[From Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol 3]


22nd May, 1930. Leader: Mr Wan. Cubbon.

The Deemster's Cairn on the Western Slope of Slieau Ree
The "Deemster's Cairn" on the Western Slope of Slieau Ree.

Thirty members and friends met at the Douglas Railway Statioin and drove in small motor cars to Arderry at the upper end of East Baldwin glen. The leader pointed out the ruins of a large megalithic burial place which is situated on the most northern portion of Arderry, close to the ravine which marks the boundary between Kirk Braddan and Kirk Conchan. The cairn is not shown on the Ordnance plan, and no archaeologist has ever drawn attention to it. A huge capstone had been removed in the summer of 1929; showing a stone cist in the centre of the cairn. To judge by the appearance of the cairn, it was likely that other cists would be disclosed on examination. The parish boundary comes from the Carnane Bane to the river on the north side of the cairn, and it is likely that this important monument fixed the boundary at this point. It would appear, too, that the fence on the east side, built of huge stones. has been made from material taken from the cairn.

The leader described the various old roads in the vicinity: Bayr ny Ree, "the road of the Kings," which passes Keeill Abban, corvine: from Ramsey to Castle Rushen ; Bayr Jiarg ; the "red road," which goes from West Baldwin Bridge to Keeill Abban: BayrAmmell, which goes from Balliargey to the Penypot pass. He thought that Bayre Ammell might contain a "fell" name, like "Snaefell; and that the prefix "Amin" might be the worn-down remnant of a personal name; perhaps the Norse equivalent of the Manx Slieau Ree.

Close by the Bayr Ammell, immediately above Arderry, is a curious monument, erected as part of the mountain fence. It is in the form of a figure of a man, built with white quartz stones, and stands about 6ft. high. The tradition is that long ago a Deemster was riding on horseback along the Bayr ny Ree, or Royal Way, from the North towards Castle Rushen, in order to hold a Court there. He lost his way in a fierce snowstorm and he and his horse perished. To mark the occurrence the people put up this strange monument. figuring the Deemster and, near by, his horse. Both figures may easily be seen from the high land on the other side of the valley.

Keeill Abban (St. Luke's) was next visited. The earliest record, said Mr Cubbon, of the Tynwald at Keeill Abban is in the Statute Book under the date 1429. The document refers to the decisions of a Tynwald previously held; which it states was "holden at Killabane." One of the Acts of the Keeill Abban Tynwald dealt with "prowesse," namely the deciding of causes by means of the sword. "Prowesse," it was declared, was to be "put down" and "that matters be determined by God and the Countrey instead of prowesse."

Mr Cubbon stated that the people of the Baldwins had agreed to erect a large cairn of stones on the site, so as to record it for all time. About- 30 tons of stones had been gathered from the Caveen, near Injebreck (which had been conveyed by the Douglas Town Council ready for the building), and the people of the neighbourhood were going to build the cairn free of cost. We ought to remember, the leader continued, that the Keeill Abban Tynwald was not a local institution; it was national ;and, as it was national, all Manx people ought to take an interest in it, and encourage the Baldwin people in their project. There would be expenses in making up fences, making a gate and a stile for the public, and he suggested that they contribute something. (A collection was at once made, realizing 25/for the fund).

Through the kindness of Captain Spittall, a visit was made to Injebreck. Here two mounds, on Captain Spittall's ground, were partly excavated. The first seen indicated the presence of a surrounding wall built of stones, in more or less circular form. In the trench which was cut through there was disclosed a floor covered with a quantity of carbon.

The second mound, which was larger, showed no surrounding built stone wall. In the trench which was cut through from east to west there were only a few stones laid flat-wise. In the centre there was disclosed a "pocket" of carbon, showing large pieces of burnt wood. The pocket was about, four or five inches deep and over a foot in area. It may have been a "fire-hole." Near this pocket was found a flint flake which showed evidence of human treatment in the form of a serrated edge. It is lain. long by lin. broad, and is knifeshaped. Other smaller pockets and layers of carbon were also found. It was the leader's opinion, judging from the incomplete examination made, that the two mounds were possibly but-dwellings and of an early period. In all, about fourteen mounds, clustered together, were pointed out. The land upon which the largest number of mounds lie belongs to the Common Trustees, but there are four or five on the adjoining land belonging to Captain Spittall. Before leaving, the trenches were filled up again and the sods re-laid.

On the return journey home to Douglas, Chibbyr Roney* was visited, and a short meeting of the Society held, presided over by the president, Mr J. J. Kneen, M.A., when reports of various sections, held over from the Annual Meeting were submitted.

*See plan of Chibbyr Roney p. 438.

The Deemster's Cairn was allowed to decay but recently was rebuilt - the story, which was later embellished in a poem by Hanby Hay is in my opinion total nonsense - remove the 'head' stone of the 'cairn' and it now takes on the form of a typical land surveyor's mark which, in my opinion it was. Although argument from silence is not a strong argument it is remarkable that such a distinctive artifact was not mentioned by the otherwise very observant guide book writer Jenkinson who describes his visit to Baldwin in 1874


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