[From A Manx Scrapbook]
[note corrections tbd]
Chibber Air, on Croit ny Howe, Clay Head, Lonan. Usually translated " Gold Well," and not impossibly; the guardian spirit of an Aberdeenshire well required offerings of gold, which were to be placed in the kettle under the big stone where she lived. Perhaps they were what she expected rather than what she got ; but the name was understood literally by the men who tried to rob her offertory box. Medieval pilgrims certainly dropped pieces of gold into the two wells in Walsingham Chapel, Norfolk. (Who fished them out again ?) Or the " gold " of the Manx well may have been suggested by the colour of scum on its water, as " brass " was in the case of the Brass Well, Mevagissey, Cornwall. The word, however, is susceptible of other interpretations, as in Cashial Air, Maughold, etc.
Chibber yn Argid, an alternative name for Chibber Pherick, Patrick, q.v.-" Well of the Silver " presumably from coins formerly dropped into it or paid to its human custodian, if it had one.
Chibber yn Arragh. There are two roadside wells of this name in Ballarragh village, Lonan. As the Manx arragh, spring-season, is awkward to apply to wells, to Ballaragh, Bride (?), or to the earthen dyke on Snaefell known as Cleigh yn Arragh, besides its being of the feminine gender, recourse must be had to the Gaelic root ar, tillage, from which Joyce, iii., instances a number of Irish place-names, Arragh, Arraghan, Errey, Lisnanarriagh, etc. - an old Indo - European root, known to Cormac. Hence " Well of the (good) Ploughland."
Auleaugh. See the Bishop's Well.
Ballachrink Well, Conchan, is presumably a Wishing Well, since it is included in the " List of Manx Antiquities," Lioar Mann., ii., 166.
Chibber Ballacrele, now filled in, lay near the North end of the footpath from the Rowany road to the Rowany farmhouse, Port Erin, not far from the site of a keeill of which the name is now lost.-" Ballakneale Well," an old quarterland name.
Ballacross Well, Ballacross, Arbory, " by which, it is said, stood a cross, where all christenings used to be made. Until very recently water was brought from it for every christening at the Parish Church. "-(Lioar Mann., ii., 1901, page 177 [sic 107].) In vol. ii., No. 3, 1923, of the same Proceedings it is stated to have been still in use for baptisms in 1916.
Ballig Well, Conchan, a capacious well in a field, with a short flight of stone steps leading down to its water. It is said to have been " good for sore eyes " if visited at daybreak on Easter morning. It is also believed to ebb and flow in sympathy with the tide, although a [mile and a ]quarter of a mile from the sea, and a, fresh-water spring.
Chibber Barraharstal, at the South end of Traie Harstal, Big Bay, Patrick, situated at the top of the barry or inlet for boats cut through the rocks. Remote from all dwellings, it is used exclusively by fishermen. Harstal is the " Fheustal " of the Ordnance map.
Chibber Beltaine. See Chibber Valthane, Rushen.
Chibber y Bet, Ballarragh village, Lonan, was named from one Betty Caley formerly living near, who is reputed to have used its water for concoctions of an unhallowed nature. For that reason her neighbours in times past would not allow even their cattle and horses to drink from the well. Betty's surname, by attesting the former presence of Caleys in the district, helps to explain the John Caley's Well on Cronk y Chuill not far away.
Betty's Well, on the East bank of the stream which runs through Seafield, Santon, and on private ground. So-named from ancient Betty Kneale, who dwelt beside it in a two-roomed cottage. Fishermen used to visit it before going out, to secure luck for their nets and lines, just as Pembrokeshire seafarers visited St. Govan's Well. Applicants at Betty's Well would drop pins and buttons, and doubtless coins when the matter was serious, into its little basin, drink of its water, and silently register their wishes. It is also known locally as the Wishing Well and the Dropping Well.
The Big Well, Douglas, stood at the top of Bigwell Street in the days before the town was supplied with water from the Clypse Reservoir.
Chibber Bill Dee, Cregneish, has the best water in the village, and though situated at its extremity, is largely patronized. It is a good specimen of the Cregneish type of well, a simple but clean and comely little structure, approached by a long, straight, stone-bordered path, which helps to make it a sketchable subject. The village wells of Cregneish, reposing clear and still in their Quaker-grey stonework, are as pleasant to see and to drink from as any in the Island. Dee, I am told locally, was the name of Bill's mother, and not unique as a Manx feminine name, though I have never met with it elsewhere. The well happens to be D-shaped.
The Bishop's Well
The Bishop's Well, in the Bishop's Glen, Michael. It is also known as the Wishing Well, and has two slate tablets set in its pretty though modern masonry for the purpose, if I mistake not, of recording its clients' names. This well, so picturesquely embowered at the foot of a little cliff above a stream, must be the one mentioned in the " Perambulation of the Michael and Ballaugh Parish Boundary," 1677, quoted by Moore, Folk-lore, page 114: " . . . coming down by a well called Aulcaugh als. Phinlowe's Well, and so along the river or milne dam of the sd. Ld. Bp's demesne."
Chibber Bob, Cregneish, Rushen.-" Bob's Well," of the usual domestic kind.
Chibber Boghtyn. Moore, Manx Names, page 156, says : " It was the custom in each parish to reserve a small portion of arable land, and in parishes where there was bog, a small portion of peat-land, the rent of which was divided among the poor." I do not know the situation of Chibber Boghlyn, but the ground on which it stands or stood was doubtless land of this description, the " Poor's Piece," and gave the well its name, the " Paupers' Well."
The Brandy Well, or Chibber Slieu Maggie, near the junction of the Baldwin and Laxey roads at the head of Druidale ; Chibber Slew ne Magarell in the Lord's Composition Book, 1703. I do not know whether " Brandy Well " is a modern name taken from the " Brandy Cottage " near-by, or whether it has for a long time been coupled with the Manx name. In the latter case it is probably from the Norse brunnr, or Danish brõnd, a spring. There are, however, the Brendi Well in an upland glen of East Fife, and the Brendi Well, formerly Brendan's Well, in Dumbarney or Dumbirnan parish, Abernethy, Perthshire, both of which names Wilkie, in his St. Brendan, pages 8 and 39, derives from the Saint. Slieu Maggle is the hill which rises above the well Southwards. In former times " the Brandy " was credited with wonderful powers. (See also page 86.)
The Brewhouse Well, Castletown, is mentioned in the Isle of Man Charities, page 43.
Chibber Brott, in the Doctor's Wood, Glen Aldyn, Lezayre. Its water was used for bathing the eyes and other parts of the body.-Query, " Befouled Well " ? -broighit. Otherwise, " Broth Well."
Chibber Catreeney, Port Erin. See St. Catherine's Well, Port Erin.
Chibber Catreeney, a short distance North of Cabbal Catreeney, Bell Abbey, Arbory. " Whoever drinks of the water will be afflicted with an unquenchable thirst for ever." -(O.S. Name Books.) This seems a little unreasonable, but it is perhaps a fragment of a tradition recorded more fully in the case of Tobar na Glas-a-Choill in Aberdeenshire. " A pin or other piece of metal had to be dropped into it by anyone taking a draught of its water. Whoever neglected this duty, and at any time afterwards again drew water from the spring, was doomed to die of thirst."(Revd. Walter Gregor, Folk-lore Journal, iii., page 67 et seq.) St. Catherine's or Colby Fair used to be held here on 25th November, later on 6th December ; to this annual gathering related the old custom and song of " Kiark Catreeney."-" (St.) Catherine's Well."
Chibber y Chiarn, at the head of Glen Dhoo, Ballaugh. A native of the Glen, aged 84, recalls a custom of visiting this well on Old Midsummer Day, casting money into it, and " putting pieces of patchwork round it." The water was good for the eyes, and was dropped into the ears as a remedy for deafness and noises. A charm was said, but my informant professed ignorance of its terms. " Well of the Lord."
Chibber y Chiarn, in the South-East corner of the field-called, I believe, Magher y Chiarn containing " St. Patrick's Chair," in Marown. Its interest is derived from the cross-inscribed stones in the middle of the field, fabled to mark the spot where the Gospel was first preached in the Isle of Man.
Ny Chibberyn, roadside stream-fed basins at Cronk ny Chibberagh, Ballachrink, Patrick.-" The Wells " ; chibberaghyn.
Chibber y Chree Baney, in the mountains South of Ballaugh, mentioned in the Revd. W. Kermode's MS. Account of the parish. The name presents more than one point of difficulty, which it would be useless to discuss without a knowledge of the spot.
Chibber y Chrink, in Garey y Cleragh, Maughold. " This well was lined with stone, flagged on the bottom, with steps going down some ten or twenty feet. It was supplied with water by a stone-built trench, the opening of which could be seen in the West side of the well. This trench, I have been told, was connected with another large well known as Chibber Moar, in one of the fields of the Glebe." At the side of Chibber y Chrink stood a stone trough or sarcophagus dug up near the church. It was afterwards removed to the village pump, and later brought back to the churchyard. -(Revd. S. N. Harrison, Lioar Mann., July, 1892.) Harrison suggests that this may have been the " hollow stone " mentioned by Jocelin of Furness in his 12th century Life of St. Patrick. Jocelin's words are as follows, and it is not unlikely that he had visited Kirk Maughold :
" And in the Caemetery of its [the City of Saint Machaldus'] church is a Sarcophagus of hollow stone, whereout a spring continually exsudeth, nay, sufficiently floweth forth ; the which is sweet to the draught, wholesome to the taste, and healeth divers infirmities, but chiefly the stings of serpents and the deadliness of poison ; for whoso drinketh thereof, either receiveth instant health, or instantly he dieth. And in that stone are the bones of Saint Machaldus said to rest, yet therein is nothing found, save only clear water. And though many have oftentimes endeavoured to remove the stone, and especially the King of the Norici, who subdued the island, that he might at all times have sweet water, yet have they all failed in their attempt ; for the deeper they digged to raise up the stone, so much the more deeply and firmly did they find it fixed in the heart of the earth. "-(Jocelinus, Vita Patricii, trans. Swift, Dublin, 1809, ch. ii.)
From this it may at least be gathered that there was a famous well in Maughold Churchyard early in the 12th century. The statement that the spring cured " the stings of serpents" is not to be taken more seriously than the rest of the marvellous properties here ascribed to it, in view of the fact that the Island is innocent of such creatures ; indeed, Jocelin himself tells us in his 170th section that " Patrick turned his face toward Mannia, and the other islands which he had imbued and blessed with the Faith of Jesus Christ and with the Holy Sacraments; and by the power of his prayers, he freed all these likewise from the plague of venomous reptiles."
Nevertheless, it is clear that this unnamed spring in Maughold Churchyard must have been the original St. Maughold's Well. The sarcophagus still lies, or lay till very recently, on the North side of the Churchyard.
Christian's Well, Peel.-(The surname.)
Chibber ny Clara, on Baare ny Clara, Cornaa Mill, Maughold.--" Well of the Plank Bridge." The bridge in question crosses the Cornaa or Ballaglass river.
Chibber Coan y Chleiy, " Well of the Valley of the Hedge," rises in Coan y Chleiy, Corvalley, Rushen, the small river-course descending into Glen Chass.
Chibber ny Craue. Among the mountain wells visited every first Sunday in August a considerable number of years ago was one called Chibber ny Craue, but enquiries have up to the present failed to reveal its exact position. Doubtless it was a ground-spring, like the more famous one on South Barrule and others situated on high hillsides, and it may now be overgrown by ling and moss. Reports of it will be welcomed--and of any other wells, for that matter.
Chibber ny Creg, Ballelby, Patrick, forms a rock-basin under Creg Ushtey, a miniature cliff also known as Moses' Rock, above the shore. People used to wash their„eyes with its water to improve or preserve their sight.-" Well of the Rock."
The Crogga Well, hidden in Crogga woods, Santon. Formerly a " Fairy Well " with the usual attributes ; now partly drained, and damaged as a thing of beauty. (See also page 527.)
Chibber Cronk Espart, Shenvalley, Rushen." Evening-hill Well." Espart is a borrowing, doubtless ecclesiastical, from the Latin vesper or vespertina. Cronk Espart is still a gathering-place on fine Sunday evenings.
Chibber Cronk Quinney or Chonney, on the West side of Perwick, Rushen. This pretty well and the fine view Eastward are worth the trouble of a climb to the top of the cultivated field.
Cronk Quinney is the hill alluded to by Roeder (Lioar Mann., iii., 134), though he does not give its name : " But story-telling was not always confined to the firesides . . . and the hill-people in the South went to a hill near the Fistard, and gathered there on Sunday evenings to tell old stories--but there was a swarm of insects carne to the place once, sorme ugly things like ' tarantels or carwhaillags,' but larger, and no one dared to sit there again--they were so afraid of them."-" Gorsy-hill Well," or possibly " Quinney's-hill Well."
Chibber Crosslan or Crashlan, Cregneish, Rushen.A Crossland family formerly lived in the village, and left a few place-names behind them.
Chibber Donean, Baldrine, Lonan.-" Donncadh's (Duncan's) Well."
Chibber Drine, a spring of fresh water about half a mile North of Langness farmhouse, Malew, on the margin of high-water mark.--" Thorn-tree Well." Its name suggests votive offerings, but I have heard of none. It is certainly not an ordinary domestic well.
The Farrane Fing, at Braid Farrane Fing, Slieu Ruy, Lonan. This is the source of the stream called the Awin Ving, and was visited by Lonan people in their August pilgrimages to the top of Snaefell, which were forbidden by the Church in 1732, but nevertheless continued. A local man tells me that it was a favourite drinking-place of Finn MacCowl, from whom he derives its name.-" Clear Spring."
The Fairy Well, Thalloo Holt, Slieu Rea, Lonan. Two spring-wells fill two little pools about 30 yards apart on the West side of the green road going up to the croft. The resident fairy removed from one to the other on account of interference with her property in the course of some drain-cutting or road-mending. A man living till lately at Thalloo Holt relates that he was walking home up the lane one evening and a woman with a brown shawl over her head rose out of the lower pool and went before him into his house. He thought at first it was his sister who had been getting water, but found it was not so, and no one in the house could see the woman but himself. She then disappeared. He went to bed as usual in the loft above the parlour. In the night he saw what was like a yellow light shining on the wall, and when he came fully awake he saw it was the same woman who had been wearing the brown shawl, but now she was dressed all in yellow silk. She sang beautiful music to him for hours, and then she went away.
The Fairy Well, at the Fairy Bridge and ford near Oakhill, Braddan-Information wanted.
Chibber Feeayr, Cronkbreck, Grenaby, Malew. It stands by the side of the lane leading to the deserted farmhouse, and was roofed and walled in solid masonry by Preston of Cronkbreck (alias Knockbreck) about sixty years ago. Though it is not reputed to possess medicinal or magical virtues, a Green Lady has been seen in its immediate vicinity within the last few years ; this I had from the person who saw her, and of whose belief in the vision I have no doubt whatever. She may perhaps have belonged not to the well, or not to the well only, but the river just below, and have been a sister of the Green Woman who haunted the fords of the Conan in Ross-shire, in Hugh Miller's My Schools and Schoolmasters, and of many other river-ladies, Celtic and Teutonic, who wear the fairy colour.
It was the same pious man, Preston, who placed the Old Slate, a well-known flag-bridge, across the tributary stream near-by, where it still performs its useful function.-" Cold Well."
Chibber Feeyney, on Lheeaney Fheeyney, Ballacree, Bride.-" Wine Well," ostensibly, but leeyney occurs in other Manx place-names, and the meaning is not always clear, though the country people unhesitatingly translate it as " wine." There is a mineral spring called " the Wine Well " at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, and a Tobar Creag an Fhiona-" Rock-of-the-Wine Well "-in Eriskay, Hebrides ; the latter is said to have been so-named by Prince Charlie, though this may be doubted. Professor W. J. Watson in his Celtic Place-Names gives three examples of Tobar an Fhiona and two rivers of the name, all of which, with their derivative glens, etc., he refers to the Latin vinea. A belief was widely held in Germany and Scandinavia that at midnight of Christmas Eve or of Easter Eve the water of certain wells changed momentarily into wine. In Sweden their special designation was the equivalent of " Fountains of the Cross," and the transmutation occurred at sunrise, a crisis which evoked the latent virtues of many Manx wells. The belief probably had a Scriptural origin, or at any rate was reinforced by the account of the miracle connected with the Marriage at Cana. In Ireland names containing fhion are fairly common ; Joyce usually refers them to smuggling practices.
A friend, after reading the foregoing note, writes :" I have heard a different version-that the ' wine ' used at fairy feasts was really water taken from these wells, and that if a mortal drank of it when it was in the wine state, it put him into the power of Themselves for ever."
This " fairy wine " will be recognized as figuring in innumerable stories of a mortal entering a fairy dwelling and being pressed to drink ; sometimes he thereby falls under their spell, sometimes he is more cautious and comes away hurriedly and dishonestly with the Fairy Cup.
Chibber Feeyney, Glen Roy, Lonan. It is said to be somewhere on the North side of the Glen, but I have not been able to identify it unless it is the large roadside well near the glen-head with steps descending and a recess in the wall. Such recesses may have been intended to hold a rush-light or candle, or for offerings, or, if the structure is old enough, for a small image of the saint ; but the last function is an unlikely one in the Isle of Man, unless the stonework is much older than it looks.
Chibber ny Ferrishyn, " Well of the Fairies," is in Close ny Ferrishyn below an old quarry above the road at Gob y Volley, Lezayre.
Chibber Folta, Port Erin, stood close to the old lighthouse at the North end of the beach.-Folta or Volta was the name of the land traversed by this stretch of road. The spring is now covered and piped.
Chibber ny Gabbyl (pronounced " Gahvel "), is about 300 yards North-East of the " Neolithic Village " near the 1-lull Circle, Rushen, an important centre in its day.
" The fairies had an exhibition at this well. Coming from Port Erin one night at a late hour, a relative met with the fairies, who took him to the exhibition and showed him all the wonders, and he said he never saw such wonderful things in all his life. He had been at the Dublin Exhibition once, but it was nothing in comparison to the fairies' ; he could not describe anything, for everything was too wonderful. He was there until the morning dawned, and the exhibition got closed, and he found himself at the Chibber ny Gabbyl, but he would not have it that he dreamed those things, and that he was asleep at all." (Reported by Roeder, I.O.M. Nat. Hist. and Ant. Soc. Proc., 1896.)
He may have been asleep, and he may have dreamed those things, yet without being alone in his dreaming. In Tales of the Blackdown Borderland, by F. W. Mathews, there is a quotation from a local work of 1684, describing the Pixies and their doings. Blackdown, it should be explained, is a high isolated plateau lying partly in Somerset and partly in Devon.
" The place near which they most ordinarily showed themselves was on the side of a Hill, named Black-down Those that have had occasion to travel that way, have frequently seen them there, appearing like Men and Women of a stature generally near the smaller size of Men. Their habits used to be of red, blew, or green, according to the old way of Country Garb, with high-crown'd hats. One time, about 5o years since, a person . . . was riding towards his house that way, and saw just before him, on the side of the Hill, a great company of People, that seemed to him like Country Folks, assembled at a Fair; there was all sorts of Commodities to his appearance as at our ordinary Fairs . . . he could not remember anything which he had usually seen at Fairs, but what he saw there. It was once in his thought that it might be some Fair for Chestonford, there being a considerable one at some time of the year, but then again he considered that it was not the season for it ; he was under very great surprize, and admired what the meaning of what he saw should be ; at length it came into his mind what he had heard concerning the Fairies on the side of that Hill ; and it being near the Road he was to take, he resolved to ride in amongst them and see what they were ; and though he saw them perfectly all along as he came, yet when he was upon the place where all this had appeared to him, he could discern nothing at all, only seemed to be crouded and thrust, as when one passes through a throng of People ; all the rest became invisible to him, until he came at a little distance, and then it appeared to him again as at the first. He found himself in pain, and so hasted home ; where being arrived, a Lameness seized him all on one side, which continued on him as long as he lived, which was many years
" There were some . . . lived at a Gentleman's House named Comb Farm, near the place before specified ; both the Man, and his Wife, and divers of the Neighbours, assured me that they had at many times seen this Fair-keeping in the Summer-time, as they came from Tanton Market, but that they durst not adventure in amongst them, for that every one that had done so had received great damage by it . . ." The same vision is reported to have been seen, in the same spot, towards the end of the 19th century.
A similar story, laid in a -scene resembling that of the Manx and Somerset versions, comes from Normandy. " Near the village of Puys, half a league to the North-East of Dieppe, there is a high plateau, surrounded on all sides by large entrenchments, except that over the sea, where the cliffs render it inaccessible. It is named ' La Cité des Limes' or ' La Camp de César,' or simply ' Le Cåtel ' or ' Castel.' Tradition tells us that the Fëes used to hold a fair there, at which all sorts of magic articles from their secret stores were offered for sale, and the most courteous entreaties and blandishments were employed to induce those who frequented it to become purchasers. But the moment anyone did so, and stretched forth his hand to take the article he had selected, the perfidious Fëes seized him and hurled him clown the cliffs. "-(Keightley, The Fairy Mythology, page 474.)
And Hunt, in his Romances and Drolls, 2nd edn., page 97, has a brief account of a Fairy Fair seen at a place which I take to be the side of Tregonning Hill, with its Camps and " Castle," between Godolphin Cross and Germoe, in West Cornwall. One night Daniel Champion and a comrade came to Bal Lane, a notorious place for piskies, and found it " covered all over from end to end, and the Small People holding a Fair there with all sorts of merchandise--the prettiest sight they ever met with." Champion recognized, in the midst of the throng, his own child who had been stolen shortly before by the piskies. The other man suffered physical consequences.
In pre-Roman Italy it was the red-capped Goblins, equipped with weights and scales, who offered their merchandise, and they are thus depicted on Etruscan pottery. It would be interesting to know whether Christina Rossetti took the framework of her poem " Goblin Market " from an Italian or an English folk-tale.
Even bearing in mind the normal tendencies of folklore distribution, it is strange that a story so odd, yet so consistent in its versions, should be accurately localized is so many places. A romantically-minded historian might discern early Greeks or Phoenicians in the shadowy forms of these mercantile fairies, fées and piskies, but it would be at the risk of meeting with a sample of them from Japan or Mexico.
To the locality of the Mull Circle, the " Neolithic Village," and Chibber ny Gabbyl belong also the sound of the rushing and galloping of unseen horses, and many other strange manifestations detailed by Roeder. It is in fact one of the most severely haunted districts in the Island. Quite recently a party of three persons on their way home at night from Port Erin were startled into flight by a noise just at their heels like a cartload of stones being suddenly upset ; it went off like a gun, deponent saith. There are quarries in the vicinity, it is true ; but the same sound has been heard in parts of the Island where there are no quarries. And about Chibber ny Gabbyl have been seen, from a little distance away, nocturnal lights moving to and fro, which is not unnatural, since it lies in a boggy spot.--" Well of the Horse, or Horses."
Chibber yn Garey Dhoo, on the outskirts of Cregneish, Rushen.-" Well of the Dark Waste-land."
Chibber ny Garey Karran, or Chibber Karran, on the South side of Cregneish.- ' Well of Karran's Wasteland," or possibly " Waste-land of the Cairn, or Stonyplace," which is often pronounced " carran " ; but the latter meaning would not suit its present appearance.
Chibber y Geayee, above Gob y Volley, Lezayre." Well of the Wind," so-named, it is usually said, because of its exposed situation. This is quite a possible reason ; but it is worth noting also that there are wells in Scotland, Ireland and Man by means of which control was exercised over the wind, as to both its strength and its direction. One method of procedure, in the two former countries at least, was to soak a piece of cloth (perhaps symbolizing a sail ?), in the well water and then pound it vigorously on a flat stone ; another way was to throw out the water with a bailer in the direction from which the wind was required; a third method was to drain the water out of the well by means of a channel. In all cases, the proper charm was repeated during the process. The two latter practices strike one as having been intended originally to bring rain rather than wind only ; the throwing of water into the air and letting it fall upon the ground or on a stone promotes, according to the principles of imitative magic, the falling of rain ; or if it was meant to symbolize the emptying of the well (actually carried out in the third method), the idea would be that the well-spirit would see to it that rain promptly descended to replenish his or her supply. (But obviously, if the sky is clear, rain cannot be expected without wind to bring the rain-clouds.) In India the guardian deity of wells, Indra, is also, and primarily, the Sky-god and Rain-god-an Eastern Jupiter Pluvius.
Evidently the third method described above, that of complete drainage, was the one employed in the Isle of Man by Elizabeth Black, who in 1658 was reported to have "emptied a springing-well dry for to obtain a favourable winde," and who was fined for " such a folly tending to charminge, witchcraft, or sorcery." (Quoted from the Lib. Scacc. by Moore in Folk-lore, vol. v.) The locality of her exploit is unfortunately not given.
With the foregoing remarks may be compared those relating to Chibber Gorran. (See page 42.)
The Geill, at the Rule, Sulby, Lezayre. The stream to which it gives rise is called Ushtey Villish y Geill, " Sweet water of the Spring." " The Geill "-" the Spring "-was formerly, I believe, the name of the Rule estate.
Chibber y Geill, Rhenab, Maughold ; a bubbling well.-" Well of the Spring."
Chibber yn Ghlion, in Glen Down, near Port Erin. Once a picturesque draw-well, but recently destroyed by the tenant.-" Well of the Glen." (Frontispiece.)
Glen Crutchery Well, Conchan. --" So you have not heard what the Mooayer-ny-Booiagh does ? " said the old lady; " then I will tell you. There was a servant girl at Bemahague, and the mistress wanted her to go to Glen Crutchery Well to get a can of water before daylight, and afterwards she was to be allowed to go to the Fair. When going to the well she met the Old Man of Glen Crutchery, who asked her where she was going. ' Going to your well for water,' she said. He asked her if there was no water in their well. She said there was, but her mistress had sent her. He gave her half-a-crown, and told her to take water out of their own well. The girl received the money, which confirmed the charm, and then went to the Fair. When she returned home the mistress asked her where she had procured the water, for she had been churning all day and had got no butter." William Harrison, from whose MS. this is taken, afterwards included it in his second Mona Miscellany. In another MS. in my possession it is headed, more intelligibly, " Mooaraghey ny Booiagh, Begrudging a Willing Consent." Moore, Folk-lore of the Isle of Man, page 90, says the Old Man had the reputation of being a sorcerer. The incidents have clearly been modernized and partly forgotten ; but the Old Man is recognizable as the well's supernatural protector, resembling, for instance, the " spiteful spirit, Duine-glaise-beg, or Little Grey Man," who " guarded the water with great care " at Tobar-na-Glas-a-Choille in Corgarff, Aberdeenshire. (Gregor, Folk-lore Journal, iii., 67ff.) In Grundtvig's Danish Fairy Tales Sir Greenhat is fostered by the white-bearded " Old Man of the Well," who endows him with magical powers, including that of changing his shape at will - a characteristically aqueous accomplishment. Human well-guardians were, I think, invariably women, as are their few modern representatives.
The housewife's anxiety to get water for her churning from the Glen Crutchery Well is an additional indication that it possessed special virtue-that it was in fact a Fairy Well. For another Manx instance of " confirming the charm " compare Notes and Queries, 1st series, v. 341 : " A little girl walking over a bridge was offered by three little men, one after the other, a farthing, which she persevered in refusing ; knowing that, if accepted, she would have been carried off."
Chibber Ghlion ny Cain, Spaldrick, near Port Erin." Cain's-glen Well," or possibly " Sea-glen Well " ; keayn. A domestic well.
Chibber Gorran, between Agneash and Croit ny Claghbane, Lonan.-" The old people used to believe that if this well went dry during the summer a great gale and thunderstorm would arise, and sufficient rain fall to fill it up again ; and if it should ever be destroyed or drained by artificial means, storms and disasters would ensue."-(Communicated by a friend.) There seems to be a veiled implication here of some such practices as those I have described under Chibber ny Geayee. A comparison may also be drawn with the spring-fed lakelet of Llyn Barfog, Merioneth, of which it is said (quoted by Rhys, Celtic Folklore, i., 1q2), " it is believed to be very perilous to let the waters out of the lake, and recently an aged inhabitant of the district informed the writer that she recollected this being done during a period of long drought, in order to procure motive power for Llyn Pair Mill, and that long-continued rains followed." In the belief of the local people the lake formed one of the many communications between this outward world of ours and the inner or lower one of Annwn.-The Gaelic garran means a thicket or shrubbery, but there is nothing of the kind here now. A likelier explanation is afforded by the Manx garron, a pony.
Chibber Harree, Lezayre. - " Harry's Well," or possibly " Colts' Well " ; sharree.
Henry Kermode's Well, West of Spaldrick Glen, near Port Erin.
Chibber Hidee, in the Courtyard of Castle Rushen, is said, like Ballig Well, Conchan, to rise and fall with the tide, as its name, " Tide Well," suggests. A magical cause seems to have been attributed, but since the well-a deep draw-well or Chibber-tayrnee--is so close to the harbour, there is no obvious reason why it should not thus fluctuate naturally.
Chibbert y Himma, Ballafesson, Rushen, is one of the numerous wells which " never run dry."-" Well of the Ridge " ; immyr, an agricultural term descended from the run-rig or run-dale system of cultivation.
The Howe Well, on the North side of the high road from Cregneish to Corvalley, is the chief source of supply for the neighbourhood. The stream issuing from it flows underground for the first hundred yards or so of its course towards Glen Down. This must be one of the two adjacent roadside wells referred to by Roeder (see page 82), as flowing in opposite directions.
Chibber Inch, Lezayre. " These commons Westward of Sulby Glen, between it and Ballaugh Glen . . . contain . . . the Chibbyr Inch. This purports to be a sacred well ; and I dare say it has been one but all one found was a very dirty puddle . . . But the good people over here swear by these things. ' Chibbyr Inch! Chibbyr Inch! my gough, is it Chibbyr Inch ? I 've been at it scores of times. Wasn't the ould people used to go up with bottles to get the water ? Ter'ble good for sore eyes, they 're sayin'.' "(Letters of T. E. Brown, i., 137 ; 1889.)
Is Chibber Inch an alternative name for Chibber Lansh or for Chibber ny Geayee, both in the area defined by Brown ?
John Caley's Well, Ballacaley, Lezayre. Feltham, in his Tour, 1798, mentions it as being a " remarkable spring." A " John Caley of the Well " was buried in Lezayre Churchyard in 1765 ; see Monumental Inscriptions. The Caleys "of the Well" were a prominent Lezayre family,whose soubriquet distinguished them from the numerous other Caleys in the parish. To their stock, I have been told, belonged Arthur Caley, the 7 foot 6 inch, 21 stone giant who acquired a fleeting fame in London and Paris in the 19th century.
John Caley's Well, Cronk y Chuill, Lonan. Did a scion of the Sulby Caleys migrate to Lonan and bestow this name on his well to remind him of home ?
Julia Morgan's Well, on the Foxdale road, Marown, between the two Renshents. Julia was the wife of an Irishman who lived in a cottage close by ; surely a lady of marked character, thus to have writ her name in water.
Kinley's Well, Peel.--(The surname.)
Chibber Kione Spainey, on Spanish Head, Rushen. " Spanish Head Well."
Lady's Well, at the top of Chapel Bay, Port St. Mary. Formerly it issued from a flat reef called " the Lady's Rock," at the foot of the grassy cliff, into a stone trough ; but after the construction of the Promenade its excellent water was subjected to the indignity of an iron spout. The " Lady " in question is the Virgin Mary, after whom the vanished chapel, once adjacent, and the present Port, were named.
Chibber Laish or Lace, in Ballaugh Curragh. Its water was highly esteemed by health-seekers from the Northern parishes.-" Cure Well " ; lheihys. There is a Tobaranleise (leighis) in Co. Wexford.-(Joyce, Iy. Names o f Places, ii., 88.) Moore, Manx Names, gives this well as Chibber Glass.
Chibber Lansh, on the high ground West of Sulby Glen, Lezayre. Chibber Launch in Feltham's Tour, 1798. Like nearly all the curative wells it specializes on " the eyes .... ' Health Well " , slaynt.
There are three basins close together. " The cure could only be effective if the patient came on Sunday, walked three times round the pool, saying: Ayns enym yn Ayr, as y Vac, as y Spyrryd Noo ; ('In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost '), and then applied the water to his or her eyes."-(Moore, Manx Names, 176.) Other accounts state that the ritual must be performed at the rising of the sun. In his first edition Moore says the patients " walked three times round each pool " ; and it is likely that all three basins were used formerly, and that their threefold character enhanced the reputation of the well. So Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, page 586: " Magic water, serving for unchristian divination, is to be collected before sunrise on a Sunday morning, in one glass from three flowing springs." The three contiguous basins of the Chapel Wells, Kirkmaiden, Galloway, the triple springs supplying Tobar Farar Mõr, Corgarff, Aberdeenshire, and the Tre Fontane in Rome, are all comparable with those at Chibber Lansh. At the Tre Fontane each spring-they are only a yard apart-cures a different disease, and each has its elaborate altar. (The old name of this fountain, by the way--Aquas Salviasis a close equivalent of Chibber Lansh.)
But the most striking illustration of the dignity our humble Chibber Lansh might in happier circumstances have attained is to be seen in the high fate of a well at Carrawburgh (Procolitia), on the Roman Wall in Northumberland, whose threefold waters flowed until recently into the South Tyne. Here the First Cohort of Batavians erected, doubtless at their own expense and by their own labour, an enclosing temple, and the oblations of their successors and of the pious Britons maintained its priests for nearly three centuries. Very likely the pious Britons had been paying their respects to the spot for a previous three centuries before the Romans patronized it in their grandiose way. Inside the temple the Prefect of the Cohort placed a votive tablet to the Dea Conventina, with the image of the Goddess and those of the three Naiads of her three tributary springs sculptured above the inscription ; and many other inscribed altars and an enormous quantity of coins and other offerings were discovered during the excavations by the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle. Archaeologia Æliava, viii., N.S., page 1 et seq.) It may be only an accident of phonology that the hill-side on which the well is situated is called, in Bartholomew's half-inch map, Tepper Moor.
Had the Romans occupied Man a similar temple would, we may imagine, have been erected over Chibber Lansh, containing similar dedications to the Goddess, whoever she may have been, surmounted perhaps by her image. In or after the 6th century she would have been exorcized and evicted, and a Saint installed as caretaker ; possibly a chapel would have been built of the dilapidated materials of her little temple. By the 16th century her name would have been forgotten, but as a White or a Green Lady she would have been seen, less and less often, roaming in the neighbourhood of her well up to the 19th century. In the19th it would be remembered that the well used to be haunted ; and about 1876 a local Society, amid general rejoicings, might have been expected to unearth the vestiges of her cult as the foundations of Coventina's temple were unearthed in 1876.
Chibber Leaky, Bradda, Rushen.-" Falling-water Well " ; lhieggey.
Chibber Lieen, The Mull, Rushen.= ' Flax Well," wherein the flax was steeped for a fortnight to remove the husks and prepare it for breaking and combing before it was spun. A dim notion still survives that the steeping was more effectual during darkness than in the daytime. Among the Finns, not only the steeping but all the other stages of net-making were performed preferably by night, including the actual weaving of the nets.-(See " Magic Songs of the Finns," Folk-lore Journal, ii., 43.)
Chibber Lhiondaig, The Mull, Rushen.-"Lhiondaig, an even, grassy plot in a valley " ; (Cregeen). This well is near Chibber Cronk Espart.
Chibber ny Lhargagh, " Well of the Slope," is the name of a spring and pool a little South of the Sloc, Rushen, on the East side of the road. It used to be a favourite meeting-place of the now nearly extinct tribe of jinnies or wanderers of the roads, and the snug grassy hollow beside it was often their sleeping-place also, when fine weather made them independent of rest-houses, farm-kitchens and barns.
Lord Henry's Well, on Laxey beach about a quarter of a mile South-West of the harbour ; the adjacent dwelling-house is now called " Lord Henry's Cottage." " It is said that on one occasion, when Lord Henry Murray (whose monument is conspicuous in Braddan Churchyard) resided with his father, the Duke of Atholl, he suddenly disappeared from home, and for some time no tidings could be obtained of his whereabouts. Eventually, however, he was discovered seated by this well and holding sweet converse with a fair Mankish maiden, who afterwards did or did not become Lady Murray-we know not which."-(Guide to Laxey, by a Resident, Oldham, 1876.) The water was formerly noted for its curative properties. There is another well called Lord Henry's Well, on the West side of the Douglas road, about .800 yards South-West of the foregoing, of which it appears to have usurped the name.
Chibber y Lurchan, on Balladhoo, North-West of the " Liverpool Arms," half-way between Douglas and Laxey.-Query, " Well of the Hill-side "- lhargan ?
Lieh-Laa, also called
Chibber Mun Laa, at Cardle Veg, Maughold, near the ancient keeill and burial-ground. It was visited at the rising of the full moon, the water drunk of and sprinkled on the person, and the request formulated ; or the same ritual was performed as the first rays of the rising sun fell on the water, according to the nature of the wish. The name " Half-day Well " or " Mid-day Well " -moan-laa--thus remains to be explained.
Both the Parsis and the Mahommedans of India observe the incidence of full moon by decorating their sacred wells with flowers and making offerings to the well-spirit or saint with a view to cures and other benefits.- (Masani, Folk-lore of Wells, pages 18 and 25.)
Chibber Maghal. See St. Maughold's Well.
Chibber Mappy, at the side of the road going down to the Sound, Rushen. " Mappy " (Martha) was the name of an old woman who lived near and used the well.
Moir ny Hushtaghyn, the main source of the Glen Rushen river, fed chiefly by Chibber Pooyl Sallagh, q.v.-" Mother of the Waters." Whether this is a genuine Manx expression or was coined by the Manx translators of the Bible (2 Kings, ii., 21), and thence adopted into Cregeen's Dictionary and attached to this spot, and to others, if any, I cannot say. The same phrase is a Greek term-the commonest one, I believe -for a river-head ; but it is a natural figure of speech which might occur to the minds of any race of people. The use of the plural is the only reason for suspecting its authenticity.
Chibber Mooar, in one of the Glebe fields, Maughold village. This well, and Chibber y Clarink, which was connected with it, supplied the houses with water before the village pump was set up when the mines began to be worked, previous to 1860.--" Big Well."
Chibber Morag, on Rhenab, Maughold ; exact position not ascertained. Morag, which occurs in another local place-naive, looks like the diminutive of an old feminine name, sometimes rendered " Margery," as in the Tales of the West Highlands. The Irish equivalents, Mór and Moreen, also appear in toponomy.
Chibber Naimey, in the upper part of Surby Moor, Rushen.--" Avuncular Well " ; i.e., belonging to the uncle's family, or to a man thus nicknamed. Compare Magher Naunt, " the Aunt's Field," Cass Struan, Rushen.
Chibber Nalla or Nulla (the vowel sound is indeterminate), a roadside well in Ballarragh village, Lonan.
Nan Willy's Well is between the Chapel and the old Schoolhouse, Upper Sulby Glen, about 70 yards from the former. Nan died at the tantalizing age of 99, possessed in popular belief of the usual attributes of lone old women in less enlightened days than ours. The foundation of her cottage at Magher Nan Willy, half-way between her well and the Chapel, still exists. The well, small, but graced by ferns within and overshadowed by tall grasses, is fed by a double influx from the two sides of its rocky cavern.
Nancy's Well, on the Magher Nancy, just below the South side of the high road, Bradda Mooar, Rushen. It is now disused and consequently in a neglected state.
Chibber Neddy Hom Ruy, Cregneish, Rushen.---" Red Neddy Tom's Well," named after the father of that eminent Manxman, the late Edmund Goodwin, whose family it supplied, and. in front of whose cottage it lies.
Chibber Nell, in a. field called the C'nell, Ballarragh, Lonan.-" Nell's Well " ?
Chibber Nerrish, by the haunted ford and footbridge on the Silverburn below the Whallag, Malew.Superficially, " Well of the Fairy," ferrish ; but perhaps a remoter etymon, such as feeayr-ushtey, cold water, or the Gaelic fior-uisge, fresh water, would be preferable. Well-names, like field-names, besides being much worn down by usage, are seldom capable of being checked in a written record, and for the meanings of some of them only conjectures can be offered.
Chibber Niglus, Braddan. A slight trace only of this well remains in the North-East corner of the field now called " Jim Nicholas," on Kirby farm. It must have furnished water for the pre-historic settlement adjacent, for though the river runs past the foot of the " Camp " it was probably tidal in former times.--" (St.) Nicholas' Well."
Chibber Niglus, on the shore below Cabbal Niglus, Laxey. " Having been desecrated by bloodshed, was filled up many years ago."-(Mx. Archl. Survey Report, 1915.) Story wanted. The well was in use up to 1887, if not later.
Chibber Nink, a roadside well, Ballarragh village, Lonan. It lies at the foot of land called " The Carnanes," traditionally a battle-field.
The Nunnery Well or Nuns' Well. See Chibber Vreeshey, the Nunnery, Douglas.
Chibber Ooinney. See Chibber Uney.
Chibber Ollin. See Chibber Rollin..
Chibber Pherick, on Slieu Curn, Ballaugh. See St. Patrick's Well, Ballaugh.
Chibber Pherick, on Lhergey Grawe, East side of Glen Roy, Lonan. St. Patrick's horse, stumbling at this spot, dislodged a turf with its hoof and so created the well, which the Saint inaugurated by taking a drink of its water. St. George's steed proved itself an equally successful water-diviner at a place near Padstow. As with certain English and Scottish wells, whosoever slakes his thirst at Chibber Pherick, Lonan, without leaving an offering will be punished for his stinginess or negligence. In this case, he will be sure to lose his way afterwards ; in the case of the spring at the top of Ben Newe, Aberdeenshire, the penalty was more severe. If anyone were so disrespectful as even to pass it without drinking and making a gift, its guardian spirit did not permit him to reach the foot of the hill alive. (Gregor, as before.)
Chibber Pherick Fair used to be held here every 12th May. Like many other Manx country fairs it dwindled and vanished, and its well is following it for want of a little attention.
Chibber Pherick, under Corrin's Hill, Patrick. It sprang forth to commemorate the spot where the Saint first planted the sign of the Cross on Manx soil, and was endowed with every benefit for the use of the faithful who came to prove its properties.-(See Mona Miscellany, i., 196.) Additionally, and with equal authenticity, St. Patrick when crossing from Ireland on horseback was pursued by a sea-monster which must have been opposed to the conversion of the Island ; to escape it the horse made a leap up the cliff-side, and at the place where it landed the well gushed out. The (petrified) monster may be seen at the foot of the gully below. A similar legend pertains to St. Maughold's Well, minus the monster.
This well has also borne the names of Chibber Noo Pherick (Saint Patrick's Well), Chibber Sheeant (Holy Well), and Chibber yn Argid (Well of the Silver), according to A. W. Moore. It is now in a poor state, like its Lonan namesake and many other Manx Holy Wells.
Chibber Pherick, Jurby. See St. Patrick's Well,, Jurby.
Phinlowe's Well. See The Bishop's Well.
Pooyl Hood, formed by a spring at the East end of Cregneish, and reserved, with its trough, for the use of animals.
Chibber Pooyl Sallagh, on the North-East slope of Cronk ny Irree Lhaa, Patrick ; a source of the Glen Rushen river. Pharick y Kellya, of the Lower Kellya, in Dalby Lag, was cutting turf here one summer evening about a hundred years ago, and he saw a little Tayrooushley (water-bull) to rise out by the chibber, and as he was watching it, it grew bigger and bigger, and began to come towards him. He thought this was about enough, so he went up to it and laid on to it for a long while with his faayl, (turf-spade), till it was nothing at all but a soft jelly like frog-spawn. Or so I have been told near the scene of his adventure, and the telling rings true ; for these watery creatures dissolve at the touch of iron or steel. When the Highlander caught the Vuagh or Kelpie, and would soothe her restlessness with his homely weapons, " Och ! och ! " she cried, " pierce me with the crooked cobbler's-awl, but keep that small sharp needle out of me." But he pricked her with the tailor's needle, and his friends came out with lanterns, and between the light and the steel she collapsed to a lump of jelly at his feet.-(Folk-lore Journal, vi., 224., and Tales of the West Highlands, ii., 204.) What my narrator likened to frog-spawn was probably the nostoc or " fallen-star " with which the deliquescent Kelpie is compared, and round which such strange beliefs have. grown in various parts of Europe. The Alchemists deemed it a universal solvent, perhaps because it is as simple in construction as water itself ; see Choice Notes from N. and Q., pages 272-5. So too in Crofton Croker's legend of a Mermaid who lived in a lough by a well in Co. Clare. When an enraged butler caught her in the act of stealing his wine he threw her into a cauldron of boiling water, whereupon " she vanished . . . leaving only a mass of jelly behind." That she was able to appear again, even though less frequently, seems a clear proof that these sons and daughters of Oceanus enjoy the advantages of a soul, ecclesiastical pronouncements and popular belief to the contrary notwithstanding.
The faayl which Pharick used for digging his turf and belabouring his Tarroo was like an ordinary spade minus the right-hand half of its blade, thus giving a long narrow surface for cutting and lifting the sod ; some of these obsolete implernents have an ullaghan or iron projection on which the foot was placed to add to the driving power. At least one house in the parish of Patrick has a specimen of each kind laid by, and they may have been found unexpectedly useful of late years ; for though the days of universal turf-fires have passed away, there was a partial return to this fuel during the war, when coal was scarce.
The vicinity of Chibber Pooyl Sallagh is said to have been much disturbed by some operations or other, hence its name, " Muddy-pool Well." Formerly its water was used to benefit the eyes.
Chibber ny Pot, between the Howe and Struan-snail, Port Erin. It is said to be so-named from a pot with which it was furnished, but more probably from its boggy site , pot, meaning soft ground.
Chibber y Punch, on the Injebreck turf-grounds, Lezayre. Perhaps a corruption of Chibber y Phun, " Well of the Sheepfold or Pound " ; but see page 86.
Chibber ny Queig, in the glen of the Killey, above Churchtown, Lezayre. Its water will cure any one of the five senses which may be debilitated., but not more than one in the same person.--" Well of the Five." But it may be suspected that queig, if the true form of the name, had some other application which has been forgotten. Fivepennies Well in the island of Eigg, says Martin in his Western Isles (most plundered of books), never fails to cure any person of his first disease. Fivepence was the customary offering there ; fourpence at Llandegla, Denbighshire.
The Rag Well, near the top of Surby Mooar, Rushen, about 50 yards West of the road, and adjacent to a nameless keeill and burial-ground. Though its original name is lost, the present one betrays its former character, and its location further testifies that it must once have been a Sacred Well. It is also called the Fairy Well.
The Rhyne Well, at the chapel-site and ancient burial-ground, the Rhyne, Marown. Another case of a lost name and probable former sanctity.
Chibber Rollin. Moore, Manx Names, page 149, mentions a Chibber Rollin or Ollin. I do not know where it is.
Chibber Roney, at the Old Parish Church, Marown, in the North side of the churchyard among bushes, and adjacent to the old Fair-ground. Canon Quine, in Lioar Mann., iii., page 450, says that he has heard it locally pronounced Rorzyun, and that it is, traditionally, the well from which the water was drawn for baptisms in the church. This custom probably ceased at Kirk Marown about 1704, when the church was provided with an internal supply of water, as recorded in Fargher's Annals. It is not yet entirely obsolete in Somerset.-" (St.) Ronan's Well," Rónog or Rónaig being a diminutive expressing affection and allegiance.
Perhaps " dedicated " is too formal a word ; but the Isle of Man can reckon at least 25 wells and springs-doubtless more in earlier days, for every church had its baptizing well-which bear the names of Saints, and one, Trinity Well, which echoes the comparatively modern dedication of the church to which it belongs. Besides these there are Our Lady's Well and two Wells of the Lord--Chibber y Chiarn.. The sense of chiarn in place-names is ambiguous ; I am inclined to think it sometimes carried the meaning of " holy man " or " anchorite," though in this connexion it may simply be the complement of " Our Lady." In the age when the surrounding countries produced their luxuriant crops of holy men-great fighters and cursors, many of them--the Island was, even in comparison, scantily populated ; but its secluded situation must have been favourable to the cultivation of saints and hermits, and its former character for sanctity argues their profusion. It is rather surprising, therefore, as well as regrettable; that the name of no native saint, whether a dweller beside a sacred source or otherwise, has reached posterity. All the patrons of keeills and chibbers were foreigners, and there is no evidence that any of them except Maughold ever visited the Island. Though Maughold's arrival was, according to his legend, of an involuntary nature, his long domiciliation and the pristine importance of his church, not to speak of his well, whichever it may have been originally, entitle him to the status of Patron Saint of Man. As he spent the early vears of his residence in austerities to fit himself for a religious life, it may be inferred that the niche in the cliff called his Chair was supposed to have been used by him during this ascetic period ; but it must have been the well associated with St. Maughold in Jocelin's day which brought into being the antetype of the present church.
In a situation better suited to modern requirements the original church and its satellite chapels might have engendered a town like Peel or a large village like Ballasalla, instead of dwindling from a " city " to a handful of cottages. Throughout Europe, and perhaps beyond, such convenient or conspicuous gathering-places as holy wells and their adjacent oratories often became the sites of fairs, and where conditions were favourable provided nuclei for permanent settlements, much as a reef of coral arrests drifting vegetation and dëbris which solidify by degrees into a habitable island ; and these little communities tended to develop further into towns, still bearing the name of their fons et origo, as numberless British and foreign town-names testify, though only one in Ireland.
Kirk Maughold, though conspicuous, being far from convenient, remained but a hamlet which lost even its fair ; Chibber y Pherick's lapsed; St. Catherine's or Colby Fair, though transformed, still honours unconsciously its well-side ; at Chibber ny Gabbyl the fairy world reflected the human world. But the Manx equivalents to " well " do not appear in any of the insular town or village names, and in their absence, and the absence of a native saint, there are no materials for tracing ab initio such a growth as is outlined above. Instead may be substituted a glimpse of the process elsewhere, as seen through the ingenuous eyes of the medieval writer of a Life of St. Kieran of Saighir (Silva Gadelica, i.).
Patrick instructed Kieran to proceed to a certain well at the very centre of Ireland, and " in that place Kieran began to dwell as a hermit, for at that time it was all encircled with vast woods, and for a commencement went about to build a little cell of flimsy workmanship; there it was later that he founded a monastery and metropolis. When first Kieran came hither he sat him down under a tree's shade." (Note the tree by the well.) His first disciple was a wild boar which helped him to build his keeill, after which all the other animals became his monks and submitted themselves to his teaching. But the fox, being an incurably original sinner, could not resist the temptation of stealing the Saint's brogues with a view to making a meal off them in his den. This was revealed to Kieran, who sent the badger to bring back the fox and the brogues, and addressed the thief so sternly (albeit as " Brother "), that the fox humbly besought remission of his sins and a fitting penance. Later in this engaging biography the Saint erected more permanent buildings, and such multitudes of people flocked to the scene that, though himself an abstainer, he transmuted, temporarily, the water of his well into wine for their benefit (see Chibber Feeyney, ante) ; and ever after, as Tobar Ciárain, Kieran's Well, it healed " much various disease and infirmity," and is probably doing so still.
When a few trifling modifications have been made, we may read herein the history of more than one Manx Holy Well; but their Kierans are forgotten, and they have been dignified with more illustrious names.
St. Anne's Well, mentioned by Train, Account o f the Isle of Man, is close to Santon Church.
See Chibber Vreeshey, Kirk Bride, and Chibber Vreeshey, the Nunnery.
St. Catherine's Well, at the top of the beach, Port Erin. " A fine spring, with the best water I met with worth the attention of the inhabitants, who, at a small expense, might possibly secure it from the sands which now envelope it."-(Feltham's Tour, 1798, page 218.) " A spring anciently esteemed sacred and much frequented in Catholic times, on account of its supposed miraculous qualities.''-(Brown's Guide, 1876.) Many years ago it was enclosed and surmounted with a pump. Now even that has disappeared, and the water flows out among the stones of the beach, from which it has to be scooped up into the domestic vessels. A miniature stone monument set over it bears the words " St. Catherine's Well, Keep me clean," or " clear." An old chapel formerly stood immediately South of the well. At the time of the Ordnance Survey, c. 1868, Mr. William Milner informed the Survevor that a sketch of this chapel (St. Catherine's) was in the possession of Bishop Goss of Liverpool.-(O.S. Name Books.)
Chibber Catreeney, Arbory, q.v.
St. Mary's Well, Jurby. " About 170 yards South of the Parish Church ; formerly visited for sore eyes, now filled in and drained."-(Archl. Survey Report, 1911.)
Chibber Woirrey, Ballaugh Old Church.
do. Ballakoig, Ballaugh.
do. Ballafayle, Maughold.
do. Ballastole, Maughold.
do. Magher Breck, Maughold.
do. Ramsey (two).
Chibbert y Wirra, Malew ; and
Lady's Well, Port St. Mary.
St. Maughold's Well, on the North face of Maughold Head. Its position, similar to that of St. John's Well at Morwenstowe but more difficult of access, no doubt helped to make it the most renowned of Manx curative and wishing wells. The legend of its origin closely resembles that of St. Patrick's landing at Chibber Pherick, and therefore need not be repeated. " St. Maughold's Chair " in the rock alongside the well, to sit in which is said by some writers to have formed part of the ritual, either was a creation of the fancy or has broken away.
The well is " on the face of the cliff, about 100 feet above the sea. This is now a dripping well, the water percolating through the crevices in the wide-jointed and shattered rock. The face here exposed is from three feet to four feet long and as much in height, and on the rock-shelf below a basin has been formed by the action of running water in the course of ages which constitutes the Holy Well. Until recently the Well was regularly visited on the first Sunday in August and offerings deposited, consisting of small coins and crooked pins." -(Archl. Survey Report, 1915.) It was also visited on 25th March by women desiring children-Iieltham says, without giving the date, that they sat in the " Chair " -and on Easter Day for eye-cures.
Cumming's Isle of Man, 1848, gives an earlier and more picturesque description of Chibber Maghal. " On the North-Eastern. side of that magnificent headland which forms the Southern limit of Ramsey Bay, is a little spring bursting out from the chinks of the uptilted and twisted gray schists. Immediately above rises the pile of rock. . . . Round about the spring a soft green sward clothes a few roods of ground, and for a few yards, where it trickles in its overflowings adown the face of the steep, a crop of rushes luxuriates. Where the spring gushes forth the rock has been hollowed into a small basin, and over it has been erected a simple shed of rough unhewn blocks of the rock immediately at hand. Hither the Saint is said tohave resorted . ." Cumming says nothing about the Chair.
St. Michael's Well, near the Carn Vael (Michael's Cairn), Michael parish. See also
Chibber Vael, Michael.
See Chibber Niglus, Braddan, and Chibber Niglus, Laxey.
St. Patrick's Well, or Chibber Pherick, or The Big Well, above the Railway Station, Peel. Closed and built over about half a century ago. " It was this well which supplied the fishing fleet with water. "-(Cashen, Manx Folk-lore, page 49.) m
St. Patrick's Well, Jurby. " About 250 yards West of St. Patrick's Chapel ; visited for sore eyes and other affections." , Now filled and drained.--(Arch. Survey Report, 1911.)
St. Patrick's Well, Slieu Curn, Ballaugh. It is reputed to be, or to have been,
a cure-well, and was one of the mountain wells visited on the first Sunday in
August. See also
Chibber Pherick, Lonan ; and Chibber Pherick, Patrick.
See Chibber Uney or Ooinney, Baldwin ; and Chibber Roney, Marown.
See Trinity Well, Rushen.
Chibber Scooie, Ballamilghvn, Lonan. " Intack William Corrin, Colby, for a . . . parcel of id rent called Chibber Skoy."-(Lord's Composition Book, 1%O.i.)
This well is still in domestic use and known by the same name, which means " Continual, or Unfailing, Well," coiee, with the prosthetic " s."
Chibber Scooie, on the shore road, Rhenab, Maughold. h To dwelling-house now stands near it.
Chibber Sheeant. See Chibber Pherick, Patrick. Chibber ny Slaynt, in Coan Chibber Slaynt, or Lag ny Chibber, both meaning " Hollow of the Well," part of a roadside field about 10o yards East of the Ginger Hall, Lezayre, and just outside the modern limits of the old Monastery farm called the Grangey, from which " the Ginger "-an inn-derives its name. The position of the well, adjacent to the site of a keeill and old burialground, implies its former sacred character, and it still bears the reputation of having been a curative spring, as its name, " Well of Health," implies.
Chibber Slieu Maggle. See the Brandy Well.
Spooyt Fhaddy, Lhergy Grawe, Lonan , about 50 yards below Chibber Pherick. " Paddy's Spout." A tumulus and a standing stone near these two wells were removed about 75 years ago.
Spooyt Woodber issues from the cliff beside the fine old house, once the chief inn of Port Erin, inhabited, with intermissions, for about a century and a half by the Woodworth family. Their own tradition avers that they came from Cornwall originally, to work at the Bradda mines ; this is partly corroborated by the fact that the first record of mining there dates to the middle of the 17th century, and that a " Woodwort " is recorded in the Kirk Malew Register of 1683." Woodworth's Spout."
Chibber Strung, Cregneish, Rushen.-Stroin, " Nose," the nickname of a man who lived near it.
Towl Dick, Lezayre.-" Dick's Hole."
Towl ny Bet, a pool in the streamlet at Bradda Mooar, Rushen, on the North side of the road. Not strictly a well, but formerly used as such.-" Bet's Well " ; she lived in an almost adjoining house, of which a piece of the wall remains embedded in a more recent wall.
Towl Meeney, Bradda, on the same side of the highway as Towl ny Bet.-" Mine-hole."
Trinity Well, Kirk Christ (Church of the Holy Trinity), Rushen, " near the church, evinces that good springs are to be found here."- (Feltham's Tour, page 215.) It is now undiscoverable and probably non-existent.
Chibber Undin [sic - is this also Chybber Unjin ?], near a nameless keeill-site, Malew. " The water of this well was supposed to have curative properties. The patients who came to it took a mouthful of water, retaining it in their mouths until they had twice walked round the well. They then took a piece of cloth from a garment which they had worn, wetted it with the water from the well, and hung it on the hawthorn tree which grew there. When the cloth had rotted away the cure was supposed to be effected. "-(Moore, Manx Names, page 152.)
It was also, and more especially, used in a similar manner with the addition of a wish or prayer, by women desirous of children. For this, as for curative and other purposes of a semi-supernatural character, the Eve of St. John the Baptist was deemed the most favourable time.-" Foundation Well."
Chibber Uney or Ooinney, near Baldwin Village, a few yards from the present boundary of Marown and Braddan parishes. " Good for the eyes, but a round white pebble must be placed in the water before it is drawn." It may then be used on the spot or taken away in a tightly-corked bottle for future use or for the benefit of others.-" Rooney's Well." Probably equivalent to Rõnaig, a diminutive for " St. Ronan " , though " Roney " is a Manx surname.
Chibber Unjin, at a nameless keeill-site on Ballabeg (now called Grenaby), Malew. An elderly resident in the district told me a couple of years ago that he remembered an old thorn-tree growing beside it which " used to be white with rags. They 'd soak them in the water and fasten them on the tree to cure illnesses." Another account, dating to 1868, says : " Patients wishing to be cured must visit the well on Midsummer Day, bringing with them a rag, which they must dip in the water and walk round the well three times, taking a drink at the completion of each circuit, and finally depositing the rag on the thorntree."-(O.S. Name Books.) Feltham, page 241, refers to Chibber Unjin, though not by name, as being famous and visited for medical aid in the 18th century.-The name as it stands would mean " Ash-tree Well," but Cumming, in his Guide to the Isle of Man, 1861, page 104, calls it " Chibbyr Vondey (Vondey's Well)." The ash was a venerated tree, and a well-tree, in the Highlands and in Ireland; see Choice Notes, page 24, and the Folk-lore journal, vol. 6, pages 265-270 ; a magical tree in Wales (Trevelyan, Folk-lore of Wales, pages 140-1) ; and in Cornwall (Hunt, Romances, pages 420-1, 2nd edn.). In Hunt's tale of The Faction Fight at Cury Great Tree, page 403, the tree in question, an ash, is important only on account of its age and conspicuous position ; but one of the numerous links between Man and Cornwall occurs in the fact that an identical anecdote, minus the tree, is completely localized in the parish of Rushen, though it has not yet been recorded in print.
Whether the ash was thus venerated at an early epoch among Celtic speakers, or whether its sacred character was due to the influx of Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian ideas, is an interesting question. In either alternative, I imagine the single or grouped ashes, thorns, elders and hazels of the British Isles, including Man, are remnants of the grove which enclosed, in classical and post-classical times, the sacred precincts both here and on the Continent.
Chibber Unjin, Marown.-(Moore, Manx Names, page 131.) Possibly Chibber Roney or Ronyun, q.v. Chibber Unjin, Arbory.-(Moore, page 131.) Probably meant for Chibber Unjin, Ballabeg, Malew. Chibber ny Ushag.-(Moore, page 128: " Well of the Bird.") I do not know where it is, unless the Bishop's Well is intended, which is close to a small cliff, with a somewhat similar name, near Bishopscourt.
Chibber Vael, situated in the angle formed by the junction of the Awin Dhoo with the Sulby river, near Druidale farm, Michael.-(" St.) Michael's Well."
Chibber Valthane, Voltane, Oltane, Beltaine, or Ny Tain (the last two forms are given by Roeder), a furlong North-East of Bradda Mooar, near the site of an ancient keeill and burial-ground now ploughed over. The water was potent for cures and against misfortune. A rag was tied to the briars " for a return," i.e., as a token of gratitude, and the following words spoken " I lift the water for the good of such and such a man, in the name of God, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." The water could be either drunk or washed in, but ought to be taken at the ebb of the tide.-(See Roeder, Lioay Mann., 1897, page 167.) The final proviso suggests that Chibber Voltane is to be classed with, Ballig Well and Chibber Hidee as rising and falling with the sea, which is nearly half a mile away in this case.
Chibbert Vainnagh.-(Moore, Manx Names.) As is usual with Moore, no locality is given ; perhaps it is the same well as
Chibber y Varnagh, in the Gill, Glen Aldyn, Lezayre. Its water was used to cure warts, hence the name, " Well of the Wart." The Wart Well, Stockfield, German, was presumably known at one time by the same Manx equivalent.
Chibber y Varkish, Ballacottier, Bride. " Fifty yards North-West of Keeill Varkish. Curative; now filled in and drained. "-(Archl. Survey Report, 1911.) It is curious that, as noted in the Report, Chibber y Varkish is not on the quarterland of Ballavarkish, but a short distance over the boundary-line. The explanation there proposed is that the quarterland and its sacred well took their names from the keeill as dedicated to St. Mark ; implying of course that the keeill and well were so-named before the existence of the farm-boundary, and that when the boundary was defined it excluded the well. An alternative explanation, that both keeill and well, though formerly dedicated to some saint, took, together with the farm, their present names from an owner or tenant, would seem to require that the boundary-line was afterwards slightly readjusted. This would not be an unheard-of proceeding, and the assumption might even be dispensed with in the present case if the well had become so closely associated with the keeill as to be known by its new name although separated from it by a hedge.
In favour of the view that the name originated with an owner the following points are worth consideration. (i) Had the farm taken its name from the keeill it would probably have been " Ballakilvarkish," conformably with the Ballas of Kilmartin, Kilmurray, Kilpherick and Killingan with their keeills. Ballingan with its Keeill, or Cabbal, Lingan, appears to be an exception to the general rule ; Ballacubragh and Ballacolum are more doubtful. (2) " Varkish," or rather its nominative, was evidently a well-distributed personal name, passing through " McQuerkus " into the modern Corkish. There were McQuerkuses in Santon who have left no farm-name behind them ; in Bride, conversely, we have this farm-name without record of the personal name. Besides the duplicated Ballavarkish in Bride, there is a Ballavarkish, also duplicated, in Arbory, another in German, and a Ballavorkish in Rushen, all without keeills. Those in German and Rushen are referable to ancestors of local families who were called McQuerkus at the beginning of the 16th century ; for the treen-subdivisions which were originally known as Ballavarkish must have been so-named prior to that date, since McQuerkus is an evolved form of Varkish. (No doubt many other quarterlands were similarly distinguished by names, although the names were not inserted in the Manorial Roll of 1510-13, perhaps because they were deemed not to be sufficiently permanent.) (3) The naming of a keeill from a landowner or tenant is not without parallel ; it is seen in the case of Ballachonley and Keeill Cunlagh, Jurby, where a family of McConoly was in possession in the 16th century. In pronunciation, " Cunlagh " is sometimes disguised, by a metathetical shuffle, as " Cughlan " and " Cuthlan," but its kinship with Conghalaigh, the Irish prototype of " Conoly," is clear enough. The other name of the keeill, " Hushtaghyn," I take to be a later one.
It is possible that mere occupation of the land on which a keeill stood is not a sufficient reason why the keeill should have come to be called by the landholder's name. His relation to it may have been of a more personal character ; and some light on the state of affairs which could facilitate the attachment of a layman's name to a chapel may be derived from the old tradition to the effect that whoever owned the estate of Awhallon had, ipso facto, the administration of the neighbouring Keeill Abban. Keeill Abban is exceptional, admittedly, as having been an early Tynwald-chapel ; but its importance may have preserved a tradition which in other cases has perished. After the disuse of the treen-chapels such a charge, where it existed, and if more than nominal, would relate chiefly to burials, which continued irregularly at some, at least, of these sites up to comparatively recent times.
It is therefore tenable, I think, that a resident Varkish (in his unaspirated form), the first of a semisacerdotal family, was in charge of the chapel on his land in Bride, perhaps at a stage in the gradual supersession of the treen-chapels by parish churches in the 13th and 14th centuries , that thence came the present name of the keeill and the sacred spring with its pool, Dub or Dem Varkish, as well as the farm-name; and that the field containing the spring was at a later period transferred to Ballacottier. Failing this explanation of the crux, there is the possibility that such an administrator of the chapel preceded the formation of the quarterland, and that his name descended to it via the keeill. This would obviate the difficulty of assuming an alteration of the boundary ; but such alterations are known to have been made in Lonan (Baldromma), and in Patrick (Ballachrink), and doubtless elsewhere. As the majority of keeill-names are lost it is impossible to know how many were re-named from their cappellani ; but descriptive terms often replaced dedications, as witness the keeills now called Knock yn Oe, ny Traie, Dreem Ruy, Chiggyrt or Casherick, and others. I cannot say in what degree, if at all, such a lay-deacon or lay-reader, if either title describes him, would resemble the Norse and Icelandic " Godi," a landholder who officiated in the local temple, and whose office was hereditary but could be sold, given away or forfeited.
An anomaly somewhat similar to that of Chibber y Varkish is mentioned by Power, Place-Names of Decie.s, page 229: " There is a townland of that name [Tobar Ui Dhoirinne, ' O'Dorney's Well'], but strangely enough the well from which it is called is without its boundary " and on the next townland. Power offers no further remark on the point.
Chibber y Vaykish, as befitted a holy well, was reputed to be beneficial to the eyes, and in the days of its sanctity was doubtless curative on a larger scale and otherwise useful to the local population. It was filled in about the beginning of the present century. As regards its name, " Varkish," though not found in its unaspirated form, appears to correspond with the Scottish surname, " Marquis," which the Irish of the North-East Corner have reduced to " Marks." The " Vark " and " Quark " embodied in numerous farmnames, including Ballaquark in the same treen as Ballavarkish, are probably cognate, though not inter changeable, with " Varkish." There is in Co. Waterford another Tobar a Mharcais, which Power, page 416, renders " Well of the Marquis," no doubt for some good local reason. In Man the name " Markeson " occurs in a document of 1403 (Oliver, Monumenta, ii., 247), and is traceable by its position in the list of the Keys to the parish of Bride ; but it probably represents an early member, very likely the first immigrant member from Britain, of the family of McMark whose name remains on a farm in the same treen as Ballavarkish, and not the hypothetical McMarcus or Marcusson.
Chibber Vashtee, a spring of unimpressive aspect beside the narrow mountain-track from Eairy Cushlan, and about 10o yards North of Lag ny Keeilley, Patrick, where the more or less fabulous Orry dynasty is said to have had its burial-ground. If it did, or any less mighty race of men, their spirits have faded out long ago, and no vestige of them is visible but the earth platform under which they were laid to rest, and infrequent flickers of light in the darkness. The only ghosts in the place are the ghosts of dead legends, and they haunt it thickly enough. It was at this well, I have been told locally, that " they cut off the heads of the old Manx kings " ; as in Lonan it is said " they used to kill the kings when they got too old and not good for anything any longer." I hope to comment later on these statements, so remarkable in a folk-lore sense.-" Well of Baptism."
Chibber y Vashtee, the Barony, Maughold, a quarter of a mile N.N.E. of Keeill Vael. It is said to be unfailing in its supply of water. Presumably it was the baptizing well for the keeill above it, although there is a spring-fed pool, called Loughan Keeill Vael, adjacent to the keeill-site. It is still called " the Christening Well."
Chibber Vear, at the top of Glion ny Veay on the Southern slope of South Barrule-Probably " Road Well," bays or beyr (Cregeen), as it is situated on the unmetalled by-road from the Round Table to Cronk ny Geayee.
Chibber Venten, Port Erin, on the Glendown road to Port St. Mary. The boundary-line of the Ballafurt Abbeylands must have passed very close to it, but I have not heard that it was a curative or a sacred well. If there were ever a ceremony which involved touching a certain stone, as at some wells of that kind, the name might be explained thereby; otherwise it is obscure. A personal name Manntan belonged to several Celtic saints, whence " Cill Mhanntain," the old name of Wicklow, and the surname Mc(G)ilvanton. Which of these two, by the way, was the source of " Killwanton ? " -- thus queried - the appellative of a " pirate " taken in the Isle of Man in the 16th century ?-(Cal. Letters and Papers, F. Ø D., Hy. viii., 23-8-1531.) Probably " Killwanton " meant that he hailed from that town. As his ship carried a cargo of arms, etc., he must have been a smuggler or a gun-runner rather than a pirate in the modern sense of the word. That, however, has nothing to do with the well ; and whether any form of Manntan developed into a native Manx surname I cannot say. "Wanton" occurs in the Douglas Charities,- there is a Ballawanton in Andreas ; and a family name " Mylvanton " exists, though not in the Isle of Man.
Chibber Venten is now " improved " with a spout and a grid; but it would still be hard to find sweeter-flavoured water in the Island.
Chibber Volta. See Chibber Folla.
Chibber Vondey. See Chibber Unjin, Malew.
Chibber Vreeshey, on the Western margin of Lough Cranstal, Bride.-" (St.) Bride's Well."
Chibber Vreeshey, near the Obelisk in the Nunnery Grounds, Douglas. In the 18th century this well was resorted to by Douglas people of all classes for the benefit of their health, and was known as the Spa Well. It was administered by a custodian known as Old Mary, who lived near it with her family. She, they, and the well itself, were haunted by the fairies and their music. .-(See a quotation from an early Manx novel, Clara Lennox, in Moore's Folk-lore, second part, page i.) Waldron's Isle of Man, 1744, page 90, pays it the following compliment: " Tho' the Rivers in the Island afford great Plenty of excellent Water, a Well belonging to this Nunnery is said to have exceeded them all [in quality, presumably] ; but has been, notwithstanding the many extraordinary properties ascribed to it, of late suffer'd to dry up." A third name for' Chibber Vreeshey was the Nuns' Well; their House was dedicated to St. Brigit or Bride.
Chibbert y Vrueh, South-East of Spaldrick Glen, Port Erin.-" Well of the Bank."
Chibbert y Vull, a roadside well at Ballakillowey, Rushen, haunted, like Chibber Pooyl Sallagh, by a Tarroo-ushtey. " . . . every jump it made it would be growing, when it was coming out of the well ; it would grow large and go after the cows. One of these bulls came into the Ballacurrey fields, and began to go after the cattle . . . ' (Roeder, Lioar Mann., 1897, page 166.)-" Well of the Bull." There is a Tobairin a Taiybh, " Little Well of the Bull," in Co. Waterford (Power). The English word " bull " has been adopted into Irish also, as bulla ; see, among others, Joyce, English as We Speak It, pages 226-7.
The Wart Well, Stockfield, German. Its basin in the rock, of only some 8 inches in diameter, used to contain, within living memory, offerings of pins, coins, etc., made by its clients for the removal of their warts. It has the additional reputation of never running dry.
The Wishing Well, Silverdale, Malew. A pretty little well by the Silverburn, now turned into an " attraction " without having been spoilt.
Chibber Woirrey, at the West side of Ballaugh Old Church, near the Rectory.-" Mary's Well," i.e., the Virgin Mary, to whom the church is dedicated.
Chibbert y Wirra contributes a trickle to the still slender Awin Ruy, at the top of Close Clarke, Malew. It was used for the cure of sicknesses and physical afflictions, and its bushes decorated with rags in the customary manner, so an elderly parishioner tells me ; and I noticed a weather-blackened fragment of clothing fixed to an overhanging hazel in the spring of the present year, 1927. Another informant, who lives near it, says that people used to come for the water to boil herbs, make lotions, and mix with " doctor's medicine."
This is the well mentioned in the " Perambulation of the Abbey Turbary," a document appended to the Chronicon Manniae, but unfortunately not dated. The Southern end of the boundary is taken " from the North corner of Boallion Renny along an old hedgestead to the gill near St. Mary's Well . . .", and seems to have coincided here with the Northern boundary of the Abbey farm-lands. It is the only South-side " Well of Mary " in my present list, hence perhaps the slenderer first vowel in the qualifying term-Wuirra rather than Wooirra.
Chibber Woirrey, a fresh-water spring in the neighbourhood of low-water mark on the Ballakoig shore, Ballaugh, exposed only at neap tides. It may have stood on a piece of land called Croit y Grazy, " Croft of the Shoemaker," recorded as having been " taken away by the sea " before 1703, but the remembrance of the name suggests that it belongs to a more recently submerged tract. There is a similar spring on the shore at Pooylvaash, Malew. Conversely, Feltham, page 224, mentions " near Balladoole [a little East of Pooylvaash], a saltish spring, which runs very rapidly; it is a little to the South-West, near the shore, and probably issues from a salt rock " ; which it does not. And Head, Home Tours, 2nd edn., 1840, speaks of a salt-water spring bursting from a fissure in the ground a little below high-water mark, half-way between Pooylvaash and Port St. Mary. " While uncovered by the sea, it flows strong enough to turn a small mill." Chhibber Yoan Mooir, q.v., is alternately salt and fresh. All tastes are thus provided for, and James, iii., 11, answered in the affirmative.
Chibber Woirrey, about 200 yards West of Ballastole house, Maughold.
Chibber Woirrey, a little East of Magher Breck house, Maughold.
Chibber y Woirrey, on Ballafayle, Maughold, appertaining to the neighbouring Keeill Chiggyrt, " where they used to bury the priests." It forms a small pool called Ring Dhoo, i.e., Lhing Dhoo, Dark Pool.
Chibber y Woirrey, about 300 yards West of the Parsonage, Ramsey ; noted for the excellent quality and never-failing supply of its water. It was used-and not many years ago-for divination and lovecharms, by putting in certain herbs.
Chibber Woirrey, on the site of Messrs. Corlett and Cowley's Mills, South Ramsey.
Chibber Wushell, on the highest point of the Calf, close to Thie Vushell or Bushell's House, which Head, Home Tours, ii., 64, calls " Bushell's House." Thomas Bushell, a satellite of Francis Bacon, seems to have visited the islet about 163o in the course of his minedeveloping activities, and he, or some earlier hermit or simple-lifer who has become confused with him, made it his home for a while. Roeder gives an account of Bushell in Manx Notes and Queries, page 62. See also Blundell's Isle o f Man, circa 1650.
Yeaman's Well, opposite the East end of Stanley Road, Peel; Yeoman's Well in Corris's plan of Peel, 1784. " I 've seen sthrings of us waitin' for shawl [turn] at Yeaman's Well. "-(Anglo-Manx Vocabulary, page 176.) Probably the personal name Eamonn, Edmund. Ballayemmy, Marown, was " Baly Yeaman " in 1510-(Man. Roll.)
Chibber y Yett, between Cregneish and Corvalley, Rushen.- ' Well of the Road."
Yon's Well, near the Darragh, Port Erin." John's Well," named after one John Maddrell, says Roeder.
Chibber Yoan Mooir, or Joan Mere, Rushen. " Under the Chasms, on the shore, is a well, near the sea. The salt water comes into it at high tide, but when it is ebbing the fresh-water spring drives the salt water out of it, and the water is very good. The old men called this ' Joan Mere's House ' . . . -(Roeder, Manx Notes and Queries, page 79.) " Sea-Joan's Well." " Joan Gorrym " or Blue Joan, was a fancy name for the sea (possibly a haaf name), and for the mermaid as personifying the sea ; and loan Mooir is doubtless not a very different personage. Mooir, sea, pronounced almost " meer " ; gorr~vm, a very deep blue, or a blue green. In the Celtic languages names of colours appear to define them less precisely than in English. Scraps of anecdotes and vague allusions suggest that this must have been a favourite haunt of mermaids at a more interesting period of history. The Chasms themselves also inspired, naturally enough, the belief that they harboured creatures of another, though not a better, world.
A Spring at or near the summit of South Barrule has marvellous health - giving properties. It can only be found once in a lifetime ; alternatively, and more commonly and plausibly, if one drinks from it and goes away from the place he cannot find it again the same day. The conception of underground communication among surface-waters is well exemplified in the beliefs attaching to this spring. A friend tells me that it is said to be invisibly connected with the Glen Rushen river North-Westward, which again has a subterranean outlet to the sea, in addition to its better known efflux through Glen May. Sir John Rhys, when visiting the Island in search of folk-lore, heard an anecdote to the effect that a man, after finding the spring, left his stick upright in the ground to mark the spot, but when he returned he could find neither spring nor stick. The latter turned up some weeks later on Port Erin shore.
Whether the subterranean journey of the walkingstick was made via the Glen Rushen river and continued by means of sea-currents, or whether it travelled by some other and more direct underground waterway, is not clear ; but the story is reminiscent of what is told in Popular Rhymes of Scotland about a hill-top spring in the county of Peebles called Powbate Eye. If a willow wand is thrown into it, the same wand will afterwards be found, peeled, in a small lake at the foot of the hill. The hill in this case is supposed to be like a bladder filled with water of which the well is the visible part, and it is liable some day to burst, a contingency enlarged upon by Thomas the Rhymer, who instructs it as to what lands it is to overwhelm in its flood. I have never heard such dire potentialities attributed to South Barrule, though the mists of superstition have not yet wholly evaporated from its dusky sides ; but the ghost of a submergence-legend haunts the district South of Cronk ny Irree Lhaa.
A second Scottish version of the walking-stick story comes from farther North. " There was in times not very remote a common belief abroad in the country, that a piece of wood dropped into the 'well ' on the Tap o' Noth would in due time appear at the E'e o' Gulburn, the distance on the map being over two miles." - (Macdonald, Place - Names in Strathbogie, page 254.)
I confess I have never been able to identify this Barrule spring with any certainty, unless its presence is indicated by a small swampy area within the wall of the " Camp " ; otherwise the name Creg yn Arran, belonging to a rock a little below the summit, suggests farran, a spring, though the country people give it its face value, " Rock of the Bread," and add a traditional explanation.
A Well at the ruined Old Church of Lonan, Clay Head, must formerly have had a name, perhaps Chibber Vashtee or Chibber Ownan. It stands at the lower corner of the Glebe, about Zoo yards West of the church. It is triangularly formed in the bed of a streamlet by three large blocks of stone set on edge, one of them " curiously carven " and lying partly on its side. It is likely that, as suggested by Canon Quine, it was employed for baptisms in the period of transition from the use of living water to that of the intramural font. The cross-inscribed slate fragment found in the well may originally have been set up beside it.--(See I.O.M. Nat. Hist. and Ant. Soc. Proc., new ser., i., 14, and Archl. Sur. Report, 1915.)
A Curative Spring on Kerroodhoo, Dalby; Patrick, diffuses itself about the surface of a field which borders on the Bayr Mooar. " Terrible good water, people used to be coming great distances and taking it away in bottles " to cure various ailments, including, as usual, " bad eyes."
TWO Wells are mentioned in Roeder's MSS. as situated between Cregneish and the Howe, one each side of the highway, less than 20 yards apart ; the stream from one is Struan Port Wick, that from the other is Struan Port Chiarn, and they flow in opposite directions, to Perwick and to Port Erin respectively.
If " Port Wick " stands for Perwick, as implied, it explains why in Perwick, alone among insular placename's ending in "wick," the stress falls on the last syllable ; that is to say, it is not a Scandinavian name, or not wholly Scandinavian. There is another Portwick in Port Erin Bay, vide Durham's map, and Cumming, Rushen Castle, page 3. By "the Howe " should evidently be understood the hamlet which is marked " Corvalley " on the Ordnance map but always called the Howe. The map places the Howe on the Port Erin slope of the hill. A curious discrepancy.
" A Well in this parish [Santon] used formerly to be much resorted to from, all parts for its sanative qualities. "-(Feltkam, Tour, page 228). Possibly this is the Crogga Well, q.v., near the Northern boundary of Santon, or else the " St. Anne's Well " mentioned by Train.
" A Spa was discovered at Ballabrooi [Braddan], but because of the inconvenience arising from the resort of company, it was blocked up."-(Feltham, page 196.) The Nunnery Well, not far away, was also called " the Spa Well," and was resorted to in a similar way, at a time when the frequentation of medicinal springs, such as Sadler's and Bagnigge, was as fashionable as walking in Paul's in the 16th century and riding in the Row in the 19th.
A Spring, not easily found, falls into the Silverburn above the Crossag Bridge. Though scarcely more substantial than a spider's thread, it has the power of granting a wish if approached in a becoming manner. The applicant must pass round it sunwise, pausing in his circuit to drink of its water and formulate his desire ; all, of course, in strict silence.
A Well on Dreem Crammag, Lezayre, acts as a barometer. Before rain its water sinks or disappears ; before drought the basin is full to the brim. This may be explicable by natural causes, since either type of weather is usually preceded by its converse, to which the supply of water would respond. And here may lie a partial explanation of the affinity, in the world's folk-lore, between certain wells and the local weather.
A Well on the Dreemlang, Marown. " On Dreamland [sic] itself, a few hundred yards from the road, is an ancient well, built entirely of great blocks of quartz, some of them several tons in weight, the existence of which was, until within the last few years, only known to the inhabitants of the immediate neighbourhood. The blocks of quartz are of the purest white, and they are accurately joined without mortar or cement. Before the land was brought into cultivation, which was about 17 years ago, the well was always full of excellent water, even when the pumps all round were dry. Now, however, there is very little water in the summer, partly owing to the cultivation of the surrounding land, but more to the fact that it has been choked up by children when picking the stones off the field. The opening into the well is about five feet wide, but it originally ran some yards farther back, as the quartz blocks forming the retaining wall can be traced to some distance, the tops projecting over the soil.
" There is nothing to indicate the period of its construction, as there is nothing like it in the British Islands . . . The retaining wall runs due East and West, and the opening is to the West. . ."-(Brown's Guide to the Isle of Man, 11th edition, 1887.)
As I have never had the good fortune to see this prodigy of a well, or been able to obtain any evidence of its existence, I do not vouch for the foregoing particulars; but the description seems too circumstantial to have been entirely without a basis of some sort.
A well by any other name than its own would no doubt taste as sweet, but when it has no name at all it seems to lack a little in character and interest. Two more only, therefore, of these anonymous public benefactors will be included in the present list of honours, and one of them is no longer quenching the thirst of its protëgës and securing them from infectious diseases, for it was buried alive under the Lhergy, above Laxey village, a generation ago. To destroy or conceal a spring of good water is always ill-advised. The Laxenians concealed this one so effectually that when they had need of it again they were unable to find it, in spite of much digging. Perhaps there was a superstitious prejudice against employing a water-diviner.
My last nameless well is on Baljean land, by a little stream which falls swiftly down the steep Southern side of Laxey valley. It is a Wishing Well which has not wholly lost its patronage, and its namelessness is therefore the more disappointing; a name may explain much, and light cast upon these venerated wells which are not neighboured by a keeill or clothed in legends of holiness might illuminate also a dim corner of folk-history.
A correction and amplification of a previous paragraph may be added here.
Chibbert y Chiarn, which I located on Slieu Dhoo, Ballaugh, is really on the other side of the watershed, by the roadside above Injebreck, Lezayre. The " patchwork " mentioned consisted of fragments of coloured flannel, cloth, etc., stitched together, and laid on the grass in front of the well. Mrs. B., my informant, recollects having been taken to it by her grandfather, Phaddy Mylcharane, about 75 years ago. He left a shilling there and repeated a prayer or charm, but as she was a small child at the time he did not allow her to hear the words he used. A shilling at that date, it may be remarked, had a purchasing value in the Isle of Man equal to three or four shillings to-day, and in the case of a peasant in a small way of living such an offering was the strongest possible testimony of his faith in the curative powers of the water.
There is, I am told, another Chibber y Chiarn on Montpelier, but I know nothing more of it.
A recent visit to Chibber y Vashlee (page 73), Maughold, reveals the regrettable fact that it has been filled in.
Since quoting, rather dubiously, what I believe is the only printed reference to a remarkable well on the Dreemlang, Marown (page 83), I have received oral confirmation of its former existence. My informant, G.C. of Maughold parish, remembers it perfectly as having approximated to the Guide-book's description, when he was living in the neighbourhood some 30 years ago. The great stones were in position when he left.
Both Chibber y Punch and the Brandy Well, in the popular derivation, take their epithets from English. In support of this opinion, a man of mature years who is well acquainted with the upland part of Lezayre tells me that they are one and the same well, and that both names are attributable to the former consumption of spirituous liquors on the premises. The local shepherds had a custom of gathering there on a certain day in September to sort out their respective sheep, and celebrated this annual reunion by drinking each other's healths and engaging in such simple festivities as the remoteness of the place permitted. The last time my friend attended, somewhere about 25 years ago, he found no more than two shepherds present, elderly men who confessed that they had met only to enjoy a friendly drink together, and to keep up the old custom. May the country Gods protect their ashes