[from Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol2 #1 1923]


[Leader, Rev. A. E. Clarke, Vicar.]

On the 12th September, favoured by a fine day, thirty-two members and two visitors joined in an Excursion, under the leadership of the Vicar of Marown.

Having assembled at Crosby Railway Station, they walked across the hills to St. John's. The first halt was called at the old Church, where the Leader pointed out the former exten-sion at the East end, and gave an account of the excavations made there a fey- years ago, when, among other things, a fine cross-slab was brought to light; to judge from the carving it might be work of the eighth century. Canon Ouine was called upon for some remarks on the dedication of the church. He thought it was probably to the Runan of Dromiskey (d. 664), the best-known saint of that name, whose name appeared in the Calendar on 18th November. Adjoining the church on the north was the old Fair Ground, and the speaker ex-plained how fairs in those days were held on the feasts of saints. If, therefore, it could be shown that a fair had at one time been held in Marown on 18th Nov., that might be taken as corroboratory evidence that this was the Saint Runan referred to. But the places for holding fairs had changed at different times to suit altered conditions of population, and so on, and we had record evidence that the March fair of the parish of Patrick had come to be held at St. John's; so it might be with regard to the Marown fair.

Subsequent reference to the Almanack of 1811 showed that fairs were held in Marown on 2nd February and 27th May, but there was one at St. John's on the 18th November. The date of St. Ronan of the Western Isles, about a century later than the other Saint, was 7th February.

The Vicar of Marown was entitled to receive five marks a year from the Priory of Whithorn, which should now be paid by the Crown, but Mr. Clarke said it had not come to him.

Inside the church, the Vicar showed the cross referred to; in the churchyard was another broken one, both faces of which showed a shaft carved in relief, showing it to be of later date, but, without seeing the head, that is as much as can be said of it. The two odd fonts now within the church were undressed boulder of Scottish granite, the rather deep basin of which almost took: the form of a triangle with the corners interesting; the smaller and more ancient was just a rude, rounded; the large one was a fine example, possibly of about the twelfth century; it was of a yellowish, fine-grained grit, bowl-shaped and ornamented with 'a series of vertical ribs in high relief. A shallow basin had been chiselled out. Neither font was provided with an outlet.

The next stopping-place was at Magher-y-Chiarn on the Garth, to see the celebrated St. Patrick's Chair. Here harvest operations had just commenced, and, as the Chair was in the middle of the field, it looked as though it would be out of reach for some hours. Such, however, was not Mrs. Gale's intention, and, on seeing the party approach, she herself took up a scythe, and, with her little boy gathering up the sheaves, had cut a broad path right up to the monument before members had realized that there was a temporary stoppage. She pointed out a Well or spring at the S.E. corner of this field. She was quite sure that the venerable pile had always been there, and that St. Patrick had rested on it when he blessed the people. Lights had been seen coming 'up and down,' and sometimes on a dark night it would be seen to be suddenly lit up. She thought that once there had been a third large stone, carved, like the other two, with the mark of a cross If so, such an arrangement might have been in honour of the Trinity, but it was not known at the time Cumming wrote, 1867, nor is there any record of it. In any event, Mr. Kermode thought that this was one of our earliest Christian monuments, and of special interest in that it had possibly been a heathen burial or meeting-place, and marked ;vith the sacred emblem at the first preaching of Christianity in the district. Canon Quine thought that the manner in which it had now been protected by the Museum Trustees vas admirable, and not only in keeping with, but lending dignity to, the monument. Mrs Gale was congratulated upon the good condition in which she kept it.

A cross-cut was now made by Earey Kelly to a field which lay to the S.W. of it. Here, the Leader said, the owner, some 40 years ago (1872), had opened a number of tumuli, in all of which he had found urns, which averaged 12in. to 18in. high, and set mouth downwards, with some bones. The urns had fallen to pieces, none having been preserved, as they ought to have been, for the Manx Museum. Mr. Kermode referred to a figure he had seen of one of these, as typical of the rest. He had a proof copy, but had been unable to discover whether it was actually published; possibly it was intended for one of the Manx Society's publications, and, for some reason, not used.

Section of Tumulus, Archallaghan

The cairn was rather conical and composed of large surface-stones, overgrown with grass; on the ground-level was a cist, which contained the urn. He showed on the six inch Ordnance Survey the position of seven of these cairns which he had been able to identify a good many years ago; unfortunately, they were now all ploughed over and indistinguishable, except for a rather long mound, which had formed the S.W. end of the group. Across the road, in the Archallagan plantation, he had made out eleven more, evidently a continuation of the same group. "These were now thickly planted with trees, and he feared that their contents would be destroyed by the roots, though it would have been so easy at the time to have had them removed and placed in safety. But the Manx people never had realised that such things, which could by no possibility be replaced, were an integral part of their past history, and were, in fact, the only record left of their respective periods.

The plantation was now entered at the S.W. corner, and a broad and pleasant path followed, till a tempting bank of purple heath seemed to cry aloud for a halt.


After enjoying a picnic luncheon, a formal meeting was held. In the absence of the President, who was representing the Society at the British Association meeting at Dundee, the Leader was voted to the chair. The following were duly elected members:-Rev. H. Cubbon, Douglas; Mr. and Mrs. Tookey, Port Erin; Rev. J. H. Cain, Vicar of Lezayre; Mr. Adamson, Douglas, and Mr. P. Weir, Sulby.

The Secretary announced the gift to the Museum, from Miss Cain, Rarnsey , of eight specimens of Lake District rocks; this was in response to the request of the Geological Secretary, in his last report, for samples of rock from any of those districts from which boulders might, in the Ice Age, have been transported to the Isle of Man. There were also five presentations to the Library, and thanks were voted to the respective donors.

A question arose as to the exact boundary line of the parish. This, as appeared by the Ordnance Survey, was a little behind them, at a cairn on the highest part of Archallagan, loo feet, at which point Marown, Patrick, and German meet, so that a Manxman might stand here with one foot planted in each parish of his Sheading of Glanfaba.

The pathway was followed along the south-west face of the plantation till a gateway led to the highroad. In a field of Ballamona, Canon Quine pointed out an artificial " cup-mark " on a large upright slab. Some distance further on, upon approaching a small ruined homestead, it was remarked that a little to the right there was a fine tumulus and some interesting cairns near the head of the streamlet running down to Kennaa. A few yards further on was a small triangular space by the side of the road, against the boundary hedge of Ballagarman, and on the Treen of Ballahig. This was the site of an early Keeill, the original name of which appeared to be lost, but memory of it had been handed down by Vicar Holmes, of Patrick, under the name of 'Keeill Vout.' In 1850, or thereabouts, the walls ' were scarcely visible'; now it was only with much difficulty that it had been rediscovered, and they were indebted to Mr. R. Lace for excavating it so as to reveal some slight trace of their foundations. He thought it was significant that the adjoining farm, of which probably the fence had invaded a portion of the surrounding cemetery, bore the name of Ballagarman. In other cases, as that of Ballingan, Marown, and of Ballakillingan, Lezayre, it was certain that the estate had derived its name from that of the saint to whom the Keeill erected on it had been dedicated, so here it seemed likely that Ballagarman was so called from the Keeill, and that this was the same saint who gave his name to the adjoining parish and to the Cathedral at Peel. The word 'Vout ', whatever it might be a corruption of (and Archdeacon Kewley had suggested that it stood for ' Fod ', a sod, and was so called from the building haying been originally of mud), had evidently been applied at a much later date, When the saint's name had been forgotten. Canon Quine agreed that this might be the origin of the name Ballagarman. In Manx the hard ' g ' was pronounced more like a rough breathing, and, in this instance, had given rise to the local name 'Kermeen Mac Armine. At one time this was an important family and large landowner in Man. The land on which Douglas was now built, as appeared by the rent-rolls, was owned by a Kermeen. It was interesting to note that many of our family names had originated from those of early Celtic Saints, such as Bridget, Ciaran, Cuthbert, and others, from which may be derived, respectively — Bridson, Carran, Curphey, and many other varieties of these and of other surnames. Mr. Kermode thought this view seemed to be supported by a frequent surname in this parish of Patrick, namely, Quirk, which was simply MacPheric; it almost looked as though the original Clan occupying this district had substituted the name of their saint for the old Celtic one previously in use.

Mr. Lace pointed out the foundations of the walls cleared by him, at the west end a little of the floor-pavement was still to be seen. The. building appeared to have measured internally about 15ft. by 8 to 9ft. Some upright stones, probably marking lintel graves, were remembered there quite recently; now, only one remained. The Secretary was requested to write to the Highway Board that the site might be kept clear of road metal and rubbish, and the traces of foundations still existing left undisturbed.

The picturesque, but steep, old road was followed to the Hope, and to Ballacraine, where they stopped to view the old Ring-Fort through which the highroad to Foxdale had been cut. The plan of it could be traced, though the remains on the East side were almost obliterated. At the corner of the highroad to Douglas was seen an old burial ground, the date of which is uncertain. Mr Cowley, of Ballacraine, described the opening of a stone grave some 40 years ago. There, was, he said, a local tradition that Mannanan Mac Lir had occupied the site.


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