[From Manxsoc vol 6 Feltham's Tour]
This is the seventeenth, and last, Parish which I have to notice.
A spirit for topographical inquiries has lately been prevalent, and every year produces new accessions to this department of literature; these researches have been sanctioned with a considerable share of public approbation, which evince, in some degree, their utility.
Diffident as I feel in this attempt to solicit the public eye (for the reader will not recollect my name to any previous publication), I venture to anticipate a candour, which will not totally silence the jejune and obtruding muse.
In justice to myself, I beg to remark, that I set out in 1797 without the smallest preparation for, or intention of, producing the present volume. Yet as I constantly kept a diary of each day's observation, it occurred to me that an arrangement of it for the press might be considered as not altogether an useless addition to the stock of local knowledge; and I do not consider it as an unfortuitous circumstance, that the spot under discussion is among those hitherto least known. It has been my endeavour to inform the reader by a statement of facts, without aiming at embellishment of style; and it will be my pride and pleasure, if the task should be so performed as to prove a source for rational amusement and interesting information: With this favourable impression, I therefore proceed to speak of Kirk Malew.
It is bounded by Arbory on the west, Patrick on the northwest, Marown on the north-east, and on the east by Santon and the sea. It comprehends Castletown, the metropolis of the island; the village of Ballasalla, Derby-haven, Longness point, &c.
In this parish are several public breweries, five corn and three flax mills.
One river runs through Ballasalla, and another on the boundary of St. Ann. The mountain of South-Barrule-moar is principally in this parish.
The average of baptisms for ten years past are, yearly, about 100; of marriages about 30; and burials 40. The church is about a mile from the town, is 90 feet long, with a wing 24 feet long and 18 broad.
Rev. Mr. Woods, Mr. Quale, Mr. Gill, Mr. Gelling, Mr. Clucas, and in 1783, the Rev. Mr. Harrison, the present vicar.
The donations to the poor are about 15l. per annum, besides frequent collections.
Its limestone forms a large article of trade to other parts of the island. It has a very extensive turf-bog termed Rouanaa. The soil is various; namely, gravel, loam, and clay, but no marl.
A respectable writer on the spot lately gave, in the Manks Mercury, the following account of the recent progress of agriculture:-
" How averse soever the landholders of this island may be, in
general, to make any efforts of improvement in agriculture, there
still are some few, who have departed from the common course. Mr.
Bacon first exhibited, on his estate of Newtown, the verdure of May
in the depths of winter, by excellent crops of turnips. Sir George
Moore, of Ballamoore, also, for many years, followed the same course
of tillage for winter food. Mr. Oates, of Oatland, raises
considerable crops of turnips for fattening cattle. Mr. Senhouse
Wilson, on his late purchase, has also made considerable advances in
the turnip tillage. Mr. Quayle, of the Creggains, affords the best
example of a complete farm carried on upon the system of the
best-cultivated counties in England, especially in turnips and other
winter green food: and his Grace the Duke of Athol, in his late
purchase, has begun with great success that cultivation, as may be
seen from the wonderful degree of fatness to which his cattle, fed on
turnips, have arrived; the crops most suitable to follow that of
1st year,-Barley, with 12 lb. red clover seed, and 2 boll of white hay seed per acre.
2d year,-Hay, which should produce between two and three tons.
3d year,-Barley, if the soil be light; or wheat, if strong.
4th year,-Pease, which are both a cleansing and improving crop.
" After this crop, plough the land and dress for turnips and potatoes again. The same mode of preparation of the soil which is laid down for turnips, will equally answer for potatoes in the drill, with this exception, that if the land be foul, it cannot be expected to be made equally clean of weeds and as fine in the month of April, when the potatoes should be planted, as it might in the middle of June, when the turnips are to be sown."
For the information of the Manks reader, it may not be improper to mention, that the Bath Society, in their list of premiums of 1798, recommended the use of the double furrow-plough, in its improved state, as the best for expediting and saving of labour and expense, and for performing the work better than any yet constructed. It turns two acres in a day, with three horses or four oxen, without a driver.
In the road from Malew to Kirk Christ Rushen, are two high pillars of stone, called the Giant's quoit stones.
This parish includes two chapels, besides the parish church, one in the town, the other at Black-hill quarter, called St. Mark's, about five miles from Castletown, which was built in 1712. Chaplains to this within memory, have been the Rev. Mr. Harrison, Mr. Moore, Mr. Gale, and the present Rev. Mr. Clague . Mr. Thomas Farrer, one of the first trustees, has a monument in the chapel-yard.
In Malew church are some few relics of popery in the chest,&c. There is one inscription in the chancel wall, on a small stone, to " Elin. Corwyn, daughter of Robt. Corwyn, of Cumberland, who was wife to Henry Staffarton, receiver of the Castle, who departed in great MUTENESS, and that patience Christ did,1578." This is the oldest date of any tomb in the island.
Ensigns of the Stanley family are cut in wood, underneath the gallery, with the arms of the island.
Joshua Lewis, ensign in the 58th regiment of foot, died Sept. 7,1784, aged 17, eldest son of Lieut.-Colonel George Lewis, who commanded the royal artillery at Gibraltar, in 1782, distinguished for his many amiable qualities.
On white marble: " Dorothy, the beloved wife of Capt. Taubman, of the Nunnery, and daughter of the late John Christian,Esq. of Uneligg-hall, in Cumberland, who died at Bristol Hotwells, January 5, 1784, aged 27." Then follows an epitaph,the same as that written by the Rev. Mr. Mason, for his wife in Bristol cathedral,-
" Take, holy earth, all my soul holds dear, &e."
" Speak, dead Maria ! breathe a strain divine,"
is altered, on account of the deceased's name not being Maria,and runs very lame,-
" Speak, my dead love, breathe a strain divine,"
Arms: Argent, a bend between six mascles yules, impaling azure, a chevron between three covered cups or.
Besides which are tombs to the memories of Charles Ballard, late of Lincoln's-inn; Mrs. Elizabeth Woods, and many others; the particulars of which are preserved by me.
" With nettles skirted,* and with moss o'ergrown,"
Has two handsome railed tombs, but without inscriptions: one is
meant for Deemster Moore.
" To the dead,
Each chaste memorial rears its head
With unaffected grace."
* The Welch are peculiarly nice in this respect; their churchyards
being like flower-gardens. See a pleasing description of them in " A
Tollr of Observation and Sentiment through Wales," vol. i. of a very
interesting and moral work, Matthew's " Miscellaneous Companions," in
3 vole. 12mo. Dilly, 1786.
Thirty persons are buried between 71 and 80 years of age;twenty persons between 80 and 90; and one of 93.
Susanna Taubman, alias Quay, died July 2, 1784, aged 71." She was born on a Midsummer-day, married on a Midsummerday, and buried on a Midsummer-day." - Good lack-a-day !
" Margaret Christian, wife of John Christian, Esq. of Uneriggin Cumberland, and daughter of John Taubman, Esq. of the Bowling green, and Esther his wife, died Feb. 1, 1778, aged 29.
" Though called away in the prime of life, from the fairest prospect of human felicity; from the delighted hopes of most indulgent parents; from the tender affection of a loving husband; from the early promise of an only son; and from an affluent fortune; yet did she not repine. Innocence, virtue, unaffected sanctity, enabled her to meet the awful summons with devout resignation. The esteem and admiration of the wise and good - the dearest love of those that knew her best; the agonising sorrows of disconsolate friends; pleaded in vain for her longer stay; yet was not her death untimely. Blessed with wisdom above her sex, and virtue beyond her years, her task she soon finished; a specimen was all that was required; and now with the dead that die in the Lord, she resteth from her labours, and her works do follow her.'
" Learn hence, ye rich, unthinking, young, and gay,
Duly to prize the morning of your day
Dark clouds may intercept your noontide sun,
Or night otertake you, ore your work is done."
William Sedden, gent. died June 4,1758, aged 81.
" Knowest thou, O man ! who passest by this spot,
That rest from labour is the just man's lot
His body buried here lies mixed with earth,
His soul, set free, enjoys a second birth,
And disencumbered from its clay flies light,
Springs through the air beyond the realms of night.
Wrapt up in pleasing hope, it mounts on high
To meet its Lord. Let sinners fear to die."
I found an old memorandum in a register, that "in the year 1654, Kewish and Callow, of Kirk Maughold, who were executed at Hango-hill, near Castletown, were buried in Kirk Malew, down in the way from the porch ;" and
" That Mr. William Christian, of Ronoldsway, receiver-general, was shot to death at Hango-hill, Jan. 2,1662, for surrendering the keys of the garrison to Oliver Cromwell's army. He died most penitently and most courageously, prayed earnestly, made an excellent speech, and next day was buried in the chancel of Kirk Malew."
Is an airy pleasant town, ten miles from Douglas, sixteen from Peel, and twenty-six from Ramsey; it is smaller than Douglas, containing about 500 houses, but more spacious and regular. The town is divided by a small creek, which opens into a rocky and dangerous bay. The difficulty of entering its harbour, in some degree injures its commerce. A considerable quantity of grain is annually exported hence, and a variety of merchandise imported; but rum, wine, sugar, tobacco, &c. are admissible only into the port of Douglas, from whence other towns are supplied. In the centre is Castle-Rushen, which overlooks the country for many miles; it was built in 960 by Guttred, a prince of the Danish line, who is buried in it. It stands on a rock, and before the introduction of artillery, must have been impregnable. Its figure is irregular, said to resemble Elsinore; a stone glacis surrounds it. It still braves the injuries of time, and is a majestic and formidable object. The early kings used to reside here, in barbarous pomp. The lady of James, the seventh Earl of Derby, (after his decollation for his attachment to royalty in the civil wars,) sought, in Castle-Rushen, an asylum with her children; but when the republican army, under Colonels Birch and Duckenfield, with ten armed vessels, invaded this island, this fortress was surrendered at their first summons. Her gallant defence of Lathom-house was remembered; and though her pride was hurt, her captivity was softened by the generosity and respect of the officers. Apartments in it are now occupied by the Lieut.-Governor.
It is not exactly known when the castle was built, as the Countess of Derby, who was confined here, carried, afterwards, away the records of the isle therein deposited, some suppose to Copenhagen, where they were consumed by the late fire, others to some part of Norway, &c.
A ground plan of this formidable castle is engraved in plate III.
It appeared in evidence, in 1791, that Castle-Rushen was in a dilapidated state, and " that the meetings of the legislature are held in places ill-suited to the dignity of their functions; the Keys assemble in a mean small building; the courts of chancery and common-law are held in an indifferent apartment in Castle Rushen. The place in the castle used as a gaol has but one apartment to receive all persons committed for debt, or any offence less than capital; this is small, dark, without any divisions, and altogether unfit for its purpose. The dungeons in the interior ward of the castle, appropriated for the reception of persons convicted of or charged with capital crimes, are still more wretched, and improper for the reception of any offender. The gaoler has a salary of 12l. per annum, certainly too little."
The House of Keys has a public library over it, but it is blocked up, and the books of most value selected for the use of the academy. A drawbridge, and stone-bridge, cross the river at Castletown. Formerly there was a handsome piazza in the marketplace, with a cross in the middle; at the old chapel, at the upper end, was buried Raynold, son of Olave, King of Man in 1249, with his brother Magnus, and some others.
On the 16th of July, 1698, Bishop Wilson laid the foundation of a
new chapel at Castletown, which was built and paid for out of the
ecclesiastical revenues. " The Lord grant (says he), that it may,
when it is finished, continue a house of prayer to all ages."
[* The original intention of erecting crosses, whether in churchyards or in public roads, was to remind people of the meritorious cross and passion of our blessed Saviour JESUS Christ; and of the duty incumbent on them to pray for the souls of their departed brethren.- Hist. of Somerset, vol. i. p. 224, 4to.]
In 1710 the library of Castletown was finished, the greater part of the expense of which, amounting to 83l 1s. 6d., was subscribed by the Bishop. Subscription 14l. 6s. 4d.
" April 11, 1701 (says Bishop Wilson), I consecrated the chapel at Castletown, the lord of the isle being present, who desired me to give orders touching the seats, &c."
When Bishop Wilson, in 1722, suspended Archdeacon Horrobin, he authorised the Rev. Mr. Ross, academical professor, to officiate in his stead until further orders; in consequence of the Governor's conduct, a few weeks after, the following letter was addressed to him from the Bishop:
" To the Hon. the Governor of this Isle,
" Having just now had an account from the Rev. Mr. Ross, whom I appointed to officiate in Castletown chapel during the archdeacon's suspension, that the doors of the said chapel are shut up, and that you have refused to deliver him the keys, whereby the people are deprived of the public worship of God, at the chapel of that town, which has ever been subjected to me and my predecessors, is endeavoured to be made independent; I do therefore again complain against your said act, as a fresh instance of your intrenching on the episcopal authority, and which (if not speedily remedied) may open a gap for a much greater and more pernicious innovation. At a Tinwald court,22d of June, 1722."
This neat and elegant chapel terminates a wide parade; the pulpit has a satin damask cloth of crimson colour. The chapel is 81 feet by 24. The windows, notwithstanding an apparent uniformity, will be perceived, on a closer inspection, to be deeper on one side than on the other. The monuments are to the memory of Governor Horton, Governor Wood, Mr. Tyldesley, Mr. Quayle, and Mr. Callow, the latter of which is inscribed as under, on a neat marble:
" Daniel Callow, Esq. H.K. who, in discouraging circumstances, cheerfully accepted a commission to attend the business of his country in the south of England, where he died, zealously engaged in the duty of that appointment, June 18, 1790, aged 39. As a grateful testimony of their respect for his virtues, public spirit, and services, the House of Keys, with others his countrymen and friends, have caused this monument to be erected."
Castletown is the residence of John Lace, Esq. the deemster for the southern district. [See pages 36, 144.] John F. Crellin, Esq. deemster for the northern district, resides at Orrisdale. The former I had not the honour of knowing; but of the hospitality and politeness of both Mr. and Mrs. Crellin, every stranger, who visits that part of the island, must bear the most grateful and pleasing testimony.
Its general clean appearance, its society, the military, the vicinity, the pleasant walks to Reynoldsway, Scarlet, Stack,'*&c.; together with its contiguity to Douglas, Port-le-Mary, Port-iron, &c. all conspire to render Castletown a very agreeable place. It has a market on Saturdays, and a fair in July, but has no regular butcher's shops. The harbour of Derby-haven is a natural one of great capabilities. It has a collector, comptroller, riding-officer, searcher, &c.
The free-school comprises two objects, the academic institution, and the grammar-school, free for classical education. The Rev. T. Castley, who succeeded Dr. Kippax as chaplain, is the present master. [See pages 92, 93.][* Stack, in the Gaelic language, signifies a pyramidical rock which rises out of the sea and is detached from everything else]
The Rev. Joseph Stowell has also an academy for classical learning at the Bowling-green, near Castletown, in a pleasant situation.
The free-school was formerly a chapel dedicated to St. Mary, which was consecrated in 1200. This institution was established by Bishop Barrow, to supply the church. They receive instructions under an academic professor, who must be MA. from one of the Universities, for whom a decent salary is allowed, and provision for three or four students of the establishment.* At Douglas, also, there is a benefaction for the education of two candidates for the ministry; so that the island affords a sufficient share of schools for teaching the classics, theology, and the arts and sciences.
* Students 1798, Mr. J. Allen, Mr. T. Stephens, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Nelson;
Longness-point is at the extremity of a peninsula, which is some miles round, and contains some good herbage. To this peninsula St. Michael's island is joined by a high breast-work of about 100 yards in length. The spot contains the remains of a circular fort, built by one of the Earls of Derby, the date 1647 over the door; it has a walk round on the top, barracks, &c.;the walls are eight feet thick. It is a pleasant walk of about two miles from the town, at the entrance of Derby-haven, which is strongly protected by cannon, and by a courageous and well disciplined set of troops, as well as the inhabitants.
On this island is also the remains of an old chapel, in which is a solitary headstone, in memory of Henry Pearson, a mariner, of Whitehaven, who died April 24, 1782, aged 50; and his son Thomas, aged 10. Some herring-houses are adjacent.
BALLASALLA is a village two miles from Castletown, on the road which leads to Douglas; here Rushen abbey rears "its ivy-vested walls."
" Fallen fabric ! pondering o'er thy time-traced walls,
Thy mouldering, mighty, melancholy state;
Each object to the musing mind recalls
The sad vicissitudes of varying fate." Southy.
A limestone quarry is close to the village. Its cotton manufactory is at present unemployed, but some experiments are making in order to spin twine for the fishing nets; and from the progress already made, I hope it may soon be set at work again.
assistant preachers, the Rev. Mr. Stowell, and Rev. Mr. Gelling.
This village is well wooded, and a spirit of planting prevails in the upper end of it, about Deemster Moore's, and Mr. De laPrime's, which are handsome houses.
The abbey of St. Mary, of Rushen, was founded in 1098, by Mac-manis; this establishment consisted of an abbot and twelve monks of the Cistertian order. From rigid austerity, they degenerated at length to pride and luxury; a third of the tithes of Man were added to their revenue, and their temporal dignity increased; an abbot became a baron, held courts, could shelter a criminal from the sentence of the lord's court, and try him by his own vassals.
It was subject to the abbey at Furness.
In 1192, the monks removed to Duff-glass, or Douglas, where they continued four years, and then returned to Rushen,and nourished some time after they were suppressed in England.
In 1277, Richard, bishop of the Isles, consecrated the abbey church of St. Mary Rushen, though it was begun 150 years before, and in that time had been the repository of many of their kings. It was liberally endowed and richly decorated.
In 1316, it was plundered by Richard de Mandeville, who, with a numerous train of Irish, landed at Raynoldsway, defeated the Manks under Warfield, or Barrule, and ravaged the country. Rear the monastery is the tomb of an abbot, with the insignia of temporal and spiritual authority. Abbey bridge is in a romantic spot, and is much noticed on account of its antiquity.
The monks of Rushen abbey wrote the three first sheets of the account of Man, published by Mr. Camden; but all other of their works have proved as mortal as their monasteries.
The number of computed quarterlands, formerly belonging to the monastery of Rushen, were 99¼, besides 66 mills, and 77 abbey cottages.
By the last returns the number of inhabitants were 3333 in Malew and Castletown. The church is dedicated to St. Lupus; it has no vicarage-house.
A short distance to the east of Ballatrollage, about three miles from Castletown, is a famous well, visited for medical aid. Near Castletown, some traces of an earthquake, and of a volcanic eruption, have been observed. According to an old historian, in the reign of Ivar, the third Prince of Wales, there happened a remarkable earthquake in the island, which much disturbed and annoyed the inhabitants.*
In the road from Castletown to Derbyhaven, you pass the ruins of Mount Strange, a kind of summer-house, in former times the scene of sociable festivity; the large room was about 36 feet by 24.
" No more its arches echo to the noise
Of joy and festive mirth; no more the glance
Of blazing taper through its windows beams,
And quivers o'er the undulating wave;
But naked stand the melancholy walls,
Lashed by the wintry tempests, cold and bleak,
That whistle mournful through the empty halls,
And piecemeal crumble down the whole to dust." MICHAEL BnuaE.
The rocky shore about Castletown consists of a bastard marble of a dark colour, but much intersected with lines of white spar. It yields good lime, but requires much fuel.
A place of execution, which is adjoining the town, is, happily, seldom or never wanted; the Spirit of the criminal laws is mild, and the following are the only persons who I could learn had been executed. In 1735, William and James Clucas, and William Kelly, for burglary and robbery; and in 1740, John Bridson, of Ballasalla, for the murder of a young woman, who was pregnant by him. What a contrast to the number which, in the metropolis of England, have suffered death from that period ! In one year, from 1793 to 1794, sixty-eight persons were executed in London only; and from 2,500 to 3,000 persons are annually committed for trial !
* See Pratt's Gleanings, vial. i. p. 116.
In returning from the Round Fort, and in the fields in the vicinity of Castletown, the castle and place appear to great advantage, particularly the former, which looks formidable and sublime. " Nor is there (says Mr. Gilpin), in travelling, a greater pleasure than when a scene of grandeur bursts unexpectedly on the eye, accompanied with some accidental circumstance of the atmosphere, which harmonises with it, and gives it double value."
I have already stated, that this parish has been exposed to the incursions of the enemy; and that it did not always enjoy that sweet tranquillity it possesses at present, we may further learn from the historical documents.
When Alexander, King of Scotland, on the death of Magnus(see page 8), began to seize the isles, Ivar, who had married his widow, resolved to defend Man`, and met, with great resolution, a numerous army under Alexander of Peasely, and John Comyne, who landed at Rannesway, in 1270. Ivar, though inferior in number, met them with a resolution natural to the Manks, but fell with 537 of the flower of the people.
And in 1313, King Robert Bruce sat down before the Castle of Rushen, which, for six months, was obstinately defended by one Dingay Dowyll, though in whose name we do not find.
Of the Crownan line were nine princes, who were all feudatories to the Kings of England, and often resorted to the English court, where they were kindly received, and had pensions given them.
Alexander III. as we have seen, with the other islands conquered this (see page 8), which, as parcel of that kingdom, came into the hands of Edward I., who directed his warden, Huntercombe, to restore it to John Baliol, who had done homage to him for the kingdom of Scotland.
In 35th Edward I. is a record extant in Mr. Prynn, of our King's right and seizure of the Isle of Man for his use. It was granted, after dispossessing Henry de Bello Monte, to Gilbert de Makaskall during pleasure, who having expended 1,212l.. 3s. Id. in defence of it against the Scots, and likewise laid out 380l. 17s. 6d. in victuals, which he delivered to the governor of the castle of Carlisle, to victual it against the Scots, had both these sums allowed him' upon his petition, and was ordered to be paid.
For the succession of governors from Sir John Stanley's time see page 18.