[From A Manx Scrapbook]
The road that I tread is not dusty from wanderers' footsteps,
Nor from the oxen that go their way to the ploughing,
Nor from the passing of lovers."
Herring and jough 's what pleases me,
And I know a place in the mountains.
Herring and jough's what pleases me ;
I went on a house in Arbory,
" And where did thou sleep last night ? " says she"
A ugh, I know a place in the mountains !
" The North is good and the South is good,
But I know a place in the mountains.
The North is good and the South is good
I seen a light in the black of a wood,
I seen a light-and I understood,
For I know a place in the mountains.
The. South is good but the North is best,
Where I know a place in the mountains.
The South is good but the North is best ;
A stool in the chiollagh to take my rest,
And a wallad of glipes at the parting guest
To bring to his place in the mountains.
When some's asleep there's others awake,
And I know a place in the mountains ;
When some's asleep there's others awake,
And nobody knows the road I take,
And nobody hears the songs I make,
When I 'm off to my aul in the mountains !
(Ewan y Pherick's Song.)
THE principal ganglia of the old Manx road-system must have been the two Castles, the Abbey with its dependencies, the scenes, other than these, of judicial assemblies civil and ecclesiastical, and the fairs and markets, including those at the ports of Douglas and Ramsey. For its main connexions as well as for some of its subsidiary filaments the usual term was bayr (Gaelic bothar) ; gat and gate (Norse gata), were applied to a farm-road or a lane from a main road to a house. Bayr is seen compounded in farm-names : Bealevear, " Entrance of the Road " ; and road-names have been adopted as farm-names: Bayrgarrow, " Rough Road," Gat y Whing, "Lane of the Narrow-place " ; but bayr is liable to be confused with baare, " hill-top." Conversely, many roads have taken their names from the farms to or through which they lead, but these are not strictly road-names. Raad is a less frequent term than bays and got ; so far as can be judged by the extant examples it denoted the old long-distance through-routes, such as the Raad Manachan (and, one might truthfully add, the Raad Ree Gorry), and consequently does not enter into farm-names. Possibly it was received from Scandinavian at first hand, like gat, and not through Irish. As the Norsethe speakers of Old Norse, that is, however they may have been compounded racially in Dublin and the Sudreyswere Mannin's substitute for the Romans, these raads may owe their inception as continuous thoroughfares to military requirements. The Gaelic bealach, a way or pass, stands alone in The Bollagh, and appears compounded as volley in various place-names as well as in the diminutive bollan, vollan. If it was ever used as a first element in farm-names it has become assimilated to balla. The terms for the most primitive means of communication, roads in their rudimentary state, are of Gaelic derivation. Cassan is a general word for a footpath ; loob is a path which curves with a stream or small sea-inlet, or deviates to pass an obstacle ; keym, literally a step, hence a stile, is often applied to a short cut or a link between two divergent roads. The Gaelic tochar, a causeway, is traceable in Kionetagher and The Tather, two intacks in German. Lorg, a path, literally a limb, may be the derivation of Camlork, " Crooked Path " a farm in Conchan. But the Irish slighe, a trunk road, if it was ever used in Man, seems to have lapsed.
The earliest inhabitants, whether they dwelt by the bays and creeks or among the hills, would have little need for paths other than gangways through the heather and brushwood to the nearest fresh water ; when agriculture became general the next trails to be defined must have lain approximately at right angles to the axis of the Island, from the cultivable ground to the sea-shore on the one hand, and to the high moorlands or " mountain land " on the other, with access to the sea first in time and importance. Though some of these private outlets from the farms have been abandoned or taken into cultivation, and others modernized into good cart-roads, survivors, in their original width and direction, may be suspected to exist still in out-of-the-way corners where hills and coast closely approach one another, as in the Bangor Abbeylands in the Southern part of Patrick. Tracks running with the length of the Island and linking the various clan-territories on which were based the later divisions of sheading and parish must have come into being later, and here the Scandinavian spirit of organization, rudimentary though it was in comparison with that of the Romans, had an opportunity of manifesting itself. After these contributions to civilization, we may suppose that communications were further improved by the monks of Rushen, if only to keep in touch with their outlying possessions, and with the dependency of the Abbey at Ballamona in Lezayre. The Church, too, doubtless shared with the Stanleys the task of making and improving roads during the Middle Age ; there is a hint of this at a later period in the name " Bishop Wilson's Road." Their innocence of metalling in 1696 is shown by a complaint quoted by Moore that sods had been cut out of the highways, " thereby making holes or pitts." That the great era of modernor pre-tar modernroad-making occurred in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when the increase of wheeled traffic demanded better surfaces and gradients, is made clear by the Statutes of that period and by other documentary evidence. Existing roads were then given a breadth and a quality of surface approximating to those which obtained up to the end of the pre-motor age, and new roads were created where they were found desirable.
An Act of Tynwald confirmed in 1712 decreed that every tenant whose land bordered on the highway should expend 3s. 4d. on such repairs as his section of road might require; if this sum should prove insufficient the rest of the landholders were obliged to contribute labour and materials, each man in proportion to the size of his holding. The Act goes into minute and illuminating details both of the manner in which it was to be applied and of the methods to be employed in repairing highways " which now are, or hereafter shall be, ruinous, in decay, and dangerous for Travellers, Passengers and Carriages." The streets of Douglas remained unpaved up to 1812.
The ancient roads vary in breadth according to the kind of land they are passing through, and their diameter at any given spot gives a pretty good idea of its value from an agricultural point of view. From the farms to the shore they usually illustrate the old Irish legal definition of a bothar-a road wide enough for two cows and their calves to pass ; but the edges of the upland tracks through intack and garey spread apart without restriction and in places melt into the adjoining landscape, and a mountain trail, when it has become so deeply worn as to be converted into a winter watercourse, divides itself into several alternatives. To the wayfarer blindfolded by mist or darkness these habits are equally disconcerting.
In the Isle of Man bridges are a comparatively modern convenience, and there is none of which the origin is sufficiently mysterious or the engineering sufficiently remarkable for it to be attributed to the Devil. (A Devil's Glen and a modern Devil's Elbow comprise the whole of his Manx dominions, nominally.) A 13th-century king of the Islands, Reginald, is traditionally credited with the intention of bridging the distance between the Point of Ayre, wherever that may have been then, and the nearest part of Scotland, the Mull of Galloway. A writer in 1836, John Welch, reported a proverbial saying that the Mull was at one time within a stone's-throw of the Isle of Man; * nevertheless Reginald's project, like King Orry's road to the Island, has remained in the air. Possibly the tradition was a localized adaptation of the " bridge of boats " between the Faeroes and Norway attributed to the Vikings. The monks of the Abbey (we may safely assume it to have been their achievement) built, in stone, the well-known Crossag packhorse bridge over the Silverburn at Ballasalla, probably not later than the 13th century ; but their example was not followed until some 500 years later, when new roads were being constructed and old ones improved.
In 1739 a tax of 1d. per annum was levied on every adult inhabitant for the purpose of building bridges and repairing those already in use. The latter were probably of wood, like those which until quite recent times crossed the Lickney brook at Ramsey and the Glen Aldyn river at Milntown alongside their respective fords, both on the main road to Peel. Where there is now a stone bridge half-way up Glen Aldyn a bridge of planks stood so recently that I have an excellent photograph of it ; and plenty of similar structures are yet to be found at water-splashes on the byways. These simple clares or " dales " occur, naturally, at or in the vicinity of the ancient fords which were of such prime importance in early days, both as means of communication and as boundary - points, and consequently were the scenes of many a hearty scuffle before and since the battle of Santwat. Some of them still retain their claghans, lines of stepping-stones. That their supernatural guardians remained equally faithful to their charges long after they were spanned by stonework is evidenced both by haunted river crossings and by Fairy Bridges.
The new bridges provided for by the Act of 1739 were: (1), Sulby Bridge on the Ramsey road; (2), a bridge " over that River called the Great River, between St. John's Chappell and Peeltown "-i.e., at Ballaleece over the Neb, which was evidently then called Awin Mooar, (3), Ballalonna Bridge, on the boundary between Santon and Malewone of those which maintain the uncanny reputation of their ford and vicinity ; (4), the bridge at the top of Ramsey Harbour; and (5), Glen Faba Bridge, on the boundary between German and Patrick. Where it was inconvenient to build the bridge at the existing crossing, the Commissioners were empowered to divert the high road so far as was necessary through any adjoining land ; in return, the landowner was allowed to enclose the disused section of the highway, and in addition was given such monetary compensation as a Coroner's Jury might award. These circumstances must have arisen in a large proportion of cases ; in some places a vestige of the abandoned portion of a road can be seen descending one or both banks of a river. That at Glen Gawne, Garwick, is still in use, though semi-privately. Oswald, Vestigia, page 101, implies that Ballure Bridge dates from the 18th century; the bridge at Old Laxey, though only about a hundred years old, is, like that at Ballasalla, associated with the monks, and they may have built its prototype, for the clearly ancient packhorse road passing thence Northward would have provided them with a short route to the Lonan Abbey-lands. Of the old Douglas Bridge Waldron has one of his wonderful stories to tell ; the mid-stream rock by which it crossed until a flood swept it away must have been haunted before the bridge was built. But haunted bridges are features of every parish, and it will be necessary to cross some of them when travelling over certain roads in the next chapter.
Whereas the modern turnpikes keep within reach of the coast, or adopt the lowest and easiest line of progress when their objectives oblige them to pass inland, the " A " roads of prehistoric transport were beaten out, like the much earlier British trackways, along hill-ridges and across mountain-sides, only just avoiding in not a few cases the actual summit. Along these flowed the changing currents of insular traffic. The Norseman with winged helmet and long battle-axe, the kilted and sworded Scot, the black-aproned monk, the ragged friar from Bimaken picking up a crow's living from village to village, the squad of soldiers in the white and scarlet uniform of the Stanleys,** marching between Castletown and the Peel, the itinerant craftsmen of various grades, from tailors downwards -all these traversed the old roads in their turn and passed from them for ever. The farm-sledge and the panniered horse and donkey gave way to the present style of agricultural traffic, and the country people, who had formerly travelled to market, fair and court on horseback and on foot, began to use wheeled vehicles. With these changes came the need for a less primitive road-system, and the time-honoured highways began to be forsaken.
Besides the occasional wayfarers intent on their journey's end, who have been common to every age, the roads, both old and new, have known certain classes of professional wanderers, for whom the urgent problem of making a livelihood was solved by walking. The pedlars and the " cadgers " are still numerous ; of old there was a considerable element of Irishry among them, which attracted the attention of legislators. Survivors of a more numerous clan, a few nominal tinkers both male and female still move mysteriously from place to place, though they look as though they found conventional shelter of nights. The gypsies have not till recently, so far as I can gather, frequented the Manx roads after their English and Continental fashion, but have preferred permanent pitches in the more profitable neighbourhood of Douglas, where " the visitors " flock thickest. The presence of a Little Egypt in or near Douglas sixty years ago is shown by a contemporary manuscript note of an affray outside the town, wherein Oscar Boswell and Esau Heron assaulted Fabius Lea [sic], Cornelius Boswell and Geranimus his wife, and Matilda Lovellall well-known gypsy family-names from the North and South of England. One Boswell, who called himself the King of the Manx Gypsieshis subjects a couple of dozen all tolddied in his van at Douglas a few years ago at a venerable age. But unless we except some unclassifiable nondescripts who may be observed " carrying the bag " on the country roads, the ancient and honourable fraternity of beggarmen seems to have vanished with the rest of the old order of things.
At what stage in the development of insular society their caste took shape is a question for the historian. Perhaps we always had them with us until yesterday, when they began to bask in the beams of official favour and no longer needed to roam. That there were more than enough of them before 1422 is suggested by one of the Breast Laws then rehearsed to Sir John Stanley, which forbade any man to bring beggars or vagabonds into the country upon pain of forfeiture of his boat. In the 18th century he was obliged to maintain them until he carried them back ; and native mendicancy was discouraged by a proclamation to the effect that any person found begging outside his own parish would be returned to it and whipped.
Economic stress in Ireland no doubt swelled their numbers from time to time, but as we see them in their decline as a national institution they were mostly natives of the Isle. First cousins to Scotland's sorners and gaberlunzies, they were incurable Bohemians ; a little wanting in mind or will, some of them, others the unclipped and unwashed black sheep of the community, but all, generally speaking, as well able to see the wind as any black pig or corr ny hastan, since to enjoy this faculty in the Isle of Man it is only necessary to refrain from washing one's face for nine consecutive days. These sturdy, hardy fellows who in fine and middling fine weather slept beneath a gorse-bush, under the lee of a stack, or in a dry and comfortable ditch, when rain and cold rendered such auls untenable fell back on the hospitality of the farmer and the crofter, and lay all night before a kitchen fire, in the straw of a barn or the hay of a loft, or on a bed in one of the rest-houses provided for their nocturnal accommodation. Before entering these harbours of refuge all pipes, tobacco, and matches or tinder-boxes were temporarily surrendered by both men and women, to be restored next morning before the sojourner's departure ; for only one night's stay was the rule. Besides shelter, food was expected and given, and in addition, or in substitution at houses where it was not the practice to accommodate beggars overnight, such commodities as meal, flour, potatoes or salt fish went to swell the capacious bag which each individual carried as the symbol of his calling. These donations were sold in the towns and villages, or traded for the necessaries of lifetobacco, snuff and spirits.
The beggars felt no shame, but rather a pride, in their method of making a livelihood, and some of them could rise to almost Irish heights of eloquence in their abuse of a household which stinted or withheld its due contribution to the wallad. Before modern communications corrupted good customs the news of the day must have circulated throughout the Island on their tongues, losing no more of pomp and circumstance in their memories than it does in the columns of a newspaper. It would be pleasing to be able to report that they rewarded their hosts, at the turf-reddened hearth between supper and bedtime, with songs, ballads and traditional stories of King Orry and Finn MacCowl. Long ago they may have done so, but nothing of the kind now seems to be remembered of them, and such a practice, if it ever existed, must have died with the language.
So too have the words of a song relating to the fraternity, the Arrane ny Jinneeyn or Song of the Jinnies, of which only the title and the mournful air survive. Though they sang to it, it is said, the verses beginning "Irree Seose " (Manx Ballads, page 104), these are not well adapted to the music and are quite foreign to the life of the beggars. With more sympathetic English words the Arrane ny Jinneeyn has been published under the new title of " Longing." Also, though landless and homeless, the sons of the bag had their invisible Chief, for as wanderers on the roads they came under the especial patronage and protection of Manannan.
With their eccentric personalities, their heterogeneous costumes of casually acquired garments, nautically flavoured by seaman's cap or guernsey, and their queer nicknames or the three and four-jointed genealogical appellations which they carried, doubtless, with the careless ease of their hyphened betters, the travelling-men must have been one of the notably picturesque features of bygone society. And if as a class they were not rigorous moralists themselves though indeed they numbered prophets in their ranksat least they conduced to morality in others by promoting in their hearts the cardinal virtue of Charity.
The Rest-houses reserved wholly or partly for the beggarmen were built close to but detached from the farm-houses. In size and architectural style those surviving or lately demolished vary very little ; they consist of two rooms one above the other, about fifteen feet by ten or twelve, the upper floor reached by an outside flight of stone steps. In a perfectly preserved specimen [still extant though recently reroofed and modernised] called Yn Shemmyr, or " The Chamber," on the estate of Arystine in Arbory, beggars were lodged, though in the upper storey only, within the last couple of dozen years, and it is only four years since the bed they slept on was removed. The lower room, with its open fire-place occupying the whole length of the west wall, was used as a bakehouse for making the old-fashioned varieties of bread and cakebarley bread, oat bread, bonnag, etc.over a fire of ling twisted into "gasses" or knots for slower and hotter burning. The warmth from the hearth below and the lingering odour of its products ought to have made this asylum a special favourite of the wandering fraternity. The most recent part of the structure, its slate roof, is said to be more than 200 years old, and looks it. It sheltered also more permanent tenants than the vagabonds, for the south wall was used as a columbarium, and the pigeon-holes remain, though the birds, like the beggarmen, have passed away. Its situation at the verge of an orchard and its own over-shadowing boughs heighten the old-world charm of the little building.
In a similar structure, by the roadside opposite Ballacurrey, Rushen, of which only the steps and a small fragment of the wall survive its demolition in 1924, one of the two floors was allotted to the male beggars and the other to women. This, as I remember it standing, was a rather smaller building than that at Ballamooar. The Rest-house in Colby village had but one storey, and its roof was thatched ; what is left of the stonework forms part of an oil-store. The Thie Lhionney" House by the Stream "at the Friary a mile away, though similar in size and style to the Rest-houses, is slightly larger, about twenty feet by fifteen, and is built against the farm-house. So far as is remembered, the Thie Lhionney was occupied by the farm servants only. Here is another spacious hearth and cavernous chimney, constructed of stones, some of which will be worth examining on the dayfar distant, I trustwhen the building is pulled down.
The recognized free accommodation for travellers, known to have existed at Boshen, Ballaglonney and Ballavitchell in Marown, and at Thalloo-vitchell in Maughold, was probably, in its earlier phase at least, intended for a better class of wayfarer. It has its English analogues at Rochester and elsewhere. As these four farms stand on ecclesiastical land the origin of the custom may be attributed to the Church ; and in a 13th-century Grant (to which the Revd. John Quine has already drawn attention), copied in 1504 from the Register of Whitherne Priory and mentioned in Appendix 7 to the 11th Report of the Historical MSS. Commission (Bridgewater MSS.), a Hospice at " Ballacgiuba " is associated with the churches of St. Ninian and St. Runan (Trinian and Marown). Doubtless the latter part of the name should read gniba, to correspond with the old treen-name Gnebe, now represented in " Greeba."
The word " vitchell," occurring in the names of two of the farms which formerly dispensed this kind of charity, suggests the Gaelic biadhtachd, hospitality. In medieval Ireland the biadhiache or biadhtóir (to which latter form the Manx word comes nearest), the innkeeper, held his land, usually from the Church, on the tenure of supplying the needs of guests. Even if this was not the case in the Isle of Man, a trace of the practice may perhaps be seen in a late 17th-century entry in the manuscript Bishop's Book, to the effect that the occupant of the estate of Ballafletcher (Kirby), near Douglas, was under the obligation, in lieu of paying rent, to entertain the Bishop and his servants on their journeys to and from England. Or was this a vestige of the ecclesiastical custom of Procuration which in England has been commuted to money payments ? If so, Kirby must at one time have been held by some kind of incumbent attached to Kirk Braddan. It is possible that the latter part of the name of a small farm, Dal y Veitch in Sulby Glen, carries the same implication as may belong to " vitchell." Should any tradition of such hospitality be found attaching to the place, the interpretation would, of course, be corroborated. A surname Bytchell, which occurred in the North of the Island in the 16th and 17th centuries, may have originally denoted the keeper of a hospitium of the sort.
At the three Marown farms mentioned above, which formed part of the Barony of St. Trinian's belonging to Whitherne Priory in Galloway, the custom of providing hospitality was continued until well into the last century, as it was also at Thalloo-vitehell on the Rushen Abbey-lands in Maughold, where a separate building was provided for the use of the homeless poor. The farm of Kew (now more often called Rock Mount), in the parish of German, under its former name of the Driney afforded similar hospitality; the only church influence here that I am aware of consisted in its being Particle land which was appropriated by the Bishops after having been granted by the King for the sustenance of a needy scholar. But many a well-to-do farmer may have permitted the use of his house or precincts by the occasionally or professionally impoverished on their travels, simply out of respect for an old custom. How in one instance the practice was extended in comparatively recent times is seen by the following bequest in a Lonan will dated 1804: " I leave to the proprietor of the said estate of Ballavarane, a coverlid, a blanket, a stool, and a bolster, in trust for the use of any poor person or persons as may have want for lodging occasionally."(I.O.M. Charities.) Nowadays, for better or worse, the personal factor is almost totally eliminated from the bestowal of charity, and the country roads are the last place where those in need of aid may be looked for.
Nevertheless they possess other features of interest related to the past, and in the ensuing pages I have noted the names and positions of such old roads, or roads with distinguishing titles, as I have met with in one way or another. Certain spots traversed by some of these will be visited and interrogated in the next chapter. Even omitting, as the following list does with one exception, names which are merely those of the farms the roads serve, it would be possible by systematic enquiry to treble the record of the smaller local roads, in spite of the fact that so many names have become obsolete.
Bare ne Creaigey, " Road of the Trenching," names an intack in Jurby.-(Lord's Composition Book, 1703.) Bare a Polerey, " Road of the Smooth Pool " (i.e., clear of surrounding bushes), names an intack in Bride.-(L.C.B.)
Barnageiy, " Road of the Goose," the name of a Bride intack.-(L.C.B.)
Bayr yn Clagh Glass, " Road of the Gray Boulder," Ballakillowey, Rushen, was haunted by a big fiery wheel whirling round, which barred the way.-(Roeder, Manx Notes and Queries, p. 72.)
Bayr ny Clara, " Road of the Planks," i.e., the plank bridge at Cornaa Mill, Maugholdis a steep and high-banked lane twisting down to the rivercrossing. The farm-name Claram in Lonan is probably derived from the same word.
Bayr Corrag, locally explained to mean " dangerous road," because of its rough, broken surfaceit is a narrow track much undermined by waterconnects Creglea, Patrick, with the Niarbyl road.
Bayr Cronk yn Yemmel, " Road of the Hill of the Border," connects the Bayr Mooar at Doarlish Mooar with the Bayr Noa, Dalby, crosses the latter road, and continues up the side of the hill.
Bayr ny Darrag, " Road of the Oakwood," ascends the North-West side of Glen Aldyn through Lag ny Darrag, above Ballagarrow, to Sky Hill.
Bayr Dhoo, " Dark Road," leads up the broogh immediately East of the Ooigyn Dhoo, on the Ballavarane shore, Lonan.
Bayr Dhown, " Low Road," is in Laxey village. Bayr yn Erinagh, " Road of the Church Official," upper Sulby, gives its name to a croft in the Lord's Rent Book. The Composition Book has Ariny's Land, a Lezayre intack, which may be connected.
Bayr Garroo, " Rough Road," is a frequent term, naturally. One such names a farm in the parish of Michael.
Bayr Geinnagh, " Sandy Road," is now known as Bowring Road, Ramsey.
Bayr ny Hayra, " Road of (to) the Shore," Andreas.
Bayr Jiarg Karran, " Red Road of (Mount) Karran," Sulby, leaves the Glen road at Ballacuberagh and climbs the West side of Mount Karran, deviating at the tumulus called Oaie ny Foawr, " Grave of the Giants " , a little farther on it unites with an alternative track which has ascended via Eairybedn and Eairykellue past another giant's grave. It then continues by Slieu Dhoo, Slieu Fraughane and Injebreck to Baldwin, where it is joined by the Carraghyn road. The MSS. Highway Accounts for 1869 mention it as the Bayr Jiarg near Keeill Abban, the old Tynwald Hill; South of Baldwin village it merges into the modern road and loses its distinctive name.
Bayr ny Merroo, " Road of the Dead," passes from the neighbourhood of Shellack Point to Keeill Vreeshey (Kirk Bride). It was the customary route for funerals. On reaching a spot called Dub ny Merroo, " Pool of the Dead," on Lamb Hill, the bier was laid down on a stone, round which the party gathered, a prayer was said, and a handful of water from the pool was sprinkled on the corpse by the chief mourner. The procession then resumed its way to the church. The " stone " may have been the base of an old cross ; many of these formerly stood on the roads leading to the parish churches, and were used for the purpose just described.
Bayr Mow, " Great Road," Patrick. This was the old highway passing through the Western side of the parish on its way from Peel to the South of the Island. It first appears definitely as emerging from the river Neb above Glenfaba Bridge, having presumably crossed by a ford after leaving the common called the Congarey, which is entered by a lane from the direction of Peel. On the South side of the river it was probably joined at the Raggatt by a road from Peel Castle ; for it is unlikely that the traffic from the South to the Castle would make an unnecessary crossing of the river. Its course diverges from the present road at Gordon, passes along the foot of the hill behind Raby house, crosses the Glen May river at Glen Veg on Ballakerka below the inn, climbs to the Balnylhergy lower house (now two houses face to face), skirts the lower side of the Naaie field on Ballaquane and the old Ballelby house, and rejoins the present road at Dalby for a quarter of a mile. Up to here its course is often interrupted by fields, but afterwards it is continuous and can be walked or ridden. It crosses the Kellya river at the foot of the Lag Mooar and climbs steeply to the East side of Cronk ny Irree Lhaa towards Rushen and Arbory.
Bayr Mullagh Vane, " Road of the White Summit," connects Glen May and Foxdale via Glen Dhoo and the Cross Vein mine under Barrule Veg, taking its name from a quartz outcrop there, near its junction with the Famine Road.
Bayr Nell leaves the St. John's road a short quarter of a mile East of Patrick Church, passes over the shoulder of Arrysey Hill and joins the Bayr Mullagh Vane. It names a small collection of houses, Barnell, near its commencement.
Bayr Noa, " New Road," is the name given in the Dalby district to the modern Peel and Round Table road ; parts of it coincide with the old Bayr Mooar, but as a whole it dates, I believe, to about eighty years ago.
Bayr ny Ooillyn is the hill road passing between Lhergydhoo and Knocksharry, German, to join the Staarvey Road near " Manannan's Chair."
Bayr yn Pashedeyr, " Road of the Potter," ascends the East side of the Sound glen, Patrick, past the site of an old pottery, and continues by what was once Magherbane farm-house and Doarlish Cashen to Dalby Mountain.
Bayr ny Quorralagh, " Road of the Quarries," or The Quarrel Road, leads from the Douglas and Peel road up the hill to Ballakilmurray, skirting the Poortown quarries, which have recently diverted its point of departure from the highway.
Bayr Terson, " Thwartwise Road," connects the Foxdale and Grenaby roads, to the North-West of Ballasalla.
Bayr Vedn (vane), " Light-coloured Road," is the track, part road and part footpath, between Milntown, Lezayre, and Ballure Bridge, passing through Claghbane.
Bishop Wilson's Road leaves the Douglas and Peel road at Tynwald Hill and is continued Northwards as the " Staarvey road." Bishop Wilson (died 1755) is said to have made or improved it-doubtless the latter-for convenience in travelling from Bishopscourt to Tynwald.
From the lane leaving the Castletown and St. John's road at Solomon's Corner, Malew, three tracks diverge across the Windy Mountain, the extensive and depressing piece of moorland to the North of the Windy Common. As the names of these once frequented routes are, like their surfaces, becoming effaced by time, they are qualified for inclusion here. One of them led over to Tosaby, where it becomes the Gat Manoul, q.v. Another was called
The Buljolly Road, and led to Booildoholley farm, but was used as a public thoroughfare. The third track, called
The Burroo (accented on second syllable), i.e., Bayr Ruy, Red Road, was the way to St. Mark's via Cordeman.
The Carragher Road crosses the railway line a mile
North-East of Ballasalla towards Cass-ny-Hawin. Though its old name, which appears in the Highway Accounts, is not quite forgotten, it is now usually called the Ballawoods road.
The Carraghyn Road passes along the ridge between the two Baldwin Valleys and under the East side of Carraghyn mountain, Braddan. It meets the Raad Garroo near Keeill Abban.
The Chinnaean (so pronounced) is a section of the old Laxey and Ramsey road between the Ballarragh Chapel and " King Orry." I have heard no meaning assigned to the name ; there is a Loch nan Cinneachan in Coll, Hebrides, which might supply a clue.
Coekshot Lane leads from King William's College to the Creggans, near Castletown. I do not know whether this name is English, Manx or Schoolboy. In England a cockshot is a cleared alley-way in a wood, through which game is driven into nets.
The Cooill ny Binjey Road, " Back-place of the Hilltops," (beinnee), is in Ballaugh parish.
Creag's Gat (the surname, now Craig), names an Andreas intack.-(Composition Book.)
The Crellin Road leads from Rushen to Patrick by way of the Sloc.
The Dreem Crammag Road, a mountain track, passes South from Crammag, Lezayre, to the Michael and Laxey road.
The Famine Road starts from the Round Table and crosses the North-West side of Barrule to join the Bayr Mullagh Vane. It is said to have been constructed as a relief work some seventy or eighty years ago,
but as there is no record of a severe dearth in the Isle of Man in the 19th century, the reference may be to the Irish famine of 1847-48.
The Follagh yn Vannin Road descends past Tynwald Hill towards Glen Mooar, and forms part of " Bishop Wilson's Road." The name is now obsolete and almost forgotten, and it is doubtful exactly how far it extended Northwards.
Froud's Road runs from Ballaugh Old Church to Froud's Croft in the Ballaugh Curragh.
Gat Manoul (pronounced Manool, with the stress on the last syllable), leading from near Tosaby across the Windy, has its name from Manowle, one of the Abbey farms which no longer have a separate existence ; but the name still adheres to a field or two bordering the road to St. Mark's.
Gat Meåayl, " McSayle's Lane," names an intack in Andreas.-(Composition Book.)
Gat ny Nain, Andreas, gave its name to an estate on which a schoolhouse was built towards the end of the 18th century. -(I.O.M. Charities, page 81.)
Gat ny Thieyn, " Lane of the Houses " ; but as written in the Mona Miscellany, part 2, in reference to the discovery of the Mylcharaine Silver Cross, the first term appears to be Garth, enclosure, not Gat.
Gat y Vanna, Sulby ; a croft-name in the Lord's Rent Book.
Gat y Vata, " Lane of the Boat," the name of an Andreas intack.-(Composition Book.)
Gat y Whing, " Lane of the Narrow-place," on the farm of that name in Andreas, leads towards the shore
South of the Rue; Gat e Quin and (Lough) Gate, a Whinny in Manorial Roll. See Watson's Celtic Place-names of Scotland, page 487, and compare Cong, Co. Galway, etc., and The Whing on the South-East coast of Man.
Gat y Wy, " Lane of the Slant or Convergence," names an intack in Andreas.-(Composition Book.) Keppel Gate, " Horse Road," is now the entrance of the Ramsey mountain-road into the Crown Commons, Conchan. It is overlooked by Creg ny Bayr, " Rock of the Road."
Hughes's Road runs from behind Ballaugh Old Church to Jurby Curragh.
Keym Agneash is the footpath, also the lower of its two stiles, between Agneash and the Claram, Lonan. Keym is understood as both " path " and " stile," and was especially used, I have been told by a native speaker of Manx, for a short cut between two roads, and for a track down the face of a cliff. It also means a stride, a footstep, and even a footprint as in the name of the herb Keym Chreest, Footprint of Christthe centaury.
Keym Mooar, " Great Pathway," Ballakilmartin, Conchan, leads from the farm-house to the site of the ancient chapel dedicated to St. Martin. The name is also applied to a field there which contains a stone-paved floor of doubtful import.
The Lhergy Crebedy Road slopes in a South-Westerly direction towards the Douglas and Peel road near the Union Mills across the hill-side formerly known by that name, now absurdly corrupted. " The field at
the back of the haggart and adjoining, called Liargey Crebedy," is mentioned in certain Articles of Agreement dated 1828, relating to Ballaoates.
Loob Dan (dhowin), " Low or Deep Path," is the lane leading from Ballafayle, Maughold, towards the promontory-fort of Gob ny Garvan.
Loob ny Kesh leaves the old Laxey and Ramsey road on the Lonan side of the Maughold boundary and ascends to the Cooill Airds. " Kesh " is possibly the Gaelic ceis, a wattled hurdle placed as a bridge across a stream or marshy place; or a reduction of the Manx kessagh, caasagh, a drinkingpool for animals, a term which occurs in other parts of the Island and is probably a derivative of ceis. The track crosses the upper part of the Dhoon river.
The Moainey Road begins at the first turn to the right North of Colby Bridge and passes above Ballagarmin.
The Nadhan (accent on second), said locally to mean " the Second Road "-perhaps " secondary " would be more exact-is a steep and deeply-worn footpath which cuts off a hairpin bend on the main road at Glen May, between Ballachrink and Cringle's Mill. Doubtless it is very much older than the road it shortens, and is still sufficiently recognized as a thoroughfare to share in the attentions of the roadrepairers. In the days of horse-travel it was not beyond the capabilities of Manx ponies, and their riders both male and female.
The Navvies' Road, rather a track than a road,
ascends due West from old Kirk Marown, skirting the Southern side of the glebe land.
Noble's Road climbs the Laxey side of Slieu Carn Gerjohl, locally called " Slieu Chiarn." Noble was the owner of the land it gives access to, Pairk y Noble.
The Onna Road, Bradda Mooar to Surby, Rushen, bears a semi-anglicized name which is explicable by that of the intack Kerroo-Onna, " Furze Ploughland." Conney is used derivatively for firewood. Joyce, Irish Names of Places, ii., 331, says it occurs very often in Ireland, sometimes aspirated and anglicized as honey.
The Polly Road (pollag, a small pool) runs between the high road and the Dollough Mooar in Ballaugh parish. The Puncheon Road (probably a partial translation of Bayr Funsheon, " Ashtree Road") is an old packhorse way climbing steeply from the bridge at Old Laxey.
Raad Garroo, " Rough Road," is, according to Kelly, s.v. aal, the highway which passes near the old Tynwald site above Baldwin. Bayr Garroo seems to be an alternative name for it. It pleases me to fancy that this is the road which appears in the scrap of old song translated as :
Baldwin West and Baldwin East,
Flame on the mountains and flame in the twilight; it's me in the fields and the road going downO, what a good place is Baldwin !
Raad Jiarg, " Red Road." Moore mentions this
in his Place-names. I do not know where it is. George Borrow's projected book based on his rambles in the Isle of Man, which unfortunately remained little more
than a series of cursory jottings, was to have borne the title: Bayr Jiargey and Glion Doo, or, The Red Road and The Black Valley.
Raad Kaire as Feed, " Road of the Four-and-Twenty," is described in Backwell's Handbook, 1862, page i8o, as a zigzag path ascending through a grassy hollow in the face of Maughold Head. Representatives of the Hebridean Isles coming to attend a Manx Tynwald Court would have found the almost contiguous Port Mooar a more convenient landing-place, and the opposite side of the Island would have been still better suited for boats coming down the North Channel ; also, their number would not have been twenty-four unless the Manx Keys had gone down to the shore to meet the Northern members and, it may have been, join them in paying their respects to the shrine of St. Maughold. " Raad " suggests a longer and more important thoroughfare than a cliff-path. The name and its exact location seem quite forgotten, but it does not strike one as having been invented, or as grievously misrepresenting some now perished tradition.
Raad Manninagh, " Manxman's Road," runs along high ground from below Ballig, Conchan, towards the upper part of Glen Roy, Lonan, via the Coanrhenny. An attempted explanation of the name-the only attempt I have heard-is that the humble Manxman was supposed to keep to the ancient routes of travel, the more modern highways being reserved for the overbearing English. If the Manxman did so, his habit was probably due less to humility than to
conservatism or the wish to avoid observation. But Manninagh, like Manachan in the next item, may rather point to the use and improvement of the road, if not its origin as a continuous thoroughfare, to the monks of Rushen Abbey, for whom it would provide a route connecting Conchan Abbey-lands with those in Lonan and Maughold, via Laxey.
Raad Mooar Manachan. In the opinion of a retired farmer well posted in the traditions of his own part of the country, this name applied to an uninterrupted highway between Ramsey and Castletown ; but he was born and bred alongside the portion to which the name is more or less authentically attached, and local pride may have influenced his view of the matter. On a more moderate estimate the Raad Mooar-or Raad Ree-Ma-nachan begins its separate existence South of Kirk Michael and travels along the bare upland country between the coast and the Glen Mooar river. In its Southern part it is more generally known as the " Staarvey Road," past which farm it descends into the wide valley which bisects the Island. In doing so it becomes for a short distance Ughtey Bri sh-my-Cdaree, " Break-my-Heart Hill," and rises, under the aliases of " Bishop Wilson's Road " and the Follagh yn Vannin Road, to what might be deemed its ultimate goal, the Tynwald Hill ; but its break of continuity at St. John's is slight enough to favour my friend's contention that it formed an integral route to the South. At least, it will be convenient to assume this, although it is not at first separable from the modern road. From St. John's it crosses, at the
railway station, level ground which must formerly have been a marsh traversed by a causeway, leaves the present highway at Mwyllin y Cleiy by the rivercrossing behind the mill, and turns up the side of Slieu Whallian obliquely under the name of " the Glen Needle Road." At Glen Needle it throws out a branch across the West side of Barrule, partly under the title of " the Famine Road," to the Round Table; its own course continues brokenly along the East slope of the same mountain a little higher than the present road, which, after descending through Cloughur and Wigan, it crosses below the North Star Inn, and goes Eastward to the Ballasalla road, as though its objective were the Abbey rather than the Castle.
The modern road, on the contrary, aims at Castle Rushen. Looking South from near Solomon's Corner, where the down grade definitely begins, it holds an unswerving line of which the end is stopped by the Castle walls ; from the Castle, conversely, a perfect view is had of all approaching traffic for a distance of five miles.
Solomon's Corner must have been an important junction of thoroughfares. Besides the road called Solomon's and the three moorland tracks already mentioned, at the top of the once populous region known as Close Clarke a grass-grown lane begins by running parallel with the present road on the East side of it, and afterwards turns off to Ballasalla ; but there is no sign that it came from North of Solomon's. One of its uses may be conjectured to have been the conveying of fuel to the Abbey; at
its Northernmost point it almost touches the Abbey Turbary at Chibbeyt y Wuirra, " St. Mary's Well." Raad Mom Ree Gorry, " Great Road of King Orry," or " King Orry's Highway." The oldest of all roads bearing a Manx name lies well outside the limits of the Island. When King Orry, in the familiar anecdote, landed at Cass y Lhane where Jurby joins Andreas, he betrayed his racial affinity by his acquaintance with Teutonic folk-lore; for in Wales the Milky Way was " the Path of Gwydion " whom sound authorities relate to Odin, and the early English called it the Waetlinga Styaet, the Path of the Watlingas, who were semi-mythical giants or heroes bringing order and culture as Orry did. The exact relationship between that heavenly pathway and the longest of the four great Roman-built highways of Britain, which bore the same name, need not concern us here ; upon the Isle of Man the Raad Mooar Ree Gorry, or Milky Way, projects no terrestrial counterpart of itself, though something of the kind might reasonably have been expected. As Grimm says (Teut. Myth., page 361), " In the green earthly roads are mirrored the shining paths of heaven."
If King Orry ever had a road to his name on earth as well as in the sky, it should have started from his landing-place, and those who prefer fiction to history may, if they list, imagine the matter thus :-To a mouth of the Lhane Mooar now under fathoms of salt water he came in a starlit moonless night at the time of the Summer Solstice, his galleys striking sail and taking to the sweeps as they glided one by one up
the inlet on the half-flood. Their smoky flares shining fitfully on faces and helmets, and streaking orange along the troubled water, alarmed the drowsy coastwatchers on a neighbouring hillock. Heedless of their shouts and the moaning of their signal-horns, he and his followers leapt over the bows and came splashing ashore. From either bank and from the air the Guardian Spirits of the country scrutinized him intently. These too he ignored ; but after he had seen the ships safely beached he made himself known to the astounded natives in a few memorable words of early Gall-Gaelic. Then, as the Milky Way paled out before the whitening North, laughing in a beard red as the torch he had just tossed into the tideway, he put himself at the head of his massed crews. Less a guard left over the ships, but escorted by unseen presences and tailed off by a straggle of curious fishermen, they set out Southward past Jurby Church, through the ford at Old Ballaugh, and along the narrow road (now choked in places with sand and almost impassable), to Orrisdale (where there is a slight break in its continuity). Here he turned aside and camped for breakfast while the sun 'rose upon him over the Bride Hills and the Curragh. Resuming refreshed, he pushed on to Orry's Tower (which remains embedded in the walls of Bishopscourt), took the Bishop's blessing or his plate as religious conviction may have prompted, and thus fortified marched along the Raad Manachan to pose proudly on the top round of Tynwald Hill above the admiring homage of the Manx people, looking like his statue designed by Corbould in the sixties for the town of Douglas, which preferred to await the jubilee Clock-tower.
The old Norse epithet for the Milky Way, Vetrarbraut, " Winterway," prompts, however, a surmise that Orry or Gorry may have been drawn into the affair by confusion with the Manx gheurey, winter; though the name Bhow Gorry, Orry's Bow, for the rainbow, could not be accounted for in this way. Or perhaps-if it is necessary to despoil him of so spacious an utterance, which I am loth to admit-the story may first have been told of a more ancient and a mightier personage than even King Orry. As his predecessor Patrick is suspected of having supplanted Orry in items of local legend, so may Orry have supplanted Manannan.
Raad s'Yrjey, " Highest Road," gives its name to a field on Ballamilghyn in Lonan.
The Ressy Road climbs Dandy Hill, Port Erin, and though so short, is said popularly to be thus called because its steepness invites a rest half-way up. The old well on its South side is now disused, and its name seems to have been forgotten.
The Ronna Yett, one of the old packhorse class of roads, leads from the shore to the main road near Ballahick. " Seals used to come up it to Ballahick in flocks." Seals, distinctly, not seagulls. As pronounced, Ronna Yett might certainly signify " Seal-road " ; but the natural history seems defective, and there are similar Norse words with other meanings, one of which is raun, dwelling-house. However that may be, there are episodes in the history of Ballahick which could not be called entirely natural; but they do not belong to the present chapter.
The Shannon Ray (so pronounced) is a name for the White Hill section of the Douglas and Ramsey road where it crosses the upper portion of Groudle Glen. It is also the title of a wordless song, in which " Shannon " is understood to refer to the river (see Clague's Manx National Songs, page 84, and journal of the Folk-Song Society, No. 28, page 143) ; but the resemblance of the place-name to the song-title may, of course, be only accidental, since there appears to be no other connexion between them. Wilde, in his Lough Corrib, mentions places called Shannaun na Geeragh, na Gloon, and na Keela, but his renderings do not make clear what he understands Shannaun to mean, beyond its relation to scan, old.
Solomon's Road runs Westward from Solomon's Corner to Cronk ny Geayee, Malew. Mylchreest was his surname, and he lived there in the middle of the 19th century, but it is as Solomon that he has impressed his personality on unwritten local nomenclature.
The Tidhan (accent on second), said in the neighbourhood to mean " Third Road," a narrow cart-road, leaves the Glen May and Peel road for Ballakerka.
Ughtey-Brish-My-Chree (probably for Brish-nyChree), German, is referred to under Raad Mooar Manachan.
Via Regia, literally " Royal Way," a common term for a high road, is mentioned in the Perambulation of the Boundary between the land of Kirk Christ Lezayre and that of the monks of Mirescogh, which is attached to the Chronicon Manniae. This, and a similar mention of the old Castletown road (see below), though undated, must be the earliest references to individual Manx roads. The Via Regia coincided with the boundary near the top of Glen Trammon, and must have been the route between Ramsey and the South which climbs Sky Hill, Lezayre, and balances itself nicely along a miniature watershed, like the Raad Manachan, past Close ny Mona as far as the height called Clagh Ouyr, where it becomes the modern Mountain Road descending eventually into the parish of Conchan. The Isle of Man (Cambridge County Geographies) says this track is called " Bahr ny Ree or King's Way " (presumably Bayr yn Ree) as to its Northern portion.
Many other more or less superseded thoroughfares reticulate the Island with their green and lonely trails, without being distinctively named or only in short sections of their courses. For those willing to face the certainty of wet boots in its fords and furrows, a typical and pleasing specimen of a deserted byway lies hidden between high, luxuriantly overgrown hedgebanks behind Crosby village. It unites the Ballavitchell and Ballayemmy roads which form right angles with the Peel road, and on the map looks as though it might continue in the same refreshingly nëgligë condition for another mile or so.
The old or lower Douglas and Castletown road never wholly lost its through traffic, and is now returning to favour as an alternative route. Going Southward, it joins the newer road at its entry into Malew, immediately after crossing the Santon Burn at the ford-now bridged-by Mwyllin y Quinney, just where it crossed five or six hundred years ago when the Abbey first formulated the limits of its farmlands :-" The Coma river is the boundary between the King's and the monks' lands as far as the ford by which the public road crosses." Near Santon Church farther North comes in the little-frequented road from near Ronaldsway ; at first it has preserved an uninteresting straightness and flatness through Turkeyland, but suddenly develops irregularity in two dimensions, with consequent charm and difficulty, when it strikes the gorge of the Santon river at the chapel-site and the spring-well-now nearly dry-of St. Michael, the old Southern Kirk Michael which early writers confused with the Northern church of the same name. At the river-crossing a little farther up it is joined by the track coming from Jackdaw Harbour (Cass ny Havvin), along the opposite line of cliff, and continues past the Aragon stone-circle and St. Ann's Well to Santon Church.
The modern main road from Laxey to Ramsey varies considerably in its course from its predecessor. The latter-still traversible throughout its lengthdiverges at the South Cape and bridges the river just above the harbour. Thence it climbs steeply and roughly, under the name of the Puncheon Road, past Cabbal or Keeill Nicholas, and crosses the modern road, which from here to the Dhoon is barely more than sixty years old. As the Chinuacan the old road continues towards Ballarragh village to touch the present main road at the Dhoon Hotel. It then descends again through Follagh y Vannin, rejoins the newer road for a few hundred yards, and leaves it until they both approach Trinity Church.
Just East of Ballure Bridge near Ramsey begins a specimen of the old insular thoroughfares which contrasts strongly with the foregoing. It is a true mountain road which traverses the North-East shoulder of Barrule, passes some unexpectedly inhabited cottages and a haunted ruin with a grisly tale of murder clinging to its stones, and stretches out and up beyond Park Llewelyn to lose itself in lingy solitudes at the head of the " North Laxey Valley." This district, now Crown Commons, was formerly the territory of a certain giant who attempted to plunder the treasure of a brother giant at Coan ny Chistey in the next parish. " North Laxey Valley," by the way, is a misnomer due to mines there which were operated from the upper part of the true Laxey Valley. The best section of this road, which provides a short cut in distance, if not in time, between Ballure and Magher y Kew, can be explored by joining-or leavingthe main Laxey and Ramsey road at Magher y Kew. Though it possesses no special attractiveness of its own the view it opens to the North-Eastward is sufficient reward, on a clear day, for the exertion of climbing. It is therefore better to take it in that direction rather than from Ballure Southward.
" A stone's-throw out on either hand From that well-ordered road we tread And all the world is wild and strange Churel and ghoul and djinn and sprite Shall bear us company to-night,
For we have reached the Oldest Land, Wherein the Powers of Darkness range."
From some of the Manx country roads it is not necessary to digress the length of a stone's-throw-not so far as the flicking-distance of a flint arrow-headto find oneself among the class of person Kipling refers to. They are thoroughfares in the Other World as well as in this, and the inhabitants of both are accustomed to pass and repass on terms of mutual forbearance, without trespassing, in the ordinary course of affairs, on each others' time and attention. For one actual contact, deeply impressive and ever memorable to the mortal, there is many a casual encounter in which the parties avoid each other as by common consent. " Leave the night," it is sometimes said, " to the things of the night " ; and I have been instructed by an elderly man not inexperienced in such matters, when I might chance to see or hear something a little strange, not to meddle with it but to pass it by on the other side. " Leave it alone and it will leave you alone ; give it a wide berth always." But the strait limits of the lesser roads sometimes afford little sea-room for such manoeuvres, and collision may be inevitable between the denizens of the Oldest Land and intruders to whom they design to manifest their power. Yet in many cases adequate warning is given that business is going forward which renders the presence of a human being undesirable. He may find his progress visibly or invisibly opposed, or he may even be transported to a distant part of the parish and left there to make the best of his way home. Often, in such an event, the spot where he comes to himself is one of danger, perhaps the brink of a cliff or the bank of a deep river. And though he may escape from these in the nick of time, and go free from the immediate grasp of the unseen hands, he will not escape the effects of the shock upon his health and mental wellbeing.
Stories of such experiences are plentiful ; alike in theme, they vary widely in particulars and in the manner of their telling, and belief in their truth is often visible under a pretence of incredulity. One may be introduced here as a specimen. A man was walking home one night from near Arbory Church to Surby ; when he was a short distance on the Rushen side of Ballabeg his arm was suddenly gripped without his being able to see anybody, and he was forcibly taken back the way he had come for a distance of about 200 yards and left lying unconscious. Next morning he was found thus and carried into the Ballabeg house. When he recovered his wits he had the black imprint of four fingers and a thumb at the top of his arm. He was in the habit of showing it to people up to the time of his death. The force used upon him, he said, was beyond any human force-it was the strength of a spirit.
The entities which are held responsible for such molestations are understood (so far as I am able to interpret vaguely expressed views on the subject) to differ from ghosts. Though the Island supports a fairly dense population of ordinary domestic ghosts and of equally common spectres of the wayside, these, with some exceptions, seem to an unprejudiced observer to be no more than the feeble residue of human mortality. Yet the ghost is certainly thought to represent the dead person as a spiritual whole. For a period extending to some months after a death the spirit is at times audible to the nearest kin, moving and calling weakly in and around the house; when these manifestations cease, the soul has relinquished its hold on the world for ever. If they continue indefinitely, and something is seen, we have a ghost. In the latter event, death, in accordance with both Christian and Pagan doctrine, is evidently not the perfect and universal solvent of the non-corporeal part into its constituent elements which it is of the body. But such ghosts effect little beyond noises and gestures, which at the best lead to the discovery of valuables reluctantly abandoned by the dead man, and at the worst alarm the timid and the unsophisticated. A woman in the Glen May district died, leaving a box or crock containing money on the top of a high cupboard and out of sight. A night or two after her death a light was seen to be shining through the room door against this cupboard, which led to its being searched, and the box, or crock, was found. The family was as much surprised as pleased, for no one except the dead woman had any knowledge of the money. Sometimes ghosts of this kind are able to make their wishes known by speaking. A man in the same neighbourhood had occasion to borrow a minnie (awl) from a shoemaker, and after using it stuck it in the wall with the intention of returning it at the first opportunity. Before he was able to do so he died. Shortly after his death he appeared-the narrator of the story had forgotten to whom-and explained about the awl, and asked that it should be returned at once to the owner. This was done, and the dead man was seen and heard no more.
When a ghost achieves more than this procuration of a living agent to perform an act which is beyond its power, it is held not to be a true ghost, a shade, a phantom, a scan, but to have acquired or developed the nature of a demon, a scan olk, a drogh spirrid. Where exactly should be placed the spirits of the dead which appear in animal forms-hare, lamb, or moth-is not quite clear; the belief that they have occasionally done so strikes one as a very curious item in the general doctrine. True ghosts range through all degrees of distinctness, from the habituës of particular spots who are consistent in their behaviour and attire (the latter frequently 18th century in style), down to mere drifting nebulae, crepuscular grey swirls in a dull light or blots on the darkness ready to fade out into nothing. Between these two extremes stands the solid middle class, normal, typical, conventionally dressed, and by far the most numerous. " Ghos'es in them days wore white linen, which used to rustle like silk," is a phrase I have heard in the course of a story. A rustling sound is a characteristic of the spooks of all nations which is difficult to account for; but the white linen of Manx ghosts rather puts one in remembrance of a shroud.
The ordinary ghost, we know, is as faithful a follower of the human race as the dog and the nettle. It seldom bites or stings, and may be useful to us, even a means of profit. Being related to us-a poor relation on a visit from a distance-it ranks between us and those more redoubtable beings who enjoy an independent life in a separate world of their own ; but being not quite one of ourselves it is to be treated, by islanders, with the appropriate shade of suspicion and reserve. Wherever murder has been done, in that place inevitably a ghost arises like the smoke of a sacrifice, and no more substantial or dangerous, save to the murderer. Ghosts which glide in the churchway paths are harmless except to those who tamper with their graves, as in times past the virtue of the impregnate soil and of the Hand of Glory prevailed on some to do. But the neighbourhood of a burialplace too ancient for the character of its tenant to be known must be navigated with caution, and if time has eroded the human outline of its protector he ranks as a buggane. More dreadful are the spectres, human, animal or amorphous, silent or shrieking, which infest spots where evil-doers have been hanged, shot, drowned, rolled downhill in an internally-spiked barrel or otherwise given their lawful quietus ; Hango, Slieu Whallian, Cronk y Croghee, have their reputations yet. Of a different species from these residual larvae is the apparition from afar of a man in the act of dying or in some extreme of mental tension. Most insular wraiths of this nature are clothed in shining and dripping oilskins, sea-boots and sou'wester, and leave a pool of water where they have stood ; since it was by means of the sea that death often came in the past. When they appear dry, though in danger they will be saved. Occasionally a spectral double is seen without apparent reason or consequences, and even when the living original is close at hand. On four or five occasions I have been seen in this way, without having been conscious of anything unusual at the time of the occurrence. Phantom funerals (which differ from the Death Coach) have been sufficiently dealt with in other collections of such matters from the time of Waldron down to Moore's interesting little volume, in which, by the way, only one genuine ghost walks - she of Castle Rushen. His were mainly written sources, and the local ghosts have by some means eluded the chroniclers. If I have enlarged upon them a little digressively in a chapter concerning roads it is partly for that reason and partly in the hope of getting done with them, if possible.
The objection may be made that since supernatural experiences, or the bulk of them, belong to bygone times, they should be spoken of in the past tense. Perhaps they were of more frequent occurrence formerly, though in view of the number of visions and adventures which have been related to me at first and second hand I could not assent even to that without some misgiving. But granting it to be so, it may be simply a matter of cumulative effect. There has always been a tendency to modernize old stories, to shuffle them in among recent ones, and to ascribe the whole accumulation of mingled fact and fable to an era just left behind. Hence the perennial cry that " Superstition is decaying." To-day, we are told, it is not nearly so vigorous as it used to be. In truth it never was. It has always been in decay and near to death, by virtue of the material of which it is composed; it never wholly dies, because death, which is its dominant idea, is man's inescapable shadow; so, shadow-like, Superstition waxes and wanes and reshapes itself with the shifting of the light. With his sun in its zenith above the head of Man perfectly erect, the shadow must dwindle moon-like and vanish for a while beneath his feet, as in Eden. But what it has lost latterly in one quarter it has almost regained in another; while witchcraft lies under a cloud spiritualism flourishes, and attracts less disfavour and more money.
Observers in every age have reported Superstition to be rapidly perishing, swept away by the march of progress. For Chaucer the elves and fairies belonged to an epoch earlier than his ; for us the case is the same, but it is a later age than Chaucer's own. At times it is brought down very late indeed. A man I met in a Cumbrian wood a few years ago said he had seen the fairies that morning, and was well accustomed to the sight. He was telling the truth, too-subjectively at any rate. If their invisibility has become constant instead of intermittent, and if certain other beings are a little less conspicuous just now than has been their wont, it may be due to a change of attitude, a diversion of interest and a preoccupation with other affairs, on one or both sides of the curtain. Also to be taken into account is the truism that those who seem to us to dwell in the shadow-as we possibly seem to them-have, without definitely emerging from it, risen in the social scale, to haunt less the instinctive visions of peasants and more the sëances, planchettes and cameras of the educated and semi-cultured classes ; to invade audaciously even the loftiest intellect of our time. That they have chosen the written word as one means of making contact is in itself significant of a partial change of ground. Nevertheless, they have not entirely forsaken that level of human mentality where they have always been most powerful; and viewing the situation in that quarter from (I trust) an advanced and enlightened standpoint, the best that can be said of it is that the welter of beliefs, practices and experiences called Superstition has ebbed from the conscious life of the people, leaving isolated pools to be the refuge of queer creatures and fantastic growths awaiting the return of the flood-tide.
Perhaps it is unnecessary to add that manifestations of the supernatural in the Isle of Man are not confined to the vicinity of the roads. There is no spot too remote or inaccessible to have been the habitat or the visiting-place of ghosts, spirits, bugganes or fairies.
Not only does-or did-one clan or another of them frequent highways, lanes and footpaths, occupied and deserted dwellings, outhouses, gardens and mills, wells, fords and bridges, fields, moors and thickets, rivers, sea-caves and hill-tops, where they might reasonably be expected; but they are seen in such less likely localities as churches and schoolrooms, lime-kilns, lead-mines and quarries, tree-tops, wavecrests and waterfalls, steamers and fishing-boats, piers, harbours and flagpoles , for all and single of which at least one instance, fresh or familiar, can be cited.
If the roads are rich in memories of disturbing sights and sounds, they are but little poorer in fragments of what is called " real life." Nothing heroic or extravagantly romantic, as in the Highlands ; mere lumps of raw material for rural comedies and tragedies, such as feuds over land-ownership and farm - boundaries, complications relating to wills, succession and inheritance, oddities of courtship and marriage, death-bed confessions and restitutions, burials in strange and secret places, foundlings in the fern, and so on. But these embodiments of the passions belong to a more superficial stratum of experience, and partly for that reason are more evanescent, more constantly changing and renewing themselves on the comparatively permanent framework of human nature, than the things of the hidden nether-regions of the mind, which are much what they have always been, all the world over. Moreover, when personal matters relating to a small and closely - knit community are reduced to print, it becomes necessary to omit the detail which gives colour and actuality. So for the present, at any rate, I neglect them.
Bollan Jiarg, " Little Red Road," said to be so-named from its reddish soil, runs from Orrisdale towards the shore, near Orrisdale Head, Michael.
The Deemster's Road, from Orrisdale to the Ramsey high road, was made at the instance of Bishop Murray early in the 19th century, but was named after Deemster Crellin, of Orrisdale.
The Saddle Road at Kirk Braddan is named from a stone called " the Saddle," for which see page 214.
* These notions have probably filtered down from the fabulous Scotorum Historia of Hector Boetius, who says that when the Kingdom of Scotland was founded in 330 B.C. it included Man because their respective coasts were within easy swimming distance of each other, and in one place almost touched.
** In a letter from the third Earl of Derby to the Abbot of Whalley, the Earl, having heard that the Lord of the Out Isles, with the help of the Scots, intends to try and enter Man and "do displeasure," instructs the Abbot "to cause 20 tall men and good archers of his tenants to be put in readiness as footmen " (infantry), "well harnessed after the manner of the countrie in white jackets, with my bage of the legges of Man of red cloth before on the brest, one behind on their back, and pass to the Isle in company with 20 other persons that I have written to Roger Sherbourne to prepare."-(Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henvy VIII., 9/6/x533.)