The Isle of Man (IoM) is different. As one Manxter told me, "The Isle of Man is in the British Isles, but it is not in the U.K." Unlike Scotland, whose bank notes are easily passed in England, the Isle of Manx Bank Pound notes are only good on this island in the Irish Sea, roughly half-way between Northern England and Northern Ireland.
Last weekend, a group of Geomancers <http://www.geomancygroup.org> met there for one of our several times a year meetings, and while there were many Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age remains that would be at home anywhere in the U.K., there were four sites that we visited that I have not seen anything similar to them here on "mainland' Britain.
The first were the two Tings/Tynwalds we visited. These were Viking introductions (they were all over the west coast of the British Isles), and these Tings were the equivalent to the AngloSaxon Moots - places where tribes could gather on neutral turf to resolve inter-clan issues - or moot points.
I have been to Tings in Sweden, for example, Arkils Ting is in Central Uppland, Sweden on the outskirts of Stockholm. The remains consist of a rectangular stone formation and two runestones. According to Wikipedia, "The runestones and the assembly location were created by the Skålhamra clan who also had the two Risbyle Runestones made across the lake near their estate. It consequently appears that they owned land on both sides of the lake.
"Scholars disagree on the function of a Viking Age assembly location. According to one view, all the people in the vicinity assembled there in order to reach agreements and to mete out justice. Another view sees the assemblies as meetings for the chieftains only who merely stated what they had decided to do and where they interrogated and punished their subordinates."
But the Isle of Man is the first time I have seen Tings in Britain, and we saw two! The first one we went to is in what John Michell refers to as the centre of Britain and the centre of the Isle of Man. It's tiny, but the big chiefs could certainly have met there.
Tynwald at the centre of the British Isles
The Tynwald in operation today is in Parliament Field, and is the oldest operating Parliament in the world. It consists of a tiered-like cake with a flag pole on top where the King of Man sat (today, the Lieutenant -Governor). Lesser nobles sat on the lower tiers of the cake. At the opposite end of a long straight gravelled path is St John's Church and the Parliament. It was Sunday morning, and when I walked by St. John's, they were singing "Nearer My God To Thee."
St. John's Church
Oh yes, while we were there, Shiva and Ganesh visited the flag pole
The next first-time-in-Britain-thing I saw was a Viking Ship-Setting. I've seen a number of them in Sweden, especially on the island of Gotland; however, perhaps the most impressive was a double setting at Anundshög <http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anundsh%C3%B6g> near Västerås in central Sweden. It is an amazing Viking complex with not only these two ship settings, but many round barrow-looking mounds, a long stone row, and nearby is Tibble, a Fifteen Circuit Classical Labyrinth.
(Note that they are not vesica pisces)
Apparently, the Isle of Man has two Viking Ship-Settings. We only saw one at the southern end of the island, but there is another one at the north end. The one we went to is at Balladoodle on Chapel Hill - an Iron Age Hill Fort with many different sites of different ages.
Sig at the tiller of
a Viking Age Ship-Setting
in Balladoodle, southern Isle of Man.
A late 9th Century Viking buried with
a woman, his horse and other livestock.
The final site called the Mull Circle, I ain't never seen one like it anywhere else! Never! This late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age site consisted of six pairs of cists around in a circle (making a hexagram) with a small avenue in between each pair that was oriented to a white quartz boulder in the center. Apparently Manxians use this place for all kinds of ceremony.
Patrick MacManaway stands
by the white stone quartz boulder in the centre.
The fog we met there would give any Mist of Avalon a run for its money, and made a fitting end to our journey to this magical and very different islland. Don't miss it. (One tip: You must have your own transportation to see these sites.)
9, Bove Town