[From Manx Soc vols 25+28 - Blundell's History]




THERE are 3 islands (so called, but indeed are islets and but little ones), which do belong and are adjacent unto the Isle of Man, yet the least, tho' very little, is of greatest concernment and consequence, and is called Peel or Pile, wherein is a castle. This island is situated on ye west side of the island, about the midst thereof. This island (as I conceive by many, but amiss), called St Patrick's Island. Of this Island I shall have occasion to speak at large in ye 2d book of this history, when I shall treat of ye fortifications of Man. There is another islet, which they call Michaels Island, and lieth in the south-east part of Man, which they call the longuouse. It containeth not above 2 acres of ground, yet it hath a hand some church, with a spire steeple, which some told me was dedicated to St Patrick, but I rather presume it was dedicated to St Michael, of whom the islet doth bear its name; there are a few houses, or rather cottages. I can give you no other account concerning any particulars of this islet as yet, and I believe little more is to be expected concerning it, only I wou'd here disabuse you if you mistake this island of St. Michael's for yt parish church (which is one of the 17 before named), and is called Kirk Michael, for yt parish is within Man itself on the west side thereof, and inclining some what northward, and is of larger extent than this islet. Anno 1350, Wm Russel, Bishop of Man,' held a synod in St. Michael's Church, but whether in this or in the other of Kirk Michael, which I rather now believe you may know more assuredly hereafter. The 3d island and ye greatest of ye 3 is called the Calf of Man; it stretcheth itself under the Isle of Man on the south thereot?, pointing westward, and lieth about ye parallel of Drogida, vulgarly called Tredagh, in Ireland, altho' John Speed, in his treatise of the Empire of Great Britain, placeth it over against Dublin. John Tap, in his Seaman's Calendar, saith yt ye Mould of Cralve and ye Calf of Man lie south-south-east, and north-north-west, and are distant ten leagues. Here altho' the soil be in many places heathy, and some hills are in the west end thereof, pointing towards Ireland, yet is their good pasturage, and not only the best beef and mutton, but also great store of hares and rabbits of both sorts, fat and sweet, from hence have the islanders, I mean ye Manksmen, their puffins, which are here as numerous as in the Island of Bardsey, in the west point of Anglesey. Concerning those puffins, Mr. Chaloner hath made so perfect, exact, and excellent an observation of whatsoever concerneth them, that I cannot omit to impart it to my reader, for his recreation as well as mine, seeing his book of ye description of ye Isle of Man is scarce visible, but overshadowed by yt great volume of The Vale Royal of England, or the County Palatine of Chester, unto which it is annexed, and I will only use his own words, yt it may be acknowledged.' "There is in the Calf of Man a sort of sea-fowl called puffins of a very unctious constitutioi,, which breed in ye coney holes (ye coneys leaving their coney holes for a time, and 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 oil which, drawn from their own constitution, is dropped into their mouths, for yt being opened there is found in their crops no other sustenance but a single sorrel leaf, which the old give their young for digestion sake (as is conjectured). The flesh of these birds is not pleasant fresh, be cause of their rank and fish-like taste; but pickled or salted they may be ranked with anchovies, caviare, or the like, but profitable they are in their feathers and oyle, of which they make great use about their wool."~ Here are also those sea fowles geese, which most will have to be generated ol putnified wood, which by them are called barnacles, but by the Scots claik geese and soland geese, but I suppose they may breed of a shellfish yt groweth on the rocks, and is callef by those of Guernsey and Jersey and (is no stranger in Cornwall) called a lampet.

At my being in Man, they told me there was but on house in all the island, and only 2 or 3 servants yt did liv in it; it is invironed with rocks, and there is but 1 entranc into it. It is not full 2 miles in compass, and is now in the possession of the Earl of Darby; formerly it was the inheritance of the Stephensons of Baladowle. All Man must glorieth in its Calf, and do still retain the memory of the vast wit for inventions,2 where he late had an hermitical life cave a cin y of hollow rock in this island, and do still talk his pendant bed 3 and strange diet, but because neither himself is truly understood, nor his diet related by ye Manksmen, shall here take ye boldness to insert his own relation of his residence there, which I found set down in his mineral overture to the parliament, thus expressing himself: "The embrion of his mines proving abortive by the sudden fall and death of my late Lord Chancelour Bacon, in King James's reign, were the motives which persuaded my pensive retirements to a years' unsociable solitude in ye desolated isle called the Calf of Man, where in obedience to my dead lord philosophic advice, I resolved to make a perfect experiment upon mysel for the obtaining of a long and healthy life, most necessary for such a repentance as my former debauchedness required by a parsimonious diet of herbs, oil, mustard, and honey, with water sufficient, most like to yt our long liv'd fathers before the flood, as was conceiv'd by yt lord, which I most strictly observed, as if obliged by a religious vow, till diviae pr called me to a more active life," etc.

In ye perusing of the Manks' papers they never made any mention of any Island in Man but of these 3 only, yet here is another place in the Island (which, I suppose, by reason of 2 rivulets yt run out of 2 loughs into the sea, enclosing ye north and south parts thereof, and ye sea itself washing it on ye xvest, so yt 3 parts thereof is moistened and enclosed with water), whereby almost, for the space of 1200 years, it hath been called an Island (altho' it merit not to be accepted for a peninsula).' However, St Patrick arriving (at his first landing in the Isle of Man) at this promontory, called Jorby Point, and making some small stay there, hath ever since been called St Patrick's Island, and here he placed his bishop's seat, which continued there, it may not be long after St Patrick's death, howsoever, for a time, but now it hath lost the name of an island, and is now called Kirk Patrick of Jorby, which still retaineth the name of St Patrick, and acknowledgeth thereby his landing there. Mr. Chaloner seemeth to hold yt there was no other place called St. Patrick's Island but ye Island of Peel; but Joselinus con firmeth me yt it must be Jorby, for there is no other prmontory noted in the Island of Man, but that to satisfy this doubt you need only find out a place called Stautway, near St Patrick's Island, where, anno 1098, a great battle was fought between the northern and southern men, for ye Cronicle of Man saith in the same year King Magnus arriv'd in Man and landed. He came to St Patrick's Island to see the place wherein the battle had been fought a little before between the Manksmen, because many of ye bodies yt were slain lay yet there unburied. Now, Peel Island being so little, I conceive, an unfit place for such a multitude of men to fight in.

Yet note ye one thing, that this name of St Patrick's Isle held ye name from ye year 447, untill the coming of Magnus, King of Norway, an. 1098, which is full 651 years, yea and for some years after, for Wimundus, the first Bishop after the union of the 2 bishopricks, and John, his successor, were Olave, the son of Godred, King of Man, died in St Patrick's Isle, tho' buried in the Abbey of Rushin, both buried in this Isle of St Patrick, as saith Mathew Paris ; yet I incline to confide yt very shortly after, at least within some 79 years ye bishop's seat might be removed to Peel, but whether to the Island or town of Peel I make a question, which may easily be decided by a church builded to St German, their first bishop, and began to be builded (as saith the Bishops of Armagh), by Simon, Bishop of Sodor, about anno 1247, in St. Patrick's Isle, for still it kept the name. You may, peradventure, marvel why I named the town of Peel, seeing it was not fitly called an island neither of St Patrick or any other. But in reading of Monasticon Anglicanum, yt there is a church dedicated to St German ye first bishop of ye island in Holm Sodor, alias Peel (which Mr. Chaloner calleth Hollam Town), which it seemeth was the antient name of Peel Town. Now I must tell yt to call Holms Sodor, as much as to say the Island of Sodor, for holms" in ye Scottish language signifieth a little island, for so I find it in Maxwell's Abridgment in the Scottish Chronocle, speaking of the Orcades, he hath these words: "Northward from Strom lieth south Ramasa, five miles long, with two little islands or holms, good for pasturage ;" yet I was not fully satisfied with this till I remembred the Lord Cook saith, yt hulmus is interpreted insula, an isle.

Let the reader make what use of this he pleaseth, but ye bishop's seat was removed again to a village called Balacurri, but why or when I cannot inform you, at which place ye last bishop died, who was called Dr. Rd. Parr.


1 See Monast. Angl., p. 716.

2 And therefore not obvious to every one for his and not mine.

3 [See Chaloner's "Treatise of the Isle of Man," p. 7. Manx Society, Vol x. 1863.–Editor.]

4 Mr. Thos Bushel.

5 Such as the hammocks in ships.

6 Joselin, in Vita Patricii.

7 See in Cambden's Brittania Norfolk, p. 478, wherein he useth ye word holm to signify an island.


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