[From Feltham's Tour, 1798]
Which is on the north side, bounded mostly by the sea, by Lonan, and Lezayre. The town of Ramsey is in this parish; the land being hilly and dry, is awkward for tillage, and not well adapted for pasture. It makes less butter and cheese than any other parish, considering its extent, which I suppose is sixteen miles round.
In 1791, the inhabitants petitioned for a new pier and quay&c. at Cornah Bay* in this parish. Their petition states, that" agriculture and the herring fishery being the only support of the parish, a safe harbour is therefore a most desirable object, the want of which prevents them from attending the fishery, and carrying lime-stones from Castletown (this parish being most distant from lime-stones, their only manure, of any in the island), with that advantage they might; that the natural harbour of Cornah has eighteen feet water at spring-tides, &c but is at present so choked up, that it is extremely hazardous to the farmers or fishermen to land, who are therefore frequently obliged at great danger and loss, to run for Ramsey. They therefore pray an attention to this harbour," and that it may be made a safe and commodious retreat against the violence of the weather, &c. as there are several boats that pay us. per annum in the parish." A Plan of this harbour is annexed to the Report of the Commissioners in 1792.
The road from Ramsey to the church, about three miles, is extremely pleasant, commanding a fine sea-view, valley, and mountains.
The celebrated earth-bathing Doctor Graham once returned hither, and on the top of an adjacent. hill exercised on himself monkish austerity.
In 1791 the German empirics, Goergslenner and Schedet, visited the island, but their stay was short.
The religious society of St. Bees was possessed of some valuable property in this parish, and a small sum is now paid annually to St. Bees' school, on which account the parish claims a right of sending two boys thither, gratis.
There is a small portion of land in this parish the property of John Christian Curwen, Esq., said to be a barony, consisting of a small tenement, called Ball-Ellen, or Ball-Allin, computed to be half a quarterland, which, with the remainder thereof, consisting of a parcel of heathy land, and trough or strand, is rated in the parish accounts to one quarterland. The quit-rent is said to have been raised some years ago from 20s. Manks to 20s. British, and is payable to Mr. C. Curwen, but he holds no court there.
Of the small district, called Staff-Land, the quit-rents or dues go to his Grace the Duke of Athol's impropriator, or lessee of the impropriate tithes of Kirk Maughold.
This, in common with other parishes*, has a parochial English school, generally situated near the church.
On the road side from Ramsey, near Port le Voillen, is a stone of considerable antiquity, six feet high, three wide, and five inches thick, with five raised balls on it (see plate ii.). Other stones (probably Danish) in the churchyard are represented in the same plate. A similar one to that in Kirk Michael parish lies without the churchyard; and opposite is the beautiful pillar represented in plate 1.
Maughold head is a bold promontory, with tiers of moss crowned rocks on its summit. Under these rocks is a fine spring, called St. Maughold's Well, which formerly was, and even at this day is, much resorted to on account of its supposed medicinal virtues. An old legend relates that it has so prolific a quality, that if a barren woman be placed in the saint's chair, and take a glass thereof, it imparts fecundity; but it probably lost its virtue with the loss of the priests in whose custody it used to be.
The church* dedicated to St. Maughold is seventy-two feet long, and only seventeen broad; this inequality of dimensions is found to prevail in general. The chancel appears to be ancient. The font is very large, evidently made for a total immersion of the infant. The churchyard occupies a large space.
" Here, not to sympathy unknown,
Full oft the sad muse wand'ring near,
Bends silent o'er the mossy tomb,
And wets it with a willing tear. _GERRARD.
During the government of Conindrius and Romulus, we learn that St. Maughold was cast in here, in a little leathern boat, his hands manacled and bolts on his feet; the bishop received him with admiration and pity, especially when he informed him that he had been a captain of robbers in Ireland, and that he voluntarily underwent this penance for his former course of life. He retired into this parish, where once a city is said to have been built, but of which there are no remains visible at present. In this retirement it was that St. Bridget, one of the tutelary saints of Ireland, came to receive the veil of virginity from his hand, as her nephew Cogitosus, who wrote her life, informs us. He was elected Bishop of the Island.
A rivulet* falls into the sea at Balure, and another at Cornah: the former has a bridge over it on entering Ramsey, the latter on the great road to Laxey; both picturesque objects.
Maughold fair was much resorted to before the establishment of one at Laxey; it is now but thinly attended.
The Rev. Thomas Allen, in 1642, died at Ormskirk.
Robert Allen, 1662. Thomas Allen, 60 years, 1726. W. Ross, curate one year. H. Allen. T. Allen, his son. T. W. J. Woods, translated to Braddan. In 1769, Thomas Cubbon, who is the present vicar.
The register begins in 1647.
Among the notices of burials is that of " Edmund Christian, who was sometime captain at sea, and afterwards, for a time, Governor of the Isle of Man; he departed this life in Peele Castle, being a prisoner there for some words spoken concerning the King, when the great difference was betwixt the King and Parliament. He was committed by James Earl of Derby, being then in this isle, and John Greenhaugh, governor. He was buried, Jan. 22, 1660, in Kirk Maughold church, where he was baptised." The words "perished at sea" often occur in the registers.
Six couple were married in 1732, after which is this memorandum by Bishop Wilson:_" I desire that the vicar for the future sets down by what authority the persons are joined together in matrimony; whether by licence, and by whose licence, or upon banns in the church."
Is a small neat town, containing about 300 houses, situated sixteen miles from Douglas, by the Laxey road, and twenty-six miles by way of Kirk Michael, sixteen from Peele, nine from Kirk Michael, eight from Ballaugh, eight from Jurby, five from Kirk Bride, and four from Kirk Andreas.
It has a spacious bay with good anchorage, but the sand has injured its harbour: the pier protects the town; but at a comparatively small expense, a new quay, new basin, &c. might be completed. (Vice the plans in the Commissioners' Report,1792, folio.)
An excellent harbour could be made at Port Lewaigue, on Ramsey Bay. A quay to run from the land to the Carrick, or rock, in the corner of the bay, would be the means of affording a safe anchorage for vessels of great burden; and doubtless the owners of vessels in both channels would subscribe to such a work, if Government would take the lead. The present harbour is very bad, and affords no shelter but for very small vessels. The expense would be about 5,000l. to do it completely.
The contentions of the early Princes of Man rendered Ramsey often the seat of war.
It is protected from foreign enemies by a fort and several pieces of cannon*. The old fort was built about 1648, on account of a Scotch ship having entered and plundered the place. The Earl of Derby obtained, however, reparation from the Scotch parliament.
Ramsey Bay affords plenty of herrings, salmon, and flat fish; crabs, periwinkles, sand eels, &c.
The town has a public brewery; and is also the residence of the Deemster for the northern district, who here holds his courts; and has besides a high-bailiff, coroner, lock-man, and sumner. In the custom-house department here are a collector, acting collector, searcher and deputy, a riding officer, boatmen, &c.
It has a light-house*, the lower part of which is now used as a temporary prison, and the public school-house is used as a court of justice; but by the Duke of Athol's exertions, every necessary public building, it is said, is about to be erected; and the northern belles are to be gratified with an assembly-room.
It has a snuff manufactory, a brewery, a ropery, a lanyard, and a public lime-kiln; assemblies are held during the winter; and a friendly society was established here in 1796. The land lets high near the town; the butter is good, but the cheese is very bad*, and is so in general.
The chapel*, a short distance from the town, was built on the ruins of an old Romish one, about 1706, to which Bishop Wilson gave 5l. It is sixty-one feet long, and nineteen feet broad, neatly seated and flagged. The roof is (as the roofs are generally) unceiled. Service is performed in English, and as there are no poor-rates in the island, collections are generally made once a month, or oftener, in this and all the other places of worship; for which purpose handsome copper pans are provided. [* So devoutly did the warming-pan attend divine service twice every Sunday, that as. Farmer Bull humorously observed, " The warming-pan was the best church-going Christian in the parish."Hist. Church and W. P. 1793.]
The church books are in a disgraceful state. The new version with the modern tunes are used, which tends to render that part of the service rational and agreeable.
Ramsey school-house* (which goes with the chaplaincy) is forty feet long, and seventeen feet wide. It was built by subscription about thirty years since; Dr. Wilson was a principal contributor; and an annual donation of 10l. is paid in salt ,from a benefactor in England.
Marriages are performed at the parish church, unless by special license, of which only two instances have occurred since its register commenced, in 1761. A cup and Eaten of silver were the gifts of Bishop and Dr. Wilson; and a pewter flagon and plates, the gift of Mrs. Margaret Taubman, 1746.
Chaplains. The Rev. Mr. Woods, Mr. Gelling, Mr. Nelson ,Mr. Crellin, Mr. Bridson, Mr. Christian; and in 1790, the Rev. Henry Maddrell, the present chaplain.
On an elevated monument. " Here repose the remains of Marg. wife
of Rev. John Crellin, daughter of John Frissel, and granddaughter of
Deemster Christian, to whom this monument is erected by her
disconsolate husband; not as an addition to her fame - vain were that
thought! but as a testimony, small as it is, of the constant and
unfeigned love he bears to the memory of the best of women, and of
" Puerpera ob. Aug. 18mo 1770, aetit. 31mo'
" Mary Christian, alias Keruish, wife of David Christian, of Ramsey, buried April 17, 1756, aged 20. Leaving behind her an only son, then an infant, by whom this monument is now erected, not from an impulse of vanity, but that of affection which he bears to the memory of a parent to whom he was prevented showing any other mark of duty.
" While letter'd marble would in vain impart
The warm emotions of a feeling heart;
Fond contemplation oft approaches here,
To pay the tribute of a silent tear."
In Maughold churchyard are interred 14 persons between 71and 80 years old; 12 between 80 and 90; and one person of 100: some country lad, by ingeniously cutting an o, made this 180, until the vicar rectified it.
The name of Christian is very common in the island; in Ramsey, and in this parish, are near 200 persons of that name, reckoning females and children.