[From A Manx Scrapbook]
THE PARISH OF CONCHAN.
Conchan contains Douglas, but is not all so bad as that. Though her coast lacks character, there are charming solitary spots among her low hills, which have not changed since I was a boy. To betray them now by name would be ungrateful.
Douglas. The notion that this word is a combination of the names of
the rivers Dhoo and Glass which meet a mile and a half above the harbour need
not be considered. " Douglas " in its various forms is common to all the countries
in the British Isles, and the meaning is simply " dark river." Whatever aspect
of the Douglas river prompted the bestowal of the name, it suits well enough
to-day the steep, tree-lined banks, which were formerly tidal much farther inland.
Probably the valley, seaward from Kirk Braddan at the least, has always been
well wooded ; Pulrose - Pooylyoish, " Wood-pool "-points in that direction.
The earliest occurrence of the name is in Chronicon Manniae ; from 1192 to 1196
the monks of Rushen, or some of them, were living at a place called Douglas.
If, as is likely, this was in the neighbourhood of the modern town, the site
of their residence may be conjectured to have been the land now known as Ballabrooie,
" Farm of the Hostel-keeper "-Gaelic byüighe - on Douglas treen ; unless,
as Cumming suggests, the Nunnery was previously a monastery. Douglas treen is
so spelt in the Manorial Roll of 1510, and this must have been retained-or restored-as
an English official form, the Manx having naturally become
Doolish. The word belongs to an early stratum of place-names, and it is probable that all the other instances of glas in the Island are the colour-term, best rendered in the case of water as " clear."
The name of the Glass seems to have been applied for a while, in translation, to the joint stream below the confluence. " In 1728, the people of Douglas and Braddan petitioned the Tynwald Court ` that a Bridge should be erected over the Bright river on the road between Douglas and Kirk Braddan church.' " This was enacted in 1739.-(Moore's History, page 448.)
Cold Clay is now a part of Glenville or Hillberry. The name is probably a perversion of Cooill Cleiy, " Hedge Corner," and it is only an accidental coincidence that the soil is of a sufficiently clayey nature to have provided material for constructing the sides of Douglas Reservoir.
The Clypse (O.S. map), as a name, is comparable with " the Cleps," two pointed coast-rocks at Maughold Head, and with the dialect word ` clipe ' or ` glipe,' a detached strip or fragment-Old Norse klippi.
Cronk y Berry was an earlier name of Hillberry, which half translates it. " Hill of the Sharp Point."
Keym Mom," Great Path," a field on Ballakilmartin, contains a stone-paved floor of some antiquity. The name appears to refer to a pathway which runs from the house to the remains of an ancient chapel dedicated to St. Martin.
The Nikkesen's Pool, in the upper part of the Groudle River, was haunted by a being similar to him of the same name in Lonan, but the details here are wanting and probably forgotten.
Lag Birragh on the coast at Banks' Howe is usually pronounced Lagaberry or Langalberry, but the Ordnance map form, or perhaps Lag ny Birrag, is likely to be the correct one, with the signification of " Pointed Hollow " or " Hollow of the Pointed Rock."
Tromode (O.S. map) was formerly Tremott, with which may be compared Tiremod, " The Courtyard," a natural tumulus at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, mentioned by Gomme, Primitive Folkmoots, page 265 ; even if natural, it has the appearance of having been used as a place of public meeting, so far as I am able to judge. The so-called Fort at Castleward, though not within the treen of Tremott, being in fact in the next parish, Braddan, is within a few hundred yards of Tromode farmhouse and village. In the village of Muthill in Perthshire " there is still a place called ` the Ward,' where the chief of the strath distributed justice to his vassals."-(Ibid., page 267.) If it was from the Castleward mound that " Tremott " arose,. the name must have been in use before the present parish boundary-line, which here follows the river, came into being. But there are other earthworks within the limits of Conchan which are sufficiently near to Tromode to have originated the name, though none of those which survive is so noteworthy.