[From Yn Lioar Manninagh Vol 3 pp417/424]


Rev. J. QUINE, M. A.

[my copy has been annotated with corrections by W Cubbon - these are shown in [], see paper by Kneen - one significant error was the acceptance of Gylozen for Bylozen (discussed by Ralfe and now identified with Billown)]

Spelling of Place-names are those of Johnstone (AD. 1786) ; and in brackets Oliver (Manx. Soc., Vol. IV.) ; Cumming (‘ Rushen Abbey") uses Johnstone. The existing known boundary is followed.


I. Hæc est divisa inter terram regis et monachorum de Russin, muro et fovea quœ est inter villam Castelli et terram monachorum, et circuit per austrum.—This is the division between the land of the King and of the Monks of Russin, from the wall and ditch which is between the domain of the Castle and the land of the Monks, and it goes round by the south-west.

(a) Villa = not town or village but the Castle land, the estate or domain attached to the Castle, almost specifically = balla=treen. It is the treen of Scarlott (stack-land?), the part in question being the quarterlands of Ballahuggal and Ballalough. Vide Rent Roll, 1510 (" Castlelands otherwise Scareloute").

(b) Important to fix the starting point, which must he where wall and ditch answer the description of place and direction ; this is about half-a-mile up stream from the Castle, at the damhead of Castletown mill, where the boundary starts from the river and goes south-west.

(c) Muro et fovea=by wall and ditch, or " from the wall and ditch, viz. , starting from the wall and ditch.

II. Et circuit par austrum inter pratum monachorum et villa M’Akoen.—And goes round by south-west between the Monk’s Meadow and Balla-Keigen.[Balla Caighen]

(a) Per austrum = by the south or south-west?

III. Et ascendit per rivulum inter Gylosen (Gylozen) [Bylozen] et terram eorundem monachorum.- And ascends by the rivulet between Gylosen and the land of the same (or said) Monks

(a) In whole document accurate distinction is made between amnis = river, rivus = brook, and rivulus = rivulet.

(b) The rivulet here mentioned enters the sea at Poolvaash, crossing Castletown and Port Erin road just beyond Red-gap, and coming down by Ballamaddrell, about ¼ mile east of Ballabeg, in Arbory, forming for more than two miles of its course the boundary of Arbory and Malew, as also boundary of Abbeyland.

(c) Gylosen = not Glashen in Malew, but some estate in Arbory, probably Ballanorris [Billown]; the identity of the place and name being now impossible

(d) Oliver’s identification of this name with Glashen is purely arbitrary, based on similarity.

( e) Argument re date of document, probably prior to Friary founded at Bymecan 1375, or mention would have been made of it. [Boundary not near Friary]

IV. Et inclinet usque ad Hentráe (Hentre).—And slopes up as far as Testraw.

(a) The boundary goes to the top of Ballavarkish in Arbory treen nearly to the edge of Ballaglonney in Testraw treen. [No ½ mile away]]

(b) Oliver makes Hentre = Renshent an arbitrary identification as above Renshent being seven or eight miles away.

V. Et circuit eandem terram de Hentræ (Hentre) et Trollotophtan (Trollatophthar) per murum et foveam in amnem prope Oxwath — And goes round the same land from Testrawa nd Ballatrollag by wall and ditch into the river near Oxwath

(a) " Et circuit." At this point there is a corner ; and the boundary turning east strikes across country descending [ascending] till at last it strikes into the river at right angles about 200 yards above Silverburn Bridge.

(b) Amnem =- river.

(c) De=not " of," but " from.’

(d) Oxwath (cattle ford?), certainly near Silverburn Bridge, viz., 100 yards below, or 200 yards above, where probably from time immemorial there was a ford from the lowlands to the uplands.

(e) Oliver makes Oxwath = Orrisdale, merely jumping from one point of the boundary to another to get some similarity of name.

(f) Trollatofthar = Thallooclagh or Shen-ny-Clagh, is another like conjecture from Thalloo, being something like Trollo. Ballatrolla or Ballatrollag is immediately on the left after turning the corner near Testraw.

VI. Et ascendit per eundem amnem in rivum inter Aryeus-ryn (Aryeuzryn) et Staynarhaa (Staynarhea).—And ascends by the same: river into the brook between Rheast and Arerna.

(a) Rivus = brook, viz. , Awin Rheast.

(b) The boundary goes up the Silverburn from the carding mill, for about a mile to the brook (Awin Rheast) which joins it from the right as you ascend (¼ m. short of Grenaby). It turns up this brook about 500 yards, with the Rheast (formerly a waste) on your right, and the treen of Arerna on your left.

(c) Oliver makes Aryeuzryn = Ballavarvane, and Staynarhaa = Shenvalla, not to speak of their position some miles off, both are within the abbey lands, and the boundary could not go between them.

VII. " Et descendit usque ad vallem quæ vocatur Fanc."—And descends as far as the valley which is called Fanc.

(a) From Awin Rheast brook the boundary strikes back south-east with zigzag course to Ballanank, to the ravine of the brook (Awin Ruy), but not actually to the brook itself.

(b) Awin Ruy comes down from Gibdale, past Black Fort (west of St. Mark’s), past Ballanank, and joins Silverburn above Crossag Bridge, near Ballasalla.

VIII. " Et ascendit per clivum montis qui dicitur Wardfial (Worzefel)." - And ascends by the slope of the mountain which is called Wardfial (Barrule).

(a) From Ballanank the boundary doubles back , ascending steadily up past (and including Clycur as far as Corlea ( viz., to Barrule mountain hedge).

(b) Oliver makes Worzeful = Wyndy (viz., windy common manifestly on all grounds it is Barrule.

IX " Et descendit in rivulum qui dicitur Mourou (Mouru)."— And descends into the rivulet which is called Mourou (Awin Ruy).

(a) From Corlea the boundary turns down towards Ballamoda, and sweeps NE. into Gibdale, crossing at right angles the rivulet Awin Ruy.

(b) Mouru = Awin Ruy, water brown (or red) with peat.

(c) Oliver gives Mouru = Monei, probably Moaney. Moaney = a wet piece of ground distinguishable from garey by having a peat soil.

X. " Et ascendit de rivulo Miurou (Mouru) per veterem per Rosfial (Rozefel)."—And ascends from the rivulet, Awin Ruy. by the old wall, through (or by) Rosfell.

(a)Rosfial (Rozefel) = by its situation) the place now called windy common, the southern extension of the granite or stony mountain (i.e.) eastwards from the Castletown and Foxdale highroad towards the Eary. Probably Rosfell was the name of the granite mountain as a whole.

XI. " Et descendit per eundem murum inter Cornama, et. Totmanby. "—And descends by the same wall between Cordeman and Totaby.

(a) The wall goes to a corner, Cordeman on right, Totaby on left, and description up to this point exact ; but from this point the description gives some difficulty, being too slight for the complexity of the situation (as it is at present but not perhaps as it was then).

XII. " Et descendit per eundem murum oblique inter Ox-raise-herad (Oxrayzer) et Totmanby usque ad amnem qui vocatur Corna"—And descends by the same wall obliquely between Ox-raise-herad and Totaby, as far as the river which is called Coma.

( a) Corna= Santon river, the corner reached in last section being nearly a mile distant from the river, directly west of Campbell Bridge.

(b) Oliver recognizes Corna = Santon river, but adds Chass-ny-haie, meaning probably Cass-na-Awin, the term applied only to the mouth of Santon river.

(c) At this point is a place called Booldoholly (cattle-fold? query = Ox-raise-herad), and an old road goes straight to the river, having on the right or south side, Booldoholly, joining Cordeman, Balihergy, and Shenvalla ; on the left or N. side, Totaby. If Ox-raise-herad is identical with Booldoholly, then the boundary is described as passing along this old road, viz. , between Booldoholly and Totaby obliquely to the river. This puts Totaby outside the boundary. Totaby is abbey land, but not originally so.

(d) The present boundary in fact turns at a right angle N.W. from Booldoholly, and encircling Totaby, comes back with zigzag course, leaving a belt of common between Totaby and the river, and finally meeting the river at Campbell Bridge. Ox-raise-herad, then, would not be identical with Booldoholly, but would be another place to the NW. towards the granite mountain. (If the boundary was meant to be described as at present).

( e) Oliver makes Oxrayzer (Ox-raise-herad) = Lherghy Clagh willy, which in position answers (supposing Totaby intended to be included), being on the slope of the granite mountain along the foot of which the boundary round Totaby passes.

( f) But even on this assumption a difficulty remains. There are three insulated patches of Abbey land outside Totaby, surrounded by the common land of the granite mountain, viz. , Renshent of 48 acres, Ardvolley of 11 acres, and part of Totaby of 52 acres, which are not taken account of. this difficulty vanishes supposing they (with Totaby) are the certain lands leased to the Abbot (16s. 8d.) in Rent Roll (1510).

(g) Totaby may have become Abbey land later than the date of this document, being classed as Abbey land after the dissolution of Abbey.

(h) Final conclusion that Ox-raise-herad is Booldoholly (or Ballhergy and Shenvalla).

XII. " Coma quidem est confinium terræ regis et monachorum ex illa parte usque vathum per quod transitur publica via inter villam Thorkel quo alio nomine vocatur Kirk Michael (Kirkemychel) et Herinstad (Herynstaze)."—Corna then is the boundary of the land of the king and of the monks on that side as far as the ford by which crosses the public road between Balla-Thorkel (which by another name is called Kirk Michael), and Herinstad.

(a) From Campbell Bridge, between Shenvalla and Ballanicholas, the boundary follows Santonburn seawards for four or five miles to the Mullen-e-Quinney footbridge and ford, on the old Castletown road. This is the ford mentioned. At that point it leaves the river, ascending the steep western bank, the old Castletown road being the boundary for some distance.

(b) Note the antiquity of this as a " public road."

(c) " Villa Thorkel," or ‘‘ Kirk Michael " = the treen of Kirk Michael, containing Ballaquaggin , Ballaquinnea, Ballawoods, and Ballahick.

(d) Herinstad = Orristal, Erristhal (Heri(n)stal. This was probably a treen name as well as the name of quarterland in which it survives.

(e) Both these estates slope down to Santon river, the ford being at their common point ofjunction with the river.

(f) Oliver makes Villa Thorkel = Kerrochial, a place some five or six miles distant having no connection with Abbey lands ; and Herynstaze = Kerrowmoar, no such place in connection with route.

XIV. " Et ascendit per murum qui est confinium inter eandem villarn Thorkel et Bailysallach (Balesalaze)."—And ascends by the wall which is the boundary between the same (estate of) Villa Thorkel and Ballasalla.

(a) The treen of Kirk Michael extends from Mullen-e-Quinnea ford to a point within 300 yards of Ballasalla Railway Station, and 250 yards east of the highroad, from which point the boundary curves off towards Derbyhaven. Thus the boundary wall after passing Herinstad came between Kirk Michael and Ballasalla.

(b) Balla = villa = treen. In the Abbey lands a large number of treens were comprised. Their treen names are mostly lost. Ballasalla=Balla St. Lua=the treen or domain of St. Lua’s ; not the village, but the estate which presumably contained Ballabridson, Whitestone, Halsall’s Ground,

Croit Valley, etc. , possibly Glashen, bordering on the river where the village stands.

XV. " Et descendit oblique per eundem murum inter Cross Ivar, Biulthan (Crosyvor Biulthan) ; et sic circuit Ballasallach.—And descends obliquely by the same wall between Cross Ivar-Biulthan, and so goes round Ballasalla (?)

(a) Where on earth did Oliver get his spellings ? He seems to have simply altered Johnstone. The original MS. must have been consulted by somebody. Did Oliver consult it ? If not, he ought to have followed his second-hand authority.

(b) Inter = between presupposes two places ; but both editors give one only " Cross Ivar-Biulthan." To make sense at all it is necessary to read " Inter Cross Ivor et Biulthan "=between Cross Ivar and Biulthan.

(c) Boithane (Biulthane or Byulthan) is Abbeyland ; and just at the turn of the boundary now reached, joins the treen of Kirk Michael for about 300 yards ; then marches with or borders on Ronaidsway.

(d) Cross Ivor (Crosyvor) is certainly not Crossag, which is in the heart of the Abbeyland, on the other side of Ballasalla, northwards half a mile away.

Biulthane being Abbeyland, and the boundary passing between Biulthane and Cross Ivar, the latter is on the king’s land.

It is a spot of which no trace remains to exactly identify it. A suggestion, however, as to its location is offered further on in the next part of this section.

(e) This part has some difficulty, remembering the known route of the Abbey boundary to which the text must have reference, and the text itself. The difficulty is in the word Ballasallach —"et sic circuit Ballasallach"—and so goes round Ballasallach, Because, the boundary does not from this point make a circuit of Ballasalla, but goes away from it, going past Bolthane, It does go round Ballagilley, to which it comes after passing Bolthane.

(f) Bailagiiley was perhaps not only the name of farm but also of treen containing Ballagilley,Hango Hill, Bowling Green, and Ballacurry. The actual boundary makes the circuit of these farms, touching the Big Cellar, and ending at Castletown harbour (excluding grounds of Lorne house).

(g) Therefore, for Ballasallach read here Ballagilley.

(h) The locality of Cross Ivar is thus on Ronaldsway, viz. , over against Bolthane.

(i) Bolthane safer to regard as treen name, probably including Bolthane, Booil na muck, Creggans, Halsall’s Hill, Great Hill, and Ballacott.

(j) Cross Ivar not so far down towards Derbyhaven as to be opposite boundary of Ballagilley.

(k) On this spot exactly, the ordnance and other maps place site of battlefield (AD. 1250), when Magnus Olafson and John Dugaidson landed at Ronaldsway, and were repulsed. Ivar, in the absence of Harold in Norway, was at the head of the Manx, and a subordinate of his attacked John Dugaldson’s foragers in the evening, no doubt as they were returning to the port from the country, and slaughtered some of them, others being drowned in attempting to swim to the ships.

(l) If a cross was erected in this locality to perpetuate Ivar’s exploit, it must have been standing or at least have given its name to the place when the document was written.

XVII. " Et descendit de Ballasailach per murum et foveam in amnem de Russin, sicut notum es provincialibus ‘ And descends from (again read) Ballagilley by will and ditch into the river of Rushen, as is known to the provincials.

(a) Ballagilley for Billasallcch givcs exact description of termination of boundary as far as Castletown Harbour, viz., by the cross lane behind the old Bowling Green House, and skirting the grounds of Lorne House, making the Claddagh within Abbeylands.

XVIII. ‘‘Et descendit per ripam amnis ejusdam diversimodo usque ad predictam foveani et mirum qui est inter territorium monachorum et terrani ejusdem Castelli de Russin." And descends ( but read ascends) by the bank of the same river in varying way far as the aforesaid ditch and wall, which is between the territory of the monks and the land of the same Castle of Rushen.’

(a)" Ascendit" for " descendit," going up the Claddagh along river bank past Railway Station to complete circuit at the aforesaid ditch and wall, viz., near damhead of Castletown mill, from which point the perambulation set out.

* Note—This is most probably the actual explanation, vide Rent Roll, p11. it, where Totmanby is a Treen of Lord’s land rented to the Abbot and William McAdde.


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