[From Train's History, 1845]




The temple of Classerniss [Callanish], in the Island of Lewis, consists of twelve obelisks about seven feet high, and six feet distant from each other. In the centre, stands a stone thirteen feet high, shaped like the rudder of a ship. Directly south from the circle, stand four obelisks running out in a line ; another such line runs due east, and a third to the west, the number and distance of the stones in each of these wings being the same, so that this temple, the most entire that can be, is at the same time both round and winged. But, by way of avenue to the north, there are two straight ranges of obelisks of the same size and distances with those of the circle; yet the ranges themselves are eight feet distant, and each consisting of nineteen stones, and the thirty-ninth being in the entrance of the avenue. This temple stands astronomically, denoting the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and the four principal winds subdivided each into four others; by which, and the nineteen stones on each side of the avenue, betokening the cycle of nineteen years, I can prove it to have been dedicated principally to the sun, but subordinately to the seasons and the elements, particularly to the sea and the winds, as appears by the rudder in the middle. In the greatest Isle of Orkney, commonly called the Mainland, there are likewise two temples, where the natives believe, by tradition, that the sun and moon were worshipped. The greater temple is one hundred and ten paces in diameter. They know not what to make of two green mounds at the east and west end of it, a matter, nevertheless, for which it is not difficult to account- Toland's History of the Druids, pp. 89-91.



Monuments of a similar description are yet seen in the northern parts of Europe. The Scandinavians believed that Runic characters were possessed of mysterious and magical properties. Importers early persuaded the credulous people that these letters, dispersed and combined after a certain manner, could work wonders. Odin, who was the first inventor of these characters, was believed to be able, by their means, to raise the dead to life, and to procure victory over his enemies.-Northern Antiquities, by Mallet, London, 1777, vol. i, p. 149. They wrote them either from right to left, or from top to bottom, or in a circle, contrary to the course of the sun. It was the practice also, for both old and young to carry a staff marked with these Gothic characters, so engraven that they knew the influence of the sun, moon, and stars ; "alsoe the signs of the daies, by infalliable experience, as if they read it out of a book."-Olaus Magnus's History of the Northern Nations, London, 1658, pp. 11, 171.

The Laxdalla saga makes mention of one Olaf Hiardarhult, who had a large house, on the beams and rafters of which, remarkable stones were said to have been marked with Runic characters, in the same manner as Torkel Hake cut an account of his deeds upon the bedstead and chair. That Runic characters were made use of before the introduction of Christianity, may be proved by Olaf Trygwarron, saga, where he makes mention of a man whose name was Oddina, and who, being dumb, made use of Runic characters that he had been insulted by Ivar, his father's guest.-Von Troil's Letters from Iceland, London, 1780, p. 159. In the Royal Library, at Copenhagen, there is a parchment code of the Scanian law, in Runic characters of the fourteenth century.- Geijer, vol. i, p. 169. Nearly one thousand three hundred Runic stones have been found between the tenth and fourteenth centuries; and of these, one hundred and fifty belong to Sweden.- Crighton's Scandinavia, vol. i, page 183.



In the early ages of the Christian church, crosses being held to be of great effect in the expulsion of demons and in the working of miracles, were emblazoned on almost every monumental stone.- Waddingham's History of the Church, cap. iii, London, edition 1833.

" In a wild and barren field between Ballafletcher and Lahnclegere, there was formerly a large stone cross ; but, in the many changes and revolutions which have happened in this Island, it has been broken down, and part of it lost ; but there still remains the cross part. This has several times been attempted to be removed by persons who pretended a claim to whatever was on that ground, and wanted this piece of stone ; but all their endeavours have been unsuccessful, nor could the strongest team of horses be able to remove it, though irons were clapt about it for that purpose. One day, says tradition, a great number of people being gathered about it, contriving new methods for the taking of it away, a venerable old man appeared among the crowd, and seeing a boy about six or seven years of age, he bade him put his hand to the stone, which the child doing, it immediately turned under his touch, and under it was found a sheet of paper, on which were written these words, ' Fear God, obey the priesthood, and do to your neighbour as you would have him do to you.' Every body present was in the utmost surprise, especially when looking for the old man, to ask him some questions concerning the miraculous removal of the stone, he was not to be found, though it was not a minute that they had taken their eyes off him, and there was neither house nor but in a great distance where he could possibly have concealed himself. The paper was, however, carefully preserved and carried to the vicar, who wrote copies of it, and dispersed them all over the Island. They tell you that they are of such wonderful virtue to whoever wears them, that on whatever business they go, they are certain of success. They also defend from witchcraft, evil tongues, and all efforts of the devil or his agents ; and that a woman wearing one of them in her bosom, while she is pregnant, shall by no accident whatever, lose the fruit of her womb. I have frequently rode by the stone under which they say the original paper was found ; but it would now be looked upon as the worst sacrilege, to make any attempt to move it from the place." -Waldron's Description of the Isle of Man, pp. 175, 176.

According to Dr. Oswald, this stone is no longer visible.-MS. Papers, in the Library of Scottish Antiquaries, Edinburgh.



The unseemly custom of allowing sheep and cattle to pasture in the church-yard, still prevails. In 1836, the fattest sheep I saw in the Island. were feeding among the graves in Malew church-yard ; and I counted upwards of a score of black cattle in the church-yard of Maughold. In Scotland, it has been settled by law, " That the minister of the parish has a right to the grass of the church-yard ; but he cannot put cattle into it to pasture, that being an ' outage on decency.' He is merely entitled to cut the grass."-Hay versus Williamson, 1775 ; Morrison's Decisions, 5148. According to an old decision, it seems that the grass of the church-yard belonged to the parish, and that it might be let by them.-Ban v. Young, 25th July, 1609, M. 8019. This opinion was confirmed by Lord Hails, in the case of Greenock, 4th July. 1777 (758). He observes that no doubt the church-yard belongs to the heritors subject to the single burden of interring the dead. The grass is theirs, and, also, the trees planted in the church-yard; (p. 69, op. Dunlop's Parish Law of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1830, p. 68). These laws ought certainly to apply to the Isle of Man ; and the clergy should be prevented from outraging decency. How can the Manks people submit to have the graves of their ancestors pastured by cattle ?

In the days of the Danish vikingr, when a hostile fleet appeared on the coast of Man, the most valuable property was stowed in the churches, and the cattle were brought in the adjoining church-yards, for the purpose of securing them from the grasp of the enemy; as even these fierce robbers would seldom dare to carry their spoliation into the consecrated precincts of the church ; but, as that necessity no longer exists, why is the barbarous custom of allowing cattle to feed in the churchyard continued? The church-yard of St. Maughold contains three acres, and, as the most venerated sanctuary of the Island was there enclosed, the greatest number of cattle were there secured. In the year 1158, "when Somerled was at Ramsey, Gil-Colun, a very powerful chieftain, observed to him, that he did not see that it was any breach of the peace against St. Machutus, if, for the sustenance of the army, they should drive off the cattle that were feeding in the church-yard. Sornerled objected to the proposal, and said he would not allow any violence to be offered. to St. Machutus."-Johnstone's Celto Normanicae, Copenhagen, 1186, p, 70.



There is a sculptured obelisk in Ruthwell church-yard, in Dumfriesshire. This remarkable monument was broken into three pieces before Gordon inspected it; (see his Itinerarium, p. 161). " It is in form," he says, "like the Egyptian obelisks, at Rome. Its sculptures show that it was erected by zealous Christians ; and its inscription that it was inscribed by Danish hands." The cross of Merkland, a lofty pillar with sculptures, which stands on the east side of the Kirtle water, likewise in Dumfriesshire, is not of such high antiquity. It is reported to have been erected upon the spot where the master of Maxwell, then a warden of the marshes, was assassinated, after he had defeated the Duke of Albany, in 1183 ; but others say it was erected on the death of Lord Cronby, who was slain there. 1115. Macfarlan, Advocates' Library; Caledonia, vol. iii, p. 62.

Camden's Britannia, article ' Man.' One of these monumental crosses was erected on the banks of the Cart, Dear Renfrew, in commemoration of the following singular circumstance, well known in Scottish history:-

" Margery, daughter of king Robert Bruce, A.D. 1316, proceeding from Paisley to the Castle of Renfrew, lost her life by a fall from her horse. Being in the family-way, the Cæsarian operation was performed, and the life of the child thereby saved ; but he was wounded in the side by the point of the incision knife, from which he was afterwards called Blear-eye. To perpetuate this memorable event, a cross, called Blear-eye's Cross,' was erected on the spot where the operation was performed, and the place is known by that name to this day. "-Guthrie's History of Scotland, London, 1767, vol. iii, p. 88; Crawford's History of Renfrewshire, p, 41.



The best remembered of these springs, are those of Trinity, St. Anne, and St. Maughold, with those of Chibbyr-launch, Lharghey-grawe, and Ballabrooie.In Symson's Account of Galloway, written in 1684, and published in 1823, from the MS. in the Advocate's Library, by Thomas Maitland, Esq., Yr. of Dundrennan, Sanative Wells are thus described :-" In the parish of Buittle, about a mile from the kirk, is the Rumbling Well, frequented by a number of sick people, for all sorts of diseases, on the first Sunday of May. There is another well "about a quarter of a mile from it, the water of which is made use of by the country people when their cattle are troubled with a disease, called by them the connoch. This water they carry to many distant parts and wash their beasts with it, and give it them to drink. At both wells, the people leave behind them something, by way of thanks offering. At the first, they leave either money or clothes ; at the second, they leave the bands or shackles wherewith their beasts are usually bound," (p. 16). At the Gout Well of Larg, Symson says, " A piper once stole away the offering of money left at the well, and spent it in ale; but as he was quaffing the last drop, he was seized with the gout, which never left him till he refunded the cash to the spirit of the well," (page 31).



This religious edifice is said to have been erected in fulfilment of a vow made by a person when in a hurricane at sea, (Wood's History of the Isle of Man, p. 177) ; but, according to tradition, it was never finished, (Tour in the Isle of Man in 1836, p. 127). This was through the malice of a mischievous Buggane or evil spirit, who, for want of better employment, amused himself with tossing the roof to the ground as often as it was on the eve of being finished, accompanying his achievement with a loud fiendish laugh of satisfaction. The only attempt to counteract this singular propensity of the evil one, which tradition has conveyed to us, was made by Timothy, a tailor of great pretentious to sanctity of character. On the occasion alluded to, the roof of Saint Trinion's Church was, as usual, nearly finished, when the valorous tailor undertook to make a pair of breeches under it before the Buggane could commence his old trick. He accordingly seated himself in the chancel, and began to work in great haste; but ere he had completed his job, the head of the frightful Buggane rose out of the ground before him, and addressed him thus :-" Do you see my great head, large eyes, and long teeth?" "Hee! hee!" that is, "Yes! yes!" replied the tailor, at the same time stitching with all his might, and without raising his eyes from his work. The Buggane, still rising slowly out of the ground, cried in a more angry voice than before, " Do you see my great body, large hands, and long nails ?" "Hee! hee!" rejoined Tim., as before, but continuing to lull out with all his strength. The Buggane having now risen wholly from the ground, inquired in a terrified voice, "Do you see my great limbs, large feet, and long-?" but ere he could utter the last word, the tailor put the finishing stitch into the breeches, and jumped out of the church, just as the roof fell in with a crash. The fiendish laugh of the Buggane arose behind him as he bounded off in a flight, to which terror lent its utmost speed. Looking behind, he saw the frightful spectacle close upon his heels, with extended jaws, as if about to swallow him alive. To escape its fury, Timothy leaped into consecrated ground, where, happily, the Buggane had not power to follow ; but, as if determined to punish him for his temerity, the angry sprite lifted its great head from its body, and with great force pitched it to the feet of the tailor, where it exploded like a bomb-shell. Wonderful to relate, the adventurous Timothy was unscathed; but the church of St. Trinion remained without a roof.



The religious houses in the Isle of Man, seem to have been all built in the old Scandinavian style, richly ornamented piles covering loathsome dungeons. The northern nations vied with each other in erecting gorgeous temples; but none was more famous than that of Upsal, in Sweden. It glittered on all sides with gold; a chain of the same metal, or at least gilded, ran round the roof, although the roof was not less than nine hundred ells. Hacon, Earl of Norway, built one near Dronthehn, which was not inferior to that at Upsal. When Olaus, King of Norway, introduced the Christian religion into that country, he caused this temple to be razed to the ground, and broke in pieces the idols it contained. He found great riches, particularly a chain of great value. Iceland had likewise its temples. The Chronicles of that country speak of two, one on the south side of the Island, the other on the north. In each of these temples, there was a chapel that was regarded as a holy place. There they placed the idols upon a kind of altar, round which they ranged the victims that were to be offered up. Another altar stood opposite to it, plated with iron, in order that the fire that burnt there perpetually should not damage it. Upon this altar, was placed a vase of brass, in which they received the blood of the victims ; behind stood a brush with which they used to sprinkle with blood the by standers. There hung up, likewise, a great silver ring which they stained with blood, and which, whoever took an oath upon any occasion, was required to hold in his hand. In one of the temples, there was, also, near the chapel, a deep pit or well, into which the victim was cast.-Mallet's Northern Antiquities, London, edition 1770,vol. i, page 128.




This is the line that divides the king's lands from those belonging to the monastery of Russin; it runs along the wall and the ditch which is between Castleton and the monk's lands ; it goes to the south, between the monk's meadow and MacEwen's farm, ascends the rivulet between Gylosen and the monk's lands, turns to Hentraeth ; goes round Hentræth and Trollo-toft, along the ditch and wall, descends by the ditch and wall to the river near Oxwath ; turns up the same river to a rivulet between Aros-rin and Stein-a, goes down to the valley called Frane; mounts up the ascent of the hill called Wardfell; descends to the brook Mourou; ascends from the brook Mourou, along the old wall, to Ross fell; descends along the same wall, between Cornama and Tot-man-by ; descends obliquely along the same wall, between Oxraise-herard and Tot-man-by, to the river called Corna. Corna is the boundary between the king and the monastery in that quarter, to the ford which lies in the highway, between Thorkelstadt, otherwise Kirk Michael, and Herinstadt; the line then passes along the wall which is the limit between the above-mentioned Thorkel's estate and Bally-sallach. It then descends obliquely along the same wall, between Crossiver, Builthan, and so surrounds Bally-sallach. It then descends from Ballysallach, along the wall and ditch, to the river Russin, as is well known to the inhabitants ; it then winds along the banks of that river in different directions, to the above mentioned wall and ditch, which is the limit between the abbey land and that belonging to the Castle of Russin.


This is the line that divides the king's lands from those of the abbey, towards Skemestar. It begins from the entrance of the port called Las-a, and goes up that river in a line under the mill, to the glynn lying between St. Nicholas' chapel and the manor of Greta-stadt. It then proceeds by the old wall, as is known by the inhabitants along the winding declivitics of tile mountains, till it comes to the rivulet between Toftar-as-mund and Rancuslin. It then descends to the boundaries of the manor called Orinshouse, and, as is known to the country people, descends to the sea.

By virtue of the Act 27, Henry VIII (A.D. 1536), for the general dissolution of monasteries, these lands became vested in the crown. By letters patent, dated l7th March, 1606, all the lands which formerly belonged to the " monastery and priory of Rushen and Douglas, the Grey Friars of Brymaken, and rectories and churches of Kirkevrist in Shelden and Kirklovan, with their appurtenances," were let to Sir Thomas Leigh and Thomas Spencer, with the exception of the woods and under woods, for forty years, at the annual rent of £101 15s. 11d. By letters patent, dated 2nd May, 1610, James I. granted to William Earl of Derby, and his heirs for ever, at the accustomed rent of £101 15s. 11d., with £20 17s., in consideration of lordships, manors, mines, and minerals, to hold of the manor of East Greenwich. This superiority was purchased from the Melbourne family by the late Duke of Atholl.-Mills's Ancient Ordinances, Douglas, p. 526 ; and Act 5th George III, cap. 26.



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