Saturday, June 21, 2008


For this week "Ramsey Daily Photo" will be known as "Rhumsaa Daily Photo". This is it's Norse name, as Ramsey is one of the many things about the island that bears a Norse name tag. Rhumsaa was named so by the Norse after the wild garlic that grew in abundance around the river and surrounding area. Quite literally it translates as "wild garlic river" and the smell must have been quite pungent. Sadly, no wild garlic now, and garlic of any kind is confined to the shops, that is when they bother to re stock.

Again I thought this would be a great idea to enlighten you about the island and as usual I have hit the proverbial Manx brick wall. I am, however indebted to the local library for the Norse literature and Manx conncections, and to the websites that have tried to at least document any Norse connections. With this in mind, I will try and convey a little of the Norse and Viking history to you, starting with this great page of I found, where the dates have been confirmed.

Isle of Man

The Vikings first set foot on the Isle of Man in the year 798. By 820 they had conquered and settled in the Isle of Man, establishing a prosperous Viking colony that benefited greatly from the trade between Ireland and the Scottish islands.

The Isle of Man had a central location was on the sailing route from Scandinavia to Ireland. With it's excellent fertile agricultural land and good harbours around the coastline, it was an important base not just for raiding and settlement, but also for trading with Scotland and Ireland.

Archaeological evidence confirm the presence of Vikings on Isle of Man. The various findings from burials and settlements and Nordic place names still used creates a fuller picture of Vikings life on the island.

Peel Castle

Peel Castle has been a site of religious and secular importance in Isle of Man history.
I 1982 archaeologist began excavating the ruins of the castle to prove the importance and date the many building faces.

With the walls is a Round Tower from the 11th century, a cathedral from the 13th century and small apartments from the later Lords of Mann, who ruled on the Island.

During the excavations they found seven pagan burrials all located at the later christian cemetry.
One of the most spectacular finds was a buried pagan lady from the Viking Age with an obvious high status in society. The grave had several rich grave goods, including a necklace made of beads. The necklace dates to late 900 AD and consist of 73 beads of glass and amber. The beads are all in different size, shape and colour. The number of beads on the necklace and the variety of them makes this one of the most impressive jewellery finds ever.

Faktum: other grave finds from Isle of Man include the boad grave at Balladoole and the burial mount at Gronk Moar. The boat grave dates to 850 - 950 AD and contained a Vikign ship at 11 metres with a burried mand and woman dressed in fine clothing as well as equipment for horse riding, tools and a shield. In the burial mount was a fully dressed man in a coffin with a cloak, knife, sword and a pin for the cloak.


In 800 AD the Vikings founded Tynwald, the oldest working parliament in the world. This parliament is still in existence on the island today.
Tynwald means open assembly in old Norse and can be linked to similar assemblies on Island (Tingvellir) and the Faroe Islands (Logting).

The Tynwald might have been local and regional to begin with and then later developed into one centralized assembly or goverment. These Tynwalds were already in operation before the establisment of Parliamentary Goverment in England.
At Tynwald old laws or rules from the local areas were made official, new laws submitted and punishment were given to law breakers.

The myth of Sigurd

Great decorated stone crosses with Viking motitfs are today preserved in many parishes on the Isle of Man. These crosses are all dated to the 1000 - 1100 century and their carvings tells stories of Nordic heroes, legends and myths.

Four of the stone crosses, from the parishes of Andreas, Jurby, Malew and Maughold, tell the myth of Sigurd.

Sigurd grew up in a king's household, but was brought up by the dwarf Regin, who was king's black smith. Sigurd was destined to become a great hero some day.

When Sigurd was young Regin told him the story of how The god Loki had killed the great fisherman Ottar. To recompense Ottar's father Hreidmar, the gods made a cover of gold for Ottar to be burried in. But the gold were cursed and Hreidmar was soon killed by his other son Fafni, the serpent dragon.

When Sigurd got older he convinced Regin to make him a great sword. He also selected one of the finest horses from the king's stables. Following the advice of Odin, Sigurd set out to find the Fafni's gold.

Sigurd dug a pit and hit under some branches, and when Fafni passed by he drove his sword into the monster's belly. He cut out Fafni's heart and roasted it to give to Regin. When touching the meat to see if it was done he burned his fingers. When he sucked the blood, tasting the dragon blood, he could suddenly understand the birds singing.

The birds told him that Regin would kill Sigurd, steal the gold and Fafni's wisdom.
Regin couldn't kill Sigurd, but after several years of adventure the curse of the gold took effect, when Sigurd was killed by his own brother Gunnar.
Gunnar stole the gold, but the curse followed him as well and he later died by a snake bite to the heart.

The Viking rule ended in 1265 when Isle of Man was handed over to Alexander III of Scotland.

Hopefully as the week goes on I can find other bits and pieces of interest, especially for our Norse readers.

The photo is of North Barrule which overlooks Rhumsaa. Several meaning have materialised when trying to establish the meaning of Barrule. Barrule it appears comes form the Norse word Vorofjall, Beacons Fell. Quite how it went from one to the other remains subjective. Feel free to chip in. I am open to suggestion. No egos on this blog, but I will ask just for the facts rather than conjecture. I, at least am trying to document the island so others may not find it so hard to glean correct info.


Unknown said...

spectacular photo!

thanks for coming to My Photoblog

Gattina said...

A very interesting post ! The Wikings were a little everywhere too. I have a Countries & Cities blog

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" was very fascinated with the Viking history you've posted here, Babooshka! "Louis" is a real history buff, so this is right up his alley!

Tom said...

Excellent post... I for one look forward very miuch to more.... if I get the time this week I will also look to see what I can come up with for you concerning this.

Tom said...

You asked me a question.. I can only answer that by email..

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is really useful. The panoramic photograph is charming.


Woo, that's so interesting! I've found myself more and more and more interested in the IOM ever since I discovered your blog, which can only be a good thing, surely! Keep up the good PR love!


Reader Wil said...

I read the story with great enthusiasme for, as you know already, I am very interested in the Vikings. They left their traces all over the northern hemisphere. Thank you for showing this most interesting post! It's supplementary information to my Viking post. I hope to read more about the vikings. The fact that the burial ship contained the body of a man and a women is confirmed by many stories. The man died and a slave girl was killed to accompany him in the afterlife. Animals were also killed.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I am a Viking enthusiast. The Isle of Man does look very nice.

RuneE said...

Tom tipped me off that you had published the first instalment, and very interesting it was too. I knew of the parliament, but not of the latest archaeological findings. Those sounded very Norse indeed.

The legend of Sigurd is know in Scandinavia as the Saga of Sigurd FĂ„vnesbane, also mentioned in Volsunga Saga and the Elder Edda. BTW, The German hero poem, Niebleungenlied is based on the same story.

This looks like the beginning of a great week!

magiceye said...

very interesting and informative post indeed

mrsnesbitt said...

How fascinating! I love teaching history in school. The vikings is a very interesting subject.
Loved this post....the mountain I see! LOL!

Berit T said...

Great SWF!!! And ineresting to read.

My son in law - his name is Sigurd!

Have a nice weekend.

George Townboy said...

Excellent post, loved reading the history and the myth! Thank you!!

Bob Dylan said...

Enjoyed this post very much!

laxeylass said...

Laxey is Norse too. I am going to enjoy this week so much. How many will you do? I will ask my dad what he knows.

pierre l said...

Thank you Babooshka. This promises to be a great week!

Louis la Vache said...

Babooshka, "Louis" posted an update the his comments about the dipsticks in Washington.

Unknown said...

Very fasinating and interesting reading, JK! Viking stuff is curriculum at norwegian schools.
This is a good freshen up post for an old teflon brain. :-)
Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

I t si an exciting post with a very pretty photo.


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