"King Orry's Grave"

Location - Near Laxey - SC 483843

King Orry's Grave - Oswald's plan 1860
Sketch plan by Oswald 1860 - the site actually runs north-east to south-west

King Orry's Grave - Kermode's plan 1904 western end
Plan of western end (Kermode 1904)
King Orry's Grave - Kermode's plan 1904 Forecourt
Plan of Forecourt (Kermode 1904)

Neolithic chambered long barrow (though possibly two sites on common alignment) with open forecourt to east (this was excavated in 1953/4)- the name King Orry's Grave is probably early 19th century and supposedly coined as a joke (King Orry in Manx history is usually taken to refer to one of the early Scandinavian Kings) - Oswald who claimed to be present when the west end of the barrow was opened in the 1830's said that the name came from the uncovered cist and previous to this, the monument was nameless. (see comment in 1846 directory)

King Orry's Grave - standing stone
Standing stone at West
King Orry's Grave -  forecourt
Forecourt at East showing shaped ovate entrance
King Orry's Grave - cist
Open Cist 'grave' at western end
King Orry's Grave -
View from North West showing edge stones


The site is confusing, as the 'grave' like component (an open cist) is separated from the forecourt by a public road - there has been some question as to whether the two components are actually related (A. M Cubbon is of opinion "the suggestion of a continuous line of chambers from northeast to southwest may certainly be disregarded") but Oswald who knew the site in the 1830's was quite definite that they were connected by a long barrow, much of which has disappeared with the widening of the road, removal of stone for re-use and the building (or extending) of two cottages (see description of the 'barbarian' builder in 1868). For many years the western component was inaccessible being in a private garden but Manx National Heritage bought the surrounding cottage in the late 1990's and arranged public access.

King Orry's Grave - sketch 1873
Sketch plan by Sir Henry Dryden 1873

Historical descriptions

H. R. Oswald Vestigia Manx Soc vol 5 p63 1860

King Orry's Grave (Report in IoM Times 1868)

Dr Bradbury The Cairn at Gretch Veg YLM 1 #2 pp49/55 1889

A. W. Buckland The Monument known as King Orry's Grave... YLM 1 #2 pp42/9 1889


P.M.C. Kermode & W.A. Herdman Illustrated Notes on Manx Antiquities 1904 (not included in the 1914 2nd edition)

B. Megaw Manx Megaliths and their Ancestry Proc IOMNH&Soc IV #3 pp219/239 1938

A. M. Cubbon (ed) Prehistoric Sites in the Isle of Man
Douglas:Manx National Heritage 1971 40pp pbk (but reprinted and re-issued several times - includes some plans and a brief description of several sites)

Stephen Burrow The Neolithic Culture of the Isle of Man. A Study of Sites and Pottery (British Archaeological Reports 263)
Oxford: Archaeopress BAR, Paperback, 1997 (ISBN: 860548724)




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