My aim in the following pages is to give a complete account of the Personal Names and Place-Names of the Isle of Man. With regard to the former, I can confidently state that no names which have continued in the island for more than a very limited period have been omitted ; and with regard to the latter, which are more difficult to secure, as changes are going on every year, I believe that I have included all of any importance. No one has hitherto attempted to explain Manx Personal Names, though there have been several explorers into the Place-Names, among whom is Canon Taylor, who, in his, most interesting book on ‘ Words and Places,’ has correctly translated a few of them. The others, not being equipped with his know-ledge, have made the most ludicrous blunders, some of which are so amusing as to be worth quoting:

BALLAUGH—beulach, ‘ a pass ;‘ CASSNAHOWIN—Cassivelaunus (a British chief). The following are some of a number supplied by an enthusiastic Welshman:

 SULBY—Sui-dydd, ‘ Sunday ;‘ BEMAHAGUE—benW-hIZig, ‘ a multitude of women ;‘ BAi~LIG—beddgw, ‘ a hedgehog;’ BIBALoE—~ibawl, ‘ squirting ;‘ BALLAKERMEEN—Balacor-trefau, ‘ a rising college in a small town ;‘ MAUGHOLD—MacMad, ‘ making secure an embankment ;‘ LONAN—han, ‘ full ;‘ CONCHAN—Congyl, ‘ a corner, an angle.’ From such mistakes as these I have been delivered by having a knowledge of the topography of the island; but I am fully conscious that I also must have made many mistakes, though scarcely of so obvious a kind, in dealing with such a difficult subject and one in which ambiguities necessarily abound. I therefore cast myself upon the indulgence of my readers, and shall hope for their aid in pointing out any errors I may have fallen into.

I have to record my thanks to the rectors and vicars of the country parishes for their courtesy in permitting me to take notes from the registers under their charge.

I have also to thank the Commissioners of H.M. Woods and Forests for giving me access to the Manorial Rolls ; and to the Place-Names Committee of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society for the names collected by them. To Pro-fessor Rhýs I am deeply indebted for his valuable preface, and to him, Canon Taylor, Mr. Henry Bradley, Dr. Joyce, whose excellent book on Irish Place-Names I have freely quoted, and the late Dr. Vigfusson for advice and assistance on various points.



June, 1890.


Back index next

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000