[From Proc IoMNHAS vol 1 #12]
By MR. P. G. RALFE.
Read 20th January, 1910.
Thc most interesting of all sources for the mediæval topography of the Isle of Man is the document called " Limites seu divisiones terrarum Monachorum de Russyn, Insulae Manniae, a terris regis," forming part of, or rather, an addition to the " Chronicon Manniae" in the British Museum. (a)
The Latin text, with an English translation is given in the Manx Societys Vol. iv., pp. 206 and seq., edited by Dr. Oliver, and a translation by Cumming, in Vol. xv., pp. 53-54, the latter version being a copy of Johnstones in "Antiquitates Celto-Normanniae," 1786. The Latin of the Malew section is also given in the Appendices to Dugdales " Monasticon Anglicanum," Manx Soc. vol. xviii. , p. 72. It is not included in Munchs edition of the "Chronicon," Manx Soc,, vol. xxii.
In 1899, I obtained photographs of these pages of the Chronicon. and am now in a position to give the correct text. Johnstones version is amazingly incorrect in the rendering of the place names Oliver's is usually right, though even he has a number of mistakes and omissions, which is the stranger as the manuscript is mostly executed in bold clear characters of large size (differing from the hands of the main document), " the same large square character" ( says Dr. Oliver) "discernible in the Furness chartulary," and he thinks it was probably written by an inmate of the above-named place.
The identification of the localities is not attempted by Johnstone. Olivers, both in the text of the " Monumenta " (Manx Soc., vol. iv.), and in his map in Manx Soc., vol. vii. (Monumenta, vol. ii.) is of a very imaginative kind.
The description deals with the boundaries of Abbey lands in three districts : (1), Malew ; (2). Lezayre ; (3), Lonan and Maughold. I give below the text and translation of each division, and add at the end of each section certain comments. In dealing with the subject, I have had the advantage of a number of very suggestive notes from Rev. J. Quine, who has already, in our proceedings, treated the Malew portion at length. (Vol. III., p. 417).
Letters between brackets are in the original denoted by signs of abbreviation
Hic est divisa int(er) terra(m) regis et monachor(um) de Russyn muro et fovea que est inter villa(m) castelli et t(er)ram monachor (um) et c(ir)cuit p(er) aust(ru)m int(er) p(ra)tum monachor(um) et villa(m) Mac akoen et ascendit p(er) rivulu(m) inter Bylozen et t(er)ram eor(un)dem monachor(um) et inclinat usq(ue) ad Hentre. Et c(ir)cuit eande(m) t(er)ram Hentrae et trollatofthar p(er) muru(m) et fovea(m) et descendit p(er) eu(n) pex muru(m) et fovea(m) i(n) amne(rn) p(rop)e Oxwath et ascendit p(er) eande(m) amne(m) in rivu(lum) int(er) Arveuzryn et Staynarhea et ascendit usq(ue) ad valle(m) que vocatur Fanc Et asce(n)dit p(er) clivu(m) mo(n)tis q(ui) dicit(ur) Worzefel et descendit i(n) rivulu(m) q(ui) dicit(ur) Mouru. Et ascendit de rivulo Mouro. Per veterem muru(m) p(er) Rozefel. Et desce(n)dit p(er) eundem muru(m) int(er) Cornama et totmanby et descendit p(er) eunde(m) muru(m) oblique int(er) Oxrayzer et totmanby usq(ue) ad amnem que vocat(ur) Corna. Corna q(ui)dem e(st) (con)finium t(er)r(a)e regis et monachor(urn) ex lila p(ar)te usq(ue) Vathum p(er) quod transiter puplica via, inter villam thorkel q~ue)alio no(mi)ne vocatur Kyrkemychel et Herynstaze et ascendit per muru(m) q(ui) e(st) (con)finiu(m) inter(er) eande(rn) villa(m) thorkel et balesalazc. Et descendit oblique p(er) eundem muru(m) inter crosyvor. Byulthan et sic c(ir)cuit Balesalazc et descendit de Balesalach p(er) muru(m) et foveani i(n) amne(m) de Russyn sic(ut) notu(m) e(st) provincial-ib(us) et desce(n)dit p(er) ripa(m) amnis ej(us)dem div(er)simode usq(ue) ap p(re)d(i)ctt)arn fovea(m) et muru(m) q(ui) est int(er) t(e)r(r)itorium monachor(um) et t(er)ram einsdem castelli de Russyn.
At the foot of the second page of the original, whose principal text ends at " divers mode," is a footnote in another and much smaller hand :--Et sit (?) not(u)m q(uod) cir(cui)t i(n)t(e)r baligil et comsary usq(ue) i(n) mare i(n) medio sanda~vyk et per) mare usq(ue) i(n) d(o)m(u)m D(omi(ni) amni castelli c(u)m Wrake et Bayli et toll ut . . . . i(n) carta.
This note is not given in either of the versions.
" This is the boundary between the land of the king and (that) of the monks of Russyn. By the wall and ditch which is between the estate of the castle and the land of the monks, and it goes round by the south between the meadow of the monks and the estate of MacAkoen, and ascends by the rivulet between Bylozen and the land of the same monks and bends as far as Hentre. And goes round the same land of Hentrae and Trollatofthar by the wall and ditch and descends by the same wall and ditch to the river near Oxwath and ascends by the same river to the rivulet between Aryeuzryn and Staynarhea and ascends as far as the valley which is called Fanc. And ascends by the slope of the mountain which is called Worzefel and descends to the rivulet which is called Muru. And ascends from the rivulet Mouru by the old wall by Rozefel. And descends by the same wall between Cornama and Totmanby and descends by the same wall obliquely between Oxrayzer and Totmanby as far as the river which is called Coma. This Coma is the boundary of the land of the king and (that) of the monks from that part as far as the ford by which the public way crosses between Thorkels estate which by another name is called Kyrkemychel and Herynstaze and it ascends by the wall which is the boundary between the same estate of Thorkel and Balesalazc And descends obliquely by the same wall between Crosyvor (and ?) Byulthan and so goes round Balesalazc and descends from Balesalach by the wall and ditch to the river of Russyn as is known to the country people and descends by the bank ot the same river in different manners as far as the aforesaid ditch and wall which is between the territory of the monks and the land of the same castle of Russyn.
( NOTE)And be it known that it goes round between Baligil and Comsary as far as the sea in the middle of Sandawyk and by the sea as far as the Lords house by the river of the castle with wreck and bailey and toll as (is set forth) in the charter.
The Malew section has been so fully treated by Mr Quine in Y.L.M. (vol. iii. p. ix., pp. 417 and seq.) that I shall confine my remarks to a few points in which the version used by him needs correcting or supplementing.
Bylozcn Johnstones and Olivers versions read Gylosen and Gylozen respectively, but the B is quite plain. It is correct in the Monasticon version. This is certainly the modern Billown, though that property is now within the boundary of the abbeylands. The way in which the letter "z" is used in the final syllable is instructive as to its value in place-names elsewhere in this document, as Worzefel, Aryeuzryn, Orumsouz. It certainly is not intended to be pronounced as English z," but rather was a vowel sound ( W or Y). Such a pronunciation of "z" is not infrequent at the present day in Scottish place-names "Moonzie," " Malzie."
Per veterem murem per RozefelThe first three words are hardly legible in my print, but are, no doubt, correctly given by Oliver.
Puplica via Diversimode.(Sic). Corrected by Oliver.
Inter Baligel et Comsary.This note which describes a later extension of the boundary, and is added by another hand, removes the difficulty experienced by Mr. Quine in making the account tally with the present boundary. The latter passes. as stated, between Ballagilley, the " College Farm," and Commissary, the treen comprising Ronaldsway and Langness, to the sea under King Williams College at the sandy head of Castletown Bay, still called Sandwick, or more frequently in a corrupted form, Sandrick.
The " Lords House." if the reading be correct, would be somewhere near a later Lords dwellingLorn House.
Hic e(st) divisa int(er) t(er)ram de kyrkec(hri)st et t(er)ra(m) monachor(um) de myrosco lacu q(ui) d(icitu)r Hesca na appayze et ascendit p(er) sicscetu(m) directe a loco q(ui) dicit(ur) munenyrzana p(er) Boscu(m) q(ui) d(icitu)r Kor et p(er) locu(m) q(ui) d(icitu(r) Leabba Ankonathay et ascendit juxta Rozelean usq(ue) in rivulu(m) q(ui) d(icitu(r) Bryseth et ascendit ita p(er) glennadroman. Et asce(n)dit inde p(er) regia(m) via(m) et p(er) saxu(m) q(uo)d d(icitu)r Karraycheth et jux(ta) Leathkostray et sic us(que) ad locu(m q(ui) dicitu)r Duppolla at descendit inde p(er) ryvulu(m) et Hath Arygegormane et ita desce(n)dit p(e)r sundem rivulu(m) i(n) amnem de Sulaby et sic descendit p(er( amne(m) de Sulaby i(n) Boscu(m) de myrosco et c(ir)cuit t~re)s i(n)sulas i(n)bosco de myrosco et descendit p(er) vete(re)m sicca(m) in Dufloch. Et sic) c(ir cuit et co(n)cludit i(n) loco q(ui) dicit(ur) Hescanakeppage.
" This is the boundary between the land of Kyrkechrist and the land of the monks of Myrosco. From the lake which is called Hesca na appayze and it ascends by the dry directly from the place which is called Munenyrzana by the thicket which is called Kor and by the place which is called Leabba Ankonathay, and ascends near Rozelean as far as the rivulet which is called Bryseth and ascends thus by Glennadroman And ascends thence by the royal way and by the rock which is called Karraycheth and near Leathkostray and thus as far as the place which is called Duppolla and descends thence by the rivulet and Hath Arygegormane and thus descends by the same rivulet into the river of Sulaby, and thus descends by the river of Sulaby into the thicket of Myrosco and goes round three islands in the thicket of Myrosco and descends by the old dry (ground) into Dufloch And thus goes round and ends in the place which is called Hescanakeppage."
This section resents much difficulty. We know what is at present distinguished as Abbey land in Lezayre, but we do not know how far the boundary of this corresponds with the ancient line here followed. The modern line seems to be drawn round quarterland, excluding whatever " intack " may have been belonging to the Abbey, perhaps because such unoccupied or untaxable property had no practical value for the compilers of the manorial books.
We shall see this omission of mountain and shore land extensively practised when we consider the Lonan and Maughold section, and it is not improbable that it has taken place in Lezayre, both in the Curragh and on the mountain. In the Malew property a change in the extent of the grant also did actually take place, and the same may have occurred elsewhere.
In Malew the names given are usually those of properties, and are in at least official use until the present day. We repeatedly have " villa " i.e., estate, while in Lezayre we do not meet with a single " villa, but have " locus "the place ; " boscus "the thicket ; " saxum ;the rock ; and only two or three times do we get a name in present use. The reason of this lies in the nature of the Lezayre territory. The monks lands in Lezayre consisted mainly of the block of high-land between Glentrammon and Sulby Glen, with a strip of lowland at its foot reaching out into the bogs and lakes of the Curragh.
Monachorum de MyroscoBoth the old versions connect " Myrosco " with the following word " lacu and read " from the lake at (or of) Myrosco," but Mr Quine has pointed out that the proper connection of the word is with " Monachorum." Myrosco, " the mire wood," is neither here nor elsewhere called a lake, but several times " boscus"a wood, or rather, thicket, the low swampy wilderness of the Curragh, crowded with willows and bog myrtle.
Myrosco was not originally a Cistercian foundation. In 1176, according to the Chronicon Manniae, Godred II. of Man " gave as an offering to the venerable Abbot Sylvanus " of Rivaulx in Yorkshire, " a piece of land at Mirescog, where he soon afterwards built a monastery ; but in process of time all the land, with the monks, was made over to the Abbey of St. Mary of Russin." The site of the building is not known. I am not aware of any authority for the often-repeated statement that it was on an island in a lake.
In 1505, Thomas Stanley, King of Mann, confirming to Bishop Huan his episcopal possessions, included, as his far-off predecessor, Magnus Olaveson, had done in a similar charter to Bishop Richard
"una villa de Kyrcrest juxta Ramsey x x x una cum medietate piscariae ibideni in Mirescogh." (Manx Soc. vol. iii., p. 30.)
In 1539, the Computus of Abbey Demesnes gives the rents of the tenants at Sulby as £11 4s 8d, and " the farm of a mill there now waste and unoccupied," is valued at 6/-. (Manx Soc., vol. iii.,p.226).
Lacu qui dicitur Hesca oa appayze.The boundary line followed begins at the side of a former lake between Sulby and Glentrammon. The present boundary runs under Kerrowmoar for some distance close to the Sulby river, in one place crossing to the North bank, and hereabouts, near the present Ballamona, was perhaps Hesca na appayze.
The name suggests " The water (uisge, in modern Manx ushtey) of the Abbey. "
In Speeds map 1610, a lake is shown connected with the Sulby river, in much this position, but it is named Malar Lough, and the lowland which still bears the name of Lough Mollow is much further to the east, draining into the Sulby near Ballakillingan.
Sisectum Johnstone translates "the dry moor" ; Oliver, "the dry ground."
The line, leaving the marshy border of the lake, ascends by dry ground from a place called
Muneniyzana. In this strange-looking name we seem to recognize Moaneyn rhennee, " The ferny turf-lands," so called probably from the profusion of Osmunda still met with in so many places in the Curragh.
Boscum qui dicitur Kor. The modern boundary has a tortuous course between Kerrowmoar and Glentrammon through the narrow strip of land between the highroad and the river. Kor appears to be the word from which "Curragh" is formed, perhaps as an adjective from a noun. The text is wrong here in both the old versions, Oliver leaving out the words " Kor et per locum qui dicitut," and making Leabba Ankonathay the " wood."
Rozelean.Perhaps the "Red Island (Ruy Ellan) in distinction to Ellanbane, " the White Island," to which it must have been close. The name is still characteristic of the lowland. For the situation of this place and Leabba Ankottathay we have no further clue than is afforded by the course of the modern boundary towards Glentrammon.
Bryseth, not Gryseth, as in the old version ; no doubt Glentrammon brook up which, when it reaches it, the modern boundary turns at a sharp angle.
Ascendit ita per Glennadroman. The modern boundary follows the Glentrammon ravine for more than half a mile in its steep ascent from the lowland to the mountain. We may be certain that it here coincides with the ancient line. The form Glenadroman makes it doubtful whether the derivation of Glentrammon from Tramrnan, the elder tree, is correct. As Mr. Moore points out in " Manx Place-Names," it may rather be connected with Dreem, gen. Drummey, a ridge ; Droman might be a diminutive of Dreem.
Et ascendit inde per regiam eiam. The present boundary leaves Glentrammon a little before reaching its head, and proceeds by a devious line over the high land to the Carrick and the Cluggid Glen, crossing several branches of the Narradale stream and several small roads, but not following any road. Nor is it easy to imagine any road taking the zig-zag course of the present boundary for any distance, if this is what is implied by " per regiam viam." One naturally thinks of the old road, now almost disused, which winds up Sky Hill, almost touches the head waters of Glentrammon stream near Park ny Earkan, and goes on past the source of the Cluggid brook to Clogh Hoit and Snaefell, where it joins the Sulby-Keppel Gate road. If we could suppose that the ancient boundary continued along Glentrammon to its head, it would easily fall into the line of this road, reaching the Cluggid stream high up. But this is only conjecture.
Saxum Karraycheth. The Carrick on the north side of the Cluggid Glen. The " Carrick ' would in modern Norse be " Carricket," but I cannot find whether the characteristic Scandinavian post article was so early in use.")
Et juxta Leathkostray This is omitted by Johnstone. The ending suggests the name of a stream like Laxey, Corna. Leath is probably Old Norse " Hlid," incline, slope, which, according to Dr. Jacobsen, often occurs in Shetland place-names as Lee. Leathkostray would thus be the slope above the Kostray, which may have been the name of Cluggid stream.
Duppolla. There can be little doubt that Johnstone was right in rendering this " the deep pool," and that it is the pool of the Cluggid. The modern boundary runs along the rocky side of the Carrick overhanging the precipitous glen. (cf. The Pollies, name of a pond in Ballaugh).
Descendit per riculum et Hath Ary Gegormane. The modern line descends along descends along the side, of the Cluggid ravine to the main glen near the stream, but touching it only at one point.
In " Manx Names" (2nd Edit., p. 96) is given the ingenious conjecture of Mr. Quine for the reading of Hath Ary Gegormane, "Aah-y-eary-creg-bane,"--Ford of the hill pasture of the White Crag The ford supposed to be indicated is high up the Cluggid stream near Ballanea (Ord. Sheet, Ballaneary), and is overlooked by the conspicuous Creg Bane on Slitu Managh to the south. Ary is no doubt Eary, and Mane probably represents the Managh (or Monagh) in the name of that hill.
Et descendit per eundem riculum in annem de Sulaby et sic descendit per amnem de Sulaby in Boscum de Myresco. From the Cluggid to the Curragh we are again on sure ground. The. modern line descends along or close to the tributary to its junction with the main river, and follows that more or less closely to its outlet into the Curragh, probably near the present village of Sulby.
At Ballakiarkey, the modern line makes a detour round the Claddagh ; even in these higher reaches the course of the Sulby has probably altered from time to time.
Et circuit tres insulas in Bosco du Myrosco. The islands are " in the thicket of Myrosco," a curious expression, but easily under-stood by anyone who knows the nature of the wetter Curragh land even now-a willow covert growing out Or water-logged and often water-covered turf-land, from which higher and dryer ground would rise here and there in " islands "
From Sulby Village the modern boundary strikes out north into the Curragh, enclosing a narrow irregularly-shaped strip on the west of the Sulby-St. Jude's road, on which stands the East Kella farm-house, and returns to the. river opposite to the Claddagh Mill, east of Sulby Bridge. With the adjoining West Kella, this forms a promontory of quarterland thrust out into the sea of iniack.
This peninsula may in part represent the three islands men-tioned." But there are various higher spots to the east of the same road. " Thu islands of dry sandy ground in the Curragh east and north-east of Closechyrrim," says Mr. Lamplugh (Geology of the Isle of Man, p. -139), " probably constituted the islands of Lake Mirescogh mentioned in the old " Chronicon Manniae." The best defined of these is that on which the farm of Close-an-Allan stands. It is about 100 yards long by 100 to 200 yards broad, and is composed of yellow sand and drift gravel apparently resting in places on red clay, and overlain round the margin by a wash of peaty-sand. Another tract of similar composition, but lower and less definite, lies a quarter-mile to the southward around Ballamona, while the third forms a low narrow strip on the north side of the Sulby river, west of Lezayre station." None of these localities is within the present line, which, from opposite the Claddagh Mill, returns westward along the north bank of the river, which it crosses west of Sulby Bridge, and with a sweep to southward, which excludes Ginger Hall, the Bridge, and the Claddagh Mill, rejoins the bank of the river opposite Belle Vue.
Descendit per ceterem siccam in Dufloch. We may conjecture that Dufloch was somewhere about the Claddagh Mill. For the name " Black Lake " compare " Dollagh " (Ballaugh).
Hescanakeppage. Note the variation in spelling, even to the addition of a syllable.
Hec est divisa int(er) t(er)ram regis et monachor(um) ap(ud) Skynnescor ab int(ro)itu port(us) q(ui) dicit(ur Laxa et asce(n)dit p(er) eande(m) amnem (f) et ascendit liniarit (er) subt (us) molendinu(m) usq(ue) i(n) Vallicula(m) sita (m) inter capella(m) s(anc)ti nichalai et villa(m) q(u) vocatur Gretastaz et ascendit inde p(er) vet(er)em muru(m) notu(m) provincialib(us) p(er) devexa lata montiu(m et descendit in rivuluni q(ui) est i(n)ter Tofthar Asmu(n)d et Rynkurlyn et desce(n)dit inde usq(ue) ad (con)finiu(m) t(er)r(a)e q(uae) vocat(ur) Orumsouz et Toftha Asmud et desce(n)dit mdc sicut notu(m) est p(ro)vincialib(us usque) in mare.
"This is the boundary between the land of the King and of the monks at Skynnescor. From the entrance of the port which is called Laxa, and it ascends by the same river and ascends in a line under the mill as far as the little valley situated between the chapel of St. Nicholas and the estate which is called Gretastaz, and ascends thence by the old wall known to the country people by the sloping sides of the mountains, and descends into the rivulet which is between Tofthar Asmund and Rynkurlyn, and descends thence as far as the boundary of the land which is called Orumsouz and Toftha Asmud, and descends thence, as is known to the country people, as far as the sea."
The general limits of the territory are very clear. It is a tract about four miles long from the lower part of Laxey Glen to the Barony Hill and the higher part of the Rhenab valley, and a mile wide from the mountain slope to the sea. The modern boundary includes only two patches forming the central part of this, nowhere reaching the Glen or the sea, and separated by a strait of land at the head of Bulghum Bay. These patches are quarterland, their borders along the glen, the sea, and the mountains being intack, which, with them, formed the abbey possession.
Skynnescor. Scinscoe, still retaining its ancient name. Perhaps the term had an application more extended than to the present quarterland ; perhaps we should read " At Skynnesdor from the entrance," etc.
Subtus molendinum. The line runs up Laxey Glen along the river. The mill must have been near the site of that ruined mill which has lately been replaced by the electric power station of the tramway.
Capellum sancti Nicholai. The site of Keill Nicholas is still to be seen on the north side of the head of Laxey harbour. The little valley between that and Gretastaz, the modern Gretchthe official name is still Grettest is that which descends to the main valley through " Minorca".
Per devexa lata montium. The line ascends from this stream into the high land by Bulnallow, and passing over the ridge called the Dreem, descends to the Rhenab valley.
Rivulum inter Tofthar Asmund et Rynkurlyn. Rhencullin , the little treen containing one quarterland of the same name, but perhaps formerly more extensive, is the modern Ballig. The stream mentioned is the southern branch of Rhenab stream, between two forks of which the treen lies. Tofthar Asmund (the steadings of Asmund) would be on the south and west of the boundary. and Rynkurlyn with Orumsouz, afterwards mentioned, on the north and east. It must, therefore, have the land about the north of Dhoon Glen.
From Asmund is derived the once common Maughold surname of Casement (MacAsmund).
Orumsouz. King Reginald it is said, gave " Ormeshan " to the Priory of St Bees." This place has been identified with Onchan, but considering that we know the Barony Hill to have been St. Bees property" the ancient Barony of the Hough"-the name is probably a misreading or incorrect transcription for Ormeshaw, which name indicates a rounded height such as that conspicuous hill. (See previous remarks on use of Z).
Eschedala, which Godred II. gave to St. Bees (g) will thus probably be the neighbouring Rhenab valley, not, as conjectured, Groudle.
Ballellin, which joins Rhencullin, is now an outlying part of the Barony, which may perhaps have originally included the particles (h) and intacks of Thallow Queen, Thallow Mitchell, and Kione-ny-hinnin between, making a comparatively straight line between Rhencullin and the sea. Thallow Mitchell repeats the name of Michael, to whom the church (Keill Vael) on the Barony Hill was dedicated.
Of the Abbey Lands of German, Onchan, and Rushen, no mention is made in our document. Those of German extend along the coast from Creg Malin nearly to Ballanayre Strand, the boundary then turning inland to near Cronk-y-Voddy, when it descends to the foot of Creg Willeys Hill, follows the Neb to near Beary, ascends again so as to leave out Kew and Staarvey, crosses the Rockmount Road west of Peel Road station, and strikes the Neb again near Sandhouse, then from the Congary follows an irregular line west to Ballaquane.
Onchan Abbey Lands consist of a large and a small patch on the Glass and East Baldwin streams, which form their west boundary, extending inland as far as Glenville and Sulby.
Rushen Abbey Lands include several small tracts about Port St. Mary and Port Erin.
(a) The historical entries of the "Chronicon " end with the year 1376, and the "Limites " follow in another hand..
(b) For the modern boundary I have used Woods Isle of Man Atlas (1867) ; the same line is shown on Philips large scale map of the Island.
(c) Mr. Moore suggests " Esja"-clay as the first syllable.
(d) Mr, Kermode has since pointed out to me that it was.
(e) On an island " in bosco de Mirescohe" (the same term as above) a prisoner was confined about 1249. (Chronicon Manniæ, Manx Society, Vol. IV. , p. 187).
(f) The words et ascendit per eandent amnem are in the margin before qui dicitur Laxa', but the order appears to be intended as given above. Eandem amnem will equal "river of the same name," i.e. Laxa, for no river has yet been named,
(g) I have not been able to find the text of these grants anywhere quoted they are mentioned in Manx Societys Vol. 1. . p. 229, etc.
(h) These particles " are later found appropriated to "the support of certain poor scholars of the Island," one of whom, Luke Macquyn mentioned in 1403, perhaps gave his name to Thallo Queen.