[From Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol 3]

PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS. 'OUR NORSE HERITAGE'

J. J. KNEEN, M.A.

16th April, 1931.

Some time ago Professor Marstrander, of Oslo University, brought to my notice a recently published work by Magnus Olsen, a - Norwegian philologer and historian, which dealt with certain old place-names in Norway, and pointed out that an interpretation of these names threw a flood of light on the pre-history of Norway.

After a careful study of his researches I determined to make a critical examination of our older place-names with a view to finding out whether such elements existed in the Norse place-names of Mann, and I was not a little surprised to find that certain names which I had hitherto thought to be of Gaelic extraction, may belong to our oldest Norse stratum, but have been disguised by Gaelic prefixes.

Before proceeding further to discuss these ancient names, it will be necessary for us briefily to survey our early Norse history as far as it is known to us from early sources.

'The Annals of the Four Masters under 793 [recté 798] record: "Inis Padroig (i.e. S. Patrick's Isle) was burned by foreigners and they bore away the shrine(1) of Dochonna, and they also committed depredations between Ireland and Alba" This is the same event as is noted in the Annals of Ulster under 797 A.D. "The, burning of S. Patrick's Island by the gentiles. The taking of the country's preys, and the breaking of Dochonna's shrine, and the spoils or the sea between Ireland and Scotland."

(1) A replica may be seen in the Museum.

This is the earliest historical reference to a Norse raid on Mann, but it does not follow that. it was the first, by any means. The Annals of the Four Masters record under the year 612, "The devastation of Torach (Tory- island) by a marine fleet." Again,

Gororman's Martyrology says, speaking of the massacre of Donnan and his disciples in Eigg in 617: "Fifty-two were his congregation. There came pirates of the sea to the island and slew them all. Undoubtedly the Eigg- massacre was carried out by the Norsemen, and the Annals of Ulster connects the two events, viz: Tory Island andThe Annals record: "The burning of the martyrs of Eigg. The burrning of Donnan of Eigg, on the 15th of the Calends of May, with 150 martyrs, and the devastation of Torach, and the burning of Condere."

The Chronicon Scotorum reeords both events under 617 A.D., also the Annals of Tigernach. It is not the first instance of a burning, for the Annals of Ulster record the burning of Bennchor in 615, without further remark. The burning of the religious houses of Eigg-an offshoot of Iona-on the 17th April, 617, was certainly comrnitted by the Vikings, as also the attack on Tory Island. The Picts are generally blamed for these outrages, but we must remember that they were already Christians at that time, and it is very doubtful if they would have committed such atrocities. We must therefore blame the sea-warriors from Norway, who had come to the Hebrides and Mann and then made for the north-east of Ireland-in other words, 7th century Vikings. And it is very likely that they used the Isle of Man as a convenient centre for their operations-indeed it is quite possible that a few had already settled here.

There are others who hold the same opinion. Professor Bugge held that about 700 A.D., if not earlier, long before the colonisatiors of Iceland, Norsemen from Hordaland, Ryfylke, and Lederen, had sailed from the Orkneys and the Shetlands, and maintained that many of the Shetland place-names show word formations which were out of use at the time Iceland was colonised. Professor Marstrander, of Oslo, believes that there was a Norwegian settlement of the Orkneys between 563 and 579.

And now, let us speak of the ancient Norse farms of Mann, and try to picture the social history of our Island about 1,000 years ago. The constituent elements of a farm, making it a social institution, are its cultivated home-fields. The "odel" or allodial lands consisted of the cornfields and meadows round the dwelling. That is the inherited land, in contradistinction to the common land, which was shared by all.

The Heimskringla Saga gives us a picture of life at Sigurd Syr's great farm at Ringerike, and life in Mann at the same period must have been somewhat similar.

"King Sigurd Syr was standings in the harvest-field. . . . . He had many men there; some of them cut the gain, some carted it home, others put it into stacks or barns: but the king and two men with him, went sometimes to the cornfield. sometimes to the places where the corn was stored away." Later on we learn how he feasted King Olaf and all his men: "Iiina Sigurd gave there, for their table, every second day fish and milk, every second day flesh food and ale."

The mountain or hill farms belonged to a lower stratum of society, as we afterwards show, for the lowland and best farms were held by the chieftains. The cattle and crops of the highland farmers yielded them food, and then they caught fish and shot game. The cornfields were small, and corn generally would run short at midsummer. They exchanged cattle and hides with the lowlanders. In autumn they added as many calves as they dared to the livestook. and kept the animals alive by underfeeding them to the starvation limit. They had little hay from the home-fields; most of it vas scraped together up on the mountains in summer, and it was usually drawn home by hand sleds in the winter, for there were few horses. The fare was simple; there was milk at every meal, and butter besides, and cheese when any was to be had, and meat as far on in spring as possible. Porridge was on the table twice every day. When the people went up to the airighs or shielings during the summer, they lived almost exclusively on boiled curds and whey in order to save the corn. The time spent on the airighs was the happiest time in the year for the mountain farmers and their families. The picture given portrays the life of the highland farmers before the days of potatoes and turnips. This is a mere summary; it could be greatly enlarged. If we entirely subtract the potatoes and confine the cereals to the modicum people could afford to buy by barter from the lowlanders in years of good fishing, there remains, in earlier time, very little except fish and a little milk food—this had to suffice.

From the sagas we get numerous particulars about the older farms-those ending in by, which we shall afterwards refer to as by-farms. These latter had a complete arrangement of houses, first the dwelling-houses, then the out-houses: viz., cow-house, stable, sheep shed, barn, smithy, etc. This is what the by-farm was like at the dawn of Scandinavian domination. A group of large and small houses, numbering upwards of twenty-this had been its general character in Norway for centuries, and as old habits and customs die slowly, similar conditions must have prevailed in Mann.

In Norway there was an easy access to timber for building purposes, and as this is a perishable material, it makes the investigation of the history of Norwegian farmsteads one of great difficulty. The poorly wooded districts on the western coast offer a better field for enquiry. Old sites of houses still abound there. They were built for the most. part- of stone and turf, and this, being imperishable, may still be subjected to scientific examination. Here is a study full of great promise, to which, it is hoped, our future antiquaries will turn their attention.

Here we should say something about the patriarchal family, but there is only time to glance at the subject in passing. Its distinctive characteristics were that it consisted of more than two generations; the married son or sons, and sometimes the married daughters, remained on the farm with spouses and children, doing their share of the work without wages and entirely subjected to the head of the family, who exercised quite a patriarchal authority.

When a farm, in course of time, was partitioned into several smaller farms, it very often became a hamlet or village. We have four by-farms which became villages of this type-Sulby, Dalby, Crosby and Colby. In point of population, Sulby was the largest of these. At the beginning of the 16th century we find 38 families on this much partitioned farm.

Farm names may be divided into two classes according to their etymological meanings: (1) Names containing words having direct. references to a dwelling-place, or to a place where farming operations or some other social industry was carried on; and (2), names that give no particular information about such circumstances, but only about local conditions of other kinds. To the first class belong, the by-names and some others which I shall mention later. To the second class belong such simple names as Meary in Santan, meaning a "sea-border," a name which is quite as old as the by-names, but the estate did not become a farm until some time later.

If we examine the by-farms geographically, we shall find that they are situated in the best parts of the Island, and undoubtedly they were settled by our earliest colonists from the Northlands. The first wave of immigrants seemed to belong to the chieftain class; they held large estates and lived like petty kings. They had brought from Norway all their goods and chattels; their wives, their sons and daughters, their kinsmen and kinswomen, their servants and their thralls. The first Norse King of Mann was probably a chieftain of royal descent. Later they were appointed by the kings of Norway. These chieftains were the king's chief counsellors, and provided him with his army and navy. It is popularly supposed in Mann that the Norsemen did not bring wives with then, but married Celtic wives. Such a theory is erroneous, for the Sagas provide us with abundant evidence that they brought their wives with them. We must remember that before fusion took place, the Gaels would be regarded as on a lower social stratum, and it is likely that for several generations they were the thralls of the Norsemen. It was a case of history repeating itself, for the Gaels had treated the aborigines in like manner. We therefore see that under such circumstances, it is very unlikely that the proud Norsemen would permit their children to marry into Celtic families, at least, not before several generations had passed away.

We have about 30 by-names in Mann, a few of them with by prefixed. These latter belong to the Gall-Gaelic period, and are somewhat later than the others, as such formations could not have taken place until the Norsemen had, to a certain extent, become Celtieised.

In pagan tunes every chieftain had a temple on his own land, and when the Norsemen first settled in Mann, it is probable that they utilised many of the Christian churches for this purpose. They also perpetuated the names of the Celtic saints to whom the Christian churches were dedicated, by simply changing Keeill (cell) to Kirk. In this connection, however, it is probable that the names would be remembered by the Gaels rather than the Norsemen, and thus saved from extinction.

Stad-farms, or farm-names containing the suffix "stadr," were on a lower rung of the social ladder than the by-farms, and many of them contain nicknames. The holders of these farms were not aristocrats like the holders of the by-farms, but were farmers of the peasant type who belonged to a later wave of immigration. It is usually personal names we find in the Manx stad-farms, such as Ljotr in Leodest ; Ottar in Aust ; Grettir in Gretch. These, by the way, true to their type, were originally nicknames, meaning respectively: "Ugly One," "Otter," and "Giant." Two of them, viz.., Corlett and Cottier, have survived in our personal names.

A few other elements found in our farin names are-hiemr, land and hus. Heimr (Eng. "home"), meaning a "homestead" is found as an element in very old place-names in Norway, and also in Iceland. We do not find many examples in Mann. Probably secondary names of this nature have suffered a greater mortality than the primary names, and have been largely replaced by Gaelic ones. Claram in K. Lonan (*Klára-heimr) meaning "Klari's homestead," and Brome (*Brúar-heimr) "bridge homestead," an old K. Malew place-name, are two examples of heim-names.

We have more examples of land-names than the former. Land, used in the sense of an estate, is very common; in the Scandinavian countries, and like the heim-names, they are usually of secondary importance. The following examples are found in Mann: Castlelland (*Kastala-land), the old name of the estate on which stands Castle Rushen. Lhen, in Kirk Andreas, which simply means "land," or an estate. This uncompounded name is also found in Norway. In Killane (older Carlane) (*Kjarr-land)-"brushwood land." Cushlin, in Eary Cushlin, represents (*Kotland), meaning a. small estate with a cot thereon, or the small farm of a cotter.

Hus, cognate with Eng. "house," means a home, and show us that a particular house originally belongeing to the old homestead had broken away and had become an independent form. Two examples of hus-names are Barroose in K. Lonan, from (*Baejarhús), simply meaning "the homestead," and Roose (*Rá-hús), "the nook house," an old intack in Lezayre.

Many farms, by their names, show that farming operations were not carried on when they were named, although sueh names may be quite as old as the real farm names. The following names belong to this class. Ronaldsway (*Rognalds-vagr), "Reginald's bay"; Howstrake (*Hofuds-tradkr) , "headland track": Scard (*Scardr), "mountain pass"; and Lambfell (1*Lamba-fjall) "lamb mountain." 1 This may contain the personal name Lambi.

A critical examination of our parishes shows that the nuclei upon which most of them were based were the by-names. The great chieftain land-takers held by-farms, and they almost wielded as much power as the king himself.

In 1111 we read, in the Chronicle of Mann, that: "The nobles of the Isles hearing of the death of (King) Lagman, sent messengers to Muircheard O Brien, a provincial King of Ireland, begging that he would send some worthy person of the royal family as regent, until Olaf, the son of Godred, was grown older." The temporary king whom the King of Ireland sent, however, proved to be a tyrant, and the chiefs expelled him.

In 1153 we read that the chiefs put. Godred, son of Olaf, on the throne, and a year later these same chiefs tried to dethrone him. Thorfin, the son of Ottar, a powerful chieftain, persuaded Somerled; Thane of Argyle, to allow the latter's son to be nominated king. We can thus see the power that was wielded by these chieftains, although they never attempted to usurp a throne themselves, unless they were of royal descent.

We shall now try to show how the nuclei of the parishes were the large estates of the chieftain class, and we must remember that many of these estates were huge in comparison with the farm of modern times, for not only the chief, with his family, lived on it, but his kinsfolk, retainers, bailiffs, armed men, servants and thralls.

In Kirk Christ, Rushen, we find three by-farms, viz: Elby, Surby and Scholaby. Let us speak first of Elby. The name is(*Eld-byr), i.e., "the old farm," which was on the Calf of Mann. This farm had its own little agricultural community, and its little church and churchyard, from which carne the cross slab representing the crucifixion. 1 See cast in the Manx Museum. On the opposite coast is a treen called Shenn Valley, which also means "old farm" in Gaelic and it is probable that in Norse times the Mull district and the Calf belonged to the same proprietor. The parish church of Kirk Christ is close to Surby, whilst a church dedicated to S. Patrick was the principal church of Scholaby.

In Kirk Arbory the parish church adjoins the ancient by-farm. of By-macan, where we have by prefixed. In Kirk Malew we have a similar case, the church adjoining the ancient farm of Billown (older form, Bylozen), where by is also prefixed. In the case of Kirk Marown it is probable that Crosby was the by-farm, which is now represented by a village and that Ballakilley (now Ellerslie) wasan integral part of this estate.

In the parish of Kirk Braddan we have an obvious example, as the by-farm took its name from the church, viz., Kirkby (nor Kirby). The parish of Kirk Conchan furnishes us with no less than six examples of by-farms, the greatest, number in one parish on theIsland. There are three pure Norse names, Sulby, Streneby and Slegaby, and three Gall-Gaelic names, Begoade. Bibaloe and Bemahague. The holders of these farms did not possess great territories as they did in the other parishes. The farm we want here seems to be Bemahague. Here we have a striking example of a large estate becoming relatively insignificant, for it is now only a quarterland contiguous to farms originally of secondary importance.

In Kirk Lonan we find the old parish church on the ancient farm of Raby, and in Kirk Patrick we find a similar example, the by-farm here involved being also Rheaby. In early times this estate undoubtedly included the farms of Gordon and Knockaloe.

In the parish of Kirk German we have the by-name happ,ily preserved in Brottby, the ancient name of the Abbeylands. It may be noted that these by-farms of Kirk Patrick and Kirk German, víz, Rheaby and Brottby, must have extended as far as S. Patrick's Isle, upon which stand the ancient parish church of S. Patrick and the parish cathedral of Kirk German.

In the Parish of Kirk Michael the by-name has been Gaelicized, and what once must have been (*Leiru-by) is now Balleira, i.e., the Norse by has been replaced by the Gaelic balla. The parish church is on this by-farm also. In the parish of Jurby the old by-name is preserved in the name of the parish, which was formerly called Kirk Patrick of Jurby, and the land upon which the church stands must have been once part of Jurby farm, now as a farm name, disappeared.

The parish of Kirk Christ, Lezayre, provides us with an interesting example of the huge extent of these ancient estates, as the old farm of Sulby-now lost as a farm-practically took in the whole parish, including the abbeylands of the monks of Myrosco, to which the parish church is contiguous.

In Kirk Bride we find the church situated on the by-farm of Crosby. In the parish of Kirk Andreas the church would be connected with the great farm of Rygby.

We have purposely omitted the parishes of Kirk Santan, Kirk Maughold and Ballaugh, as they will come into the next series of old farm, names which we shall consider.

We shall now discuss farm names containing the suffix vin, which we shall refer to as vin-names. This element represents one of the lowest strata. of Norse names which directly refer to farming. By vin our Norse forefathers designated a field of rich grass, pleasing to the eye natural, and not artificially cultivated-a place where it was good to settle down with one's cattle; and we must remember that their cattle represented their capital.

This name element is widely distributed in Norway (nearly 1000 examples of it). Magnus Olsen says: "It is a belief widely held that vin was not used for the formation of place-names in historic times." This idea, however, seems to be based on the fact that it is only found in a few insignificant compound words in Icelandic. Jakob Jakobsen has called attention to a great number of placenames in the Shetlands which are compounded with vin., and, as we shall see, Mann also yields many examples. It seems clear then, that the word was still used in the spoken language when the Norse men first landed on the shores of the Shetlands and Mann. For the Hebrides we cannot speak, for its place-names have not been examined from this point of view.

We cannot say definitely when Mann was first colonised by the Norsemen, but it is probable that early arrivals made their home here before the 9th century. When Iceland was first settled by the Norsemen, towards the close of the 9th century, the word had fallen into disuse, but when we realize that it was used in the living speech. of the Norsemen who settled in Mann and was used by them in the formation of Manx place-names, we can see the importance of the word to us from a historical standpoint, as it enables us to date with some degree of accuracy our earliest Norse immigrations.

The vin-names were associated with people of the chieftain class. It may be remembered that vin means "a pleasant meadow," and we may be sure that not many holdings of this description would fall to the lot of the low-born.

The vin-farms, then, were originally meadows belonging to the larger estates, which, in course of time, became the nuclei of separatefarms. Vin in Norwegian names is usually preceded by a prefix.: showing for what purpose the meadow had been used, such as:_ Korn-vin, meaning "corn- meadow"; Sad-vin, "seed meadow"; Rag-vin. "rye meadow"; Mys-vin, "mouse meadow," mice apparently presupposing a corn-field; Lin-vise, "flax meadow." Sometimes a farm arose through the clearing away of a wood, as Rydin (*Rud-vin),, "meadow of the clearing." Sometimes animals are mentioned, as Fylin, "foal meadow"; Geitin, "goat meadow"; Kyrin, "cow meadow." Sometimes we get a glimpse of life as it was lived there on a summer's clay through the names Oykrin (*Fikr-vin) and Lindarin. These names show that there must have been meadows where a tall and' shady tree-an oak or a lime tree was left standing in order that the cattle might find protection from the heat of the sun. Gerdin tells us of a fence round the field, and Hlid-vin about a fence with a gate. Leikin means "the meadow of the games." And thus we are able throughout to collect many features showing that the vin of the farm names was once-true to its original sense-largely meadow land belonging to an older farm.

In Norway, 67 vin-farms were the nuclei of parishes, and have given their names to the latter; the parishes not being dedicated to saints as is the case in Mann. 63 stad-names, 39 heim-names, and 35 land-names, are also found as parishes. In Mann, 16 of our old treen names belong to the vin class, and about half that number of quarterlands. It may also be here noted that owing to the exiguous sound material in this suffix it is very often contracted to in or yn in Norwegian names, and frequently even the final n disappears. As a matter of fact this element is better preserved in Manx placenames than in Norwegian. We shall now see how our Manx vin farms belonged to and branched away from the by-farms, and how the former, in many cases, became the nuclei of our parishes.

Let us take the parishes in the order in which they occur intile Liber Assedationis of 1511-15.

In Kirk Christ, Rushen, we have this element postulated in the following old farms or treens: Sansan, Molyn and Gleton. Sansan, or Kyrke Sansan, now lost, represents *Sand-vin or Sands-vin, the "sandy-meadow." This treen contains the quarterlands Ballacurry, Ballakillowey, and Ballagawne. It is difficult to say to which church Kyrke Sansan referred. It may have been an ancient church which formerly existed on Ballagawne, or even the parish church. Molyn ("Mold-vin) means the "earthy meadow," and it is interesting to find two adjoining ancient fauns named respectively "sandy meadow" and "earthy meadow." Molyn (later Ren Molyn), now called Rhernvylla.n, probably at one time included the treen of Edremony (now Rowany), a later Gaelic name. Ren, meaning a small point or headland, refers to Gansey Point, and is a Gaelic prefix of later date. Although the modern name suggests a mill, there was no mill there at the beginning of the 16th century, the only one in the parish at that time being the mill of Kentragh (now Kentraugh). In the treen of Edremony there was an ancient church which must have been of some importance, and it may have been situated in one of these meadows. Two Ogham inscribed stones, now in the Museum, and the largest Scandinavian cross-slab found on the Island, were taken from this site. Another ancient farm was Gleton. Its quarterlands are Ballahaine, Ballacreggan and Glendown. Gleton postulates (*Klett-vin), "rocky meadow," and it may be noted that one of its quarterlands, viz., Ballacreggan, means "rock farm." If this treen included the abbey-lands around Port St. Mary Bay-called Ballabrara as it probably did, the ancient church of S. Mary, long disappeared, from which Port St.. Mary took its name, would be the church connected with this estate. Tlie parish of Kirk Christ., Rushen, seems to have consisted of three large farms in Norse times: Elby, which included the Mull area and the Calf of Mann; Saureby (now Surby) which included Bradhawe (Bradda), Kyrke Sansan and Edremony, and Scaleby (now Scholaby ), which included the extreme northern portion of the parish. The ancient church of Doooagh Parick, from which Knocky-Doonee and Ballakilpherick took their names, was the principal church of Scaleby.

Our next parish is Kirk Arbory. Here we find the by-farms Colby and Bymacan. The ancient church attached to Colby was dedicated to S. Catherine, and the fair in connection therewith was held until a few years ago. As we have already pointed out, the parish church was connected with the farm of Bymacan, but here we have the church and churchyard within the actual meadow-or vin-farm which branched off from Bymacan. The meadow was Faden (*Fad-vin), the fenced meadow." Later, the Gaelic Balla was added to this, and in 1511 we find the treen set down as Balyfaden-"the farm of Faden." One of the quarterlands still perpetuates the name in the corrupt form Ballafoddey. This name shows 'us that fenced lands were uncommon in Norse days. Another name of some interest in Kirk Arbory is Blashen (older form Blessing). This means "withered meadow" (*Blasvin).

In Kirk Malew some of the by-names are lost, and those that still exist are applied to small territories which roust be mere fagments of the original farms. The Abbey of S. Mary of Rushen was responsible for this, and we find that the ancient farms of Grenaby and Tosaby are greatly reduced in size owing to substantial portions of them having been added to the abbeylands. It has already been stated that the parish church of S. Malew was the church connected with the old farm of Billown, but here we have one of the most interesting facts connected with our place-names, for the ancient vin or meadow to which the parish church was attached is still known as the "Great Meadow," and it is likely that this estate included the church in ancient times. In charter material this estate is variously referred to as Pratum Monachoruin, or the "meadow of the monks" and "Le Grete Meadow," with Middle English spelling. - The former is found in the 14th century and the latter in the 16th century. The earliest reference is in a Bull of Pope Eugenius to Furness Abbey in 1153, where it is enumerated among the gifts of Kirk Malew lands by Olaf, King of Mann and the Isles, to John, Abbot of St. Mary of Furness. It is here called Villa Melon 'Magna, which is Latin for "great. Melon farm." The middle word is Norse, and suggests (*Mála-vin), meaning "the meadow of the contract." Máli means "a contract, term, or an agreement, or a claim or title to an estate." Thus Mála-land means an estate burdened with a right of pre-emption. The name Mála-vin therefore tells us that the chieftain proprietor of Billown also owned the Great Meadow; but the King seems to have had a claim on the property, which lie exercised when he bestowed it on Furness Abbey.

The name of the parent farm, Billown, is also of interest. Its oldest form was Bylozen. An early settler from Norway found it a pleasant place to. abide in, and a well-situated meadow on the estate gave it its name Lod-vin, "crop meadow," which speaks of early Norse farming operations. This name also seems to indicate that vin had already acquired a new significance, and did not mean merely a meadow, but an actual farm. Several centuries after, when. not only the meaning of vin, but the meaning of the whole name Lodvin, had been lost, and, when the Norsemen spoke a Norse dialect largely influenced by Gaelic, a proprietor added the prefix by, making it By-Lodin, "the farm of Lodin," now Billown.

Rushen is a name which has been responsible for much controversy, and Gaelic sources have not yielded a satisfactory solution of the problem. It is possible that it belongs to the same class- as the are discussing, and postulates Hross-vin, simply meaning -, the '"meadow of the horse," or rather "mare." One might think that this was an extraordinary name to bestow on a place filled with such hallowed associations, but we must remember that all these names were of lowly origin. The fact that they were beautifully situated meadow-lands led to their being used for the purpose of raising sacred houses thereon.

There on this verdant meadow there was also an early church, which, in after times, became the Monastery of S. Mary of Rushen, or Russin.

We find so many of these ancient meadows with sacred edifices raised thereon that it makes one wonder whether we really had a pagan interval during Norse domination, for if we had, it must have been of extremely short duration. The indications are that they gradually merged with the Celts and became Christian, and this may have happened to the immediate descendants of the immigrants. We have sufficient proof in the dedications of our churches to show that the Norsemen accepted, to a large extent, our Manx Christianity as they found it, and the paganism of the early immigrants left but little impression upon the good work done by our early missionaries.

We find no by-farms in Kirk Santan, but to compensate for this lass we have two equally important uncompounded or simple names, Meary and Hawe, which are probably as old as the by-names, although they do not tell us of early farming operations. Such simple names occur in the oldest place-name stratum in Norway. In this parish there are also two vin-names-Rogan and Slemyn-to which Gaelic prefixes were added later. The parish church is flanked by these two ancient farms, now corrupted into Arragon and Layman, but the latter has disappeared as a farm name. The church is on the boundary of these two estates, and it is difficult to say to which farm it was originally attached. The old important farm would be Meary, so that, practically the whole of Kirk Santan belonged to one chieftain. Rogan postulates (*Rugvin) "rye-meadow," a cereal which was grown in Mann until recent times. In Slemyn the first element is probably hlid, a slope, the compound name Hlid-vin meaning the "meadow of the slope."

In Kirk Marown we find two vin-names. We have already referred to Crosby, now, as a farm disappeared. In early Norse times, a chieftain of Crosby possessed a meadow, pleasantly situated and contiguous to the main estate. Much of the intervening land between the latter and the meadow was fenland and uncultivatible. We may surmise that one of the Jarl's thralls became a freeman, or bondi, and his meadow with the surrounding land was granted to him and his heirs. The land then became known as Borda vin, or the "meadow of the bondi or freeman," a name which in course of time spread to a much larger territory through drainage and reclamation. On íhis fair meadow a church arose--perhaps pagan in origin-which in after times was dedicated to S. Ninian (usually corrupted into St. Trinion) . It is probable that the whole of St. Trinion's Barony at one time bore this ancient name-Borda-vin, which is still attached to one of the quarterlands of the barony in the worn down form Bo-shin (17th century Bottin).

Another vin-farm in Kirk Marown was Rá-vin, now the Rhyne(or Rahyn) farm. There was an old church and churchyard here, from which a Scandinavian Cross was taken. The great old part was Trollaby, or "Trolli's farm."

We find no vin-names in Kirk Braddan or Kirk Conchan, but Kirk Lonan provides us with several examples. The ancient parish church, which I have already referred to, was attached to the farm of Raby, and we find one of the quarterlands of Alia Raby, a later subdivision of Raby, named Ballaberane. The latter element of this name may be (*Vard-vin), "ward meadow," showing that "watch and ward" was kept on the coast of this estate. Another name here which probably belongs to the same class is Granane (older Grennane), postulating Gráen-vin or "green meadow." There are extensive remains here of ancient buildings which may date from early Scandinavian times. The quarterland of Ballamiljyn (older Ballamillan) is another example. Met-vin, the second element of the name, means "the meadow of the oats." Roan (older Bon), is probably a little later than some others. It represents Rud-vin o: the "cleared meadow," i.e., a meadow which had, to a more or less extent, been artificially created by clearing away the scrub. This name implies that at the time it- was bestowed it had taken on the secondary meaning of farm. This also happened in Norway and it probably shows the vin element in the last stage of its usage, after which it entirely disappeared as a place name element.

Ballayolgane (older Ballagolane) is a name of a rather different type to the others. Gólig-vin means the "meadow of the Yuletide festivities." Similar navies exist in Norway, and in Shetland there is a meadow called Leik-vin, or the "meadow of games," wners. festivities are still carried on which date back to Scandinavian tines. Yuletide festivities lasted for thirteen days in Norway, and we rrlay be sure that those who settled in Mann carried their customs with them from the homeland. There was a little church here dedicated to S. Comgall.

To the student of place-names the parish of Kirk Maughold presents a complex problem. Here we have a parish which m;ust have been intensively Norse, as other indications show--its personal names and its rich collection of Scandinavian crosses-but its Norse place-names have almost disappeared, especially the old farm names, and Gaelic names have taken their place. We have neither by-farms, stad-farms, nor vin-farms, and the Norse farm names whnich do occur are of a secondary nature, such as Cornaa "mill-river," and Skebag, "ship-creek." We have four farms on the Island called Ballatersyn, one of which is in Kirk Maughold, and is possible that this farm was known as Crosby in Norse times. Both the Gaelic Ballatersyn and the Norse Crosby mean "cross or cozier farm," and imply farms which were freehold because the proprietors had the custody of the staffs of the saints to whom the churches on their estates were dedicated. We find similar cases in Kirk Marown and Kirk Bride, where Crosby, in each case, shows us that the holders had the custody of the staffs of S. Ronan and S. Bridget.

In the parish of Kirk Patrick we have two old farms, Dalby and Rheaby. The church which was attached to Dalby was dedicated to a S. Maloney. An ancient meadow attached to Rheaby was named (*Gard-vin), which eventually became a separate farm. Gard-vin means the "enclosed or fenced meadow," and in ancient times probably included the treen of Ballamore, on which was Iieeill Crore, a church which is often mentioned in our documents and which must have been of some importance. This name still exists as Gordon. The parish church of Kirk Patrick-which. took the place of that on S. Patrick's Isle-was built near the site of Keeill Crore in the 18th century.

In the parish of Kirk German, attached to the ancient farm of Beam-. we find a vin-farm of great historical interest, indeed it was of such importance, that in time it overshadowed the old parent. farm of Beary, the latter being relegated to the lower status of a quarterland, and if it were not for the fact that the name became attached to the adjoining hill, it might have been irretrievably lost. The name of this ancient farm was Baly Dorgan, now peculiarly changed into Ballagarraghyn. It postulates (*Torg-vin), which. means the "meadow of the market or fair." This undoubtedly refers to Tynwald or S. John's Fair, which is still held on the adjoining farm of Balladoyne, a short distance away, and it is likely that the two estates were one in Norse times.

In Kirk Michael we have another Faden in Baly Faden (*Fadvin). now Ballafageen. This treen adjoins that of Balleira, already mentioned.

In the parish of Ballaugh we find one example: Ballacurryn, now Ballacurn, postulating (*Kyr-vin), "cow meadow." This old farm adjoins Bishop's Court, and as it now only contains two quarterlands, it is probable that part of the estate was added to the Bishop's Demesne at some time.

Attached to the ancient farm of Jurby there was a meadow called Nappin (*Nabba-vin), meaning the "meadow of the knob or protuberance," and this exactly describes Jurby churchyard, which is in the centre of the old meadowland. The Norse nabbi is cognate with Ir cnab, and nappin could be a diminutive form of the latter. In pre-historic Norse, however, we would have the form *Knabbi. but the initial K seems to have been lost very early, certainly before the Icelandic sagas were commited to writing. In Irish (and Manx) on the other hand, the initial K has been preserved, and if this name had been Gaelic we should expect to find Crappan, the gutteral mute being preserved, and a euphonic change of n to r, and in the parish of Lezayre we actually find this form. It is very probable that the "knob" referred to the tumulus in the churchyard, which probably dates from Neolithic times.

In the parish of Kirk Andreas, other interesting examples of vin-farms occur. The parish church is in the treen of Ballahestyn. Hestyn is good Norse for "Horse meadow" (*Hest-vin), showing that the meadow had been originally used for grazing. the horses, probably of the old farm of Rygby. Within the same treen there ts an interesting quarterland name Larivane, postulating (*Lagar vin), "meadow of the lake." There is a small lake still here, and an estate with the Gaelic name Ballalough. We have already dealt with Baly-Dorgan, in Kirk German. In Kirk Andreas we find the same name, the latter element meaning the "meadow of the fair." The fair held here would be near Doonagh Asston, the little church which gave Knock y Doonee its name.

In the parish of Kirk Bride there a:e two adjoining treens. named respectively Kyrke Bryáe and Baly Lamyn. The parish church is in the former treen. Larayn (*Lamb-vin) means "lamb meadow," a name which speaks for itself.

Among the old Norse treen names we find about a dozen prefixed with the Gaelic; balla. This, at first sight, may seem strange, but upon further examination we find that this is a perfectly natural process, for balla must not be regarded as an integral part of the name. Such a name as Baly-Lamyn simply means the "farm of lamyn," just as we find in these days "Bibaloe Farm," "Snaefell Mountain," and so on. When the meaning of a name is lost it often becomes necessary to add an explanatory term showing the natural feature or otherwise. Hence the reason for these hybrids.

Although our Island is small, it has a wealth of interesting names-names which illustrate our past history. The proper study of our Norse farm names and the light they shed upon a period about which we have little reliable history, would easily fill a volume, and it cannot be properly dealt with in the compass of a paper. The ancestral family farm of our Norse ancestors, with its place of worship-often raised on a Celtic site and the saint's name cluh preserved-and often built on or near a site which dated back into pagan times-reflects as in a mirror an old world society--a society with its various strata of aristocrats, freemen and thralls-a society which, with its infusion of. Celtic blood and a sprinkle of English, made the little Manx Nation.


For a more modern approach see Gillian Fellows-Jensen, How Old are the Scandinavian Place-Names in Man? Proc IoMNH&ASoc Vol XI No.3 pp423/436 2003 in which she argues that many of the by names involved some form of influence from the Danelaw in Northern England during the early 10th C. and that such by-names were not bestowed on new settlements but on existing settlements to mark some change in their administrative status.


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