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been lost by some Norwegian who fled from the field of battle. There is a short Scandinavian runic inscription scratched on the back of it; but, from what has hitherto been deciphered, it would rather seem to denote the name of a Scotchman than of a Norwegian. Professor Munch reads, and certainly with good reason, as follows :
“ Malbritha a dalk thana” ... or, “ Melbrigd owns this brooch.”
In workmanship, moreover, it resembles the contemporary Irish and Scotch more than Scandinavian ornaments.
The remembrance of this last expedition of the Norwegians is scarcely less vivid in several of the harbours which King Hakor visited with his fleet; as, for instance, Lamlash (“Melasey”), in Arran ; Sanda (“ Sandey ') near the south point of Cantire, where are shown the remains of a chapel and a churchyard, in which are said to repose the bones of many Danish and Norwegian chiefs; also in Gigha (“Gúdey "); Kerrera (“ Kjarbarey "), with its “Danish ” fort “ Gylen;" and lastly, in Kyle Rhee (the King's Strait), and Kyle Akin (Hakon's Strait ?), in the straits between the Isle of Skye and Lochalsh, on the coast of Ross-shire. According to a tradition, which is, however, entirely without foundation, King Hakon, in his flight from Largs, was attacked in this strait and killed, together with a great number of his followers. With similar exaggeration the Scots relate that all the Norwegians round about in the Sudreyjar were killed after the battle of Largs. On one of the islands near Barra was shown, not long since, and perhaps is even still, a heap of humau bones, as the remains of the last Danes murdered there. On Lewis there is the following tradition—that when the Danes were quartered round about in the island, and were very troublesome on account of their oppressions, the Gaels laid a plan to murder them. The “ fiery cross” was circulated through the island, with this brief announcement: “ marbhadh ghach then a Bhuana ;" that is, “every one shall kill his guest.” The strangers, who had not time to assemble together, were thus murdered one by one.
It cannot admit of a doubt that the Norwegians on the Sudreyjar, who for centuries had taken fast root in the islands, and become mixed with the families of the Scotch chiefs, could not thus disappear all at once without leaving a trace behind them. In Lewis, as I have before proved, vestiges of a Norwegian population still exist. The best refutation of the tradition is, however, the circumstance that with the exception of Man, the Sudreyjar continued to be governed by the same chiefs who had ruled the islands under the Norwegian dominion; and who, being descended from Somerled himself, were in a great degree of Norwegian extraction. Somerled's successors also continued, after the old fashion, to defy the Scotch kings, who often sought in vain to subdue the bold “ Lords of the Isles,” so famed in song and legend. Sometimes they declared themselves independent, and sometimes they were compelled to yield to the superior force of the kings, and acknowledge them as their feudal lords; until at length, but not before the sixteenth century, the power of these island chieftains was entirely subdued. Even to the present day many Highland clans assert that they are descended from the Danes, or Norwegians. This much is at all events certain, that several clans have Scandinavian blood in their veins, as appears clearly enough from the names of Clan-Ranald (from Reginald or Ragnvald) and Clan-Dugal (from Dubhgall, “ the dark strangers,” the usual name for the Danes); both which clans, it is expressly stated, are descended from Somerled. To these may be added the clan of Macleod in Skye, whose chiefs still commonly bear the pure Norwegian names of “ Torquil” and " Tormod.”
But the enduring influence of the Norwegian dominion in the Sudreyjar is best established by the fact that since the battle of Largs, the Isle of Man, through all the vicissitudes of fate, and after passing by sale into the possession of the English crown, has uninterruptedly retained its peculiar position as a kingdom, having its own originally Norwegian or Scandinavian constitution, and its annual assemblies on the identical Thing-hill, Tynwald (or, as it was formerly called Tingualla,“ Þingavöllr"), from which, about a thousand years ago, the Norwegians governed the Sudreyjar. Although the British Parliament makes laws for England, Ireland, and Scotland, they are of no validity in the Isle of Man, unless they are in accordance with the ancient laws and liberties of the island, and, after being confirmed by its own Parliament, are proclaimed from Tynwald Hill.
The Manx Parliament, whose origin is lost in the mists of remote antiquity, but whose establishment is usually ascribed to the Danish king Orry (Erik ?), who settled in the island in the beginning of the tenth century, consists of the three “estates” of the island : 1st, the king, or superior lord; 2nd, the governor and council ; 3rd, the twenty-four representatives of the island (“ Keys, or Taxiaxi"). The upper house, or council, consists of the bishop, two superior judges (“deemsters "), and six other of the highest officers in the island. The representatives in “ the house of Keys” fill up vacancies themselves, and hold their seats for life, without being in any way responsible to the people for their votes.
This aristocratic mode of election reminds one of the time of the Norwegian conquest, when the Norwegians made themselves lords over the natives. The Thing, or Tynwald Court, which can be assembled by the governor at any time whatever, possesses, according to old Scandinavian custom, both the judicial and the legislative power. The house of Keys is the first, and the Council the second court of appeal for certain causes, after they have been tried by the inferior courts in the island. The Council can reject proposals for laws brought in by the house of Keys, and the king again can reject the united proposals of both houses. On the other hand, what all the three estates have agreed on becomes a law (“ a Tynwald act "); but it is not in force until it has been proclaimed from Tynwald Hill. This hill, which stands in the midst of a valley on the west coast of the island, close to the northern side of the town of Peel, is said to have been originally raised with earth taken from all the seventeen parishes in the island. It forms four terraces, or steps, the lowest of which is eight feet broad, the next six feet, the third four feet, and the topmost six feet. There are three feet between every step, or terrace, and the circumference of the hill is about 240 feet. It is covered with green sward. (See Cumming. “ The Isle of Man." London, 1848.)
Once a year, on St. John the Baptist's Day, the governor of Man, attended by a military escort, sets out from Castle Town, and, together with the Tynwald Court, attends divine service in St. John's Chapel, situated a few hundred paces from the hill. After the service, the whole court repairs in solemn procession to the hill, whence all the laws that have been passed in the course of the year are proclaimed in English and Manx. The procession then returns to the chapel, where the laws are signed and sealed.
Amongst all the Scandinavian Thing-hills, or Thingwalls (“ Þingavellir ") that can be traced in the old Danish part of England, in the Norwegian part of Scotland, as well as in the Orkneys and Shetland Islands, and which also formerly existed in Iceland, Norway, and throughout the North, Tynwald in Man is the only one still in use.
It is, indeed, highly remarkable that the last remains of the old Scandinavian Thing, which, for the protection of public liberty, was held in the open air, in the presence of the assembled people, and conducted by the people's chiefs and representatives, are to be met with not in the North itself, but in a little island far towards the west, and in the midst of the British kingdom. The history of the Manx Thing court remarkably illustrates that spirit of freedom and that political ability which animated the men who in ancient times emigrated from Norway and the rest of the Scandinavian North.
NORWEGIANS IN IRELAND.
Nature and Population of Ireland. The “ Danish" Conquests.--
Traditions about the “ Danes.”—Political Movements.
IRELAND may still be justly called the chief land of the ancient Celtic tribes. Long after the Britons and Caledonians had been driven out by the Romans and AngloSaxons, and obliged to fly to the remotest mountain districts of the west, their Irish kinsmen retained firm possession of the whole large and fertile country of Ireland. Subsequently, it is true, the Irish also were compelled to give way before the conquests of the Norwegians and English; yet they continued to inhabit the greater part of the country in vastly superior numbers; and even in the districts conquered by foreigners, which were mostly confined to the sea coasts, they dwelt intermingled with the new immigrants. In spite of the attempts of the English to subdue and annihilate the nationality of the Irish, they continued to preserve throughout the middle ages their ancient language and their characteristic manners and customs. With all their power the English have not even been able to root out the Roman Catholic religion, which to the present day forms the predominant church of the Irish. It is only in later times that they