[From Mona Miscellany second series Manx Soc vol 21]


Several peculiar customs still linger in some of the out-of-the-way places in the island, but the great influx of summer visitors, with the gradual intercourse thereby created, is fast obliterating them. We may allude to the following

Amvlass—A drink composed of milk or butter-milk and water.

Binjean—New milk turned to curd with rennet, and sweetened with sugar; eaten with preserves; is a great favourite during the summer season.

Braghtan—A mixture of food by no means unpalatable, partaken of as a kind of luncheon, or even at dinner. It is a veritable sandwich. One mode of preparing it is as follows :— Take a piece of barley cake and spread it over with fresh butter, add a layer of potatoes bruised, then a coating of salt herring nicely picked and free from bones; upon this spread another layer of potatoes, and cover with barley cake and butter. It is needless to add that the Braghtan should be eaten hot. A seasoning of pepper is an improvement.

Cregeen thus defines the word —" Braghtan (no doubt from breck or brack, spotted, smeared, or streaked with something spread on bread, as honey, butter, herring, etc." "Braghtan eeymey —a butter-cake, or a cake spread or spotted with butter or any other eatable."

Broish consists of broken pieces of oat-cakes soaked in pot-liquor or dripping ; also used for breakfast.

Cowree —A kind of food made of oatmeal steeped in water.

Jough—Drink, but usually applied to common ale. From this is derived the well-known term "Jough-y-dorrys," the parting drink or stirrup cup.

No social meeting of Manxmen is supposed to end fairly or friendly without having the Jough-y-dorrys, no matter how much had previously been drank.

Sollaghan. —This is a kind of food made of oatmeal and the liquor in which meat has been boiled. It is generally used for breakfast among the country people. For an allusion to this, see Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 26.

Keear-Lheeah —Two colours of wool spun and wove into cloth are so called, a dark grey colour, which cloth was formerly the garb generally worn by the Manx peasantry.

Loaghtyn —A mouse brown colour in the wool of Manx sheep, of a fine staple, was formerly a great favourite for making cloth, but that breed of sheep is now almost extinct.

Kiare-as-feed; or, Yn-chiare-as-feedHouse of Keys.— The explanation of this term has been so fully given in the Manx and English Dictionary of Dr. Kelly (Manx Society, vol. xiii.), that it is best to repeat it here in his own terms "The Keys, or Parliament of the Island, are so called from their number, as they consist of twenty-four persons. But as it is used as a proper name in conversation, it has therefore the article prefixed; as, Yn-chiare-as-feed. This is supposed by the ingenious Rev. Wm. Fitzsimmons to be a corruption of cor-an-phaid, the company of the prophets, wisemen, or rulers ; for no doubt that Cor is choir or company, and phaid phadeyrys, prophecy. The government of the Island consisted of two parts, the executive and the legislative. The King was vested with the whole executive power, and had the sole appointment of his own officers and council. The power of making and repealing laws rested with the Keys, who were obliged, in conjunction with the other power, to call annually a Tynwald, or meeting of the people, where all new laws were publicly proclaimed three times, otherwise they were of no force, and a man could plead in court the ignorantia legis. I could never find whether the people had any other negative upon the promulgation of an unpopular law, except force, to which, according to several traditional accounts, they were frequently obliged to have recourse, and were always successful in the application of it. This is not to be wondered at, as the Keys were self-elected, and when a member died they chose two men out of the body of the people, and presented them to the King for his approbation of one of them. And besides, they, as well as the court, were exempt from most of the duties and taxes the people laboured under; and together exercised an arbitrary power, as an instance of which I shall only mention, that whenever any of them wanted servants, they had a right to yard, that is, to compel, by virtue of a statute or slattys, and force into their service the best servants in the Island, wherever they were to be found, and without allowing them common wages. Yet, notwithstanding this connection between the parliament and the court, it has been found that when the Court has attempted any innovation, the Keys have uniformly joined the people. When the Earl of Derby endeavoured to remove the people from their possessions, and to consider the soil as his property, the people and Keys united, and at last obtained from the Insular Legislature the Act of Settlement, A. D. 1704, which confirmed every man in the possession of his estate, and made his possession his property. Notwithstanding the Island is annexed at present to the Crown of England, the laws and manner of government continue with little variation, except that the Governor, who is appointed by the Crown of England, acts in most instances in the place of the former Kings of Man. It appears, both from history and tradition, that at first the Kiare-as-feed were chosen by popular election from each of the six sheadings, but that afterwards, on the death of one of the body, they presented two commoners to the King, and he was obliged to elect one of the two."

For the custom of "yarding," alluded to above, see Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 26. By the Act of 1763, "the wages due by law to yarded servants is found to be very insufficient. It is therefore enacted, that henceforth yarded servants’ wages shall be augmented, and that a man-servant shall be intituled to have and receive the sum of forty shillings, and a maid-servant shall have twenty shillings for their year’s servitude, any former law or custom to the contrary hereof notwithstanding." This custom has now fallen into disuse.


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