From Manx Soc vol IV,VII & IX

Campbell's Political Survey.

The first author who mentions this Island is Caesar ; for there can be but little doubt, that by the Mona of which he speaks in his Commaentaries, placing it in the midst between Britain and Ireland, we are to understand Man ; as that the Mona of Tacitus, which he acquaints us had a fordable strait between it and the continent, can be applied only to Anglesey. Pliny has set down both Islands : Mona, by which he intends Anglesey, and Monabia, which is Man. In Ptolemy we find Monoeda or Monaida, that is the further or remote Mon. Orosius styles it Monavis, tells us that it was not extremely fertile, and that this as well as Ireland was then possessed by the Scots. Beda, who, as we have formerly remarked, distinguishes clearly two Menavian Islands, names the northern Menavia, bestowing the epithet of southern upon Anglesey. In some copies of Nennius this Isle is denominated Eubonia, in others Menavia, but both are explained to mean Man. Alured of Beverley also speaks of it as one of the Menavian Islands. The Britains, in their language, called it Manaw, more properly Main au, that is a little Island, which seems to be Latinized in the word Menavia. All which clearly proves that this small Isle was as early inhabited, and as well known to the rest of the world, as either Brltain or Ireland. This very fact, as to which we cannot entertain the least doubt, manifestly implies that the people living here were employed, as well as subsisted in some way or other, and if we could anywhere meet with a distinct account of this, it would supply us with the ancient history of Man. But as we have no chronicle of this kind, we must pick up what scattered hints we can, not to amuse the reader with hard names and antiquated fables, but, if it be in any degree practicable, to furnish him with the means of forming some idea of the past, present, and possible idea of this Island.

We have in a former section shown that in the close of the first century, the Druids, who were the Priests, Prophets, and Philosophers of the Old Britains, were finally expelled by Julius Agricola from the southern Mona ; and we are told with great probability that they took shelter in the northern. This Island they found well planted with firs ; so that they had in some measure what they delighted in most, the shelter of trees, but, however, not the shelter of those trees in which they most delighted ; and, therefore, these they introduced. No history tells us this ; but we learn it from more certain authority, great woods of fir having been discovered interred in the bowels of the earth, and here and there email groves of oaks ; but as these trees are never met with intermixed, so it is plain they never grew together ; and as the former are by far the most numerous we may presume them the natural produce of the country, and that the latter Were planted and preserved by the Druids. They gave the people with whom they lived, and over whom they ruled, a gentle government, wise laws, but with these a very superstitious religion. It is also very likely that they hindered them, as much as they could from having any correspondence with their neigh-bours, which is the reason that though the Island is mentioned by so many writers, not one of them, before Orosius, says so much as a word about the inhabitants. A little before his time, that is, in the beginning of the fifth century, the Scots had transported themselves thither from Ireland. The traditions of the natives of Man, for they have a traditionary history, begins at that period. They style this discoverer Mannan Mac Lear, and they say that he was a magician, who kept this country covered with mists, so that the inhabitants of other places could never find it. But the ancient chronicles of Ireland explain this matter much better ; they inform us that the true name of this adventurer was Orbsenius, the son of Alladius, a prince of their Island, and that he was surnamed Mannanan from his having entered the Island of Man, and Mac Lir, that is, the offspring of the sea, from his great skill in navigation. He promoted commerce, and is said to have given a good reception to St. Patrick, by whom the natives were converted to Christianity.

The princes who ruled after him seem to have been of the same line with the kings of Scotland, with which country they had great intercourse, assisting its monarchs in the wars, and having the education of their princes confided to them in times of peace ; whence it appears that the inhabitants of Man had, in this period, the reputation of being learned, as well as civilized, in an extraordinary degree. In the beginning of the seventh century, Edwin, king of Northumberland, invaded the Menavian Islands, ravaged Man, and kept it for some time, when Beda assures us there were in it about three hundred families, which was less than a third part of the people of Anglesey, though Man wants but a third of the size of that Island. The times succeeding these were very troublesome, insomuch that if it were not for that tradition already mentioned, we should know hardly anything of the most considerable princes that ever ruled therein, and of which, after all, there is an imperfect account, yet such as it is, it helps us to various circumstances that certainly deserve our notice.

The second line of their princes they derived from Orri, who they say was the son of the king of Norway, and that there were twelve princes of this house who governed Man. The old constitution, settled by the Druids while they swayed the sceptre, was perfectly restored ; their country was well cultivated and well peopled, their subjects were equally well versed in the exercise of arms and in the knowledge of the arts of peace ; in a word they had a considerable naval force, an extensive commerce, and were a great nation, though inhabiting only a little isle. Guttred, the son of Orri, built the Castle of Rushen, AD. 960, which is a strong place, a large palace, and has subsisted now for eight hundred years. The founder lies beneath a small tomb in the chapel, after having erected this noble structure as a monument of himself, and of the veracity of the tradition which preserves his memory, since the size and ornaments of this vast pile incontestibly prove that it must have been the work of one who had the skill and labour of multitudes at his command, and who, for the construction of this edifice, spared not for expense. Macao was the ninth of these kings, and with respect to him, the history of our Saxon ancestors bears ample testimony. He maintained an unsuccessful struggle against Edgar, who reduced all the little soveieigns of the different parts of Britain to own him for their lord, and who, upon the submission of Macao, made him his High Admiral, by which title (Archipatra, in the Latin of those times) he subscribes that monarch’s charter to the Abbey of Glastoasbury. It is true w e cannot insist upon this as absolutely certain, or as a fact established incontestably, but then the circumstances that follow will render it highly probable.

After the death of Edward the Confessor, when Harold, who possessed the Crown of England, had defeated the Norwegians at the battle of Stamford, there was amongst the fugitives one Goddard Crownan, the son of Harold the black, of Iceland, who took shelter in the Isle of Man. This island was then governed by another Goddard, who was a descendant from Maco, and he gave him a very kind and friendly reception. Goddard Crownan, during the short stay he made in the island, perceived that his namesake was universally hated by his subjects, which inspired him with hopes that if he could bring a competent force to support the attempt, he might without difficulty excite a general revolt in his favour. Full of these thoughts he returned home, and having collected a strengtla sufficient for his purpose, he returned, but found his hopes frustrated, for Goddard being dead, his son Fingal was seated on the throne and generally beloved. He debarked his men however, but his force being defeated in a general engagement, he was obliged to retire. In a second expedition, joining fraud to force, lie was more fortunate ; for landing 300 naen in the night, whom he caused to take post in a wood, he went on shore with all the rest next day, and having drawn the Islanders into a disadvantageous situation, so that they had the sea at their backs, his army in front and his ambuscade on their flank, he with great fury attacked them ; but they defended themselves gallantly till the tide in, when those posted in the wood falling upon and cutting off their retreat, they were forced, after great loss and their king slain, to submit. .~ Upon this he assigned them the north part of the island, and gave the south to his own people, becoming in virtue of his conquest, the founder of their third race of princes. However lie might acquire his kingdom, he governed it with spirit and prudence ; made war with success in Ireland ; gained several victories over the Scots in the Isles ; and making a tour through his new.obtained donsinions, deceased in the Isle of Islay. He left behind him three sons. A civil war breaking out between the two eldest, and both of them deceasing in the course of a few years, Magnus, king of Norway, coming with a powerful fleet, possessed himself of Man and the Isles, and held them as long as he lived ; but, being slain in Ireland, the people invited home Olave, the youngest son of Goddard Crownan, who had fled to the Court of England, and been very honourably treated by Henry II. There were in the whole nine princes of this race, who were all of them feudatories to the king of England ; and as our records show, often resorted to their court, were very kindly received, and bad pensions bestowed upon them. Henry III., in particular, charged Olave, king of Man, with the defence of the coasts of England and Ireland, and granted him annually for that service 40 marks, 100 measures of wheat, and five pieces of wine. Upon the demise of Magnus, the last king of this isle, without heirs male, Alexander, the third king of Scots, who had con-quered the other isles, seized likewise upon this, which as parcel of that kingdom came into the hands of Edward I , who directed William Huntercumbe, guardian or warden of that isle for him, to restore it to John Baliol, who had done homage to him for the kingdom of Scotland.

But it seems there was still remaining a lady, Austrica, who claimed the sovereignty as cousin and nearest of kin to the deceased Magnus. Thie claimant, being able to obtain nothing from John Baliol, applied herself to King Edward, as the superior lord. He, upon this application, by his writ, which is yet extant, commanded both parties, in order to determine their right, to appear in the Kingh Bench. The progress of this suit does not appear ; but we know farther, that this lady, by a deed of gift, conveyed her claim to Sir Simon de Montacute; and after many disputes, invasions by the Scots, and other accidents which it is not my business to mention, the title was examined in Parliament, in the seventh of Edward III., and solemnly adjudged to William de Montacute, to whom by letters patent, dated the same year, that monarch released all claim whatever.


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