[From Feltham's Tour, 1798]
The church of Lezayre is situated 6 miles from Ramsey, on the road from thence to Kirk Michael. It is a compound word of Lez (:French), and Ayre, being one of the three parishes in the Ayre sheading taking, its name from the point of Ayre, that being the extremest point of it towards the north. This parish is so extensive, that it is embraced by Kirk Michael, Ballaugh, Jurby, Andreas, Bride, Maughold, Lonan, Onchan, and Braddan; it is therefore almost an inland parish, the east end only joining the sea, about two miles north of Ramsey: the shore being flat and sandy, affords nothing remarkable.
In appearance this parish varies greatly; some part being quite flat, other hilly; some rocky, and a great part mountainous. Trees thrive*, especially under that extensive range of hills that run east and west through the parish; they consist mostly of ash, some fir, asp, &c. The soil varies, likewise, from sand and gravel to clay and turfy strata, and many parts are not without a fine loam. The proportion of arable is greater than meadowland. The mountains afford heath; and as well as the low fenny land, termed here the Curragh, have plenty of peat bogs of an excellent sort.
There are three hamlets: Church-town, near the church; Bally-mannagh, in a vale between Primrose-hill and the Carrac-hill, to the south of the main road from Ramsey to Kirk Michael; and Sulby, on the borders of the same.
Two rivers take their rise in and run through the parish, viz. Sulby river, which rises from Snafield, winding down Glion-mooar*, and meeting the sea at Ramsey. And Milntown river, which runs through Glion-auldin, and joins Sulby river half-a mile above Ramsey. Some parts lying to the north of the main river, are subject to inundations by the risings of floods, especially at spring tides, which flow upwards of two miles above Ramsey. The glions, gills, or valleys, afford fine echoes; on the north side of Skie-hill there is a remarkable one.
There are three bridges, Sulby, Miltown, and Ramsey, which are supported by the public; an act having passed in 1739, to levy a poll-tax of 1d. for building them. The latter has three arches, each 29½ feet wide; it is 180 feet long, and 12 broad, and leads to the parishes of Bride and Andreas. The others are on the great road to Kirk Michael. They are built of stone from the adjacent quarries.
There are six corn, four tucking, and two flax mills*
in this parish; several stone quarries, and some yielding slate. A
leadmine at Glion-auldin produced ore some years since, but is now
neglected. There is no particular public manufacture, but most
families make linen for domestic uses; Glion-auldin was famous for
its snuff, which the inhabitants manufacture themselves with stone
hand-mills. This retired village makes a pretty appearance from the
rocks around it; if a little more regular, you might fancy it an
Indian village. Sycamores thrive in it.
" Where the wide heath in purple pride extends,
And scatter'd gorse its golden lustre lends,
Closed in a green recess, unenvied lot,
The blue smoke rises from the turf-built cot:'
This, and the villages before noticed, will be worthy the attention of a contemplative stranger; here he will perceive that happiness may reside clothed in a retired garb, and far distant from the refined luxuries of modern dissipation.
There are some remarkable springs, particularly John Caley's well, and Chibber-launch. The manures are lime, marl, and shell-sand, which is brought from Scotland, and sold, at about 6s. British per ton, out of the vessels.
The names of the mountains are, Snafield, the highest in the island, Penny-Pot*, Slieu-coar, and North-Barule; these are the principal. Baare-ool, in Manks, signifies the top of an apple, from whence this mountain, rising to a head like it, takes its name; from accurate observations, I have been informed that. it is only five feet below Snafield, which is 580 yards above the level of the sea*.
" When I go to the mount called Barrool " (says the Earl of Derby, who was beheaded in the time of the civil war), "and turning me round, see England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, I think shame, so fruitlessly, to see so many kingdoms at once (which no place, I think, in any nation that we know of under heaven, can afford such a prospect of), and to have such little profit by them."
Some silver coins, urns, skeletons, &c. have been dug up in various parts of the parish. Tradition speaks of there having been a burying-ground and chapel on Skie-hill, under which battles were fought in the early periods of history.
This parish is divided into the east and west districts, which supply each a captain to the militia.
It has two fairs, both held at Sulby Claddaugh*; the one on Tuesday after Trinity Sunday, the other on the 24th of June, for linen and woollen cloths, stubs, hats, wooden vessels, fishing nets, cattle, &c. These fairs used to be held near the church, but (at the instance of the Rev. Mr. Curghey) have for these fifty years past been held as above, which is about four miles from Ramsey, under Primrose-hill; or, as it is called in Manks,Cronk Shammark from the top of which you have a most beautiful view of the sea, from Maughold-head nearly to Peel, and of a fine extensive champaign country. The village under it looks peculiarly beautiful.
The quarterlands, called the Grange, formerly belonged to the abbot, and are subject to pay several customs, boon days &c. [Boon days were formerly due for the repair of the garrisons, for the honour and safety of the island.]
The church* is dedicated to the Holy Trinity; is eighty-six feet long and twenty broad. The chancel is flagged, floored, and carpeted within the rails. An ancient stone figure is placed over the chancel window on the outside. The roof is covered and plastered.
Rev. Richard Fox. Samuel Robinson. Robert Parr, vicar-general, 1713. Henry Allen, 1728. William Bridson,1730. Matthias Curghey, vicar-general, 1761. John Gill, 1773.Rev. Thomas Corlett, the present vicar.
The church and chancel were rebuilt and enlarged in 1704;Bishop Wilson gave 5l. to it, and 3l. towards the school-house; and in 1722, with Dr. Crow, Bishop of Cloyne, added a small estate of his to the glebe, to which it is joined. In 1715 he gave 5l. to the school-house at Sulby*.
The old register, mutilated and imperfect, begins 1636. From 1636 to 1715 inclusive, the baptisms were 754; 164 couples were married; and 436 persons were buried. From 1750 to 1774 inclusive, another period of twenty years, 851 were baptized; 222 couples were married; and 554 persons buried. In the old register is this curious memorandum; " That one Robert Cottier's wife was delivered of a child, which was baptized upon the Monday, and she came to the church to be churched upon the Wednesday next after; and after returning home she fell in labour, and was delivered of another child, and came to be churched upon the Saturday next after, in the same week: churched twice in one week. This I testify to be the truth. Edward Crow, minister."
" In 1667, Samuel Carret, son to Donald a Vallan, belowe the Burne, buried 25th of May; my godson (and a stout blade.), yet died. Samuel Robinson being then minister."
" Here lyeth interred the body of Mrs. Margaret, daughter to Peter Heywood, of Heywood in the countie of Lancaster, Esq.;by his wife Alice, daughter of John Greenhalgh, of Brannelsom,in the same countie, Esq. and governor of this Isle of Man many yeares; she was wife to Captain John Garrett, of Sulby,and left issue by him one sonne and three daughters, viz. John, Mary, Alice, and Elizabeth, and died Jan. 16, and buried the19th, A.D. 1669."
"The above John Garrett, Captain of Sulby, died 1692, aged 29 years; also his granddaughter-in-law, Elizabeth, daughter of William Sutcliffe, of Stansfield-hall within Halifax vicarage, by his wife Grace Gibson, of Briggroyd, wife of John Garrett, the fifth of Balabroy, died 13th of March, 1745, aged 40 years; with four of her children, who died in their minority, and left issue, Elizabeth, Ann, Margaret, Philip, William, Evan and Alice."
1. Arms; (colours not marked) a bend between bendlets, charged with three roses; impaling, a bend engrailed, charged with three bugle-horns. 2. A field, cross saltire, charged with a helmet; sinister, as dexter above.
"John Curghey, of Colbane, buried Feb. 8th, 1699; also Jane his wife, buried May 15, 1713."
In the churchyard are, among others, flat tombs to the memory of
John Hodshon, of Witton in Durham, who died Feb. 18,1729, aged 34.
James Christian, of London, who died July 5th,1778, aged 74. Joseph
Bacon, of Staward in Northumberland,Esq.; who died May 14, 1728, aged
34. And on a tomb inclosed within iron rails, " Jean Kirkpatrick,
wife of John Kirkpatrick, merchant in Ramsay, who died Oct. 26, 1766,
aged 24;to whose memory this stone, as a proof of the sincerest
regard, and a sacred tribute to worth and innocence, is erected by
her disconsolate husband.
" Quam veniente die, quam decedents requiro
Et meam moriens reminisces uxorem."
In Lezayre churchyard* are buried 32 persons between 71and 80 years old; 7 between 81 and 88; and one of 96. A poor woman is now living in the parish who has entered her 100th year.
Godred, the son of Olave, endowed a small plantation of the Cistercian order of Monks at Mirescoge, which is conjectured to be Ballamona in this parish; they were afterwards incorporated with those of Rushen.
The chain of mountains that run through this parish appear like
cliffs, which formerly the sea approached. Mr. Wansey, of Salisbury,
in his Tour through America, mentions a very similar range at
Newhaven, that indicate the like appearance, though now about three
miles from the shore. [* Journal of an Excursion to the United
States of North America in 1794, 8vo. and 12mo. Easton, Salisbury,
" In this blest isle,
Or chance, or industry, in after-times
May great improvements make; but short, as yet,
Of due perfection."