Page images

tation. Under the King of Norway commanded Godred Crovan, son of Harold, King of Iceland.

The inyading army was engaged at Standford by Harold, King of England, on the 25th of September 1066: it was defeated with great'. slaughter, the two generals were stain, and Gods" red made his escape to the Isle of Man.

What time he remained here is uncertain, probably just long enough to observe that the kingdom was in a weak state, or its King unpopular; and to determine to seat himself upon the throne.

He returned in the following year with a numerous and hostile army, and found Fingal, the late King Syrach's son, in possession of the kingdom. .

In his first battle with the inhabitants he was. defeated, and obliged to seek refuge in his ships ; and, in the second, was equally unsuccessful. For the third attack he recruited and enlarge his army: he cast anchor in Ramsey Bay; land ed his troops by night; and laid an ambuscade of three hundred men in a wood, on the hollow brow of the hill of Scacafel. Early on the ensuing morning Godred was attacked with great impetuosity by the inhabitants. The action was

bloody, and neither party gave way till the three hundred men, rushing from their ambush, put thie islanders to flight, and decided the fortune of the day. The river Selby being impassable by the influx of the tide, the fugives were unable to escape, and with lamentable cries besought the conqueror to spare their lives. Moved with compassion at the calamitous condition of the people, Godred recalled his pursuing army, and the next day gave his followers their choice, either to divide the lands among them, or to plunder the island and depart. Soldier-like, they gave the preference to the latter proposition : but Godred with a few of his retainers, having determined to settle in the country, made choice of that portion lying southward of the mountain ridge, and granted the remainder to the natives, on the express condition that they should consider themselves as tenants, and him as the lord of the soil. Hence the whole island became the property of the King: till the fifteenth or sixteenth century was acknowledged so to be: and, though from the year 1703 he ceased to claim any title to the land itself, his rentals were then confirmed and continue to the present day.

At this period Ireland was divided into petty

principalities; and nothing can more strongly shew the weakness of such a government than the awe in which its inhabitants stood of the little Isle of Man. Dublin, the capital, was reduced by Godred; and a great part of the province of Leinster submitted to his arms. His navy was so powerful that he was able to oblige the Scots to keep theirs within narrow bounds; and, to borrow from the Rushen Monks what I suppose is a metaphorical expression, they durst not, when building a ship or boat, drive more than three nails into it.

After a reign of sixteen years this valiant man died in Ila, one of his western islands, leaving three sons, Lagman, Harold, and Olave. · The eldest, Lagman, seized upon the government, and reigned seven years. His brother Harold was long in rebellion against him; but, being at last taken prisoner, had his eyes put out and was otherwise mutilated. Lagman afterwards repented of his unbrotherly conduct towards Harold; was overwhelmed with sorrow and despondency; renounced his kingdom; and, as an expiation of his guilt, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he died. . 1089.]-Olave being still a minor, the chief


inhabitants of Man dispatched ambassadors to Murecard O'Brien, King of Ireland; requesting him to send some diligent man of royal extraction to rule over them during his minority. O'Brien, granting their request, sent Donald, the son of Tade, enjoining him to govern the king. dom with clemency and justice. But, as soon as he was seated on the throne, he began to act the part of a tyrant, and behaved with so much cruelty and outrage that the inhabitants, unable to endure his oppression, conspired, rose up in arms, and obliged him to fly back to Ireland, whence he never attempted to return.

1097.)-In the year 1097 the King of Norway endeavoured to seize the sovereignty of the Isle of Man and of the Hebrides, and sent Ingemund to take possession of them. He landed in Lewis, and commanded all the chiefs of the islands to elect him king. In the mean time he and his attendants rioted in plunder, feasting, and all sorts of debauchery, ravishing women and virgins. The inhabitants, being enraged against him, besieged his house in the night time, set it on fire, and thus destroyed in the flames or by the sword himself and his retinue.

1098.7-Macmarus was the next king of Man:

but who he was, and what title he had to the crown, history does not inform us. His election to the dignity occasioned civil broils between the southern and northern districts of the island. The inhabitants of the former were headed by the king whom they had elected ; those of the latter, the original natives, by Earl Outher. The armies met, and a battle was fought in the parish of St. Patrick. According to the Manks tradition the northern men had nearly won the victory, when the women of the south side came. with so much resolution to the assistance of their husbands that they restored the battle; and, as a reward for their bravery, enjoyed one half of their husbands' estate during their widowhood, while their northern countrywomen had only one third.* The Chronicon Manniæ, however, the foundation of this chapter, ascribes the victory to the inhabitants of the northern district. Both the generals were slain,

At this time Magnus, grandson to Harold Halfagar, was King of Norway. Having, contrary to the injunctions of his clergy, caused the tomb of St. Olavé, King and Martyr, to be opened, in order to know whether the body

* Sacheverel.

« PreviousContinue »