[From Leech's Guide, 1861]



"This sheds a fairy lustre on the floods,
And breathes a mellower bloom upon the woods;
This as the distant cataract swells around,
Gives a romantic cadence to the sound;
This, and. the deepening glen, the alley green,
The silver stream, with sedgy tufts between;
The massy rock, the wood encompassed less,
The broom-clad Island, and the nodding trees,
The lengthening vista, and the present bloom,
The verdant pathway breathing waste perfume,—
These are thy charms ; the joys which these impart
Bind thee, blessed Island! close around my heart

Leaving Ramsey by the Laxey road, and passing through Ballure, a delightful and not over-fatiguing walk may be taken by the active pedestrian to Port Lewaigue and Kirk Maughold. The way in many parts lies through an almost entire solitude, not lonely or dreary to the lover of nature; for it is enlivened by the song of birds, the exhilarating ocean breezes, and a succession of views of the heaving blue waters of the bay, with the picturesque rocks, cliffs, and undulations of the coast. Beyond Port Lewaigue, and near Port-le-Voillen, on the road side, is a plain unornamented Runic cross. The Rev. J. G. Cumming, F. G. S., who in 1848 published an admirable work on the geological features and localities of the Isle, conjectures that a Treen Oratory formerly existed here. A Treen Oratory was a small quarterland chapel. It appears that the isle of Man was anciently divided into quarterlands, or subdivisions of a parish, each having its small chapel or oratory attached. Specimens of these chapels, all in ruins, are still to be met with. Continuing his walk the pedestrian at length arrives at the antiquated parish church of Kirk Maughold, one of the most ancient and venerable on the Isle. It is situated in the centre of a large area, three acres in extent, which formerly possessed the privileges of sanctuary, and shielded from justice all criminals who could escape to its inclosure. An ancient font once decorated the interior of the church, but has been removed. The chancel windows are adorned with the sole specimen of tracery to be found on the Island. Numerous monuments crowd the churchyard, which also possesses several runic crosses. One of these stands upright, on the south side of the church, and is composed of a plain cross and circle. Another, consisting of a cross and circle, resting on a smaller cross and circle, lies prostrate on the ground near the eastern gable. A third is raised on steps before the church gates, and appears to serve as a market cross. The head of this is nearly as long as the foot. It is carved on both sides with interlacings, but much worn and rubbed, and the inscription has disappeared. Near to this cross, on the left as you enter the church gates, stands a singular cross of the fifteenth century, almost perfect in its carvings. It rests on three steps, and is composed of a slender shaft four feet ten inches high, surmounted by a quadrangular entablature three feet in height. On one face are the figures of the virgin and child, and under them a shield charged with a rose in a circle; on the reverse is a carving of the crucifixion with the three legs of man beneath. On the third side is a figure of St. Bridget, in an attitude of supplication. The fourth side, the figures of which are totally defaced, is supposed to have contained a carving of St. Maughold, the fourth bishop of the Isle of Man.

In the reign of Charles the First of England, Edmund Christian, a Manxman, was imprisoned in Peel Castle by James the Earl of Derby,—of "great" memory,—for some contumacious expressions against the English Monarch. This too freely-spoken native died in the place of his incarceration, but was buried within the walls of Kirk Maughold; and his name but brief and unfortunate history are inscribed upon its ancient register.

Maughold once proved a true city of refuge to a Mr. Allen, an excellent protestant divine of the city of Norwich, who fled from the persecution of bloody queen Mary. He was the first protestant clergyman the Island ever knew, and endowed it with a regular succession of clergymen of his own family down to an early part of the nineteenth century. The descendants of this faithful witness for the truth were vicars of Maughold for several generations.

Once upon a time there were Quakers in the Isle of Man; but they were persecuted by the Lords of the Isle, and finally expelled and their property confiscated. The only trace now remaining in Mona of this quiet benevolent sect is their graveyard, situated about a mile from Maughold church, and called "Rhullick-ny-Quakeryn."

Maughold Head forms the most eastern point of the Island. It is a bold promontory terminating in a lofty and precipitous cliff, and crowned with tiers of moss-clothed rocks. The fine spring called "St. Patrick’s Well,"[sic ? confusion with that well on St Parick's Isle near Peel ] in memory of the saint who is said to have failed in attempting to leap over it with his horse, and leaving the animal’s footprint in the rock, is supposed by some to possess considerable medicinal properties on the anniversary of each Palm Sunday, and is still the resort of considerable numbers on that day.

Having referred to the venerable bishop St. Maughold, we may be allowed to detain our readers with a portion of his history. It appears that in early life he was, by virtue of his position as an Irish prince, the lawless leader of a band of Ker~s, or banditti. St. Patrick, among other miracles during his residence in the Emerald Isle, converted this rude marauder to the peaceful doctrines of Christianity. Touched with bitter remorse for his numerous and daring crimes, the penitent prince endeavoured to assuage the agonies of a wounded conscience by an act of the severest penance. With hands and feet manacled, he caused himself to be put to sea in a small leathern boat, and abandoned to the mercy of the winds and waves. But the eye of the Master was upon him he was not thus to perish. Wafted gently along beneath a cloudless sky, the boat at length drifted to the shores of Mona, and grated upon the solitary sands near the bold headland we have lately described. The peasants crowded to the beach, and released the penitent prince from his dangerous position. Returning thanks to the Almighty Power that had preserved him through his self-inflicted perils, the royal converted bandit retired to the mountains, and became so eminent for piety,—we hope of the right kind,—that he was elected to the vacant episcopacy by the unanimous voice of the people. All this occurred somewhere about the year 460.

There is an ironstone mine at Maughold Head. A little further on at Ballaglass, the property of W. Haslam, Esq. J.P. is a fine waterfall, surrounded by picturesque woodlands, forming one of the finest cascades in the Island. This noble fall of water arises from the obstruction of a rivulet which flows from the bottom of North Baroole, and reaches the sea south of a beautiful little bay called Cornah. Immediately above the fall a large and elegant water wheel has been erected, connected with a lead mine lately opened.

Ramsey is in the parish of Maughold, and any inhabitant of Ramsey, making it a matter of conscience to attend his parish church, must weekly traverse the firm high road that leads to the ancient and interesting church, Thither also gay groups are frequently observed in a morning passing along to have the marriage ceremony performed; but more frequently the road is covered by mourners proceeding to deposit the remains of death-divided friends in the last resting place provided for the inhabitants of the parish.


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