Colby Glen

Points of Interest
View More
A7, Colby, Isle of Man, IM9 4LL | Directions

Colby Glen, situated just above Colby village covers, about 5 acres.  The Colby River runs through it.  This is a gentle glen to walk through, differing from the wild beauty of most other glens on the Island, it has a beauty and charm all of its own, especially in spring time when wild flowers such as ells and primroses are found in profusion.  The glen also has some particularly fine examples of trees in the flat area at the top.  Access bus, car or steam railway.  Parking is on the roadside.


There is a public right of way through the top of glen to Cronkdooney and Ballakilpheric.  The little pool in the glen is known locally as "Fairy Pool".  When it became nationalised in 1955 the nominal sum of £20 was paid by the Forestry, Mines and Land Board to Edward Murray Gawne of Kentraugh.


1912 Riots


In 1912 Colby Glen was the cause of the public taking the law into its own hands.


The glen, divided into the Little Glen and the Big Glen, had gates erected by their owners, but this was most unpopular with the locals who for generations had used these glens with no one challenging their right of way.  The entrance to the Big Glen had been part of a very ancient highway and it had been used by the people living in Ballakilpheric in the days when men would carry coffins on their shoulders down the road to Arbory Church.  The entrances to both glens were used by the farmers to take their cattle, sheep and horses for water.


The gates were soon pulled down in defiance but were immediately put back up and padlocked.  This led to a council of action, in the form of a public meeting, to be addressed by Police Inspector Corkish from Castletown.  A crowd gathered to sit on a little grass plot at the gates of the Little Glen.  Because of the ambiguity of the law, the police inspector was at a disadvantage, and the men were in a defiant mood, arguments broke out.  This contingent then went up to the gates at the Big Glen where Mr W H Costain of Ballachrink, was waiting with another crowd.  (Mr Costain was a great campaigner of public rights and an example of this was the fact that every year on Colby Fair Day, he would drive his float around the perimeter of the fair field to establish the ancient rights to use the field for the annual festival).  Mr Costain was the spokesman for the Colby contingent on the outside of the gate. In the meantime a crowd of men from Ballakilpherick, led by Ned Gale, a farmer, had assembled inside the gate with a large mallet. Mr Costain demanded the gate be unlocked and opened.  "I ask thee to unlock the gate" for the first time.  For the second time "open the gate".  This was emphatically refused.  For the third and last time, "I demand thee to unlock the gate".  There was no response.  Then Mr Costain said "Up with the hammer Ned".  Ned acted immediately.  The chain was chiselled and the gate, taken off its hinges and thrown down the glen.  The police were powerless to intervene and both gates were removed and never replaced.  The public had established their rights.  These days, gates and enclosures in the glen are purely to stop livestock from straying.


[Source: Manx Glens - A stroll through history]


[Acknowledgement: Suzanne Cubbon]