Ballaugh Heritage Trust

Treisht Eiraght Valley Ny Loghey

‘Down the Dolley’ 2


Part II

Mrs D. Dobby, 1995

An informal but informed account, as far as very limited printed
records and memories will allow, of the Dollagh Green in earlier days.

Now we move to the single-storey cottages with their two-feet thick walls, which have kept their Manx shape at the front facing the Green but which have had extensions built to the back and side. These were originally thatched roofed (now slate tiles) and were rented and occupied probably by farm workers employed by the Dollagh Beg farmer to the south, as were the occupants of a line of cottages (now tholtans) on the other side of the river, on a line with Dollagh Cottage and Riverside Cottage on the Green.

In Dollagh Cottage lived Jemmy Kerruish (1845-1925) who was Jinny Callister’s brother, and his wife Margaret (1841-1903). By the 1920s this family had dwindled to ‘Nellie’, a personality of the ‘Dolley’, who was ‘Auntie Nellie’ not only to her nieces and nephews, but to everyone else on the Dollagh Green.

Deeds of Dollagh Cottage date back to 1883 when one Thomas Craine of Dollagh Moar, yeoman, bought the property from John Cowley, butcher of Peel, the Dollagh Green then being described as the Dollagh Easement. In 1889 part of this land was called the Parish Pinfold in the transaction, which transferred ‘the lands and premises, part of the Quarterland of Dollagh Moar’ to John Kelly and his wife. After this, the land and properties, described variously as Dollagh Beg, Claddagh, Slate Mountain, Voasts Meadow, Faie Rob and Dollagh Green, passed between the Killips, Quayles and Corletts until 1961, when Thomas Killip sold it to Evelyn Corlett of Ramsey (not to be confused with Dorothy Mabel Coreltt of Douglass who, in 1963, sold the field behind Dollagh Cottage to Charles Cowin). Dollagh Cottage itself was named and described as being bounded to the north by the Dollagh Green and included a garden, Barney’s House, a tholtan, and another garden which is where the Dollagh Cottage garage now stands.

In 1962, Evelyn Corlett sold all this property and land to Mary Jervis Hamblin of Kneen’s cottage and bungalow, the Cronk, Ballaugh. In 1964, Mary Jervis having died, Elsie Hamblin sold the land and property, this time excluding the tholtan, Barney’s House, to Marjorie Winifred Bushell of Kirk Michael for £800, who then added an extension at the back to provide two more rooms, a bathroom and a sunroom, together with a piece of land which she bought from Charles Cowin for a garden and access to the main road.

When this was finished, in 1966, she sold it to Gilbert Henry Grocott for £3,250. When he died in 1969, his widow sold it to Ernest Henry George Dobby for £4,250 who, in turn, added an extension containing a sitting room and a second bathroom. From the front the modernisation has not altered the proportion of the building although, o course, in the up-grading of Manx cottages the windows are changed and a porch added. In the case of the Dollagh Cottage, unfortunately the walls were covered with grey peeble-dash by Mrs Bushell, which is out of keeping with other dwellings around the Green. It is also unusual in having the front door at one end, next to the two-storey house next door, instead of between the usual two rooms, with the chimney of the chiollagh in the middle. Mrs Bushell also added a garage, in what was called ‘the garden’, beside which is now a giant holly tree, up which grows a white rose right to the top, some 30 feet, which flowers prolifically every year.

Another resident listed in 1890 as living on the Dollagh Green was Mrs Margaret Corlett, described as an egg-dealer and midwife, and who was know as ‘Mayh Miller’. The hens, it was said, laid their eggs in the pinfold. Her daughter, Mrs Mary Caine (1850-1925) continued with the midwifery and was known to everyone as ‘Mary the Miller’. She was noted for ‘popping’ a clove into her mouth before she set out to ‘fortify’ herself. Old time Manx ‘sick nurses’ also used to eat onions and take some with them as a disinfectant when called to an infectious case.

Next door, adjoining Dollagh Cottage to the west, is Riverside Cottage, also added to but in this case by a single room addition, distorting the Manx proportions of the building. In front and to the west, between the cottage and the river, is a narrow strip of the original garden, to which is now added a large piece of land the title of which is uncertain. In the Dollagh Cottage deeds it was attributed to the Callisters, although Mr Ellis said that there was nothing in their deeds to justify this.

However, the most interesting part of the property is that the thie veg now used as a coal shed, is in full view of the Green though, before the Pinfold wall was demolished, there was more privacy. It is strangely positioned in front of the cottage instead of, as is usual, at the back.

This brings up the question of how the thie veg would have been emptied. The usual method before the advent of piped water was for a hole in the wooden seat (or two, or three!) with the excrement just dropping on the ground, from which is was shovelled, periodically, on to a midden, scattered with lime and then covered with a layer of earth which, when big enough, was taken away in a barrow and spread over the garden.

Across, on the other side of the Green, stills stands almost in its original appearance, Brookside Cottage, first mentioned in the deeds in 160, when it was sold by William Kelly to John Teare and Thomas Craine, the house and land being described as part of the ‘Dhoullagh Moar’ Quarterland.Teare died in 1887, as also did Craine for whom, ‘he being illegitimate’, John Kelly was appointed Trustee. The property was sold in 1908 to Florence Sophie Brooke who, in 1955, sold it to a tram driver from Bispham, Blackpool for £700, described it as ‘a parcel of land in the Quarterland of Dollaugh Moar, with dwelling house called Brookside and “cottage” bordered to the north by land owned by Herbert Edwin Burgess, and to the south, by the Dollagh Easement’. This cottage is now a garage but, small as it is, was once lived in by a family who rented it, together with a garden on to which a barn-style door opened. This is now preserved and looked after as a beautiful cottage-style garden, wwith an apple tree in the centre until recently.

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