Man, Isle Of
This island was called by Ptolemy Monoeda, or Moneitha, the "Further Mona," to distinguish it from the Isle of Anglesey, or Mona: by Pliny it was styled Monabia; and by Bede Menavia Secunda, likewise in contradistinction to Anglesey, which he terms Menavia Prima. On account of the rocky or stony nature of the soil, it was also called Menang, and Manen. The genuine Manx name is Mannan-beg, or Little Mannan, derived from the name of an ancient king, Mannan Mac Ler. About the year 444, St. Patrick, having converted the inhabitants to Christianity, founded here a church, and a see, of which he appointed St. Germanus bishop. The island, many years afterwards, on the irruption of the northern barbarians, fell under the dominion of the Scots, and was subsequently annexed to that kingdom by Aydan; but in 610 it was wrested from the Scots by Edwin, King of Northumbria; and from this period, for nearly 300 years, the British historians are silent with respect to any circumstances connected with its history. The Manx traditions, however, record during this interval a succession of twelve petty kings, called Orries, the first of whom, an enterprising prince, son of the King of Denmark and Norway, having subdued the Orcades and the Hebrides, took possession also of this island, where he fixed his residence and enjoyed for many years a reign of uninterrupted tranquillity. Guttred, his son and successor, built the castle of Rushen, in repairing which, in 1815, a beam was discovered by the workmen inscribed with the date 947. In this castle Guttred was interred. He was succeeded by his son Reginald, on whose assassination a younger brother Olave assumed the government, but not having obtained a ratification of his title from the King of Norway, to whom the island was tributary, he was invited to that kingdom, and on his arrival was arraigned and put to death. Olain, his brother, next took possession of this and some other islands, and after a reign of twenty-three years died in Ireland, and was succeeded by Allen, who, being poisoned by his governor, made room for Macon. The latter refusing to do homage for his crown to Edgar, King of England, was dethroned, but was soon afterwards restored, and made admiral of the great fleet raised by that monarch to protect the English coasts from the repeated assaults of the northern pirates: Macon was one of the eight tributary kings whom Edgar, in token of their vassalage, compelled to row his barge on the river Dee.
Godred Crovan, son of Harold Harfager, King of Norway, who accompanied his father in his invasion of England on the death of Edward the Confessor, took refuge here on the defeat of his countrymen, and was hospitably entertained. Returning the following year with a numerous army, after being twice repulsed by the inhabitants he at length took possession of the island, and established himself in the southern part, granting the remainder to the islanders, on the absolute condition of their holding it under him as lord of the whole. From this time the island became vested in the Kings, or Lords, of the Isles. Godred, who also held the sovereignty of the Hebrides, or Western Islands, maintained a naval force sufficient for the security of his conquests, and turned his arms against Ireland, at that time divided into petty principalities, reducing Dublin and a considerable part of the province of Leinster. He left three sons, Lagman, Harold, and Olave: the first of these succeeded to the government, and being jealous of his brother Harold, whom he suspected of exciting insubordination among his soldiers, caused him to be put to death; but repenting, he resigned the crown to his youngest brother Olave, and died on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Olave being then a minor, and residing in the court of Henry I., where he received his education, the island, from its unsettled state, was exposed to the attacks of the neighbouring powers. Magnus, King of Norway, having conquered the Orkneys and the Hebrides, now possessed himself, almost without resistance, of the Isle of Man, over which he reigned more than six years; but having proceeded with a small naval force to reconnoitre the Irish coast, in 1102, and incautiously landing with a party of his followers, he was taken by surprise, and slain. Olave, who had been in exile for sixteen years, was immediately invited to the government, of which he held undisturbed possession for many years. Having gone over to Norway, however, to get his title acknowledged, on his return he found his dominions distracted by the rival pretensions of the three sons of his deceased brother Harold, who, having been educated in Ireland, raised considerable forces in that country, and landing in the Isle of Man, demanded one moiety of the Isles; and a meeting being convened at Ramsey for taking their demand into consideration, Reginald, one of the brothers, feigning to address the king, suddenly struck off his head with a battle-axe: this preconcerted signal for a general attack led to a sanguinary conflict, in which many were slain on both sides. Such insidious treachery did not long remain unavenged: on the return of Prince Godred from Norway, where his father Olave had left him to be educated, the whole island submitted to his authority, and the three sons of Harold were delivered up for punishment. In 1158, Summerled, Thane of Argyll, and brother-in-law to Godred, attempted to usurp the government; their fleets meeting, an obstinate and sanguinary conflict ensued, without victory inclining to either side, when a truce was agreed on, and afterwards a treaty, by which the kingdom of the Isles was divided between them. Godred died in 1187, leaving three sons, Reginald, Olave, and Ivar, of whom he appointed Olave, his only legitimate son, his successor; this prince being then a minor, the people made Reginald king, but afterwards, on his attaining maturer age, they raised Olave to the throne. To recover his lost dignity, Reginald did homage to John, King of England, for his crown, and made submission to the pope; and, having obtained assistance from Alan, Lord of Galloway, and Thomas, Earl of Atholl, landed on the island while Olave, with his chief officers and soldiers, was in the Western Isles. He massacred the unprotected inhabitants, plundered their houses, burnt the churches, and laid waste the southern part of the island; and, even after the return of Olave, succeeded in setting fire to the shipping, then at anchor under Peel Castle. An intestine warfare raged for some time with great fury, but Reginald was ultimately killed in a battle fought at Tynwald Mount. Olave died in 1237, and was succeeded by his son Harold, who having gone over to Norway, was, with his wife, drowned on his return; his brother Reginald assumed the government in 1249, but was slain, with all his party, in an insurrection headed by a knight named Ivar. On the death of Reginald, who left only an infant daughter, his brother Magnus was chosen king, and, according to the usual custom, went over to Norway, where, after two years' attendance, he was declared King of the Isles, and received a confirmation of his title to him and his successors. Notwithstanding this, Mary, the daughter of Reginald, set up a claim for the kingdom, and did homage for it to Edward I.; which circumstance was, 400 years afterwards, adduced as a plea on which judgment was obtained in favour of the heirs general of Ferdinand, Earl of Derby, against their uncle, Earl William.
From this time the power of the Norwegian kings began to decline, and that of the Scottish kings, from whom the Isles had been wrested, recovered strength. Deprived of that support which the inhabitants had hitherto received from Norway, and threatened by the Scots, who were preparing to regain the island by force, Magnus in 1256 visited England, to secure the protection and assistance of Henry III. Aquinus, King of Norway, in 1265 made an unsuccessful attempt to avenge the insult offered to his authority, by a descent upon Scotland, where he met with such powerful resistance, that he was forced to take shelter in the Orcades. Magnus died without issue, the same year; and Alexander, King of Scotland, having subdued the Orkneys and the Hebrides, attacked the Isle of Man, now unprotected, and achieved the conquest of it with a powerful army, in 1270, after a decisive battle at Ronaldsway, in which 900 of the Manks, with their leader, were slain: the kingdom was at once annexed to the dominions of Alexander, who, in token of his conquest, substituted for the ancient armorial ensign of the isle, which was a ship in full sail, the device of the three legs. The tyrannical oppression of the lieutenants by whom it was governed under the Scottish kings, inspired the inhabitants with the resolution of throwing off the Scottish yoke; but the bishop, informed of their determination, interfered to prevent a war, and obtained the consent both of the Manks and of the Scots to decide the contest by thirty champions selected by each party: in the conflict which ensued, the Manks' champions were all killed, and five of the Scottish warriors remained masters of the field. This victory confirmed the conquest of the Scots, and the Manks, finding no resource, submitted to their fate: the ancient regal government was abolished, and a military despotism established in its place. In 1289, the island was surrendered by the Scottish commissioners to Edward I., who restored it the following year to John Balliol; and on the death of Edward in 1307, his sucsessor Edward II. seized it, and, in the course of one year, bestowed it successively upon his favourites, Piers de Gaveston, Gilbert de M. Gascall, and Henricus de Bello Monte. In the reign of Edward III., a female descendant of Mary, daughter of Reginald, revived the claim of her family to the sovereignty of the island, and solicited the protection of that monarch, who, having ascertained the validity of her title, gave her in marriage to Sir William de Montacute, and granted such succours in ships and men, that Sir William expelled the Scots, and, to the great joy of the natives, restored the ancient government in the right line. In the prosecution of his lady's claim, Sir William had contracted so large a debt, that he was compelled to mortgage the island for seven years to Anthony Bec, Bishop of Durham, who, in 1377, obtained from Richard II. a grant of it for life. At the bishop's decease, however, it reverted to the natural heir, William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, who sold it in 1395 to Sir William Scroop, afterwards Earl of Wiltshire, who was beheaded at the commencement of the war between the houses of York and Lancaster. In the reign of Henry IV. it was in the possession of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, upon whose rebellion it was seized for the king's use by Sir William and Sir John Stanley, the latter of whom, in 1406, received a grant of the island, castle, peel, and lordship of Man, and the Isles appertaining thereto, with all the royalties, regalities, and franchises, and the patronage of the see, to him and his heirs, in as full and ample a manner as they had been granted to any former lord or king, to be held of the British crown, by liege homage, paying to the king a cast of falcons at his coronation. In this family the royalties and revenues descended regularly to William Stanley, sixth earl of Derby, who obtained from James I. a new grant of the isle which was confirmed by act of parliament. The title of "King of Man" was first exchanged for that of "Lord of Man," by Thomas, second earl of Derby.
During the parliamentary war, the island remained steadily attached to the interests of the king, and was among the last places that surrendered to the parliament. General Ireton, on the part of the parliament, offered to James, Earl of Derby, the repossession of all his estates in England, upon condition of his surrendering the Isle of Man; but the earl, in a spirited and memorable reply, rejected the offer with indignation. On the execution of the earl at Bolton-le-Moors, in 1651, the defence was undertaken by his lady; but Receiver-General William Christian, who had the command of the garrison of Castle Rushen, into which she had retired, deeming her cause hopeless, surrendered to the parliament, and the island was subsequently granted to Lord Fairfax. Charles II. restored the island to the son of Earl James; and Christian, being tried by the Manx authorities, and found guilty of treason, was shot, in January, 1662, and his estates confiscated; but the attainder was afterwards reversed, and the family restored to their estates, by an order from the king.
One of the most important occurrences in the civil history of the island was the grant, in 1703, by James, the tenth earl of Derby, and Lord of Man, of the Act of Settlement, by which the lessees of estates were finally established in possession of them, and their descent assigned in perpetuity, on the payment of certain fines, rents, and duties to the lord. This nobleman dying without issue, in 1735, the lordship of Man descended to James Murray, second duke of Atholl, as heir general of his great-grandfather, James, Earl of Derby, who was beheaded at Bolton. In order to put an end to the contraband trade of the island, which, in the beginning of the last century, had attained such an extent as materially to affect the revenue of the country, an act was passed in 1726, authorising the tenth earl of Derby to sell the royalty and revenue of the island; but though many overtures were made by the government, no purchase was concluded till after the death of the abovementioned Duke of Atholl, whose only daughter, Charlotte, Baroness Strange, being married to her cousin James, heir to the dukedom, conveyed to him the lordship of Man. Proposals for the purchase were renewed to this nobleman, in 1765, and measures being at the same time introduced into parliament for more effectually preventing the illicit trade of the island, the duke and duchess agreed to alienate the sovereignty for £70,000, reserving only the manorial rights, the patronage of the see, and some few emoluments and perquisites. A misunderstanding, however, arising in consequence of the British government claiming more than the duke and duchess intended by the treaty to relinquish, a further sum of £2000 per annum was granted to them, upon their lives, and the sovereignty of the island was then transferred to the crown. Soon after this, the act of parliament was passed, which effectually checked the contraband trade. On the ground of inadequate compensation, the duke's son John petitioned parliament, but unsuccessfully until the year 1805, when an act was passed, assigning to him and his heirs one-fourth of the gross revenue of the island; but under another act passed in 1825, the lords of the treasury purchased the whole of the remaining interest of the family, at a valuation amounting to £416,000; and the Isle of Man, with all its privileges and immunities, was thus entirely ceded to the British crown. During the present century, and especially since the island has enjoyed a daily intercourse with England, it has greatly improved in its agriculture and trade, and has more and more attracted the notice of travellers and visiters, by whom, it is thought, not less than £100,000 are now annually spent here. Its pure water, bracing atmosphere, romantic scenery, and interesting antiquities, combine to render it an agreeable watering-place.
The Island is about thirty miles in length, and from nine to eleven miles in average breadth. It is divided into two unequal parts by a mountainous ridge reaching from North Barrule, at the northern extremity, to Brada Head, at the southern; and comprehending in the chain Snaefield, Mount Greeba, Pen-ny Pot, and several others, of which the loftiest is Snaefield, 580 yards above the level of the sea. The sides, as is the case in most of the other mountains, are covered with turbary, or turf, to a short distance from the base, and with various kinds of moss, heath, and rushes, to the summit. North Barrule is a rock of clay slate, which is also the prevailing formation in South Barrule, the latter differing chiefly by being varied, on the north side, with large masses of granite, containing silvery mica, red and white felspar, and grey quartz. Greeba is of very rugged and precipitous ascent, especially in that part near the road leading from Douglas to Peel: the stratum near the surface is a glossy clay, intersected by many large veins of quartz, alternating in some parts with layers of mica slate. Pen-ny Pot, consisting chiefly of clay slate from the base to the summit, is extremely marshy. From Ramsey to Derby haven, and round the south and west shores of the island, the land terminates in cliffs of clay slate, varying in elevation from 100 to more than 250 feet; at the southern extremity is the promontory of Spanish Head, consisting of bold precipices, rising perpendicularly from the level of the beach to the height of more than 300 feet, and divided by extensive chasms into pyramidal and conical masses, which overhang the shore. Detached from this extremity of the island by a rocky channel several hundred yards in breadth (in the middle of which is an island, called Kitterland, whereon sheep are fed in the summer), is the Calf of Man, the largest of the rocky islets which surround the coast: it is nearly five miles in circumference, and comprises an area of more than 600 acres; on the western side the cliffs rise in perpendicular masses to the height of 400 feet, and its summit, which commands an extensive view of the Welsh, Scotch, and Irish mountains, is 500 feet above the level of the sea. On the south side of the Calf of Man is a very large mass of rock, called the Burrow or Barrow, in form resembling a lofty tower, and separated from the other masses by an opening of romantic appearance: near it is another, called the Eye, perforated by a natural arch resembling the eye of a needle.
The harbours are, Douglas, Ramsey, Peel, Port-le-Mary, and Castletown; and the natural havens, Derby haven, Laxey, and Port-Erin. Douglas harbour, which is dry at low water, and is considered the best dry harbour in the Irish Sea, admits vessels of considerable burthen to approach the quay at high water, the depth being then from twenty to twenty-three feet. The pier, constructed by government at an expense of £22,000, is 520 feet in length, and 40 feet broad to an extent of 450 feet from its commencement, when it expands to a breadth of 90 feet, terminating in a circular area of greater elevation than the narrower part, with a lighthouse in the centre. All vessels having goods or merchandise for bonding are, by act of parliament, compelled to deliver their cargoes exclusively at this port. The bay is two miles across, and has good anchorage except on the north side, being sheltered from all winds except the east and south-east: both its points are rocky, precipitous, and dangerous, and in the centre is a large bed of rocks, called St. Mary's Rock, or the Connister, which are just covered at high water. Ramsey harbour, accessible to vessels of 100 tons' burthen, was lately much improved by the construction of an additional pier, which increased the depth of water more than five feet: there is a lighthouse on the quay. The bay is spacious, and the anchorage good; and several herring-boats are laid up here during the winter. Peel harbour, affording shelter to vessels of small burthen, is formed by a pier 400 yards long, and varying from seven to ten yards in breadth, at the extremity of which is a harbour-light. A jetty, 40 yards in length, was erected in 1830, at an expense of £550. The depth of water at ordinary spring tides is about 15 feet, and at neap tides 11 feet. There are 120 herring-boats, of from 16 to 30 tons' burthen each, belonging to the harbour. Derby haven is the principal resort of the herringboats during part of the fishing season. At its southern extremity, and connected with the mainland by a stone wall about 100 yards in length and 12 feet thick, is the small island of St. Michael, on which a strong circular fort was erected by Charlotte, Countess of Derby, during the protectorate; the walls of this fort, on which is placed a harbour-light, are still entire, and inclose an area 18 yards in diameter, in which are the ruins of two houses, and near them the remains of a church, now used as a place of interment for Roman Catholics, and for persons shipwrecked on that part of the coast. The haven, which is a mile and a half from the direct course, is, from the greater security which it affords, usually selected as a place of landing by passengers to Castletown from Ireland. Port-le-Mary has a good harbour, protected by a pier of considerable extent, at the extremity of which is a harbour-light; and Port-Erin has an excellent bay, affording protection from all winds except the west, and much frequented by the fishing fleet at the commencement of the season. In the high lands between North Barrule and Mount Greeba rise several Streams, which run into the sea at Douglas, Ramsey, Peel, Laxey, and Castletown. The principal are, the Sulby river, which rises on the Snaefield mountain; and the Dhoo and Glass, which unite near Douglas. Even these, however, are shallow and inconsiderable; and few of the numerous others in various parts of the island, are of sufficient force to turn a mill. The Herring-fishery, for which the season commences about July and continues till the end of October, employs from 200 to 300 boats, of from fifteen to thirty tons' burthen, and mostly without decks: the number of herrings generally cured, though subject to great fluctuation, may be averaged at from eight to ten millions.
The island, like the Hebrides, is destitute of natural woods, but in various parts, plantations and shrubberies have been brought into a luxuriant state. The climate is rather milder in winter than that of the neighbouring coasts, but gales of wind and rain are frequent, and of long duration in the spring, rendering the seed-time unfavourable: the heat in summer is moderate, and the harvests are consequently later. The soil of the northern portion of the island is a light sand, resting on a bed of common clay, and in some places of clay marl; but the greater part consists of a soil resting on greywacke and on clay-slate, in general thin, and unproductive without good management. Wheat, barley, and oats are raised in abundance; and great quantities of wheat and barley are exported, these, together with herrings, constituting the chief export trade of the island. Turnips, for which the climate and the soil appear to be extremely propitious, are largely produced; flax is grown in most parts of the island, and artificial grasses thrive well. The commons, or uncultivated lands, are estimated at 31,000 acres. The principal minerals are lead and copper ores, of which veins are found in several of the mountains; the chief mines are at Laxey, Foxdale, and Brada Head near Port-Erin. Those at Laxey are worked in two levels driven from the steep banks of the river, in the higher of which, opened towards the close of the last century, and extending to the depth of 100 yards, lead and copper ores are found, together with much blende, some zinc, and a kind of mineral earth, called black jack, of which a great quantity is sent to Bristol, where, after being ground and prepared, it is converted into black paint; the lead-ore contains silver, in some instances in the proportion of 200 ounces, and generally in that of from 60 to 80 ounces, per ton. The Foxdale mines, between Castletown and St. John's, of which the chief produce is lead, with a small portion of copper, after having been for some time relinquished, were re-opened; and in 1830, a new vein of lead-ore was discovered within a few feet from the surface, affording an abundant supply with comparatively little labour and expense. Limestone is found in various parts; and below high-water mark, at Spanish Head, is a quarry of very tough clay-slate which is raised in large blocks, occasionally substituted for timber. The Roads, which were formerly exceedingly dangerous, have been much improved since 1776, when an act of Tynwald was passed for improving the highways and bridges, which has been amended by various subsequent acts; they are now little inferior to those of England, and are kept in repair by a fund arising from a tax upon retailers of ale and spiritnous liquors, on lands, houses, and dogs, licences for killing game, and by some fines.
The Commerce of the island, previously to the act of revestment in 1765, and the subsequent regulations, consisted principally in importing and exporting foreign goods, the average returns of which exceeded £350,000, and by some are stated to have amounted to half a million sterling per annum; but on the passing of that act, the customs of the port became vested in the British crown. By an act passed in the 6th of George IV., a new code of revenue laws was framed, of which the principal feature was the system of licensing the importation of certain goods charged with high duties; thus confining it to an extent proportionate to the consumption of the inhabitants, and preventing the island from becoming a depôt for smugglers. With some trifling exceptions, the exportation was confined to goods that were the produce or manufacture of the island, on which no export duty was paid. Among the imports were corn, meal, flax, seeds, linen-yarn, wood-ashes, and flesh of all kinds, which might be imported from any place free of duty; agricultural implements, black-cattle, horses, sheep, boards, brick, cordage, and twine for nets, packthread, hemp, tackle for the fisheries, hoops, linen, utensils for cloth manufacturers, salt, soap-lees, leather, tiles, trees, and timber, which might be imported duty free from all parts of the United Kingdom; balks, barrels, staves and headings for pipes, ebony, hoops, rod and bar iron, oak-planks, oars, spars, pipe-clay, and naval stores, from the British colonies. By the act 7th and 8th Victoria, c. 43, the licence system created by the act of George IV. was in a great measure abrogated, so that tea, coffee, sugar, and indeed all other articles except spirits, wines, and tobacco, may be imported without limit as to quantity, and at about one-half the English duty. Spirits, wines, and tobacco are still admitted by licence, and are thus restricted: brandy, 20,000 gallons, at a duty of 4s. 6d. per gallon; Geneva, 20,000 gallons, duty 2s. 6d.; rum, 70,000 gallons, duty 1s. 6d.; and tobacco, 70,000 lb., at a duty of 1s. 6d. per lb. The act also abolished the system of harbour dues, and opened the ports to the commerce of any part of the world; the change altogether has greatly increased the trade of the island, and the customs' revenue. No foreign imported goods, except corn, can be exported to British ports, the penalty being the forfeiture of the vessel and cargo. The manufacture of sheeting, linen, towelling, sailcloth, and sackcloth, was introduced about the beginning of the present century, when flax-mills were erected; and about the same period the woollen manufacture was established. There are also extensive breweries, paper-mills, tanneries (chiefly for the Manx hides and skins), candle and soap manufactories, and various others, which the freedom from the excise duties tends greatly to encourage: the quantity of leather being insufficient for the supply of the inhabitants, much is imported from England, which is of a very superior quality. Distilleries of all kinds are prohibited by the British government, under a penalty of £200, with forfeiture of all implements employed in the process.
The Government was originally vested in the ancient king, and his council of elders, called Taxiaxi, from a Celtic term of that import, or, according to another opinion, from Taxi, a corruption of Taisgi, a guardian, and Acci, hereditary property. The institution of the assembly is attributed to the Danish prince Orry, who, having added the Hebrides and Orcades to his conquest of this island, directed the inhabitants to choose sixteen representatives, and those of the out-isles eight, to assist him in the government. This assembly consisted of the principal landowners, but for what time the institution continued, and what powers were exercised, cannot now be distinctly ascertained. Since the act of revestment, the functions of the several officers of administration have been more explicitly defined; but the internal policy, laws, and ancient usages of the island remain unchanged; and it is still free from the imposition of direct taxes, with the exception of those for the making and repairing of highways and bridges, previously noticed.
The civil government is vested in Her Majesty; in a council consisting of a governor, and other principal officers; and the House of Keys, comprising twenty-four representatives; the two latter estates together constituting a court of Tynwald, by which all public laws are enacted and promulgated. The Governor, who, with all the civil and military officers, is appointed by the crown, is chancellor ex officio; and his consent is necessary to the enactment of a law. A Lieutenant-Governor performs all the functions of the governor in his absence. The Council consists of the governor, or lieutenant-governor, the bishop of the diocese, the attorney-general, the clerk of the rolls, the two deemsters, the receiver-general, the water-bailiff or admiralty judge, the archdeacon, and the vicar-general, who are ex officio members of the body: the duty of the council is to advise the governor, and to assist him in the administration of justice in his several courts. The House of Keys is the assembly anciently called Taxiaxi: it is supposed to have obtained the name Keys from interpreting, in all cases, the common law; to it lies an appeal from the inferior law courts, and it hears appeals in all cases of disputed titles to landed property. The members fill up vacancies in their body by a majority of votes, nominating two persons, of whom the governor elects one, who thus becomes a member for life; the House may be assembled at the pleasure of the governor. The two Deemsters are officers of very extensive jurisdiction and of high authority, being chief justices of the island: one, presiding over the northern part, keeps his court at Ramsey; and the other, over the southern division, at Douglas. They have cognizance of all causes exceeding the sum of 40s., not being actions for "unliquidated" damages, or such as properly belong to the court of chancery. A High Bailiff is appointed for each of the four towns, by commission from the governor; he is conservator of the peace, and superintendent of police, having jurisdiction in all matters of debt under the amount of 40s. A Coroner, who also has powers analogous in many respects to those of English sheriffs, is appointed by the governor to each of the six sheadings or great divisions of the island. In each parish is an ancient officer, called a Moar, whose duty it is to collect the rents, escheats, waifs, and estrays due to the lord, and to execute the orders of the court baron.
The Laws of the island still retain much of their ancient peculiarity of character, though modified by occasional acts of Tynwald, and in some respects rendered more in unison with those of England. The common law was formerly administered by the deemsters and keys, who, under the lord proprietor, governed the island by a lex non scripta, committed to their loyalty and fidelity, as a sacred trust, and by them orally communicated to posterity. Hence the Manks, at the remotest period of antiquity, designated their common law by the name of "Breast Laws," from its being deposited in the breasts of the deemsters and keys, and only on important occasions divulged to the people. The island has always been governed by its own laws: its most ancient records are the laws and ordinances enacted by the court of Tynwald in 1417. The statute book commences in 1422, and contains a collection of statutes, ordinances, and customs, "presented, reputed, and used for the laws of the island." The laws enacted in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries have but little weight as precedents; a more regular system of legislation commenced about the year 1764, since which several alterations have been made. By an act of Tynwald in 1777, and subsequently in the 57th of George III., the code now in general use was revised, the institution of the grand jury differing from that of England only in the additional benefit of receiving evidence on the part of the accused, which enables them with more certainty to decide upon the finding of a bill.
The principal Courts are those of Chancery, Exchequer, Common Law, General Gaol Delivery, Admiralty; the Deemsters', the High Bailiffs', and the Ecclesiastical courts. The Court of Chancery, in matters of civil property, has the most extensive jurisdiction of all the courts in the island, and is both a court of law and equity: the governor, or, in his absence, the lieutenantgovernor, who is the representative of the sovereign, presides, assisted by the deemsters, the clerk of the rolls, and the water-bailiff or admiralty judge. The Court of Exchequer, which is generally held immediately after the court of chancery, under the governor, or lieutenant-governor, takes cognizance of all matters connected with the revenue. The Courts of Common Law are held at Castle Rushen, and Ramsey, four times in the year; the governor is president, but his duties are performed by one of the deemsters, agreeably to a statute law to that effect. The court takes cognizance of all actions, real, personal, and mixed, and of all suits at common law that require to be determined by a jury. The Court of General Gaol Delivery is held in Castle Rushen twice in the year, under the governor, or lieutenant-governor, assisted by the judicial members of the council, and other officers, for determining upon all offences which by the laws of the island are deemed capital. The Court of Admiralty, in which the waterbailiff presides as sole judge, is held every Saturday, and takes cognizance of all pleas respecting maritime affairs, and of all offences committed on the seas, within the distance of three leagues from the shores of the island. The Deemsters' Courts, which are of great antiquity, are held twice a month in the north and south districts into which the island is divided, the former at Ramsey, Kirk-Michael, or Peel, and the latter at Douglas and Castletown; they take cognizance of assaults, debts, contracts, and all causes not involving the inheritance of land. The High Bailiffs' courts are held at Castletown, Douglas, Peel, and Ramsey. The Court for Insolvent Debtors is held half-yearly at Castletown. The ecclesiastical courts are, the Consistorial Court, in which the bishop, or his vicar-general, and registrar preside, for all matters relating to the probate of wills, granting letters of administration, almony, church assessments, the guardianship of property belonging to minors, and on all matters pro salute animæ; the Court of the Vicar-General, which takes cognizance generally of all offences against religion and the interests of the church; and the Chapter or Circuit Court, for matters connected with the see, and the general affairs of the diocese.
The Military Establishment of the island consists generally of one or two companies of regular troops from regiments in England, stationed at Castletown, for manning the garrisons, and for the defence of the coast, under the command of the governor. Each of the parishes furnishes four men on horseback, armed, under a captain appointed by the governor; and in each is also an officer, appointed by the governor, called the captain of the parish, who on emergency calls out the militia under his command, and who is also by virtue of his office conservator of the peace.
The towns are Castletown, Douglas, Peel, and Ramsey. Castletown, in the parish of Kirk-Malew, anciently called Rushen, contains 2283 inhabitants, and, being the seat of government, is considered the capital: it is situated at the southern extremity of the island, and on the western shore of Castletown bay, opposite the promontory of Langness Point, 9½ miles (S. W.) from Douglas, the principal port. The town is the most ancient in the island, and is supposed to be coeval with the erection of the castle of Rushen, from which it derived its name, and which was founded by Guttred, the second Danish sovereign in succession from Orry. It is intersected by a small river, over which are a drawbridge, opposite to the castle, for foot passengers, and higher up a bridge of stone for carriages. Near the castle wall is a spacious area, forming the market-place; a convenient markethouse, with an assembly-room over it, was built in 1830. In the town and its vicinity are breweries, corn-mills, lime-kilns, and tanneries. At Derby haven is a small village, chiefly consisting of cottages and some large herring-warehouses. The Castle, which was originally the principal fortress in the island, is situated on the west side of the river, and is considered to bear a striking resemblance to the castle of Elsinore, in Denmark; it is surrounded by a lofty embattled wall and a fosse, and defended by a glacis of stone, said to have been added by Cardinal Wolsey, when guardian to Edward, Earl of Derby. The building is quadrangular, with square towers on the sides, the largest being more than 80 feet high: within the area are some commodious modernised apartments, until of late the residence of the lieutenantgovernor, and some rooms in which the courts are held; and on the walls are three buildings of small dimensions, where the records are kept, and the business of the Rolls' office is transacted. The keep, which is built of hard limestone resembling that found in the neighbourhood, is still entire, and forms the only prison in the island.
The old Chapel of Castletown, erected in 1698 by Bishop Wilson, was taken down in 1826; and the present edifice, handsomely built of limestone cemented, with an octagonal tower, was erected at an expense of £1600. There are places of worship for Primitive Methodists, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics. King William's College was founded in 1830, by the trustees of property now producing £500 per annum, assigned by Bishop Barrow, in 1668, for the promotion of sound learning, the education and support of two young men to supply the Manx churches, and other charitable uses. The course of studies embraces religious instruction, the classics, mathematics, oriental literature, the modern languages, navigation, and other sciences, forming a complete and general system of education; the pupils pay a small sum per quarter, and a small admission fee towards the establishment of a library. The buildings, which were consumed by fire in Jan. 1844, were partly in the early English and partly in the Elizabethan style, and formed a spacious cruciform structure, 210 feet in length from east to west, and 135 from north to south: at the intersection rose an embattled tower, 115 feet high, strengthened with buttresses, and crowned by a parapet. They included a handsome church, in the early English style, the erection of which was defrayed from funds collected in England by Bishop Ward, for providing additional churches in the island; and the collegiate buildings, which cost £6000, defrayed partly with money saved out of the academic fund, and partly by the liberal subscriptions of the inhabitants, comprised a public lecture-room, a large hall for a library, four large class-rooms, and houses for the masters, containing numerous apartments for the accommodation of pupils as boarders.
Douglas, the largest and most populous town in the island, is situated partly in the parish of Kirk-Braddan, but chiefly in that of Onchan, near the centre of the eastern coast, and on the south of the large semicircular bay of the same name. This town, which contains 10,000 inhabitants, derives its name from the rivers Dhoo and Glass uniting their streams a little above it, and falling into the harbour; it is of a triangular form, the longest side extending from the bridge at the upper end of the harbour, in a north-eastern direction, towards the coast, and the shortest from the same point in a direction towards the pier. The streets are in many parts inconvenient and narrow, and the houses without order or uniformity of appearance; but from the importance of its commerce, and the advantages of its port, it has undergone considerable improvement, and in the suburbs are several new streets regularly formed, and houses of handsome appearance. The town is partially paved, and lighted with gas by a company chartered by act of Tynwald, and the inhabitants are well supplied with water: the pier forms an agreeable promenade. To the south is a range of hills, called Douglas Head; and on the north-east are to be seen the cliff of Clay Head and the mountains of Snaefield and Pen-ny Pot, with the spacious intervening bay, to the right of which is a long extent of the Cumberland coast, crowned with distant mountains: from the summit of Douglas Head, the high lands of Wales are plainly discernible. The bay, with the town and country above it rising from its shores in the form of an amphitheatre, forms a beautiful object, as approached from the sea; and to the north of the town are extensive and firm sands. About half a mile beyond the town is Mona Castle, a magnificent mansion, erected at an expense of £40,000, by the Duke of Atholl, of a fine white sandstone brought from the Isle of Arran. Near it is an elegant marine villa, the late residence of Colonel Stewart, pleasantly situated; and adjoining the lodge is the Marine Terrace, a handsome range of houses of modern erection. At the entrance of the bay, on the south shore, is a battery of two guns. On the banks of the river, west of the town, are several handsome seats, among which is the Nunnery, a building in the early English style, so called from the contiguous ruins of a religious establishment founded, according to Manx tradition, in the sixth century, by St. Bridget, and of which the prioress was a baroness of the island. The salubrity of the air, and the fineness of the beach, have rendered Douglas a place of general resort for sea-bathing, and suitable residences and lodginghouses have been erected at the northern extremity of the bay, and in the town, for the accommodation of the numerous visiters who frequent it during the summer months. On the 16th of August, 1847, it was visited by Her Majesty when on her way to Scotland, with her royal consort and suite, the royal squadron anchoring in the bay: Her Majesty expressed herself highly delighted with the romantic scenery around. A neat theatre is opened during the season; four newspapers are printed, and there are several libraries and newsrooms in the town, and a United Service Club established in 1829.
Considerable trade is carried on at Douglas with the neighbouring coasts; and the building of small vessels and fishing-boats, both for home and for foreign use, is greatly encouraged, the shipwrights being remarkable for their skill. There are also several soap-manufactories, tanyards, breweries, and corn-mills, in the town and neighbourhood. The custom-house, a commodious building, situated on the quay, was formerly the residence of the Duke of Atholl. There is a steam-packet to Liverpool direct, every day during summer, and twice a week during winter; also a regular line between Douglas and Fleetwood. Steam-vessels running between Liverpool and Glasgow call daily, and one from Whitehaven to Dublin every Saturday on her way thither, and every Monday on her return, during the summer: there are also several traders from the port to Liverpool, Whitehaven, and the Scottish and Irish ports. The market, on Saturday, is well furnished with provisions of all kinds; and there is an ample supply of fresh fish throughout the year, with a little salmon during the summer months. A fair for cattle is held on November 12th. The deemster for the southern division of the island holds his court here as occasion requires, and the high bailiff his court every Saturday for the recovery of debts under 40s. The vicar-general holds an ecclesiastical court every alternate Friday, and a chapter or circuit court in spring and autumn. The court-house, situated near the pier, is a plain building, with a small lock-up house for the confinement of offenders previously to their being sent to Castletown for trial.
On one side of the market-place is a small chapel, dedicated to St. Matthew, to which is attached a library, established by Bishop Wilson, and augmented by Bishop Hyldesley with a bequest of 200 volumes. On an eminence to the west of the town is a neat chapel dedicated to St. George; and in Fort-street is another, dedicated to St. Barnabas, in the early English style, with turrets crowned with pinnacles at the angles of the nave, and at the west end a handsome tower surmounted by a spire, 140 feet high. The two first chapels are in the gift of the Bishop, and the last in the gift of Trustees. The fine church of St. Thomas was erected in 18478. A condemned sloop of war, on the application of Bishop Ward, was presented by Earl de Grey, when first lord of the admiralty, and is moored in the harbour as a mariner's chapel. There are places of worship for Independents, Primitive Methodists, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics. A national school, established in 1810, and for which commodious schoolrooms have been erected at an expense of £1120, is supported by subscription; a house of industry has been established within the last few years, and there are various benefit and friendly societies.
Peel, anciently called Holme Town, in the parish of Kirk-German, containing 2133 inhabitants, is situated on the western coast, 10½ miles (N. W.) from Douglas, and 12 miles from Castletown. It is chiefly remarkable for the remains of its ancient castle and cathedral, to which it was indebted for its early importance. Prior to the sale of the island in 1765, Peel was a place of considerable commerce, and the resort of smugglers; but since that period the inhabitants have been principally employed in agriculture and the fishery, herrings on this part of the coast being taken in abundance, and not less than 120 boats belonging to the harbour. The market is on Friday, chiefly for provisions; and there are fairs on March 28th and July 24th, for horses and cattle. The deemsters hold their courts here occasionally; the high bailiff a court every Saturday, for the recovery of debts under 40s.; and the vicar-general a chapter or circuit court, in spring and autumn. A new court-house has been erected. The free grammar school was founded in 1746, by Philip Moore, Esq., who endowed it with £500; the mathematical school was founded in 1763, by the Rev. James Moore, of Dublin, who bequeathed the ground-rent of three houses in that city. There is also a national school, and several small bequests have been left for instruction.
The remains of the Castle are situated on a small rocky island, about 100 yards west of the town, and separated from it by Peel river, but joined to the mainland by a stone wall narrowing towards the summit, built many years since to defend the harbour. The walls are flanked with towers, and inclose a polygonal area of about five acres, almost filled with the ruins of walls, buildings, and dwelling-houses; in the centre is a pyramidal mound of earth surrounded by a ditch, supposed to have been either a tumulus raised over the ashes of some illustrious chief, or a mount from the summit of which harangues were made to the populace. Within the area are the ruins of the church of St. German, erected about the year 1245, as the Cathedral, but which has not been used, except as a burial-place, for many years: beneath the eastern part of it is a vault, 18 feet deep, of which the groined roof is supported on low dwarf pillars, and which was anciently used as the ecclesiastical prison. Bishop Hyldesley was the last prelate enthroned in the church. The ruins of St. Patrick's, the first Christian church erected in the island, are a little to the west of the cathedral, and exhibit some characteristics of the Norman style. In the rocks along the neighbouring coast are many curious caverns; and agates and cornelians are found on the sands. About three miles from the town is the Tynwald Mount, where all new laws, according to ancient usage, must be promulgated to the people. When the legislative assembly is collected, a chair under a canopy is placed on the summit for the governor, or lieutenant-governor, below whom, on terraces, the deemsters, the council, and the keys, take their places, according to their respective orders, the surrounding area being occupied by the people. The Tynwald court is held on July 5th, when coroners are appointed for the year. The legislative assembly meet at St. John's chapel, from which, after divine service has been performed, they move in procession to the mount.
Ramsey, containing 2104 inhabitants, is situated on the north-eastern coast, in the parish of Kirk-Maughold, 15½ miles (N. N. E.) from Douglas, and 25 (N. E.) from Castletown, near the mouth of the Sulby, the largest river in the island, over which is a stone bridge of three arches. The neighbourhood, which is exceedingly picturesque, and adorned with several handsome seats and pleasing villas, is remarkable as the scene of numerous battles fought between the Danes and the Scots, when the latter had possession of the island. On Her Majesty's return from Scotland, in the autumn of 1847, the royal squadron anchored for five hours in Ramsey bay, Prince Albert going on shore, and ascending a contiguous eminence, that he might survey the country. From this height, his royal highness commanded a view of five parishes, with their villas and gardens, of the distant sea, and the highlands of Scotland; he was highly gratified, and acknowledged in glowing terms the beauties of the scenery before him. The inhabitants of Ramsey and its vicinity, flattered by the royal attention, named the mount "Mount Albert," and a contiguous glen "Victoria Glen," and raised a subscription to erect a monument on the former as a lasting memorial of the visit. The town is irregularly built; the streets are wide, clean, and well paved. The trade consists principally in the exportation of Manx produce, especially wheat, amounting in value to about £40,000 per annum; and several steam-packets between Liverpool and Glasgow call at the port twice in the week. The market, on Saturday, is abundantly supplied with provisions, which are lower in price than at any other town in the island. Common-law courts are held here quarterly, a deemster presiding; the deemster for the northern division of the island holds his court occasionally, and the high bailiff his court every Saturday for the recovery of debts under 40s. An ecclesiastical court, in which either the bishop or his vicar-general presides, takes place every alternate week; and a chapter or circuit court, in spring and autumn. The court-house, which is the largest in the island, is a neat building, ornamented over the entrance with the arms of England and those of the island sculptured in stone. A new chapel, dedicated to St. Paul, and situated in the market-place, was erected in 1819, by subscription, and the old chapel, just without the town, is now used as a burial-place for strangers. The living is in the Bishop's gift; income, £100. There are places of worship for Scottish Presbyterians, Primitive Methodists, and Wesleyans; also two national schools; and some small sums have been left for instruction, and for the poor.
The See, according to Camden, was originally established in the ninth century by Pope Gregory IV., in the small village of Sodor, in Iona, or St. Columb's Isle, corruptly called Icolmkill, a small island of the Hebrides. In 1098, Magnus, King of Norway, having by conquest obtained possession of those islands and the Isle of Man, united them under one bishop, in whose jurisdiction they continued till 1333, when the English took the island; since which period, though the bishop has maintained no claim to the see of Sodor, he has retained the ancient title of Sodor and Man. He enjoys all the dignities and spiritual rights of other bishops, with the exception of having a vote in the house of peers, in which, by courtesy only, he has a seat. The see was annexed to the province of York in the 33rd of Henry VIII. The ecclesiastical government is vested in a bishop, archdeacon, a vicar-general, a registrar, an official, and an archdeacon's registrar; the bishop has an endowment of £3000 per annum.
The Island is divided into the north and south portions, each of which contains three sheadings. In the north division are, Ayre sheading, comprising the parishes of Kirk-Andreas, Kirk-Bride, and Kirk-Christ-Lezayre; Garff sheading, those of Kirk-Lonan and Kirk-Maughold; and Michael sheading, those of Kirk-Ballaugh, Jurby, and Kirk-Michael. In the southern division are, Glanfaba sheading, comprising the parishes of Kirk-German, Kirk-Marown, and Kirk-Patrick; Middle sheading, those of Kirk-St. Anne, Kirk-Braddan, and Kirk-Onchan; and Rushen sheading, those of Kirk-Arbory, Kirk-Christ-Rushen, and Kirk-Malew.
The parish of Kirk-Andreas is situated in the northern part of the island, and contains 2332 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £800. The church, rebuilt in 1802, contains a handsome marble font, which formerly belonged to Philip I. of France, but, being confiscated at the time of the Revolution, was presented to the parish by Mr. Corlett: near the entrance gate is an ancient cross with Runic inscriptions. A second incumbency, called St. Jude's, is in the gift of the Archdeacon; income, £100. There is a parochial school, and at Kerro-Garroo a school for girls; also a national school in the parish. A fair is held in the village on the 11th of December, for cattle. Near a seat called Ballacurry, is a quadrangular encampment, supposed to have been constructed by the parliamentarian troops. Some barrows have been opened in the parish, and found to contain urns and other relics.
Kirk St. Anne parish, 4 miles (N. E.) from Castletown, on the road to Douglas, contains 769 inhabitants, and comprises by measurement 4000 acres, chiefly in pasture. Stone of good quality is quarried for building, and also for repairing the roads. The village is neatly built, and the surrounding scenery pleasingly diversified. A fair for cattle is held on Whit-Monday. The living is a vicarage in the patronage and impropriation of the Crown; the vicarial tithes, by a recent act of the Manx legislature, have been commuted for a rent-charge of £175, and the glebe comprises 7 acres. The church is a small neat edifice, built in 1720. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists. A national school was endowed with £100, by Mr. William Leece, of Liverpool, in 1805; and in the village is a small school of industry for girls. About a mile to the east of the church, is an irregular circle of stones, probably Druidical; and on the coast to the left of Greenock Creek is an oblong tumulus called Cronk na Myrrhow, or the Hill of the Dead.
Kirk-Arbory parish is situated in the southern part of the island, and, including the village of Colby, contains 1615 inhabitants. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £150; impropriator, G. Quirk, Esq. There is a parochial school. Fairs are held on June 22nd, October 28th, and December 6th. Near Balladoole is a brackish spring, issuing perhaps from a salt rock. Behind Colby House is Kiel-Pharrick, or Kirk-Patrick, a good specimen of the ancient kiels, or kirks, so common in the island: these kiels consist of a small inclosed area occupied with graves, in the centre of which are the ruins of the ancient church, generally of a quadrangular form, and of diminutive proportions. In the vicinity are five lofty stones of uncommon dimensions, and some other Druidical remains; and there are barrows in various parts of the parish.
Ballaugh parish lies in the north-western portion of the island, and contains 1516 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the patronage of the Crown, with a net income of £300; one-third of the rectorial tithe be, longs to the bishop. The old church, dedicated to St. Mary, is about a mile from the village; near which a new building has been erected, in the early English style, with a lofty embattled tower of three stages strengthened with buttresses and crowned by pinnacles. There is a parochial school. A brewery has been established; fairs take place annually on May 20th and August 26th. In this and the adjoining parishes are several rabbit-warrens; and near the village are pits of shell marl, in which heads, horns, and skeletons of gigantic antediluvian elks have been found: a complete skeleton, of the largest dimensions, is deposited in the museum of the University of Edinburgh.
Kirk-Braddan parish includes part of the town of Douglas, and contains 2379 inhabitants. There are paper and corn mills, and a linen manufactory employing about 400 persons, to which are attached a flaxmill and spacious bleaching-grounds. The living is a vicarage, endowed with the tithes of four quarter lands; net income, £175; patron, and appropriator of the remainder of the tithes, the Bishop. The church is pleasantly situated in a picturesque spot, about two miles from Douglas, on the road to Peel: in the churchyard are a Runic pillar with an inscription, and several ancient crosses. Other incumbencies are noticed under the head of Douglas. Here is a parochial school. Near the bleaching-green, on that branch of the Douglas river called the Glass, is a fortified hill named Castle Ward; and in the vicinity are various ruins of kiels, or kirks, which are preserved with scrupulous veneration.
Kirk-Bride is the most northern parish in the island, and contains 1153 inhabitants. A fair for cattle is held on February 12th. In the parish is the Point of Ayre, forming the northern extremity; the land is very low, and the shoals that extend to a considerable distance from the shore have occasioned many shipwrecks. A few years since, a lighthouse was erected near the Point, rising to the height of 106 feet above the level of the sea. The living is a rectory, in the patronage of the Crown, with an income of £300; one-third of the rectorial tithe belongs to the bishop. The church is dedicated to St. Bridget. A school is supported.
Kirk-Christ-Lezayre parish, situated near the town of Ramsey, contains 2322 inhabitants; it is very extensive, and abounds with picturesque views and much beautiful scenery. Turf and bog-timber are found in considerable quantities within its limits. Fairs for cattle are held at the village of Sulby, on the 4th of June and 24th of July. The living is a vicarage, with a net income of £176; the patronage, and two-thirds of the rectorial tithes, belong to the Crown, and the remaining third of the rectorial tithes to the bishop. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. A chapel dedicated to St. Stephen was erected at Sulby in 1839; it is a handsome cruciform structure in the later English style, with a tower surmounted by a spire, and contains under the same roof schoolrooms for boys and girls, which, being thrown open by sliding panels, form on Sundays a part of the space allotted to the congregation. The living is in the gift of the Bishop; income, £60. In addition to the parochial school are, the Sulby school, endowed with £11 per annum; and the Mountain school, founded in 1764.
Kirk-Christ-Rushen parish, 4 miles (W.) from Castletown, contains 3079 inhabitants, and comprises several thousand acres, of which 5428 are titheable; it includes Spanish Head, the Calf of Man, and the villages of Port St. Mary and Port Erin. The Calf of Man contains only a small portion of arable land, the remainder consisting of sheep-walks, wearing a dreary aspect, unenlivened, with the exception of the garden of the farmer, by either shrub or tree. This small isle is the resort of sea-fowl and aquatic birds of every kind, and abounds with rabbits, of which not less than 2000 are annually killed. In another part of the parish, some lead-mines were formerly wrought, but have been for a long time discontinued; there are good quarries of limestone, and also of freestone for building. Port St. Mary and Port Erin are pleasantly situated and neatly built, and the surrounding scenery abounds with romantic features. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes have been commuted for £140, and the glebe contains one acre, with a house lately built. The church is a plain neat edifice, erected in 1757. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists; and a parochial, a national, and a girls' school. Between Port St. Mary and Port Erin are two huge masses of unhewn slate, called the "Giants' quoiting stones;" and within a mile of them is Fairy Hill, a barrow situated in a low morass, from which two defiles lead respectively to Port Erin bay and Fleswick creek.
Kirk-German parish, including the town of Peel, contains 4029 inhabitants. The living is a vicarage; net income, £160; patron and appropriator, the Bishop. The church is dedicated to St. Peter. There is a parochial school; and at St. John's is a chapel, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Crown. Fairs are held at St. John's on March 17th, May 1st and 18th, July 5th, and November 1st. There are several ancient kiels in the parish.
Kirk-Jurby parish occupies the north-western part of the island, and contains 1063 inhabitants. The living is a vicarage; net income, £170; patron and appropriator, the Bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Patrick, stands about half a mile to the north-east of Point Jurby, on an elevated site, from which the high lands of England, Scotland, and Ireland, may be plainly discerned. In the churchyard is a barrow, and in other parts of the parish are various others, besides several watch and ward hills. There is a parochial school. A fair is held on April 5th, for hiring female servants. Turf and bog-timber are found in the parish, in abundance.
Kirk-Lonan parish, 7 miles (N. E. by N.) from Douglas, contains 2220 inhabitants, and comprises 755 acres, of which about 600 are sheep pasture, a few acres woodland, and the remainder inferior arable; the substratum is chiefly freestone of good quality for building, which is extensively quarried, and there are some mines of lead and copper ore. The village of Laxey is finely situated on the sea-shore, near the influx of a stream on whose banks are a flax-mill and a paper-mill, in the latter of which a considerable quantity of paper is manufactured for exportation. Fairs are held on the 10th of May and the 5th of August, for horses and cattle. The living is a vicarage, endowed with one-third of the tithes of the parish: the net income is £140, and the patronage and impropriation belong to the Crown; the glebe comprises 13 acres. The church, dedicated to St. Lomanus, was rebuilt by subscription, in 1833, and is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a tower surmounted by a spire. At Dhoon is an incumbency in the gift of the Bishop; income, £60. Here are places of worship for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists; also a parochial, and a national school. About two miles on the road to Douglas are parts of a Druidical tomb, called the Cloven-stones, from two stones loftier than the others, and by tradition said to have been erected over the remains of a Welsh prince who, having landed at Laxey for the invasion of the island, was killed by the natives, and interred on the spot. There are also numerous cairns and barrows.
Kirk-Malew parish, including Castletown, the capital of the island and the seat of government, and the villages of Ballasalla and Derby haven, contains 5368 inhabitants; it is situated at the south-western extremity of the island, and comprises by computation 12,000 acres, of which 9000 are arable, and the greater portion of the remainder meadow and pasture. The surface is boldly varied, rising in some parts into hills of mountainous elevation, and the lower grounds are watered by a river which flows into Castletown bay; the scenery is in many parts beautifully picturesque. There are mines producing lead and copper, and also some quarries of excellent building-stone; on the northern declivity of South Barrule mountain are extensive slate-quarries, and within the parish are the Foxdale lead-mines. On the banks of the river are flax and corn mills; there are likewise some breweries. A considerable trade is carried on in lime, not only for the supply of the island, but also for exportation to England, Scotland, and Ireland; the whole is brought from the quarries and lime-works belonging to Thomas Moore and Thomas Jefferson, Esqrs. The village of Ballasalla, the largest and most populous village in the island, is beautifully situated, comprehending some fine views, in which the ruins of Rushen Abbey, on the opposite bank of the river, form an interesting feature. Fairs are held at St. Mark's on the 5th of January and the 12th of May, and at Ballasalla on the 12th of August and 29th of September, for cattle. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Crown: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £140, and the glebe contains 7 acres. The church, erected in 1688, is a neat structure, and contains numerous handsome monuments. The chapel dedicated to St. Mark was erected in 1772, under the auspices of Bishop Hyldesley, who endowed it with a glebe of 60 acres; it was repaired in 1830, at the expense of the then bishop. The parish contains two other chapels, St. Mary's, and St. Thomas's; one of these is noticed under the head of Castletown. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists. The free grammar school at Castletown was founded in 1666, by Bishop Barrow, and is endowed with £60 per annum, arising from the Impropriate Fund. The parochial school at Ballasalla is endowed with £8 per annum for the master; a national school at Castletown is maintained by subscription. Near Ballasalla are the remains of the monastery of St. Mary of Rushen, founded in 1098, and endowed with one-third of the tithes of the island; and in several parts of the coast are vestiges of ancient fortifications, among which is a circular encampment, surrounded with a moat, and defended by a parapet.
Kirk-Marown parish, situated on the road between the towns of Douglas and Peel, contains 1317 inhabitants, and comprises by computation 10,000 acres, of which about one-half are arable, and the other pasture and mountain. The surface is mountainous, and the scenery much diversified, being in some parts embellished with plantations of firs, chiefly larch, and with ash, elm, and sycamore trees. The soil in the valleys is a rich loam, and on the hills a lighter kind of loam intermixed with gravel; the substratum is mostly primitive rock, and abounds with mineral produce of various kinds, but chiefly lead. A fair for horses and cows is held on the 2nd of February. The living is a vicarage; net income, £150, with 13 acres of glebe; patron, the Crown. The church was erected in 1754, by subscription, aided by the Atholl family, and is a neat structure in the early English style, containing 300 sittings. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; and a parochial school, and an infants' school, are supported partly by an endowment from the Impropriate Fund and from Lady Elizabeth Hastings' charity. The old church of the barony forms an interesting ruin. On the northern acclivity of Mount Murray are the most perfect remains of a Druidical temple to be found in the island; the main part consists of stones of moderate size, placed erect, and at regular distances, inclosing a circular area 14 yards in diameter, and to the east of the inclosure are two semicircular mounds of stone and earth, with an interval of five yards between them, circumscribing part of the circle. The spot is bleak and sterile, but the name Glen Darrah, signifying in the Manx language "the vale of the oaks," would imply that it was formerly planted.
Kirk-Maughold parish, which includes the town of Ramsey, and the villages of Maughold and Port Vullin, contains 3689 inhabitants. It is situated on the northeastern coast, extending to the bold promontory of Maughold Head, which terminates in a lofty and precipitous cliff, forming the eastern extremity of the island. The surface is boldly varied, and the scenery in many parts embellished with wood; the higher grounds command extensive sea-views, embracing in the distance the mountains of Scotland and of Cumberland. On one of the acclivities is a fine spring called St. Maughold's Well, formerly of great celebrity, and still resorted to for its medicinal properties; and at Ballaglass is a cascade of great beauty, surrounded by well-wooded scenery. The soil is for the greater part gravel, producing excellent barley; there are mines of iron in operation, the ore of which is exported to England and Scotland, and also some extensive quarries of good building-stone. Fairs are held in March and November, chiefly for cattle. The living is a vicarage, with a net income of £175; the glebe comprises 70 acres: the patronage and impropriation belong to the Crown. The church is an ancient structure in the later English style, situated in an area of three acres; it was formerly a sanctuary for criminals. At Ramsey is a second incumbency. There are two places of worship for Wesleyans; and a parochial school endowed with £15 per annum. Opposite to the church gate is a cross, and near it a column consisting of a circular shaft about five feet high, supporting a cubic block of stone, with figures sculptured on the sides; both crosses are supposed to be of Danish origin. About half way between the village and Ramsey, also, is a stone cross of great antiquity.
Kirk St. Michael parish, situated on the road from Ramsey to Peel, contains 1376 inhabitants, and comprises by computation 9000 acres, of which 5000 are arable, 2000 pasture, and about 2000 mountain and common land. It is intersected from north-east to south-west by the mountains Slieudhoo, Slieu-ne-Graughane, and Sartyl, from which the lands slope towards the sea-shore, where they terminate in precipitous heights varying from 20 to 100 feet above the level of the sea. The scenery is in many parts romantic. The heights are indented with several deep glens, watered by small streams descending from the hills and flowing into the sea, making in their progress some picturesque waterfalls; of these glens the principal are Glen Trunk, Glen Val Eirah, Glen Wyllan, and Glen Balla Gawn. Stone of excellent quality is abundant. The village, which is situated near the sea-shore, is neatly built; there are three mills for grain, and one for flax, a carding-mill, and a dye-house. Fairs for horses, cattle, and sheep are held on the 10th of October. Within a mile to the west of the village is Bishops' Court, the episcopal palace, an ancient structure, of which mention occurs in the thirteenth century. The building was originally a massive tower, surrounded by a moat including a spacious area, but has been improved at various times by successive prelates; Bishop Murray erected an elegant chapel, added several apartments to the palace, and embellished the demesne, which comprises from 500 to 600 acres. Near the village is a neat court-house; the consistory court is held on the last Thursday in every month except September and December, the bishop presiding either in person or by his vicar-general and registrar, and the vicar-general holds chapter courts in spring and autumn. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £165, with a glebe of 25 acres. The church, rebuilt in 1835, at a cost of £1300, is in the Norman style, and contains 800 sittings; it has since been coated with Roman cement, at an expense of £200. In the churchyard are the tombs of the venerable Bishop Wilson, who died in the 93rd year of his age, and the 58th of his prelacy, and of his successor, Bishop Hyldesley: Dr. John Phillipps, Dr. George Mason, and Dr. C. Crigan, bishops of the see, were likewise interred here. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists. A parochial and a national school, in one building erected in 1841, are partly supported from the Impropriate Fund and Lady Elizabeth Hastings' charity. Opposite to the churchyard gate is a lofty square Runic pillar of slate-stone, curiously sculptured from the base to the summit, with devices singularly involved, and bearing an inscription to the honour of Thurulf, a Norwegian chief. There are several barrows in the neighbourhood. The late Col. Mark Wilks, author of Historical Sketches of the South of India, was a native of the parish, of which his father was incumbent.
Kirk-Onchan parish includes the chief part of the town of Douglas, and contains above 10,000 inhabitants; it is situated on the road to Ramsey, and comprises 4782a. 3r. 16p. The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Crown: the tithes have been commuted for £140, and the glebe, in two detached portions, comprises 23 acres, with a house built in 1839. The church, dedicated to St. Paul, was erected in 1833, and is a handsome structure, in the early English style, with a tower surmounted by a spire. There are places of worship for Wesleyans; and a parochial school is partly supported by an endowment from the Impropriate Fund and Lady Elizabeth Hastings' charity.
Kirk-Patrick parish, containing 2768 inhabitants, and situated about a mile and a half from the town of Peel, was formerly part of the parish of Kirk-German, from which it was separated in 1714. It is bounded by the small river Neb, which, except in times of flood, is merely a trout stream flowing through Peel into the sea. The surface is mountainous, with comparatively little wood, though recently some plantations have been commenced, which, when sufficiently extended, will greatly enrich the scenery; the lands are chiefly arable, and the produce excellent wheat, of which considerable quantities are sent to Liverpool. To the south of the church is the romantic Glen Moij, celebrated for its beautiful waterfall. There are several quarries of blue slate little inferior to that of Wales. The manufacture of woollen-cloth and blankets is carried on occasionally for the use of the country people, on a very limited scale. The living is a vicarage; net value, £180, with a detached glebe of 40 acres; patron, the Bishop. The present church was erected on the separation of the parish, chiefly through the exertions of Bishop Wilson, who contributed £50 towards its endowment; it is a plain structure. The old church or chapel, now in ruins, is within the walls of Peel Castle. A church was erected at Dalby, in 1838, by Bishop Ward; it is a handsome edifice in the later English style, dedicated to St. James, and the living is in the gift of the Bishop. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists; also a parochial school with an endowment of £12 per annum. Near Dalby is a spot said to have been the cemetery of the Manx monarchs; it is situated under a lofty cairn, and is accessible at high water by boats. Ballamoore, in the parish, was the seat of Sir George Moore, the only native of the Isle of Man that ever attained the honour of knighthood.
The service in the several churches is performed alternately in the Manx and English languages. By letterspatent dated 1675, Charles II. granted an annuity of £100 payable from the exchequer out of the excise duties, towards the maintenance of poor clergymen of the isle; out of which, £3 per annum were to be paid to the schools of Castletown, Douglas, Ramsey, Kirk-Andreas, Ballaugh, and Kirk-Bride. The impropriate tithes of several parishes, also, were purchased from Charles, Earl of Derby, by Bishop Barrow and Archdeacon Fletcher, for the sum of £1000, as appears by indenture dated November 1st, 1666, for the purpose of augmenting the stipends of the poorer livings, and for the erection of a free school, and the support of a master, in each parish in the island. On the death of James, Earl of Derby, in 1735, James, Duke of Atholl, as heir-general of the Derby family, took possession of the tithes, for the recovery of which, or for indemnity for the loss, Bishop Wilson and Archdeacon Kippax, in 1742, filed a bill in chancery. The earl agreed to pay the annual sum of £219. 7. 10½.; and this payment having been discontinued in 1809, a bill of revivor was filed by Bishop Crigan and Archdeacon Mylrea, who eventually obtained the payment into the Bank of England of £16,000, in discharge of the obligation. The produce of this sum, £600 per annum, is appropriated to the augmentation of church livings; to the payment of £60 per annum to the master of the grammar school at Castletown, and £5. 10. per annum to each of the masters of the parochial schools. James, Duke of Ormond, in 1676 charged certain estates in Ireland with the payment of £60 per annum, for the establishment of a lectureship in philosophy, history, and logic; but after the duke's death the payment was discontinued, and Bishop Wilson obtained in commutation the sum of £600, the produce of which is appropriated to that purpose. Lady Elizabeth Hastings, in 1739, bequeathed £40 per annum, arising from lands and tenements in the West riding of Yorkshire, to be distributed among certain parishes, for instruction. Mrs. Halsalls, in 1758, bequeathed property in the isle, now producing £111 per annum, to erect a house for the master of the grammar school at Castletown, and to build and endow a free school there for girls; the residue to be annually applied to the support of the widows, and to apprenticing the orphan children, of clergymen. For this last purpose the income, augmented by subsequent benefactions, is about £110 per annum. Bishop Hyldesley left £600 to the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, to supply the islanders with religious books.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.