[From Proc IoMNHAS vol 1]
Rev. J. Davidson, Leader.
On Thursday, 25th May , there was an excursion of the Society to Rushen Abbey and Langness.
Twenty-four members and six visitors joined during the day. Arriving at Ballasalla at 10-50 a. m., the leader conducted the party to Rushen Abbey, where they were met by Mr. Cubbon. Mr. Patterson exhibited the plans prepared by Dr. Cochrane, President of the R.S. A., Ireland, suggesting the probable ground-plan of the original Cistercian Monastery. The proprietor, Mr. Cubbon, pointed out the principal ruins now remaining, and their position on the plan. The pigeon-tower, Mr. Cochrane thought, must be a modern building, constructed out of old material. The so-called "crypt" he could only suppose to have been the Chapter-house. With regard to the tower, he considered the walls to be original ; the other additions were made when it was reduced in size. In what he regarded as the choir, Mr. Cubbon said he had found burials ; and, in the Lady Chapel, several tiles similar to those in the Museum. It was felt by those present that the plans would be very helpful when the work of excavrtion was begun, the probability being that the plan would be in conformity with those usual among Cistercians, though it was possible there might be traces of still older buildings.
Mr. Cubbon showed a building which Canon Quine had supposed might have been the original Chapel of the more ancient Celtic Monastery of St. Lua. It measured externally about 36 ft. by 18 ft., and the walls were about 9 ft. high. The mode of building, with very large and some small stones, unshaped and undressed, seemed very primitive. There had been a doorway at the west end of the south wall, but there were now no traces of windows.
At 12-30, the train was taken to Castletown, where cars were in waiting for the drive to Derbyhaven. Here Mr. John Lace met the party, and exhibited a collection of ores taken by him at Langness, of which he gave an interesting account.
Members then proceeded to The Smelt, where Mr. Lace described a curious subterranean avenue passing between two walls in a direct line to the west coast. This no doubt is the remains of the ancient canal connecting the Haven with the Bay Blundell's History (1648-56), speaking of "Derby haven," says : " Only little small boats do go up the narrow channel from the haven into the town, and cast anchor almost under the castle walls." Again, speaking of the Derby fort. " this sconce commandeth both the bay at Ramsway and secureth the river which out of the haven conveyeth the smaller vessels unto Castletown itself." (Manx Soc., Vol. XXV., pp. 89 and 90). Proceeding towards Langness Farm, he pointed out where recent excavations had disclosed beds of " Fuller's Earth," and of Ochre and Umber, which appeared to occupy a considerable area, and was expected to prove of some commercial value. At one place, an exceedingly fine-grained pure white clay had been met with, which was being tested for possible use in the manufacture of porcelain. Mr. Fanning expressed the view that it might prove serviceable for photographic preparations. Further to the south, at the copper mine office, Mr. Lace exhibited several more specimens of ore, as well as examples of the colouring washes in many different shades which he obtained from the umber and the ochre. Crossing Langness, south of the cultivated part, the return to the hotel was made by the east coast.
At the Golf Links Hotel, a meeting was held, Deemster Callow, President, in the chair.
Mrs. Craigie, Craig Mount, Peel, and Mr. J. J. Joughin, Peel, were elected members of the Society.
Several additions to the Library were announced. In the course of the excursion, Mr. Davidson read an interesting paper on " Langness ; Its Geology, Minerals, Clays, and Antiquities," illustrated by the examples met with ; and a vote of thanks was passed to him for the paper and for having acted as leader. A vote of thanks was also passed to Mr. Lace for having exhibited and explained his collection of ores and acted as guide to the umber and ochre works.
Some of the members stayed on to visit the Chapel and the Forts on St. Michael's Isle.