[From A Manx Scrapbook]

[Corrections TBD]

CHAPTER IV

THE PARISH of MAROWN.

 

St. Trinian's Church is also known as Keeill Brisht, " Broken Church." The Manx name implies what is no doubt the truth, that the building was completed and that the roof afterwards fell in. The traditionary legend professes to explain why it never had a roof. The story, as related by Train and many others since, is too familiar to need quotation, but its Scottish parallel has interesting points of correspondence. It is attached to various churches-Chanonry, Ross-shire, Kil Christ, Beauly, Kil Neuer Chapel at the South end of Loch Awe, and others. (That the nearest foreign version should be found in Scotland is quite appropriate, since the historical associations of the Manx site lie in that country.) The Highland tailor wagered that he would sew a coat-sleeve at dead of night in the haunted building. . . . A voice: " Dost thou see my big gray head without blood or flesh or sinews, O tailor ? " " Chi ;;ti sin 'us fzcaigheam so, I see that, but let me sew this." The " ghost " asks the imperturbable tailor whether he sees, in turn, his throat, his foot, and his paw, and gets the same reply to each question. This exhausts his patience, and he comes at the tailor, who rushes out of the door. The ghost makes a grab at him but misses, and only succeeds in leaving the impress of his fingers on the door-post. A recorder of the foregoing, the Rev. Malcolm MacPhail, in the 9th volume of Folk-lore, adds that he had, in a previous essay, endeavoured to show from a phrase occurring in this legend, chi mi sin, " I see that," that the verb chi was being used in the present tense, and that a few other Gaelic verbs have a present tense. It may cast a little light on the point, that though the reiterated answer of the Manx tailor to the buggane is printed as hee, hee, " yes, yes," an oral version has it heeym, heeym! " I 'll look, I 'll look! " -i.e., when the work is done. In a version relating to St. Gilbert's Church at Dornoch, told in English only, the word " see " is given the future tense. A skull comes rolling towards the tailor and says: " My fleshless, bloodless head rises at thee, O Tailor ! " " I will see that," replies the undaunted snip, " when this is finished." With much unpleasantness of manner the spectre reconstructs his anatomy piece by piece until the entire skeleton stands before the tailor, who, having finished his job, runs off. The " ghost " follows, slams the church door, and lacerates the tailor's heels, crippling him for the rest of his life. Finger-prints on door-post as in the other Scottish versions. At Beauly the tailor works in the ruined Abbey there, and the ghost keeps blowing out his candles.-(Folk-lore Journal, 1888, page 160.) Is there any connexion between this widelydistributed type of story relating a demon's jealous interference with the completion of a church, and the fact that many early churches were built on the sites of disestablished temples, altars, and other centres of pagan religion ? In several of the variants occurs the detail of the impress of the demon's grasp upon the door-post ; at the consecration of a Roman temple part of the ritual required that the priest should lay his hand on the door-post in token of his assumption of authority.

St. Patrick's Chair. " Dr. Oliver, of Douglas, says that the late Vicar of Marown informed him that the so-called St. Patrick's Chair was erected about seventy or eighty years ago by the then tenant of the farm, who was an eccentric person and erected this for a house. The late Vicar resided in the parish at the time the erection was put up, and was personally acquainted with the farmer."-(Ordnance Survey Name Books.) The Surveyor adds the following comment: " The stones have the appearance of age, and in my opinion have undoubtedly been placed in position some centuries back." Romilly Allen, in a paper on " Early Christian Monuments of the Isle of Man," in the Journal of the British Archæological Association, vol. xliii., page 240, says the crosses belong to a period falling between A.D. 400 and 700. The reference to " a house," even if only a tool-house or cattle-shelter was meant, at least suggests that the monument was formerly more extensive than it is now, and perhaps included a dolmen. Or it may be that the tenant built a structure round the incised stones which has since been removed. A hedge formerly ran a few yards to the North-East of the relic; though marked on the Ordnance Map it is not now visible, but is remembered. A tablet affixed to the mound seriously states that the pillars commemorate the first preaching of the Gospel in the Island. The same legend is related of Chibber Pherick near Peel, and of other places.

Argole " on Lord Henry Murray's estate " (Feltham, 1798, page gig) was partly in the parish of Marown. Is this Archollaghan ?

The Bunghey (O.S. map) the name of a house and fields on Ballamona, East Foxdale, pronounced " Bunjy," is probably to be explained by a quotation from Irish Names of Places, ii., g : " Bainseach means a level spot covered with grass all those places now called Bansha and Banshy ; Derrynabaunshy." This well describes the Bunghey. The Ring, Ballanicholas, is a fort or camp with double mounds and concentric fosses, about 50 yards in diameter and similar to the Port y Candas embankment in German, but in a more perfect state. Rheneherry is a sub-division of Sulbrick. The name is paralleled by Glencherry in Maughold, and probably means " Sheep-division," keeyrey. Kelly's Dictionary mentions a place called Ballacheerey, but I do not know where it was.

Carrig ny Sooie, " Rock of the Ooziness," is on Eairy ny Sooie, Ballagarrow. This explanation of the names, from sooid, seems preferable to " soot," although it involves a change of gender.

St. Patrick's Chapel or Keeill Pherick. Of this ancient chapel-site and fair-site tradition says that when St. Patrick and St. German were passing here during their joint evangelization of the Island a thorn pricked St. Patrick's foot, whereupon he cursed the ground so that it might never bear a crop of anything better than briars. A less hackneyed version betrays the influence of teetotal ideals, but agrees better with the belief (prompted by the dedication) that St. Patrick himself built the keeill; according to this story the field was prohibited from growing any kind of grain from which intoxicating liquor might be made.

The Braaid Stone-Circle (Gaelic hraghad, " upper part," as in Braid ny Boshen on the opposite side of the valley, and Breadalban) stands in a field below the Douglas and Foxdale road. " North of the Circle are the remains of a large semi-circular embankment of earth and stones. A few feet West of the Circle is a"large Gist. . . . Tradition asserts it [the Circle] to be the remains of a heathen temple."-(O.S. Name Books.) In its configuration the bank is comparable with the Lhieh Eayst, " Half-moon," in Maughold, with a vanished earthwork near Tromode, and possibly with Manannan's Chair in German.

Polthaan, " Little Fold or Enclosure "-compare Bolthane, Malew-is the name of the close containing the Ballingan Stone Circle.

Bakenaldwath. A Charter of King Harold, 1264 (Oliver, Monumenta, ii., So), names Bakenaldwath as a place granted to the Abbot and Monks of Furness Abbey to build a house for their men to dwell in while engaged in mining, and as a repository for their minerals and other property. This site has been assigned to various localities, notwithstanding Oliver's footnote: " The Rev. William Duggan informs me that this is a meadow near St. Trinian's, adjoining Cooilingel . . . ." The two names, Manx and Norse, certainly correspond as to their meaning. Cooill is an interior angle, corner or back part ; and injil, " lower," signified also " fordable " according to

Dr. Kelly's Dictionary. Baken, " at the back of," and ald-wath, " old ford," amount to much the same thing. A crossing over the river Wyre, in Lancashire, between Skippool and Singleton, now called Shard, was formerly " Aldwath." The disused Cornelly mine is near the top of Cooillinjil glen ; I do not know whether there is any record of its age. The " ford " would have crossed the Awin Dhoo (now called by the English equivalent, " the Dark River ") where an old track from St. Trinian's to Cooillinjil farm still crosses it. The railway engineers selected exactly the same spot. See, however, my remarks under Lheeaney Rhunt.

Lheeaney Rhunt, " Round Meadow." Under the heading of Bakenaldwath is a reference to the frequently-debated question, where was that place, near which were carried on the earliest Manx mining operations on record ? In a footnote of Dr. Oliver's there partially quoted his authority states that "the Lheeaneyal-Rhunt " adjoining Cooillinjil was the piece of ground allotted to the miners working on behalf of Furness Abbey in the 13th century. Jenkinson, a careful writer, in his Guide of 1574, pages 54 and 64, minutely locates the Lheeaney Rhunt of the well - known Fenoderree legend on the right-hand side of the lane leading to " Ballacurrey glen " (Glen Darragh) from a smithy on the main road 6 miles from Douglas, about 100 yards down the lane and 8o yards on the North side of the railway line. If we may read his " about 100 yards" as "about 400 yards" (which would, in fact, be 8o yards from the line) this point will be found to coincide with a ford marked on the 6-inch Ordnance map and with the North-West corner of the Bishop's Barony, where the stream from Cornelly encloses a small field on two sides ; it lies by the road leading up to Cornelly mine. Though not adjoining Cooill_injil in the ordinary sense of the word, it is on the adjoining farm of Ballacurrey, above the East side of Glen Darragh. Possibly this spot, or the site of the Ballacurrey buildings a couple of hundred yards farther up the road and behind the ford, is the required Bakenaldwath, and the mine in question was the now abandoned Cornelly mine.

The configuration of this water-side Lheeaney Rhunt was, like that of others, determined by the course of the river, which here makes a sharp bend ; hence its position would recommend it to the much confused tribes of glashtyns, fenoderrees and bugganes of various descriptions. If it was not from here that the patriotic buggane of St. Trinian's emerged to interdict the completion of the church by foreigners, at any rate an uncharacteristically ferocious fenoderree nearly dismembered the farmer who attempted to mow this Round Meadow, and afterwards made matters unpleasant for the soldier who succeeded in the task by mowing it in circles. I venture to add the surmise that the place sometimes said to have been a mountain -Snaefell or Barrule-where the Fenoderree chased the hare " round and round " in the impression that it was a young sheep, was originally a-perhaps thisLheeaney Rhunt, a much more likely and reasonable course for both of them.

Glen Veg and Awin Veg, " Little Glen " and " Little River," descend from the Garth at the lower Ellerslie farm opposite Ballaquinney, and form part of the boundary of the Bishop's Barony.

Boshen (O.S. ma.p), pronounced Bawshen, and Braid ny Boshen (map) above it, may be compared as names with Byack Bolchen, a Santon intack in 1703, and with Builtchyn Rhenny in Malew ; the term involved is evidently boailteeyn, folds.


 

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