[Yn Lioar Manninagh Vol 2 pp115/116]



Within a few yards of the old Parochial Schoolhouse, Lonan, stands the Thie Keeil Khallane, in the yard of which are some rude foundations, said to be those of the ancient Keel Khallane, or ‘Kilkellan," as it is named on the maps. This Keel, in accordance with custom, was evidently erected on ground which had been held as sacred in pre-historic times, a large cemetery having apparently existed there in the Celtic period of the Island’s history. When the highroad from Douglas was made it evidently cut through this ancient cemetery, but we have no information as to what relies were then discovered, though it is probable that many urns, or their fragments, would be unearthed at that time. In 1834, however, when the present parish church of Lonan was erected, sand was removed from the adjoining garden, and we have it on the evidence of eye witnesses that urns, fragments of bone, burnt ashes, and other evidences of Pagan burial were then exposed to view ; in addition to which there were also discovered some few "lintel graves", containing skeletons more or less perfect. The cemetery appears to have extended into the field on the west of the highway, now called Bwoailley Khallane, as there also many urns have been unearthed at various times. The field on the east of the road—called The Cronk—and situated behind the Schoolhouse, was evidently adopted by the Christianised Celts as their burial place, and was continuous with the older cemetery. But, though occasionally stones have been turned up and graves opened by the plough, no particular attention was called to this field until the present month, when the workmen employed in cutting the track for the electric tramway came upon a series of graves, 46 of which were opened, and all contained skeletons, many of which crumbled to fragments upon their exposure. These were all lintel graves, and varied in size from 5ft. 1in. to 6ft. 9in. in length, and from one to two feet in width, each grave containing one skeleton, but no inscribed stone, win, weapon, or coin, has been discovered. All these graves lie in a direction within five degrees of due east and west by the compass, and do not differ from similar graves elsewhere, except in the unique system in which they are arranged. The graves lie in groups of three, each about 18in. apart ( laterally), but between each group there has been left a space of nine or ten feet. Longitudinally the lines of graves are continuous, except for the small space allowed between the head and foot of each. The stones removed from the graves have been preserved near the site. I have examined several of the most likely ones, but failed to find any tool marks. I also obtained two of the skulls. The longer one wants the occipital bone. It measures 12 inches over crown, from the meatus of one ear to that of the other, and the same over the frontal bone. Many of the teeth fell from the upper jaw and were lost, but the lower jaw contains a perfæt set of 16. The smaller skull measures 11½ inches over the crown, and 10½ over the frontal bone. The occipital bone is. present, but perforated, and the circumferenoe of the skull is 19 8-10ths inches. The lower jaw is missing. In one of the graves the Rev. E. B. Savage found a horse’s tooth, an accidental addition to the contents. These skulls* are round-headed, but, on my first visit, I saw a portion of the skull and some other bones appertaining to the skeleton which occupied the longest grave. He was a giant in stature ; the bones, without any displacement, occupying the full extent of the 6ft. 9in. grave. They were firm, strong, and articulated when discovered, but soon fell asunder. The skull in this case was long, shallow, and broad, in fact, a very flat skull; but I had no means of taking measurements.

This field is probably full of graves, and, as a station is to be erected upon it., most likely other remains will be found.

January 29th, 1894.


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