St John's, Isle of Man

Historical Description

John's, St, a hamlet and a chapelry in German parish, Isle of Man, at the junction of the Douglas, Peel, and Ramsay railway, 2f miles ESE of Peel. The Neb or Peel river flows to the W of the hamlet. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (S.O.) Tynwald Hill, or Hill of Justice, an artificial mound 256 feet in circumference, rises by four circular platforms, each 3 feet higher than the one below it, and is fenced round by banks of earth and low stone walls. The hill is said to have been formed of earth brought from each parish of the island, and has annually, for at least 100 years, been the scene of a public assembly somewhat of the nature of the old Scandinavian Ting or Thing. Every law adopted by the Tynwald court, after having received the Royal assent, must be proclaimed from the top of the hill before it can be put into force. This proceeding takes place each year on 5 July; but Tynwald courts are held on other occasions if legislation is urgent, when a special Tynwald is convened for that purpose. Tynwald Day is the great holiday of the inhabitants of the island, who throng to St John's, where a fair is held. Two great battles were fought in its vicinity in 1229 and 1238. Several " kistvaens " have been found near Tynwald Hill, containing bones, battle-axes, spears, &c. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Sodor and Man; gross value, £120 with residence. Patron, the Crown. The incumbent has a commission as Royal chaplain. The church was built of granite in 1847; is in the Early Decorated style, cruciform, without aisles; and has a trigonal apse, a S porch, and a W tower and spire.

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