[From Manx Soc Vol 15, 1868]
THE Manx Society was established primarily for the publication of old and scarce books, manuscripts, and documents, pertaining to the history of the Isle of Man, and, its volumes, previous to this, have strictly followed out that design. But at the meeting of the Cambrian Archaeological Association at Douglas in the year 1865, it was seen that the more ancient history of the island would be greatly elucidated by the consideration of the very many remarkable relics left behind them by its former inhabitants, in buildings, tumuli, kistvaens, bauta stones, and runic monuments, both inscribed and uninscribed. Hence the Council of the Manx Society considered that it would much conduce to the interest and usefulness of its publications if they included in them the various Memoirs on the Antiquities of the Isle which were read at that meeting, together with others of a similar character. The very ready and most generous consent of the Council of the Cambrian Archaeological Association was therefore obtained for the republication of the Memoirs on Manx Antiquities which appeared in the Archaeologia Cambrensis during the years 1866-7, and the further most liberal use was acquired of the plates of the engravings and the blocks of the woodcuts illustrating the Memoirs in that Journal.
To the Cambrian Archaeological Association the Council of the Manx Society desire to return their deepest acknowledgments for their generosity.
The present volume consists wholly of the Memoirs read at the Douglas Meeting, with such emendations and additions as the various authors of them have thought desirable, amongst which may be mentioned some new and interesting readings and interpretations of the runic inscriptions by myself and the fuller account of the Ancient Churches of Man by Dr. Oliver.
Manx antiquities are by no means exhausted in these Memoirs. The Runic Monuments, of which only a few examples are given in this volume, open up a wide field for investigation. Excavations have recently been made, during the progress of the Ordnance Trigonometrical Survey of the Isle of Man, in some of the ancient Tumuli and amidst the Stone Circles, which throw much light upon the ancient modes of sepulture and the habits and character of the Aborigines of the Island.
The Coins and Seals also which have been preserved, deserve a more careful examination than has hitherto been bestowed upon them.
Hence, a Second volume of the Antiquities of the Island is under the consideration of the Council of the Manx Society, and may probably be expected at an early date.
It is hoped that the present volume, with its ample and well-executed illustrations, may be the means of awakening a deeper interest in the Isle of Man, where the relics of the past have been guarded with a more religious veneration than has been accorded to them by the people of the surrounding British Isles. The isolation of the country has no doubt in some degree contributed to this result; but credit must also be given to the deep religious feeling of Manxmen, not altogether unalloyed with superstition, which has led them to abstain from the destruction of the monuments of the dead, and of the places where their forefathers worshipped. They reap their reward in the materials which they have thus preserved to the Antiquary for elucidating their earlier history.
The Editor desires to acknowledge the deep obligation under which he lies to the Rev. E. L. Barnwell and Dr. Oliver, for the assistance which they have afforded him in passing these sheets through the press.
The publication must, in reality, be considered as under a joint editorship. One emendation in the text of these papers it seems desirable to make. It would perhaps have been better to have named, on page 34, Maelmore as a "Royal personage" or "Princess", than as a probable "Queen of Man".
J. G. CUMMING.
St. John's Parsonage, Victoria Park Square, London, N.E.
June 1st, 1868.