The name William Alfred Clucas (1889-1914) may not be one that immediately springs to mind in connection with the Manx history, but Alfred or ‘Alf’ as he was more commonly known, has something of an inauspicious honour (as far as my research can tell) of being the first Manxman killed during the First World War, a hundred years ago today (26th August 1914).
The motorcycle races known as the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) remain one of the worlds most challenging sporting events. Here riders reach speeds well in excess of 200mph, passing within inches of houses, lamp-posts and stone walls as the negotiate the seemingly never-ending series of bends, hairpins and humped bridges on a 37¾ mile circuit of the island’s roads. Almost from the outset the event has courted controversy, with both the national and international press devoting more column inches to documenting the risks and rising death toll than any other facet of the racing or its results. Yet despite these dangers both locals and race fans alike vehemently defend the event as one of the last bastions of true freedom and sportsmanship.
Finding a site clearly labelled on a map would seem like a no brainer to most, but St Patrick’s Chair is one of the sites that is complex and shows how traditions change and develop through time. The ‘current’ St. Patrick’s Chair, which stands in a field called Magher y Chairn (‘Field of the Lord’) on the Garth in Marown (SC3165577946), has long baffled Manx archaeologists and antiquarians. For those who haven’t visited the monument it is formed from a mass of earth and stones into which a series of stone slabs have been set on edge (see picture). While the monument has been heavily damaged by later activities, the keen observer will notice that the mound hides evidence of a roughly rectangular structure constructed from dry-stone into which three slabs have been placed vertically. The earliest description comes from a local antiquarian Joseph Cumming who reports:
A query of the Manx Nostalgia Facebook group reminded me about some notes I took (and some photographs which I have mislaid) about the old Starch Works in Sulby. As a result I thought it an appropriate to write up that research in this blog post. I hope people find it interesting and if anyone has any photographs, similar notes then please email Manx Research or post a comment at the bottom.