[From A Manx Scrapbook]
" Our fathers were not fools when they named their hills." " I daresay not," said I, " nor in many other things which they did, for which we laugh at them because we do not know the reasons they had for doing them."
" From glens come they,
Out of caves and sidh-mounds,
And the dead hollows of the hills.
" Bind fast about us the Druids' knot,
The fence of fire,
The cloak of concealment."
(Earth of Gualann.)
THE subject-matter of the present chapter resolves itself, in much the same way as that of the foregoing chapters, under the three headings of (i.) Place-names, mostly in the Manx tongue ; (ii.) their meanings in English ; (iii.) the lore, chiefly of a supernatural kind, ' associated with the places.
The names, in common with those of the wells and the old roads, are for the most part absent from the maps ; those which do occur are so signified. Some have been met with in by-ways of print and manuscript; the majority were gathered in the districts where they are still in use, or, in the case of obsolescent names, were revived in the memories of the older people. The spelling has been made to conform with the usual Manx spelling when the words were recognizable ; otherwise they have been written as heard, so nearly as is possible with a class of names in which pronunciation is often variable. Names which do not appear on the map are printed in italics ; this will explain what might otherwise look like a typographical inconsistency. A few of the unmapped names which occur in Moore's Place-names of the Isle of Man are mentioned (with acknowledgment) for the sake of comparison, or to indicate their locality. Similar use has been made of the printed Lord's Composition Book.
A place-name, in that it was born in the mind of a peasant, was cradled in popular approval, and owes its continued existence to tradition, falls well within the limits fairly assignable to folk-lore. A small proportion of these Manx names (e.g., Nikkesen, Caillagh ny Gyoamagh, Lhing y Glashtyn, Lhing Beyyey Dhone, Trowl-pot, Creg yn Dhorys, Chibbey Yoan Mooiy) are more obviously related to folk-lore, since they have arisen directly from the legend belonging to the spot. Some of the saints' names, on the other hand, have produced or attracted legends, chiefly in the case of the wells dedicated to Patrick and Maughold. These are detailed in their places, as also is the story which is told to explain what are now known as St. Patrick's Footsteps, in Rushen. The fancy that the Clydeside missionary left the impress of his feet in the Manx schist is balanced by a Scottish fable, which I will quote from Brown's Memorials of Aygyleshire, page 139
There are also traditional stories in the district of battles and single combats having taken place. One of them is told of a Manx hero, who, when his followers were routed, defended himself against a rock, on which it is said he left the print of his back. The rock is still called Sgeiy-a-mhanannaich. It might be asked what were Manxmen doing in Otter? But it is a curious coincidence that the Isle of Man was a place of resort, if not actually possessed, by this Danish dynasty at this particular time. . . .' And he proceeds to explain the mystery by means of a recorded Danish invasion of Cowal in 918.
In addition to the insular places which have been named from the stories belonging to them, there are a few instances where the names are evidently titles which have lost their relevant stories, like some of the items in the list of bardic narratives in the Book of Leinster. Notwithstanding these many sound reasons for mingling names and localized traditions in one section, it might have been better to arrange the folk-lore among the generally diffused beliefs and practices to which a future chapter will be devoted. This method was in fact considered, but the genii locoyum proved too tenacious of their own. Perhaps, with the implacable logic of natural forces, they decided that it was the business of a scrapbook to be scrappy.
The names just specified are exceptional in their periscopic glimpses of the unseen ; Manx place-names in the mass are as prosaic as those of any other land where the name-system is the product of the peasant ethos. (The efforts of colonizing pioneers have not had a happier result, as the map of the United States reveals.) Political history is not reflected by them in any marked degree, partly, perhaps, because outstanding events in Manx history have been few and far apart. Social history is illustrated here and there, especially that part of it which relates to methods of apportioning and working the land. Ecclesiastical history shows up better than any kind, in the names of chapel-sites, cross-sites, holy wells, and similar relics of religion. But the spirit of the system as a whole is distinctly practical and utilitarian, treating the land and its sea-coast as a source of livelihood. The most noticeable departure from literalness is perhaps the tendency to bestow names derived from the human and animal body. This practice may be equally common in other Celtic-speaking countries ; it is impossible to speak certainly without making a strict comparison which would incur more labour than the result would be worth. Kione, head, is of course ubiquitous in its Gaelic form in Ireland and Scotland, as is dreem, spine. Beeal, mouth, is used for an opening, entrance, approach. Gob is now understood as " mouth " also, but it seems likely that " snout " or "beak" was the sense in which it came to characterize innumerable projecting rocks both on the coast and inland. Stroin, nose, is employed more rarely than gob, and its Scandinavian equivalent ness describes bigger features of the landscape than either of the two Manx words. All these facial ornaments are common in English nomenclature. Cluggid, gullet, is a term frequently applied to a small narrow valley containing a stream. The following words are also found in various degrees of frequency : cleayshyn, ears, braaid, throat, ughd, breast, three, heart, lhiattee, side, geaylin, shoulder, thoin, buttocks, maase, thigh, lorg, leg, ghooneen, knees, cass and cosh, foot, glaick, palm, meeir, fingers, arbyl and famman, tail, maggle, testicle, fuill, blood, craue, bone, and in one comprehensive instance crackan, skin, rind, if this is the correct rendering of Towl Crackan, Rushen. More questionable in their verbal shapes, and therefore in their translations, are malin, brow (Gaelic molan, but mollee in modern Manx), eearaghyn, kidney-fat, shooil, eye, ooillyn, elbow. Mollee, however, occurs unmistakably as vollee, and slish, flank, may also be added.
The English " eye " and " tongue " occur once or twice, but I do not know that they are translated words. The entire animal is represented in kiark, hen, and kellagh, cock, once each at least, and the Calf is no doubt kalfir, the young of the cow, rather than kalfi, the calf of the leg. Train, chapter i., page 6, mentions a " place called by mariners ' the Cow of the Calf.' " Cabbyl, horse (supposing that to be its meaning in toponomy), is common on the South coast, with and without an adjective. The Chickens is probably an English name, since it masquerades in Manx as y Chiggin. These words occur singly; the place is called after an animal. It is in quite a different spirit that the names, Gaelic or Scandinavian, of wild or domestic creatures of various sizes and degrees of nobility, extinct or existent, from deer to maggots, are compounded with other words in the formation of place-names.
There seems good reason to believe that few Manx place-names are very old. To those of Scandinavian origin a time-limit can obviously be assigned, unless we are to presume a pre - Viking occupation of the Island. The Gaelic names do not, with two or three possible exceptions, appear to antedate the Scandinavian period of history, so far as can be judged without external corroboration. If the characteristic inflexions have been present, they have in virtually every case fallen away, as in the written and spoken language. Though in a small number of compounds and precedes a noun, it is impossible to be sure that it is adjectival. A colourable exception is a croft Arderry in Glen Aldyn with the stress on the first syllable, also called the Derry. Dhoo precedes in Dollaugh (Dhoo-lough), Ballaugh parish, and in Douglas. If there are any pre-Celtic names, which I should say is extremely improbable, they are hidden among those which are so corrupted that no one can say with any approach to certainty what they stand for, in the absence of early records by which to identify them. For the Isle of Man is much less fortunate in this respect than the rest of the Kingdom, and less fortunate in records of local names than in those of family names. Most of the instances which do not explain themselves at first sight can only be dealt with by analogy, and, failing that, by intelligent guesswork or discreet silence. The latter is the wiser course, we know ; but speculation in such matters is a harmless folly so long as it is clearly avowed, and not put forth as a pontifical pronouncement. Occasionally it may hit the mark, or come near enough to put others in the way of hitting it. As regards the incomprehensible associations of sounds which occur rarely in the current nomenclature, it is likely that they are in their origin either Gaelic or Scandinavian names which have suffered maltreatment, or in plainer English, have been chewed up and half swallowed by the elisive and metathesizing Manx speakers. In most cases, the English meanings are quickly ascertainable by anyone acquainted with Manx topographical terms and their modifications, and willing to consult the chief works on Scottish and Irish place-names. Otherwise there is seldom much hope of proving a suggested derivation, for very few insular place-names were recorded before the 16th century, and then in most cases-probably in all-by men who were unfamiliar with the language. If any of the Earl of Derby's clerks who compiled his Rent Roll of 1511-13 were familiar with it, or got the treennames in writing from Manxmen instead of putting them down as best they could, their spelling cannot have been consistent enough to help us much, for there was then no system of orthography. Place-names in earlier documents, such as grants, charters, records of the Abbey's possessions, and so on, were for the most part evidently written to conform with their sound in a foreign ear. Even among extant names which seem to bear their meanings on their faces, there is always the possibility to be reckoned with that a familiar term has in the course of time been substituted for another which was of less frequent occurrence. A tendency of balla to absorb words of a similar sound, such as beeal, beeal-aa, boayl and boailley, is a theoretical example of this substitution which is occasionally demonstrable.
We know, from such records as are available, that localities of various extent, from mountains down to fields, have been renamed, and it is a fair inference that this has happened repeatedly in some instances. Norse names replaced Celtic, and some of them were again replaced by Celtic names, either newly-coined or pre-Norse names whose use had been kept up by the natives. Since linguistic influences brought about these changes, native names have been replaced by other native names during a period falling within that of written record ; that is to say, during the last four centuries. This tendency lasted so long as the Manx language was spoken. Farm-names, a large proportion of which consist of personal names added to balla, have been peculiarly subject to renewal of their second element, for an obvious reason. Changes in agricultural methods have made for fresh designations of fields and larger tracts. Many intacks were added to the Rent Books after 1703, when circumstances encouraged the breaking-in of wild land, which has since lapsed into its former wildness ; it may be presumed that in some of these extensions of cultivation a name describing bog, moorland or rough hill-side was exchanged for another relating to agriculture or pasture, or containing the name of a tenant. With the entrance of the Stanleys in the Z5th century English tenants began to replace Manx tenants, and the English language obtained a footing ; the natural and inevitable consequence of this is still in progress.
Attested name-changes from one language to another would fill a chapter. They have even befallen such primary features, ordinarily tenacious of their names, as mountains and rivers. The only two mountainnames recorded before quite recent times, Wardfell and Rozefell, are now South Barrule and Windy Common. The latter must have had a Celtic name prior to its Scandinavian one, and probably bore the same Celtic name or a new one between its Scandinavian and its English one. Snaefell still possesses, on its Eastern side at least, the alternative epithet of Slieu Mooar ; it may be surmised that this name (if it can fairly be called a name) was used also for Cronk yn Irree Lhaa, since there is near its foot an abandoned holding thus entitled. Doubtless Slieu Mooar was a common term for many extensive hill-sides, just as Awin Mooar was for the greater streams. The name of one of the largest of these, the Silverburn, must be either a new coinage or a translation from Manx. The former is the preferable alternative, for while there is no record or authentic memory of its having been called Awin Argid, there is in the Abbey-lands Boundaries a hint that it may once have been known-below Ballasalla, at any rate-as A win Rushen, from the old name of Castletown : " et descendit . . . in am-nem de Russyn." The stream now called the Santon Burn is, in the same boundary-delineation as well as later, called the Corna.
The very few Celtic river-names, extant and obsolete, which are not formed on awin, struan or alt, are probably among the oldest known local names, as might have been expected. One, the Neb, if it represents, even indirectly, the Old Irish ab, water, cannot well be antedated by any Gaelic name in the Island, though another river-name, now appropriated by the town of Douglas, may be as old. But ' Neb ' is more likely to have been Awin Ab, from its having, in Glen Mooar, bounded the Kirk German Abbey-lands. The brook Mouro or Mouru of the Abbey-lands Boundaries, identifiable as the Awin Ruy rising on the Windy Common, is referred by Professor Munch to the Norse Maura. Possibly the presence of a Chibber Woirrey at the head of this little stream, just where the boundary touches it, may bear upon its obscure name. The riuulus qui dicitur Mouro may at this early point of its course have taken its title from the sacred spring which issues from its bank, Tobar Muire, retaining the radical initial as in Tobermory. Ii is unfortunate that we cannot tell on which syllable of Mouru or Mouro the stress fell, and neither of the derivations just advanced, that from Norse and that from Gaelic, may account satisfactorily for the final letter. If it received the stress, the -ro or -ru may be present in the ruy of the present name ; in that event the remainder of the word is dark to me. There is no indication in the facsimile of the text that Mouru is a contraction, and we must take the word as we find it. The name of Glen Callin, Maughold, may embody the forgotten name of the small stream which runs down it into the Dhoon Glen ; see page 377. The name of the Dhoon Glen river has likewise passed out of memory, and that the Manx name of the glen itself has suffered the same fate is implied by the form of the pr,2sent name. Reagk, in the " Glen Reagh Rushen " of legend (where-ever it may have been situated), seems better suited to a stream than to a glen, if it is to be translated . merry,' ' sportive.' There is, in fact, a Struan Reagh in Leza.yre parish. Crogga, though a genuine rivername, is not older than a Norse Krok-d "Crooked River " ; the crookedness is now chiefly apparent below the junction of its two branches. The one running South-East and forming the parish boundary is doubtless the true Crogga, and passed on its name to a settlement-now an estate-which in turn named Chibber Crogga and Crogga Glen. The last, like the Dhoon Glen, Colby Glen, and many another, has lost its earlier name.
Norse river-names, it is not surprising to find, are a small minority. The larger rivers are termed Awin, the smaller ones Struan, and some of the steep ones Alt, with the addition of some simple descriptive adjective, noun or personal name in the possessive case ; or they are known by the name of a village, a farm, or a glen through which they flow. In the latter type, where a more authentic term has vanished, the name takes an English shape : the Ballaugh river, the Ballacowle river, the Glen Aldyn river.
In addition to the common topographical terms slieu, cronk, glion, bayr, magher, lheeaney, and a score of others, distinguished by qualifying additions, there are a few which, though occurring repeatedly, are often used by themselves. Specimens of these may be of interest. The most widely distributed is
(The) Naaie, properly yn Fhaaie, which is found on virtually every farm. The definition given in Kelly's Dictionary sufficiently describes it, even when it occurs in an uncultivated region :-" a green flat grass-plot, a paddock." On farms it is never ploughed up, but is kept as pasture, and is usually adjacent to the house.
The Thoar is said to have been, as the Naaie still is, a field-name found on almost every farm, but it is now less common than that. Moore explains it as ' bleaching-field' ; ' dunged-field ' has, I think been suggested also, and this might suit some instances-it would at any rate hold good in Ireland. But a definition would still be desirable which could be applied to much larger areas than a field, such as the farm of Ballathoar (formerly Balnethoar) in Ballaugh and Glion Thoar in German.
Thalloo Losht, " Burnt Land." I learn from a friend that "nearly every farm in Lonan had a field called the Thalloo Losht, into which the cattle were put on Tynwald Day. Sometimes plaited bunches of rushes were tied to their horns." Losht is also found in company with slieu and croak, where it may be supposed to refer to the burning of the ground to clear it of bushes, and formerly of witches at the same time. The use of the term in the lower lands has been traced to the practice of firing the surface of the soil before turning it over with the old push-ploughs.
Fank, the Fanks, though carrying in Scottish dialect its Gaelic sense of a sheep-pen, is used in Man for sheep-pasture. It occurs in Bride, in Lezayre (now part of Ramsey Golf-links), in Malew, in Rushen, and probably in most of the parishes, especially those of the Northern plain. In Malew one instance of it is embodied in the farm-name of Ballanank, where the land in question is now known as the Nankies, and is probably the same as the " Bell Nanckes land " of 17th-century records.
Kassagh or Kessah is a word applied to swampy places on farms, where animals can drink. The instances I have come across are situated as follows on Ballelby, Patrick ; on Ballafurt, Santon ; about 10o yards North of Kirk Conchan ; and a couple close together, distinguished as ' brackish ' and ' muddy' respectively, at Spaldrick, Rushen. An Andreas intack called the Cassa was recorded in 1703, but I do not know whether the name is still extant. Possibly the term is disguised in Loob ny Kesh, Lonan and Maughold. The Irish ceisach, in Kishaboy, Armagh, Cassagh, Kilkenny, Cornakessagh, Fermanagh, Keshcorran, Sligo and other instances, is a causeway of wickerwork or roughly woven branches laid across a rivulet or marshy spot.(Joyce, i., 349-350.) If this is the source of the Manx word the idea of a causeway, which is radical in the Irish, has lapsed. A farmer once described a kessah to me as a natural watering-place common to two farms and used by the animals of both. It is true that most if not all of the foregoing Manx examples lie contiguous to farm-boundaries, though in some cases a wall or fence has been put up which gives one man's land the sole benefit of the spot, so far as it is now utilized. This present -day Manx definition of a hessah is closely paraphrased by an article in Cormac's Glossary, much of which com pilation dates to about A.D. 900. " Gelistar, i.e., name for a ford (or pool) of water in which are cattle in heat, and they bite a mouthful from every division of land which is about it, and a circle of stakes is made around it, if the ford (or pool) is between neighbours, so that cattle may not eat the cornfields. The grazing which is made in the ford (or pool) is what is called gelistar. And every neighbour is entitled to a common road to it, if it is without a road." Though the reference is to grazing, the use of leastar, literally a cup or water-vessel, suggests that ' drinking together ' was the essential feature of such places.
The City. The Isle of Man contains a number of places to which this term is applied either regularly or occasionally. (i.) Citten or Sitten, Bride (O.S. map) was "the City" in the Compositions of 1703 and " Citty quarterland " in the Highway Accounts for 1869 ; the name also occurs in less quotable sources, such as the early directories. It has now been renamed, I think, Orry's Mount. (ii.) " The City " is still, on the lips of the local people, an alternative name for the village of Agneash, Lonan. (iii.) On the high road a few yards North of Barrule farm, Malew, there stood till recently a group of small dwellings known as " the City," and the word still clings to the spot. (iv.) Oliver, Vestigia, page 65, says that certain old cottages bordering Douglas on the North were called " the ancient city of Sena." The town has now grown round them, but the name, spelt and pronounced Senna, is still well-known. Formerly it may have extended down to the shore, for Senna House stands in a line with the section of the old sea-wall in Villiers Lane. It is evident that the name Sena can have no connexion with shen, old, as has been suggested, but possibly it may have had its origin in the Norse word for the sand of the shore. There is also (if not yet pulled down) another Senna at the South end of Douglas, which I have heard designated by its neighbours " the happy city of Senna," but this may very likely owe its name to the better known Senna. (Its houses, forming a small courtyard in Bigwell Street, were built by an eccentric mason nicknamed " Happy Quirk " ; Happy also dwelt, when the mood took him, in a cave between Douglas Head and Port Soderick.)
In England " city " is bestowed on spots where it is as incongruous as in these Manx instances. There are, for example, the City at the South end of Thirlmere, Cumberland, and the Holy City near Chard, Somerset. In Cornwall " cities " are fairly plentiful ; some of them are buried under sea-sand, but others, such as the hamlet of Tredavoe near Newlyn, are still in being. Cornwall's former population of saints with their cells and the settlements they attracted may perhaps be held accountable for some of these " cities," as St. Maughold was for the one at Kirk Maughold mentioned by Jocelin, Vita Patricii. The residents have in the course of ages allowed the title to lapse, but Peel would fain perpetuate the civis Sodorensis of medieval bulls and missives. Not behind the saints and bishops in citizenship, and doubtless before them in point of time, the fairies had traditionally their city on the top of Skyhill, Lezayre. This is worth mention as an example of the current peculiar use of the word.
Cooyrt or The Court is a name belonging to a croft of three fields in Malew, to three separate fields on the Mull, to a vanished earthwork in German, and to a small farm in Santon. I cannot say with certainty that in the last it is not the English word for a large place of residence. Indeed, the term may be of English origin entirely, although naturalized and inflected, since in medieval and modern Irish nüirt has the incompatible meaning of a visit or a round of visits, though the original idea was no doubt a 'circle.' Some of these Manx ' courts,' then, may have been the meeting-places of petty tribunals like the fodder-juries, which, though not of importance in themselves, probably selected a spot hallowed in some way by tradition.
The " marks " which enable fishermen to find certain spots called lheih and aahley (pronounced ' ailya ') at which to shoot their nets, consist of two or more land-features brought into mutual relationship from the view-point of the boat. Two conspicuous features, such as a hill-top or a building, may be thus associated, the upper or more distant of which is called the kione and the other the geaylin-the head and the shoulder ; or two widely -separated points may be manoeuvred into sight at the same time. It is then known that the boat is in the desired position for beginning operations. This is no doubt almost as familiar to most people as the fact that, when seen from the sea, the features of the land alter their outline and their position with regard to each other to a surprising extent. For fishermen there is sometimes an additional source of difficulty ; they may have little or no acquaintance with the interior of that part of the land off which they happen to be working, yet they must memorize its topography for their guidance in returning to the same spots. Hence a house or a rock or a clump of trees which forms a unit in a recognized mark must be given a name, which, being used only by a limited and diminishing class of men for a special purpose, seldom gets into writing or print. For the larger and wellknown features, such as the top of a mountain, there is no need for this re-naming, and some of the lesser points which lie on or near the coast may also retain their land-names. Yet it is quite likely that there are among these a few which originated with fishermen, and hence arises the difficulty of making sense of them from a land point of view. However that may be, it is only among fishermen that certain names seem to be known. It is this two-sidedness of coastal nomenclature which makes it doubtful whether Cronk yn Irree Lhaa, " Hill of the Rising Day," was named from the land or from the sea, since the description would be equally valid from either. But as similar names have been given to places out of sight of the sea, this one was probably first suggested to a landsman's mind. The common word cabbyl for an upstanding coastal rock, although it has been generally adopted, seems, from its confinement to the seaboard, to have been given by fishermen. But that does not help us to an explanation why so many of these rocks should be called " Horse," to which creature they bear no resemblance. Can cabbyl be really the Norse word gaff, literally a gable or side of a house, but present in "Great Gable mountain, Cumberland ?
This mode of bestowing place-names had nothing to do, primarily, with the old Norse-derived custom of giving " haaf-names " to creatures and objects whose ordinary names were taboo in a boat. (There are indications, by the way, that that practice was merely part of a system in vogue among land-dwellers also.) But the habit under notice developed, I think, from a necessity into a convention somewhat similar to that of the haaf-name. To take a Manx instance, the farmhouse of Creglea, Patrick, when used as a mark, goes under the style of " Ballakarran," even among men who are perfectly familiar with its proper name, " because it was once owned by a man called Karran." The hill above it is called Karran's Hill for the same reason, although there is another and more authentic Karran Hill or Cronk Carran immediately to the South-West of it. But the name of the next mark, Kintore, seems to be purely a sea-term for " the next houses Northward " as they appear from the sea ; a man in the habit of using Kintore in his boat was unable to tell me exactly what houses the name referred to, wellacquainted though he was with the district. Beyond this comes Traie ny Sloat, " Strand of the Salt-pool," which again is not, so far as I know, the land-name of any beach in the neighbourhood. Moore has it among his Place-names, but this is probably the example on the coast of Santon which occurs in the Ordnance map. And so the tale goes, right up the Patrick coast. Farther South, in Rushen, Ball Joe is the name given, in the same spirit, to a point of the coast under Lingague ; Corran Hill stands for Bradda ; the Kiark -" the Hen," the Kellagh-" the Cock," and Geaylin ny Cholloo-" Shoulder of the Calf," belong to the Calf and one of its outlying rocks. Thie ny Scarroo is farther East at Searlett ; the Spire is on Langness ; Geaylin y Vaughold and others are in the North of the island. The Garden is on Ballacarnane in the parish of Michael. The fishing-ground called " the Wart," two miles North-West of Peel, where a small but fine-flavoured herring used to be caught, was found by bringing together the crest of Greeba Mountain and a point called by fishermen Balnyhow. Meir ny (yn) Foaw~r, " the Giant's Fingers " on Lhergy Dhoo, were useful in a similar way. The songs sung at the boat-suppers at the end of the fishing season must have been full of allusions to marks:
" Heear 'sy Chione Roauyr, Lesh yurnaa liauyr,
Goaill heose nyn shiauill fo'n Charron."
as a whole until that more convenient opportunity. Concerning the contents of the present chapter a certain conclusion has been forced upon me: it would be unwise to say of any spot of ground in the Isle of Man, either " there has never been a burial here," or " this spot has never been haunted by ghost, spirit or fairy " ; and it would be equally unwise to attempt in theory to dissociate the two predicaments. Waldron a long time ago flashed a light on the incorporeal half of the subject when he complained of " the Belief the Natives are possess'd of, and endeavour to inspire into every body else, that there is not a Creek or Cranny in this Island, but what is haunted, either with Fairies or Ghosts."
The substantial unity of doctrine in the world's Under-faith has been revealed to us by the collectors and classifiers of the last three or four decades, and there is no need to insist on the kinship of Manx belief with the general stock. The superstition of the Island is not to be divorced from that of the surrounding lands and waters. Those who have skimmed, however lightly, the mass of the printed folk-lore of Europe and the other continents, will have realized that it is virtually of one texture everywhere, with superficial modifications under the influence of race, locality, and condition of society. We must not expect, therefore, to find in a small island of an inland sea anything which is independent of the surrounding coasts. But there is an unfailing fascination in the wizard-like disguises which a theme (in the musical sense of the word) will adopt, in the wave-like fluidity, even, with which one belief or story will lose its identity in another.
Consider, for example, two familiar doctrines, far from peculiar to the Isle of Man, the exchanging of human and fairy children, and the abductive propensity of the water-horse. Of the former I give a personally-acquired specimen under the heading of Niarbyl, Patrick ; of the latter under Nikkesen, in Lonan, Glen May in Patrick, and elsewhere. In Aubrey's Remaines of Gentilisme, page 30, the two ideas are run together in this fashion : " In Germany old women tell the like stories received from their Ancestors, that a Watermonster, called the Nickard, does enter by night the chamber, where a woman is brought to bed, and stealeth when they are all sleeping, the new-born child and supposeth another in its place, which child growing up is like a monster and commonly dumb. The remedy whereof that the Mother may get her own child again. The mother taketh the Supposititium, and whipps it so long with the rod till the saied monster, the Nickard, bringes the Mother's own child again and takes to himself the Supposititium, which they call Wexel balg."
A subtler transformation than this simple union of two ideas is detectable in comparing one of the Manx Fenoderee stories with a form of invocation reported from Norfolk ; it may well have been practised in the Island also, though I have not come across it. The first, thus related by Train, belongs to a field called Llieeaney &hunt, " Round Meadow," near St. Trinian's. A farmer having complained that the Fenoderee had not cut his grass close enough, the hairy one next year left the cutting of it to the farmer, but followed him so closely and stubbed up the roots so fast that it was with difficulty the man escaped having his legs cut off by the angry sprite. For several seasons afterwards no person could be found to mow the meadow, until a fearless soldier from one of the garrisons undertook the task. He began work in the centre of the field, and by cutting round as if on the edge of a circle, with one eye on the progress of his yiarn foldyragh, or scythe, and the other (by some means) on the blade of the closely following demon, he succeeded in finishing his task unmolested. That the Fenoderee was a skilled mower is otherwise attested in an old song:
" Yn yiarn va echey y ghiarey ooilley, Scryssey yn lheeaney rish y foaidyn."
" The scythe that was at him went cutting through all things, Skinning the meadow right down to the sod."
In Norfolk and the North-Eastern counties the same germinal idea has assumed a different aspect and is used for a different purpose. In accordance with a well-known custom proper to St. Martin's Eve, a girl desirous of seeing her future husband " went downstairs into the kitchen. . . . In the centre was a round table, and around this she was to go at midnight with hemp-seed, repeating as she scattered her seed,
" Hemp-seed I sow, hemp-seed I grow,
If you be my true-love come after me and mow.
If the person intended to be invoked was to be the husband, he would appear behind the sower with a scythe in his hand to mow, and the sower must escape before the scythe reaches her, else some accident will happen."-(Folk-lore of the Northern Counties, page 104.) Yet another regrouping of components brings the Fenoderee (diminished in stature) and his tailoring affairs into association with the hemp and the midnight hour of the Norfolk charm. " The fenodyree . . . has in Lincolnshire a cousin . . . The farmer gives him in gratitude for his services a linen shirt every New Year's Eve; and this went on for years, until at last the farmer thought a hemp shirt was good enough to give him. When the clock struck twelve at midnight the manikin raised an angry wail, saying:-
'Harden, harden, hemp!
I will neither grind nor stamp! Had you given me linen gear,
I would have served you many a year!
(Celtic Folklore, i., 324.)
Here it occurs to me that though I have in the succeeding pages outlined the appearance and behaviour of most of the uncanny beings which in former times attached themselves to particular places, I have perhaps taken the Fenoderee too much for granted. True, he has been the subject of personal paragraphs in such of the earlier writers on the Isle of Man who have deigned to notice its folk-lore, and Roeder has gathered up a number of these scattered references in his Notes and Queries. But there may still be room for further consideration of one who cut such a prominent figure in the Island's basic industry. I do not think that Roeder hit on the source of the Fenoderee's name when he suggested " the Fians " plus " Godred "-i.e.,
Godred Crovan, King at the end of the izth century, though I am unable to find a more suitable Scandinavian name; for Udalric and Oderic were German. It is worthy of remark, however, that Callow in his Legends of the Isle of Man gives Fenoderee (in his fairyprince form) the name of Uddereek ; on what ground I know not-it may admittedly have been a coinage of the fancy. Within limits, therefore, the spelling of
" Fenoderee " is optional at present. Strictly speaking, we ought to discuss him in the plural, since there were many of his tribe attached more or less to various farms. A dozen could easily be enumerated, and these are merely places where the tradition has survived. In modern times he is thought of as a single individual who travelled from place to place, and is honoured with the definite article, in common with the tarrooushtey and all the other monsters not of human origin as ghosts and spirits were.
Fenoderees, then, were children of the earth, sons of the soil, akin to, though not wholly the same as, the sons of Adam. They were bigger (or at least broader) and stronger than men, and rougher in aspect and manners ; their shagginess indeed was shocking to behold. Like their brethren of Britain, Scandinavia and Germany, the Brownies, Nisses, Home-spirits and the rest, they wore no clothing and needed none ; for " the garment that was on them was the hair that grew out of them," and they generally rejected clothing when it was offered. This band of territorial auxiliaries was as dark - complexioned as the French army, and though tradition has not preserved their average cranial index, their intellectual capacity was inferior to that of normal human beings. Their swollen knee-joints knocked together (" glioonagh, sphrangagh " in the Song of the Fairies) to such a degree that their shambling gait was peculiar to themselves-(were they platycnemic also ?) Yet they could run swiftly if need were, and employ their superhuman strength with superhuman agility. Hence, though only their outstanding feats are now remembered, their value to the farmers was incalculable, and their gradual extinction during the last hundred years or so (as estimated by my informants) has been accompanied by a marked decline of Manx agriculture. They differed noticeably from their British and Scandinavian relations in that they did not enter the houses, or even hang around them unless for food left out at bed-time. They preferred to make their home in a not too distant wood or glen where they could enjoy their daylight leisure secure from observation, for they did most of their work by night. Doubtless, as has been opined, they were an unprogressive or degenerate type of human being actually inhabiting the Northern countries, though not necessarily everywhere of one race. They may have been absorbed into the mass of the population of those lands and so become a legend which invasion afterwards brought to the Isle of Man. The supernatural element in the Fenoderee tradition is less substantial and essential than much which has accrued to perfectly mundane and historical personages in most countries after death, and in some instances during their lifetime. The Fenoderee's specific endowment was physical strength, not magical powers, and nobody was ever afraid of him on the latter score. Even in assuming his total extinction I was inaccurate ; although he was a Caliban without women-folk, his modified descendants are still to be seen.
A more spiritual or fairy-like being, the Crogan, has now so nearly faded from the mirror of popular imagination that she has no place of her own, so far as I have learnt, among the numberless spots which are or once were haunted. She seems to have been a water-loving lady ; her name, at any rate, relates her to the North of Ireland Grogan, and perhaps further to the longhaired, cattle-tending Gruagach of the Highlands, just as the Manx glashlyn is the Highland glaistig.
References to the years 1510-1513 are of course to Talbot's translation of the Derby Manorial Roll, some of the inherent value of which is lost through the lack of editing consequent on posthumous publication. The Lord's Composition Book of 1703 is bound up with this ; the other Lord's Rent Books are in manuscript, as is the Parish Register material with the exception of extracts from the Registers of Ballaugh and Malew published in the Manx Note-Book. It is regrettable that these records were not printed in their entirety by the defunct Manx Society which did so much useful publishing work in the 19th century-some of it less valuable, however, than the Registers would have been.
The Bishop's Book (Liber Episcopi) contains in MS. the records of episcopal courts from 1580.
" Gaelic " is used, as previously, for Scottish and Irish Gaelic in distinction from Manx. " Norse " refers of course to the Old Norse as preserved by settlers in Iceland, and thereafter in our Icelandic dictionaries.
Though with reluctance, I use " superstition " and supernatural " for lack of happier expressions, and because they carry significations which are generally understood. " Supernatural " is especially objectionable from a rational point of view, and might well be replaced by some such term as " supernormal."