[From Manx Soc vol 10]
THIS Island is secured mightily by nature; not onely in that it is an Island; but also for that it is situated in a very boysterous Sea encompassed on all sides with high Cliffs of stone or precipices of Sand saving on the North part about the Pointof Ayre; where the shoar is low and beachie so that Ships in fair weather may ride near the Land, in all other parts of the Coast by reason of the rocks that lye far into the Sea; there is no coming near the shoar with safety nor entering their Roads or Harbour without a Pilot; nor Anchoring in their Roads unlesse the same be a Lee-shore.
The Bodies of the Inhabitants are made use off or its defence; for every Parish hath a Captain, under whom are listed, disciplin'd and arm'd, such as are meet for the War, of whom they have about 1500 ready upon occasion; and in case of necessity, I believe they might arm 5 or 6000 Men.
It is fortified with a Castle at Rushen the strongest pile of stone that I have seen; pleasantly situated, rather then usefully in a flat Country a Rivolet running beneath it; but this Castle standeth at such a distance from the shallow and rocky Harbour of Rushen, that it is of no consequence to hinder the landing of an enemy there; which considered the late E. of Derby raised a Fort hard by at Lanquet-Point(72) for the securing of that Harbour and Rainsway. Tradition saith this Castle of Rushen(73) was built by the Norwegians; this I read of it That Magnus the last EL. of Man of that Race dyed there in the year 1265 and before that I find no mention of it. Also with Peel Castle situated in St. Patrick's Isle impregnable towards the Sea; yet though seated in an Island the Sea forsakes it at low water, and from a Hill near it, they may be in such sort annoyed that they cannot without much danger stir abroad in the Castle-Yard.
There is a Block-House at Duglas (74) a round Fabrick of stone which may serve to secure the Road and Harbour sufficiently from Pickroons; which is as much as the condition of the place or Isle requireth.
At Ramsey there are also a few Guns mounted, sufficient also for
It were to be wished, that some Fortification were made about the Point of Ayre; which the E. of Derby in the time of the late Troubles did perform; but now neglected and ruin'd: when also he made a Fort in the middest of the Island,(75) generally held to be of no consequence, he alledging it to be for the better corresponding with the other places of strength in times of service; and probably he might have in his eye the awing of the Natives, which in the condition he then stood in, he might have some cause to mistrust: But to conclude when all is said that can be spoken upon this Head; the Poverty of this Island is its greatest Security.