[taken from Chapter 9 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]


of Kiondroghad, in Kirk Andreas, seems to have been a typical specimen of the Manx farmer of the 17th century. It is related of hint that he paid a visit to William, Earl of Derby, at Knowsley, in 1680, in return for one which the earl had paid him at Kiondroghad. On his arrival at the front door the porter refused to admit him, saying that the earl was then engaged in entertaining a party of gentlemen. It is probable that Columbus was arrayed in the ancient Manx costume of long blue tail coat, knee-breeches of homespun wool, keear stockings of the same, and on his feet carranes of untanned cow-hide, with the hairy side out, so that the porter, who had perhaps never seen such a queer object before mistook his social position. However that may have been, the old man, for he was then in his seventieth year, insisted on his name being sent in. As soon as he heard it, the earl rose from the table and ushered him in himself. They conversed for a time, and, when Columbus was about to retire, the earl, wishing to make him a present, proposed to let him have his estate free from lord's rent, which at that time was a much more valuable gift than it would be at present. But he declined, saying; " My lord, I cannot accept such a gift, for when my land will not enable me to pay lord's rent, it will not be worth keeping by myself or my descendants. " On being pressed to say if there was anything that he would like to have, he said he would accept a dog and gun, with permission for himself and his heirs to shoot over any land in the island. This privilege was accordingly granted. That he was both well-known and esteemed in his native island is evident from the following distich:—

Columbus Key V'eh clooinney'gyn moayrn
Bach ren braid curnagh Garish yn oayrn.

Columbus Key was a man without pride
He did not malt wheat with the barley

i.e., he might be depended upon for giving an unadulterated article.


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