[From Manx Note Book, vol iii, 1887]


Years ago when I lived in Mona, I used to see the Manx Mona looming in the misty distance, and I often wished to make myself more closely acquainted with the Isle and its people; but the wish never grew to the point of driving me to set out on a journey for that purpose, until I unexpectedly learned last summer from Prof Boyd Dawkins, that two Ogam inscriptions had been found there. He put me in correspondence with Mr. Savage, about whose services to Manx archaeology it would be needless of me to speak to the readers of "The Manx Note Book." Mr. and Mrs. Savage's kind invitation at once decided me to make my long deferred visit to Mann, which was rendered doubly agreeable by finding Prof. Boyd Dawkins and Dr. Beddoe already at St. Thomas' Parsonage. The weather was, I believe, all that could be desired by Manannan MacLir, who is fond of surrounding himself and his tricks with mist and fog; but it was not quite favourable to our pursuits. We managed, however, to see a good deal, and to spend a week in a manner that was to me most pleasant and instructive. Our pursuits differed, but we had enough in common never to suffer from a lack of interest, each in what the others were after; and even if the germ of that tendency had been there, the wettest weather could not have made it bloom into ennui so long as we had such a genial and vigorous leader as the vicar of St. Thomas', not to mention other gentlemen, to whose enthusiasm and local knowledge we owed not a little. When the weather forbade the examination of exposed rocks and weather-beaten cliffs, heads could be measured and skulls described in a snug smithy, and questions could be asked about Manannan MacLir and the pronunciation of Manx words, not to mention that in the evening one had further chances of acquainting one's self with the more classic form of the language and of hearing stories about a native buggane. On the whole, however, I have to complain on this point, that the Manx people are much too enlightened, and that either I was not among them long enough to tap their stores of folklore, or else it is too late in the day to look for it. On the other hand I found to my delight that the ancient vernacular is not so near extinction as I had imagined it to be ; and altogether I came away with such pleasant recollections of my week in the island, that I took the opportunity of pursuading the first friend I met here devoted to the same sort of pursuits as myself to follow my example. Dr. Vigfusson remarked to me one day that he was going to the Isle of Wight for a few days, which made me ask him-"What interest do you feel in the jutes ? Why not go to the Isle of Mann instead ? " I need not tell the readers of the "Note Book" which of the two islands he did visit, and with what excellent results he came away. The three Ogams I examined must appear a very small find compared with the score of Runic inscriptions of which he was able to note the correct reading. I am not so vain as to claim any credit for my casual questions to Dr. Vigfusson, but I had long wished to see a reliable edition of the Runic monuments in the Isle of Mann, on account of the Celtic names they contain ; for it is always instructive to observe how the names borrowed from one nation are treated by another. This appears more evident than ever in the case of the Goidelic names recorded on the Manx monuments, now that we have an accurate reproduction of them; and especially welcome is anything that may tend to shed light on the unknown Pictish or Goidelo-Pictsh population of the Islands and Highlands of ancient Scotland from Shetland to Mann, that must have supplied the Norsemen during their stay with wives and slaves, and produced the mixed people that colonized Iceland. For more data bearing on this we have to await the publication of Vigfusson and Powell's edition of the Landndma-bok; but, I cannot, in the meantime, help making a passing reference to the occurrence on a Runic monument in the Isle of Mann of the name Ddroia~in, only known otherwise in an Ogam inscription found at Bressay, in Shetland It does not amount to much, but it is a welcome fact in a region, where we have hardly anything but conjecture to go by.

This reminds me that I am fast forgetting the object of my writing, namely to give the readers of the "Note Book" a brief account of the third Ogam discovered in Mann, the other two having been so admirably described already by Mr. Savage, that I need not begin in the beginning. The stone is built into a wall, and Prof Boyd Dawkins describes it as consisting of sericite schist. It is 4ft. 4.5in. long, by 3.5in. broad at the wider end, and 1.9 at the other end, which is the one inscribed; but the Ogam scoring occupies only 1ft. 8.4in. of the length, as a piece has evidently been cut off, probably when the stone was built into the wall. I am assured, however, that it can hardly have been at any time quite a foot longer than it is now; this makes it impossible that the inscription can have been complete on the one edge. Possibly when the stone comes to be taken out of the wall, another part of it will prove to be inscribed. What remains of the inscription reads Cunuamagli ma ... , thus:-


The letters ma are followed by parts of two of the digits for q, and the whole word was, doubtless, maqi, the ancient genitive of the word for 'son,' and this, in its turn, was followed by the name of the father or the mother of the person whose grave the stone served to mark. Now Cunamagli is easy to identify: I mean the name. not the person bearing it, for I have no notion who he was. Cunamagli, then, as a name is a genitive of the second declension, if I may be allowed to borrow an old-fashioned term of Latin grammar; and if it occurred in Roman capitals in Wales or Cornwall, it would be found written Cunomagli. The genitive actually occurs in the somewhat later form Conomagli, in the life of a Breton Saint, which mentions a man called Maglus Conomagli filius.-* Then we have the still later form Conmægl, given in the Saxon Chronicle, as the name of one of the Welch kings vanquished by Ceawlin, at the battle of Deorham, in the year 577. In modern Welch the name is reduced to Cynfael, and sometimes to Cynfal. Its corresponding late Irish forms are Conmal and Coitmhal: Etymologically it was entitled to have its a marked long (written á ) in compensation for the elided guttural. Similarly the simple Maglus is represented in Irish by Mál, which is said to have meant a prince or hero.

A word now as to the leading names in the other inscriptions. I mean Bivaiconas, or Bivaicutias, and Dovaidona, which in a fuller spelling would be Dovaidonas with an s, a consonant which is very uncertain as a final in early Goidelic. Now, the similarity between the bulk of these two names is so great that I cannot help thinking it possible that the former should have been read Bivaiddoiias; the difference between c and dd is very small in Ogam, the former being I I I I with equal spaces between the digits, while the latter should be I I   I I with the digits arranged in two pairs, I I being the Ogam for a single d. I must, however, explain that this is an afterthought, as my note at the time on the group in question is- "four digits unequally spaced," which would represent neither c nor dd carefully cut ; so it would be well to scrutinise the inscription again. That is the sad element in an epigraphist's pursuit of knowledge: he would like to look at a monument repeatedly, and satisfy his doubts as they arise ; but, alas! it is seldom as easy to do so as to take a book down from one's shelves. But even if one could, unhesitatingly, read Bivaiddonas and Dovaidona, one would have then to face difficulties of another order.

Thus the only instance that I know of to compare is a Luguaedon in a somewhat late Irish inscription from Inchagoill, in Lough Corrib, which reads Lie Luguaedon macci Menueh,* the stone of L. son of M.' The nominatives corresponding to these genitives should be Bivaiddu, Dovaidu, and Luguaedu respectively; but, how should we analyse the compounds ? We cannot treat the second element as vaidu, for bi would be inexplicable, whereas biv represents an element not unknown in Goidelic names: we therefore try (i) Bivaidu and compare it with Bcoaedh, a name occurring more than once in the Martyrology of Donegal ; (2) Dov-aidu, which I cannot exactly parallel; and (3) Lugu-aedu, compared by Miss Stokes (loc. cit.) with the later Lugaedh, which occurs as a man's name in the same Martyrology. The element aedh In these compounds is not identical with, though related to, the Irish name Aed, written in modern Irish Aodh, Welch Aedd, Oed, + and I take it that this Aed, which was of the U declension, and the longer form Aidan, later Aedhan, genitive Aedhain, has driven the related form Aidu, genitive Aidon, which we have in the above compounds, out of use. Beo-aedh and Lugh-aedh are weighty as parallels to Bivaidu and Luguaedu; but, what are we to make of Dovaidu ? I have two conjectures to offer: dov may be for dub, 'black,' though I think it hardly probable; or, else Dovaidu is for Do-Aidu with a v developed in the hiatus, just as the Latin pueri becomes puveri' in a bilingual inscription in Wales. The prevailing treatment, however, of the prefix do in such cases was to drop the vowel and substitute t for the d, (or according to some to restore an original t): according to this view the parallel to Dov-aidu should be Taed or Taedh, of which we seem to have an actual trace in Taedh-og, or Taodh-og of Tech Taedhog, mentioned in the Donegal Martyrology, July 13. The doubling of the d in Bivaiddonas, as contrasted with the single d in Davaidona, occasions no difficulty, as a considerable amount of liberty in that respect is taken in Ogam inscriptions ; and, lastly, I will only add that the occurrence of such names as Bivaiddonas and Dovaidona, in the same burial place, would imply that the persons so-called belonged to the same family, though they do not appear to have been brothers. These conjectures are to be taken for what they are worth : another look at the stone may upset them all, but I am unwilling to come and take that other look until I hear that other Ogams have been discovered in the Island : one may be sure that there are more to come to light in due time.


Oxford, 31st January, 1887.

* See the Bollandists' Vita 8. Win-loei, March I, P. 252, 16; Kuhn's Beitrcege, iii., 349; Rhys' Welch Philology, 369,
* See Miss Stokes' "Christian Inscriptions in the Irish Language," ii., 10
plate Vi.
+ See "The Red Book Mabinoglon",(now in the Press,) p. 110.




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