Ethelbert, of the Saxon race, both Stowe and Hollingshed agree that she died a recluse, and on another stone was then found, "Cartesmunda virgo immaculata," and on the base, "A.D., MCCXXX." Waldron is decidedly of opinion that this could be no other than Cartesmunda, the fair Nun of Winchester, who fled from the violence threatened her by king John, and took refuge in this convent. The Lady Abbess was a baroness of the Isle, held courts in her own name, and possessed considerable temporal as well as spiritual authority.
BY THE REV. R. BROWN, VICAR or BRADDAN.
SOON, rising from yon azure wave
The moon shall climb the eastern skies,
Bright as the saint when from his grave
The judgment trump shall bid him rise:
Even now begins the silvery beam
To tremble on Saint Bridgets stream.
How sweet at this still hour to rove,
And by the moons soft light to view
The foliage of that dusky grove,
The water of that streamlet blue,
The ivy robe which age has thrown
On yonder chapels mouldering stone.
Time was when, at the lonely hour,
Reminded by the vesper bell, -
That sounded from yon chapels tower,:
The self sequestering maid would tell,
With awful look and bended knee,
Her often numbered rosary.
Ages there were when in this land
The demon Superstition reigned,
When all were swayed by his command,
When all, obedient to the fiend,
Yielded to sculptured wood and stone
The honour due to God alone.
Then from the wretched laymans eye
The sacred volume was -
The glass through; which the realms of joy
To mans dim vision are revealed;
The chart by which he steers his way
Through lifes dark wave to endless day.
That time has fled! no longer here
Do men to Superstition bow;
His gorgeous shrines no more appear,
And vanished are his idols now,
Like the gay visions of the night,
When glows the east with mornings light.
Within this convents mouldering walls
The flitting bat a dwelling finds;
The dreary shower unhindered falls,
And sadly sound the rushing winds,
Seeming in every gust to say,
"Thou, too, O man, shalt pass away."
After quitting the Nunnery grounds there is nothing particularly attractive until the bridge is reached when, instead of crossing it to return to Douglas, proceed along the South Quay, and just before ascending the hill the large iron foundry of Mr. Gelling, and the gas works will be passed. Having ascended the hill which leads to the Head, you pass Fort Anne, the seat of Sir Wm. Hillary, bart., and also the lately erected villa of Harold Tower, the property of J. Newton, Esq., at present occupied by the Acting Attorney General, J. Quirk, Esq., beyond which is the light house of Douglas Head, the light from which can be seen at the distance of seven leagues in clear weather. It was erected by the Commissioners of Harbours in 1833, under whose management it still remains, and is of the most essential service to shipping; but before proceeding down to the lighthouse the visitor cannot help being struck, on casting his sight inland, at the unrivalled beauty of the prospect before himDouglas, lying at the foot of the bay, gradually rising in the form of an amphitheatre, and being bounded by mountains of great magnitude, gives a most delightful effect to the scenery around. From this spot may be seen nearly every gentlemans residence in the neighbour hood,the splendid hotel of Castle Mona, and the Crescent lying in the distance on the margin of the fine sands of Douglas. When the summit of the hill is reached, on which stands a tower or landmark for -mariners, instead of the pastoral beauties which have just been admired, the sublime and beautiful burst on the view. here the eye, delighted, roves over the vast expanse of water which foams around the rude, broken precipices, the high lands of Wales, and a long extent of the Cumberland coast, crowned with distant mountains being distinctly visible.
The second days excursion, in search of the picturesque, should commence by leaving Douglas at the north end of Atholl-street. Passing the Scotch Kirk, and proceeding along Finch-road, in which there are many repectable mansions with fine sea views, the termination of which brings the visitor to the elegant villa of Marina, built by the late Robert Steuart, Esq., receiver-general of this Island. It was subsequently purchased by the Misses Dutton, and converted by them into a seminary for young ladies. The grounds of Villa Marina, which consist of several acres, and en closed by extensive walling, are laid out with fairy taste, the site being one of the most delightful that can be pictured. We soon after arrive at the lodge of Castle Mona, where there is a large establishment of saddle-horses, gigs, carriages, &c. of every description, with private livery stables and lock-up coach-houses, kept by Mr. P. T. Gillon; from thence taking the foot path on the left-hand at the top of the plantation, many delightful family residences are in the view, on the hill as well as on the lawn, and you are almost imperceptibly brought to Castle Mona, the magnificent mansion erected by the late John, fourth Duke of Atholl, of fine white freestone, brought from Arran, at an expence of £40,000. The Castle and grounds were the only property not disposed of by that family to the Crown, which were purchased a few years since by J. Hutchinson, Esq., and the mansion converted into an hotel. The Castle is magnificent for its size, and the grounds around it are planted with exotics, native shrubs, and forest trees, through which serpentines a little glen of Alpine beauty. the prospect has none to vie with it on the Island. The eye glances rapidly from the distant mountains to the immediate heightsfrom the rolling ocean to the circling bayfrom the forest region to the verdant lawns and parterres of blooming flowers; and the grounds, of which there are twenty acres reserved for the visitors, are intersected with walks so contrived as to appear greatly to add to their extent. The mansion and grounds are in the occupation of Mr. Heron, formerly of the Portobello, Dublin, whose arrangements combine the ease and elegance of the private mansion with the comfort of the hotel. The grand saloon is one of the most splendid kind; the rooms being all airy and lofty, and the establishment is not surpassed by any of a similar nature in the kingdom. Immediately above the Castle Hotel, is the property of the Douglas Building Company, who, much to their credit, are using every exertion to create a New Town, to be called Woodville, thereby offering inducements for respectable families from the opposite coasts to become residents. The houses will be either let or sold as they are completed, the rent of which vary from £15 to £50 per annum. The town is admirably laid out.
Proceeding across the sands, where the beach has been fenced from the sea, at the foot of the cliff, are erected many respectable dwellings, and the Crescent hotel, which last is the property of Mr. J. Cloke, who conducts it. The hotel is very pleasantly situated, and will be found a comfortable residence for those visitors who wish to avoid the bustle of a town to enjoy a pleasant rural retreat and the advantages of sea bathing. Farther on is Strathallan Crescent, the commencement of which is the property of Mr. Luyken, then the properties of Mr. Putnam and Dr. Curran, and then that of Capt. Pollock, at the termination of which is Derby Castle, a mansion suitable from its size and magnificence for the reception of any family of distinction. Ascending the hill, on the top is Summer hill, and branching off to the left is Bernahague, both the property of Deemster Heywood, near which are the parish church of Onchan, and Glencrutchery, the residence of C. Heywood Esq.
the church are the nursery grounds of A. Spittall, Esq. which contain
one of the finest greenhouses on the Island. Returning by the latter
residence, we pass the mansion of J. Schaaw, Esq., and the rural
villa of Woodburne, the property of Mrs. Harrison, by whom it is
occupied; continuing the same line of road for a few hundred yards,
you arrive at the House of
Industry for the poor of the town; after passing which, you
immediately re-enter Douglas.