[From Mona Miscellany second series Manx Soc vol 21]


There was an old custom, now almost lost in oblivion, called Periwinkle Fair, connected with which some old verses were formerly extant, now, I fear, also lost, being an accompaniment to a dramatic scene acted by the people on the aforesaid fair day, being the 6th of February, or St. Dorothy’s day, the burthen of which was— "Kiarle y Treen e Marrow."

" The Hen of the Treen is dead."

Some attribute this Manx custom to St. Catherine’s day, November 25. The line evidently refers to some very early transaction, probably connected with the church.

I have in vain endeavoured to ascertain the entire drama, and the verses connected with it, but have been so far unsuccessful, and merely allude to the custom in this place in the hope it may meet the eye of some person able to throw more light on the subject, which appears not devoid of interest. Upon application to the late Receiver-General, Richard Quirk, Esq., for information on the subject, he wrote me as follows :—" I have made some inquiries on the subject of your letter, but have obtained rio further information than what I was already acquainted with. Periwinkle Fair was held near the shore at Pool Vash, close to Balladoole estate. I recollect being at it considerably more than half a century ago. The chief articles of trade brought forward to attract visitors, so far as I then knew, were periwinkles and gingerbread. The fair has not been held for forty years past. There were also on show cattle, and, most particularly, ponies of the ancient breed. I can learn nothing towards making out the song or verses you mention, but there is really no traditionary lore extant."


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