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to Henry the Sixth. She was confined and died here, and her ghost has ever since been nightly heard to ascend a stone staircase, leading to a little house upon the wall.
Waldron tells the following curious story of an apparition in the shape of a dog. “They say that an apparition, called in their language the maüthe doog, in the shape of a large black spaniel, with curled shaggy hair, was used to haunt Peel Castle ; and has been frequently seen in every room, but particularly in the guard chamber, where, as soon as the candles were lighted, it came and lay down before the fire, in presence of all the soldiers, who at length, by being so much accustomed to the sight of it, lost great part of the terror they were seized with at its first appearance. They still however retained a certain awe, believing it to be an evil spirit which waited to do them hurt; and for that reason forbore swearing and all profane disa course while in its company. But though they endured the shock of such a guest when altogether, none cared to be left alone with it, It being the custom therefore for one of the soldiers to lock the gates of the castle at a certain hour and carry the keys to the Captain, to whose
apartment the way led through a church, they agreed among themselves that whoever was to succeed, the ensuing night, his fellow on this errand, should accompany him that went first, and by this means no man would be exposed singly to the danger ; for the maüthe doog was always seen to come out from that passage at the close of day, and return to it as soon as the morning dawned, which made them look upon this place as its peculiar residence..
“One night a fellow being drunk, and, by the strength of his liquor, rendered more daring than ordinary, laughed at the simplicity of his companions; and, though it was not his turn to go with the keys, would needs take that office to testify his courage. All the soldiers endeavoured to dissuade him; but the more they said the more resolute he seemed, and swore that he desired nothing more than that the maüthe doog would follow him as it had done the others; for he would try whether it was dog or devil. After having talked in a very reprobate manner for some time, he snatched up the keys and went out of the guard-room. In some time after his departure a noise was heard; but nobody had the boldness to see what occasioned it, till, the ad
venturer returning, they demanded the knowledge of him; but, loud and noisy as he had been at leaving them, he was now become sober and silent enough ; for he was never heard to speak more: and though all the time he lived, which was three days, he was entreated by all who came near him either to speak, or, if he could not de that, to make some signs by which they might understand what had happened to him; yet nothing intelligible could be got from him, only that by the distortion of his limbs and features, it might be guessed that he died in agonies, greater than is common in a natural death. The maüthe doog was however never seen afterwards, nor would any one attempt to go through that passage; for which reason it was closed up and another way made. This accident I heard attested by several, but especially by an old soldier who assured me that he had seen the maüthe doog oftener than he had hairs on his head.”
Walter Scott alludes to this tale in the following lines of his Lay of the Last Minstrel:
“ But none of all the astonish'd train
Were so dismay'd as Doloraine :
His blood did freeze, his brain did burn,
That spoke the spectre-hound in Man.” Peel castle is overlooked by a contiguous hill, called Horse-bill, rising almost immediately from the base of the rock. Were the walls thick, it could never have sustained a long siege with the enemy in possession of this commanding eminence. *
From the ruins of the cathedral was stolen, • many years ago, à brass plate which had been
placed over the tombstone of Bishop Samuel Rutter, with the following epitaph, supposed to have been written by himself :
“ In hac domo, quam a vermiculis
Ob. 3 Omo die mensis Maii, 1663."
* Having now finished the account of Castle Rushen, Rushen Abbey, and Peel Castle, I here acknowledge my obligations to Mr. Grose from whose accurate descriptions I have little deviated, unless obliged so to do by the devastations of time. For several parish memorandums I am indebted to Mr. Feltham.
In the town of Peel is an excellent but very small inn, kept by Mr. Long from Cumberland.
The Peel river accompanies, on the right hand side, the road to St. John's. About two miles from Peel, on the further side of the river is an uncultivated hill; still haunted by the spirit of a murdered witch. She does not appear to mortal eyes, but every night joins her lamentations to the howling of the wind. The truth of Mank's stories depends upon the faithfulness of tradition. The island was much celebrated for its fairies and its witches. The poet Collins calls it the Elfin land; and Dr. Langhorne says it is the only place in the world where one should have the least chance of meeting with a fairy. The women were so much given to witchcraft that they would often sell wind to the mariners, inclosed in knots of thread. If only a little was wanted a few were to be undone, if much, many. *
I may remark, what I dare say has been remarked before, that a wonder often gains credit in proportion to the lapse of years. Even the
* Hollinshed's Chronicles.