[From Yn Lioar Manninagh Vol 3 pp144/157] -pt 3 (see pp129 for 1st part)
lie earliest indication we find of this conspicuous barrow occurs in the "Ordinances,"+ where it says, " Reginald was slain in a meadow, near a place called How Moore. " it is at the present day still called variously Cronk How Mooar, Cronk-y-Mooar, and Cronk-ny-Mooar, but never Cronk-Mooar ; and from careful local inquiries I have been able to learn sornething more as to its topography. It stands in the Lheanee Cronk-ny-Mooar (meadow of the Cronk-ny-Mooar), and is surrounded by the craggan conney ( a stoney patch of gorse or wince land), the magher guilcagh ( broom field), the curragh (marsh or bog), and the Lheanee runt ( round meadow). It is situated in a low morass, partly indicated already by the name of one of the fields (curragh) and still unexplored, and stands to the west of Rushen Church. The hill, which, as shown by its physical structure and composition, is an artificial erection, is 450 feet in circumference and 40 feet high, and was surrounded still at a time not so far remote, from what old men tell me, by a deep water moat, now almost filled up and less distinct. How the name Cronk-y-Mooar or ny-Mooar arose must be a matter of speculation ; it is certainly not Cronk-Mooar, and never called so by any of the peasants whom I examined, and who know anything about the place. Before I proceed further I will enumerate what traditions we have in connection with this Cronk, The common belief is that Reginald, son of Olave the Black, was slain here, 1249, by Yvar, and buried in this structure. But we have it on record, as Cumming says, " that he is interred in the Church of St. Mary, Rushen, and that, consequently, it cannot be his mausoleum, nor did any battle take place on this occasion. The conclusion is that probably the barrow must be much earlier than the 13th century." I will give now the various legends I have been able to collect from the old people about the Fairy Hill:
" The fairies have often been seen on the top. " " Funeral processions have often been seen winding their way to the Fairy Hill." " A little boy once went to play in the precincts of Fairy Hill, and he never grew afterwards to any size, and had his mouth twisted to one side. " It is said a woman made the Fairy Hill, and threw all the stuff in her apron ; her husband was killed and buried there, and the woman made that hill over him. " But the most interesting legend about it is the following, which I obtained from a very good old Manx friend of mine. When one evening we were standing before his thatch cabin, within full sight of Fairy Hill, the golden clouds were sailing towards Fleshwick Bay, and a beam of gleaming light suddenly fell on the towering cone, and seemed to illuminate the whole place. " Just yonder, he said, pointing his finger, "do you see it, how it stands out, the Fairy- Hill ? Ah! There are wonderful things I could tell you about it ; but wait a bit, man, till I recollect. I heard it often when I was a slip. Well, then, the tale I want to tell you, it is " About the man that had been strolling in the night, and he came into an entrance. There was a great merry-making going on, and killing of beef. As the cup of drink was going around it came to him, too, and it was said to be a silver cup, and the mans name Donagher Lowy. He made away as fast as he could with the cup, and they followed him. There was lots of water round the Fairy Hill, more than now; but he was not minding the water at all, but running through it, and they were shouting after him:
Donagher Lowy, cur dty chass er cloch, as ua cur'sy phoyll (Put thy foot on the stone, dont put it in the puddle of water.
"The fairies could not sweep through the water, so he gained on them. It was said he got into a cowhouse and spreie ny mooin sy voalley, and when the daytime came he got the cup put into the church, and it was used for a communion cup, and brought to London afterwards)."
Not long after our conversation I obtained another version, slightly varying in detail, from another friendly source
" It appears the fairies had a ball on the Fairy Hill, and Donaghue Lowy , a manservant in the Vicarage, he went to them and danced with them, the ladies, and when he was going to leave they gave him a silver cup to drink to their health, and he drew the wine away and run off with the cup ; and the fairies gave chase, and were shouting after him in Manx : Donaghue Lowy, cur dty chass ei. cloch, as na cur sy pholley, and he was running through the water and mire and everything, as hard as he could, and he ran till he got in the cowhouse in the Vicarage, and he got a spade, and threw out the cows mooin, and the fairies could not get across that. He put the cup ln Rushen Church, and it is still there."
Moore, in his " Surnames," mentions that the name Lowey occurs first in 1609 ; the Christian name of the above-mentioned man is Donaghue, which is quite uncommon in the Island ; possibly he may have been a roving Irishman, who came over for plunder and the mound may perhaps have been searched and ransacked for treasure. It would be very interesting, in order to establish the nature of the interior and its possible age, if the Natural History Society could undertake to open and examine this tumulus, to settle this point once and for all.
Some ten years ago I found some flint scrapers at the flanks of Fairy Hill ; and in July last I picked up, about five minutes walk away from it towards the south-west, on the way to Port Erin, a very fine, well-worn, unperforated, large stone hammer of wedge-shape.
*A Paper on Cronk How Mooar was submitted to the Society by Mr. H. T. Kelly in 1892, but (with several other valuable contributions) has not yet been published.
1 See " Copy of all Ordinances, Statutes, and Customs reputed and need for Laws in the Land of Mann," to The year 1732, Fol. MS. In Reference Free Library, Manchester.
There was once a man, Tom Gordon, coming from Peel to Surby, and as he came across the mountains at night, he saw a light before him, and he came at last to a fine house, and there was one man in the house. Tom told him, the man in the house, that he was tired and weary, and wished for lodgings. So the man said, he might stop with him for the night, as he expected a company, and he was glad that he had come, as he wanted help to go to fish. So they went down the cliff, pulled a small boat down, and went out to sea a little bit. Gordon was paddling with his two oars, and the man was fishing. They had a line and a hook on board, on both ends of the line, and when he was letting one fish in, he let him run out the other side. (The fairy man was fishing, you understand), and in a few minutes they had a basket full of fish. So they came to the house then, and the man began to cook the fish for supper, for that party that was cornan ; there was a big barral at the corner of the fire, one end out of the barral ; so the fairy man put Gordon under the barral, for the company would not see him. After a while Gordon was looking out through the bung hole, and seed a great company of ladies and gentlemen coming to the house, and so they all sat down to suppar. There was an old gentleman among the company like, and he sang out : "I smell a man." So they went and looked all over the room for the man, hul no man was found. They sat down to supper again, and this old gentleman smelled a man again ; so they went and turned over the barral where Gordon was underneath, and Gordon sang out :- Shee Yee orrim, ta mee gotch," and presently he was left by all tho company in the dark in a moment, and the house and men and ladies and all was gone, and Gordon awoke out of a dream, and he was lying on a bank of moss in a mountain, and the sun shining on inthe morning.
Well, I heard a man tell about two men in a farm house. They went to the smithy with a ploughiron both together, on Holy eve, and when they were coming back from the smithy, they came to a house in the mountains, and they went to the door to listen, and there was dancing and carrying on of music in the house. There was some young ladies come out, and invited them to come in, so they both went, and one of them went to dance with a young lady, and they had a cup of wine going about like. This chap that was dancing, took a drink of the cup, and he was dancing away with the ladies after that ; the other wouldnt taste it, so he got tired looking on, and he was wanting the chap who was dancing to come on. He didnt come at all, and he had to go away himself alone, and leave his companion dancing. Well, there was no more sight seen of him for the twelve months, and Holy eve this chap went to the smithy again, and on the way back came to the same house again. He got invited by the ladies to come in, and so he went, and saw his companion that he had left twelve months before, dancing with the ladies all the time, and the ploughirons on his shoulder. He went up and put his arm on his shoulder, and asked him to come home, and so he came, and he had been there these twelve months.
" Two young lads were travelling away after courting, and coming across the fields they saw a light in a house, and they went to the door, and there was music and dancing and wonderful things, and drinking and cups going round. One of them was pulled out to dance with the rest, and they were going on wonderful with the one he danced with, and the other fellow wanted to mooin. and went outside and did so against the house, and as soon as hed done this, vaik oo, whush !the house and all was gone, and the one inside gone, too, sir. In the course of seven years, this other young fellow was coming home the same fields, and he sees a light the same way as before, and he went in, and there was his company all dancing on the floor regular, so he looked on a while how the performance was going on, and it was said, he went to the fellow, his companion, and told him to come out, he wanted to talk to him, He went out, and he said : What in the world did you come so soon ? And he got a hould of him, and ren ushtey on the house and man, and as soon as he had done, sure, sir, all was gone, and the chap had been dancing away for seven years."
" I will tell you, sir, of the wonderful leaping bame, since you are curions to know and bothar me about the thing. It was about the man that was practically going out to ride with the fairies ; he knew where to meet them, and got acquainted, and an old hand meeting with them. Well, he had a neighbour that would have him to go with a ride with him, and the man told him he had no horse. Says the man, Dont bothar about having no horse, take the bame wis you,for he was a weaver. Well, so we goes He met, I suppose, the crowd (the fairies) before he started, so away he goes on the bame, and he comes to a certain hollow where he wanted to leap over. So it appears they were all leaping together with them, and the bame lept over, like any of the horses, as sure as I am here, sir. So, says he, thats a brave bame leap. So he made a blunder that was not suiting them, and he was left where he was, and had to trot carrying the bame home on his shoulder."
Second version, with amplification : " He came to a deep glen, and he said, My Saviour, God, what a jumping garmin this is and he had to carry it home on his back."
Third version : " He said, God bless me, when they were leaping, and that was between Eairey-stane (pr: Harry staten) and Lhingague."
" The people in olden times was terrible for making cowree, and I doubt, sir, if the like is yet. They steeped it in a crock, and had a big dishful, in some of the houses they had cowree for supper for all the men. Well, some of the gells threw a bit for fun at the men-servants, and there stood a crock of water, and a spoonful went in ther. After this they took rest. In the night something cum to the gell an said, in Yallick, There is not one handful of clean wattar in the night, and he struck her in the cheek with his hand with a whiz, and the mouth was crooked as long as she lived. Was he a fairy man, then ? I asked. " Of coorse, sur," he said, and they war great ones in them days. And where are they now ? I enquired. Qhuere they are now ? " I cannot tell. They are not to be seen nowhere now in this parish, an I think there are too many warldly men now in our time, and the gospel that they cannot stand. And what language, you think, did they speak ? " Yallick would be at them, my friend quickly rejoined.
" The fairies were very fond of cowree. Two men-servants were coming home late in the night, and they saw a light in the kitchen window and went to it to have a look, and they saw the kitchen full of fairies, and saw them take one of the cowree dishes, and they began to eat until the dish was empty. Well, one of the fairies spit in the dish, and all the rest followed, and spit, too, and the dish was full again. Well, one of the servants said he would not taste the cowree at all, so one took a supper of it, and the other would take none, and the fellow who took no cowree got sick as soon as be got to bed, and was terrible sick and died, and the other was leftall right." (See Addenda.)
" Once a woman was living down the Howe, and she was taken away in her confinement, and a dead carcass left in her place. Well, she was a long time, that they never thought more of her, and thought she was hurried at them. The husband got married again, and he was one night outside pretty late, and he met the first wife, and she told him all about it, that she was with the fairies, and she asked him to sweep the barn, and not leave one straw, the fairies were intending to ride through his barn some night soon, and he was to stand in the middle of the barn, and catch hold of her hand while she was going passing through the barn. Well, he told what happened to his second wife, and she put some straw under an empty barrel without the husbands knowledge, so when the fairy crowd came through the barn, she ( the former wife) told her husband who was standing there, it was of no use, as there was some straw under a barrel, and he could never get her any more."
" Some men were corning along the Howe and met three fairies, after twelve oclock, in the bright moonlight ; yes, three big men, walking side by side with caps, as wide as a wheelterrible caps! They could not hear their feet, and the caps were after themno foot. There was a big one in the middle. They passed them, and thought they were lifted up the earth, and felt terrible curious."
"The fairies are visiting the Mull yet. The woman that keeps the little shop at C. was telling me this morning the fairies were at her house last week one night when she was up until a late hour; another young man was with her, and they could hear them jumping among the shrubs and flowers in front of the house, but they seemed to be talking some foreign language, for they could not understand a word of their talk. The young man, as he was going home afterwards, heard them at their sport again, not far from his masters house, but he could not understand a word, although they were talking and shouting very loud."
" I have heard an old man telling about the fairies coming into his house about sunset in the evening, and he said it was leather caps they had on them."
" There were three men from the Mull went to the North of the Island to buy some peas. They had a horse each, and when coming back, late in the night, they saw a very bright light in an old kiln in some of the glens in the mountains. One of them would have a peep, and went up to the old kiln, and put his head in at one of the holes, and saw a great many ladies and gentlemen round the light in the centre. Soon as he looked in, the light was extinguished, and the man was taken suddenly ill. And they had to unload one of the horses, and put the man on the back, for he could not walk a step. So one horse had to bring the two sacks of peas until they came to some house, and the man was so bad, they thought he would have died before they got him home ; and he was some time before he got over it. I remember the three men myself, but they were old men when I was a boy60 years ago."
" Two young men from the Mull (they were very old when I remember them) were coming up from the Howe one night, at a late hour, and they saw an army of fairy men and horses. They got over the hedge and let them pass. They had all red caps and coats, and there was a great number of them. They had to wait a long time until the road was clear again."
" My father, who is dead now many years, used to tell me as a boy, that one night, after twelve oclock, when coming home on the road from the Howe, and going towards the Chasms, he met at a spot, a thousand or two of little girls, some had a song, saying:
" We met to part no more, Mary Oir " They had no lights in the hand."
" I have heard an old shipmate of mine telling me about fairy horses without any riders on. He was coming over Mull Hills one night, and met a great number of horses of every size, some big, and some little ponies of every description, and they were snorting and bending back their ears, while he had to stand, and dared not move until they had all passed by, with his knife open in his hand. He tried to hit the last one, and the horse turned upon him, and he thought he had been devoured by the last one, who kept going round, and trying to bite, until he was wearied out facing him with the open knife. At last, the morning dawned, and the horse galloped away."
" Old people were often telling about Nan y wyllar vollagh (Nan the daughter of the rough miller), how she was going away with the fairies at night, and coming home again in the morning. The fairies, in those days, were often visiting farmhouses and other houses as well, and if a house had no water for them to drink they always made a great noise. There was one man who got up in the night intending to put a stop to their merriment, and as he had just got out of bed in his shirt, he got such a slap on his thoin as made him iump into bed again. Next morning Nan came to see him, and told hint never to get up any more to disturb the fairies that they intended last night to make him into some animal, and Nan said only she gave him the slap, he would have been taken away by them."
Many long years ago I knew a man that lived at the Sound. As he was going home from Cregneish one night (there was no road to the Sound then, but a path across the fields) through one of the fields, a young lady came up to him and walked by his side. lie was much afraid of her, and began to run as fast as he could, and he could not leave her one bit, she was beside him still ; when he was jumping over the hedges she was jumping too, but her feet made no noise, and she kept beside him until he was near the house. He went outside one night afterwards, and heard a very shrill whistle, and in a moment there were hundreds of tiny little dogs about him."
A man that lived in the brewery house at Mount Gawne was up late once, on a Saturday night, with his wife, and about one oclock they heard a great noise outside, like a wave of the sea tumbling on the shore. His wife was afraid to open the door, and he was nervous himself, so they both went together and opened; and there was a beast, almost as large as an elephant, going along the road, but he had the form of a bear, so he made a great rumbling noise as he went along; but he did not look round, and they watched him until he was ought of sight. He went towards Kentraugh House. They suppose it was old Mr. Gawnes ghost. He once brewed in that brewery, and he died very sudden in Scotland ; and some people will have it that he visits Kentraugh and the brewery yet."
" Some men were hunting one night in the cliffs near the Sound for rabbits, and the night was clear enough to see any object around them. They both could hear men rowing, and the splash of the oars, but could see no boat. They said they were sure the boat was passing, and it must have been a fairy boat, or they could have seen
" Mr. Collister told me once, when sitting in his armchair, he saw coming in lumps of boys and leather caps, and all jumping and gambolling about in the room."
" A woman at Port St. Mary said she had a visit from the fairies; she was frightened, though, and she felt them go on her body, walking as light as cats."
" An ear is growing on the Tramman tree, supposed to be fairies ears, and on a windy night, when the branches of the tree are shaking and bending, the fairies are riding on them."
" I always heard them say the fairies were dressed in green, with red caps, and with very small eyes. It appears they were very little and very light, for I have heard of many men, and some women as well, that have been for horses for them all night, but they could feel no weight in them. I knew an old man that had been wandering all night with them, but they allowed him to go home in the morning."
" There was a man living in Fleshwick, and before going to bed on a winters night he went outside to mooin, but he could not find the house again, and he said he was sure he never went over a hedge, but when daylight came he was on the top of Bradda mountain."
" When the fairies are coming in the houses in the night, you are always obliged to keep a broken cake, if not they make a great row ; if there was no water in the crock they made a row all night. A man in Colby, big Charlie, a fisherman, had retired to bed, but had negleqed to put their water in, so he would get no rest at all and he was terrible mad, was the man. Well, there was a bucket-well by the house, and do what he could the wife would not let him rest, and bothered him awfully to get up and get them water. At length, in a rage, he slap his clothes on, and out he goes to the bucket-well - and so cold the nightand in a thrice he got a bucket-full and the man goes in and nips the water in the crock, and says he : "There devils, drink and p . . . away, and growled a little, but it was soon quiet, and he was soon snoring and sleeping."
" The wifes grandfather got once up to the door for something, during one or two oclock in the night, and he heard and saw, I think, a lot of fairies passing the door, trotting like sheep, and he shouted "Sthir bhoy" after them, as he used to when letting the dog after sheep, and a row was heard after that in the haggard behind the house."
" When I was a little girl I remember my aunt telling that once, at the harvest at Glen Meay, when all the company were making merry over the feast, bread and butter was not broken, and all at once they saw an old little woman going backward and forward, and there was such a row. They found out soon enough their mistake and cut off a piece, and put it aside for them, and then everything was all right.
" My grandfather was going home to Fleshwick. There is a steep hill, and there used to be a quag in the highroad, and it was dangerous to sink in it. He thought, therefore, he would go over the hedge, and not through the quag; so over he went, and on going over he went over so quick he did not feel going over. He felt himself going running down across the field as fast as feet would serve him, but thought his feet scarcely touched the ground. There was bog in the field, and when he was going across the bog he knew himself where he was. Again he went away as fast as he could, and he was not feeling his feet touching the ground ; and went on in that way better than half-a-mile, till he came to a field of a man named Cashin, who had a house in a field. He knew where he was again, and, away again, and no stop till he came to the top of Milners Tower. And when he was there he heard the sea under him, He was left there by the fairies, because there was the cliff and the water, so he said
" I was told of a woman at the far end of Bradda that was confined, and two women were with her in the house for company for a night, and one of them had the baby in her lap, sitting at the fire in the kitchen. It began late on the night, and a candle was burning in the parlour, where the woman was. The sleep, it seems, was coming on them whilst sitting near the fire, so when they just were beginning to fall asleep the candle was beginning asleep, too, and to go out, and when they just seed it they were frickened up, and the candle would blaze up again. By and bye they fell asleep, though, and they were frickened, and run in the parlour, and got the candle, and lit it; and this woman that was confined was nearly out of bed. And there was a row begun outside, and you might have thought for the world that what they saidthe fairieswas, Only for thee, only for thee, we might have had her, and so again and again."
"In the Crammah there lived a woman, and she went out at dark and left the child in the cradle. When she came in again the child was crying awfully, and the first thing she did she took him out of the cradle, and turned his thom and front up, He was quite rough, like an old man, and as she saw that she went and put him lying across a pot of mooin in it ; they cant stand that, and she got away and hid herself out of sight, and she was listening. It was not left long till she heard a different cry, and it was her own child. Then she run back, and catched her own child, and examined it, and found it all right."
" I was told of a woman that had the baby brought to get a suck, and they laid him by near the stooks for a short time. The baby began to scream awful. She went to go to the baby again, and the farmer, who was in the field, kept her from going; and the baby screaming so, the mother was in a troubled way . At last he let her go. Well, the woman did not see the fairy at all, but the farmer had seen her coming, and take up the baby from the stook, and left another in its place. That was the baby which was roaring, and which the fairy woman left, and when the farmer kept her from going to the baby at all, then the fairy woman came again, and exchanged it again, and took up her own again, because the farmer had seen her."
" There was a woman one day with me who began to tell me about her father when he was a lump of a youngster, and his mother was confined, and his grandfather was standing at the fire, and it was getting on in the evening, in the summer, about seven or eight oclock, on a fine day. While he was there, he just saw a woman coming in, and she went down the parlour, where his mother was. Well, he saw her clear enough, and he knew the description of the cloth she had on, and every woman who was coming in was getting bread and cheese, when a woman was in confinement. So the young fellow would be watching his time, when one would go, to run down to get a piece. His grandfather was holding him a while, and he was anxious to get off to get a " cheer," so he broke off straight into the parlour, and found his mother was near half way out of bed. Ah, my dear boy, she said, why did not you come sooner ? because I was nearly pulled out of bed by that wicked woman, and as soon as he went down, she left his mother and disappearedand that was a fairy woman."
" There was a man from Santon told me last night that an uncle of his used to see the fairies very often, while he was alive, and knew a great deal about them. He was often telling the people about the railway line, more than 20 years before anyone thought about it. He was seeing the fairies very often practising on it in the moonlight, and he could point out where the line was to be, as he was seeing fairy trains going along so often. He always could see them about his house in the evenings, dancing and jumping. He would tell the people if it was to he a good fishing season or a bad one by the different kind of fairies he saw. There were some good ones and some bad ones ; but the good ones were seen in the evening, but the bad ones late at night. The man said the railway line was made on the very spot he told them, more than 20 years before it was proposed."
A woman had a daughter who was pining away, being bewitched by the fairies, and of her Kennish sings
Drawing, whilst the dame did snore,
Her daughters vitals from the core
Into an heirloom china mug,
Then laid it neath the chimney lug
That while it watcd day by day,
The virgin, too, would pine away.
Here the Cure
This night at twelve, come here alone,
And underneath this very stone
Youll find a china mug or cup,
Which you will take, then break it up
And throw the jieces in the fire,
Then quickly to your bed retire.
Old May Eve.
" There was a boat one night shot their nets near Fleshwick Bay, when they got to hauling them they came to one spot which was very heavy, but they got it pulled up to the surface of the water, and it shone upon the mountains and made more light than the moon, and the fishermen were so frightened that they cut away their nets and let them sink to the bottom again. They said it was pearl, but no one has happened to get hold of it since that time, though the boats have been shot there hundreds of times, besides dredgers and trawlers."
" I was sailing with a man once, and he told me there were three of them in a boat going to Whitehaven to get coals, and some time in the night they saw a very great light in the channel like a lighthouse, and when passing by, it seemed like a very high tower, and they saw a big man, like a giant on the top beside the light, working himself as he had been pumping ; in a very short time afterwards the sea was all in lights round about as far as they could see. I suppose that was a fairy fleet out on a pleasure excursion."
" A man was telling me that he was coming home from the Howe Chapel, near two years ago, himself and another young man on a clear moonlight night, and saw a woman sitting by the road side, with long yellow hair to her waist. They passed her, and she turned back. They followed her at a short distance, and she went to the first house and sat down beside some flowers by the window. They came to the place as fast as possible, and searched every spot around the house, but found her not."
They have been described to me as both small and big, they have ittle eyes, are very agile and vindictive if annoyed, and if you make them corree their impishness and spite know no bounds. They wear red caps and are mostly dressed in green ; there are men and women fairies, they are not credited with the use of stone or flint arrows. They dislike any nasty, evil smell, and you must be careful to serve them out every night with clean water, and leave some broken victuals for them. If you are good to them, they are very good friends to you, and do you many a good service. The fairy women are great child kidnappers, and the confined women require great circumspection and the use of many charms to cross them in their cunning tricks