[From Manx Soc vol 11 - Waldron's History] 


[W. Harrison].

Notes 1 to 31

NOTE 1—page 1.

"Extent of the Island."—The length of the Island from the Point of Ayre in the N.E. to the Sound of the Calf in the S.W. is 334 miles. The greatest breadth is from Bank's Howe near Douglas, to Ballanayre, north of Peel, 121 miles. The most correct outline map of the Island is that published at the Hydrographic Office of the Admiralty, in 18~1, surveyed by Commander George Williams, R.N., in 1847. When the Board of Ordnance have finished their survey of the Island, which they are now engaged on, the inhabitants will then have the most correct Nap of the country. The Rev. J. G. Cumming, in his History of the Isle of Man, says—" The peculiar form of the Island causes it to lose in apparent magnitude, when seen from a distance, (especially from the sea) in a greater degree than is produced optically by simply receding from an object. The reason is this: the northern portion of the Island is an almost plane area of nearly fifty square miles, of which the greater proportion (and that portion more especially which is close upon the northern extremity of the mountain range) is elevated hardly more than sixty feet above the level of the sea. In receding, therefore, from the Island, this area very soon sinks below the horizon, and the length of it is suddenly shortened by six miles when viewed from the south-east or north-west. Again, the more elevated portion shows very different phases as approached from different points. The distant northern view is that of an abrupt pile of mountain rent into chasms, which the nearer Approach shows us as lovely glens, Ravensdale, Sulby glen, Glenaldyn, and Ballure. The western view is an extended mountain chain descending rapidly to the sea on the nearer side, more distinctly precipitous at the south-western extremity, and crossed at right angles by two valleys at Port Erin and Peel, by which the Island appears divided into three. The southern view exhibits a gradual slope from the sea level to the highest points, with no distinct valleys or chasms, but occupied by towns, villages, villas, cottages, corn fields, and pastures. The eastern view shows rocky cliffs and bold headlands, from 300 to 400 feet high, backed at the distance of seven or eight miles with mountains ranging from 1500 to 2000 feet above the sea, between which and the cliffs the slope is generally easy and clothed with verdant pasture."

NOTE 2—page 1.

" Names."—The Island has been known by various names: Mona, Monavida, Monacina, Monabia, Menavia, Manau, Eubonia, Maun; the Britons called it Menow, and the Manx Mannin, Ellan Vannin, and Ellan Vannin veg veen, Dear little Isle of Man.

NOTE 3—page 1.

" The Norwegians had it in their possession a long time."—They held it for more than 300 years, and have left lasting indications of their sway, many of their laws and institutions being still in force, as the House of Keys, the Tynwald-Hill, from the top of which all new laws are promulgated in English and Manx up to the present day; as well as their names of numerous places in the Island, and other memorials.

NOTE 4—page 1.

"Grant to Sir John Stanley."—In the 6th of Henry IV., 6th April, 1403, paying to the king, his heirs and successors, a cast of falcons at their coronation.

The British Government purchased the Revenues from John, third Duke of Atholl, in January, 1765, called the Act of Revestrnent, and finally in 1825, John, the fourth Duke of Atholl, sold the whole of his remaining interest in the Island to the British Government. He died 29th September, 1830, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. He rendered the accustomed service of a cast of falcons at the coronation of George IV. in 1820, being the last performance of that homage.

NOTE 5—page 2.

" Potatoes."—Agriculture, at this time, was at a very low ebb, arising from the uncertain tenure of the land, the occupier limiting himself to the least possible outlay, and also great numbers being then engaged in a contraband trade, which had been established about 1670, and was now in a flourishing condition. Potatoes appear to have been then cultivated in abundance, and the Island has lost none of its reputation up to the present time in the continued goodness of the " Manx Earlys." With respect to the general state of its agriculture at the present day the Island can well bear comparison with any county in England, particularly in the cultivation of turnips, and the fat cattle and sheep annually sent over to the Liverpool market. A late Governor of the Island remarked on his appointment to that office, "that he could at any rate be able to teach the Islanders an improved mode of farming, but on his arrival, he said, he soon found that he had much to learn himself." The present Isle of Man Agricultural Society, founded in 1858, is tending much to give a further stimulant to improvement, both in the breed of cattle, and the excellency of their implements.

NOTE 6—page 2

" Climate."—According to the Tables of Temperature drawn up by Professor Dove, of Berlin, 1847, the mean annual temperature of the Isle of Man, is stated to be 49.84° Fahr.; the mean temperature of the coldest month, 40.52°; the difference between the hottest and coldest months, 19.81°; and the difference between summer and winter, 17.31° The late James Burman, F.R.A.S., who kept accurate accounts of the state of the temperature at his residence at Ballasalla, for a number of years, gives the following result, 1854—60, both inclusive.


Mean Temperature.

June to August



September to November



December to February



March to May


44 .7°

Fall of rain at 100 feet above the sea level, during the same period, was a mean annual fall of 30—2 inches. Mean monthly fall—

January .. 2 7

July ... 2 2

February ... 2 1

August ... 2 7

March ... 2 0

September ... 2 0

April .. 2 3

October ... 4 3

May . 1 6

November ... 2 6

June ... 2 6

December ... 3 1

The Rev. J. G. Cumming says, " The climate is more equable than that of any country in Europe, and its mean annual temperature higher than that of any spot in the same parallel of latitude." Snow seldom remains for any length of time on the ground, and to the equability of temperature, the longevity of the inhabitants is no doubt to be attributed.

NOTE 7—page 2.

" People live to a very great age."—Feltham, in his Parochial Tour in the Isle of Man, 1797 and 1798, (see Manx Society's 6th volume) gives numerous instances of this. In the obituary of one of the public prints of the Island, in February, 1865, the following ages are recorded:—70, 72, 73, 89, 92, 96, being an average of 82 years [see also notes on memorials].

NOTE 8—page 2.

" Turf."—The cutting and carriage of turves " is use and custome of long time." In 1577, it was given for law, " that all manner of persona or persons that goeth to my Ford his Forrest for Turff and Ling ought to pay the Forrester an ob." The ob. is frequently mentioned in the old Manx Statutes, and was no doubt the ancient coin called the oblus, made of iron or brass. Coins of every country and denomination have been, from an early period, current in the Isle of Man, and it appears evident that allusion is here made to this ancient species of coinage. It was generally paid by a halfpenny, which small amount was levied merely to uphold the Lord's right. In 1661, it was enacted at a Tynwald Court, held at St. John's, " That no manner of person or persons shad presume to go to the mountains or commons of this Isle after the hour of five of the clock in the afternoon, or before day in the morning, for the carrying of any Turtf or Ling:—for complaint hath been made, that some persons do frequent that course, and especially upon dayes of haddy or dark mist, and do purloyne and carry away neighbours' Turff and Ling at such unreasonable times; wherein if any do offend for the future, they shall be severely fined and punished, as by the Court shall be thought fitt." By the Statute of 15 Victoria, 1852, it was ordained that " any person cutting or removing surface sod from the Commons where there is no turf, or not replacing the sod in the public Turbaries within 14 days, to pay a fine not exceeding £2 for the first, and £3 for every subsequent offence. Turf to be removed from the Commons before 1st October under penalty of not exceeding 40s. No person to cut Turf in the public Turbaries for sale, or for any other use except for fuel. Turf not to be cut before 1st May, nor after 1st July, in each year, under penalty not exceeding £3."

What effect the Disafforesting Act of 1860 will have upon the poor Commoners by diminishing the number of Turbaries remains to be seen.

NOTE 9—page 3.

" Their towns are six in number."—This is evidently a mistake. There are but four towns, viz.:—Castletown, Douglas, Peel, Ramsey. Ballasalla has never risen above a village, and Macguire's never was even that.

NOTE 10—page 3.

" Records taken to Drontheim."—There appears to be nothing known with any degree of certainty respecting the fate of the early archives of the Isle of lIan. It is a matter of great doubt if there ever existed any earlier written records of the Island than what are at present known. It has been stated they were burnt in a fire which partially consumed the Bishop's Palace at Drontheim, but the late Sir. James Burman informed me he could learn nothing respecting them when making enquiry on the subject at Drontheim. A facsimile of the oldest indenture preserved in Castle Rushen, 1417, is given in the third volume of the Manx Society's publications, 1860.

NOTE 11—page 3.

" A little Isle within this town."—There was no such Isle or Episcopal See erected on it.

NOTE 12—page 4.

" Title of Sodor."—Much learned discussion has taken place on the title under which the Bishop of the Island is inducted, and each writer in his turn attempts to give some solution to the question. The Rev. Mr. Cumming, in his Notes on Sacheverell's Survey, (Manx Society, vol i. p. 175) and Chaloner's Treatise (Manx Society, vol. x. p. 73 note; and p. 75 note) gives a full account of its origin.—" The bishopric of Man is the oldest existing bishopric in the British Isles, having been estab lished by St. Patrick in 447, in which St. Germanus was first bishop." The Isle on which the cathedral of St. German is built, was in the grant made by Thomas, Earl of Derby, in 1505, to Huan Hesketh, called " Holme, Sodor or Peel." The bishop at the present time signs " Sodor and Mann "

NOTE 13—page 4.

" The Great Officers of the Island."—The present officers of the Island are—the Lieutenant-Governor, who is also styled Captain-general, and is Chancellor and Judge of the Court of Exchequer. His Council consists of the Lord Bishop, the Attorney-General, the two Deemsters, the Clerk of the Rolls, (in whose office is now merged that of the Comptroller referred to in the text, and the principal duties of the Receiver-General, also therein referred to) the Water Bailiff, the Archdeacon, and the Vicar-General. There is still an officer called the Receiver-General, but his duties are different to what they were in Waldron's time, and he is not now a member of the Council.

NOTE 14—page 4.

" Great Stone Chair."—It was here, in the open space between the portcullis and the keep, that Henry Byron, Lieutenant-Governor to Sir John Stanley the second, held " a Court of all the Commons of Mann holden at the Castle of Rushen, betwixt the gates, upon Tuesday next after the xx day of Christmas, Anno Domini, 1430."

NOTE 15—page 4.

" Room where the Keys sit."—The liouse of keys met at the Castle until the year 1706, after which time they met in their present House, formerly belonging to the Trustees of the Academic Fund, which they ultimately purchased; it has from time to time undergone various alterations. Waldron wrote his account in 1726, and it appears the Keys occasionally sat in the Castle in his time. He states they " are locked in till they have given their verdict." After hearing the evidence in appeal cases, they lock the doors until they come to a verdict, which is then put upon the record.

NOTE 16—page 5.

" Subterranean dwelling under Castle Rushen."—Tales of this character are often to be met with and have incidents narrated in them which show their common origin; they are generally described as abounding in riches of all kinds—gold and silver, pearls and precious stones. Such a dwelling, no doubt, was that into which the fairy horse dealer retired, as narrated at page 34. In making some repairs in the interior of the Castle in 1816, a dark cell was discovered in one of the inner towers, which had been previously unknown. Subterranean chambers were also discovered during certain alterations which were made in 1863.

NOTE 17—page 7.

" Mist hanging continually over the land."—" Some fishermen long ago arrived on the shore of an Island which they had never seen or heard of, because it was always enveloped in a magic cloud, raised by little Manain, the son of the sea. They landed, and presently there came rolling on the mist something like a wheel of fire, with legs for spokes, and the portent so frightened the men that they fled to their boats. But the charm was broken, the Isle of Man had been discovered, and its possession has been disputed by men and fairies ever since. The Manx penny bears a device which is the same in principle as the three spiral lines, an astronomical device, (the Druids were astronomers, and the former inhabitants of the Island,) though these have grown into three armed legs, the 'Legs of Man,' these have to do with a wheel of fire." —Campbell, vol. ii. p. 386.

Collins, in his Ode to Liberty, says,

" Mona, once hid From those who search the main,
Where thousand elfin shapes abide."

" That a mermaid becoming enamoured of a young man of extraordinary beauty, took an opportunity of meeting him one day as he walked on the shore, and opened her passion to him, but was received with & coldness occasioned by his horror and surprise at her appearance. This, however, was so misconstrued by the sea lady, that, in revenge for his treatment of her, she punished the whole Island by covering it with a mist; so that all who attempted to carry on any commerce with it, either never arrived at it but wandered up and down the sea, or were on a sudden wrecked upon its cliffs."

An instance of a mermaid in love is related at page 65.

NOTE 18—page 7.

" Fire continually burning."—" The Manx place great reliance on fire protecting them from the influence of evil spirits. Almost down to the present time, no native of the Isle of Man will lend any thing on either of the great Druidical festivals, (1st May and 1st November) which shows the origin of the custom, so hard is it to eradicate from the minds of a people the remains of superstition, however ridiculous or absurd may be its tenets."—Train's Isle of Man, vol ii. p. 316.

Since the introduction of " lucifers" there has been less concern about maintaining " perpetual fire" in the Isle of Man.

NOTE 19—page 8.

" The Castle."—It is not built of free stone, as stated in the text, but of the hard limestone on which it stands, or of the neighbourhood. In 1815, when some alterations were being made, the date 947 was found on an old oak beam. This has been considered as the date of its erection. Tradition states that it was commenced by Guthred, son of Orry, in 960. let the present day it remains in a remarkable state of preservation; some of the walls are twelve feet in thickness. It is now used as the prison of the Island, a portion of it is also set apart as offices of the Clerk of the Rolls, and within its walls are also held the various Law Courts. The Tynwald Court is usually held here, and the Council meet in one of the rooms adjoining the Court Mouse—formerly one of the apartments belonging to the Governor's residence.

NOTE 20—page 8.

"Fort at Derby Haven."—This was built by James, seventh earl of Derby, in 1645. It is now in ruins. It was named "Derby Fort" in honour of his noble countess, Charlotte de la Tremouille, as appears by a document in the Rolls Office, printed in the Manx Society's 1st vol. Sacheverell's Survey) note, p. 143.

NOTE 21—page 8.

"Duglas so called."—The Doo, (black) and Glass, (grey) generally called the black and bright rivers.

NOTE 22—page 8.

" Within the Piles."—The Lord of the Island had jurisdiction to a certain distance from the shore, (about nine miles) and the English revenue officers could not take possession when once within that limit.

The limits of the Hovering Laws applicable to the Isle of Man in the 7th section of the Act 5 George III cap. 39. comprehends a distance of three leagues from the shore.

The situation of the Isle of Man was peculiarly suitable for any connected plan of circuitous smuggling to England, Scotland, or Ireland, and not being under the jurisdiction of the English Government, it became a kind of centre for illicit practices. The principal articles of clandestine importation were brandy, genera, tea, and tobacco. Salt was also smuggled to an enormous extent. As early as 1726 negociations had been going on for the purchase of the rights and interest of the Atholl fancily. The injurious extent to which smuggling was carried and the difficulty in preventing it (causing, as was acknowledged by the English Government, a loss to the revenue of nearly £350,000 a year,) led to further negotiations with the Duke of Atholl for the purchase of his rights and privileges. These negotiations commenced in 1764 and were finally brought to a conclusion in 1828, the Atholl family having received in the whole £445,444. The increase to the Imperial revenue of this £350,000 from 1767 to the present time amounts to a very respect able sum, and added to this when the total gross revenue derived from the Island during the last 30 years, from 1833 to 1863, of £960,885— less the total expenditure of £407,586 for the same period, leaving a surplus revenue for that period alone of £553,299—is taken into account, it may well be said it was a good bargain exacted by the Imperial Par liament from the Duke of Atholl's family, and ought to induce a more liberal policy in the expenditure of the surplus revenue in the Island. A History of all these transactions would form a fit subject for one of the volumes of the Manx Society.

NOTE 23—page 9.

" Peel Castle."—This account of Peel Castle is so absurd and far fetched, that it appears Waldron was preparing his readers by his magnificent account of its splendours for his marvellous relations connected with it, which he had in store for them. The walls are built of different kinds of stone, chiefly of old red sandstone from the opposite rook of Craig Mallin, and clay schist. The cannon mentioned as planted on the walls are shown in a painting in the possession of the Earl of Derby, at Knowsley, taken when the Castle was in the hands of his ancestor. A few photographs were taken from this painting, in 1859, when the present Earl lent it to the Committee appointed for the restoration of the ruins of Peel Castle. At that time, the buildings, cathedral, &c. appear to have been in a perfect state. In the report of the Commissioners of Inquiry, 1792, it is stated that at the Revestment the chancel of the cathedral, the porter's lodge, the armoury, and the magazine over the passage leading to the sally-port were roofed in, since then they have gone completely to decay.

NOTE 24—page 10.

" Peel Castle A wide plain."—The isolated rock on which the ruins of Peel Castle and Cathedral stand, comprises an area of about five acres.

Besides the cathedral of St. Germanus there are the remains of the still more ancient church of St. Patrick. Whether the other relics scattered over the area have been devoted to ecclesiastical purposes it would be diffiicult now to ascertain. One most important feature in these ruins, of which Waldron has not made any remark, is the Round Tower. This was no doubt the stronghold of the castle, and was used not only in its primary object of a Belfry, but as an ecclesiastical keep and place of safety for any valuables, in case of sudden attack from the sea rovers to which the Island was so subject in early days. The general features are the same as those described by Mr. Petrie, in his valuable work on The Origin and Uses of the Round Towers of Ireland. It appears by the painting before alluded to, belonging to the Earl of Derby, that this tower was finished at the top with a conical roof, terminating with a flag staff. It is stated at page 41, that Peel Castle was originally built of wood, but that is not likely where so much stone abounded. St. Patrick, who is said to have been the first stone church builder, would be certain to avail himself of this material so close at hand. The names of his three masons were Caeman, Cruithnech, and Luchraid, who built numerous churches for him in Ireland.

Grose, who visited these ruins some fifty years after Waldron's time, mentions only the ruins of two churches; one dedicated to St. Patrick, and the other dedicated to St. Germain.

NOTE 25—page 10.

" Dungeon."—This was the ecclesiastical prison, used also for political and civil offenders, and numerous persons have been confined here; amongst the rest, Thomas, Earl of Warwick, in the time of Richard II., A.D. 1397; and Eleanor, wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, lmele of Henry VI., for the alleged crime of sorcery and witchcraft, is said to have lived here as a state prisoner for a period of fourteen years. Capt. Edward Christian who had been Deputy-Governor of the Island, died here in 1660, after a confinement of seven or eight years. During the persecution of the Quakers from 1662 to 1666, a number of both sexes of that persuasion were incarcerated in the dismal dungeon of St. German's, Peel Castle. In the Manx Society's 10th vol., p. 126, will be found Bishop Barrow's Letter of Exhortation to the Quakers in the Isle of Man, taken from the Exchequer Book, Lib. Secc. 1664—1668, p. 59. Simon, who became bishop of Sodor and Man in 1226, erected the choir. On the south side of the choir is a door leading down to the crypt by a passage concealed in the wall—the length is 34 feet, and the breadth 16.

The roof of arched ribs springing from thirteen short pilasters on either side supports the chancel. Monastic cells in early times were made very small; those in the chapel of St. Fechin, on the coast of Galloway, were 6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 4 feet high.

NOTE 26—page 11.

" Epitahs and Inscriptions on the Tombstones."—It is much to be regretted that our author did not transmit to us what was then left of these mementos of " those gone before," we should then have had some valuable data, of which his work is sadly deficient. The only inscription, except a few of comparatively modern date, is that of bishop Rutter. The brass plate which had been placed on his tomb was found in the well near the sally-port of the castle in 1844. The inscription was drawn up by the bishop himself:—

In has domo quam a vermiculis accept (confratribus meis)
spe resurrections ad vitam, jaceo Sam. permissions divine, Episcopus hujus Insult.
Sisto rector—vice et ride Palatium Episcopi! Oblit xxx die mensis radii, 1663.
Thus Englished:—In this house which I have borrowed from the worms,
(My brethren), in hope of a resurrection unto life,
I Sam. by divine permission, Bishop of this Island.
Stop reader—behold and smile at the Palace of a Bishop! Who died the 30th day of day, 1663.

This brass is now at Bishop's Court. The Latin inscription is not given correctly in Butler's Life of Hildesley,—1799.

NOTE 27—page 12.

" The Mauthe Doog."—There are no such words in the Manx language as these—the name is Moddey Doo, black dog. The Celts from earliest time have ever been fond of hunting, and as a sequence hounds must have been their constant companions and entered largely into their adventures and tales recounted after the fatigues of the chase. He appears under many forms, and there are similar ghostly dogs in England, and in other European countries. Mr. Campbell, in his Tales of the West Highlands, relates one collected from Barra, where four men were watching cattle, when the dog appeared, and one of the watchers said—" We will not strike; if thou strikes him, thou wilt repent it."

However, Calum Mac Nill struck the dog, and his hand and his arm lost their power. Following the advice of an old woman, Nic a Phi, he got cured at the end of " a day and a year." In the soldier's case, he appears not to have sought advice and so suffered for his temerity.

NOTE 28 —page 12.

`'Lock the Gates of the Castle."—A copy of the Regulations for the government of Rushen and Peel Castles will be found in the Manx Society's 10th vol. Chaloner's Treatise p. 113. It is to be presumed he carried the key and not the gates to the captain.

NOTE 29—page 14.

" Spirit of the Duchess of Gloucester.".—The idea that the spirits of the deceased return to haunt the place whereon earth they have suffered or have rejoiced, is, as Dr. Johnson has observed, "common to the popular creed of an nations. This just and noble sentiment implanted in our bosoms by the Deity, teaches us that we shall not slumber for ever, as the beasts that perish." " The soul having left its terrestrial form, glides before its former friends, a pale spectre, to warn them of its decease."—Scott's Minstrelsy.

NOTE 30—page 15.

" Fort."—This is probably the fort erected during the Civil War, by James, the seventh Earl of Derby.

NOTE 31—page 15.

" Macquire's or New Town."—This is the present Mount Murray, and has not been " enlarged'' in the manner anticipated. In the introduction is noticed an epithalamium inscribed to William Macguire, Esq. probably the founder of this place. Considerable excitement prevailed at this time, occasioned by a movement for inclosing and appropriating part of the mountains (commons) near Kirk Michael, wherein Macquire is referred to as having been the cause of a riot for attempting to take possession. Keble, in his Life of Bishop Wilson, 1863, p. 617, in alluding to this, says—" An agrarian riot ensued, of which some graphic particulars may be found in the Exchequer Book of Castle Rushen, from July 22 to August 21, 1724, how that the Governor and officers being somewhere in the mountains with a person who was treating for a part of the land, some provisions intended for them were stopped on the way, the rope harness cut, and a wish uttered, " That those whom the provision were. intended for might be choked at the eating thereof;" how Philip Quayle expressed himself in these words—" If Mr. Macguire will come to take our mountains we will fight him." How the Governor, with the great inquest, having met upon the mountains, in order that the same might be rented, there was a mob with long sticks and staves, which they would not lay down at his bidding; that Adam Caine cried out, "Maugher," which in English, said the witness, "I take to be battle"—and that, advancing before the rest, he said to the Governor and soldiers, " Come on, where are you now ? You would talk enough what you would do before ;" that Caine, being arrested, the mob took hold of him to rescue him; that Robert Cullet said he could beat any two of the soldiers with whom he had been struggling, for he did not feel them in his hands." Many were fined, and set in the stocks of the market towns, with schedules of their offences.


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