The Wonderful Goat of Laxey

There was once an old woman living in Laxey Valley that had a wonderful queer goat. White she was, with curving horns at her and amber eyes. There wasn’t another goat anywhere that gave such rich creamy milk, winter and

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The Penitent Vicar

One of the most dramatic episodes ever witnessed in a Manx church was acted in old St. Patrick’s of Jurby in November 1661. The vicar, Sir William Crowe, had been found guilty of going to England and leaving the church

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The Monks’ Well

“In memory of our ancestors, who, through long ages, came to this well and here, in simple faith, made prayers and vows with humble offerings.”  So this became a holy place.   The well is at Silverdale. (photo source: courtesy

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Peculiar Laws & Customs

Bishop Wilson tells us in his ‘History of the Isle of Man’ that “there are a great many laws and Customs which are peculiar to this place and singular” in his time (1697-1755): – The eldest daughter (if there be

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Trials for Charming & Sorcery

At Kirk Michael, 31 July 1712, one Alice Knakill, alias Moor, of Kirk Lonan, confessed to a charge of having taken up some earth from under a neighbour’s door, and burnt it to ashes, which she gave to her cattle,

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The Bishop’s Bridle

Among the accustomed unwritten laws of the Manx Church was the following:   “That he or she that call a man a ‘Dog’ or a woman a ‘Bitch’ shall wear the Bridle at the Market Cross or make 7 Sundays

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Tramman – The Elder Tree

Ballaugh Church on the Isle of Man must be the oldest still in use, after Kirk Maughold. Among its hoary tombstones is one ornamented with carvings of unchristian tramman leaves (elder leaves), a reminder of the obsolete custom of burying

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Chibber-yn-rhullic

Chibber-yn-rhullic ‘Well of the Graveyard’, is a medicinal spring, now much overgrown on the summit of South Barrule. This is the spring which was believed to have direct communication with the sea and which could never be found a second

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Fairy Words & Their Meanings

FAIRIES – “The fairies are baking,” is said of a sunshine-shower. The old people used to say: “Ta ny ferrishyn fuinney tra ta’n ghrian soilshean as y fliaghey tuittym“, i.e. The fairies are baking when the sun is shining and

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How the Herring Became ‘King of the Sea’

The old fishermen of the Isle of Man have it to say that years and years ago the fish met to choose themselves a king for they had no deemster (judge) to tell them what was right. Likely enough their

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