[From Haining's Guide, 1822]


The Situation, Extent, Name, and Arms of the Isle of Man..

The Isle of Man is situated in the centre of his Majesty's European dominions; lies in the middle of St. George's Channel, or the Irish Sea; and is nearly equally distant from Englard, Scotland, anst Ireland.

Maughold Head, the N. E. part of the Island, is distant 30 miles from St. Bees, in Cumberland. The Point- of. Ayre, on the northern extremity of the Island, is distant 16 miles from Burrow Head, in Wigtonshire, Scotland. Peel-Castle, on the west side, is 27 miles from the north of -Ireland; and the Calf of Man, which lies to the south-west of the Island, is 45 miles distant from Holyhead, in North Wales.

The Island lies in the Irish sea, between 54° and 55° north latitude, and 5° west longitude. It is about thirty miles in length, and from ten to twelve in breadth; running out in small points at the two ends. The circumference of the Island is about seventy miles, and it, contains 220 square miles. A ridge of mountains runs from the N.W. to the S. W., dividing the Island into two parts, and these mountains are only fit for pasturage : the uninclosed part is a common. 'The inhabitants have a right to send their sheep there. The number is regulated by the quantity of land which they hold, and, in general, they take advantage of this privilege, during the summer months.

The situation of the Island, and the distances from the headlands of it, to the opposite headlands and harbours in the channel, will appear more distinctly from the following table of the compass bearings and distances, as given by nautical men

From Douglas Head to

Skerries Light, SW by S — 45 miles
Great Orms Head, S ¼ W — 54 miles
Chester Bar, S by E — 60 miles
Liverpool N W Buoy, S by E ½ E — 60 miles
Preston Channel, SE by S — 60 miles
Lancaster Channel, SE ¾ E — 54 miles
Peel Foudry, SE by E — 10 miles
Ravenglass, E by S — 40 miles
St. Bees' Light, E by N — 42 miles

From Maughold Head to

Liverpool NW Buoy, S ½ E — 66 miles
Lancaster Channel, SE ½ S — 50 miles
Ravenglass, ESE — 37 Miles
Whitehaven, E ½ N — 31 miles
Workington, E N E: — 36 miles
Maryport, ENE ½ N — 40 miles
Dumfries Bar, NE by E ½ E. — 49 miles
Belcarey Bay, NE by E — 40 miles
Kirkcudbright, N.E — 32 miles

From Mull to

Mull of Galloway N ½ W — 26 miles
Copeland Isles, N hy W ¾ W — 37 miles
Strangford Lough, NW by W — 27 miles
Ardglas, NW by W¼ W — 32 miles
Carlingford Lough, W by N ¼ N — 50 miles

From Point of Ayre to

Whitehaven, E by S ¼ S — 28 miles
Maryport, E by S — 37 miles
Dumfries, E by N ½ N — 43 miles
Belcarey Bay, ENE — 31 miles
Kirkcudbright, N E — 24 miles
Burrow Head, NNE — 16 miles
Mull of Galloway, NW by N ½ N — 21 miles
Copeland Isles, Belfast, NW ½ N — 38 miles
Strangford Lough, W by N ½ N — 40 miles

From the Calf of Man to

Mull of Galloway, NNE — 36 miles
Copeland Isles — 43 miles
Strangford tough, NNW ½ W — 29 miles
Ardglass, NW½ N — 31 miles
llundrum, NW — 37 miles
Carlingford Lough,WNW— -45 miles
Dublin, W by S ½ S — 60 miles
Wexford, SW by W — 113 miles
Holyhead, SSW — 45 miles
Great Orms Head, S by E — 54 miles
Liverpool NW Buoy, SSE, 2 E — 65 miles

As the ancient records of the Island have not been transmitted to us, having probably been destroyed by barbarous invaders, or carried off by the Danes when they quitted it; or, according to some, by the Countess of Derby, when released from prison at the restoration of Charles ; we are, in a great measure, ignorant of its early history; and many interesting events, and the customs of the first inhabitants must for ever remain unknown to posterity: but from the mention made of it by Caesar in his Commentaries, it must have been discovered and inhabited, probably, long before his day; and was, very likely, the last refuge to the Druids, expelled from the Isle of Anglesey by the conquering Romans. It must be admitted, however, that there are scarcely any vestiges remaining of their having been the dominant party, and that their worship had been conducted on tiic magnificent and extensive scale that it had been done in Britain. But various reasons may be given for reconciling this want of appearance with the truth of the supposition that they inhabited the Isle of Man, until the mighty influence of the gospel of Jesus Christ completely destroyed the bloody and barbarous system of the Druids; and, by its mild benevolence, captivated men to become the worshippers of Him, who came to publish peace on earth and good will to men.

Various opinions have been entertained by etymologists respecting the derivation of the name Man. Some suppose that it has been derived from the Saxon word Mang or Among, and was used in reference to its situation among surrounding kingdoms. Others believe it to be derived front Maune the Sirname of St. Patrick; but the natives, who call it in their own language Manning, have a tradition that it received this appellation from a prince, who is still the hero of their fables, called Mananan.-The following extract from a work that professes to discuss this subject, will authorise us to apply the name to this Island:

Etymologists are not. agreed respecting the derivation of its name. Bishop Wilson supposed it to be an abbreviation of Manning; its present appellation, signifying in that language Among. This Isle being surrounded by other territories, :some suppose it to be derived from Mona, a word which they imagine, but without sufficient authority, to have been used by Caesar to denote this Island. Mona and Monoida are classed by Ptolemy under' the heads of Irish Islands. Pliny informs us that Mona and Monapia lie between Ireland and Britain; and the Mona of Tacitus is undoubtedly Anglesey, since he relates in his annals the circumstance of the infantry of Suetonius crossing from the main land in flat bottomed boats, and of the horse partly fording the passage upon the shoals, and partly swimming over. And again, we are informed in the life of Agricola, that the army under the command of that General crossed the straits without the assistance of tiny vessels, and so frightened the inhabitants, by the boldness of such conduct, that they immediately sued for peace.

Perhaps the words Mona and :Man may both of them be derived from the ancient British word Mòn, accented grave in Owen's Dictionary, and signifying what is isolated."

This writer appears evidently to have been mistaken, when he said, that there is not sufficient authority to suppose that Cæsar used the word Mona, when speaking of this Island, for the following quotation from his commentaries, will admit of.no other application :-

'"Alterum lotus Britanniæ vergit ad hispaniam atque occidentem solen; qua ex parte est Hibernia, dimidio minor, ut æstintatur, quam Britannia, sed pari spatio transmissus, atque ex Gallia est in Britanniam. In hoc medio cursa est insula quae appellatur Mona. Complures prae minores objectae insulæ existimantur."

The words in Italics unquestionably refer to the Isle of Man, and this opinion is strengthened by the manner in which Caesar obtained his information ; for not relying on the vague reports which had reached him, he sent vessels along the coast to explore it, and to gain correct intelligence, but from the hostility of the inhabitants, they would not have ventured so near as to ascertain that the Isle of Anglesey was separated from the main land, although they might have sailed round this Island without any danger.

The Isle of Man is undoubtedly the Mona of Caesar, and the probable conjecture respecting the etymology of the name is, that this Island was originally called Mang, surrounded; or Mün, signifying isolated, and that Cæsar gave it the Latin termination.

The arms of the Isle of Man, before it was vanquished by the King of Scotland, were a ship with the sails furled, and the motto-Rex Manniae et Insularum, but after the Scottish conquest they were changed to three legs, uniting at the upper part of the thigh, clothed and spurred with the motto-Stabit Quocunque Jeceris. On the subject of the insignia and motto, the following observations, extracted from a late periodical publication, appear just and deserving of attention:-

The three legs refer to the relative situation of the Island, with respect to the neighbouring nations of England, Scotland, and Ireland, previous to the union of any two of these; since which the symbol entirely loses its propriety, and has become obsolete and unmeaning. While England, Scotland, and Ireland were belligerent nations, the existence of Mona as an independent state, must depend on an armed neutrality, and the alternate protection which it might be able to challenge from any one against the hostile aggressions of the other two.

The legs are armed, which denotes self-defence. The spurs, denote speed; and while in whatever positions they are placed, two of them fall into the attitude of supplication; the third, which will be upward and behind, appears to be kicking at the assailant, against whom the other two are imploring protection. The vis of the symbol is, that if England should seek to oppress it, it would soon engage Ireland or Scotland, to afford protection; and if either of these should assail it, that it would hasten to call England to its defence. The motto, which is an Iambic Dimeter:-Stabit Quocunqne Jeceris which ever way you throw it, is will stand, is very ingeniously contrived to agree, both in sense and style, with the intention and attitude of the legs, whether taken in English or Latin. You cannot change the position of the legs in the plain, so as to alter their attitude, and no transposition of the words will change their sense. The occult moral of this emblem presents the instructive parable of- A brave man struggling with the storms of fate.'

The character is constituted by the conjunction of humility, energy, and fortitude. His attitude is that of supplication ; but it is, at the same time, that of activity. He is only on one knee: with one limb he implores assistance, with two he serves himself. With the sense of dependence on strength superior to his own, lie combines the most strenuous exertions of his own energies to the modesty of supplication, he conjoins the discretion of armour and the activity of the spur. Whatever lot Providence may appoint to such a man, wherever it shall cast him, he will stand."

This emblem was remarkably significant with regard both to its relative situation to the neighbouring kingdoms, and its dependence upon them for aid ; and the motto was very expressive of the fate of Mona, amid the changes which might take place in their affairs.


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001