[From Manx Soc vol 10]




AS Ireland anciently, was styled Brittain the lesse, in relation to England and Scotland, then called Brittain the Great; so this Island wasstiled Monoeda, or the Remoter Man, by the Brittish;

How called

and Manea by the Latines, to distinguish it from Mona, now Anglesey: but since Anglesey hath lost her ancient name, in our Speech; this Island hath assumed the Name of Mona, or Man, without any difference: yet the Inhabitants in their Speech call it Maning.(3)

The contents.

This Island is scituated in that part of the Brittish Sea, that is called St. Georg's Channel, which lyeth between England and Ireland: It containeth, in length, about thirty miles; (4) that is to say, from the Point of Ayr in the North, to the Isle of the Calf in the South; and, in breadth, in some places more, in some lesse; the broadest not exceeding nine miles; the narrowest not lesse then five.

The natural strength

It is, generally, a high Land upon the Sea-coast, defended likewise with Rocks, lying out as far, if not further, into the Sea, then the Low-water Mark: yet upon the Eastern Sea, in the North part of the Isle, it is a bold Coast and Beach upon the shore; and in the South-East part some Low-land, but that inaccessible with shipping, in regard the Coast is so. perillous with Rocks.

The Harbours

A dangerous coast

. The Harbours for shipping are Douglas, the safest, then Rainsway,(5) then Ramsey and Laxie; the meanest, these looking towards England; and the Peel, a poor Harbour, facing Ireland: but let the wind blow where, or how it will, there will be in one quarter of the Isle, or other, a Lee-shore,(6) where ships may ride with some safety; but in no Season of the year is this Narrow Channel1 safe for great ships to abide in, there being no Harbours to receive them, either upon this, or the English Coast.(7)

This Island, even to wonder, in so small a Tract of Land, abounds in Springs of water; by which means it is supplyed with divers useifull and pleasant Rivolets. The Soyl is indifferently fertile, yet it is conceiv'd, that two parts of three are Mountains(8) (which from the Eastern to the Western Coast, cross the middest of the Isle) the most eminent of which, are Maroun and Cubgreve; (9) but Snawfell (10) surmounteth all the rest. It yieldeth Rye, Wheat, and Barley, but chiefly Oats, the ordinary Bread corn of the Inhabitants. It is stored with Beasts, sheep, bearing a coorse fleece; some of which are galled Lawton-sheep,(11) bearing a sort of Wooll; which, without dying, maketh a kind of Sand-colour'd cloth; also, with Goats and Horses, but all of a small size. The Seas afford no plenty of Fish, or rather the People (though many of them use the Sea for that purpose) know not how to take them, but of Herrings (12) onely, which come upon the Coast towards the end of August in shoals, and continue there in their passage the space of a moneth, or thereabouts.

Of Fowl, this Island hath plenty, and great variety, especially in the Isle of the Calf; where there is a sort of Sea-Fowl, called Pufflnes,(13) of a very unctuous Constitution, which breed in the Coney-holes,(the Conies leaving their Burrows for that time) are never seen with their Young, but either very early in the morning, or late in the evening; nourishing(as is conceived) their Young with Oyl; which drawn from their own Constitution, is dropped into their mouths; for that being opened, there is found in their Crops no other sustenance but a single Sorrel-leaf, which the Old give their Young, for digestions sake, as is conjectur'd; the flesh of these Birds is nothing pleasant fresh, because of their rank and Fish-like taste; but, pickled or salted, they may be ranked with Anchoves, Caviare, or the like; but profitable they are in their feathers, and Oyl, of which they make great use about their Wooll. Here are some Ayries of mettled Faulcons, that build in the Rocks, great store of Conies, Red-deer; and in the Summer time, there arrive here out of Ireland, and the Western parts of Scotland, many of those small Hawks, called Merlyns.

It is apparent, though it be now destitute of Wood, it hath had great plenty; witnesse the Oaks digged up often from under ground; (14) and the certainty that it would yet grow there, if planted, is proved by the Plantations, which some few have made about their houses, as well of Fruit-trees, as others: Yet is not this Countrey destitute of Fewel, for it affordeth great plenty of Turf and Pete; and, of Pete, the best that ever I saw; which, though not so durable as Cole, yet is it lasting, and more pleasant in the burning.

Lime stone.

Free stone.

There is Lyme-stone in the South part of the Isle; but no Quarries of Free-stone any where, but upon the Sea-side, neer Balladouly; but that very difficult to be polish'd, in regard of the hardnesse thereof: of which stone, Castle-Rushen, hereafter mentioned, was built.(15) )


No sort of Minerals have been here found, but Ore of Lead, at, and neer unto the Sea-Crag, called Mine-hough, which hath been experimented by Captain Edward Christian(16) (who was employed in Command at Sea by the East-Indy Company; and sometimes under King James, in one of his Royall Ships; sometime also Lieutenant of this Isle; then Receiver; and lastly, Major Generall; a Native of this Countrey, and of the principal Family there) to hold much Silver; the Veins of this Mine, by its brightnesse, may plainly be discerned in the Rock towards the Sea; but it seemeth not possible to be wrought, in regard the Sea,beats upon it constantly at High-water, unlesse it may be done by Mining within the Land; a tryall whereof were worth the undertaking, in regard of the greet benefit that possibly may ensue thereof (17) To conclude, the Air is quick and healthfull, Frosts short and seldome; Snow in the Valleys, by reason of its Vicinity to the Sea, will soon dissolve; and subject it is to extraordinary high Winds.(18)


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001