[From Manx Note Book #3]
ARMORIAL BEARINGS OF MANX FAMILIES. It is a well-known fact that, with very few exceptions, none of the older Manx families possess Armorial Bearings. I am not, of course, speaking of later settlers here: neither is there anything to prevent Manx people from assuming them at their pleasure, as is done, but this is a mere modern arrangement, establishing nothing, and worthless. In the year 1837, a certain Mr. M-- of London, was making a collection of the above in connection with the Island. Can any one give me the benefit of the results, or any information on this subject ?
Orry's Dale, Isle of Man. A. M. CRELLIN.
OLD MANX FAMILIES. Would it not be advisable to publish your accounts of "Old Manx Families" in alphabetical order ? You would thus prevent any imputation of favouritism. There are many families, who, though their members have not attained official positions, are of considerable antiquity and are well worthy of notice in your Magazine. C. K. G.
[Your plan would be an excellent one, if it were not impracticable. It would mean that an account of every family which had been connected with the Island for (say) l00 years had been already drawn up, whereas the fact is that it is very difficult to obtain particulars, except with regard to a very few. The order of the publication of these will simply be settled by considerations of convenience and will have no significance whatever. We are well aware that there are many such families as those you mention, but the very fact of their members not having attained official positions renders it difficult to obtain any record of their past, except from the somewhat 'dry' pages of the Manorial Rolls. We take this opportunity of stating that all accounts of "Old Manx Families", will, in future, be published anonymously, they must necessarily be the work of several, though one may be responsible for their actual form. ED.][A MS version exists]
FUNERAL ARMOUR, (p. 74.) Although " an universal negative" is not capable of proof, I think I may venture to assure Mr Briscoe, in answer to his query, that there is no funeral armour in any Manx Church. XORTA.
THE MANX SOCIETY FOR THE PUBLICATION OF NATIONAL DOCUMENTS. I have lately seen but little relating to the "Manx Society for the Publication of National Documents." Would it not be interesting to your readers if the history of the formation and work of this Society could be given in your NOTE BOOK ? I have wondered whether the Society's work of collecting and publishing national documents is considered to be accomplished; if so, there is yet sufficient other work of a national character to be accomplished by a society formed on the same lines as the Manx Society such as the preservation of national antiquities, &c., and the establishment of a museum, as well as the preservation of our national institutions. WILLIAM CUBBON.
[We trust that the Manx Society will continue to add to the volumes already published. They have funds in hand and there is much good work yet to be done, notably the publication of the Manorial Rolls of 1511 and 1515, which have been partially prepared for the press by late Deemster Sherwood. We contemplate giving a short account of the formation and work of this society, as suggested by our correspondent. ED.]
DEEMSTERS' OATH, (p. 74.) Knowing nothing of the history of this oath, I will leave that part of the query to the men of law, and I will confine myself to the curious passage about the creation "in six days and seven nights." This arose, I fancy, from a confusion between two modes of counting days and nights. In Genesis, the six days of creation are described as "the evening and the morning ;" that gives six nights and six days. The seventh day was the day of Rest, and then, since our day of Rest begins at midnight, the author of the oath evidently thought that the previous night must have belonged to the week of creation. To a few no such confusion would occur, for their day still begins, as the day in Genesis "at sunset". E. B. S.
THE HARRY GRACE DE DIEU. The following story taken from "Men of Invention and Discovery," by Smiles (1884) will, I think, be new to the most of your readers: " The King [Henry VIII] caused a great ship to be built, the like of which had never before been seen in England, and called it Harry Grace de Dieu . . . The story long prevailed that " the Great Harry swept a dozen flocks of sheep off the Isle of Man with her bobstay." An American gentleman informed the present author that this saying is still proverbial amongst the United States sailors." I have never heard of it from any of our Manx sailors.
THE ISLE OF MANN TO BE ANNEXED TO CUMBERLAND. On the 26th February, 1767, Sir George Moore, Speaker of the House of Keys writes Bishop Hildesley, "At the Treasury, a Memorial from the Comrs of the Customs here was read, recommending the annexing of the Island to Cumberland. The answer I gave at the Treasury to this proposed Regulation was listened to, and, I believe, contributed to avert the total Ruin of the Isle, for circumstanced as the Island now is, the British Duties on Coals & Salt in the Taxes Excises on the interior commodities, are Burthens quite disproportionate to the abilities of the People." was such a scheme ever seriously considered ? C. B.
"MANN" AND "MAN," (p. 74,) Mann has been adopted in preference to Man, because it is the more usual early form, and because we believe it to be merely the shortened form of Mannin. In the Rotuli Scotiae, under date 1357, "le yle de Manne" is mentioned. Mr. J. M. Jeffcott, in his treatise on " Mann, its Names and their Origins," published in Manx Society Vol. XXX, says, "The name Mannin, or Mann, was borrowed from that of the inhabitants, and denotes the land, or country, of the Manninee."
"MANN " AND "MAN." In Hone's Year Book, Feb.15, is a curious business letter ordering copies of "The Mirror" newspaper, "to be directed fair and well, in good writing, to Mr. Kinley, of Crossack, Ballasalla, Isle of Man . . Set Mr. Kinley's name quite plain upon the frank, as they are bad, and very bad, readers of writing at the house "here the letters and papers are left at Ballasalla. . . N.B. Set two nn's in the word Mann, else they send it to the Isle of Mar, in a mistake." The letter is dated " St. Asaph in Wales, Feb. 15, 1809," and is signed E. T. Hadwen, Engineer, &c. Although the mistake here mentioned is not likely now to occur, yet I think most Manxmen would be glad to see this old spelling revived. MANNIN.
BISHOP RUTTER'S BALLAD, (p. 74.) Although the English version may be "wretched doggerel," it does not follow that the Manx is. Many a classical scholar can write the most elegant Greek or Latin verses; but if he gave an English version in rhyme it would, probably, be as poor as Bishop Rutter's. We must not measure his Manx verses by his English. Will some Manx scholar measure them by their own merits ? M. A.
CALLAGH -NY-GHUESHAG.-Who was Callagh-ny Ghueshag, the "Manx Sybil," and when and where did she live ? Are there any other prophecies of hers known besides the two or three recorded in the Manx Society's volumes ? One of her sayings, which I have not seen recorded, was " that the time would come when ships would anchor on Ballure hearth stoned, K.
PAROCHIAL LIBRARIES, (p. 74.) Some account of these, and of the steps taken to preserve them, will be found at the end of the " Isle of Mann Charities," pp. 136-139. I believe remnants are still to be found in most of the parishes, but generally in a sadly diminished state. If those who have books belonging to such libraries would restore them, many a gap might yet be filled. St. Matthew's Library is still fairly extensive, but it is, by no means, what it formerly was. Books belonging to it are to be found on bookstalls in the Market-place, and in private hands. Whenever seen by any honest man they should be at once restored to the Chaplain. TRUX.
LOSS OF THE HERRING FLEET, 1787. Belfast Newsletter," Oct. 2, 1787. "Extract from a letter from Whitehaven, Sept. 25. The great take of herrings on Wednesday (upwards of 7000 maze being brought into Douglas on Thursday morning) induced the people to send out all the boats, some reports say 300. The gale from the S.S.E. came on about 10 o'clock, and increasing with uncommon violence, the whole fleet hauled in their nets, and stood for Douglas. Some of them got safe in; but one of them, unfortunately striking against the perch, from whence the light was suspended, it fell down, and the rest of the fleet being deprived of the light, in their attempt to enter the harbour ran foul each other. Four were lost by this means, some were put ashore on St. Mary's rock, and some foundered. Three boats foundered on the herring bank, and their crews perished. Twenty-five boats were lost at Douglas, three were put ashore in the creeks between that port and Laxey, and all hands lost; and twenty-eight are on shore near Ramsey, but only one man perished. The boats carry in general seven men each; some few of a larger kind eight or nine. Twenty-six dead bodies had been cast up at Douglas, and it was feared the number of people who perished would amount to sixty or seventy.,