REPORTS OF EVENTS Oct 2011-Dec 2012
It’s very encouraging to see that the increase in the numbers of people coming to the evening meetings. Events further afield are generally less well-supported though. Attendances for the indoor meetings average about 25, which represents about 40% of our membership. Please let us know if you have any ideas suggestions for speakers and subjects or, indeed, if you would like to volunteer your own services!
Our Manx Dialect Roy Kennaugh 11th October, 2011
We are really fortunate that there are so many people involved in studying areas of Manx interest. Roy has been part of a group of researchers who have looked at the way English is spoken in the Isle of Man. What was once described as the Anglo-Manx dialect is now referred to as Manx-English. The work has thrown up some unexpected findings and forms a very useful reference point for future research work.
Advent Carol Service, Old Ballaugh Church Sunday 11th December 2011
Our carol service marked the second Sunday in Advent. Enthusiastic singing and thoughtful readings contributed to a memorable event, which gives us all an opportunity to sing Advent carols and hymns such as ‘Hills of the North, rejoice!’ After the service, we were treated to welcome mulled wine (non-alcoholic!) and mince-pies.
The Story of Ramsey Lifeboat Tony Walters Ballaugh Heritage Trust, 21st February, 2012
We were fortunate that Tony spoke to us about the subject close to his heart in the year in which he received a major award from the Australian equivalent of the RNLI. He drew on his extensive knowledge of the RNLI to tell us about some aspects of how the organization is run, including the development of the boats themselves, the training of crews, and some of the inspiring stories of rescues.
Wildlife Reserves Tricia Sayle, Tuesday 20th March, 2012
Warden Reserves Officer Tricia introduced us to the variety of flora and fauna to be found in the Island’s landscape. There are particularly interesting areas in Ballaugh and neighbouring parishes. The Curragh, of course, is an internationally-recognised wetland. Close Sartfield is most famous for the extraordinary sight of the orchids in early summer but Tricia described some of the less well-known reserves and gave an account of some of the issues that have to be taken into consideration in their management.
The Isle of Man in the 1900s Jack Kaighen 17th April, 2012
We welcomed back another heritage enthusiast. Jack’s lantern slides continue to fascinate with the insights they give into lives a hundred years ago. Many focused on the visiting industry, recording the huge numbers of visitors, particularly in Douglas. It’s always interesting too to see how the townscape has changed and, although most scenes were familiar, some views were less recognizable.
Manx links with Western Norway Fenella Bazin 1st May, 2012
Unfortunately, Andrew Johnson’s scheduled talk on Flight into History: Archaeology at Ronaldsway 1935-2010 had to be postponed so our Chairman stepped into the breach! The Isle of Man’s links with Norway have been an important element in shaping Manx life today. The first Vikings settled mainly on the northern plain, which was fertile, and was easily accessible by sea, and had long sandy beaches for landing boats. The northern parishes have a rich tradition of carved crosses from the period. Only one has been found in Ballaugh. Housed in the Old Church, the runic inscription refers to Olaf Liotulfsson, perhaps the founder of one of the Ballaugh families, as his surname gradually changes into the surname Corlett.
Guided Tour round Ronaldsway Andrew Johnson Sunday 20th May 2012
On Sunday 20th May eleven of our members enjoyed a guided walk around Ronaldsway by Andrew Johnson, the Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Field Archaeologist at Manx National Heritage.
Andrew started by giving us a great overview of the importance of the area. He referred to the Viking and Scottish landings on St Michael’s Isle, describing the Isle of Man as ‘a pawn in the drawn out game between England and Scotland’. Andrew told us of a 1700’s coastal battery which nearly closed up the Derbyhaven bay. He described the great farmland in the area and talked about the Christian family and their history and the demolition of their farm and Ballagilley farm in the 1930s for the development of the airport. Andrew talked about the origins of archaeology as a area of academic study and the amateur work of Cannon Stenning, then a master at King William’s College. Signs had been found of medieval lead smelting.
We then moved along to the Manx Flyers Club. Andrew pointed out where graves had been disturbed by ploughing. He described the second dig in the area between 1935 and 1937 which led to the discovery of a Bronze Age (2100-700 BC) round house and village with traces of pottery and signs of metal working. Also in the area was an early Christian chapel.
Andrew went on to talk about a hectic period for Manx archaeology driven by the speed of wartime airport expansion. During the Second World War, Ronaldsway became a military airport with HMS Sea Eagle and HMS Urley being based here. Bulldozers levelled Ballagilley and the Creggans farms to make way for more runways. The driver came across a dark area in the ground and asked the Museum to come and take a look. There was a problem. Basil Megaw from the Museum was away on wartime service. His wife, Eleanor (by training a naturalist) stepped in to examine the area. The Isle of Man authorities were very helpful Andrew told us, in allowing an internee to assist. Eminent archaeologist Gerhart Bersu was ‘just around the corner’. He was brought as close as the guards would let him and allowed to use a step ladder and binoculars to observe the dig. Eleanor would cycle to meet him in the evenings to discuss the dig. The dig yielded a huge collection of artefacts and flint tools.
We then took a walk onto ‘The newest part of the Isle of Man’. Andrew described the reasons behind the 2009 runway extension and all the planning that went into building it. The Rock Armour had to be imported from Norway. Rubble came from Turkeyland quarry and the area was seeded with locally collected seed.
The plan for massive changes to the site provoked several digs starting in 2008. Andrew described the rationale as being ‘the least amount of archaeology done for the most gain’ and told us that only the areas due to be disturbed were examined. Uncovered was a Bronze Age village from 3,500 years ago as well as a Mesolithic house, measuring 6 and half metres round. The Mesolithic period was from 5,000-10,000 years ago (the late stone age), and the period of transition from hunter-gathering to agriculture. This find was very significant as it is only one of half a dozen in the whole British Isles and it showed that the land had been rich enough to settle and build dwellings so that the inhabitants were no longer purely nomadic. This now lies under the new taxiway. Artefacts included Bronze Age tools and lots of flints. 10 tonnes of soil was removed and is being sieved and tested in Cambridge to ensure all the archaeology is captured.
The trip to Ronaldway, with Andrew’s guidance, was a brilliant way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon and a sincere vote of thanks was given by Sarah Christian. (SC)
Guided Tour round the Nautical Museum Sunday 16th September, 2012
On Sunday 16th September, a measly 5 people ventured out of the parish to have a skeet round the Nautical Museum in Castletown. Of our number, two hadn’t been for over twenty years and two had never been at all. David gave us a lovely tour of the site, showing all the hidden features and clever devices in George Quayle’s captain’s cabin.
As it was a lovely day, three of us ladies ventured to Port Erin. We couldn’t decide between an Ice cream sitting on the promenade or a swift beer in the Bay Hotel- so we did both! A scenic drive over the Slough, Dalby, Patrick and Peel had us in a holiday mood by the time we returned to the parish. A great afternoon out. (SC)
Journey to the End of the Earth Captain Bernie Quirk 23rd October, 2012
Captain Quirk led us through a thoroughly entertaining overview of his journey to the remote island of St Kilda. Although landing was impossible on his second cruise, he had been able to explore part of the main island on an earlier visit. Now only occupied during the summer by wardens and researchers, his account gave us an insight into how difficult life must have been when there was still a permanent population.
Another Thin Slice Bill Quine and Vic Bates Peel Heritage Trust6th November, 2012
Bill’s enthusiasm for the story of Peel and district has unearthed many fascinating stories. Featuring in this talk was the story of Joe Mylchreest, the Diamond King. Describing his early colourful career and travels, Bill then moved on to the development of the gold mine in South Africa, the links with businesses such as the de Beers. And the subsequent return with his South African wife to the Island.
‘I see a dark stranger’ Saturday 15 December, 2012
Breaking with the carol service tradition, this year’s Christmas event was the showing of a film in the Village Hall.
First screened in 1946, ‘I see a dark stranger’ starring Trevor Howard and a young Deborah Kerr, is a thriller which was partly filmed on the Island right at the end of the war. Although it has its darker moments, there is plenty of humour. Ballaugh and Sulby even had their moments when the names featured on signposts.
After the screening, a delicious afternoon tea had been provided by members of the Trust. Our thanks go to them for their much-appreciated baking and to Allyson for her technical expertise is setting up the equipment.
Categorised as: Events