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St Bridget’s Day and the old Caillagh

On the Isle of Man every ditch had to be full of rain or snow on St Bridget’s Day so that the old Caillagh, or hag, could not gather brasnags or faggots (sticks) for firing. If she could lay in

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Manx Fairs

In pre-Reformation times and for many years afterwards, the feast of the patron saint of a church or parish was observed by a religious service in the church, often an elaborate event, and the feast was accompanied by a fair.

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Laa’l Breeshey – St Bridget’s Day

It was customary to keep this festival on the eve of the first of February, in honour of the Irish lady who came over to the Isle of Man to receive the veil from St. Maughold. The custom was to

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Saint Bridget’s Night

A way back in the times long past there was a woman called Nan Quine living with her husband Tom, and their one child Paie, in a bit of a croft on the track that goes up from the shore

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White Stones & Burials

White stones, ranging from the size of boys’ marbles up to that of small boulders, are plentiful in or on burial-places both ancient and recent. Almost every Manx tumulus excavated yields a quantity. In the remains of the keeills or

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Turf Gathering

As in many other parts of the British isles, a considerable proportion of the ‘waste’ lands of the Isle of Man consists of turf-bogs or moanies(1) as they are called in our dialect. Broadly speaking, the moanies are extensive areas

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The Deemsters & The Manx Courts of Law

‘The Deemsters were always officers of great dignity. They were not only the chief judges of this Isle but were also the Lord’s Privy Counsellors, and their influence over the people in some degree, resembled the civil authority of the

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The Fodder Jury

It was very difficult to keep enough fodder for the cattle in the winter. They had not much store of winter food, and they bruised gorse with mallets, in a stone trough, made of rough stones placed on end about

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Manslayers and Sanctuary

Until “Prowess,” or private vengeance, was made illegal by Tynwald Court held at Keeill Abban in 1429, a manslayer fleeing from the relatives of the victim often took refuge in Church or on other holy ground. But he was not

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The Water Bayliff

The Water Bayliff was not only an important figure in the Island’s maritime activities, but his office reaches very far back in our nation’s history. One of the Customary Laws of 1422 reads: “Alsoe be it ordained that the Water

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