Britannia, by William Camden

⌈The Isle of Man.⌉

The Isle of Man.caesar Big M MORE northward, lies the Mona which Cæsar mentions, situate, as he says, in the middle between Britain and Ireland. Ptolemy calls it Monoeda, Mon-eitha,Mona or Menavia. that is (if I may be allow’d a conjecture) the more remote Mona, to distinguish it from the other Mona or Anglesey. Pliny calls it Monabia; Orosius, Menavia; and Bede,Lib.2. c.9. Menavia secunda;In a certain copy of Ninius, it is call’d Manau Guotodin. by whom Mona or Anglesey is called Menavia prior, and both, British Islands; yet I must note, that it is falsly read Mevania, in these Writers. Ninius, who goes also by the name of Gildas, calls it Eubonia and Manaw; the Britains call it Menaw, the Inhabitants Maning, and the English, the Isle of Man. It lies the middle between the north parts of Ireland and Britain (says Giraldus Cambrensis;) and this rais’d no small dispute among the Ancients, to which Country it belong’d. At last, the difference was thus adjusted: Since it appear’d, that venomous Creatures (brought over for the experiment) would live here; it was unanimously adjudg’d to Britain. Yet the Inhabitants are very like the Irish, both in Speech and Manners; but not without something of the Norwegians too.

It is from north to south about thirty Italian Miles in length; but, in the widest part, not above fifteen broad; nor above eight, in the narrowest. In Bede’s time, it contain’d three hundred families, and Mona nine hundred and sixty: at present it has seventeen Parish-Churches. It produces Flax and Hemp in great plenty; and here are good Pastures and Cornfields. It has good store of Barley and Wheat, but especially of Oats; and for this reason the People generally feed upon oat-bread. All over the Island, are great herds of Cattle, and flocks of Sheep; but both Sheep and Cattle are (like those in their neighbouring Country of Ireland) much less than in England, and not so well headed. The want of wood for fuel, is supply’d by a bituminous turf; in digging for which, they often find trees bury’d underground. subterranean tsunami flood In the middle, the Isle is mountainous; the highest Hill is Sceafell,Sceafell. from which in a clear day they can see Scotland, England, and Ireland. The chief Town is Russin,Russin, or Castle-town. situate on the south-side of the Island; which, from a Castle with a garrison therein, is commonly call’d Castle-town. Here, at Castle-town, within a little Isle, Pope Gregory the fourth, ⌈is said to have⌉ erected an Episcopal See,Episcopus Sodorensis. the Bishop of which (nam’d Sodorensis,See below. from the Island as is believ’d,) had formerly jurisdiction over all the Islands of the Hebrides. But it is now limited to this Island; and his Metropolitan is the Archbishop of York. This Bishop has neither Seat nor Vote, among the Lords of Parliament in England. The most populous Town is Duglas;Duglas. for it has the best harbour, and the most easie entrance, and is frequented by the French and other foreigners, who bring hither their Baysalt, and buy up the Commodities of the Island, viz. Leather, coarse Wooll, and salt Beef. On the south-side of the Island, stands Bala Curi,Bala Curi. where the Bishop generally resides; and the Pile,Pile. a Fort erected in a small Island, and defended by a pretty good garrison. Before the south Promontory, lies a little Island which they call the Calf of Man, where are great store of Puffins, and of those Ducks and Drakes said to breed in rotten wood, which the English call Bernacles, and the Scots † † Those of Scotland are quite of another kind.Clakes and Soland Geese.

What remains concerning this Island, is added out of a Letter which I receiv’d from the most learned and Right reverend Father in God, John Meryk, Bishop of this See. This Island not only supplies its own wants with its own cattle, fish, and corn; but, by the industry of the Inhabitants more than the goodness of the Soil, it exports great quantities of Corn every year. The happiness which the Isle enjoys, is owing to nothing more, than the government of the Earl of Derby, who at his own proper charges defends it with a standing guard against its neighbouring enemies, and lays out the greatest part of the revenue upon it. All causes are decided here without writing or expence, by certain judges whom they choose among themselves, and call Deemsters.Deemsters. For the Magistrate takes up a Stone, and after he has mark’d it, gives it to the Plaintiff; by virtue whereof he summons his witnesses and the Defendant. If the case is difficult, and of consequence, it is referred to the hearing of ¦ ¦ Now 24.twelve men, whom they Keys of the Island. call the Keys of the Island. They have also Coroners, call’d Annos;Annos. who execute the office of Sheriffs. As for the Ecclesiastical Judge, he cites the Parties, and determines the Cause, and in eight days they must either obey his Sentence, or go to Gaol. As their Language is peculiar, so likewise were their Laws and Money, as I have been told; which are signs of a distinct soveraignty. The Ecclesiastical Laws in force here, come nearer the Civil than Canon Law. Neither Judges nor * * Formulariis.Clerks have any Fees. As for those Witchcrafts spoken of by English writers, there is no such thing here. The richer sort imitate the Gentry of Lancashire, in splendid living and a frankness of temper. The women never stir abroad but with their winding sheets about them, to put them in mind of mortality. If a woman be tried and receive sentence of death, she is† Now hanged as Men; except Witches, who are’d-up in a sack, and thrown from a Rock into the Sea. Stealing, and begging from door to door, is universally detested. The people are wonderful religious, and, to a man, zealously conformable to the Church of England. They are great enemies to the Disorders and Confusions, Civil and Ecclesiastical, of the neighbouring Countries. And as the whole Isle is divided into two parts, south and north; the Language of this comes near the Scotch, and of the other, near the Irish.

The Smaller Islands in the British Ocean map, left The Smaller Islands in the British Ocean map, right

The Smaller Islands in the British Ocean

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06