[From A Manx Scrapbook]
Rushen's outward and visible glory is her cliffs. Of lowland she has the narrowest strip of any parish, and much of that is an invasion of her neighbour Arbory across the Colby river. In her, the extreme parish, the Island comes up out of the sea by stages, reluctantly ; first a sea -rock, then an islet, then a peninsula from which the mainland broadens. On the stones of Rushen are the first writings in the Island's language, and one of her villages is its last refuge. Off her coast is sunk that Other Island, the immaterial counterpart of the one we see.
There is evidence to show that Rushen, like Jurby, German and Braddan -and, I suspect, Patrick in bygone times-has her island of Hy Brasil, and it is much more precisely located than any of theirs. Accounts of it do not differ from each other in essentials. That which follows was related to me by a retired fisherman who had it from his parents, and they from theirs. What is now a fishing-bank beginning about 16 miles S.S.W. of the Chickens and lying about 40 fathoms under water-normally-was Mannan mac y Lear's island, where the three-legged race lived who used to make raids on the Isle of Man, and when they were chased by the Manxmen in their boats, they used to hide their island under a mist ; for in those days it stood above the surface of the sea like the island we're living on. But some person on Man got a stronger spell than any Mannan had and drove him out, and he took a flying leap off Spanish Head or else off the Burroo Ned, and went away home along the top of the sea, rolling like a wheel. My friend said he and others had often seen the mist hanging over the place or round about it, when he would be coming from Dublin Bay to Peel, and it looked for all the world like land, with bays and capes and mountains and all.
This account differs from others in that both islands are above water at the same time ; also, the cloak of mist seen between the Calf and Ireland was of a revealing rather than a concealing nature. These variations have their value, for they show, among other things, that the legend was widely spread and frequently recounted. The notion of "raids" is singular. It almost seems that some prehistoric actuality has been grafted here on the more usual form of the myth ; there are traces of Manannan and his people on the Hill of Howth as well as farther down the Irish coast. The more orthodox belief has been that when one island is up the other is down, with long lapses of time between the alternations ; in modern times the hidden island can only be seen momentarily by those who have the right sort of eyes and to whom it is made visible by favour. From this it might be inferred, perhaps too logically, that the present island has its moments of submergence, likewise to be seen, or felt, only by a gifted few ; but that this is so, and that they are the same moments as those in which the Other Island is to be glimpsed, I have not been definitely told.
The mist which my friend saw more than once hanging above the water is easily accounted for by its comparative shallowness over a considerable area. The " bank," I have been assured, is about 20 miles long and about 15 miles in breadth; the Admiralty Chart may not corroborate the definition, but an extensive elevation of the floor undoubtedly exists. So do many others elsewhere-notably in the North Sea, where they were once land. It may be wisest to leave the matter unargued, and to keep one foot on land and one on sea, ready for anything that may turn up ; for whether the lost island be far or near, below the surface or coincident with the tangible Isle of Man, both of them belong to the lesser globe called the mind, whose oceans have neither been plumbed nor fully charted. Perhaps what seems to be two is but one, differently known, and the inner mode of knowledge or state of consciousness is what is called, properly and reasonably, the rule of Manannan, or Manannan's Kingdom.
From another source comes the idea that the remains of dwellings still lie about the sea-floor which was once a green island and is now the aforesaid fishingbank ; the substance called scrablag, big lumps of cohering pebbles, gravel, and the like, resembling building material to a casual eye, which is brought up by the trawl-men, to their disgust, has no doubt done its share in sustaining the fabric of this vision. Fragments of crockery and scrap-iron, together with queer fossils and other oddities, also come up in the nets, it is said; it may be that the currents collect such submarine refuse and dump it here, and that the presence of the broken crockery, for instance, could be explained by the stewards of the big liners.
Rushen is the only parish-name which has not been satisfactorily explained. Most of them commemorate saints, though the saint is not in every case identifiable with certainty ; but Rushen-correctly " Kirk Christ in Rushen "-owes, like Lezayre-" Kirk Christ in the Ayre "-her title to the sheading to which she belongs. The use of the sheading-name alone in these two instances is evidently for the sake of distinguishing between the two churches bearing the Norseman's dedication to Christ. The sheading again must have been named from the region lying about Castletown and Ballasalla, where the pre-existing place-name Russin was applied to the Abbey and the Castle together with its adjacent buildings at an early period. The word occurs also in Knock Rushen near Castletown, Cronk Rushen near Kirk Christ Rushen, Glen Rushen in Patrick and Lough Rushinagh in Andreas ; and, without the suffix, in Pulrose (Pooylroish) in Braddan, Ross Vedn and Ross y Reema in Maughold, and in Rass ny Muck (possibly for Rassan ny Muck) in the Mull peninsula. In Ireland it is equally prevalent ; the sense attached to it in the South has not changed since the compilation of Cormac's Glossary. Joyce gives over a dozen current examples, some of which are identical in form with the Manx word, while others are spelt Rossan as in Scotland. In Pembrokeshire it is Rhossan, with the meaning, slightly differing from the Gaelic, of " heath-land." The force of the diminutive -en, etc., seems to have operated in two ways, denoting sometimes a wood of small extent and sometimes a wood of low growth, i.e., brushwood, undergrowth or shrubby trees. The latter has probably been the original signification in most of the Manx instances.
Many of the unmapped coastal names of the parish have been recorded by Roeder (see Chapter ii.). Others doubtless remain to be gleaned by residents ; among the few I subjoin I have included two or three familiar names for the sake of other points of interest.
Mwyllin ny Craue, " Mill of the Bone," is close t,-) the Shore Hotel. The bones were ground for fertilizing the fields. Most of the building, including the wheel, has perished.
Bunroor, " Wide End or Bottom "--roauyr ; " the Smelting-house, near Port St. Mary, at Bunroor," Feltham, page 247. The name seems to have become obsolete.
Chapel Gate, Port St. Mary, should have been included in my chapter on Roads, since " gate " here means road. The " chapel " was the vanished one near the Lady's Well on the promenade. Rhys, Manx Phonology, page 34, says that the site of St. Mary's Chapel is on the path which leads downward to the promenade, and that the second cottage on the left going down preserves in its walls some of the stones which were contained in the chapel. " The inscribed side of the tombstones is said to be mostly undermost ; in any case there is no doubt about the burial-ground, seeing that plenty of men still living remember the bones exposed on the declivity." This was written before 1894.
Bow Lhiack, " Flagstone Rock," lies between Callie Point and Perwick. Bow (Norse boe), though not in the dictionaries, is a common term for a submerged rock.
Towl Foggy, " Flitter Hole " feoghaig, a flitter or periwinkle, is a cave at Perwick. On the headland just to the South of it, once " locally known as Castle Rushen," the first castle of that name is fabled to have been built by King Orry, otherwise by Magnus Barefoot, but it was abandoned for lack of fresh water. The remains of a promontory-fort, similar to the two Borranes near Dalby, existed there until something else was erected on the site.
Kione y Ghoggan (O.S. map), " Headland of the Clefts." In one of the caves or waterways which undermine this promontory a young man of the district intercepted and captured a mermaid, and took her home with him. In time he grew tired of her and deserted her for a girl of the land, whereupon the mermaid left him and returned to the sea at the spot in which he had found her. Overcome with remorse, the man flung himself from the cliff " almost at her feet," a phrase which suggests that she had not resumed her mermaid form.
Cronk Carron, " Cairn Hill," on the West side of the Chasms, has evidently been named from a small stone circle lying part of the way down the cliff. Only the vestiges now remain.
Cregneish. The popular etymology is " Rock of Rest," as though it were Creg yn A ash, but the earliest known form, Croknesse, 1510, points to the Norse for " Raven Headland." " The parish of Cregneish " is an unwarranted but interesting phrase sometimes heard in the district.
Kione Spainey or Spanish Head is said to have been so-called because Spain is, or once was, visible from it, as it also was from Langness, and as Wales is more justifiably held to be visible from several points on the South coast. In Ireland a similar tradition of the nearness and visibility of Spain existed from early times, but it must have been handed down to recent generations by habit rather than in conscious belief, like the corresponding Manx fiction. It appears to be a reflexlogical but taken too literally-of a legend embodied in that passage of the Leabhar Gabhála where Breoghan is led to the discovery of Ireland from Spain by his vision of a mirage or shadowy semblance-a phantom island of sea or sky projected Southward. In other parts of the same work the two countries are quite reasonably said to be the distance of nine days' sail from each other.
The neighbourhood of Spanish Head has evidently been rich in traces of the mermaid, one anecdote of whom here I have related under the heading of " Peel."
The Sound, Yn Keelis, is or once was believed to conceal at its Eastern end the entrance to an undersea passage which led to the country of Manannan Beg, a country identical with the submerged island to the South- West which makes brief phantasmal reappearances above the surface. The Burroo Ned headland with its vestiges of primitive dwellings, which marks the Eastern extremity of the Sound, has a corresponding legend of Manannan, that he left the Isle of Man for the last time by rolling off its cliffs in his Trie Cassyn form. A small Pooyl-sluggey or whirlpool which certain conditions create off the Calf opposite the Burroo Ned seems to have contributed its ingurgitating powerwhich is mostly theoreticalto the same obsolescent group of ideas.
Bow Faagee is a rock inside Burroo Faagee on the Calf, and therefore in Goll ny Vurroo also, to be precise. The sense of the last name is " the course which is to be steered to pass inside the Burroo " Bow Faagee, " Submerged-rock of Departure." The Norse original of bow, bodhi-literally " the warner "refers to the broken water.
Magher y Wyllin, " Field of the Mill," lies above Rarick, on the Calf.
The Kellagh, " the Cock," is a fishermen's name for the Calf Island.
Scottish seafarers seem to know it by a somewhat similar name. Dr.
Watson in his Celtic Place-names, page 96, quotes a Gaelic proverbial saying
from the West coast, to the effect that to see the Hen of Lewis (Chicken Head),
the Cock of Arran, and the Pullet of Man (an Eirag Mhanannach) in one
day was reckoned good sailing. By the last member of the triad he understands
the Calf, and that certainly compares best with the other two headlands ; but
the Chicken Rocks, with their conspicuous lighthouse, lie very near.
Creg yn Dhorys, " Rock of the Door," at the Chickens, is connected by its name with a belief that here began a passage under the Calf Island which issued at the Kitterland Rock in the middle of the Sound, a rock which possesses a folk-tale of a Norse cast, already published. Possibly the passage was thought of more as leading in the opposite and seaward direction ; anyhow, that was the lie of it, and the word is not used with any invidious intent. Creg yn Dhorys and the passage are related, I think, in a way which has now grown obscure, to the mythical Fairy Island in the seas beyond.
Geaylin ny Cholloo, " Shoulder of the Calf (Island)," is a mark for a well-known fishing-bank lying to the South-West of it.
Slieu Ynnyd ny Cassyn (O.S. map), which may be translated either " Moor of the Print of the Feet " or " of the Place of the Feet," has been noticed on page 93. In the same connexion may be read the following remarks in Shearman's Loca Patriciana, page 125, which I lift from the footnote in which he appropriately placed them. "Foot -prints and other marks on rocks in connexion with St. Patrick, are to be found in many localities ; as, for instance, on the seashore South of the Skerries, county Dublin, where St. Patrick landed ; and at Sceric, or Skerries, in the county Antrim, near Slieve-mis, marks which were believed to be the footprints of the angel who appeared to St. Patrick, are visible on a rock there. It is possibly to Cnoc Patraic St. Fiacc's hymn on St. Patrick alludes, where he says : " He pressed his foot on the stone ; its traces remain ; it wears not." In Ossory two localities are noted as possessing footmarks, etc., with which St. Patrick's name is connected. The story of his miraculously impressing these marks arose from his converts wishing to identify the spot where " his feet have stood," they sculptured these footprints which subsequent tradition set forth as being miraculously impressed by the saint ; other such marks may be mere natural indentations."
Field-names at Spaldrick, the Manx from the manuscript of C. Roeder :
Faaie Liauyr, " Long Grassplot."
Faaie ny Lieenagh, " Green of the Linen or Flax place."
Faaie Root, query chruit, mound ? I do not know the place.
Caasey Slappad (Roeder's spelling), " Brackish Drinking-place " for animals ; Gaelic slapach.
Caasey Laagagh, " Muddy Drinking-place."
Bing Vradda, " Bradda Peak," is the highest part of Bradda Hill and headland.
Corran Hill is a fishermen's name for Bradda Head, or part of it as seen from the sea and used as a bearing for a fishing-spot.
Surby Bow - Norse bodhi, a sunken rock -lies immediately South of Fleshwick, under the cliffs of Surby mountain.
Speekeen Pherick, " (St.) Patrick's Little Spike or Peak," is the highest point of Lhiattee ny Beinnee. The saint is supposed to have travelled along this ridge after landing farther South with such enapressement that he left his footprints in the rock at Slieu Ynnyd ny Cassyn, though by other accounts these were made by a giant likewise landing there from Ireland. Sfieekeen is accepted in the district as a general term for a rocky eminence, but it is doubtful whether it would be so understood in any other parish.
Creg Ghoo, " Dark Rock "-dhoo-is prominent at the North-East end of the Carnanes, above Fleshwick.
Fleshwick (O.S. map). The Danish flask, " used in place-names of a creek with shallow water, swampy or low-lying stretches of grass-land " (Chief Elements in Eng. Place-names) exactly describes this vik or cove. Shut in between steep ling-covered heights and little used by humanity, it has been a favourite port of call for the different kinds of sea-people. From here the music-making canoe-man visited Dalby. An ancestor of a present member of the House of Keys caught a mermaid here, and on condition of his releasing her she promised him that no woman of his family should die in childbirth ; this, says his descendant, has held good to the present day. Similar stories are told of Pooylvaash and Port Erin, a different family being the beneficiaries. In the island of Pabaidh (Pabbay) off Barra a fairy woman announced to a certain family which gave her food that none of its members should ever die in childbirth ; and her spell proved as effectual as the promise of the Manx mermaid.-(Tales of the West Highlands, ii., 51.)
Bald Joe or Ball Joe is the fishermen's name for a small beach, and the fishing-ground off it, to the North of Fleshwick.
Joe Vollagh is also on the Northern coast of Rushen ; what it is, beyond being some sort of a road coming down to the sea, or exactly where, I do not know, and mention it only for comparison with the previous name and with Butt y Joe in German.
Sloc, " Pit." Here the axial hill-range which throughout its length converges with the Western coast and begins to form sea-cliffs half a mile South of Niarbyl, plunges finally into the water, where its ghost is occasionally beheld from afar in the likeness of a phantom island. Its landward side continues as a high, narrow ridge falling sheer to the sea as far South as Bradda Head. Between the part of this ridge called Lhiattee ny Beinnee and the last spur of Cronk yn Irree Lhaa is the huge fissure known as Sloe or the Sloc-" y Slogh " on the Ordnance map. At the bottom of this lay, in comparatively recent years, a practicable landing-place from which a cliff-path ascended, but the disruption of the cliffs has obliterated both. Under the lee of a crag at the top, where the ground begins to slope inland, is a collocation of small standing stones and circular pits or " hut-foundations " ; Mr. P. M. C. Kermode has stated that there is a paved causeway above these. On the South side of the Sloc, almost at the edge of the cliff, stood a stone circle until it was tipped piecemeal over the brink by sportive youths. Half-way down the rock-littered track to the shore rests an enormous boulder called the Cabbyl, " the Horse," which by its light colour is conspicuous from Niarbyl three miles off, and from a long way out at sea ; it has been seen unaccountably lighted up from within about dusk. Wandering lights, sometimes in clusters, are often seen about the cliffs here as at Lag ny Keeilley, both from the sea and from other points of the coast, especially, but not exclusively, during bad weather. With a Westerly wind the warm sea-air can sometimes be observed, from farther up the coast, condensing at this spot into mist as it touches the land, and flowing down through the gap into the lower ground Southward. This phenomenon was presumably the actuating cause at different times of two startling visions, two perfectly independent accounts of which have been given to me by witnesses, one of them an Englishman ; from about the same point of the road above in each case, the sea was seen to gather itself up and pour inland over the barrier presented by the Sloc, and in one case a rushing or roaring sound was beard, or imagined. The configuration of the cliffs also admits wind from the sea in sudden blasts which tend to take a circular motion ; they have been noted by Charles Roeder under their Manx name of Gaayderyn ny Sloc (guairdean, a whirlwind, O'Reilly's Dictionary). Rhys, The Welsh People, page 101, says the Sloc is locally known as " Great Mouth of the Wind," which I have never heard, though it would be an apt name, and the Manx of it, Beeal Mooar ny Geay, would pair with Beeal Feayn ny Geay, " Wide Mouth, or Entrance, of the Wind," a steep rocky gully half a mile to the North-East.
Claghyn Daa Hoit or Clagh yn Daa Hoit is the name of the stones, or of one of them, described in the foregoing item as standing almost at the brink of the Sloc. An abbreviated local version of it, " Clagh Daa Hit," is rendered " Stone of the Two Meetings," because " two parties of soldiers used to come opposite ways and meet here," in the course of keeping Watch and Ward. One party is said to have come from Cronk yn Irree Lhaa and the other from the South. My informant tells me he had this from his great grandmother, whom he remembers, and she had it from her mother. The women-folic, he added, used to take milk and bonnag (flour-cake) baked in the (turf) ashes up the hill to the soldiers, who would be up there looking out for the enemy nearly every day, or so he was told. Their family then lived near Bradda. He thought there were two or three stones called by the name.
A similar custom or duty of providing food is traditionally ascribed to families who lived at the foot of South Barrule. These folk-memories of " soldiers " are genuine traditions, but it may be doubted whether they have not been misappropriated in this case to account for the name of the stones as pronounced by the deponent, for " hit " is evidently heet (cheet), " coming." At any rate, it need hardly be said that this was not the object of their erection. A much older informant, a woman of nearly 90, using the correct pronunciation Claghyn Daa Hoit, tells me " they used to play some sort of games there."
The earliest notice of the spot is contained in the First Report of the Archaeological Commissioners, 1878, which states (page 15) : " The existing remains, composed of numerous hut-circles and a few scattered upright stones fixed in the ground, are named by the peasantry Clagh y daa hoit, stone of the two settings." The word hoit heard by the Commissioners occurs in the North of the Island, also in conjunction with clagh, and has been commented on in the section of this chapter devoted to Maughold parish. The remarks there extracted from Kelly's Dictionary (which, having been compiled at the end of the 18th century, contains many obsolete words and phrases) may be repeated more fully: " Clagh Hoit, a pillar, a memorial pillar. Many of these are to be found in the Isle of Man, and are supposed by some to be the remains of Druidical temples, by others to have been erected as memorials of some great action or battle won or fought upon the spot ; by others again, to have been the monuments of heroes slain in battle. . . ... The sense of hoit, mutated from soit, " seated, placed, fixed, planted," is applicable in the two Northern instances. Clagh Height (Hoit) near Snaefell could not have been set up by human hands, but as a drift boulder it was well suited by its name ; even in the Anglo-Manx idiom a coat which has been left lying on a hedge is said to be " sitting " on it. The Maughold Clagh Hoit almost certainly stood on the summit of the hill which now bears its name, and may be presumed to have been artificially placed there. The Claghyn Daa Hoit were obviously set up by human agency, whether at the same time as the adjacent pits were hollowed out is a separate question. The difficulty with their name is that if daa is to have its usual meaning of " two," a noun or present participle is required to follow it, and hoit must here be taken as a corruption of hoiagh from the same verb, not an impossible change. Thus an identical and very natural idea is expressed in all three names, and there is no occasion for calling in the military or for deriving the hoit recorded by the Commissioners from an independent source. The difference between hoit and heet need only be regarded as a local variation of the one word ; the diphthongs of the North tend to become single vowels in the South (oie, night, is a good example for present comparison) and it is a difference which does not appear to be of long standing.
The Gaelic dá in place-names has been the subject of a good deal of discussion without its bearing in many cases having been clearly established, so far as I know. Joyce covered several pages of his Irish Names of Places in an attempt to elucidate it, but was evidently not content with the result. Whitley Stokes had doubts of its meaning " two " in personal names, and in his translation of " Da Derg's Hostel " (Revue Celtique, vol. 22) he hazarded the surmise that it might be related to Davus, the stock name for a slave in Roman drama. Is it feasible that da is not always the numeral but is sometimes to be understood as "good" in a superstitious sense, that is to say, " lucky," " of goad omen," or merely " significant " ? The importance of birds and animals in Celtic augury, taken together with the frequency with which their names occur after da in Irish place - names, may favour this explanation. In Manx place-names one at least of the few examples found besides that under notice can be satisfactorily rendered as " two " ; Gob y Daa Slieu in Lonan lies in a pass between two hill-sides. Moore has a Crot y Daa Fiag, which, if the last word is to be understood, with him, as feeagh, raven, compares with a number of Irish names where various kinds of birds are qualified by dá. In Edremony (now Rowany) his interpolation of daa is unnecessary ; " Amid the Turbary " satisfies the requirements of the word and of the situation. In the case of Struan Daa Billey, Lezayre, a doubt arises from the presence of billey, a word formerly used of single trees of a more or less venerated character. Such a character was of course equally proper to a boundary stone or memorial stones of any kind.
Shen Phayl, " Old Fold," is a formless litter of stones, which may once have constituted a circle, near the brink of the cliff just North of the Sloc.
Creggyn Oillan, " Gull Rocks," lie under the cliff called Ny Pheastul in the Ordnance map.
Creg ny Gabbyl " Rock of (like) the Horse," is a slanted fragment having the appearance, from a little distance, of a partly-dislodged logan-stone. I believe it lies just within the limit of Rushen, but the utter wildness of the landscape here makes a mock of human demarcations. When the body of a drowned man was washed ashore at the foot of this stretch of cliff some years ago, it was thought advisable to summon the Captain of the parish of Patrick to decide by inspection of the spot which parish was to remove and bury the corpse.
Magher y Clagh Ard, " Field of the Tall Stone," at the Four Roads, was the site of the monolith which now stands at the cross-roads.
Cronk Glion Chass, " Hill of the Sedge-glen "-Gaelic seast-or " Dry Glen "-Manx shiast-overlooking the valley of that name, was an old fairy stronghold ; for details see Roeder's Notes and Queries.
Cronk Aash, " Rest Hill," now built upon, stands on the landward side of the Ballaphurt road, Port Erin. The name may have been Cronk Aashen, " Gorse Hill," originally.
The Fairy Hill near Kirk Christ Rushen has so many names in Manx that its English title, first recorded by Feltham in 1797, shall be used for the caption (though it does not translate any of the Manx ones) and a separate list made of the latter. The earliest detailed description of this mound seems to be that in Haining's Isle of Man Guide, of which my edition, the third, is dated 1835 ; but the intack called Leany Howemoar in 1703 incorporates in its name one of the Manx names of the hillock, and Knockhau (if not to be read as Knockhan, which is less likely) in a Court Roll of 1417-18 may exhibit the original combination of Gaelic and Scandinavian elements. Roeder gives the following Manx names of the surrounding fields, which make sufficiently clear the physical characteristics of the region in which the hillock stands : Craggan Cosuney (" Rocky Gorse-land "), Magher Guilcaagh (" Broomfield "), Curragh (" Marsh "), and-the most significant in a folk-lore connexion-Llaeeaney Rhunt (" Round Meadow "). C-urragh is probably the Curragh how, and Lheeaney Rhunt the place of the same name, in the Composition Book of 1703, both being intacks, like Leany Howemoar.
"'he names of the mound given below all have some degree of authenticity, printed, manuscript or oral ; many, so far as can be judged, have been contemporaneously in use, and they offer a good example of the plasticity of small place-names. The majority appears to consist of variations on one original.
|Cronk Howe Mooar.||Cronk Mooar.|
|Cronk Howe ny Mooar.||Cronk Alley Mooar.|
|Cronk Hom Mooar.||Cronk Halley Mooar.|
|Cronk y Mooar.||Cronk Olley Mooar.|
|Cronk ny Mooar.||Cronk Russein (Rushen).|
if it were obligatory to say which of these names is the most correct, I should choose Cronk Howe Mooar, as being Knockhau plus the adjective, and as giving rise to all the others except the last two on the list. If this be the true state of the case, is is the addition of mooar which has occasioned the various corruptions by lifting the stress from howe and reducing it to a semblance of the article y, which again has become ny and le, and developed from le into alley and ollee. Hence the English is " Big Mound Hill." From this standard form, evidently, the resident proprietor, Hom Mooar, received his title, like many another Manx landowner since the first whose name has been recorded. In this case the transfer would be facilitated by the fact that " Hom " is the Manx equivalent of " Tom." Hom Mooar was the fairy fiddler-I understand that was his instrument-who lured music-lovers into his hill by the magical power of his playing ; it is said they went in dancing but seldom came out at all. Though classed as a Glashtyn, it is likely that he grew out of the original ghost of the haugr, if we may presume it to have been a burial-mound. A song beginning " Va Oie ayns Cronk Ollee Mooar " is thought to have celebrated his travels about the Island ; very little of his itinerary is remembered, but doubtless it was planned on similar lines to that of the fairy host, which I have outlined under Lag Eevl, Patrick. Knock Aloe in that parish also claims to be represented in the song, and it is easy to imagine that place-names occurring in popular songs and ballads were, like those in folk -tales and fairy - tales, often modified to get local colour. In another old song is an allusion to a Cronk yn Ollee Beg, " Little Hill of the Cattle." Cronk Russein as a name for the hill appears in the Revd. W. Fitzsimmons's manuscript history of the Isle of Man compiled about half a century ago ; a friend tells me it is still occasionally called Cronk Rushen.
Though the mound has been examined-not very thoroughly perhaps - and pronounced a natural accumulation of gravel without any interment, its aspect cannot be better summarized than by calling it a miniature Silbury. A good deal of folk -lore concerning it has been published, notably by Charles Roeder in the pages of the I.O.M. N.H. and Antiqn. Soc. Transactions, 1896. The theme of the principal story is that of the stolen fairy cup which is afterwards given to the church. Roeder's suggestion that the light-fingered hero may, on the strength of his name, have been an Irishman, will not pass, for " Donachadh " was a fairly common forename in the Island up to the 18th century. A point of greater interest is the injunction given to Donachadh by the fairies, or in some accounts by a bystander, to run in the water and not on the stepping-stones. In a Swedish version (Thorpe, ii., 9o) the fugitive from justice " galloped straight over rough and smooth." In a Danish one (Thorpe, ii., 144) the trolls find a difficulty in traversing the furrows, and keep crying, " Ride on the rough and not on the smooth " ; when the man is obliged to use the level road in approaching his home they begin to catch him up. In another Danish account of the affair (Thorpe, ii., 146) the advice comes from a rival clan of trolls, " Ride off the hard upon the fallow, and you will escape them." So he rides into a ploughed field and gets away with the cup, " the little Trolls being unable to follow him over the furrows."
It is true that certain classes of uncanny beings, witches especially, cannot cross running water, but the reference in the Manx story must be to the marsh surrounding the Fairy Hill; moreover, water in its several states is the second home, when it is not the primary one, of the greater part of Celtic-speaking fairydom. Even the mound - dwellers, children of earth, chose to build their homes beside it. The Manx tellings are upheld by other Danish variants, and by a 12th-century one from the East Riding, in which running water saves the man from his pursuers. But I think the ploughed field is the more authentic obstacle ; the fairies or the trolls can only move in a direction parallel with such formidable barriers as ridges and furrows, be they straight or curved. This disability is in truth part of a far-reaching prohibition which may be reduced to the axiom that supernatural kinetic energies must follow the line of least resistance. An excellent illustration of the working of the principle is the Chinese doctrine of feng shui, with its theory of spirit-paths which must be left unobstructed. In Kennedy's Fireside Stories of Ireland the same idea is embodied in the tale of " The Fairies' Pass," page 1142. " It is known that the hill-folk, in their nightly excursions, and in the visits of one tribe to another, go in a straight line, gliding as it were within a short distance of the ground ; and if they meet any strange obstacles in their track, theybend their course above them or at one side, but always with much displeasure " ; and they afflict a farmer who builds across their pass or paih.
Mullagh yn Abbey is given as the site of Chibber Ballhane, overlooking Bradda Kooar, in Dr. Clague's Manx Reminiscences.
Glion Gawne is mentioned in George Borrow's diary of his Manx walking-tour ; the context shows that it is in the parish of Rushen, and although the name is not at all well-known now, I have been told that the glen lies on the right of the road going up to Scard.
Scard, which had the same spelling in 1418, is pronounced " Scaird," just as and is often heard as " aird," and art, a point of the compass, as airt in the Scottish manner. Scard is usually explained as Norse, meaning a gap or pass, but perhaps the Gaelic scëird, a bleak hill, as in Skeard, Co. Kilkenny (Joyce, iii.), suits the locality better. Scard is printed " Scara " on the Ordnance map and some of its derivatives.
Cronk Greenagh, or Sunny Mount, was the name bestowed by that famous-or notorious-South side bard Tom the Dipper -" Dipper " because nominally a Mormon-to his " cottage in the heather " which he built with his own hands, and his wife's, at the age of 78, on the edge of the mountain-land above Ballakillowey ; the remnants of it still lie about the ling. By profession Tom was a rag - gatherer, or as he would perhaps have preferred to call it, a cloth - merchant ; his garments advertised his business, and his rhymes and metres were no less ragged. He was a bit of a freebooter and lived as he might, not unsuccessfully from a picaresque point of view, and anecdotes of his amusing rogueries still travel the country hand in hand with scraps of his verses ; but when he started shebeening in a Douglas attic almost over the noses of the police he attempted a work which proved beyond his powers, and was severely handled by the critics on the bench.
Rhymes flowed out of Tom as freely as the jough flowed into him ; rough and ready, they suited the Manx folk of his day, and his crudely-printed broadsheets had their public; indeed, the name of Tom Shimmin still evokes a ready and smiling response from many who have scarcely heard of Tom Brown. Some of his pieces which are partially remembered by the elder generation may never have appeared in print ; it is hard to say, for no bibliographer has yet interested himself in Tom. " The Loss of the Brig Lily " was reckoned his masterpiece, but as that is well-known and has even been set to music I offer an extract from his last work:
The Pride and Boast of " Mannin Veg.
A New Song by our Metropolitan Poet, T.S., aged 78. (Air-" The Jolly Ploughboy.")
Kind Gentlemen of honour and Ladies of renown,
Pray listen to a Manxman born in famous Castletown
For three-score years and more I loved its rocky shore,
And now as age is creeping on I love it more and more.
Now to pick-nick let us go, my boys,
To yonder Sunny Mount,
We'll dine in old Tom's parlour
And then we'll sport about.
Without one shilling in their purse when first they formed the plan
Of building for themselves a but on the Southern hills of Man.
At " Sunny Mount " they will receive from Tom and Ellen too
A kindly welcome one and all, and have a splendid view.
This will suffice to illustrate Tom's literary style. Yet there may have been some blind blundering towards the light which ought to be respected. To the song and its paraphrase in prose, dated June, 1,879, Tom's wife adds a postscript : " Since my poor Tom penned the foregoing lines he has taken farewell of his poor Ellen and his ' cottage in the heather,' and I have good reason to hope, that although he lies in a pauper's grave, his soul has gone to his Father's house."
Beeal Faaie ny Hink or -ny Nink-I have heard both -" Entrance to the Greensward of the (?)Folds or Pounds," adjoins the Crellin Road above the Sloc and under Creg Dkoo. There is, or was some years ago, a remarkable echo here. The ambiguity of the pronunciation makes the meaning doubtful in part. Perhaps wrongly, I take fank to be the singular of the last term in the name ; though not included in either of the two Manx dictionaries or in the Vocabulary, it occurs both in the North and the South, sometimes with an English plural, in places where fine-textured turf is used as grazing-ground. That it is no newcomer into the language is clear from its appearance as Fanc among the place -names mentioned in the delineation of the Abbey Boundaries in Malew, which may date to the 14th century.
Lheeantyn Veggey, " Little Meadov,,s," on Lhingague at the head of the Colby river below the Sloc, are named thus in the Lord's Rent Book of 1643, and as Leandan Vegga in the Composition Book, 1703, being intack land where, it is still remembered, there was a small settlement in bygone days. Divisions of fields are still discernible, but no vestiges of dwellings. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that when this was cultivated land the " but circles " at Claghyn Daa Hoit above were used as a saetr or summer camping-ground. " The Big Fields " at Colby Mill lower down the river is a name worth registering in case a connexion may be discoverable with these " Little Fields," which must have been a rather remarkable oasis in. the desert.
Cronk yn Irree Lhaa, " Hill of the Day-rise " ; Cronk ny Arrey Lhaa on the Ordnance map and Cronk ny Irree Lhaa in popular usage. (In view of the constant employment of the feminine article in this name one must plead guilty to preferring the masculine to which the noun is strictly entitled in its literal signification, though when used metaphorically it is feminine, according to Cregeen). Hills, both as reflectors and as interceptors of light, must have been humanity's first clocks, and many were certainly so used, as well as other natural objects, in the Isle of Man, until not very long ago. But there has been some confusion with regard to the similarly sounding names of a number of eminences of widely varying heights. They may be classified according to their meanings as follows:
(i.) Hills named from their use as outlook posts giving an extensive view of the coast-line. To these belong Cronk ny Arrey Lhaa, Jurby and Cronk ny Harrey, Cregneish, both names deriving from arrey, a watch; and Cronk y Watch, Pooylvaash.
(ii.) Hills named from their use as time-markers in three ways:
(a) By catching the first light of morning. To these belong Cronk yn Irree Lhaa, Rushen, and Knock ny Heary Lhaa, Peel, both names meaning "Hill of the Day-rise"; and Break o' Day Hill, Barrule farm.
(b) By the appearance of the earliest light above their crests. To this definition Cronk yn Irree Lhaa, Rushen, answers also, by virtue of its alternative name Cronk ny Brishey Lhaa, " Hill of the Daybreak," given by fishermen in the Big Bay for whom the night greyed to Eastward above the black bulk of the mountain ;'* Cronk ny Irree Lhaa, Bride, now called Break o' Day Hill, was probably used as a time-teller from two contrary aspects like its Rushen namesake, but inversely because of its position on the opposite coast.
(c) By the interception of sunshine towards midwinter, or towards nightfall. To this division belongs November Crag in Glen Aldyn, according to the popular explanation of its name ; and I recall that the dwellers in a farmhouse lower down the same glen reckoned the beginning of winter from the sun's ceasing to shine at midday into their kitchen from over the ridge of Dreem Gill. A century ago the poet Kennish wrote, " The shadow of Snaefell is the true time-keeper of the inhabitants of the mountainous parts of the Island, and of the lowland plain." He spoke of course for the Northern parts to which he belonged.
* A little later a similar contrast of light and shade closer to hand told them it was time to haul in the nets; this was. done when the shipper was able to distinguish the black rims of his finger-nails from the paler part.
In addition to these horological place - names we have Billey Shiaghl ny Clagh, " Seven o'clock Tree," in Glen Aldyn, and Chibber Mean Lhaa, " Midday Well," in Maughold parish ; and many another must have lapsed with the diffusion of more exact methods of time-keeping. Between these natural gnomons and the familiar little stone contrivances seen on walls and pillars (there is an interesting specimen on the wall of Kirk Patrick churchyard) comes the shadow-line on the side of Peel Castle, which told the hour to the good people of the town, or city as they would prefer to say.
Cronk ny Irree Lhaa is the only height of any magnitude to which cronk, the Manx perversion of cnoc, is applied, and it might have been expected to rank as a slieu. In Ireland, however, some of the highest mountains are called cnoc in an enlarged sense of the word; the radical meaning seems to be a small protuberance, hence a tumulus, as it is of the Welsh crug. Slieu (sliabh) distinguished the side of a hill rather than its summit ; but these shades of meaning have long been forgotten, unless it is true, as has been suggested, that we may expect to find traces of a heroic or fairy legend at the top of a cnoc.
The " White Lady " of Cronk yn Irree Lhaa has been introduced to the reader on the adjoining piece of moorland called Cronk Fedjag, in the parish of Patrick, since that was where she first came to my notice. Perhaps it is an effect of her stringent guardianship that the big Cronk differs in spirit from the rest of the Manx hills. Most of them, be they grey-green with sedge and rushes or swarthy with ling, are smoothly placid creatures, unresentful of man's footfall. The Cronk watches him mistrustfully ; on its seaward side it is capable of giving the climber a sly push, or of gripping him in a dilemma which will repeat itself in his dreams.