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Howstarke
Escadala

 

Godred II, King of Mann from 1153 to 1187, enacted a Charter which read "I Guthred, by the Grace of God King of the Isles, as well for my own salvation as for the souls of my father and mother and moreover also for the good of my Kingdom and people have given to God and St Bege...the land called Eschadala...and the land called Asmundestoftes..in exchange for the Church of St Olaf..". Another document from this period states that a mill was located on this second piece of land. Escadala thus passed to the Priory of Saint Bee's in Cumbria and Godred II emulated his father Olaf I who, in 1134, had granted the site of the Cistercian monastery at Rushen Abbey to the Abbot of Furness.

The location of Escadala is of interest in the story of Howstrake in that A.W. Moore, in his Place Names, claims that its site was at Groudle and bases this supposition on the origin of this name. Moore's Place Names states that the name Groudle derives from the Scandinavian word Esju meaning Clay. Esju-dalr, or Eschedalr, or Escadala, means Clay Dale. This direct English translation became corrupted over the years. By 1511 it had changed to Crawdale, by 1794 to Crowdale and by about 1860 to Growdale. More recently the name has changed to Groudle. The word Esju, or Clay, occurs again in this neighbourhood. The area of coast to the North of Groudle was known as Esju-nes meaning Clay Ness, or Clay Head. The miners from the Laxey Mines are said to have used clay from Clay Head to attach candles to their helmets. Moore's version of the origin of Groudle is thus based on the Scandinavian word Esju and a series of progressive corruptions of the English equivalent, Clay Dale. The origin which he gives for the name of the nearby Clay Head is similar. and each tends to support the other, both origins being entirely feasible.

Rev Cumming in his guide of 1861 described the beach at Groudle as Groudlehaven. He wrote in his Guide of 1861 that "..the tourist...may descend...to the retired Creek of Growdale, anciently Eskedalavik (the Cove of Eskedale..").

Turning to Kneen's Place Names, we find that he gives the ancient name of Groudle as Krapp-dalr, Scandinavian, meaning Narrow Glen. Whilst this might be an apt description, and indeed a part of the glen at Groudle is called Lhen Coan, said to mean Narrow Glen in Manx, it throws no light on the origin of the name of Groudle. He too mentions Eschedala, or Eskedale, but states that it is an old name for the Dhoon Glen. He differs also in its origin, which he gives as being from the Scandinavian Eski-dalr, or Ash Dale. The piece of land called Asmundestoftes in Godred's Charter is identified by Kneen as the farm of Ballellin in Maughold parish. Miss Mona Douglas, in her book "Christian Tradition In Mannin", records that "...the late Canon Quine identified Eschadala with the Dhoon district of Maughold parish, though without giving any reason for this...". The Canon derived Ballellin from Ball'mwyllin, the farm of the mill. Miss Douglas made the point that when Godred enacted his Charter, the Manx parishes were in a process of formation and the stretch of land between the Dhoon and Kirk Maughold was held jointly by St Bee's and Rushen Abbey. The Abbot of Rushen and the Prior of St Bee's were both Barons of Mann and, as such, entitled to sit in Tynwald.

There were clearly two localities in the Island known as Escadala, one at Groudle and the other Maughold, although each derived from different Norse origins. However, only one could have been the Eschadala of Godred's Charter. The late Canon Quine in his "Notes on Charter of Godred II to St. Bees", Proceedings IOM NHAS, 1916, Vol. 2, page 222, stated that "..Eschedala is the Dhoon: this may be taken as indisputable..".

Richard Maltby Broadbent, who founded the pleasure glen and railway at Groudle, lost a large part of his fortune in the collapse of Dumbell's Bank in 1900 and he was obliged to sell Ivydene, the house which Baillie Scott had designed for him in 1892 at Little Switzerland in Douglas. By 1907 Mr Broadbent had built a property on the King Edward Road, past the Groudle viaduct, on land which he owned on the Bibaloe estate. This house straddles the boundary between the parishes of Onchan and Lonan but is accepted as being in the latter. Perhaps out of nostalgia for the glen from which his fortunes had derived, and for which he is chiefly remembered, he named his new house Escadale.