TO THE ISLE OF MAN NATURAL HISTORY AND ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY.
This Sheading consists of three Parishes, the first of which is called after its Church, Skeeilley Mayl or Kirk Michael, and has given the name to the Sheading ; the next, Ballaugh, first appears in 1231 as Sta Maria de Ballylaughe ; the third is known as Kirk Patrick of Jurby.
In the first of these we have found traces of six Keeills, and the site of the Parish Church may be that of another. In Ballaugh we have five Keeills or their sites, and, in this case also, the Parish Church is likely to have been the site of another. In Jurby we hear of three, and, considering the small size of the Parish, there may not have been more. The Parish Church is so very close to the Chapel on the Nappin that it seems unlikely to have been the site of another Keeill. It has a pre-reformation Font of red-sandstone, cylindrical in shape, perfectly plain, and measuring 25in. outside diameter by 12in. high, with walls about 3½in thick. This and the five Scandinavian cross-slabs found loose in the Church-yard may have been brought from an older site, possibly that on the Nappin, as the large Sigurd-slab is known to have been brought from Ballachonly. (see p. 14).
Of these fourteen, three only now show any remains, namely the two on Ballacarnane, Michael, of which the larger one, Cabbal Pherick at the Spooyt Vane, is evidently of a later date than the other, but is of special interest as having had what appears to have been a Culdee's Cell such as we found at Lag ny Keeillee, Patrick, see First Report, p. 25, except that in this case it is against the S. W. corner of the enclosure instead of the N. W. The only other remains in this Sheading are the ruins at the West Nappin, Jurby, which appears to have been a re-building of the 14th Century.
Ayre Sheading comprises the three Northern parishes of Kirk Andreas, or Skeeylley Andreays, Kirk Bride or Skeeylley Bridey, and Kirk Christ Lezayre, Skeeylley Chreest ny Heyrey, i.e., Christ's Church of the Sheading of Ayre, so called to distinguish it from Kirk Christ in the Sheading of Rushen.
In the first of these, only four Keeills are now remembered, the small number being probably due in part to the fact that this, which is one of the best agricultural districts in the Island, has been so well cultivated for a long period. Knoc y doonee is the only one of which even the foundations remain ; in it we found for the first time the altar so far perfect as to .have the covering slab as well as one of the side stones in position. In Kirk Bride, of the five Keeills traced by ús, one at Ballavarkish shows a few only of the foundation stones, and no trace is left of the others except at Ballacamain, which we were not allowed to examine. In Lezayre we have learned of nine sites of Keeills or Burial grounds, three of which, on Skyhill, are very close together. Only two in this parish now show any remains. Our most important finds were those of the Bi-lingual pillar at Knoc y doonee, Andreas, the first of this class of monument met with in the Island, and the inscribed slab at Ballavarkish ; at the latter place also we found a carved two-light window-head of red sandstone of early date.
We have now completed the Survey of the Northern half of the Island, the results of which have taught us a good deal, which could not otherwise have been ascertained, of the nature, character, period, and general distribution of these early Christian edifices. We have been able to add 17 early sepulchral monuments to those described in Manx Crosses in 1908 ; and, if the discoveries in the Southern half of our district are nearly as rich, we shall have justified the formation of this Committee by adding an interesting chapter to the early history of our Island. It is unfortunate that we receive so little support : our Natural History and Antiquarian Society cannot afford more than £5 a year to this particular work, and we receive very few subscriptions. Our Treasurer's statement shows that we have £7 2s. 0d. in hand, but we owe £20 15s. od. for printing of our last Report. We run the risk of serious loss to the Island, by carrying on the work so very slowly, owing to the rapid destruction of our Antiquities ; once more, therefore, we make an earnest Appeal for Funds, without which it will be impossible to continue our Survey.
We desire to express our thanks to occupiers and proprietors who have given us permission to examine the remains on their lands, Messrs. T. S. Keig, C.P., J. Q. Cannell, C. P., Rev. J. J. Quiggin, T. Corlett, J. Callister, T. W. Quirk, J. Martin, J. Quark, E. P. Christain, J. Cowley, T. Cowley, R. S. Corlett, and Mrs. E. C. Farrant, as well as for the information and the assistance they afforded us. Also to Messrs. H. C. Bayley, W. H. Skillicorn, and J. R. Quayle, for their excellent photographs. And we must especially acknowledge the great assistance given by Mr. J. R. Quayle, Secretary to the local Committee for Michael. He prepared a Report on all the remains given for that Parish in our " List.of;Antiquities," quoting them by number on one page and on the opposite adding notes about them, and calling attention to others, thus making a Report which we would recommend as a model to our other local Committees; he helped also by supplying us with the names of owners and occupiers, and obtaining their permission for us to make the examinations ; and he is now engaged in making out for us on the 25 in. O. S. the boundaries of all the Quarterlands and Treens in his district, the latter in particular becoming every year more difficult to ascertain. We trust that in time, with the assistance of the local Committees, it may be possible to continue this work for all our other parishes, and so have it placed on record before the. knowledge of these old divisions is completely lost.
In Appendix I, we give a list of articles found or heard of in the course of the Survey. Appendix II, gives our Treasurer's Statement and list of Subscriptions received, and Appendix III gives particulars of our Committee.
Read and adopted at a Meeting of the Committee held in Douglas, Thursday, October 26, 1911.
C. T. C. CALLOW, Acting Chairman.
comments, errors or omissions gratefully received MNB
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2006