[From Thwaites' Directory, 1863]
TOPOGRAPHY OF THE ISLAND.
DOUGLAS, the most important and considerable town in the island, occupies a pleasant situation on the south side of a large semicircular bay, and near the confluence of the two rivers, the Dhoo and the Glass. It is distant 10 miles N.E. from Castletown, 16 S. from Ramsey, and about 11 miles E. from Peel. It is principally situated in the parish of Onchan, though a small part lies in that of Braddan. For all civil purposes it is connected with the former, but for all ecclesiastical matters with the latter. According to the population returns for 1861, Douglas contained 1,888 houses and 12,389 inhabitants. Of the houses, 1,740 were occupied, 117 untenanted, and 31 in course of erection. Of the inhabitants, 5,384 were males and 7,005 females. By the census returns of 1851, the number of houses in the town were 1,273 and the population 9,880; so that, during the ten years there has been an increase of 615 houses and 2,509 inhabitants. It must, however, be borne in mind that a considerable portion of the parish of Onchan, consisting of the localities of Derby square, Crellins field, Woodville, The Lawn, &c., were included in the returns for 1861, with Douglas, while in previous years they have been given with the returns for Onchan.
The town is built in the form of a triangle. The old part extends along the lower ground in the south western margin of the bay, occupying a slightly-raised sea beach at the mouth of the river. The new part rises on the cliff above, with a continuation north and south. The old streets are constructed very irregularly, and in many instances they are very crooked and narrow. Great improvements have, however, been made within the last few years, and at the present time few towns can excel this in elegance and accommodation. Handsome terraces and streets have been erected, containing many excellent houses and shops, from some of which most beautiful prospects of the bay and neighbouring headlands are obtained. The town is well paved, lighted with gas, and abundantly supplied with water. The salubrity of the air and the purity of the water, the fine beach, and the cheapness of all the necessaries of life, have rendered Douglas a favourite resort for sea bathers during the summer season; and since the establishment of regular communication with the sister isles, several thousands of people have annually visited here.
On approaching Douglas by sea, the visitor is presented with a scene which for beauty and variety cannot be surpassed. On rounding either of the headlands, the stranger finds himself in one of the most beautiful and lovely bays in the world, and the eye takes in a variety of objects forming a most splendid panorama. The surrounding country continues to rise for miles inland, terminating in a crescent of magnificent mountains, and presenting at one view an amphitheatre of hill and dale, and of diversified beauty and grandeur. Many of the nearer fine eminences and lawns are adorned by the handsome new town of Douglas, whilst others are studded with farm houses and gentlemens elegant country seats, prominent amongst which may be seen the fine mansions rising above the south quay, Castle Mona, Falcon Cliff, and Derby Castle, near the northern part of the beach. In the month of August, 1847, Her Majesty gazed on this noble and panoramic scene with wonder and delight.
Douglas Bay is in form like an elongated crescent. In width it is about two miles. It is sheltered from every wind except from the east and south-east. It is bounded on the north-east by the lofty headland of Banks Howe, and on the south-west by the bold promontory of Douglas Head. On the latter, which extends a considerable distance in the sea, stands the principal lighthouse, the light of which is stationary, and appears, at a distance of 14 miles, like a star of the first magnitude. It was erected by the Commissioners of Harbours in 1833. In the centre of the bay, about a quarter of a mile from the shore, is Saint Marys, or the Conister rock, on which formerly, in stormy weather, many vessels have suffered shipwreck. With a view to prevent these calamities, in 1833 a Tower of Refuge was erected, which not only acts as a beacon at high water, but offers a retreat for those poor mariners who may have the misfortune to be shipwrecked in the hay. This benevolent object was carried into effect through the instrumentality of the late Sir Wm. Hilary, Bart., the founder of the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Ship wreck. A little nearer the shore, near the entrance of the harbour, lies the Pollock Rock, on which formerly stood an ancient fortress. In an old MSS. History of the Island it is thus described :" Douglas hath also a most considerable forte, strongly built of hard stone, round in forme, upon which are a mounted tower and four pieces of ordnance. It is commanded by a constable and a lieutenant. The constable and two of the soldiers (which are there in continual pay) are bound to lye in the forte every night, and four of the townsmen are bound to keep watch and ward upon the ramparts betwixt the forte and the tower." According to Waldron, this fort was as old as the time of the Romans, and it is most probable that it was con-constructed by them. The same writer also informs us that it was here that Caratack, the brother of Boadicia, Queen of Britain, concealed his nephew from the fury of the Romans. The place where he was hid was most probably the compartment called the Great Mans Chamber. This was a strong secret room underground, having no passage in or out but by a hole covered with a large stone. In 1818, much to the regret of the inhabitants, this relic of antiquity was taken down, in accordance with an Act passed to that effect by the Insular Legislature. Previous to its demolition, it had been used for some time as a lock-up.
As a bathing place in fine weather, the bay of Douglas is unexcelled. The strength and clearness of the water, and the extent and fineness of the beach, (the bed of the shore consisting of fine sand,) both contribute to render it one of the most agreeable bathing places in this part of Europe. The remarkable clearness of the water proved on one occasion a great source of comfort to an old lady who had just come from Yorkshire. It appears she had experienced rather a rough passage across the deep blue sea, and like many others, had suffered no little from sickness. On nearing Douglas Head, she happened to take a glance over the side of the boat, and seeing the bottom of the water, expressed her satisfaction at having arrived at a place where there was no fear of being drowned. Somehow or other the old lady had forgot that the boat on which she stood drew ten feet of water.
The harbour of Douglas is reckoned the finest dry one in the Irish Sea, but the entrance is rather difficult, especially in stormy weather. At high water, vessels of considerable burthen can approach the quay, the depth of water at that time averaging from 15 to 20 feet. Like the bay, it afforded but poor shelter during stormy winds from the east and south-east, till the erection of the jetty from the opposite shore to the harbour. It is a substantial stone structure, extending in the water about 200 feet. It was built in 1847. In 1826, Sir William Hilary drew public attention to the national importance of having a great central harbour for the Irish Sea, and he pointed out Douglas as offering the principal advantage. He shewed that besides a considerable quantity of property many lives had been lost in the seas between Britain and Ireland, from the want of such a place for protection. The subject being afterwards revived, Sir John Rennie was deputed to make a survey, and from his report it appeared that the expense of making a breakwater, &c., within which a fine basin, with excellent anchorage of from 40 to 50 acres, possessing various depths from 34 to 29 feet at the lowest ebb, would be from £200,000 to £250,000. Since then, other surveys have been made, but the one recommended by Mr. Walker, Engineer to the Admiralty, has been agreed to by time Tynwald Court, and in order to its accomplishment they have voted £50,000 to be paid out of the funds placed under their control by the Customs Consolidation Act. This important work will comprise a stone breakwater, commencing by the battery near Fort Anne, and extending in the sea for a distance of 367 yards. This, with a considerable extension of the present pier, will not only afford good shelter to the vessels in the harbour, but will also enable the steamers and other vessels to land their passengers in smooth water at all times and in all weather. The works were commenced in the early part of this year.
One of the most attractive features in Douglas is its beautiful pier. It was erected at a cost of £22,000, partly defrayed by the British Government. The first stone was laid by John, Duke of Atholl, on the 24th July, 1793, and after a period of nearly seven years, this noble structure was completed. It is 520 feet in length, and for the first 450 feet is 40 feet in breadth. Towards the end it expands to the breadth of 90 feet, and. is terminated by a circular area of greater elevation, and approached by a flight of eight steps. At the end of the pier, in the centre of the elevated area, stands a beautiful lighthouse, containing one light, fixed, and visible in clear weather at a distance of five miles. Both the pier and lighthouse are built of yellow freestone, obtained in the vicinity of Runcorn, in Cheshire. In consequence of the steamers not being able to approach the quay to land their passengers at low water, the Harbour Commissioners, in 1818, erected a landing stage on Pollock Rock, for the landing and embarkation of passengers at low water, with insular winds. The Quays are spacious, and are well adapted for the purposes intended. Previous to the passing of the Fiscal Bill, in 1844, all vessels carrying licensed goods were obliged by Act of Parliament to deliver their cargoes at this port. Since that time, however, licensed goods, under certain restrictions, may be delivered either here or at any of the other three principal ports. On the Douglas Head, near the lighthouse, is a two gun battery, affording protection both to the entrance of the harbour and the anchorage of the bay in time of need. Near this battery have recently been mounted four other guns. They are for time practice of the Douglas Artillery Volunteers. A powder magazine is attached.
The Market Place comprises a small plot of ground at the bottom of Duke Street. The market, which is held on Saturdays, is well supplied with fish, butchers meat, and other provisions, both good in quality and abundant in quantity. According to Sacheverell, 160 years ago provisions were purchased far cheaper than now; although at the present time the island is noted for the low prices of its produce. At that time, a fat goose was sold for sixpence, a hen or duck for threepence, a lobster for a penny ; while crabs were almost given away, the price being a penny a dozen~ Subsequently, in 1793, we are informed by the Manks Mercury, that the price of beef was 3½d., and pork and mutton 2½d. per lb. On the 20th January, 1838, the Wellington Market, in Duke Street, was opened. It is a large and substantial stone building, and was erected by a company of shareholders, at a cost of about £4,000. At the upper end, and on each side of the ground floor, used as the Market Place, was erected a number of stalls, which on the opening were let by auction, at an average rate of seven pounds for the first ten months. The speculation, however, proved an entire failure; the people preferring to stand in the open market place, rather than in the new Market Hall, which had been solely erected for them. On one occasion a woman, on being asked the reason of this (says the Liverpool Mercury,) we were told that she could get a better price for her stuff on a wet day, as the English and strangers would not stand chaffering with her in the rain. Since its erection, the Wellington Market has undergone considerable alterations, which have only been effected at a great additional expense. The part fronting to Wellington Street, has been turned into shops, offices, &tc., while that portion in Drumgold Street has been converted into shops and an auction room. At the present time, the main building, besides the ground floor, comprises a large upper room capable of accommodating 1,000 persons. In the winter season, it is occasionally used for tea festivals, and in the summer time for lectures, concerts, and other public purposes. An annual cattle fair is held on the 12th November.
The places of worship are St. Matthews Chapel, in the Market Place, a small antique structure, and one of the two churches erected by the much-respected Bishop Wilson, in 1808. The late Duke of Atholl formerly occupied a seat in this venerable edifice, the canopy under which he sat being now occupied by the organ. The benefice, which is in the gift of the Bishop, is enjoyed by the Rev. John Cannell. St. Georges Church occupies a small eminence a little north of Atholl Street. It is a plain and commodious structure, encompassed with trees and surrounded by a spacious cemetery. This church has accommodation for 800 hearers. It was erected with funds raised by subscription (luring the episcopate of Bishop Mason, being commenced in 1761 and completed in 1780. Though externally very plain, its interior is exceedingly tasteful and well arranged. In this church may be seen a bust of the late Professor Edw. Forbes, a native of Douglas. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the presentation of the Bishop. The Rev. William Hawley is the incumbent. St. Barnabas Church, in Fort Street, was founded by Bishop Ward in 1830. It is an elegant and commodious edifice, in the early style of English architecture. At the west end is a tower from which rises a fine lofty spire, 140 feet high. The interior, which is neatly fitted up, is lighted by thirty long cleristory windows. This church will seat about 1,500 hearers. Of the sittings, 500 are free, in respect of the land for the building, which was given by the British Government. When nearly completed, the church was disposed of by the bishop to a Church Building Society in London, for £1,300. The Rev. Joseph Hy. Gray, M.A., is in the enjoyment of the living, a perpetual curacy. St. Thomas Church, in Finch Road, is a large elegant structure, in the early English style of architecture. It was opened on the 1st August, 1849, and was erected from the design of Ewan Christian, Esq. It contains nave, chancel, side aisles, and tower, in the latter of which is a fine peal of eight musical bells. They were presented by the Rev. Richard Catley (a former curate) and his wife. In the tower is also an excellent clock, the gift of the late W. Lander, Esq. According to the original design, the tower is intended to be surmounted by a spire, which will be erected as soon as funds are raised for that purpose. The interior is tastefully fitted up, and contains an excellent organ, the production of the well-known makers, Messrs. Forster and Andrews, of Hull. The church contains sittings for 1,000 hearers; 500 of the sittings are free. The cost of erection was raised by subscription, aided by a grant of £500 from the Incorporated Society for Building Churches. Towards the building, the late C. Saltmarshe, Esq., contributed £750. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Bishop, and incumbency of the Rev. Samuel Simpson, M.A.
Besides the churches belonging to the Establishment, the Dissenters have several places of worship in the town. The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, in Thomas Street, was erected in the year 1816, in place of a former structure, which was found too small for the wants of the increasing community. The present building is a commodious one, having accommodation for about 1,000 persons. The Wesleyans have also another chapel in the Well Road. It was built in 1836; but since its erection, has undergone considerable alterations and improvements. An organ was added during the past year. At the present time this chapel will seat about 500 persons. Day and Sunday Schools are attached to both these places of worship, and are well attended. The Primitive Methodist Chapel, in Wellington Street, was erected in 1 823; but, in consequence of the increased number of its attendants, was enlarged and otherwise improved in 1842. It has now sittings for about 800 persons. The Independent Chapel is situated in Atholl Street. It is a plain building, and was erected by subscription in 1813. The Independent-Methodists are under the ministration of the Rev. John Chater. The Presbyterian Church (in connection with the Church of Scotland) occupies a pleasant situation in Finch Road. It is a neat structure, in the Gothic style of architecture, and has accommodation for 300 persons. It was erected in 1830-1 ; the cost of erection being defrayed by voluntary contributions, raised through the untiring efforts of the late Mr. James McCrone, crown agent in the island. Adjoining the church, is a residence for time minister, the Rev. James Cleland.
The Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary is situated at the junction of Bucks road and Hills street. The foundation stone was laid on the 27th October, 1857, and the Church was opened on the 4th August, 1859. It was built by Mr. White, of Pimlico, from the designs of Henry Clutton, Esq., Architect, of New Burlington Street, London. The cost of erection was about £7000, raised partly by subscription. The architecture is the French style of the first part of the thirteenth century. The Church was erected through the untiring efforts of the senior resident priest, the Rev. James Carr. It lies, as nearly as the nature of the site permits, east and west. The east end is built out into an apse-shaped chancel,three sides of an octagon, flanked by two towers. This chancel is lighted by three wide double windows, pointed arched, with mullions and tracery. Under the towers are two single-light pointed windows. A crenellated cornice is carried round the top of the apse, and crowned with an open-worked crest; behind which, the roof retires in three sides to meet the ridge. From the point of juncture springs a cross made of iron gilt, and enclosed in a circle after the ancient Manx model. The towers are belted round with four broad flat plinths marking the stories. The side walls and west end are plain and without buttress or projection. At seventeen feet above the floor level a broad plinth and string moulding pass right round the building, on which rest the windows; these are five in each side, and four at the west end, uniform with the two tower windows. The gable space above the line of windows in the west end is relieved by a large St. Catherines wheel. A Manx cross, in stone, surmounts time gable. The glass of all the windows is quarried. The windows of the side walls are furnished with large hopper ventilators. The entrance porch is placed on the south side, close to the west end. It is a heavy gabled arch of solid masonry, resting in front on two pillars. The entrance itself is double, divided by a square pillar, with a bracket for an image. The doors are ponderous gates of solid oak. The material from which the church is built is the common schist or slab stone of the neighbourhood. The dressings and porch are of Whitehaven red stone. The dimensions outside are length, 130 feet; width, 60 feet; height to eaves, 40 feet; to gable point, 63 feet. The towers are 17 feet square, and 80 feet high: when finished, they will stand nearly as high again. In a line with the east end, projecting at a right angle from the south wall, supporting the church on that side against the natural fall of ground, stands the presbytery. The lower end of the east front is brought forward in a wide bay, extending the full height of the house, with the gable above sloped off, and a vane on the top to match the chancel apse. The other two faces are flat and simple, in keeping with the side view of the church caught in time same coup doil. A garden, bounded by a high wall of schist coped in red stone, encloses church and presbytery on the east and south sides. Facing the porch, a bold archway and large folding gates defend the approach up to the church. This arch is not quite completed. The short avenue is closed in on each hand by a low bank planted with young trees. The interior consists of a nave and two aisles, separated by two lines of wide, lofty, pointed arches. The supporting columns are octagonal, of red stone, with white caen stone capitals. One or two of the capitals are carved in lilies; the rest are left in the rough, with boutons ready for the sculptor. A red stone string course is drawn round the apse under the windows, and prolonged down the nave, and carried over the arches in labels or hood mouldings. The roof is open, battened and plastered, cradled on closely-set large scantlings of Baltic fir. It is not broken by clerestories, but brought down in a single slope on each side to the outer walls, a peculiarity in the construction, which gives the aisles a remarkably lofty expression. The east end of the nave is devoted to the sanctuary or chancel, which fills the area between the inner walls of the towers, and the concave of the apse. There is no chancel arch, but the nave is carried right through into the sanctuary, and the church throughout its entire height and length is open from end to end. On each side of the chancel, under the towers and facing the aisles, are two side chapels. Chancel and side chapels are separated from the nave and aisles by a line of shallow steps stretching across the church from side to side;two in front of the side chapels and four in front of the chancel. The high altar is elevated by three steps above the chancel pavement, and the altars in the side chapels two steps above their floors. The nave measures 106 feet by 28 feet, the aisles 106 feet by 10 feet,the chancel 28 feet by 27 feet 7 inches through the centre, the arches 33 feet 3 inches high by 16 feet 6 inches wide, the columns 20 feet high and 2 feet in diameter. The Organ loft is fixed across the west end of the nave. A handsome baptismal font of caen stone, on a shaft of the same, surrounded by six small dark-coloured marble pillars, occupies the last bay in the west end of the south aisle, close to the porch. Round the west end also, are ranged the confessionals, three in number, one under the organ loft, and one against the wall in each aisle; they are of Baltic fir, and made in design to harmonize with the general architecture of the building, having the centre arched on small pillars and gabled over. The floor under the benches in the naves, is boarded for greater warmth. In the open parts and aisles it is laid with a blueish self-faced leath flag, and in the chancel and chapels with a gray-tinted flag of better quality, from Cumberland. The appointments are of the plainest, open-kneeling benches of Christiana deal, stained, without ornament. In front of the benches there is a small platform for preaching from, contrived not to interrupt the view of the altar. In the chancel, a wooden framework altar is erected, with a damask curtain hanging round the wall behind. In the side chapels are two more wooden altars. Two large white stone images rest on brackets against the chancel piers, and a third over the altar of the south side chapel. A colossal crucifix in wood is erected against the north wall, facing the porch. Built into the same wall, framed in stone, are two alto-relievo stations of the "Way of the Cross." All these are mortuary memorials, bearing appropriate inscriptions. The Church is calculated to seat 400 persons, exclusive of spacious standing room. At present, the effect of the interior is empty and cold, a defect time and means will remedy, but withal, majestically ample and lofty,thanks to generous proportions and good light. The Priests at Douglas are the Revs. James Carr, Thomas Bridges, and Robert Gillow.
Besides the numerous places of worship, Town Missionaries are employed to carry the Gospel to the more negligent and degraded parts of the population, who are often found awfully destitute of religious information; yet in many instances the labours of the missionaries have been eminently successful. There is a Town Mission House, or Seamens Bethell, a small building on the North Quay. Messrs. Henry Bolton and William Smith are town missionaries. There is also a Protestant Association, which has been established some time. Amongst the other religious and benevolent institutions may be classed the Sunday Schools, of the advantages of which Douglas availed itself as early as most places; and the friends of Episcopacy, as well as the various sects of Dissenters, have shown an equal anxiety for their promotion. Sunday Schools are attached to all the places of worship, and are working a vast amount of good both for the town and neighbourhood. In connection with St. Georges Church, are commodious National Schools for boys and girls, in Atholl Street. They were erected in 1810, at a cost of £1,120, defrayed by subscriptions. Each room is capable of accommodating 400 children. The schools are supported by voluntary contributions, and are under the superintendence of Mr. Wm. Battersby and Miss Margaret Lewin. St. Barnabas National Schools are in Cattle Market Street. They were erected in 1857, with funds raised by the Rev. Wm. Carpenter, a former incumbent of St. Barnabas Church. In 1830, these schools underwent considerable improvement, besides which they were greatly enlarged. The schools, which are most numerously attended, are conducted by Mr. Thomas Green. Besides these, there are three Infant Schools connected with the Established Church. These are, St. Georges, in Barrack Street, where about 200 children receive instruction, under the superintendence of Mrs. E. Gill; St. Barnabas, Fort Street, conducted by Miss J. Gell; and St. Thomas, Chester Street, which is attended by about 70 children, who are instructed by Miss S. E. Davies. The Wesleyan Methodists have Day Schools in connection with their chapels, in St. Thomas Street and Well Road. The former was originally erected as a chapel, but being found too small, a more spacious building was constructed, and the old one was converted into a school. About 180 boys and girls attend, who are under the tuition of Mr. Wm. Cotterill. The lower room, which is occupied by infants (of whom about 100 attend) is under the management of Miss E. Davies. The school in Well Road has accommodation for about 100, and is attended by about 80 children, instructed by Mr. Wm. Parker. The Catholic School for boys and girls, on Stanley Mount, is a large building, opened in 1861. The entire cost of erection was about £1,400, which was defrayed by voluntary contributions, aided by grants from Government. About 200 children attend, who are under the superintendence of Miss Margaret Dowling. Previous to the erection of the present school rooms, the Catholics occupied a small building at the junction of Atholl Street and Prospect Hill. The Middle School, in Windsor Place, was erected by Mrs. Cecil Hall, to supply the place of the old Grammar School. It is conducted by Mr. Hugh Derrig, a member of the University of London. The ornamental portions of the building are of red free-stone. The large schoolroom is a noble apartment, with a lofty open roof of timber. Besides the numerous public schools, there are several private educational establishments well worthy of notice. Amongst those may be named Crescent Academy, conducted by Mr. Alexander Steele, Ph. D., A.M., which has long been noted for its efficient management and the intellectual and physical advancement of its pupils. Atholl House Academy, conducted by Mr. Isaiah McBurney, LL.D., F.S.A.S., &c., a gentleman whose well-known abilities are a sufficient recommendation for the high-class character of his school. Glenlyon School, conducted by Mr. James A. McMullen, M.A., is also noted as being a first-style classical and commercial boarding school, unexcelled by any in the island.
The Periodical Press of Douglas furnishes three newspapers weekly. The oldest of these is the Manx Sun, an ably-conducted paper, and a strong supporter of the Conservative interest. It was commenced in April, 1821, and is issued on Wednesdays and Saturdays in summer, and on Saturday in winter. Mrs. Harriet Curphey is time publisher and proprietor. The Monas Herald (Liberal) was established in Aug., 1833. It is conducted by Mr. R. Fargher, and is issued on the same days as the Manx Sun in summer, and on Wednesday in winter. The Isle of Man Times was commenced at a later period. It is published on Saturday, by Mr. James Brown. Besides these, a weekly Advertising Circular is issued by Mr. Richard Johnson.
There are two News Rooms in time townthe Protestant Institute News Room, on Prospect Hill, and the Sailors News Room and Library, on the Pier. The former is supported by an annual contribution of 20s., or a weekly subscription of 6d. It is well supplied with all time leading weekly and daily papers, and is under the secretaryship of Mr. Thos. Green. A small room in Wilton Buildings, Duke Street, has recently been converted into a Temperance Hall, for which purpose it is occasionally used.
Amongst the numerous charitable institutions provided by the benevolence of the public in Douglas, none claim so high a place as the House of Industry. It is the poors house, to which every destitute person in the town is at liberty to resort for shelter and subsistence. The house occupies a very pleasant situation in Harris Terrace. It was opened in February, 1838, and was erected principally through the exertions of the Rev. Dr. Carpenter, a former incumbent of St. Barnabas Church. It is a commodious stone building, capable of accommodating 80 inmates. The cost of erection was defrayed by voluntary contributions, aided by a grant of £800 from the British Government. This charitable institution is entirely supported by donations and subscriptions, and by collections at the different places of worship. At the present time, the number of inmates is 76; besides which, considerable assistance is rendered to a large number of out-door pensioners. The management of the institution is vested in a committee of 24 gentlemen, twelve of whom, including the high bailiff of Douglas and the ministers and wardens of the established church, are ex-of/icio; the remaining twelve are elected annually by the subscribers. The house is under the superintendence of John and Frances Christian. The Ladies soup dispensary, in Fort Street, has been established for a number of years, and has been the means of affording much relief to the poor and those suffering temporary privations. This institution (which is supported by voluntary contributions) is under the management of Mrs. Margaret Gracey. The Isle of Man General Hospital and Dispensary, in Fort Street, was estabhished in 1839; since which time, it has conferred extensive benefits upon the humbler residents, not only of Douglas, but. of the whole island. It furnishes accommodation to in-door patients, besides extending its benefits to the poorer residents of the town amid neighbourhood. Mr. J. J. Adair, A.B., M.D., is the resident medical officer, and Miss Coole, matron.
The Savings Bank is in Thomas Street, and is open to receive deposits and pay out money every Saturday, from one to two and seven to eight p.m. According to the report for the year ending 31st December, 1862, the balance due on the 31st December, 1861, was £26791 17s. 9d.: the amount received from depositors during the past year, £5538 11s. 2d.; the total amount received for interest, £1012 11s. 3d.; and the amount received for deposit books, £1 3s. 8d.; making a total of £33,344 3s. ld. The amount paid to depositors during the past year was £5,911 18s. 11d.; the cost of management, &c., £80 3s. 10d. ; the, balance being £27,352 1s. 1d. Of the accounts, 278 did not exceed £6; 162 were above £5, and not exceeding £10; 187 above £10, and not exceeding £20; 139 above £20, and not exceeding £30; 191 above £30, and not exceeding £50; 82 above £50, and not exceeding £75; 31 above £75, and not exceeding £100; while 41 were above the latter sum. The total amount due to depositors is £27748 8s. 7½d. The other Banks are Messrs. Dumbell, Son, and Howards, at the junction of Prospect Full and St. Georges Street; and the Bank of Mona, (Branch of the City of Glasgow Bank,) at the corner of Bucks Road and Finch Road.
The Court House, said to be one of the finest buildings in the island, comprises a spacious and elegant structure in Atholl Street. It was erected in 1840-1 by a company of shareholders, (chiefly belonging to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows,) at a cost of about £2000. It was originally called the Odd Fellows Hall, and was the place where the members of that body held their ordinary meetings. It was also used for other public purposes, such as assemblies, lectures, concerts, &c. The hail is now the property of the British Government, who, since their purchase, lmave made considerable alterations, and fitted it up in a very superior style, for the holding of the respective legal courts. Here is also the Record Office, and the office of the Seneschal. The police occupy the rest of the building, the lower part as a place of confinement for prisoners, and the upper part as a residence for the police superimitendent, Mr. John Sayle. The courts held here are the Deemsters and Magistrates courts, every fortnight ; and the High Bailiffs court, for the recovery of small debts, every Saturday. The jurisdiction of the latter court comprises the parishes of Braddan, Onchan, Lonan, and Marown. An ecclesiastical court is also held here once a month. The police force consists of eight constables, beside the superintendent before-mentioned. At a meeting of the Insular Council, held recently in the court house, Douglas, an act was passed for the imolding of the Chancery, Staff of Government, and the General Gaol Delivery Courts, wherever the Lieut.-Governor shall order. The act, however, has to be passed by the Keys, and to receive the royal assent before it can be promulgated.
The government of the town is vested in a Board of Municipal Commissioners, appointed by an act of the Insular Legislature, about two years ago. The board consists of maine members, three of whom are elected annually, in May. The present Commissioners areMr. John Mylrea, Chairman; Messrs. Nicholas Moore, James Kelly, Gilbert Torrence, William Gell, Thomas Kewley, Charles Cleator, Thomas Quayle, and Henry Wallace. The Offices of the Board are situated in St. Barnabas Square. Mr. Charles Craine is their clerk, and Mr. John Robertson, overseer. The Harbour Masters Office is on the North Quay. Mr. John Clague is the Harbour Master. The present Harbour Commissioners areRichard Quirk, Esq., Receiver General, and Messrs. James Gell, R. J. T. Quayle, Henry Graves, R. J. Weaver, James Corlett, Robert J. Moore, William Callister, and William F. Moore. The Harbour Commissioners hold their meetings in Douglas on the second Tuesday in January, April, and July; on the first Monday in October, and on the 10th of October. The first meeting in October is for the election of Merchant Commissioners. The Customs House comprises a commodious building on the North Quay. The chief officers areMr. Richard S. DOusley, collector; Mr. N. W. Walker, first clerk; Mr. G. A. McCammon, second clerk; and Mr. Richard J. Weaver, examining officer; whose office for the examination of passengers luggage; is on the Pier. The Coast Guard Station is on the South Quay. It was established on the 1st February, 1858. John William Lindsay is the inspecting lieutenant, and Dr. H. Montford, admiralty surgeon. The other officers are Atkinson, chief boatman in charge; Richard Jinks, commissioned boatman; and Cornelius Sullivan, George Palmer, (and divisional carpenter,) and Patrick Sweeney, boatmen.
The Gas Works, on the South Quay, were established in 1835 by a company of proprietors, with a capital of nearly £14,000, raised in £25 shares. The Directors meet, for the transaction of business, every Monday. Mr. John Goldsmith is their Secretary. The Waterworks Office is in Atholl Street. The original capital of the Company was £5000, raised in £10 slaares; but the capital has since considerably increased, and at the present time amounts to between £16,000 and £17,000. The Works, at Summer Hill, have been extended to Ballacain, in Onchan. They comprise two compensation and one town reservoir, capable of holding 2,000,000 gallons of water. The water from these sources is remarkably pure, and is supplied to the town by gravitation. The Directors of the Company meet at the office weekly, for the transaction of business. Mr. John Jefferson, C.E., is the secretary and engineer. The water rents are collected every half-year by the Companys collector, Mr. John Henry.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company was formed in 1830. The Company have their offices on the North Quay, near the Pier; adjoining which are ample warehouses for the storage of goods, and an iron and glass shed for the accommodation of goods and passengers landed in wet weather. The Company at the present time possess three steamers :the Tynwald, of 750 tons; the Monas Queen, of 600 tons; and the Monas Isle, of 500 tons. The Douglas, of 750 tons, has recently been disposed of, and in its place, the Company are now having built a steamer of greater dimensions, and of considerably more power than any they have hitherto possessed. By means of the Companys boats, there is a daily communication with Liverpool during the summer season, and three or four times a week during the winter. The contract for the conveyance of Her Majestys mails, between this Company and the Post Office, only extends to two mails per week. The Company have, however, most liberally, for the convenience of the public, conveyed the mails at their own cost whenever their vessels have sailed on other than the regular mail days. Mr. Edward Moore is the Companys secretary and agent.
The Isle of Man Electric Telegraph Companys Office is in Atholl Street. This Company was incorporated in 1859, for telegraphing messages to all parts of the island and to England. Their capital amounts to £4800, raised in 240 shares of £20 each. in August, 1859, they laid a telegraphic cable from Point Cranstal, four miles north of Ramsey, to Saint Bees, in Cumberland. This cable, however, is now being taken up for the purpose of being relaid from Saint Bees to Maughold Head. The insular Company are in connexion with the Electric and International Telegraph Company, England, by which, messages can be transmitted from the island to Manchester direct. Mr. Pietre Johannes Duyshart is the Companys secretary.
The Post Office is in Atholl Street, and is under the management of Miss E. J. Macadam. Mails from Castletown, Ramsey, and Peel arrive and are despatched daily, except Sunday. The Liverpool mail is despatched daily (except Sunday) in summer, and three and four times per week in the winter. By means of the Liverpool daily mail in summer, letters despatched from London in the evening are delivered in the Isle of Man on the following afternoon. The return mail leaving Douglas the next day, arrives in London in time for letters to be delivered the following morning. There are also Branch Post Offices in various parts of the town.
The Theatre Royal is in Wellington Street. It is a small building, adjoining the printing offices of Mr. Walter White. The Victoria Hall occupies a central situation on Prospect Hill. It is a fine spacious structure, and contains the largest room in the Island, being twenty eight yards in length by sixteen in breadth, and capable of accomnmodating about 2000 people. Besides this, there is a gallery measuring sixteen yards in length by six in breadth, and which is calculated will seat about 200 people. The room, which is lighted by two sun lights, is well adapted for the purposes intended, viz. :assemblies, balls, concerts, theatrical performances, &c. There are also other rooms, of smaller dimensions, which are used for various purposes. Underneath the principal room is an American Bowling Green, fitted up in an improved style, and also two rifle tubes for the practice of shooting. There is also an American Bowling Green at the Broadway Inn, Castle Mona Gates. St. James Hall, in Atholl Street, is a neat building, which is also used occasionally for lectures, concerts, &c. Here are also held the meetings of the Manx Society, through whose agency great light has been shed upon the history of this little isle. The Old Catholic Chapel, at the end of Atholl Street, is likewise used occasionally for theatrical performances and other public purposes, as is also the Wellington Hall, previously mentioned.
The HOTELS and LODGING HOUSES are numerous and respectable, and many of them are fitted up in a style of elegance and splendour unsurpassed by any in the sister kingdoms.
The Castle Mona is pre-eminently the chief hotel in the town, for besides being the most commodious, it is at the same time the first and most fashmionable and under its present efficient management, is certainly not excelled by any other. This elegant structure, of which Mr. Heron is proprietor, occupies a situation near the centre of the arc of Douglas Bay. It was erected by the late Duke of Atholl as his island residence, and is said to have cost upwards of £40,000. The material is white freestone, brought from the Isle of Arran; but time has mellowed the original whiteness of the stone into a grey tint, which contrasts beautifully with the surrounding foliage. The castle is a square building, having a wing on the south side. From the centre of the building rises a circular embattled tower, whose summit commands a fine prospect of the bay amid surrounding scenery. The entrance to the hotel is tinder a stately portico, which opens into a long and spacious hall, supported by pillars. The principal rooms to the front consist of a noble banquetting room on the north side, a magnificent saloon in the centre, which is lighted with two tiers of windows, and which is one of the largest and most imposing public rooms attached to any similar establishment. On the southern side are suites of drawing and entertaining rooms, while the upper portion contains numerous bed and dressing rooms, and every convenience that luxury can require and ingenuity suggest. Those who prefer in-door bathing, will find hot, cold, and salt-water baths in the wing on the south side of the building. The grounds and gardens are most extensive and well planted, and beautifully diversified with walks. The Imperial Hotel, occupied by Miss Stagg, is a spacious and elegant structure on the Pier. It is fitted up in a superior style, and contains one of the finest billiard rooms in the town. While of handsome external proportions, its interior arrangements have all been conceived with especial regard to the comfort amid convenience of its visitors. The Victoria Hotel on the Prospect Hill, presents a fine external appearance, and contains the largest coffee room in the island. The rooms are spacious and airy, elegantly fitted up, and well-suited to the accommodation of those who resort hither. This hotel is under the proprietorship of Mr. Johnson. The Fort Anne Hotel, on the southern side of the river, was erected by Sir William Hilary, Bart., for the purpose of a private residence, and from its lofty elevation, comprises a variety of views of the most extensive and picturesque character. Mr. R. Marshall is the present proprietor. The Royal Hotel, on the Pier, has long been noted for its efficient management, and the care and attention bestowed upon its visitors. The house, which is under the management of Mr. William Hill, will be found replete with every convenience for private families, or for commercial gentlemen. The British Hotel, in the Market Place, is also well known for its comfort and accommodation, every care and attention having been taken in its internal arrangements. Miss M. A. Barnes is the present proprietor. Redferns Hotel, in James Street, will likewise be found worth the attention of visitors, and well suited to their accommodation. At the present time, it is under the management of Mrs. Hiscocks. Besides these, there is the Adelphi, in Church Street, the Saddle and the Fleetwood, on the North Quay, the Sheffield, in Parade Street, Revitts Old Crescent Hotel, and the Queens Crescent Hotel, on the Crescent, all affording excellent accommodation suitable to the numerous visitors and the commercial gentlemen who make this island their occasional residence.
Besides the numerous hotels, there are several excellent Boarding and Lodging Houses in the town. Amongst these may be named Mr. Butterworths and Mr. Evarardes,in Prospect Hill, and Mr. Matthews, (late Maxwells,) on the Castle Mona Lawn. There are also three bathing establishments in the town,Mr. McGhees, the "Douglas Baths," in Bath Street; Mr. Wallaces, in Castle Mona Road; and Mr. Mosss, at the Crescent. Those who prefer out-door bathing will find abundance of bathing machines on the shores, waiting to take them to enjoy the exhilarating exercise. To those who wish to possess some specimens of the various beautiful stones found on Monas shore, we would advise them to visit Mrs. Housemans, in Strand Street, where they will find a vast collection worked into a variety of articles both useful and ornamental, and well worthy the inspection of all.
The town is supposed by some authors to have taken its name from the river on whiclm it is situated. According, however, to Hume of Godscroft, in his History of the House of Douglas, it derives its name from a former governor of the island, named William the Hardy, the seventh Earl of Douglas. This opinion receives additional weight when we consider that Douglas is nowhere mentioned in any of the documents connected with the island previous to the time of Alexander III., the latter end of the thirteenth century. In Bleaus Map of the Island, published in 1658, we find, besides Douglas Town, Douglas Haven and Douglas Point, which leads us to the supposition that what is now the town of Douglas was formerly three distinct and separate places. [fpc: nonsense!]
One hundred and sixty years ago, Douglas was an insignificant village, occupied by a few fishermen, their habitations consisting of a few irregularly and rudely-constructed cottages, chiefly built of clay; the population at this period amounting to between 700 and 800 persons. Its rapid rise is owing chiefly to the smuggling trade of the last century, which became so profitable as to induce a company of adventurers from Liverpool to settle here, for the avowed purpose of carrying on a contraband trade with the surrounding kingdoms. According to Waldron, the inhabitants afforded every protection to the smuggler in his illicit traffic. "His Majesty of Great Britain" says he "is master of the seas; yet the Isle of Man has jurisdiction of so much round the island, that a master of a ship has no more to do than watch his opportunity of coming within the piles, where he is secure from any danger of the kings officers." "I myself," adds he, "had once notice of a stately vessel that was steering her course into this harbour, and would have boarded her before she got within the piles, but for want of sufficient time to execute my design. Her cargo was indigo, mastic, raisins of the sun, and other rich goods, which I had the misfortnne to see sold to traders in Douglas, without any duty being paid to His Majesty." On the passing of the law (in 1821) restraining the importation of foreign corn, considerable disturbances occurred in Douglas, and great depredations were committed on the property of corn dealers. Besides the smuggling trade, the town reaped considerable benefit from James Murray, the second Duke of Atholl, making it his temporary residence on his accession to the Lordship of the Isle of Man. Yet, although Douglas had become a populous place, compared with its former insignicance, and though it contained several streets, not one of them received a name, if we except Senna and the Fairy Ground, previous to the commencement of the present centuryall went by the common name of Douglas.
Although possessing no ancient ruins or monuments of antiquity, never-theless, Douglas is supposed to have been a place of considerable importance during the time of the Northmen. This conjecture is founded on the fact that one of the streets in the old town, named Micklesgate, (near Cambrian Place,) derives its name from the old Scandinavian nmykihi (great) and gata (Street). From tlmis circumstance, it is supposed that Douglas was formnerly a settlement of the Northmen, and that Micklesgate was the principal street of their station. The old fort (previously mentioned), which stood on Pollock Rock, is also believed to have been built during either the Roman or the Pictish period.
In December, 1842, a number of silver coins were found in a field on Banks Howe. They were of the reign of the Norman Edward. Some had been coimed at York, others at Canterbury, and another portion at London.
Douglas, it appears, had the honour of being inhabited by fairies, as well as other places of the island. According to Waldron, an English gentleman having to swim on horseback across Douglas river, when the tide was high, was astonished when about half way across, at hearing such fine symphony, so extremely melodious that nothing human ever came up to it. The horse was no less sensible than his rider, and notwithstanding the current of the tide, kept in an immovable posture all the time it lastedabout three quarters of an hour. The gentleman, who had before disbelieved about the fairies, became perfectly convinced of their existence. It would appear, however, that the fairies have now left the island altogether. According to a Wesleyan minister, they took their departure some years ago, as he states he saw them leaving Douglas Bay in empty rum puncheons, and going in the direction of Jamaica.
For a considerable period, Douglas has been engaged in the fisheries. An ancient writer describing the fishery fleet leaving Douglas harbour, observes, "there could not be a more pleasing or lovely scene than to see the whole bay covered withm boats scudding before the wind in different tacks, in order to round the headland, and every crew most anxious to be the first upon the station." Some sad calamities have occurred to the fishing fleet at times, hut none more disastrous than that which took place in the month of September, 1787, when the people of Douglas witnessed a scene of distress and horror that has rarely been equalled. The scene has been thus described "The preceding day was delightfully serene, the sky pure and unclouded, and the sun shone forth in all its strength and beauty. In the morning, about four hundred of the boats appeared in the bay and harbour deeply laden with herrings to the amount of £5000. Gladness smiled in every eye, and the song of mirth gave new energy to labour. The earlier part of the day was past in ummloading the boats, and the remainder to festivity. The herring ground was then off Clay Head and Laxey, about three leagues from Douglas. In the evening, when the boats again sailed thither, there was no indication of a change in the weather, but at midnight a brisk equinoctial gale arose, and the fishermen, impelled by their usual timidity, fled to the harbour of Douglas for refuge. About a year before this, a violent storm had destroyed the greater part of the pier, with the lighthouse. On the ruins of the lighthouse was fixed a slender post, from which hung a small lantern, this wretched substitute was thrown down by one of the first boats, in its eagerness to gain the harbour. The consequence was dreadful. In a few minutes all was horror and confusion. The darkness of the night, the raging of the sea, the vessels dashing against the rocks, the cries of the fishermen perishing in the waves, and the shrieks of the women on shore, imparted sucla a sensation of horror, as none but a spectator can possibly conceive. When the morning came, it presented an awful spectacle :the beach rocks covered with wrecks, and a group of dead bodies floating in the harbour. In some boats whole families had perished. The shore was crowded with women; some in all the frantic agony of grief, alternately weeping over the corses of father, brother, and husbands; and others sinking in the embraces of those whom a moment before they imagined were buried in the waves. The bustle of trade ceased: its eagerness yielded to the feelings of nature. An awful gloom sat on every countenance, and every bosom either bled with its own anguish, or sympathised with the sufferings of others."
On some occasions, the Fisheries have been very productive. From the Manx Sun, of September, 1844, we find that the average take of each boat had been about 40 mease, although some of the boats had taken as many as a hundred; one boat, in particular, was filled to overflowing, having taken one hundred and sixty mease, or ninety-two thousand two hundred herrings at once: the most extraordinary take in the recollection of the oldest inhabitant. It would appear that the fishermen, as well as other people, have a superstitious belief in witches. When a boat fails to take the average complement of fish, the cause is attributed to witchcraft, and in order to rid themselves of the charm, the men exorcise the boat by burning the witches out of it. A case of this description occurred in Douglas harbour in 1789. Bunches of heather were placed in the boat and fired. Some of the men made wisps of heather and lighted them, one of the men going to the head, another to the stern, and others along the sides, so that no part of the boat escaped being touched.
The repeal of the Protection Act, in 1814, caused many of the foreigners to withdraw from the island. Douglas being the principal place of resort, the trading community felt the blow severely, and all indulged in the most gloomy apprehensions as to the future.
In 1832, Douglas was visited with that dreadful scourge, the Cholera Morbus. Most of the people, however, who had the misfortune to be afflicted with this dreadful disease, placed themselves in the hands of certain old women and the fairy doctors, believing themselves more safe than in charge of the more able practitioners. The prejudice of the inhabitants against the latter became so great, that all the doctors who had any respect for their lives and limbs were compelled to keep out of the way of the populace. At one time a report was circulated that the doctors had poisoned the springs of the island, in order to receive a premium from government for every one who died of the disease. In a similar way was the faculty treated in 1837, during the time small pox was raging in the town. Although offered vaccination free of charge, such was the aversion of the people to it, that they refused the kind offer with scorn.
In March, 1837, sixteen vessels laden with coal arrived in Douglas harbour, to the great relief of many of the inhabitants, who had been in a most destitute condition for fuel for some time.
In no part of the British domninions was the coronation of Queen Victoria celebrated with greater demonstrations of loyalty than in the Isle of Man. In Douglas, upwards of 1,500 children belonging to the various Sunday schools walked in procession to the lawn of Castle Mona, where they were regaled in tents provided for the occasion. Two hundred Oddfellows dined in the large room over the Wellington Market ; and upwards of 600 of the most needy poor partook of a most substantial dinner, purchased with subscriptions collected in the town and neighbourhood. Even the prisoners in Castle Rushen were not forgot: they being provided with a most excellent dinner by the Governor. In the evening, a grand display of fireworks took place, which terminated the days animated proceedings.
On the 17th March, 1844, the people of Douglas were alarmed by the shock of an earthquake, which occurred about one oclock in the morning. The shock, which lasted for some few seconds, was preceded by a rumbling noise, and followed by a sensible vibration from east to west. Most of the inhabitants were awoke by the oscillation felt in their houses. At the time of the shock, the wind became instantly calm, but a considerable motion was visible in the sea after it had subsided, the waves dashing violently against the adjacent shore. The wind subsequently rose to a stiff breeze.
According to the Manx Sun, of September, 1838, we find that Douglas became noted for its base coin. " Very recently," says this paper, " an inhabitant of this island, when on a tour in Wales, found at a large smelting works, two casks of base coin about to be smelted. He, however, purchased them for £30, and sent them to the island for circulation, by which imposition he derived a nefarious profit of 200 or 300 per cent. To such a degree has this nuisance extended, that many of the retail tradesmen in Douglas are daily in possession of from £20 to £40 nominal value of this trash, taken in the way of business; the necessary consequence of which is, that there is no getting change for a sovereign or local note without taking half in copper." On the introduction of the new copper coinage in Douglas, in 1840, so great was the excitement caused by the alteration, that a riot took place, which assumed so serious a character that it was not quelled until a body of soldiers arrived from Liverpool.
On the 17th of January, 1845, the tide, which was at its height at twelve oclock, should have risen 18 feet 7 inches, but owing to the strong southerly wind which prevailed it rose several feet higher. At twelve oclock, the water had covered the Tonge, and had overflowed the North Quay; in some places half-way to the houses. At Callow-slip, the sea flowed up into Duke Street, rendering that thoroughfare impassable for some time, but not damaging property to any extent. About half-way down Strand Street, where the backs of the old houses abut on to the beach, the unusual rise of water and the heavy surge which attended it did some injury; in one place breaking in a wall, knocking down an old smithy, and undermining the outer corner of a somewhat dilapidated but occupied dwelling-house.
The following singular story is extracted from Waldrons description of the Isle of Man :" A widow of Douglas, being of a light behaviour, was frequently suspected to be guilty of fornication, and was summoned accordingly to the communion table, and took the oath of purgation. How truly the sequel will prove. As she was one evening going home, she was accosted by a strangerI think he was of Wales, the master of a vessel. What discourse passed between them is unknown, nor is it of much consequence, further than they agreed to go together to her lodgings, where, having made him very drunk, she rifled his pocket of ten guineas, and then made a pretence to get him down stairs; but he no sooner came into the air than it deprived him of all the little sense the liquor had left him, and being unable to reel any further, he lay down at the door and fell into a sound sleep. When waked, he missed the money, and remembering the encounter he had with the woman, related the story to his landlady, who persuaded him to make his complaint and procure leave to search the lodgings of this woman. The advice was followed, and the officers being very diligent in their scrutiny, found in her bosom, one guinea ; under a heap of ashes, a second, and a good part of the change of another. As she was extremely poor, and had nothing to subsist on but what she got by her daily labour from house to house, it was easy to believe this was none of her own money; they therefore doubted not but that they should find the remainder of what the captain had lost, which indeed they did, and with it a much more shocking discovery. In turning up a bed, there lay under it a parcel of small bones, which seemed to be human. They sent immediately for two doctors the one named Jenkinson, the other, Ballwho on joining them together made time perfect anatomies of three little children. The back-bone of one of them had been cleft through, as it seemed, with a hatchet. Every one was struck with the utmost horror at this sight, except the inhuman mother and murderess, who impudently owned they were all her own children, which she had been delivered of in private, to avoid punishment, but pretended in her defence they were still born. She was then asked why she did not bury them, to which she answered, that was not the business of anybody they were her own, and being dead, she might dispose of them as she pleased. Perhaps, added she, I had a mind to keep them by me, for the sake of those who begot them. She was, however, carried to prison under the double indictment of theft and murder, and being unable to allege anything in her justification, was condemned to death, and accordingly executed." The narrator continues :" It was remarkable that this wretch, when under sentence, being asked why she did not bury the children, since she might easily have had an opportunity, told the person who made this demand, that designing to throw them into the river, she took up the bones in her apron one night; but as she was going, she was met by a tall black gentleman, who bade her go back, adding, she was safe while she kept them at home, but that if she attempted to conceal them either in earth or water, she would certainly be discovered. Whether this miserable creature saw any such apparition or notor whether it was the will of God that she should imagine she saw and heard what in effect was nothing, I will not pretend to determine; but it is plain that divine justice, who never suffers murderers to go unpunished even on earth, was very visible, in compelling this woman to take the only means by which she could be detected."
About half a mile from Douglas is the Nunnery. According to Manx tradition, it was founded by St. Bridget during her stay in the island, when she came over from Ireland to receive the veil from Saint Maughold. She is said to have been born in 453, and at the time of her visit to the island to have been only 14 years of age. At that rate the nunnery must have been founded somewhere about the year 467. St. Bridget is said to have died in 523, and, according to tradition, to have lived, died, and been buried here. Her remains are said to have been subsequently removed to Downpatrick, and to have been deposited beside those of St. Patrick and St. Cohumba. According to Sacheverell," Few monasteries ever exceeded this, either in extent or fine building. There are still some of the cloisters remaining, the ceilings of which discover they were the workman ship of the most masterly hands; nothing in the whole creation but what is imitated in curious carvings on it. The pillars supporting the arches are so thick as if that edifice was erected with a design to baffle the efforts of time, nor could it in more years than have elapsed since the coming of Christ have been so greatly defaced, had it received no injury but from time; but in some of the dreadful revolutions this island has sustained, it doubtless has suffered much from the outrage of the soldiers, as may be gathered by the niches yet standing in the chapel, which has been one of the finest in the world, and the images of the saints deposited in them being torn out. Some pieces of broken columns are still to be seen, but the greatest part have been removed. The confessional chair also lies in ruins." At the present time scarcely anything remains of this venerable structure, except some few portions of the chapels, and the dilapidated arched gate way. The principal gateway was only opened on the august ceremony of admitting a nun, or at the death of a lady abbess. Underneath time building were a number of dark caverns, which were used as places of penance. According to Waldron, the chapel contained several curious monuments, some of which were erected to persons of considerable distinction. On one of these monuments is the inscription: "Illustrissirna Matilda felia," below which are the words, "Rex Merciae." This is believed by Waldron to refer to Matilda, the daughter of Ethelbert, one of the Saxon Kings of England, as she is said, both by Stow and Holhinshead, to have died a recluse. Another of the monuments bears the inscription: " Cartesmunda Virgo immaculata, A.D. 1230," which the same writer supposes to have reference to Cartesmunda, the fair nun of Winchester, who fled here to escape the violence of John, King of England. In the midst of a small square court behind the chapel formerly stood a cross, resting on a pyramid of reddish stone. It is supposed to have been erected in commemoration of some battle. The nunnery well was formerly noted for its medicinal properties. Many extra ordinary cures are said to have been effected by it. The nunnery bridge was swept away years ago, by the force of the river, as was also that at Douglas some years afterwards. A woman who was passing over the latter during time accident, was saved only by the stiffness of her hoop petticoat, which supported her above the water. The Prioress of Douglas was a baroness of the isle, and held her own courts,possessing temporal as well as spiritual power. When the laws of the house were violated by any of its members, the offenders were confined in the caverns underground. When they were suspected of telling an untruth, a different punishment was awarded them. Over Douglas Head, and immediately above the sea, stands a steep rock of considerable elevation. In this rock were two hollows, both forming a sort of natural chair. The lowest of these was situated about time centre of the rock, the highest being nearly at the summit. The poor suspected nun was brought to the foot of this rock, from whence she had to climb to the first hollow or chair, on reaching which, she had to remain until the tide again flowed and ebbed twice; and in cases of greater offence, was compelled to climb to the highest chair, and remain there for the same time. If she survived this severe trial, she was adjudged innocent, but if her body sue. cumbed to the exposure to the elements, she was certain to be accounted guilty. A woman condemned to die, was sewn up in a sack, and being carried to time rock, was thrown from thence into the sea.
It is a singular circumstance that there is no mention made of the Nunnery at Douglas in the chronicles of the Monks of Rushen Abbey. We find that in 1192, the monks of Rushen removed to Douglas, and resided there for four years; and also, that Robert Bruce, on the 19th of May, 1313, spent the night at the Monastery of Dubh-glass; but whether these records refer to the Nunnery at Douglas, or to some other religious establishment in the neighbourhood, we have not been able to learn.
The Nunnery is the residence and property of John Senhouse Goldie Taubman, Esq. The present mansion, a modern castellated structure, stands a short distance from the ruins of the old buildings, a portion of which are used as offices. The mansion is surrounded by a well-wooded park, in which is situated, a short distance west of the house, a handsome obelisk, erected by public subscription, in memory of Brigadier-General Thomas Leigh Goldie, who was killed at Inkermana, November 5th, 1854. At the foot of the obelisk is one of time guns taken at Sebastopol, and presented by time British Government. The obelisk bears the following inscription : INKERMANN.ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSRIPTION, IN MEMORY OF BRIGADIER-GENERAL THOMAS LEIGH GOLDIE, OF THE NUNNERY, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL OF HM. 57TH REGIMENT. HE COMMANDED A BRIGADE OF THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE CRIMEA, AND FELL TN THE BATTLE OF INKERMANN, NOVEMBER 5TH, MDCCCLIV., IN THE 47TH YEAR OF HIS AGE.Post Funera Virius.
A few years ago, a most singular adventure, nearly terminating fatally to the party concerned, occurred near Douglas Head. It appears that a young lady, (now residing in Prospect Hill, Douglas,) who was then in her eighteenth year and fond of rambling and sketching time beautiful scenery with which this island abounds, had wandered to a lonely and unfrequented spot called the Pigeons Stream. There seated on one of those stupendous rocks, she looked with delight upon the beautiful scene that surrounded her. The place is a kind of inlet of the sea, between two immense rocks, which rear themselves upwards of 200 feet above the level of the water. The evening was calm and bright,not a single cloud darkened the azure sky, all was still and silent, save the sweet melody of time waters, as they forced themselves against the broken rocks beneath. It was a charming scene; so thought the youthful wanderer, as site gazed upon the beauties around. She also thought of Heaven, that beautiful land where
"Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
Stand dressed in living green."
She had thus meditated some time, when it suddenly occurred to her that, it was time to return. She well knew that any lengthened absence from home would cause her parents considerable alarm. With the intention, therefore, of returning home, she hurriedly arose from her seat, but oh, horrors ! in her haste her foot slipped, and she found herself gradually sliding down the stupendous precipice, into the yawning chasm beneath. With feelings of despair she gave herself up for lost, but
"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform."
As she was descending, she espied a small projecting ledge, which, if she could but plant her feet upon, she might yet he saved. The projection is reached! and, thank God for his providence, who had once saved her from instant death, her feet rest upon the projecting ledge. Above her is another piece of rock, and clinging to this with her hands, and resting with her feet on that below, there she hung suspended as it were between life and death. One false move,one single slip,and in this world site is lost for ever! What an awful situation to be in! Above is the mighty rock, frowning over her as it were in anger at her intrusion on its solitude; below, is the deep awful chasm, yawning as it were, in glee, in expectation of receiving her mangled corpse. The day was far spent,the night close at hand,and she well knew time little possibility of a stray boat passing that secluded and unfrequented rock; and if they did, very probably, from her elevation, she would never be observed. Hours passed on. The last rays of the days departing sun had been shed upon the earth, and night found the unfortunate one still in her perilous position. To add to her misery, a most unquenchable thirst assailed her, and hope seemed to depart from her for ever. The darkness of might passed away, and none welcomed the rising of the sun as the poor unhappy adventurer on time rocks. Her parents and friends alarmed at her absence, had visited all the places they could think of; but all had returned without bringing any tidings of the unhappy lost one. Her thirst, which was great before, had now become insupportable. Casting her eyes around, she saw a flitter shell, and near it a small fissure in the rock, from whence a stream of water was oozing. Could she obtain that shell, she then might a little quench her thirst; hut how was she to accomplish it? To move her feet would be instant destruction. Could she trust herself to let go one hand and cling to the upper ledge with the remaining one ? She would try. God gave her strength to accomplish it. The drop of water seemed to put new life into her body ? Still her situation was desperatedesperate in the extreme. Her parents and friends, who had returned the night before, renewed their search on the following morning. None thought, however, of visiting the Pigeon Rocks. She could never have got there: it was too dangerous a spot! The most daring boatman dare not venture there, unless the sea was most serenely calm: and so the poor unhappy girl was left to imerself; her friends visiting everywhere, and looking in every spot but that where the lost one was situated. Again, the exploring party returned. No tidings, however, of the lost one. All gave her up for lost ! some thinking site had fallen from time overhanging rocks and perished in the sea beneath. Who can describe time feelings of the anxious parents as each one returned void of any intelligence of their long lost daughter? or, who can tell the feelings of the poor girl, as she stood midway between the rocks :death and destruction seeming inevitable every moment? Yet, comfort yourselves, dear parents! Take courage, dear child! A little while and all shall be made known. The parents shall encircle their child, and the child shall rest her weary head on her fathers bosom ! All is well. The lost one shall yet be restored. Again the day draws to a close. The unfortunate one is still unfound, but her time of deliverance draws nigh. A party of men who had been in search of her are conversing together on the Pier on the singular event. Their conversation is interrupted by the Dublin packet, as she appeared in view. The boat, however, sped on her course, and was soon lost to the eye. The men resume their conversation. But, hark! what sound is that which comes booming across the deep blue waters? There it goes again! It is a signal gun from the steamer; and jumping in the boats, away go the men to learn the cause. The pier is soon crowded with a host of breathless spectators, and iu a short time a boat is seen returning with all possible speed to time harbour. As she nears the pier, a cry is raised in the distance, which rises higher and higher and louder and louder, as it is taken up by the vast number of spectators, and presently one grand shout is raisedshe is FOUNDshe IS FOUND! But how is she to be rescued? They scarcely know, reply the men, as they hurriedly coil a strong rope in time boat and instantly push off again. On the approach of the boats to the rock, a consultation is held which is the best way to get to her. About half a mile round the point, at low water, there is a landing place. To this spot three of time boats proceed; and there being made fast, the men commence to climb the rock. Cautiously and slowly timey proceed on their dangerous course, and ultimately they arrive at time rock from which time ummimappy one is suspended. But who among them will venture over that fearful precipice? A volunteer is not long wanting. An English sailora real Jack tarwho had accompanied the party, immediately offers his services. A rope is passed round his body, and he commences his dangerous descent. Gradually he approaches the place ;nearer and nearer he gets to time unfortunate girl, until at last he finds himself by her side. Whispering hope, encouragement, and comfort in her ear, he places his arm gently around her waist, and supports her in his strong manly grasp. Again he continues his perilous descent. The spectators look on in breathless silence; but presently there arises one grand shout," She is saved! Thank God, she is saved !" But time rambler was quite unconscious of all around her. From the time she heard the word of deliverance whispered in her ear, the courage which bad hitherto supported her, instantly forsook her, and she fell into a swoon. But it will be asked,"How was she discovered?" It is soon told:A gentleman on the steamer, who had heard of the famous Pigeon Rocks, had a great desire to see them, and making known his wish to the captain, a glass was given to him in order that he might have his wish gratified. On placing the glass to his eye, he beheld midway on the rock a something which he thought to be a sea bird; but as it was a very unusual place for that creature to be situated he noticed it to the captain. The latter took the glass, and presently saw what it was. The boat was instantly stopped, the alarm gun was fired, and through this interposition of providence, this poor girl, who had been suspended on the rock for more than twenty-four hours, expecting every moment to be her last, was at length saved from her perilous situation.
...charities ... - this section ignored as just a precis of Douglas section of 1831 Isle of Man Charities