20 February, 1930.
G. J. H. NEELY.
It was suggested by the Committee of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society that I should take the opportunity, when in Southampton for a few days last spring, to inspect the Object Name Books relating to the Ordnance Survey of the Isle of Man, which are preserved at the Ordnance Survey Office Southampton. A report of that matter was due at this meeting, but, as the material collected from the Name Books was not large, it is thought that a short general account of the Survey Department, with particular reference to the Survey of the Isle of Man, may prove of interest.
The word "Ordnance" is a variant of "Ordinance," rule or law. About 300 years ago, the word ordnance came to be exclusively applied to artillery and engineer personnel and equipment. An Office of Ordnance existed in the Tower of London for many centuries till it was abolished in 1854. All fortifications, artillery, and ordnance stores, were under its authority The position of Master of Ordnance was, in former days, of the highest importance.
I have described in a former paper how, when the great national surveys were started, the work, being mainly undertaken for military purposes, was carried out by the Board of Ordnance-hence the name "Ordnance Survey." The great Duke of Wellington was Master of Ordnance when the Survey of Ireland was undertaken in 1824. In 1870, the Survey Department was transferred from the control of the War Office to that of the Office of Works, and, in 1890, to the newly instituted Board of Agriculture. The Survey is still under the control of this Board, but is under military superintendence.
Civilians have been employed on the Ordnance Survey since its earliest days, and in the course of time these far outnumbered the military who were employed in the Department. The late Professor Tyndall spent some years as a civil assistant on the Survey, as also did the late Alexander MacBain, Professor of Gaelic at Aberdeen University. Among other names are Willoughby Hemans, son of the poetess, and Professor O'Donovan, who did much work on Irish placenames.
The Ordnance Survey Office at the Tower of London was destroyed by fire during the year 1841, and this resulted in the headquarters of the Survey being transferred to Southampton, where the Board of Ordnance happened to have some buildings at their disposal.
Between the establishment of the Ordnance Survey in 1791, and 1824, the work mainly consisted of the production of a one-inch map, and the execution of the Great Triangulation of the Kingdom. For many years the staff employed was small, in 1823 it was under thirty all told. Much of the work of mapping was executed by contract, and this was found subsequently to be very inaccurate. During the war in the beginning, of the nineteenth century, the work was entirely suspended.
In the early days of the Survey, the poet Wordsworth found an Ordnance Surveyor at work on the Black Combe in Cumberland, a mountain seen on clear days from Douglas, whose experiences on the misty mountain top he describes in the following lines, addressed to a traveller ascending the mountain:
" Know, if thou grudge not to prolong thy rest,
That on the summit whither thou are bound,
A geographic labourer pitched his tent,
With books supplied and instruments of Art
To measure height and distance; lonely task,
Week after week pursued!--To him was given
Full] many a glimpse (but sparingly bestowed
On timid man) of nature's processes
Upon the exalted hills. He made report
That once while there he plied his studious work
Within that canvas dwelling, colours, lines,
And the whole surface of the outspread map
Became invisible; for all around
Had darkness fallen-unthreatened, unproclaimed-
As if the golden day itself had been
Extinguished in a moment, total gloom,
In which he sate alone with unclosed eyes
Upon the blinded mountain's silent top."
The object of the Triangulation was to provide a large number of accurately fixed points throughout the kingdom on which the Survey could be based. It was a system which was first introduced by Snell, a Dutchman, in 1615. A huge network of triangles was laid down covering Great Britain, the Isle of Man, and Ireland. The base lines on which the Triangulation depends are the Salisbury Plain base, 6.93 miles in length-measured in 1794, re-measured in 1848; and the Lough Foyle base, 7.89 miles in length-measured in 1827 The distance between the Salisbury Plain base and the Lough Foyle base is about 360 miles.
On this huge network the maps of the Ordnance Survey depend. The accuracy of the work may be gauged from fact that the difference between the Lough Foyle base as measured, and the length as calculated through the triangulation from Salisbury Plain, was 5 inches. There are trigonometrical stations, including South Barrule, and the average length for the sides of the triangles is 35½ miles, longest being 111 miles, from Scafell in Cumberland to Slieve Donard in Ireland.
The success of the Great Triangulation was greatly due to the inventive genius of the scientific instrument maker, Ramsden, who built two three-foot theodolites for the work: one for the Royal Society in 1784, and one for the Board:of Ordnance in 1791. A theodolite is a portable instrument devised for the accurate measurement of horizontal and vertical angles. Much smaller and improved instruments are in use nowadays. The huge theodolite which was constructed by Ramsden for the Board of Ordnance was on exhibition in one of the windows of Selfridge's, Oxford Street, London, for some time in 1921, and excited much interest. It is now in the Science Museum, South Kensington. Both of Ramsden's instruments were used during the triangulation and it is reported that the work in some parts of the kingdom was several times completely held up while the theodolites were being used in other parts. The instruments were taken to pieces and transported in sections to the tops of the principal eminences in turn, where they were reassembled for use. One of them was taken to the top of South Barrule on this island. A track leading up this mountain, which has sometimes been mistaken for an ancient road, was, it is said made by the observers to their camp.
Other Manx mountains were linked up in a secondary triangulation, which followed later, and it was at this period that some of the cairns, which form conspicuous objects on the summits of many mountains, were built. These cover the site where the instrument had been set up, and from which angles were taken.
Owing, perhaps, to the destruction of the Survey Office by fire in 1841, records prior to this date are difficult to obtain. The earliest local mention of the Ordnance Survey in connection with the Isle of Man, that I have seen, is in an issue of the Manx Rising Sun newspaper of August 13th, 1825, under the heading " London Papers." It runs: " Major Colby, Director of the Ordnance Survey, left the Tower last month for the inspection of his numerous party that are employed on the Survey of Ireland. His operations at present are confined to the north part of that country, and the following places are the headquarters of his different detachments, each under a Captain of Engiineers, viz.: Coleraine, Londonderry, Dungarvan, and two other places. An officer with some Sappers and Miners are proceeding to the Isle of Man, and another to the western parts of Scotland, also with a detachment of Sappers and Artillerymen, to act with those in Ireland in making observations, taking points, etc."
The Sappers and Miners mentioned belonged to the four specially trained Survey Companies raised for the Survey of Ireland: Three of these Companies still remain, and form, since the Great War, the Survey Battalion, Royal Engineers.
I have mentioned that the Survey of Ireland, on a scale of six inches to a mile, was started in 1824. Every effort was made to push this forward, and it was completed in 1845.
The work in Scotland was practically suspended between the years 1824 and 1838. During these years small parties of observers probably visited this Island at different times in connection with the Great Triangulation. When not actually observing, they were busy on favourable days reflecting the sun's rays by means of a heliostat, and probably using limelight at night, in an endeavour to attract the attention of the observers located on certain eminences in the countries bordering the Irish Sea.
There was a party here in 1834, as is shown by a curious record to the effect that a man named Pat Cosgrave absconded from a survey party on the Island in that year. He is described as wearing a Petersham, brown frock coat, cloth trousers, and an old silk hat, and his age is given as 23 years. A Petersham, I find, is a heavy greatcoat.
In 1840, a party of observers were on South Barrule, and the trigonometrical station used was at that time situated. nearly in the centre of the ancient camp on the summit. But the same station was used in 1845, and the great sector theodolite, was erected there. But the station which was eventually adopted and used in the principal triangulation was 74 feet due south of this, and about 16 feet lower. This was occupied in 1845 by a party of three observers - Corporals Steele and Forsyth, and Private Montague, of the Survey Companies, Royal Sappers and Miners.
In the meantime, some of the counties of England, which had not yet been mapped on the one-inch scale, were being surveyed, like Ireland, on the scale of six inches to a mile.
But, about the year 1851, it was decided to produce a cadastral plan of Great Britain, i e., a plan on a much larger scale, from which small areas of land could be computed, and from which revenue could be valued.
It was not until 1858 that the scale of new plans was decided, which was 1/2500, or about twenty-five inches to the mile, and nearly one square inch to the acre. The Crimean War had much to do with the delay.
The great triangulation was completed, in the field, 1852
The Manx Sun newspaper, of May 31st, 1862, contains the following:-" The map of Great Britain has been in progress for nearly 80 years, and it was only last year that the triangulation on which it was based was complete while the detailed survey is still far from being finished."
This shows that the work of the Ordnance Survey was being followed with interest, and it is excusable-with the frequent changing of scales, etc.-that some little confusion existed in the public mind as to what progress was actually being made. The following appeared in the Manx Sun of July 18th, 1r863:-" At the Tynwald Court, Castletown July 13th, Mr. W. Harrison suggested that, as the survey England was now completed (sic), application should be made to the Board of Ordnance to undertake the survey of this Island, and thus furnish an accurate and authentic map. His Excellency said he would communicate on this subject, and endeavour to obtain all possible information."
It is possible that the mapping of Great Britain on the scales of one inch, or six inches, was completed, but not the large scale survey. As a matter of fact, the cadastral plans of Great Britain were not completed until many years later.
There is a report of Tynwald in the Manx Sun, of October 31st, 1863, which runs:-"At a Tynwald Court, Castletown, Wednesday, October 28th, His Excellency said, at a previous Court Mr. W. Harrison had made enquiries as to the chances of getting a complete survey of the Island by the Board of Ordnance. From private correspondence, which he had since received, His Excellency said he had reason to believe that such a survey would be undertaken at the expense of the Consolidated Fund, and that next year would see the commencement of it. The scale would be the same as that adopted in the survey of England: namely, cultivated districts, twenty-five inches to the mile; and uncultivated districts, five inches (sic). Mr. W. Harrison, after thanking His Excellency for the information, begged to move that this Court requests that a survey of the Island may be made on a scale named by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor. Seconded and agreed to."
The scale mentioned for uncultivated districts, five inches, should be six inches. The actual resolution, however, was worded as follows: " Resolved: That the Treasury be requested that the Survey of the Isle of Man be made as early as convenient upon the scale adopted for the survey of the United Kingdom. "
Or. 30th October, 1863, the following letter was sent by the Lieutenant-Governor to the Right Honourable Sir George Grey, Secretary of State for the Home Department:-
ISLE OF MAN.
30th October, 1863. SIR,
The Tynwald Court. being impressed with the importance of (the benefits) an early completion of the Ordnance Survey of the Isle of Man would confer upon the inhabitants, have passed a resolution, which they have requested me to forward, stating their earnest desire that the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury would authorise the survey of the Island to be made as early as convenient, upon the scales adopted in the survey of England and Wales.
I enclose a copy of a letter which a gentleman on the Island received from the War Office in 1861, in which it appears it was then in contemplation to commence the survey of this Island if the scale, which has since been approved, received the sanction of Parliament.
(Signed) H. B. LOCH. l
This elicited the following response, addressed to the Lieutenant-Governor:-
7th December, 1863
I am directed by the Lords Commissioners of H Majesty's Treasury to acquaint you that a copy of your letter, and of its enclosure, addressed, on the 30th October last, to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, relative to the Survey of the Isle of Man has been forwarded to this Department: and I am desired to inform you, in reply thereto, that it have been decided to extend the Ordnance Survey on a large scale to the whole of the United Kingdom, arrangements will be made next year for sending a party of surveyors to the Isle of Man to complete the survey of the Island in the manner requested by the Tynwald Court. (Sighed) F. PEEK.
In the Manx Sun, of October 1st 1864, appears the following:-" Mr. Manners, of the Royal Engineers, has arrived here for the purpose of making the necessary preliminary arrangements for the complete survey of this Island, which is about to be commenced by the Board of Ordnance and carried out at the expense of the British Government As the scale of the survey will be the same as that just made of the United Kingdom-twenty-six inches (sic) to the mile -the maps, which it is presumed will be published on the completion of the work, will be very minute and exceeding useful. "
In the same newspaper, of April 28th, 1866, there is a paragraph under the heading, " The Ordnance Survey of the Isle of Man, " which runs:-' It appears from the annual report of the Topographical Department of the War Office which has just been printed, and is dated February 22nd, 1866 that the southern half of the Isle of Man has been surveyed and that the remainder will be completed during the present year." This may refer to the preparation of a small scale map by the Topographical Department of the War Office - it can hardly refer to the large scale Ordnance Survey which was at this time in progress, but which was not completed until three or four years later.
The method of ascertaining boundaries by the Ordnance Survey Department is well illustrated by a short article and advertisement in the Manx Sun, of October 20oth, 1866, under a similar heading to the last:-" An advertisement in another column announces that the Sketch Maps of the boundaries of the several parishes of this Island will be on view on certain specified days in the Court-houses of Douglas, Ramsey, Castletown, and Peel. Public inspection of the maps is invited, so that those interested in the correct definition of the parochial boundaries may have an opportunity of pointing out any real or supposed inaccuracies which will be investigated and, if necessary, rectified previous to the maps being engraved and published."
The advertisement referred to, in the same issue, after quoting the Acts of Parliament, under whose authority the boundaries were ascertained, continues -" As the boundaries laid down on the Government maps were pointed out to the Ordnance Surveyors by Meresmen, or Persons appointed by Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace assembled in Quarter Sessions, as directed by the Acts of Parliament quoted above, the Maps may possibly become evidence respecting the boundaries, and thus affect the right of rating lands. Therefore, proprietors, agents, and other persons to whom this notice is addressed, are. particularly requested to examine the sketch maps, to ascertain that the boundaries of lands in and for which they are interested have been correctly defined and laid down, and to bring with them plans of their estates for comparison with the Boundary Sketch Maps; that should any differences be found they may be enquired into, and corrected before the maps are engraved and published.-(Signed) HENRY JAMES, Colonel Royal Engineers, Superintendent."
On August 11th, 1868, after the survey had been in progress for over three years, the following letter was addressed by the Treasury to the Lieutenant-Governor:-
I am directed by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury to inform you that My Lords are of the opinion that all the charges incurred in the Survey of the Isle of Man, from the date at which the Act 28 and 29 V., c. 23, came into operation, viz., April 1st, 1866, ought to be defrayed from the revenue of the Island.
A statement has been furnished to their Lordships by Sir Henry James, showing that the sum expended upon this service in the Island from April 1st 1866, to December 31st, 1867, amounted to £3,255 11s. 11d. But before giving any directions on the subject, they desire that you should be made aware of their view in order to give you an opportunity of offering such observations as may occur to you. (Signed) GEO. A. HAMILTON.
During the year 1866, great fiscal and constitution changes were introduced in the Isle of Man, both in the relations between the Imperial and Insular Governments and also, in purely local affairs. Among other changes, the surplus income over expenditure of the Government of the Isle of Man was to form the Accumulated Fund instead of, as heretofore, being paid into the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. It was suggested that the expense of the Ordnance Survey should be met from this source.
The following reply was forwarded by the Lieutenant Governor to the Treasury on August 26th, 1868:-
I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 11th instant, informing me that the Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury are of the opinion that all the charges incurred in the Survey of the Isle Man, from the date at which the Act 28 and 29 (I apprehend their Lordships mean the Act 29 and 30) Vic., Cap. 23, came into operation, ought to defrayed from the revenue of the Island. In reply, I beg to submit the following remarks for their Lordships' consideration:-
I apprehend the Ordnance Survey of the United Kingdom has not been undertaken for either local needs or private interests, but for Imperial purposes and Military requirements.
The Royal Engineers form part of the Army, while the Department under which the Survey is conducted is a military establishment.
The third clause of the Act to which their Lordships refer provides that no part of the duties of Customs the Isle of Man shall be applied for or towards any of the Army services and their Lordships' minute of December, 1868, in referring to the £10,000 to be paid annually out of the Insular revenue to the Exchequer speaks of this payment as being a contribution from the Island towards Military and Naval purposes.
If the Ordnance Survey of the Isle of Man is a 1ocal measure, then the question as to the advisability or otherwise of carrying it out at the expense of the Island, should, in accordance with the spirit of the Act, 1866, have been first submitted for the consideration of the Insular Government, and as the Island has already expended within the last seven years upwards of £2,000 for an accurate survey and valuation of the towns and country, it is improbable that the local Legislature would have consented, if they had been consulted, to charge the Insular Revenue with the expenses of the Ordnance Survey.
If, however, the Ordnance Survey is a measure of an Imperial character, then by the third section of the Act already quoted, it cannot be charged upon the duties of Customs collected in the Isle of Man, as from the context and reading of the Act, it is implied that only those votes of the House of Commons applicable for the local requirements of the Island can be so charged: and, while the Act of 1866 relieved the Imperial Exchequer from any responsibility in connection with the expenses of the Government of the Island, it also provided, by an annual payment of £10,000 to the Exchequer, what was considered a fair proportion for services of a general character, not confined to local interests or requirements.
I wish also, to draw their Lordships' attention to the fact that not only is the Isle of Man no charge directly or indirectly on the Revenue derived from the Customs Duties or Income Tax, levied in the United Kingdom, but after providing for its own expenditure it pays towards Imperial purposes from one source of Revenue alone an amount nearly equivalent to a shilling in the pound Income Tax.
I, therefore, submit that it contributes already to the expenses of the Ordnance Survey.
For the reasons I have above stated, I respectfully contend that the question whether the Isle of Man Customs can be properly charged with the cost of the Ordnance Survey, is one open for discussion.
I am ready to admit that as the Island may indirectly derive considerable benefit from the correctness with which the coastline is laid down in the Survey, it may be right, in equity, that the Island should contribute towards the expenses, but even this I consider should be dependent upon the Insular Government being allowed to obtain such tracings and plans from time to time as it may require, and I may state the Engineer-in-Chief for the Island applied some months ago to be allowed tracings of several of the harbours where works are about to be constructed, and that he was informed the tracings could not be supplied-thus entailing on the Island, in the preparation of the requisite plans, an expense of several hundreds of pounds.
In conclusion, I beg to point out how impossible it will be to bring about a proper adjustment between income and expenditure if the revenue can be charged without reference to the Insular Government.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant, (Signed) HENRYr B. Loch To the Secretary to the Treasury.
The reply of the Treasury to this communication forwarded to the Lieutenant-Governor on the 4th December 1868, was as follows:-
With reference to your letter of the 26th August last relative to the manner in which the Ordnance Survey of the Isle of Man is proposed to be charged upon the estimates, I am desired by the Lords Commissioner' Her Majesty's Treasury to inform you that you are mistaken in supposing that the Survey of the United Kingdom was undertaken for Imperial purposes or Military requirements.:
As a matter of convenience, and for the sake of greater accuracy and uniformity, the conduct of it has. been entrusted to officers and men of the Ordnance Service: but it is essentially and primarily a Civil Work, designed, like cadastral surveys in other countries, and the Ordnance Survey in Ireland as it now is, for the foundation of an accurate valuation for purposes of local assessment, and for the advantage of owners of property.
The survey is now in progress on an enlarged scale of 22 inches (sic) to the mile for the whole of Great Britain and Ireland.
It is in no sense Imperial, and has no Imperia1 interest which should have led to its extension to the Isle of Man, beyond the advantage which would be afforded to the Island by a correct and accurate survey, uniform in its character with that of the United Kingdom.
The Imperial Government, at the time when the survey of the Island commenced, received the surplus income over expenditure in the Island, and undertook such works as were considered necessary for its welfare.
When, therefore the Island obtained the benefit of that surplus, the liability of the Imperial Exchequer ceased, and my Lords consider that they are fully empowered by the third clause of the Act quoted by you, to recover the sum expended on the service since 1st April, 1866.
If it had been at that time a new service, my Lords would undoubtedly have consulted the Court of Tynwald: but the work was already far advanced by that date, and it did not occur to this Board that any question could arise in the Island as to the further prosecution of it.
While, however, my Lords hold that they have a right to claim the repayment of the whole of the sum expended since 1st April, 1866 they are ready to give consideration to any circumstances which may have lessened the value of the Imperial Survey to the Island, such as the valuation which appears to have been carried out by the local authorities at the same time as the Survey.
My Lords have put forward their claim: but they will be ready under the circumstances to accept a payment of one half of the cost-say £1,600 for the period between 1st April, 1866, and the 3Ist December, 1867.
I am to add that the whole cost will be charged from the date of this settlement, i.e., from the 1st January, 1868, upon the Insular Revenue.
I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) GEO. A. HAMILTON. The Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man.
At this juncture, the matter was referred to H.M. Attorney General for the Isle of Man, James Gell, Esq.- afterwards Sir James Gell-who, in a memorandum, dated l1th December, 1868, gave the opinion that the Treasury had full authority under " The Isle of Man Customs, Harbours, and Public Purposes Act 1866," to charge the expense on the Insular Revenue on the assumption that the Survey could not be considered as an Army Service.
On 16th December, 1868, the Lieutenant-Governor wrote a further vigorous protest to the Treasury, and later, went to London to interview the heads of that Department.
The Treasury offer now stood as follows:-Up to the 31st December, 1867, the Island should be charged one half the cost incurred up to that date, viz., £1,600: and after that date, with the whole expense of the survey.
The Lieutenant-Governor, having previously taken a legal opinion of English Counsel, which agreed with the opinion of the Attorney General of the Isle of Man, made the following offer to the Treasury in a communication dated 10th February, 1869, " I shall be prepared to lay this correspondence before the Tynwald Court, and recommend that the Island should contribute the sum of £3,350, in discharge all expenses in connection with the survey. .....
" I presume by this payment the Survey will become property of the Isle of Man, and that the profit derived from the sale to private individuals of tracings from the parent plans will be paid to the Insular Revenue."
This offer of £3,350 was accepted by the Treasury a final charge against the Island on account of the Ordnance Survey.
The Treasury, however, were unable to comply with request that the profits derived from the sale to private individuals of tracings should be paid to the Insular Revenue but they made a free grant to the Insular Government copies of the survey to the following extent:- 2 copies of the plans of towns 1/500 scale 3 copies of the parish plans ..1/2500 scale. 4 copies of the 6in. map. 6 copies (subsequently increased) of the 1in.map.
The method of survey on the Island was similar to that followed in Great Britain and Ireland. A Triangulation - primary, secondary, and tertiary: the latter with sides averaging a little more than a mile long: a rigorous Chain Survey which was plotted at the Survey Office: and an Examination of tracings of the plotted work, carried out in the field.
The Examiners, in addition to checking and correcting faulty work, inserted the ornament, and were also responsible for collecting descriptive and proper names, and inserting them on the maps.
The procedure usually adopted in the case of place-names was for the Examiner to approach the best available authorities in the neighbourhood, and obtain their spelling of name in writing if possible-and the extent of its application. In cases where a written certificate from a reliable authority was not obtained, not less than three authorities had to be quoted in support of the spelling and description of the name as submitted. These were entered on a form known as the Object Name Sheet, together with the various modes of spelling the same name, its position, and descriptive remarks or other observations which might be considered of interest.
The Object Name Sheets were collected as the Survey proceeded, and arranged finally in a separate book for each parish. These books are well worth examination by all those who are interested in place-names, as they reflect the opinion of many of the leading men of the Island at the date of the Survey, on the meaning and application of the names which appear on the Ordnance Survey Maps of this Island. Among these gentlemen are the Speaker of the House of Keys, many Clergymen (including the Venerable Archdeacon J. C. Moore. M. A.); Schoolmasters; Owners of Property; Archaeologists; Captains of Parishes; and Postmasters. Sometimes, the best available authority was an intelligent man with special knowledge in, perhaps, a more humble way of life, such as a weaver at Kirkpatrick, or a joiner at Laxey.
The Ordnance Surveyors are careful not to give any lead in the matter of place-names, or to write any names on the maps without consulting the best authorities obtainable for the time being: and when this is understood, it is obvious that much of the criticism directed against the Survey Department regarding names is pointless.
Even when the meaning of the name, as given in the object name book, may not be regarded as entirely satisfactory in the light of to-day, there is sometimes much in the general remarks given on the sheets to give us a picture of the site as it stood in the year of the survey. The entry referring to Keeill Tustagh, in Kirk Andreas, runs as follows:-
" On an eminence of farm of the same name formerly stood an ancient Treen Chapel. In cultivating it a few years ago, the remains of a small building composed of earth and stones was removed. The site is still traceable, and the track of the fence which surrounded the same is still strongly marked, within which the graves have been found. The name is widely known, and signifies the Church of Wisdom or Knowledge. Tustagh-sensible or intelligent."
The authorities given for Keeill Tustagh are Mr. John Corlett, John James Sayle (Smeale Beg), and J. T. Martin, Esq., C.P., M.H.K. (Smeale).
The entry referring to the " Fort," close to the Parish Church of Kirk Andreas, is interesting from its reference to Fort Loyal, it runs:-
" On the Glebe, in a field, lo chains west of the Church, are the remains of an old fort, generally supposed to have been the fortified residence or palace of the former Archdeacons of the Island. It is of considerable extent, being about 550 links in length 400 ft. in breadth, and 10 ft. in height, and has evidently been surrounded by a large fosse, or more probably from the appearance of the ground by a morass or lake. The field being still called Ellan (i.e., the island). It is defended on the east by a wall or ditch which is tolerable state of preservation.
A small fosse divides it into two portions, the eastern of a triangular form. No remains of any building can now be seen.
In an extract from the Rolls Office (in possession of Venerable Archdeacon J. C. Moore), bearing date 1662, it is called " Fort, " likewise " Loyal Fort. "
In draining the field immediately east, several stone cists were discovered."
The authorities given are Ven. Archdeacon J. C. Moore M.A., Mr. F. Ratcliffe, and Mr. D. Quirk, Kirk Andreas.
Many of the entries are disappointingly meagre. That relating to " Thistle Head " merely states: "A bold rocky headland, situated a short distance south of Peel.". No attempt is made to elucidate the meaning or origin of the name. The authorities are Mr. Quirk (Rheaby), Henry Quilliam (Glenmeay), Mr. Moughty (Kirk Patrick).
" Bing Buiee" is described, by the same authorities, as " applicable to that extent of precipitous rocks extending from ' 'The Ladder' on the south, to a short distance north of 'Traie Dullish.' Sig, Yellow Precipice."
Laxey is described as: " The largest and most important village in the Isle of Man. It is situated in a beautiful valley famous for its mineral wealth. The trade derived by means of its lead and copper is so extensive that the place is rising into the importance of a town. Laxey, or more properly Laxa (Norse) i.e., Salmon River, is one of oldest villages in the Island, and originally a Scandinavian settlement. It abounds with antiquarian remains. As early as the twelfth century, Laxey appears to have been an important seat of Ecclesiastical instruction. instanced by the remains of numerous small Chapels or Oratories still to be seen: though we find no trace of more important structures such as an Abbey or a Monastery, there is reason to believe that some place of the kind once existed, as an Abbey Bridge is mention in Dr. Oliver's Monumenta" The authorities given are Thomas Kewley, Daniel Kermode, J. Kinley.
The entry referring to St. Patrick's Chair, in Marown, is as follows:-" This applies to a rude erection of stones in the form of a seat or chair, capable of holding three persons with ease, being about 6 feet in length, and two feet in height above the seat, and the eastern slab about 2½ feet high,while the western is broken off at about a foot about the seat. The two former have an incised figure of a cross cut on them and most probably the, latter bore the same, in its complete state.' Extracts from both Kerruish's and Kneale's Guides are given, and also the following " Dr. Oliver, of Douglas, says that the late Vicar of Marown informed him that the so-called St. Patrick's Chair was erected about 70 or 80 years ago by the then tenant of the farm, who was an eccentric person and erected this for a hoax.
The late Vicar resided in the Parish at the time the erection was put up, and was personally acquainted with the farmer. "
To this, Captain Melville, R.E., who was in charge of the survey of the Isle of Man, wrote the following note:- " These stones have the appearance of age; and, in my opinion, have undoubtedly been placed in position some centuries back."
The authorities given for the name and description of St. Patrick's Chair, in addition to Dr. Oliver, are Mr. Cowley, Mr. John Cannell (Garth), and Mr. James Kelly.
The descriptive name " Tumulus," under which is written (Cronk Mwyllen), appears on the maps of Jurby Parish. The association of a mill with a burial mound does not seem appropriate, and has excited comment. The entry is as follows:-" A small knoll situated a little north of the Chapel and burial ground (site of). It is apparently artificial, though now nearly levelled and cultivated. The authorities quoted state it to be an old place of Sepulture, or tumulus. In cultivating this mound several urns containing remains ere discovered." The authorities quoted are: Mr. William Kewin, Mr. Kissack, Mr. Thomas Teare (Loughan), and Mr. Thomas Fargher (Ballasalla-Jurby).
One more example will be ample to show the sort of information which may be gathered from the Object Name Books. In Kirk German the name " Cronk Keeillaune " appears, together with, " Site of St. Mary's Chapel, and Burial Ground. " Four variations of spelling and three different meanings are given on the name sheet for Cronk Keeillaune. These are: Cronk Keeill Ane; Cronk Keeill Ainn-St. Ann's Church Hillock, CronkKeeill Ain-Knoll of the Round Church; Cronk Keeill Aune-Hill of the Church Bell The descriptive remarks run:-" A small hillock on the summit of which anciently stood a Chapel and Burial Ground dedicated to St. Mary. The outline of the Chapel can still be traced, and numerous stone-lined graves were found during the formation of the public road which runs through the Burial Ground. Signification Hill of the Church Bell." The authorities given are: Dr. Oliver (Douglas), William Harrison, Esq. (Rockmount), and Mr. Gell (Ballalough).. The form of this name on the Ordnance Map has given rise to some criticism, but I think it may be said that the surveyors did their best to obtain the correct version.
The Ordnance Datum, from which the heights of all eminences in the Isle of Man were measured, was obtained by a series of readings from a Tide Gauge fixed to a low-water pier or jetty, north of the Pollock Rocks. This is the jetty from which persons embark when visiting Conister. A Bench Mark was cut on the cope stone, 10 links from the north-east angle of the pier, the Bench Mark being 5 69 feet below Mean Sea Level. This mark is still well preserved, and can be seen at low water.
The Datum for the Isle of Man was established on the same principle as that of Liverpool (for Great Britain), i.e., both were established from Mean Sea Level.
The Ordnance Datum for Ireland differs from that for the Isle of Man and Liverpool, the Irish Datum being established from the Low Water of Spring Tides.
On the Isle of Man contouring was only carried out in the Parishes of Braddan, Lonan, Marown and Onchan, on account of the expense involved.
For much of the information above, I am indebted to the Director-General of the Ordnance Survey, and to the correspondence, etc., referring to the Ordnance Survey of the Isle of Man, collected by the Isle of Man Times, 1869.