Isle of Man, Isle of Man

Description

Man, Isle of, an island, with adjacent islet of Calf of Man and several skerries, in the Irish Sea, between England, Scotland, and Ireland, and nearly equidistant from Liverpool, Greenock, and Belfast. Its centre is in lat. 54° 15' N, and long. 4° 30' W; its N extremity, at Point of Ayre, is 16 miles SSW of Burrow Head, in Scotland; its NE extremity, at Maughold Head, is 30 miles W of St Bees Head, in Cumberland; its SW extremity, at Calf of Man, is 31 miles SE of Ardglass in Ireland, and 45 NNE of Holyhead in Anglesey; and the central point of its W coast, at Peel, is 27 miles SE by E of Lough Strangford, in Ireland. Population of Man in 1726, 14,066; in 1757, 19,144; in 1784, 24,924; in 1821, 40,081; in 1841, 47,986; in 1861, 52,469, in 1881, 53,558; and in 1891, 55,608. Its outline is proximately oblong, with angular projection at each extremity, and extending from NE by N to SW by S. Its length, from the Point of Ayre to the SW of the Calf, is 35 miles; its greatest breadth from Ballanayre, N of Peel, to Banks Howe, is 12 1/2 miles; its circumference is about 80 miles; and its area, inclusive of the Calf, is about 130,800 acres. Its aggregate form may be described, in the words of an old writer, as "a park in the sea, impaled with rocks." The coast, except in the N, and at the bays of Douglas, Castletown, and Poolvash, consists of rugged and lofty precipices. The interior is divided into two regions by a chain of mountains extending through it from NE to SW. The chain begins at Maughold Head with a height of 373 feet, and runs by the watershed of North Barrule, Snaefell, Beinn-y-Phott, Garraghan, Greeba, Slieau Whuallian, South Barrule, and Cronk-ny-Arrey-Lhaa to the W coast N of Fleshwick Bay, with a maximum altitude of 2034 feet at Snaefell. Side mountains or spurs flank considerable portions of the watershed line; a chain of hills, in continuation of the watershed line, runs to the SW extremity of the W coast; heights of considerable altitude beetle over many points of the E and the SE coast, all the way from Maughold Head to the vicinity of Castletown Bay; and a summit, 472 feet high, rises on the Calf. The Calf is separated by a sound only about 500 yards wide, and comprises about 800 acres.

About three-fourths of the island S of a line drawn westward from Ramsey to Sulby, and thence south-westward to near the middle of the W coast, consist of Lower Silurian rocks, comprising all the Cambrian series below the Upper Silurian. Considerable tracts within that region, particularly at Foxdale on the E side of South Barrule, and at the Dhoon N of Laxey, consist of granites and trappæan rocks, which have burst through the schists, and greatly contorted their strata. Two tracts at Peel and in the vicinity of Castletown consist of old red sandstone and conglomerate, resting unconformably on the upturned edges of the clay schist. A considerable tract, in the S around Castletown and Port St Mary, consists of carboniferous rocks, chiefly lower carboniferous limestone and shale, but including a remarkable black schistoze formation, locally called Poolvash Black Marble. The northern fourth of the island consists mainly of alluvium, overlying a stratified bed of drift gravel, and might all be regarded as, in some sense, an extensive raised beach. The aggregate rocks, though belonging to so few formations, possess much interest in their coast-sections, in their litho-logical character, and in rich stores of carboniferous and pleistocene fossils. Copper ore is worked at Langness, iron ore at Foxdale, lead ore, employing over 800 men and boys, at Foxdale, Great Laxey, North Laxey, Rushen, and Snaefell, from which about 130,000 ounces of silver are annually obtained. Ochre, umber, and rottenstone is obtained at Baldroma and Kirk Malew, and zinc ore is worked at Great Laxey, Rushen, and Snaefell. At Poolvash there is a quarry for working the celebrated "black marble," and the great slabs which form the steps of St Paul's Cathedral were quarried here.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5
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Maps

Old map of Isle of Man circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)

Old map of Isle of Man circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)


Parishes and places

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