[From A Manx Scrapbook]



Elongated beyond all the long Manx parishes, Braddan stretches her finger-tip over the mountain-range level with Snaefell to touch the hem of Michael and Lezayre, and the sole of her foot rests on the back of Santon. She alone of the parishes has land in both the North and the South, and her hour-glass waist, once adorned with a Tynwald, is their meeting-place. Since she lost her Courts her Southern portion, like that of Malew, has been overmuch Englished.

Castleward is a small earthwork in the broad green valley of the Glass which has given its name to a treen and a farm. The mound has also been called Knock y Troddan, "Hill of the Fight," and is still called " the Sod Castle." The Manx of the latter name would come within a reasonable distance of the sound of " Castle Ward," but the nearness of Tromode favours a derivation from the Scottish Gaelic mod, which doubtless was once a Manx word also. The true form of the name then, Cashtal yn Mhoid, would be equivalent to Castle, or Mound, of the Court, in consonance with, e.g., Clach a' Mhoid, " Stone of the Court," at Dunkeld, Perthshire. The gossip attaching to it, however, is of a military nature. "The large conical mound at Castleward is the remains of a Cromwellian fort. Large stone cannon-balls have been picked up in the immediate vicinity, and there is a tradition that this fort bombarded another on the opposite side of the valley, where also stone balls have been picked up."-(Extract from a letter dated 15th January, 1867, from Dr. Oliver, addressed to the Ordnance Surveyor.) I have heard a similar story of two parties " shooting at each other " across the flats between the two banks at Port y Chee, with special reference to the small tumulus on the Western bank ; and at Kewaigue, still in the same neighbourhood, are mounds and a Lheeaney Streeu, " Meadow of Strife," to which the same tale clings. " The fort on the opposite side " was presumably that in Magher y Caggey, " Field of the Battle," on Ballanard. A note by the Surveyor adds that tradition asserts Castleward Fort to have been erected by General Fairfax during the Cromwellian era. The same origin is attributed to other earthworks in the Island, notably that at Ballachurrey, Andreas (where there is some evidence for the date), and to the vestiges of one on Peel Hill.

The once-sacred well and the pool under its tree near the remaining scrap of the wall of the keeill adjacent to Castleward farmyard are now given over to the animals.

The Saddle Stone, near Kirk Braddan, is said to have been a penitents' seat "in the old times. "-(Oswald.)

Presumably it was used for this purpose after it was removed from among the great stone remains called " the Camp " close by and inserted in the roadside wall from which it now projects. Either because of its peculiar shape or for some better-founded reason, popular belief has long associated it with the fairies. Forty years ago there were rumours in the neighbourhood that women straddled it to promote child-bearing. Even in Waldron's time it was called " the Fairies' Saddle," and was then known for certain to be used by them when night-riding the horses of the local gentry and farmers. At that time it lay conveniently loose on the edge of a small rock.

Croft y Killip, " Killip's Croft," adjoining Ballamanaugh on the South, and

Croit y Cottier, " Cottier's Croft," adjoining ground formerly known as " Stoale's Rent " on the North and Ballamanaugh on the East, were the " five or six days' ploughing of good arrable land " promised in exchange for the old Braddan glebe and vicarage by Captain Edward Fletcher in 1742, that a new Vicarage might be built. The old house had been found so unhealthy on account of its low and damp situation that the Vicar and his family had been obliged to rent a house in Douglas. Both crofts extended to about 518 paces from the old church. Croit y Killip, on which the new house was to be built, was also more convenient to

Ballacretney, " Cretney's Farm," " lately purchased and endowed by the Bishop [Thomas Wilson] for a new Glebe."--(Statute Laws.)

Crosh ny Kaire Thorne, " Cross of the Four Bosses," thorrin-compare the five on the Port y Vullin crossstood on the road between Kirk Braddan and the Vicarage, as may be gathered from the MS. Bishop's Book for 1798. In all probability it was a funeral cross.

The Cronags, " The Little Mounds," was formerly the name of a part of Ballafletcher alias Kirby.(Bishop's Book.)

Snugborough, though apparently a modern name, dates at least as far back as 1780, when it was " Snug Burrow " in a sale advertisement.

Lhergey Crebedy, " Creased, or Wrinkled, Slope," is an old field-name on Ballaoates which has now degenerated into " Lippety-Crippety," and survives in the name of a road descending to the Union Mills.

Camlork, formerly Camlorge, is probably " Crooked Path " rather than " Crooked Shank," which could only have arisen from some fancied shape in the land. There is a popular rendering, " Crooked Staff," to explain which a story has been provided of the owner's appearance at. a law-court with a walking-stick of the Harry Lauder type.

Baldwin has a Manx form Boaldyn which comes a little nearer to the original as indicated by the names of the treens here, Baldall Brew, Baldall Cryste, and Baldall Reynylt, with the meaning of " farm of so-and-so's portion." The popular derivation from boayl dyn, "the place for us," fortified by a yarn about Danes looking down approvingly from the head of one of the valleys, was perhaps suggested to its ingenious inventor by the presence of a small croft near the top of East Baldwin called The Place.

Craig Vallavrew, " Ballabrew Rock," is the full name of "The Creg " (O.S. map) on the edge of Colden mountain, above Awhallan (Ardwhallian).

Keeill Abban, the remains of the old Tynwald Chapel in Baldwin, had at its East end a remarkable stone (possibly the altar-stone) which somebody removed from its place, with the usual penalty of dire misfortunes including mortality among his cattle, until the stone was rebuilt into the wall of the present church. This is a well-known story of which several variants have appeared, and I mention it only to illustrate the inconsistency of popular credence ; for another stone, said to have been a portion of a cross, which stood in the porch of the present Tynwald Chapel at St. John's, was many years ago secretly removed and buried at some unascertained spot, in the belief that its presence in the chapel was causing sickness among the cattle of the neighbourhood.

Carraghan (O.S. map) with the meaning of " Stones " or " Rocks," or an adjectival derivative from that noun, is a mountain famous in folk-lore chiefly for its presiding genius, the little red-cloaked Ben Veg Carraghan. To her already well-known legend it may be added that when travelling among the hills she was sometimes followed by a goose. Though most frequently seen flitting about Carraghan or seated in a sheltered nook of the mountain busy at her spinning-wheel, she did not restrict herself to this locality. On one occasion she was encountered by a great-grandfather of my informant when he was cutting turf on Snaefell. She honoured him by speaking, but he refused, it is said, to divulge her communication to anxious enquirers. So far as her attribute of a goose is evidence, this elusive frequenter of Carraghan, Beary, Snaefell, the Sulby highlands, and North Maughold (in all of which regions she has let herself be seen) is to be associated with the Teutonic Goddess Bertha or Berchta, for whom consult Grimm's Teutonic 1lythology and works of a similar character. By her other and better-known attribute of a wheel (now become a spinning-wheel, but that was not invented until the 15th or even the 16th century) the Shen Ven is comparable with the Norse Friggja and the German Frua. In folk tales they both foster spinning among the girls, if indeed a wheel may not be said to have been Frua's emblem. That the good Manx dame's wheel was originally something quite other than a spinning-wheel is suggested by the curious tradition in the North that her mode of travel was to curl herself up into it and roll down one hill and up the next. Western accounts of her, in the parish of Patrick, say that when on the move she sat on the "spool" or spindle of her wheel, a conception which reduces her to very tiny proportions ; but according to Grimm the Swedes gave the name of Friggerock, Frigga's Spindle, to the constellation of Orion's Belt-a more capacious saddle for a long journey. Though the Ben Veg has been provided with a human origin, I think we may rather credit her with having been at first a divinity, who-probably before she arrived in the Isle of Man declined into a mountain-roving giantess, and has since dwindled by degrees to her present and perhaps final invisibility.

The Fenoderree's Track descends from the Northern side of Slieu Charn Gerjoil into East Baldwin. The white stones which mark it were kindly placed there by him for the benefit of a Glen Roy woman who often had to make the journey across the mountains.

Struan Chalmane is the Manx name for the " Pigeon Stream " of the map, just South of Douglas Head.

Port ny Choan, "Port of the Narrow-place," is immediately North of the Little Ness. Variants given to the Ordnance Surveyor were Port a Cubbon, Purt y Chubbon, Port a' Chobhain.-(Name Books.) With these may be compared Creg y Cuvin and Creg Cubbon, both on the Rushen coast. Though coan is a dictionary word and common in Manx place-names, it is of some interest to find it approximating in these instances to the Irish cabhan of (County) Cavan, etc. As in the cognate Latin caves the radical idea is that of hollowness.


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2004