[From Feltham's Tour, 1798]
This small parish is bounded by Malew, Braddan, Marown and the sea. It has one corn-mill, a fulling-mill, and a hat manufactory. It is four miles from Castletown, and six from Douglas.
At Newtown is a pillar erected by Sir Wadsworth Busk, late attorney-general of the island, in honour of the king's recovery in 1789. It likewise serves for a sea-mark. It has a bridge or two over small streams, which, with several others, are kept in repair by virtue of an act passed in 1739, imposing a poll-tax of one penny per head yearly, for a certain period, for repairing all old ruinous bridges, and also St. John's chapel; and then to build a new bridge over the river Sulby, in Kirk Christ Lezayre parish; another over the great river in the parish of Kirk German, between St. John's and Peel; a third between Kirk Malew and Kirk St. Ann, on the road between Castletown and Douglas; a fourth between Ramsay and Kirk Bride and Kirk Andrews; and a fifth over that river near Peel-town, between Kirk German and Kirk Patrick. These are the principal bridges in the island.
The creek of Greenock is very pretty, and there is another called Saltrick, which is a pleasant walk from the church; the rocks here are grand.
Some Druidical remains are noticeable here, particularly a
circular range of stones on a mount, with others at a short distance;
below these is an aperture, which I shall denominate the Fairies'
well, at the bottom of which you may perceive the waves dashing, at a
"Fairies, by moonlight, oft are seen
Tripping round the smooth sward green;
Her beams reflected from the wave,
Afford the light their revels crave."
The remnants of antiquity found in the island are,
1. Mounds of earth, which are thought to have been thrown tip for judicial purposes; the present Tynwald is one of these so used at this day. 2. Cairns, or circular heaps of stones, supposed to be burying-places; I saw none of these, but heard of one in Kirk Michael. 3. Long stones, set end-ways; of these many occur, they are thought to be of Danish origin, and thatthey were meant to perpetuate the memory of some warriors, or some warlike events. 4. Stones placed circularly; these are conjectured to be places of worship, though Professor Thorlekin conceives them to have been used as civil courts of justice. The cloven stones at Laxey, having had bones dug up within them, seem to have been intended as a sepulchral monument, unless it may be conjectured that the ancients used their places of worship, as we do ours, for places of interment likewise.
The soil is mostly of a light nature, but in one district is a heavy loam. The following lists of grazing prices, will show the English farmer how land is estimated here.
* See observations in "The Bee," by Dr. Anderson, voL 7. Edin. 1791. And note in Letter genii.
Cattle taken in at Newtown, 1797, on the following terms:
£ s. d.
Bullocks from 3 years old and upwards, at . 1 11 6
Steers and heifers from 1 to 3 years old . . 1 7 0
Young cattle from 1 to 2 years old. . . . 1 5 0
Mares with foals. . . . . . . . . . 2 2 0
Young horses, 3 years old . . . . . . 1 11 6
Young colts and fillies, from 1 to 3 years old 1 5 6
The cattle will be taken in to graze on the 12th of May, and must be taken away on the 12th of November.
Having mentioned the rot in sheep in page 49, I beg here to remark, that though particular places attribute this disorder to different plants, yet others deny that sheep eat those plants; andthat these plants are innocent I think is probable, from the disorder appearing at intervals of eight or ten years, and on some farms never. This induces me rather to attribute it, with some sensible farmers, to a peculiar wet season co-operating with particular soils; the change thus produced in the vegetation and in the atmosphere, inducing that morbid state of the system which ultimately ends in the animal's death. In Encyc. Brit.vol. x. p. 708, is stated a case where the rot is attributed to the watering of a meadow.
Among other ingenious calculations in Robertson's General Report on Farms, drawn up for the Board of Agriculture (4to.1796), the Island of Man is rated to contain 200,000 acres of land, of which 55,000 are stated to be in tillage, and 65,000acres employed in grass; but this appears far too high an estimate. [See page 5.]
Balla-villa and Glentraih are pleasant spots, the latter leading down to the shore by Greenock. Mount-Murray, Lord H.Murray's estate, is on the road side from Douglas to Castletown, at the fourth mile-stone; notwithstanding the pains taken, vegetation appears chilled here.
A well in this parish used formerly to be much resorted to from all parts for its sanative qualities.
A fair is held annually in this parish in June.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Ann, the mother of the Virgin Mary, is situated half a mile from the shore. It is neat, and was new-seated last year.
In Santon churchyard, which has but few inscriptions, are the following instances of longevity; which may serve as a good testimonial of the salubrity of the air, and the temperance of its inhabitants: ages 75, 76, 77, and four of 79; also 80, 81, 82,88, 90, 110.
The vicarage-house was built in 1722, to which Bishop Wilson gave A; and in 1725, the church steeple was built, to which he also contributed.
The donations to the poor are about 201. principal.
Former Vicars. Sir John Cosnaghan, 38 years, who was buried under the great stone in the churchyard, June 24, 1656.Sir Hugh Cosnaghan, 23 years, died in 1690. Rev. John, hisson, vicar 34 years; whose son succeeded as curate in 1724.Rev. Paul Crebbin, in 1732. In ]764, Rev. Mr. Cubbon. In1769, the present vicar, Rev. Charles Crebbin.
An old stone, with some characters similar to Roman capitals thereon, was dug up in the churchyard, at a very great depth, and is preserved by the vicar.
In the churchyard is a stone to the memory of Daniel Tear,who died
Dec. 9, 1787, aged 110.
" Here, friend, is little Daniel's tomb,
To Joseph's years he did arrive;
Sloth killing thousands in their bloom,
While labour kept poor Dan alive.
flow strange, yet true, full seventy years,
Was his wife happyin her Tears."
:N.B. This person was a native of Kirk Andreas, and was latterly a vagrant; Sir W. Busk erected the stone, and wrote the verses; it is generally thought he was really older than 110.