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the Isle of Man  Britain

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In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described the Isle of Man like this:

Man, Isle of, situated in the Irish Sea, 16 miles S. of Burrow Head, Wigtownshire, 27 miles SW. of St Bees Head, Cumberland, and 27 miles W. of Strangford Lough, co. Down; greatest length, NE. to SW., 33 miles; greatest breadth, E. to W., 12½ miles; area, 145,325 ac., pop. 54,089. A precipitous islet, called the Calf of Man, is situated off the SW. ...


extremity, and contains about 800 acres. On the Isle of Man itself a range of mountains runs NE. to SW.- from Maughold Head to the Calf - occupying the greater part of the island, the highest elevation being Snaefell (2034 ft). From the heights may be witnessed scenery which is justo W., 12½ miles; area, 145,325 ac., pop. 54,089. A precipitous islet, called the Calf of Man, is situated off the SW. extremity, and contains about 800 acres. On the Isle of Man itself a range of mountains runs NE. to SW.- from Maughold Head to the Calf - occupying the greater part of the island, the highest elevation being Snaefell (2034 ft). From the heights may be witnessed scenery which is justly celebrated for its loveliness and its picturesque variety. Amidst the mountains are the sources of the Sulby, Neb, Douglas, and other streams. The island contains no lakes. The coast on the SW. is rugged and precipitous, the cliffs in some places rising sheer from the sea to a height of over 1400 ft.; on the SE. it is generally low, with gradual elevations towards the mountains. On the E. are numerous creeks and bays, including Douglas Bay and Laxey Bay. Clay slate is the formation of the greater part of the island; granite and other eruptive rocks have burst through in one or two localities. Lead, copper, zinc, and iron are the principal minerals; the lead ore especially is rich and plentiful, yielding about 4000 tons a year. The land generally is in a high state of cultivation, scientific farming having greatly increased its richness and fertility. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) All along the coast sea fishing is actively prosecuted, and gives employment to several thousands of fishermen. For anglers the various streams present exceptional attractions, being well stocked with trout, &c. The shipping is almost wholly connected with coasting trade, which shows a considerable amount of activity. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) Mfrs. are inconsiderable, and in the main consist of Manx cloth, cordage, nets, and canvas. Railway communication exists between the various towns, and there are numerous excellent roads. Few places can point to more interesting antiquarian features than those found in the Isle of Man. Druidical remains and Runic monuments are numerous; and among ancient buildings special mention should be made of Castle Eushen (947), Rushen Abbey (1154), and Peel Castle. The modern building of Castle Mona (1801) is now used as a hotel. Man has a highly interesting history. In early years it frequently changed hands, passing and repassing at various times under the dominion of the Welsh, the Scots, the Northumbrians, and the Norse. By Magnus VI. of Norway it was ceded to Alexander III. of Scotland in 1266. About the beginning of the 15th century the island was bestowed upon Sir John Stanley, and subsequently remained in the possession of the Derby family - the head being "King of Man" - until it was surrendered to the Parliamentarians in 1651, after the famous and heroic defence attempted by Lady Derby. Thereafter it was granted to General Lord Fairfax, but at the Restoration it again went to the Earl of Derby, in which attachment it remained until 1736. The lordship of Man then fell to the Dukes of Athole, and in 1829 its final reversion to the Crown was effected by purchase. The island has a distinct bishopric, with the designation of Sodor and Man; the former name being derived from the Sudoreys, or Southern Islands, which were at one time politically connected with them. The bishopric is supposed to have been founded by St Patrick in 447. The island has a government and constitution of its own, also laws, law officers, and courts. The House of Keys, which controls its legislature, is very ancient, and consists of 24 members. Man is divided into 6 sheadings, having 17 parishes, which are subdivided into treens and quarterlands. The principal towns are Douglas, Castletown, Ramsey, and Peel. Castletown is the ancient capital, but Douglas is the chief town and the seat of government.

Vision of Britain presents long-run change by redistricting historical statistics to modern units. However, none of our modern units covers an area close to that of the Isle of Man. If you want trends covering a particular location within the county, find it on our historical maps and then select "Tell me more".

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of the Isle of Man | Map and description for the county, A Vision of Britain through Time.

URL: http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/26159

Date accessed: 25th April 2019


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