[from Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol 4 #3 1939]


18th MAY, 1939. Leader : Mr James Mylchreest.

The Society broke new ground on the 18th May, 1939, when it visited Agneash and Snaefell Glen district, under the leadership of Mr James Mylchreest, a Lonan man, well familiar with the area.

The party met at Agneash. The leader said it was formerly known as Hegness, but in his early days it was popularly known as "The City." Mr Mylchreest pointed out the site of an early Christian church, and in position in the adjoining field lintel graves were found, many of which were so shallow that the top stones were removed by ploughing and the space below filled in.

The Methodist Chapel had been erected in the same field, originally a thatched building, where services were held over a hundred years ago. Near to the Keeill was an ancient fair ground or market place where in his early days wool and flax were sold. The remains of the mining operations at Agneash were pointed out, and their dangerous condition. A lady going home with her husband one evening disappeared from his sight, and was recovered from 35 fathoms below the surface in an old mine shaft.

The leader stated that this area was associated with many well known fairy tales, and he vouched for at least two cases in which the changeling child had been substituted for the baby.

Half way between Agneash and Snaefell Mines the ruins of Kelly the Fiddery's house was examined. An extensive garden once adjoined the house. It was a famous shebeen for the miners going up and down to Snaefell.

A branch of the main glen known as Glen Foss or Foewrs was then visited, which was traditionally the site of the Bogane Moar, and fearsome were the tales told in the locality of its doings. The tunnel above the old Flax Mill was a well known refuge for men who fled here to escape the press gang.

The Laggan Dhoo on the opposite side of the valley was known as the home of the Phinoderees, whose regular conflicts with the boganes disturbed the whole neighbourhood.

Below Snaefell Mines the leader indicated the site of prehistoric hut dwellings, which were easily distinguishable in his boyhood days, but little trace of them could now be found. When the party reached the mines the leader told a story in graphic form of the disaster 42 years ago when 22 men lost their lives, including some brave rescuers overcome by carbon monoxide. A curious but well established story records how Capt. Kewley, when inspecting the mines six days before the disaster, heard men struggling on the ladders and went up to see what was the trouble. He put out his hands to catch them, but could feel nothing, and he was much distressed at the extraordinary occurrence. He told his story at home, and seven days later, on the same level, he was helping struggling men to climb via these ladders and escape the overcoming death.

The party returned to Agneash where they had tea. and Miss Hilda Cowin gave a short account of the history of the Big Wheel, and Mr Moore recited " Ellan Vannin " in Manx.


June 8th, 1939.

The Second Excursion of the Session was devoted to the North of the Island. A party of about 60 members and friends participated. Late comers prevented the bus leaving until three quarters of an hour late, and considerably restricted the time available for exploration.

Canon Cain, Rector of Bride, met the party at the Church and delivered an interesting address on the history and antiquity of the parish. He read a number of curious entries from the old parish registers and exhibited the Church Plate, the history of which he recounted.

The party proceeded to the hill on the West Kimmeragh on which a storage tank for water had lately been constructed by the Northern Water Board. Visibility was exceptionally good, and the party enjoyed a view of the Bride Hills and the Northern Plain and the line of mountains that form the backbone of the Island, which cannot be beaten from any other place on the Island. The surrounding coasts were very clear, and the hills of Wigtown, Kirkcudbright, Cumberland, and Mourne stood out in startling plainness.

The Attorney-General gave a very short talk on the Northern Plain, and indicated how it had been formed by the moving icefields at the last period of glaciation.

Andreas Church was then visited for the purpose of examining the recently discovered Scandinavian Cross. Unfortunately the top portion appeared to be missing but the design of the Cross and the ornamental whorls could be clearly distinguished. It is not unlikely that the thorough overhauling of Andreas Churchyard now being carried out may lead to the discovery of other carved stones.

After tea at the Lhen the party proceeded, under the guidance of the President and Mr K. Williamson, to that portion of the Ayres opposite Ballakinnag shortly to be closed to the party for national interests [WW2]. The visit was propitious, for innumerable birds were nesting. Mr Williamson has prepared the following notes of the visit.

After tea the party visited the Ayres at Ballakinnag, and sections were taken down to the shore at Rue Point under the leadership of Messrs K. Williamson, R. Howarth, R. Wagstaffe (Director of the Stockport Municipal Museums), and A. H. Karran.

Many nests of the common and lesser tern, which appear to be quite plentiful this year, were seen-mere depressions in the sand or shingle containing two or three eggs-and the birds were admired as they flew gracefully above. One abnormal nest of the little tern was seen in which there were two unmarked light blue eggs and one normal buffish egg spotted with dark brown. Three nests of the oyster-catcher, one actually on the heath inside the line of the sand-dunes, copiously lined with rabbit-droppings, were seen; and also a few nests of the ringed plover. It was noticed that the latter were lined to a greater o-lesser degree with small pieces of broken shells, and a member discovered one nest of this species at the base of a clump of marram-grass in which there were two eggs and two newlyhatched chicks whose silvery-grey down was hardly yet dry.


July, 1939.

Leaders : Mr R. Howarth and Mr P. J. Prideaux.

The date for this Excursion was unfortunately very unkind. Thick fog and drenching showers might have damped the enthusiasm of a less lively Society, but braving the weather nearly sixty members and friends gathered in the mist at Cregneash. Harry Kelly's Cottage was visited, then the members gathered' in two parties in the recently opened Weaver's Cottage, where Mr Alf. Hudson's hand loom had been set up, and was in full working order. Mr Howarth demonstrated the working of the loom and the variety of patterns that could be produced. Among other interesting facts, Mr Howarth stated that a skilled weaver could not make more than five yards of cloth as the result of a long day's work.

The party then proceeded to the site of the prehistoric houses at the Carnanes, under the guidance of Mr Prideaux. Recent fires on the heath, regrettable from many points of view, had one advantage, that the house sites were clearly discernible.

After examining the Megalithic Circle and the Keeill, the party journeyed to the Sound, where a most welcome tea was served.

The sight of the Calf and Kitterland in the angry sea, with the overhanging mists, was an impressive picture.

The Secretary, Miss Crwin, read interesting extracts from Train and other writers on the Calf of Man, and information was given on the method of being conveyed to the Island and back. In spite of the weather and mist, an enjoyable day was spent.

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