[From A Manx Scrapbook]
Maughold's pride is the immemorial church from which she takes her name, and it was religion which in time past made her famous. The port which served her holy city has lost its last inhabitant, and Cornaa has shut itself from the sea with stones. Was it the shifting of her centre from Kirk Maughold that threw her boundary so far Northward of its natural course, that she might embrace Ramsey and its river-mouth ? With Lonan, Maughold fronts the Easterly gales, but there is shelter in the folds of her land which Lonan rarely offers. Some of her lovely glens are exploited, but she has other adyta which those who find them will remember. Her mighty sweep downward from Barrule to the sea curls up again at one corner ; under the lip of the curl sleeps her church. The mind of her people is a dark and tenacious soil which has preserved ancient things ; skeletons of great elks and primitive canoes dug up in other parishes have their spiritual correspondences in Maughold.
Half a year spent on the edge of this coast remains a memory of black nights of storm and days of stormy twilight, though there must have been sunshine between the long Easterly gales, even in so wild a winter. Spring comes late everywhere in the Isle of Man, and East winds prevail often up to the beginning of June ; but Maughold is more exposed to them by natural configuration than any other parish.
Go-Bedn, the collective title of three or four fields at the North end of Bulgham Bay, is probably Ghaw Bane, "White Creek," from a spot on the shore below.
Ross y Reema is a small clump of firs above Maghey Traie, " Shore Field," close to the boundary between Lonan and Maughold, which is now an artificial one instead of being formed by the Dhoon stream. Long ago, it is said, there stood at Ross y Reema an old " mansion," which the lapse of time has invested with a supernatural atmosphere, and which is believed to have vanished in compliance with a magic spell, but the details have unfortunately vanished also.
Both elements of the name are uncommon thus in the Isle of Man, though the first is familiar in another form. I have a note of a place called Walt y Reema, but not of its locality in the Island. Moira O'Neill, in her Songs from the Glens of Antrim makes music with the name of a " fairy lough " called Loughareema. As Ross y Reema stands at the extremity of the ridge of Dreem y Yeeskaig it may represent Ross y Dhruiinnaey, " Wood of the Ridge."
Dreem y Jeeskaig (Ordnance map) is pronounced " Yeeskaig," with the last syllable stressed ; i.e., " Ridge of the Little Firwood," giusach-aig, of which Ross y Reema may be the remnant. Oswald, Vestigia, page 128, says : " In a debate in the House of Keys, in the year 188 . . . a member stated it to be the tradition, that the lord's deer were driven from the Slieu Roie, and hurled over the precipices at the Drimnos-Coscaigue into the sea, and in that manner got rid of." Oswald infers that the deer of the Island " were persecuted and discouraged by the resident natives," and that this was one of their methods of killing them; but the Slieu Ruy or Rea is a couple of miles inland, and it may doubted whether the Manxmen, however strongly they may have objected to the trespassing of the Stanley deer on their cultivated land, would have gone about their extermination in this manner. The driving of animals over cliffs, or, in the absence of cliffs, into prepared pits, was practised in and since the Neolithic Age, when food, not sport, was the hunters' object. There is a Manx allusion to this in the note under " Fingan " in Cregeen's Dictionary : " People went to the cliffs to catch venison or mutton for Christmas."
" Here," says the Rev. S. N. Harrison in the second volume of Yn Lioar Manninagh, "is a cave, with holes cut in either side for poles to be laid across to prevent deer or goats from being entrapped by the sea." There are certainly notches to be seen still in the entrance to this cave on the Dhoon shore, but they do not appear to be adaptable to the use stated. " Between Dhoon and Laxey," Harrison continues, "is a rock called " Carrick a Feeiah, upon which it is said the last deer leapt from its pursuers. . . . Feie or Feeiah seems to refer to any wild animal." No doubt it did, originally, as in Scotland, and like the English word " deer," as witness the expression " rats, mice, and such small deer " ; at any rate, the Celtic fiadh included all the game animals. Hence the name for a hare, gearr fhiadh, the short or small game, not " short deer." But in this district, whether or not through special association with deer, which seem to have impressed the local imagination rather strongly for some reason, feeah is thought of as having meant a very large creature, of no definite class and now extinct ; the deer has become semi-fabulous, in fact, through 'the veil of the couple of centuries which have elapsed since " the last deer " perished. References in records to the Lord's deer are fairly numerous ; in 1652, for example, " two men were prosecuted for killing a deer, and we learn that in 1653 ' the deare of this Island have been of late much neglected,' . . . and a new Forester was consequently appointed. "-(Moore, Notes and Documents, page 36.) Previous to 1577, it had been a Customary Law that " whosoever goeth to the Forrest either by Day or Night to kill my Lord his Game, he ought to pay viil. for every one of them, as well young as old, and for every tame Deere xl. and to be imprisoned at the Discretion of the Officers." In 1422, only 18 years after the accession of the Stanleys, the Deemsters informed Sir John Stanley that " if any Hawke or Hyron, Hart or Hind, be by any manner of Person taken within your Land of Man, he forfeiteth for every Time hil. to your Lopp." -(Statutes.)
Ross Vedn (Vane) is a clump of trees, largely firs, on the cliff-side South of the Dhoon. Translation by " White " or " conspicuous by lightness of colour " will not do here. Perhaps some of the uses of the corresponding Welsh word gwyn may provide an analogy; "sacred" may be too strong a term, but " venerated " or " respected," or even " significant " may represent the idea sometimes expressed by bane. It is also to be detected occasionally in breck, literally " spotted," " speckled." Ross Vedn is connected in a curious way with the legendary " Dhoon Church," q.v.
Glen Callan is a branch of the Dhoon Glen. Oliver, Monumenta, i., 109, annotating in 1860 the Lonan Abbey-lands Boundaries, calls it " Glion Coolieen " and identifies it with the Rynkurlyn of the Boundaries. He probably assumed a connexion between the name and that of the Ard Cuillean croft (now abandoned) above the head of Glen Callan. Moore, in his Place-names, following Oliver, has a Glen Cooilieen but no Glen Callan. The Ordnance map has nothing. If Cooilieen were correct, the meaning would be " Holly Glen " ; but the Lord's Composition Book, not later than 1703, names two intacks in the neighbourhood, Crott ne Callin and Crow Callin, and the glen-name is now distinctly " Callan " with no vestige of any other pronunciation. Three or four Irish rivers are named Callan, and one in Scotland; the meaning is " the Calling One," according to Dr. Watson. It is true that Slieve Cullion in Co. Clare has now become Slieve Callan ; but the evidence seems valid that Callan is the true form of the glen-name, and that it had nothing to do with the treen of Rencullyn, so spelt in 1510. Doubtless the last name is represented by the earlier Rynkurlyn in the Boundaries ; the possession of land here by Rushen Abbey would account for its containing only one quarterland paying rent to the Lord at the setting of 1510.
A cave in Glen Callan was formerly used as a smithy ; three or four years ago I found in its recesses a rust-eaten anvil and a bellows of an obsolete type. A forge in such an out-of-the-way corner, remote from a modern thoroughfare, brought to mind Ilmarinen, the archsmith of Finnish epic, who set up the first of all forges in a tiny dell.
The Nulligs is also a tributary of the Dhoon Glen stream. In slightly differing forms the name occurs in several other places ; " Christmas " does not seem adequate, and I can only suggest yn fhollaght, the hidden place, as an explanation.
Thalloo Vitchell farm-house, above Glen Callan, was one of the centres of customary hospitality to travellers to which I have alluded in Chapter iii. The house was occupied up to half a dozen years ago, and the portion allotted to guests could be inspected, along with other interesting architectural features.
" The Dhoon Church " is a name given popularly to a small, ruined building of no ecclesiastical appearance or history on the Follit y Vannin road near the Dhoon Glen. One night, about Christmas time, says the tale, a vessel was in danger of being wrecked on the Dhoon shore in a fog. The Captain heard the sound of the bell of the " Dhoon Church " and put about in the nick of time. According to another version, the people on board were rescued by Dhoon folks. In either case, two ladies, passengers, expressed their thankfulness by giving money to build the present, authentic, and quite modern Dhoon Church, two miles away, a Chapel of Ease to Kirk Maughold. " And so the Dhoon Church got its name," whatever that may imply. There is a reputed burialground, also, on the South side of the apocryphal church, "and if a man ploughed it up something dreadful would come upon this side of the Island." The " Vicarage " of this " Church " is said to have stood on the spot called Ross Vedn, a little farther South-see above.
The only verifiable basis for this popular romance is that, as reported by Thwaites, History, etc. of the Isle of Man, page 337, the actual Dhoon Church was built (in 1855) chiefly at the expense of three Yorkshire ladies as a memorial to a member of their family; it is evidently this fact which has been reflected and distorted. But if there ever was a cemetery in the place, there may quite possibly have been a cell attached to it; there may have been more, for it is situated on the former Abbey-lands of Maughold. A similar story of a vow attaches to the ruined church of St. Trinian's in Marown, where a shipwrecked Scotchman takes the place of the ladies. Can the Dhoon story have originated in some custom similar to that of the Breton saints, mostly Irishmen, who walked the coasts at night in bad weather ringing bells to warn the ships ? [see link to Second Scrapbook for correction]
Continuing up the seaboard Northward,
The Raa Mooar, " Big Flat," lies on the South side of the Barony Hill, below the cairns.
Ooig Vooar, " Big Cave," under the Barony Hill, has marks in it as though worked out partly with wedges and picks. Legend says a gull once flew or floated from here right under the Barony Hill to a hollow on the other or.land side, called
Laggagh Glass, " Green Slough," where a considerable volume of water flows out of the ground. Relating to this name, Ping e Lagh Glass, " Pennyland of the Green Marsh," and Boaley na Laggagh, " Cattle-fold of the Marshy-place," were intacks in the Howe (the Barony Hill) in and before 1703. The Barony Hill was haunted in dark and misty weather by the Ree Mooar ny Howe, the Great King of the Hill, a spirit of the mist who also showed himself from time to time on a neighbouring height above the Rhenny in Maughold, on Cronk Sumark in Lezayre, and in other places.
Gob ny Cally (O.S. map) is adjacent to the old landing-place for the Barony farms, and is therefore referable, probably, to the Gaelic calaidh, a landingplace. As calaidh is masculine, a change of gender or a perversion of the article must be presumed; if this is inadmissible, the Caillagh or Hag, an old woman of a supernatural character, appears in many Scottish and Irish place-names, and in Manx folk-lore. In either alternative, Callie Point near Port St. Mary, the Kallow Point of the maps, is evidently a semi-translation of the same name.
Dreem ny Druaig, " Ridge of the Hip-thorn," is the old name for the high ground ending in the Northern headland of Port Cornaa, which last has barred itself in from the sea with a miniature Chesil Bank and is no longer a port.
Croit ny Howe, " Croft of the Hill or Headland," is now a part of Ballafayle.
Gob ny Garvain. The local authorities cited in the Ordnance Survey Name Books played with the word " goat "-ghoayr-in their attempts to explain this name, which at least showed their consciousness of an "r- in it. The spelling implies the quality of roughness ; in Donegal garvan is a name given to pieces of rough land. Joyce (vol. iii.) translates Carrick a Garvan, Monaghan, as " Garvan's Rock," but Kilgarvan, Mayo, as " Church of the Rough-mannered People." The present pronunciation in the Manx instance is " Gowan," as though it were " Headland of the Smiths." Traditions heard by a friend in childhood-whether they were originally inspired by the latter form of the name I will not attempt to decide-connected the peninsular earthen fort or enclosure here with " an old gowan " who practised his smith-craft on the spot, and forged a remarkable sword for a king's use. These traditions, to which I hope to return in a future chapter, appear to have existed, with explicit reference to the Isle of Man, in Irish folk-lore, and are quoted in Moore's Folk-lore of the Isle of Man, page 9. He does not mention the source of his extract, but it is apparently taken, with a few omissions, either directly or through William Harrison, (who has a garbled version among his MS. remains), from the Proceedings and Transactions of the Kilkenny Archl. Soc., iii. (1855), page 153. It looks like the mnemonic outline of a bardic tale, and such tales were often founded on previously-existing folk-lore and myth. Whether " garvain " or " gowan " is the true form of the place-name, the story connected with it may be of genuine antiquity in Man. Personally, I should regard it as pure myth which, in its later form as folk-lore, might become attached to any salient feature of a coast-line. The shore where Conchobhar met Tiobhal is no mortal shore ; it existed only in the minds of the tellers of the story.
This little craggy peninsula-for its size one of the most remarkable points on the Manx coast-has evidently in past times stirred the imagination of the people living near it. A fisherman named K - whose cottage was at Port Mooar saw from his boat Gob ny Garvain " lifted up" one night, revealing a long cave which penetrated far inward, " with a lot of seaweed and greenish light in it."
Dyrnane (O.S. map) is an inlet in Port Mooar, where there are old disused iron workings. In 1700 2271 tons of iron ore were shipped from that port from the mine at " Daunane."-(Mooae, History of the Isle of Man, page 962.) With two such different spellings it is only possible to speculate upon the meaning of the word. Dhornane is the handle of a knife or tool; literally the " fist-part." Dirna was an old Irish term for a lump of metal , see, for instance, the Irish Nennius. Joyce explains the Irish village-name Doornane, Kilkenny, as bestowed upon its inhabitants for their dark, obstinate, dour nature ; this does not seem wholly satisfactory, but the word would well describe the rocky surface of the Manx locality.
References occur circa 1731 to another mine called " the Whinnery." Was this in the same neighbourhood as the Dyrnane ?
Traie ny Earkan (O.S. map), Port Mooar, should be Traie ny Eearaghyn, " Strand of the Kidney-fat " ; there is another place of the same name under the Barony Hill. In both is to be seen a thick band of quartz like a layer of fat.-(Rev. S. N. Harrison in Lioar Mann., ii.)
Port Mooar, " Big Harbour," is described as " a little fishing community," in Cowper's Sailing Tours, 1895, but it has been quite deserted for many years. Hither Saint Maughold is supposed to have drifted, manacled, in a small boat from Co. Down, and Port Mooar no doubt served as harbour to the community he founded on the headland above.
At Port Mooar is Port y Bloggan, "Harbour of the Blockan-fish." From here the coast rises abruptly to the magnificence of Maughold Head. There is a tradition, a friend tells me, that St. Maughold could be seen standing on the summit of his headland on Laa Vreeshey, St. Bride's Day, 1st February, holding his pastoral staff vertically with outstretched right arm and turning slowly round. According to the direction in which it pointed when he ceased to turn would the coming year be propitious or the contrary for the farmers. Southward was deemed the luckiest " art," and Northward the most unfavourable. St. Bride's Day, it may be remarked, was the beginning of the Spring, according to the Manx calendar. The omen reminds me, perhaps irrationally, of the Caillagh ny Fai'ag, who was seen carrying sticks in her mouth as she flew over the land on the same day of the year in the same spirit of prophecy. Could the Maughold portent have been a Christian attempt at substitution ?
Croit ny Bushell is " South of Maughold Head. It is a strange coincidence that the view from this place might be described in the words used by those who have depicted the scene from near the Hermit of the Calf's house, and that there are mines near by."(Rev. S. N. Harrison.) The hermit referred to is, of course, Thomas Bushell ; see Chibber Wushell, page 78.
Gob ny Rona, " Point of the Seals," was formerly the name of the Tableland Point of the Ordnance map. Notwithstanding the improvement of the scenery by villas and the water by sewage the seals no longer visit the locality. One I noticed there in 1913 may have been the last.
Creg Oge is the name given to a granite shore-boulder North of Port Lewaigue. Apparently the sense is " Little Rock," but there is an opening near which suggests that it might have been originally C7eg ny Ooig, " Rock of the Cave." Close by is
The Grange, a small bay with a steep, shingly slope from step-like rocks, South of Ballure.
Ballure Glen. A tradition, unpublished and plainly independent of Esther Nelson's ballad (see her Island Minstrelsy, 1839), relates that the " Carrasdhoo Men " had their headquarters near the foot of Ballure Glen. From here they carried on the trade of wrecking (though tradition expresses it more euphemistically), luring ships on Maughold Head and other parts of Ramsey Bay. They had a hiding-place to fall back on farther up the glen, where they secreted their spoils. My informant (of middle age and of Northside extraction), who was told the story by her grandfather when she was a child, remembers particularly the phrase, " there was always plenty to eat and drink going afterwards "-after a. wreck, no doubt--and was often warned, when naughty, " I'll give you to the Carrasdhoo Men."
I have also heard of this mysterious gang of malefactors as having lived among the lower hills of Lezayre, "somewhere up Narradale way," but no details could be adduced or a more definite source given than casual hearsay. But I think there are sufficient grounds for believing that the Carrasdhoo Men had a real existence, and that their legend retained vitality and common currency in Esther Nelson's time. By the tone of her poem I should judge that its material, like that of my first-quoted informant, impressed her mind during childhood, and so developed an atmosphere of exaggerated terror and mystery, perhaps with the assistance later of the works of Mrs. Radcliffe and her followers. That she places it " down in a lonely and gloomy glen " in Jurby Curragh, where no glens are (as she, reared within three or four miles of it, must have known), may only mean that she had good reason for concealing the true locality. William Harrison, in his prefatory remarks to his reprint of her poem in the Mona Miscellany, part i., page 213, identifies the scene as the cross-roads between Ballamooar and the Craig, where the land is as flat as a billiard-table, though it is quite possible that the drinking-hovel there in which he locates the gang had formerly enjoyed a bad reputation.
The evil-doers of Miss Nelson's ballad, moreover, had no concern with wrecking or the sea ; they seem rather to have been of the Sweeney Todd order of villains. In this (supposing the Ballure version to be nearer the facts) she was true to her milieu. For on the subject of wrecking Manx oral tradition preserves a judicious silence, and the literature of the Island is not more communicative, unless allusions to it have escaped me. But Mr. A. G. Bradley's Recollections of Our Centenarian Grandfather has the following footnote to page 225 : " Even wrecking had not died out, with the occasional lighting of fires to lure ships to their destruction. My grandfather [Archdeacon Philpott] would sometimes ride out on stormy nights on this account, and kick out any fires which had a sinister object." This was between 1827 and 1838.
Returning to the South end of the parish and again travelling Northward, the following inland places are of interest either for their names or folk-lore-sometimes for both.
Inneen Mom is a name for the main waterfall in the Dhoon Glen, explained by a story of a girl having been drowned in the pool below it and her ghost having haunted it ever after. This does not precisely account for the fall being called " Big Girl," unless it was believed that her spirit clothed itself in its water in place of her mortal envelope. Otherwise the appearance of the fall may have suggested its personification as a tall lady dressed in white. A similar difficulty occurs with many names of places relating to water, and the word " girl" is often accounted for by a tale of drowning, not only in the Isle of Man. There is also an extremely tenuous rumour of some kind of a sea-woman who frequented the glen in far-off times, but I have not heard that she was associated with the fall. And if the word in question is really inneen we should expect vooar or wooar to follow it, not mooar ; this would apply equally to the likeliest alternative, ennyn, cliff, also feminine.
Glion ny Lomarcan, " Glen of the Lonely "-lhummag, snail, offers a less romantic explanation which I do not insist upon-is formed by a branch of the Dhoon river, just South of the Rhenny. A dark, magnified figure of a man, seen along the mountain-side above here when the mist was thick, like the Ree Mooar of the Barony Hill near-by, used to inspire dread in the people of an earlier generation. With him may perhaps be linked the tradition that the last time Manannan Beg was seen in the Island was when he came down this little valley and rolled over the hill above the Dhoon Glen, in the shape of a fiery wheel, into the sea. This rolling seaward from a headlandbut in the form of a Three Legs-is related also of Jurby Head, and of either Spanish Head or the Burroo Ned, which are not far apart. The "fiery wheel" has been seen at many places, among them Ballaquine, Lonan, and on the Bayr yn Clagh Glass, Rushen. In Denmark it comes out of a solitary thorn-tree at night, and kills the wayfarer if he cannot get away. One Danish story tells how two Nisses-brownies, fenoderrees-took the shape of fiery wheels and fought together on behalf of their respective patrons.
Broogh ny Soo, " Bank of the Berry," is the upper part of the Dhoon Glen where the highway and the electric railway cross it.
Glen Shone, " Rush Glen," pronounced also " Sheayn " and " Shiudn "-Glen Shorne in the Highway Accounts, 1869-is the part of Glen Mona which lies above the Ramsey road, but it is said to have been applied formerly to the entire glen.
Ballakilley-icnia is the name given to the small glen rising from the old high road just North of Ballig. The ford and wood which it contains might serve to explain the first part of the word, but it is more likely to be a name which has been mangled out of recognition. The division here made in it is merely to give a clearer idea of the sound.
Lhing y Glashtyn, " Pool of the Glashtyn," in Glen Mona, is, in a few memories, consecrated to the glashtyn or water-horse which used to come out of it and infest the adjoining meadows.
Thalloo Queen farm, " Quine's Land," was up to the 15th century divided into " particles," or land granted by the Crown to scholastic instructors whose precise duties are now a matter of speculation. Among its present field-names, as taken down from the owner's dictation, are
Thalloo-hoon-" Deep, narrow land." Curleod's Ow-" Corlett's Hill." Boolavaney-" Light-coloured Folds." Boolaashen-" Gorsy Fold."
Magher Skeg-" Hawthorn Field." Lag Willey-" Tree Hollow."
Nullagh Glass, also on Thalloo Queen, is the point where a tributary of the Rhenab stream is bridged by the road. Below this, and round the bend of the road, is
Alhargagh, "Ford of the Hill-slope," or Alhagagh, "Ford of the Marsh," now crossed by a wooden footbridge to the house called
The Lhargan, built, according to a recently-exposed inscription on the wall, by John Kermeen, of Balleigh, in 1794. In the Isle of Man Charities, 1831, it appears as " the Lhiaggyn School," erected with a sum of £40 which was bequeathed in the will of John Kermeen, dated 1793. The land on which it was built cost £15, and a further £19 was raised by subscription for the support of the school. In 1830 from twenty to thirty scholars attended it, according to the time of year no doubt; by 1863 (Thwaites) the number had increased to forty. Now it is in private occupation.
In this vicinity, according to the Rev. S. N. Harrison's article in Lioar Manninagh, vol. ii., is
Thalloo a Peishtag, " a sunny slope on Rhenab, by the stream coming down from above." (Peishtag or beishtag might apply to any small creature of an unpleasant kind ; here probably to flies or crawling insects.) Also
Towl Inneen a Ruyaghey, " Cave of the daughter of the red man," but " probably the word should be eaynin, steep rock, as nearly opposite the cave across the stream a perpendicular side of rock is covered with red-brown lichen. In the stream below the water falls over the edge of a peculiar-shaped rock, and a voice-like sound is emitted every few minutes by air escaping from under the falling stream." (The sound has not been audible when I have visited the spot, doubtless because of changes having occurred in the river-bed. The name might be translated
" Cave of the Cliff of the Reddening." Here again we find innee-n or eaynin-ennyn-in proximity to a waterfall, as in the Dhoon Glen.)
Thalloo Eddyr y Ghowl, also in Rhenab ; " Land within the Fork " of the river. Manx toponomy knows neither aber nor inver, nor, I think, cummer, but has only ghowl to express the idea of a confluence, and ghowl is rare. The usual substitute for an exact term is cosh-i.e. cas, foot, which is found both on the coast and inland.
Lag Booilley Morag is an enclosed patch of shrubby waste beside the road between Rhenab and Cornaa Mill. Morag is, perhaps, the feminine personal name still used in the Highlands-" Hollow of Morag's Cattle-fold." Some of the many booilleys occurring in place-names are due to the old custom, referred to in Moore's History of the Isle of Man, page 52, of folding cattle in order to manure a particular piece of ground. The same remark applies to cro and its plural croyn, sheep-pens.
Leaving now the lowlands for NORTH BARRULE, from which all Maughold sweeps down like the breast of a wave, the following unmapped place-names belong to the Maughold side of the hill and to the glens which open from it. North Barrule, unlike its Southern namesake, has no traces of human life, besides the usual cairn, at its summit, and no tracks lead to the top or enmesh it, as in the case of the Southern height. The tide of cultivation has risen higher on the Maughold side, and it is here that most of its fragmentary folklore is found. But it is, from many view-points, the shapeliest of any of the Island's hills ; to an observer entering Ramsey Bay it gives an impression of something alive. As the steamer rounds Maughold Head the broad wedge of the mountain is seen to be reshaping itself and towering into a narrow green pyramid, drawing at the same time the lower landscape up to its flanks.
Once or twice a year its summit was ceremoniously visited, in the days when witch-fires were lighted on every hill at the beginning of May and of November. On Barrule, I have heard, the celebrants danced at night with torches of straw around the great fire, and after they had gone away there was always a guardian left by its embers to make sure that no unauthorized person or persons came to make use of them, and perhaps neutralize the benefits expected to result from the previous ceremonies. Who it was that might have come is unknown ; but on Knock Ainy in Co. Limerick, if after the Samhain fires had died down the people still lingered about their glowing ashes, it was Ainë, the fairy queen of the South, who insinuated herself among the shadows, and, after thanking the watchers, made it known that she and hers now required the use of her hill-top.
Gob ny Scuit, " Point of the Jet or Spout," usually pronounced " Skeet," and occasionally " Skiowt " by the elder generation, is a small issue of water in a gully on the Eastern side of the mountain. It was formerly the haunt of a spectre like a man with the head of a cat having great fiery eyes ; this was called the Buggane of Gob ny Scuit, and said, as is often said of such apparitions, to be the ghost of a murderer. With long-drawn howls it terrified the district on winter nights, until it was well and truly laid by the bold Jem-beg Kermeen of Ballure, as related by Kennish. The spot was also visited at times by Berrey Dhone from Cornaa in her bovine shape.
The Singing Stones are a confused collection of boulders lying a little below the summit of Barrule, to the Southward. When the wind was in a certain quarter and of a certain force they used to emit a strange sound, which was understood to be a sign of the passing of Manannan.
Creggyn Vallure, " Ballure Rocks," are the crags at the Northern extremity of Barrule, above the head of Ballure Glen.
Cornaa Valley (now often miscalled " the North Laxey Valley ") runs, in its upper part, below the ridge which extends Southward from Barrule to Clagh Ouyre. Its name, which occurs as Kurnadal in a runic inscription on a cross-engraved piece of slate found near the head of the valley, must be one of the earliest recorded of Manx place-names; but if this is to be understood as " Corn-river Dale " it was more applicable to the lower and fertile portion.
Clagh Ard, " High Stone," is the hill at the head of the valley, above the abandoned mine-workings. Glen Cherry, " Sheep Glen "-keeyrey-enters the valley on the South a little farther down, adjacent to the mine-workings.
Cronk Eairy, " Shealing Hill," is on the North side of the valley, opposite the foundations of Keeill Moirrey, St. Mary's Chapel. The latter spot is the subject of William Kennish's Manx version of the " Elegy in a Country Churchyard."
Glion Barrule, " Barrule Glen," runs from Pairk Llewelyn down to the Cornaa river. Roughly parallel with it and farther down the valley is
Glion y Spreeagh, " Glen of the Spirting, or Spray " -compare Spreigh Vedn, in Glen Roy, Lonan. Here dwelt an Amazonian female celebrated in local song, who has been associated and confused with the witch Berrey Dhone, namely Margad y Staminey or Stomachey, who seems to have preyed upon the cattle of the district, themselves in a semi-wild condition.
The Braaids of Cornaa -the Gullies, literally " Throats "-is a general term for the foregoing glens and the intervening gills which are nameless. They figure in the song and legend of Berrey Dhone. In their midst, and likewise mentioned in the song, are the Drynan Glass, " Green Thorntrees," a part of the hill-side where a number of these redoubtable growths were congregated ; also the Immer Glass, " Green Strip," which I have not identified, but it may be the same as the foregoing, since they alternate in different versions of the song.
Lhing Berrey Dhone, " Berrey Dhone's Pool," is in the Cornaa river, still above the Corrany Bridge. From a friend who has rescued the last remaining fragments of Berrey's saga I learn that the girls from a certain farm not far away (and doubtless many other anxious inquirers) invoked Berrey Dhone's aid to find out whether they would marry within the year, by going on the night of the first moon of the harvest (query, first night of the harvest moon?) to Lhing Beyrey Dhone and repeating the following charm :
" Berrey, Berrey, give to me
My true lover's form to see ;
If he walks from East to West
I 'll wed within the year at best;
But if he walks from West to East
I 'll be a maid a year at least."
How this, if it is an old Manx charm, comes to appear in English, and such neat English, I cannot explain. Possibly the local bard, William Kennish, had something to do with its transformation. On visiting the spot in the company of the recorder of the rhyme, I noted some particulars. To reach the pool the girls had to walk barefoot over a row of small oblong stones about two feet long, placed side by side transversely across a narrow trench; the trench is apparently intended to drain, in wet seasons, a boggy spot a few feet away into the river. These stones, which formed an essential part of the invocational proceedings, are still in position. To the left of their lower end nearest the stream and about five feet away from them, is a small boulder, but I did not hear that it was an agent in the charm. There is now a stone hedge, five feet high and not at all recent, between these stones and the river. The pool itself is surrounded with high bushes and some mountain-ash trees, and has been roughly dammed at its lower end with two parallel lines of small stones, doubtless to deepen it for the use of cattle. With regard to the points of the compass which were of such vital importance to the young ladies' prospects, the course of the river here is approximately Eastward, so that the expected vision must have moved with or against the current. In this case, if he walked against it the result was fortunate; but in taking water from a river for a superstitious purpose it should be scooped into the vessel or the hand in the direction of the flow. It is better to take it in this manner even if you merely want to drink it.
As Berrey Dhone has no place either in Moore's Folk-lore or in his Manx Worthies, it may be explained that she was the Queen of the Maughold Witches, an influential body in the parish, at some uncertain date in the past. She is the subject of an old song with Manx words sung to a tune which calls up a vision of Vikings carousing in camp and hall, or, if preferred, of the crouching and springing witches in Macbeth around the leaping and falling flames of their cauldron. There are variants from the words which are printed in Moore's Manx Ballads. Berrey appears to have been the Principal of a College of Witches. Two of her most trusted pupils she trained to perform the feat of levering up North Barrule mountain from its base so that she and the rest of her coven could enter. This operation could be carried out at one spot only, but its locality has, unhappily, been forgotten. Here we see her trespassing upon the peculiar domain of the fairy race, the world under-ground ; witchcraft and fairydom are not always kept distinct. Though her legend has survived in Maughold alone, a trace of it occurs in a piece of Lonan lore relating to the Granane, q.v. I have heard of her being claimed as a native of the Foxdale district, but possibly this was due to confusion between Kennaa in Patrick and Cornaa in Maughold. At the height of her fame she was doubtless well-known all over the Island ; in 1700 the churchwardens of Kirk Marown presented Ann Gelling to the Ecclesiastical Court for the crime of cursing the minister, whom in the course of her apostrophe she stigmatized as " the kindred of thieves and the seed of Bery Doane." She also, by the way, used the consecrated Irish formula " that a bare besom might sweep the hearth or fireside of him." For all this and more she only got two days without the option of a fine.
The employment of Berrey Dhone's name in the foregoing rite of divination strongly suggests that she was something more than a witch, not in fact human at all, but originally a pagan deity. She may have been the Caillagh Bhera who, as the most famous witch in Irish folk-lore, was associated with an equally famous bull. Berrey herself sometimes assumed the shape of an ox, also that of a bullock, and has thereby been confused with the cattle-stealing legend of a more human personage, Margad y Staminey. The words given in Manx Ballads, page 72, for the air of " Berrey Dhone," are evidently a conflation of at least two separate songs.
Continuing down the Cornaa Valley the Corrany is passed, whose bridge was built, Kennish tells us, in the year of his birth (1799). A long time ago, the little settlement possessed an inn called Brumish Veg, " a well-known public-house, situate on the banks of the river Corna, in Kirk Maughold."
" A noted one among the rest,
The far-famed Byumish Veg,
Well-stocked with home-brewed beverage
Fresh-frothing from the keg ;
And blithely on that jovial night
Each toast and jest went round,
And with their rustic merriment
Did Byumish Veg resound."
Kennish had a right to celebrate the inn, for he lived within a stone's -throw of it, and must have shared in many a jolly gathering under its low roof after his day's work in the fields, meeting his fellow farm-workers and the men who had been fishing off the coast North and South of Port Cornaa. Now the house has gone and is nearly forgotten, but Kennish's cottage still stands, half-smothered in the trammons which he speaks of in his verses. Many of his poems must have perished ; by his own statement he composed much in Manx, and his best piece, Dobberan ny Chengey Mayrey, the Lament of the Mother Tongue, is fittingly written in the vernacular; but it is the only Manx poem in print to which his name is attached. More than one may be suspected to exist anonymously among the Manx Ballads, notably Eisht as Nish with its references to trees, and Ec ny Fiddleryn ; and possibly a few survive in the memories of old people, as some of Tom the Dipper's rougher work does in the South. A largely increased edition of his poems was once in contemplation (see Manx Worthies, page 121, note) so presumably material exists in manuscript.
Ronaa-accent on ultimate-is the name given to land-about four fields in all-extending along the North side of the river from the Corrany Bridge towards the sea. The top field deserves special mention as an ancient haunt of the Tarroo-ushtey, the bull who comes out of rivers and marshes in quest of adventure. It is still known as " the Tarroo-ushtey field." About this tract of land and on the bridge itself a headless monk used to be seen. In the South of the Island I have heard that " they used to cut off the monks' heads when they were dead, before they buried them," but no reason for this procedure could be given. If it was done to prevent their ghosts from walking, it evidently failed in this case. The valley from here to the sea at Port Cornaa has acquired the name of " Ballaglass Glen." In its bough-vaulted and boulder-piled channel is
Lhing ny Mullen Beg, " Pool of the Little Mill." The name commemorates a primitive mill and millrace with a horizontal wheel not more than four feet in diameter. Traces of the structure still exist. See Transactions of the Nat. Hist. and Antign. Soc., n.s., 53.
Cashtal Chowey is the name given in an A.B.C. Guidebook of 1887 to a stone arch near Ballaglass waterfall, "supposed to date to the 10th century." This is perhaps identical with the Mullen Beg remains, unless it is a blunder for Cashlal Choyry, as " King Orry's Castle " used often to be written.
Bwoaillee Croddie, and Bwoaillee Mona Hummer, are two field-names recorded by the Rev. S. N. Harrison as being in this neighbourhood. The former means " Hummocks fold " ; the sense of the latter appears to be ," Fold adjoining the Compactly - shaped Turbary " - Gaelic monadh chumir. Magher y Fuill, " Ploughland of the Pool "---.Phooyl, is, according to the same writer, a field in Crowcreen. " Ballaglass Glen." From the high ridge of the glen-side near Ballaskeg, going seaward from Cornaa Mill, hangs a small and harmless-looking wood. I have never been able to learn the name of it, but it must have had one once, if only because of its uncomfortable reputation as the place where an enormous spectral beast with wide-branching horns occasionally made itself visible to members of the departed generations. The circumstances are enveloped in thicker shadow than the boughs of the little wood could cast of their own substance on the darkest of nights, and no archaeological discoveries, such as sometimes help to explain the presence of other-world creatures, have yet been made here. In feeling one's way over the submerged continent which is the underside of the human mind, the soundings always tend to deepen in the remoter and hillier regions of a country; but there is a sudden drop of the lead in the Ballaglass district which fails to find bottom at all. If a name, and a recognition of a pictorial reconstruction, are valid testimony, there can be no doubt that what was seen was nothing less than the ghost of the Great Elk itself. Its traditional aspect has been recognized, (I am told by one who has made the experiment), at a first view of a drawing of the erected skeleton ; the identification seems to have been prompted 'chiefly by the appearance of the antlers. The name given to the apparition, the Londhoo, has both in the Manx language and in Scottish Ossianic legend the double significance of " black elk " and " blackbird "-literally " black thrush." In Highland stories of the Agallamh na Senoyach type, Ossian, the last survivor of the Fianna, offers to help Patrick to build a church ; but first, to regain something of his pristine vigour, he must put himself on a more nourishing diet. With his young grandson he goes to a high, steep rock on a lake-island, and out of a hole in the rock he draws a bone of the Londubh. By whistling through this in a tone which threatens to deafen the boy, he calls together a sufficient number of wild animals to satisfy his appetite and restore his faculties. The size of the bone was such that through its marrow-hole the corresponding bone of an unusually large deer of the ordinary kind could easily be passed. Patrick refused to believe this story until the boy brought him the rest of the black elk's bones. It is added that the breed of deer in question had a brown stripe along its back, and was called Siolachadh Bo Da Bhiorin. The translator renders this " the Race of the Two Stick Kine," but it might perhaps bear a different interpretation. The complete narrative is to be found at page 82 of The Fians, J. G. Campbell. The species is distinguished by Highlanders from a smaller animal, the Lon Luaith, the Swift Elk. Possibly this is the same as the Lon Liath, the Grey Elk, an elusive animal which the Fians hunted for 27 years, as related in Silva Gadelica, vol. ii.
In the tale recorded by Campbell, except for the mention of the elk's colour it is a question of the bones only, which the discovery of skeletons from time to time might have provided as the motive for a story. But there are other passages in the body of legend relating to the Fians in which the object of the chase is the living Londubh. Chapter xxxi. in volume ii. of Tales of the West Highlands contains variants of the incident I have just summarized, and in these Ossian slays the monster and makes a meal of him. In one account he and the boy go to a wooded hill, where Ossian plucks up a tuft of rushes and produces a hunting-dog and weapons of the chase. At his first blast on a whistle which he takes from his pocket they see deer as big as peat-stacks ; at his second, as big as houses ; at his third, as big as hills. But the hound is able to catch one of the biggest, which they roast; and Ossian chides the lad for stealing a lick of the marrow, by means of which the old hero was hoping to regain his powers. Alternatively, he gets rid of him by an ogreish innuendo concerning his own appetite. We might suppose that it should have transgressed Ossian's moral principles to taste even the marrow, for he was related to the deer family on his mother's side, but the law in such matters bristles with anomalies ; though the Elk clan among the Omaha Indians may not eat elk, the Deer-Head clan may eat deer, Frazer tells us in his Totemism, page ii. This anecdote, by the way, seems to be derived from some myth known to the common progenitors of both Gael and Cymry, for it is recognizable, in a shape which precludes the likelihood of its having been borrowed by one people from the other, in the Arthurian romance of " The Lady of the Fountain.' Here Ossian's rõle is played by a black giant or ogre with one leg and an eye in the middle of his forehead, and carrying an iron club. Like Ossian, this quasi-Fomorian personage is intimately associated with the animal world, but he summons its members together by means of a living stag instead of the bone of a dead one. He deals the stag a thwack with his club, and the creature's remonstrative bray brings together all kinds of wild beasts, including even serpents and dragons (or vipëres in Loth's translation). They make obeisance to him; he looks them over and orders them to feed.
In most of the Gaelic tales the gradual obsolescence of the term Londubh for the Irish Elk is illustrated by the narrators' tendency to translate it as " blackbird," with confusing results. Nowhere is the Great Elk treated as a fear-inspiring apparition of an unearthly nature, though there is an evident sense of its antiquity and consequent magical virtue. But in a quite independent story (T.W.H., ii., 205), something is seen by a cowherd in Skye which evokes the atmosphere of the Manx visions. While he is alone in a mountain bothy on a winter night, the but is shaken by three blows of terrible and increasing violence. At the third blow the door is driven in, and an unnamed beast enters and goes up to the fire. By the light of the heather as it flames up he sees that the intruder is covered with long hair, that its horns reach up to the roof, and that it is chewing the cud. After he has fled terror-stricken and got help to track and shoot it, it turns into a buck goat.
In the legendary lore of Norway we find a simulacrum of the giant elk figuring as the chief instrument in a very neat job of magic on somebody's part. It appears on a hill-top as usual, and is not merely pre-Christian but of a definite anti-Christian, or at the least anticlerical, tendency. " One summer, a long time ago, the Bishop of Drontheim sent his cattle to the mountains to graze. They were the finest cattle in all Norway ; and the Bishop, when he sent them away, strictly enjoined those who were to watch them, not, on any account, to suffer them for one moment to be out of sight, as the mountains thereabouts swarmed with subterranean people, who, however, had no power over any animal as long as it was under a human eye. The cattle were then sent up to the mountains. One day, while the animals were grazing, and the keepers sitting in various places with their eyes directed towards them, there appeared suddenly on the highest part of the mountain an elk of an extraordinary size. At this apparition, the eyes of the three keepers were drawn off from the cattle, and for an instant fixed on the elk ; but when they again looked down into the valley, they saw their beautiful large cattle transformed into a set of diminutive mice, running along the mountain's side, and before the keepers could approach them they all vanished through a crevice in the earth. Thus did the Bishop of Drontheim get rid of his three hundred head of cattle."- (Thorpe, Northern Mythology, ii., io.)
This almost intangible scrap of Manx folk-lore, then, does not stand alone, and that it was once of a more substantial and widely-spread character in the British Isles I have little doubt. While in this sophisticated age it would be rash to guarantee the authenticity of everything which passes for folk-lore, it does seem as though a whiff from a buried world had escaped into the sunshine at this particular spot in the parish of Maughold ; but it is the atmosphere in which the subject is enwrapped which gives me that impression, and not its details, which I fear will never be recovered. A vision of this kind is seldom an entirely baseless fabric, and the foundations of the present remnant can be exposed without much labour. One of them is the pre-historic animal which stood six or seven feet high at the shoulder and whose antlers measured from eleven to thirteen feet from tip to tip ; Professor R. A. S. Macalister has stated recently " often as much as iq feet." It lived at the same time as British and Irish stone-using cave-dwellers and bronze-using lake-dwellers ; they hunted it, presumably ate its flesh, and certainly split its bones to extract the marrow, as the fragments prove. Even if not previously a totem, after it became extinct it began a second life in the traditions and imagination of the Bronze -Age men, as may be inferred from the presence of a tooth in an Irish Cist. Wood-Martin, discussing the discoveries of its skeleton in his Elder Faiths of Ireland, says "the fact that the huge creature was formerly a member of the fauna of this small island, and the most patriotic Manxman will hardly deny that it is small, is very interesting, for large animals need a wide expanse of country to roam over. We can only conclude that, at the period the deer existed, the Isle of Man formed part of the continent of Europe, was connected with both Great Britain and Ireland, and that the Channel and the Irish Sea were either partly or wholly dry land ; but on the other hand, if this be so, how are we to account for the absence in Ireland of the larger carnivora ? " A sufficiently patriotic Irishman might attribute it to the agency of St. Patrick, perhaps ; but this would not answer the question, how did the Manxmen come by their spectral Londhoo ? A naturalist has said that the Irish Elk (which was not an elk but an early member of the fallow-deer species) perished from the earth through excess of intelligence. Even if this fate, since unparalleled in the Isle of Man, did not overtake it there at a time too remote for any tradition to have persisted into the present, such persistence would have required an unbroken continuity of population which cannot be affirmed. The Manx fragment of the tradition therefore probably reached the Island from Scotland or Ireland in the historic period, carrying with it the common term " Londhoo." It does not appear necessary to assume a folk-memory handed down from the Neolithic Age in any part of Northern Europe where the Great Elk had its habitat. A legend of such a beast might take birth wherever its skeletons were dug up or found uncovered after terrestrial cataclasms ; the zoological affinities of the bones would be recognized by their similarity to those of existing deer, and would furnish material for a mentally reconstructed image of the animal. The imposing aspect of the antlers alone would substantiate the local forms of a myth or cult held by the old Celtic-speaking races, that of a horned divinity.
Of this conception the typical representative, the Gaulish God Cernunnos, was a gigantic cross-legged figure wearing the horns of a stag ; " le premier përe, le dieu fondamental de la nuit et de la mort," d'Arbois calls him, and identifies him with the well -known altar-figure of Tarvos Trigaranus, the Bull with the Three Cranes, and with the bull-headed Fomorian who was father of Balar, Tethra and Bres in Irish myth.-(Litt. Celtique, ii., ch. xvi., sec. 6.) The various representations of the horned deity show him threeheaded or three-faced, like the three-legged Mercurius Triceps and the Manx giant f iarg ; he is accompanied by ram-headed serpents, by the naked figure of a minor deity leaning on a club together with a robed goddess, and by an ox and a stag who look up towards him, apparently in expectation of the food he is scattering from a bag. He had usually a human figure, like Herne the Hunter with his huge ragged horns who haunted Windsor Forest.*
* Herne was reported in the neighbourhood of Windsor in October, 1926, according to the President of the Folk-lore Society (Folk-lore, March, 1927.)
On a silver bowl found in Northern Denmark, perhaps looted from Celts, he squats stag-antlered and grasping a horned serpent ; a stag and a smaller animal attend him. Rbys, Celtic Heathendom, Lecture i, says of Cernunnos : " It seems probable that both the squatting posture and the horns had a mythological significance reaching back beyond the history of the Celts as a distinct branch of the Aryan family, though we may never be able to find out its precise meaning. . . . All the facts at our disposal tend to show that the chthonian deity of Celts and Teutons was held to have the form of a horned beast, such as a stag, bull, goat or ram . . . a horned god of the nether world . . . not only as the first offspring of time, but also as the first in point of order in space-that is, as the foundation and upholder of the mass of the universe. In that capacity he may have been originally pictured as a huge elk of a gigantic urus sitting quietly under the weight of the world, save when he shook himself and produced earthquakes." The horns, he suggests, may typify, among other things, the mountain-tops; and the same word, benn, is in fact used for both in the Gaelic tongues. Cernunnos was sometimes represented as a head only, on the strength of which Rhys compares him in three of his works with Bran the son of Llyr, who in the Mabinogi of " Branwen," after wading like a moving mountain from the Rock of Harlech to Ireland, finishes as a prophetic Head without a body. In literature, it may be added, there seems to be a visible conjunction of the two ideas, that of a great horned beast and a divine ruler; a Triad in the Red Book of Hergest names the three elf - deer or demon - stags (chayw ellyll), of the Isle of Britain, one of which was the spirit or phantom of Llyr Marini. The other two may have been king-divinities also, but their names are strange to me. It should be said that in quoting this Triad in his edition of the Mabinogion (ii., 265) Loth prefers to read thayw, bull, instead of charw, stag, with a figurative meaning of " terrible, impetuous." It happens, curiously enough, that this is also a figurative meaning of Ion.
Footprints of the Londhoo are not lacking from Irish folk-lore, though I know of nothing therein so explicit as the Highland sgeulaichtain already cited. But the car of the Northern giantess Garvogue was drawn by twelve elks of a size proportionate to hers. The " Tale of King Mananaun " as related by an Achil man in Larminie's West Irish Folk-tales ends with a run of nonsensical words followed by " till I killed Londu . . . till I got the load of thirty horses of marrow out of the body of the King of the Wrens." Londu in the story is a king's son who is committed to the care of Mananaun to be educated. The colossal size attributed to the King of the Wrens will remind Manx readers of a similar turn of humour in the words of their Wren-boys' Song, where a cart and horses are needed to carry the wren's body away, a brewery -pan to boil it in, a rope and iron bars to manipulate it, etc. In the Achil story the association of ideas seems to be that of wren with londubh in its ordinary sense of blackbird. But it should be noted that in The Lays of Finn (Irish Texts Society)
line 19 on page 20 brings together " stag," Ion, and " wren."
The word Ion (probably derivable from more than one root) has various applications in Celtic folk-lore besides those assigned to it in the dictionaries and glossaries. A Lon Chraois (craos, mouth) is a Highland water-demon with seven mouths which sucks the blood of the drowning. In Tales of the West Highlands the same expression is rendered " toad." It is also a creature which is liable to be accidentally swallowed, in drinking or otherwise, by the unwary, like the Manx " man-creeper." "The Lon " is a name, I have been told in the Isle of Man, for a certain death - sign which manifests itself in the throats of the sick who are about to depart this life ; not the " thrush " (a word related to the Norse trausk, a frog) or the " death-rattle," but something which is perceptible only to those who are gifted with a power of reading the secret writing in the world about them which borders upon the visionary understanding called Second Sight. This association of the ideas of the mouth, the throat, and choking, with the word Ion, is woven into an Irish version of Ossian's hunting of the Londubh, told by a Tipperary farmer at the scene of the affair and retold in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, June 1904, page 109. In it is reflected the confusion between elk and blackbird found in some of the Scottish versions. " In Ossian's days, a great bird, so large that its shadow covered acres, was engaged in devastating the country round, during which time his dog Bran had a terrible fight with it, which ended in his defeat. Some time after [the blind] Ossian asked the hound one day if he saw or heard anything, and on the third inquiry Bran declared that he saw something which caused so much darkness that it could be naught else save the ill-omened bird again. The aged hero gave Bran up for lost ; but the faithful dog bade him take courage, as he was sure if he could only get something to throw down the bird's throat, he should kill him. Ossian accordingly provided him with a large ball, which during the struggle which ensued Bran managed to plant right in the bird's throat, killing him at once. The neighbourhood was greatly relieved." The hill where this happened was thenceforward known as the Little Hill of the Bird -Knockannaneen. The choking incident becomes transferred, in true folk-tale style, to poor Bran himself in yet another version ; for after Ossian had blown a trumpet and caused the sky to be darkened with black-plumaged birds, Bran went mad from the poison contained in a bird he had killed, and was choked to death by the hurling of a ball of brass down his throat as he rushed at Ossian and his boy-companion.
Such lesser articles of faith as the Lon Chraois, the man-creeper, and the Ion death-sign, may be fragments from the conglomerate mass of the myth, as so many small and apparently disconnected superstitions are the dëbris of disintegrated religious cults. To the same class of fragmentary and perverted survivals may belong the beliefs attaching in the Isle of Man and Wales to the plant popularly called " stag-horn moss." Of what, in men's minds, the nuclear idea was a reflection, and that it was not formed there before the continents were moulded into their present shapes, who shall venture to affirm ? The ancient Mexicans had their Deer-god Tlaloc, sculptured as half-risen from the ground. He upheld the heavens at their four cardinal points and in the centre. In his upland paradise all the rivers of earth had their source, and by the agency of his attendant dragons, which were horned like deer, descended the fire and water of the sky-rain and lightning. His mundane seat was a wooded ridge high above the Mexican plain, and sacrifices both animal and human were offered to him among the mountains and in his lake below, which had an underground outlet. At one of his festivals priests and laymen entered the lake and swallowed living water-snakes and frogs.-(Mackenzie, Pre-Columbian America, page 152.) In Chinese belief " the word Dragon comprises high grounds in general, and the water-streams which have their sources therein or wind their way through them." Like the Tlaloc dragons, gods of the earth's waters, these of China governed the cardinal points of the compass, and the element of water, at least, was under their control. One of them had deer's horns and was called " the Heavenly Stag."
To come back to my starting-point, or near itthere is always the possibility of a false foundation to the weirdest tale. Bill the Roadman, aged so, tells me of Highland cattle planted in the Snaefell district many years ago. One was found dead among the hills by a shepherd or under-forester. He skinned it, and to bring its hide to market in the most convenient way (and perhaps in a spirit of mischief as well) he enveloped himself in it with the horns surmounting his head. At the distant sight of him thus awfully arrayed the miners at the head of the Laxey Valley who had just finished their shift scuttled back to their workings like rabbits into their holes. This might have been the genesis of many a buggane story, if the mystery had not been cleared up afterwards by its author. But a glimpse of something very like the Londhoo in the act of scaring the Cornaa people of a hundred years ago is discoverable in some lines of William Kennish, the bard of the immediate neighbourhood. The farm-boys are telling their tales at the evening fireside (the italics are mine) :
" How one did pass the old thorn haunted tree,
One stormy night, up to his knees in mire,
And saw the ghost with eyes like blazing fire,
In shape and form just like the shaggy stot
That haunts poor Alice Curdal's lonely cot;
And when another, passing Ballaglass,
Returning home from courting his young lass,
Saw a deep shadow, ghastly and immense,
Standing between him and the thorny fence,
Which made the blood recoil within each vein,
And for a moment almost turned his brain.
Mona's Isle, page 43.
" Thorn haunted tree " is presumably a metrical inversion for " haunted thorn tree," a species peculiarly subject to unhallowed presences. " Alice Curdal " (the farm-name now spelt Cardle) is the " Alice Moare " of page 17 :-
" Come forth at once, and show thy ghastly face
Which thou put'st on to frighten Alice Moare,
Poor helpless body ! in her lonely cot,
Poking thy uncouth horns within her door
As if thou wert a reckless mountain stot."
The reference here, Kennish says in a footnote, is to the Buggane Gob ny Scuit. That demon of the waste is supposed to have taken the form of a monster partly resembling a cat rather than a bullock, but the place called Gob ny Scuit was further haunted by a bovine spectre popularly associated with the arch-witch Berrey Dhone.
Finally, and most vaguely of all, something horned and dreadful once caused a panic by looking in at the window of the schoolroom at Lezayre Churchtown during the progress of an evening entertainment. Whether this too belonged to the super-animal kingdom, or was temporarily promoted to it by a suddenly alarmed fancy, who now shall say? When we feel tempted to assign a religious origin to such fragmentary visions and beliefs as I have here placed, merely for comparison, alongside earlier recorded fragments and alongside certain authentic particulars of paganism, these words of the late Professor Anwyl are worth bearing in mind : " Modern folk-lore should be used with care in the search for primitive pagan ideas as to religion, since it is not always easy to distinguish what is pure imagination from that which originally had a very earnest and practical bearing upon life."
Creg ny Mult, " Rock of the Wethers," which overlooks the East side of the high road near Magher y Kew, was one of the chief meeting-places of the leading spirits among the witches of the parish.
" Crag na Mult,
Being the most important post
Of all Kirk Maughold's warlock coast " [qu. host ?]
is Kennish's description of it in his " Old May Eve." The Rheeast, " The Waste," Ballagorry, once marshy but now drained, was in its former condition a notorious haunt of the glashtyn or water-horse.
Clagh Hoit, " Fixed or Set-up Stone," soit, is the name of the conspicuous hill adjacent to Booilley-velt and Magher y Breck, and quarried on the side facing Ballaberna. Its name implies the former presence of a monolith, or possibly a cairn, and may be compared with that of the Claghyn Daa Hoit in Rushen. Kelly's Dictionary says : " many of these are to be found in the Isle of Man " ; but most of them have now either suffered destruction or have lost their names. At the summit is a circular cavity about eighteen inches in diameter, filled with loose pebbles and soil. If three farm-boundaries met here, which I think is not the case, it would be a typical " fairy-hole." If not a tentative boring by a prospector, it might have been the socket of a pillar-stone, which again would suggest a boundary; in that case, the stone must have had a rounded base. No such stone is now remembered, but the following legend relates to the hill which bears its name.
In the old days Magher y Breck and Booilley-velt belonged to the same family. When the heir of the two farms brought home his bride to Magher y Breck she was stolen by the fairies of Clagh Hoit on the night of the wedding. As soon as she was missed everybody guessed what had happened to her, and the bridegroom went to the hill and demanded her from the fairy-man, who was walking about outside it. He refused to give her up, and retiring into his stronghold shut the door in the bridegroom's face. The latter vowed that he would get her out next morning if he had to dig down to the roots of Clagh Hoit itself. He gathered all the men he could find, armed them with picks and spades, and set them to work. After they had been digging awhile the fairyman appeared and promised to yield her up if the bridegroom and his party would go away so as not to see where and how she came out. She returned home the same day, but did not know she had been away at all.
Whenever and however this tale reached Maughold, it is circumstantially the same as " Ethna the Bride " in Lady Wilde's Ancient Legends of Ireland, except that in the latter story only the bride's soul goes into the fairy hill, while her body remains at home in a trance. The fairy-man in this case is Finvarra of Knockmaa in Galway, King of the Connaught fairies. In the Proceedings of the Ossianic Society, vol. ii., page 173, there is a similar story of the digging down of a fairy stronghold by the Fianna, which causes the emergence of its owner, whose name is Cuillean ; but here the excavations have a different motive, and there is no stolen bride. To the same cycle belongs the stealing of Finn and Bran by the fairy-woman Grinn, who when threatened with disinterment says, " Spare my hill and I will restore them." The archetype of all these and other variants is probably the ancient legend of the fairy king Midir's abduction of Eochaidh Airemh's queen, Edain, from Tara to Bri Leith in Longford, from which hillock, with the aid of a druid, she was afterwards reclaimed by arduous spadework. O'Curry, Manners and Customs, iii., i92, ventures to date the event to the first century B.C. It was, by his account of it, written down before A.D. 430. Whether this was so or not, I do not doubt that it was typical of actual occurrences in Ireland and in other countries. A Danish tradition runs to the effect that the Trolls lie in wait by their hillocks until a wedding-party passes, when they pounce upon the bride and drag her in. Places where this has happened are called " Bride - mounds," and are avoided by marrying couples on their way to and from church. In one story of this type (Northern Mythology, ii., 138) the bride wanders away during the wedding festivities and sees that an elf-mound has been levered up (as North Barrule was " jacked up " by Berrey Dhone's neophytes and Gob ny Garvain by an unknown hand) and is standing upon red pillars, as was customary about Christmas time. She enters, drinks the proffered wine and joins in the dance, to return home a hundred years later unconscious of the lapse of time.
Another Clagh Height (as it is spelt on the Ordnance map, where it is marked as an ancient cairn) stood among the mountains at the junction of Maughold with Lonan and Lezayre. It marked also the boundary of the sheadings of Garff and Ayre. According to a man aged about 75 at the time of our conversation some four years ago, who well remembered it, it was a large white boulder which " would have filled the breadth of Parliament Street in Ramsey, and stood nearly as high as the houses." At any rate it was a big boulder, and was accordingly broken up to help to make a section of the new road, now part of the mountain road between Douglas and Ramsey. Small fragments can still be seen lying about the turf where it stood. There are no other stones near the spot, and it was evidently an erratic mass of quartz such as are common farther South, and not a stone artificially set up. It is now replaced by an Ordnance Survey cairn. My informant's estimate of " fifty years ago " as the date when he frequently saw it would doubtless be only approximate.
Mount Carran, " Cairn Hill," is a conspicuous eminence near Ballasaig, behind the former parish school and the tumulus from which it derives its name.
Close Sam, " Sam's Enclosure," was formerly a house and croft of three fields near the Hibernian Inn, amounting to but three acres in all. Whether Sam possessed the proverbial cow in addition or not, he must have found it necessary to follow the usual custom of small crofters (now a nearly extinct class), and either work for the bigger farmers or go to the fishing. In the same neighbourhood was
Croit Woods, " Woods' Croft," another estate of similar magnitude.
Struan y Breck, " Stream of the Slope," or " of the Trout," which joins the Cornaa river, receives from the vicinity of the Hibernian a small tributary which used to be called
Struan yn Nhiee, " Stream of the Washing," because in the old days the women would be taking the clothes down to a spot beside it known as
Boayl yn Nhiee, " Place of the Washing," and laundering them there ; an unusual way of doing it in the Isle of Man, though common enough in Brittany today. In Cornwall " outdoor washing " was practised at well -sides with the aid of a boiler and a fire of furze up to about 70 years ago, according to a reminiscence in Old Cornwall, No. 7, page 42.
Cronk Dhoo, " Dark Hill," forms the Northern extremity of Slieu Lewaigue. It has the remains of a diminutive stone circle and traces of small tumuli.
Cronk Stole, " Stowell's Hill," is the upper part of Ballastole.
Rinkyn-Naaie, " Rinkyn, things separated or scattered from the main body "-Cregeen ; faaie, a burial-ground. This may or may not be a correct rendering of the name, which I have only heard spoken, not seen written. Probably, like most of these unmapped names, it never has been written. It was given to me as applying to the site of Keeill Woirrey, near Ballure Chapel.
Cooill ny Feeyney, Clenaigue, on the outskirts of Ramsey, if it may be taken at its face-value, " Corner or Hiding-place of the Wine," may be presumed to date as a name from the days of the smugglers.
The Fairy Hill is a mound in a field opposite the Crescent, on Ballastole.
The Lickney is a modern corruption of Leagherny (-nagh) " Rushy-place," applied to the crossing of the now nearly dry bed of the Struan ny Crawe at the Western entrance to Ramsey ; it lies on the boundary between Maughold and Lezayre. At the time of the Ordnance Survey (1869) it was tidal.