[From A Second Manx Scrapbook]
(See pages 138 ff.)
PROGRESSIVE and energetic Manx farmers have done much to hasten the disappearance of fairy hillocks, earthworks of defence and of assembly, stone circles, avenues and alignments, cairns, monoliths, sculptured and inscribed crosses, sacred wells and ancient chapels. Road-makers and menders have lent a hand with the larger stones. It is sad to think that the memory of such conscientious levellers has perished more swiftly than that of most of the anachronisms they abolished ; for men who spent so much pains in improving their farms by clearing away these obstacles to agriculture deserved some permanent memorial of their names. " James Clague of Ballanorris," for example, " removed from a small eminence on the farm the foundations of a small building known as an old chapel, and at the same time removed a dilapidated stone fence enclosing the above, in the interior of which were stone-lined graves containing human remains. The field is well-known as `the Keeilley.' " " On a slight eminence in a field situated on the margin of Poyll Vaaish, Mr. William Taggart, tenant of Poyll Vaaish farm . . . turned up and rooted out the foundation stones of a building pretty well-known as an old chapel, and surrounding same many stone-lined graves containing human remains were also discovered. No remains can now be seen, but the eminence on which it stood is discernible from other parts of the field." " In the field immediately North of Rahyn farmhouse traces of a small quadrangular building and an irregular enclosure can be seen. Mr. Thos. Kewley, on becoming proprietor about ten years ago . . . removed the walls of what was pretty generally known as an old Chapel. He states that the ruin was then several feet high and enclosed by a rude fence, the track of which is still visible, forming a small mound." No burials were discovered here, but " about 2 chains East a stone cist containing human remains " was removed.
Messrs. Clague, Taggart and Kewley are but mild types of many hundreds of Manxmen who preceded them, and of not a few since. Some must have done worse. The major antiquities are now protected by the Ancient Monuments Trustees, but only a right understanding can save the remnants of the lesser ones.
The brief descriptions and approximate measurements which follow were set down between 60 and 70 years ago by surveyors when engaged in mapping the Island, consequently no pretence is made therein to scientific exactness: but a selection from such memoranda, if not now of definite archæological value, may be of more than sentimental interest, seeing that the antiquities noticed therein have since either suffered further damage or have been finally obliterated. In a few cases the surveyors' remarks relate to monuments of which no material vestige survived even then ; they were merely a traditional memory.
The numbers preceding the items are mine. The internal numbers refer to the sheets and sub-sections of the 6-inch Ordnance Map of the Island. " Number in List " refers to the corresponding item in Mr. P. M. C. Kermode's List of Manx Antiquities, 1930, when I have been able to identify the one with the other.
1. Fort on Ballayemmy, x., 14; now levelled and ploughed over. In an uncultivated field or enclosure the remains may be seen. Irregular in shape, about 50 feet square, surrounded by wall and ditch, part of fence of enclosure forming portion of a wall. East side pretty entire, the walls of earth and stone being about 5 feet high, the North and South sides being traceable but the West side entirely obliterated, the ground being soft and marshy. (No. 1 in List.)
2. Tumulus. A short distance from Ballanicholas Fort No. 2 in List) is a large tumulus known in the district as " the Castle."
3. Cregganmooar. In a field at the West end of one of the Cregganmooar houses several stone cists were found (authority, Jn. Gill, Cregganmooar) when ploughing some years ago. Also one in North-West corner of a small enclosure East of above field found when digging sand.
4. Tumulus, Balnalargy, xii., I. The remains of an ancient tumulus ; during its demolition a stone cist containing several cinerary urns was found.
5. Keeill yn Chiarn, Ballelby, xii., 1. Some time ago a sculptured stone was found about 9 chains Southwards covering a grave containing a battle-axe. From the description given Dr. Oliver is of opinion that the axe dates from Cromwell's time. (No. 10 in List. See also No. 6 of Pre-Christian Remains.)
6. Keeill Crogh. Site of chapel and burial-ground, ix., 10. During improvements some years ago Mr. Quayle of Ballaquayle turned up several stone-lined graves containing human remains, and Mr. Clarke of Ballawyllin remembers the walls of the chapel standing.* At present nothing remains to mark the site. (No. 2 in List.)
* Unless there was another keeill of the same name in the Island, an allusion to these walls occurs in the elegy in Manx on William Walker and Robert Teare, composed about 1730; William's handwriting was so beautiful, says his mother the poet, that he left a sample of it on the " whitened walls of Keeill Chroo " to perpetuate his memory. (See Manx Ballads, page 202.) Were they whitewashed because they were used to house cattle ? Others have been thus used. Earlier mentions of " Kill Croo," Patrick, occur in a Statute of 1710, in reference to the erection of the present church. " Croo " seems to have been the established orthography.
'' Site of chapel," Ballaquine, vi., 12. Omitted on plan, authorities not being reliable. Site of ancient treen chapel. . . . No trace whatever remains. Mr. Kaighen, Ballaquine, states that in levelling the field about four years ago he took up what appeared to be the foundations of a building, and that the stones were very large. Other authorities, Cain of Ballaquine, Dr. Oliver.
8. Site of cairn, vi., 16. Omitted on plan. A number of years ago a large cairn of stones was removed from this field on the farm of Knocksharrey. A stone cist containing human remains was found. The site of the cairn is still distinctly traceable.
9. A few chains North-East of St. John's Schoolhouse, ix., 12, several stone-lined graves containing human remains were found. Others found when repairing the main Douglas-Peel road a few chains South of Ballagaraghyn. Authorities, Harrison of Rockmount and others. Two urns containing human remains in the South-East corner of a field a few chains East of Ballagaraghyn. Cairns or small burrows about 40 chains North of Banff Place, on a slight eminence, supposed to contain cist-vaens and urns. Urns containing calcined remains a few chains South-East of Ballagaraghyn House, also a few chains West of Cronkbreck Cottage.
10. Close to the smithy on the Curragh Glass, ix., 12, a number of stone graves and human remains have been discovered. Authority, Mr. Chas. Gill, blacksmith, Curragh Glass.
11. Tumulus, x., 13. Well-known in the neighbourhood as an ancient Scandinavian burial-place. . . . Opened in 1844 by Mr. Grose, who found a very large stone Cist containing a cinerary urn, full of calcined human remains. (No. 30 or 32 in List ?)
12. Stone circle, iv., 13, on rising ground about 15 chains North of Cronk Koir ; four quartz, boulders. Mr Philip Kneen states that there were a number more till a few years ago. Two now form gate piers in the adjoining field. Urns found in interior of circle. (No. 5 or 6 in List.)
13. Cronk y Croghee, vii., I. Numerous urns containing human remains found here, and on knoll 4 chains North. (Nos. ii and 12 in List.)
14. Ballalionney, vii., 5. Several clay urns containing human remains were discovered about 2o years ago by Mr. Corj eag ; they were enclosed by a circle of large quartz stones, now wholly removed. (No. 21 in List.)
15. On a gravelly knoll in field nearly East of Ballalheigh farmhouse, vii., 5, several rude clay urns containing human remains were found. Omitted on plan.
16. Site of chapel, Cronk ny Fedjag, in centre of field near top, vii., 13 ; said by Thomas Fell, Eary, and William Corlett, Little London, to have been an ancient treen chapel. Mr. Corlett remembers well when the walls were to be traced all round, but there is nothing to be seen of them now except a row of white quartz stones on SouthWest side. Traces of an outer enclosure can still be seen, as shown on plan.
I7. Tumulus on Clerk's Glebe, Jurby, ii., ii. About 8 feet high, sepulchral.
18. Tumulus on Ballachrink, ii., 12. 12 feet high; human remains found when removing part of it a few years ago by J. Clucas, Ballachrink. (No. 3 or 4 in List.)
19. A large cairn of stones on Cashtal-lough was removed about 40 years ago by Mr. Collister. Urns and human remains found. The cairn was formerly called " the Castle," and formed a landmark between Ballaugh and Jurby. No vestige remaining.
2o. Ruins of chapel in Glion ny Killey, in a field about 30 chains South of Churchtown. Walls chiefly composed of stone and rubble, about 3 feet high. The chapel is oval in shape, the doorway or entrance at the West end. A burial-ground at the same place and in v., 13. Both of these are nearly square and raised about 3 feet above the ground. They contain numerous stone coffins, the tops of which in several places are visible. (See 3rd Report of Manx Archæological Survey, page 36, third paragraph.)
21. Tumulus, vii., 4. Oblong mound about 30 feet long by I5 broad and 32 high. Urns containing bones have been found at various times. (NO. 12 in List ?)
22. Barn, Ramsey, v., 6. An oblong building erected as a barn, also used as a place of worship previous to the erection of the present church of St. Olave's ; recently a school was held there, but it is now discontinued. Authorities, Mr. James Woods, Plan in possession of Town Commissioners, Mr. Daniel Callow.
23. Fort, v., it. A few chains North of Ballure Cottage may be seen the remains of an ancient fort. It has been circular in form, and defended by a fosse or ditch. One half of it has now disappeared by the inroads of the sea. A new road has been cut through the remaining portion. Part of the wall still remains, being about 19 feet high and 35 feet broad. The ditch now forms a considerable hollow. (No. 3 in List.)
24. Cairn a little North of Ballachrink, near tumuli, xi., 2. Must have been a very extensive cairn; seems originally to have been an oblong truncated cone running East and West. No information obtainable from the oldest inhabitants.
25. Kilkellan was known in the district as Keeill Carlane, the Church with the Bell. It was said to have been the Only church in the Island possessing a bell. The ruins of the chapel were removed a few years ago by Mr. Kerruish, and numbers of stone-lined graves containing human remains have been discovered by the same gentleman. (No. 11 in List.)
26. Keeill Vian, site of, xi., 2. Human remains discovered by T. Fargher. Mr. Kneale of Grawe says he remembers the chapel and burial-ground in a tolerable state of preservation. (No. 7 in List.)
27. Two tumuli, Hillberry, x., 16; all remaining of a group which stood here some time ago. In the Southern one were found stone cists, bones and urns. (See Nos. 2 and 3 in List.)
28. Cross, Middle, xiii., ii. Stone slab situated on small elevation in the field South of Middle farmhouse. 4 feet high, 1 foot 6 inches broad. No tradition. (Rough sketch of the stone, showing the cross.)
29. The fort at Cass ny Hawin had "traces of a quadrangular building in the interior." (NO. 4 in List.) 30. Ronaldsway. Stone cists containing human remains were turned up a number of years ago on improving a circular eminence in a field West of Ronaldsway farmhouse. The mound is apparently artificial, higher on East and West sides, hollow in the centre, about 4 feet high and 100 feet in diameter. It is supposed by Mr. Robert Cannell to have been a place of burial. Many cartloads of stones were also removed. Omitted from plan.
31. Site of burial-ground immediately North of Ronaldsway. Numerous stone-lined graves containing human remains. About 40 years ago remains of fence enclosing burial-ground was removed ; now no traces of it. The levelled mound is barely traceable.
32. Fort (Scarlett), xvi., 14. Pretty entire fort, . xiewhat circular, wall of earth and stones, about io feet ,gh on East side and defended by ditch or fosse ; on West side only about 2 feet high, defended by the sea and a cut in the rocks. Traces of a quadrangular building may be seen. in the interior. (No. 8 in List.)
33. Burial-ground, Strandhall, xvi., io. On a slight eminence in a field on Strandhall a ploughman turned up several stone-lined graves containing human remains. No indications of a chapel. Omitted on plan, authorities not being reliable.
34. Remains of chapel and burial-ground on Conocan, walls of stone and rubble about 6 feet high, outer enclosure in good state, entirely of sods. J. Cubbon, Conocan, says human remains were found in the outer enclosure. (Not on 6-inch map. I have heard a local tradition that a heeill existed hereabouts.)
35. Cist, Cronk ny Arrey, xv., 16. A considerable eminence situated about 20 chains South-East of Cregneish. Stone cist found here and human remains ; Mr. J. Collister, the proprietor, was present at the time.
36. Fort (remains of barrow), xvi., I. Several rude slabs, apparently the remains of stone cists. Divided by a fence; about half the mound on the South side of same is seemingly undisturbed, the other half is entirely removed. The portion of the mound on the North side of the fence is pretty much destroyed, but still distinctly traceable. The whole has been surrounded by a fence or ditch, the Western portion of which is pretty entire. Little is known beyond that it is a supposed place of burial. (Nos. 4 and 5 in List.)