Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.
535
MAN, ISLE or


of thrusting in the limestones. At the northern end of the island the Manx Slates end abruptly in an ancient sea-cliff which crosses between Ramsey and Ballaugh. The low-lying country beyond is formed of a thick mass of glacial sands, gravels and boulder clay. In the Bride Hills are to be seen glacial mounds rising 150 ft. above the level of the plain. The depressions known as the Curragh, now drained but still peaty in places, probably represent the sites of late glacial lakes. Glacial deposits are found also in all parts of the island. Beneath the thick drift of the plain, Carboniferous, Permian and Trassic rocks have been proved to lie at some depth below the resent sea-level. On the coast near the Point of Ayr is a raised beach. Silver-bearing lead ore, zinc and copper are the principal minerals found in the Isle of Man; the most important mining centres being at Foxdale and Laxey.

Climate.-The island is liable to heavy gales from the south-west. Of this the trend of the branches of the trees to the north-east is a striking testimony. But it is equally subject to the influence of the warm drift from the Atlantic, so that its winters are mild, and, influenced by the less changeable temperature of the sea, its summers cool. The mean annual temperature is 49°'0 F., the temperature of the coldest month (January) being41°~5, and the warmest (August) 58°-5, giving an extreme annual range of temperature of I7°- I only, while the average temperature in spring is 46°-0, in summer 57°-2, in autumn 50°~9 and in winter 42°-O. Further evidence of the mildness of the climate is afforded by the fact that fuchsias, hydrangeas, myrtles and escallonias grow luxuriantly in the open air. Its rainfall, placed as it is between mountain districts in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, is naturally rather wet than dry. Statistics, however, reveal remarkable divergences in the amounts of rain in the different parts of the island, varying from 61 in. at Snaefell to 25 in. at the Calf of Man. In the more populous districts it varies from 46 in. at Ramsey, and 45 in. at Douglas, to 38 in. at Peel and 34 in. at Castletown. Of sunshine the Isle of Man has a larger share than any portion of the United Kingdom except the south and south-east coasts and the Channel Islands. Briefly, then, the climate of the island may be pronounced to be equable and sunny, and, though humid, decidedly invigorating; its rainfall, though it varies greatly, is excessive in the populous districts; and its winds are strong and frequent, and usually mild and damp.

Fauna.-Like Ireland, the Isle of Man is exempt from snakes and toads, a circumstance tradition all attributed to the agency of St Patrick, the patron saint of both islands. Frogs, however, have been introduced from Ireland, and both the sand lizard and the common lizard are found. Badgers, moles, squirrels and voles are absent and foxes are extinct. Fossil bones of the Irish elk are frequently found, and a complete skeleton of this animal is to be seen at Castle Rushen The red deer, which is referred to in the ancient laws and pictured on the runic crosses, became extinct by the beginning of the 18th century. Hares are less plentiful than formerly, and rabbits are not very numerous. Snipe are fairly common, and there are a few partridges and grouse. The latter, which had become extinct, were reintroduced in 188O. Woodcock, wild geese, wild ducks, plover, widgeon, teal, heron, bittern, kingfishers and the Manx shear water (Pujinus anglorum) visit the island, but do not breed there. The pufiin (Fralercula artica) is still numerous on the Calf islet in the summer time. The peregrine falcon, which breeds on the rocky coast, and the chough have become very scarce. The legal protection of sea-birds (local act of 1867) has led to an enormous increase in the number of gulls. A variety of the domestic cat, remarkable for the absence or stunted condition of the tail, is peculiar to the island.

Flora.-Like the fauna, the flora is chiefly remarkable for its meagreness. It contains at most 450 species as compared with 690 in jersey. Alpine forms are absent. But what it lacks in variety it makes up in beauty and quantity. For the profusion of the gorse bloom and the abundance of spring flowers, especially of primroses, and of ferns, the Isle of Man is probably unrivalled. People.-The Manx people of the present day are mainly of Scandio-Celtic origin, with some slight traces of earlier races. They have largeand broad heads, usually broader than those of their brother Celts (Goidels) in Ireland and Scotland, with very broad, but not specially prominent cheek-bones. Their faces are usually either scutiform, like those of the Northmen, or oval, which is the usual Celtic type, and their noses are almost always of good length, and straighter than is general among Celtic races. Light eyes and fair complexion, with rather dark hair, are the more usual combinations. They are usually rather tall and heavily built, their average height (males) being 5 ft. 7% in., and average weight (naked) 155 lb. The tendency of the population to increase is balanced by emigration. It reached its maximum in 1891. Since then it has slightly declined. A noticeable feature is its greater proportionate growth in the towns, especially in Douglas, than in the country. The country population reached its maximum in 1851. Since then it has been shrinking rapidly, especially in the northern district.

Sheadings, Parishes and Towns. 1726. 1821. 1871. 1901. 5, Malew(P.) . 890 2,649 2,466 2, II3

gn 4 Castletown (T.) . 785 2,036 2,318 1,963

z 1 Arbory (P.) . 661 -455 1,350 802

M;Rushen (P.) . 813 2,568 3,665 3,277

ui, Santon (P.) . 376 800 628 468

EJ Braddan (P.) 780 1,754 2,215 2,177.

FE Douglas (T.) . 810 6,054 13,846 19,149

2 >Onchan (P.) . 370 1,457 1,620 3,942

Marown (P.) 499 1,201 1,121 973

ff 35 German (P.) . 510 1,849 1,762 1,230

d.), ., .

5 5 Peel (T.) 475 1,909 3,496 3,306

>Patr1ek (P.) . 745 2,031 2,888 1,925

U5 Loman (P.) . 547 1,846 3,741 2,513

<v' Maughold (P.) 529 1,514 1,433 887

Q ps Ramsey (T.) 460 1,523 3,861 4,672

E Lezayre (P.) . 1,309 2,209 1,620 1,389

Q* Bride (P.) 612 1,001 880 539

>Andreas(P.) 967 2,229 1,757 1,144

nfs £urby (P.) 483 1,108 788 504

2, =< allaugh (P.) 806 1,467 1,077 712

° (Michael (P.) 643 1,427 1,231 928

Total .... 14,070 40,087 53,763 54,613

Chief Political Divisions and Towns.-The island is divided into six sheadin s (so named from the Scandinavian skeiia-ping, or ship-district, called Glenfaba, Middle, Rushen, Garff, Ayre and Michael, each of which has its officer, the coroner, whose functions are similar to those of a sheriff; and there are seventeen parishes. For the towns see CASTLETOWN, DOUGLAS, PEEL and RAMSEY. The principal villages are Ballasalla, Ballaugh, F oxdale, Laxey, Michael, Onchan, Port Erin and Port St Mary. Communications.-There is communication by steamer with Liverlpool, Glasgow, Greenock, Belfast, Silloth, Whitehaven, Belfast and ublin throughout the year and, during the summer season, there are also steamers plying to Androssan, Heysham, Fleetwood and Blackpool. A daily mail was established in 1879. The internal communications are excellent. The roads are under the management of a board appointed by the Tynwald Court, a surveyor-general, and parochial surveyors. They are maintained by a system of licences on public-houses, carriages, carts and dogs, and a rate on real property. There are railways between Douglas, Ramsey, Peel, Castletown, Port Erin and Port St Mary, the line between Douglas and Ramsey being via St John's and Michael. Electric tramways run from Douglas to Ramsey via Laxey, from Douglas to Port Soderick, and from Laxey to the summit of Snaefell. Industries. (a) Agriculture.-The position of the Manx farmers, though they generally pay higher rents than their compeers in those countries do, is, except in the remote parts of the island, more favourable than that of the English or Scottish farmers. The best land is in the north and south. The farms are principally held on lease and small holdings have almost entirely disappeared. The cultivated area is about 93,000 acres, or 65% of the whole. The commons and uncultivated lands on the mountains are also utilized for pasturage. Oats occupy about three-fourths of the area under corn crops, barley about one-sixth. The amount of wheat and other corn crops is very trifling. Neither Manx wheat nor barley is as good on an average as English; but oats is, on the whole, fully e ual to what is grown on the mainland. Turnips, which are an excellent crop, are largely exported, and the dry and sandy soil of the north of the island is very favourable for thefgrowth of potatoes. The white and red clover and the common grasses grow luxuriantly, and the pasturage is, generally speaking, good. Some of the lowing land, especially in the north, is much in need of systematic drainage. The livestock, largely in consequence of the premiums given by the insular government and the local agricultural society to bulls, heavy and light stallions and cart mares, now approximates very closely in quality to the stock in the north of England. Dairying, owing to the large number of summer visitors, is the most profitable department of agricultural industry. Apples, pears and wall fruit do not succeed very well, but the soil is favourable for the cultivation of strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, currants and vegetables. Both agricultural and market-garden produce are quite insufficient to supply the demand in the summer.

(b) Fishing.-The important place which the fishing industry anciently held in the social organization of the Isle of Man is quaintly reflected in the wording of the oath formerly taken by the deemsters, who promised to execute the laws between the sovereign and his subjects, and “ betwixt party and party, as indifferently as the herring backbone doth lie in the midst of the fish.” The statutes and records abound in evidence of the great extent to which both the people and their rulers were dependent on the produce of the sea. The most numerous fish are herrings, cod, mackerel, ling, haddock, plaice, sole, liuke, turbot and brett. The industry is, however, in a decaying condition, especially the herring fishery, which, for reasons which have not been satisfactorily ascertained, fails periodically. The amount of fish caught, except herrings, is not sufficient to supply