[from Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol2 #4 1926]


About 90 members of the British Association joined in this excursion, and were received and guided by the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society, assisted by a strong local Committee. The Reading Room at Villa Marina was placed by the Douglas Corporation at the disposal of the guests as headquarters, The excursionists arrived from Liverpool on the evening of 10th September, and, on the 10th, Rev, Canon Quine led the first excursion to the South of the Island. Motors left Villa Marina at 10, and reached Castletown by the old road, visiting, on the way, the cist at Ballakelly and the remains on Arragan Moar.

At Ballakelly, Canon Quine said that the monument had been described'as a megalithic cist, but he preferred to call it a dolmen. At Arragan Moar the large tumulus, situated conspicuously on high land, and set off by great blocks of white quartz, was inspected. Excavation had revealed large numbers of white rounded pebbles, the usual accompaniment of burial.

Castle Rushen was described by Mr. Wm. McLaughlin, the custodian, the various points of interest being dwelt upon and explained,

After lunch the party divided, the larger number going to the Biological Station at Port Erin, where a demonstration of research work was given. The others walked up the steep hill from Port Erin to the sepulchral circle on the Mull, of Neolithic date. A little below it are the 'Hut Circles,' also of great antiquity. Canon Quine thought that those had no connection with the remains above.

The return was made by Colby, Ballabeg, and Rushen Abbey. At the last-named place, the excursionists were received by Mr. and Mrs. W, C. Cubbon, who provided tea in the grounds. Canon Quine gave an address on the history of the Abbey The first mention of it was in a charter of the time of Olaf 1. Before his time there had been many churches in Man, but nothing in the nature of a diocese. A renaissance of religion took place in that century, and was closely connected with the introduction into England of Monastic Orders from the Continent. Rushen Abbey became a Cistertian House, belonging to the great Order which had now been established in the North of England. St. Malachi, a distinguished Irishman, and a friend of Olaf I, had been creating dioceses in Ireland, and the saintly king David I had done the same in Scotland. King Olaf followed the fashion of the time. The diocese of Man was formed, and its first bishop was a Manxman called Hamund, a member of the Cistertian Abbey of Furness.

Canon Quine did not think there had ever been buildings of high architectural merit, as in many English abbeys. In 1190 the Abbot was the famous Jocelin, author of a life of St. Patrick, Later abbots of note were William Russell and Tohn Duntan. About 1540 the Abbey was dissolved, the Abbot being pensioned with cio per annum and six monks with £3 10s. each. Concluding, the speaker congratulated Mr. Cubbon on the good state of the grounds.

Mr. J. S. Allen expressed the thanks of the party to Mr. and Mrs. Cubbon, Canon Quine, and Sir Wm. Herdman, for the arrangements made at Ballasalla and Port Erin.

The second day's excursion, to the West of the Island, was under the leadership of Mr G. F. Clucas, S.H.K. After being photographed at Villa Marina, the party set out in six motors along the Peel road. The first stop was at the picturesque ruins of St. Trinian's. The features of the church were pointed out, includ~ng the fragments of an earlier edifice now built into the walls, and showing quaint carving. The Speaker explained the historv of the building as far as known, mentioning the grants to Whithorn Priory by Olaf II and other rulers, and the Barony formed by the surrounding lands, and amused his hearers with thé legendary tale of the buggane who would not allow the church to he roofed, At the Rock Farm adjoining several curiously-marked boulders were pointed out. On reaching Tynwald Hill, Mr. Clucas again addressed the excursionists. He described that hallowed spot as a place dear to all Manxmen. It is, approximately, the centre of the Island, and the only place where such an assembly as that of 5th July has survived. The nature of the meeting was Norse, though it does not now exist even in Norway or Iceland. The mound was said to be composed of earth brought from the 17 parishes of the Island, In 1229 Olave IM fought here with his brother Reginald, and in 1237 it was the meeting-place of the Manx people, when another encounter took place. In. 1417 Sir John Stanley assembled the 'worthies ' of the Isle, with the Deemsters, on Tynwald Hill, to establish the constitution of his realm. The Tynwald ceremony, as it took place in early days, was graphically described, The Chapel was also visited, and the National War Memorial, nearly completed, was seen. The cast at the side of the road, nearly opposite the mound, was inspected, and described by Canon Quine.

The motors then drove to the entrance of Peel Castle, where the party was received by Mr. C. R. Shimmin, H.K., and others. Mr. Shimmin conducted them over the islet and described the ruins. The very ancient earthworks were pointed out, the primitive ruin of St. Patrick's, and the Round Tower of somewhat uncertain purpose; also the armoury of a later date, the " Fenella " Tower, and the buildings of ecclesiastical use, commonly called the " Bishop's Palace," The crypt underneath the cathedral, used as a prison, was an object of much interest. Many Quakers were imprisoned there in the 17th century; the prison is said to have been last used in 1760-70. Much time was spent by the party about St. German's, and the members found much interest in photographing the remains.

Later, Canon Quine gave an interesting address on the history of the Cathedral, The first mention of the site, he said, was at the end of the 8th century, when the Irish chronicles record the appearance of Danish or Norwegian Vikings in the Irish Sea, who burned St, Patrick's Isle and spoiled the shrine of a saint. Canon Quine proceeded to relate the subsequent history of the Northmen in Man, the founding of the dynasty of Godred Crovan, and the connection of the members of that line with Peel Island, the building (or re-building) by Bishop Simon of the Cathedral, and its fate in subsequent centuries, until it was abandoned to ruin in the eighteenth.

After tea, at Peel, the excursion returned to Douglas by way of Poortown, visiting, on their way, the " Giant's Grave " on the hill at Kew. Canon Quine described the remains, pointing out the long passage-way leading to a tomb which has now disappeared. In the distance, the white boulders of the circle on the brow of Lhergydhoo hill were visible.

In the evening, the members were received at Villa Marina by the Deputy-Mayor and Mrs. Robertson, wife of the Town Clerk, acting for Mayor Crookall and Mrs. Crookall, who were absent from Douglas.

Mr. A. Robertson, Town Clerk, in welcoming the visitors, expressed regret for the absence of the Mayor and Mayoress. The town appreciated the honour of their visit, and the result of scientific progress, to which they owed so much, as the conveniences, for instance, of electric lighting. The fact that the death-rate had been reduced by one-half, and other equally important contributions to human happiness and efficiency, were the results of scientific labour. The Mayor and the members of the Town Council gratefully welcomed those present, and hoped their visit would be an enjoyable one.

Councillor Knox, Deputy-Mayor, also extended a welcome to the excursion, and referred to the improved facilities now enjoyed for communication with Great Britain.

Mr. J. S. Allen, of Liverpool, and Mr. R. D. Acland, returned thanks. The latter urged that the people of the Island should do all in their power to preserve their megalithic monuments and other historical objects, and should prevent promiscuous excavation.

On Saturday the British Association travelled to the North. Passing through Onchan, the first stop was at the Cloven Stones. These relics, the remains of a prehistoric burial cairn, are in the precincts of a newly-built villa. The next halt was at the Cairn of Gretch-veg, to the north of Laxey. The features of this were pointed out by Mr. Kermode, who said that the general plan seemed to suggest a horned cairn. The arrangement of the passage-graves was characteristic, the general direction of such structures being north-east and south-west. The period, he said, was that transitional time between the neolithic and the bronze ages. The remains on the higher side of the road were also inspected. The complete ruin of these monuments shows that protection is necessary.

At Ballarragh the bronze-age spiral on a boulder by the roadside was seen. From Glen Mona the party prcceeded to the fine but little known ruin on the Ard, another megalithic monument of the transition period.

On the descent to the Glen, Canon Quine pointed out a large 'scribed ' boulder, which had been removed, at his request, from a neighbouring hedge. The very remarkable cuttings on this were inspected with much interest and curiosity.

Arrived at Maughold Church, Mr. P. M, C. Kermode gave an address on the fine collection of carved stones gathered together in the Cross House, briefly calling attention to the development of their art through the centuries, to the peculiarities of the large slab,. formerly on the green, bearing the figure of a bishop, to the inscriptions of the Guriat cross and the recently-discovered slab bearing the viking ship, and to the rude and curious work of " John the Priest." In the large graveyard the sites and remains of the ancient keeills were pointed out. The features of the Parish Church were examined, and the large mediaeval cross in front of the gate was admired.

From Maughold the main body of the excursionists went direct to Bishop's Court by Ramsey and Sulby, while a party under the guidance of Mr. J. W. Hartley, dive,rged into the Curragh. The date was too late for the latter to appreciate, except in imagination, the glorious profusion of rich colour and sweet scent running riot m early summer, for which the Curraghs are famed.

No new finds were noted, but the visitors were delighted to observe the plant association as pointed out by Mr. Wheldon and Mr. A. Wilson, who accompanied the excursion. Many of the plants were, for the first time, seen by some of the members growing in their natural habitat. The colonies of Kypericum elodes and Osmunda created special interest, not without yielding a small quota to collectors. The magnificent growth of Sphagna, in great variety, had perforce to receive only a passing notice in the limited time at disposal. Mr. Griffiths did some dredging for Pond Animalculae, a field of 1-esearch from which little has hitherto been reported.

The sections re-assembled at Bishop's Court, where they were met by the Bishop and Mrs, Thompson, and entertained with the usual kindly hospitality. The Bishop, in a short address, ieminded the excursionists that they met on the common ground of a search for truth; he conducted them over the beautiful grounds, and tea was provided on the lawn. Afterwards the house was shown, the Bishop remarking on its historical associations, and exhibiting the portraits of previous Bishops and other objects of historical interest.

The return was made quickly by Bargarrow and Keppel Gate, through the wild moorland district of the central hills. In the evening the Trustees of the Manx Museum gave a reception in the Museum, There was a large attendance, and the guests were received by Mr. and Mrs. B. E. Sargeaunt. f he Manx Sword of State was exhibited, and was the subject of an interesting address by Mr. Sargeaunt, who considered that it might be attributed to the 13th century.

The Speaker welcomed the guests in a humorous speech, Mr. H. Wilson Carr, in replying, remarked that his memberz had been much impressed by the Insular care of anciens monuments.

Mr. T. Sheppard expressed the thanks of the excursionists to the local Secretary. and the other Manx gentlemen who had organised the excursion. He had seen, during the past few days, more Manx relics than he had thought it possible to see in six months. ,

Mr. J. S, Allen also expressed his gratitude, referring especially to the excellence of Mr. W. Cubbon's work in arranging the programme.

On Sunday morning the visitors attended the open-air service at Kirk Braddan, and were afterwards received at Kirby Park, where Mr. Geo. Drinkwater showed various objects of interest, including relics of Napoleon I. which had belonged to Sir Mark Wilks, who was son of a Manx vicar, and had, for a time, the care of the exiled Emperor at St. Helena.

The remains in the plantation behind Kirk Braddan were also examined.

In the afternoon, under the leadership of Mr. P. M. C. Kermode, the members drove by Braddan and Foxdale to Lag-ny-Keilley, perhaps the wildest and most remote corner of the Island. On this afternoon the weather was perfect, and the journey around the dark uplands of South Barrule wasmost enjoyable. The cars had to be left on Dalby Mountain and a desolate country with much boggy ground traversed on foot to Eary Cushlm, whence a rough track makes a long descent; with fine views of the western sea, to the little deserted sanctuary. Several Choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus) were seen, and the visitors had opportunity to observe the characteristic flora of the Manx bog-land, Round-leaved Sundew (Drose),a rolundifolia), Cross-leaved Heath (Erica letralix), Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris), Bog Asphodel (Narlheciuni ossifragum), with Lycopodiums and various species of Moss and Lichens.

At the Keeill Mr. Kermode gave a short address, describing it as an example of an early church of about the 7th century, erected probably by a priest from some of the foundations of Saint Patrick in Ireland. Such churches were invariably rectangular buildings of one chamber only. The limits of the surrounding burial ground were also pointed out, and the tiny cell of the attendant priest.

On the Monday morning the British Association party returned to Liverpool.

The names of the members attending the Excursion were as follow:
Allen, Sandeman, 17, Devonshire Road, Princes Park, Liverpool.
Allen, Mrs. Sandeman, 17, Devonshire, Road, Princes Park, Liverpool
Acland, H. D,, F.S,A., F.G.S., F.R.A.T., Chy an mor, Falmouth.
Alllen, W. W,, 14, Nithdale Road, Plumstead, S.E.18,
Bishop, John, 1, Summershill Terrace, Berwick-on-T-med.
Bishop, Mrs,, 1, Summershill Terrace, Berwick-on-Tweed.
Breeze, Miss M. S, G., l, Victoria Street, 'Emanuel Street, Cambridge.
Boswell, Miss K. C., " Eversley," Winchester Road, Bassett, Southampton.
Belinforte, L, L., Geological Society of London, Burlington House, W.1
Bruce, J, Ronald; Port Erin.
Burns, H,, 5, Sutton Court Road, Chiswick, W.4,
Baynes, Mrs. Isabel, 9, Lauriston Road, Wimbledon.
Boyland, Miss Ada M.,, 2, Belgrave Square, Monkstoii n, Dublin. -
Carden, H. V., 1.9; Kenilworth Court, Putney, S.W.15.
Carr, H. Wildon, Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool.
Dote ns, Jaanes, J.P., 0M.E., Dunedin, The Park, Hull.
Dixon, Walter, 30, Kelvinside Gardens, 1F. Glasgow.
Griffiths, B. Millard, Dept, of Botany, Ariustrong College, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
Goulden Bach, Mrs. aud! Miss, 1S, Belgrave Square, S.W.
Green. J. It,, 476, Stanley Road, Bootle.
Halton, Philip, 7 Elmshurst Road, Reading,
Hopwood, Arthur, D.Sc., F.I.C., Springfield, Northumberland Road, ,Carlisle.
Hopwood, --Mrs. M. A,, Springfield. Northumberland Road, Carlisle..
Hopwood, Miss M., Springfield, Northumberland Road, Carlisle.
Hesketh, Jaanes, 5 Scarisbrick Avenue, Southport.
Bett, Miss 1VI. C., 17, Chesham Place, :Brighton.
Hutchinson, G. E., The, Cottage, Fa.irclough Lane, Oxton, Birkenhead.
Hutchinson, Mrs., The Marfords, Bromborough, Cheshire.
Johnston, Dr. W O., 1, Upper Coltbridge Terrace, Edinburgh.
Johnston, Mrs., 1, Upper Coltbridge Terrace, Edinburgh.
Johnson, Praf. T , D.Sc., College of Science, Dublin.
Knight, Miss M., Bartley Botanical Laboratories, Liverpool University.
Loader, Miss Freda M., 11, Denzil Avenue, Southampton.
Lockyer, Lady, 17, Pen y vern Road, London, S.W.5.
Lace, 'T. L.. J.P.. Park House, Wigan.
Male, Herbert C., 35, Irving Road, W. Southborne, -Bournemouth.
Pohl, W , Woodville Hockley, Essex.
Pye, Miss E., Broadivood, Hoo, near Rochester, Kent.
Parkin, Thos. Blaithwaite, Wigton, Cumberland.
Porter, Charles, 10, Wellington Terrace, Belvedere Road, Liverpool.
Porter. Mrs., 10, Wellington Terrace, Belvedere Road, Liverpool.
Perkin, Prof. and Mrs.
Patterson, W. H., Sutton, Surrey.
Patterson, Mrs., Sutton, Surrey.
Raworth: Alex. Seiguour de St. John, St. John's Manor, Jersey.
Raworth, Madame de St. John, St. John's Manor, Jersey.
Renton, J. Hall, Midland Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool.
Spence, Miss, Mary, St, George's Road, Fernham, Surrey.
Skyrme, Chas. E., Cecil Hotel, Strand, London.
Solberg, Miss Louise, Drammen, Norway.
Sheppard, Thos,, M.Sc., F.G.S., The Museum, Hull.
Tribe, Margaret, King's. College, Strand, London.
Tiipp, Dr. E. Il., 40, Trewslouy Road, ~Sydeiiham, S.E.26.
Tripp, Mrs., 40, Trews~bury Road, Sydenham, S.E.26.
Wheldon, J. A., M.Sc., 26, Marchfield Road, Orrell Park, Liverpool.

Backindex next  

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received MNB Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2008