A Buggane is a Celtic ogre type creature that features in Manx mythology. A shape shifter his natural look is fearsome. Large, long black hair, tusks, claws, cloven hoofs and a mouth that could rip the head of any prey; woe betide those who upset a Buggane. There are many tales of people who have for one reason or another had the misfortune to get on the wrong side of a Buggane.
One such tale was one Buggane's dislike of the church of St Trinian's. Anyone travelling along the road from Douglas to Peel will see the roofless shell of the fourteenth century church built on the site of an earlier twelfth century chapel. It lies under the shadow of the hill near the village of Greeba. This hill was the home of a Buggane. When the church was built by the monks of St Trinians Priory in southwest Scotland they had no idea what they were up against. For the Buggane objected to such a building being erected in his supernatural domain.
The first roof put on the church was ripped off by the Buggane who had created a mighty storm. A second roof met the same fate. A third attempt was made. Many suspected it would not stay on for even one night. However, a young tailor volunteered to stay in the church overnight. Not only would he stay the night he said he would take a wager that he could also make a pair of breeches during his wait. The monks thought if the Buggane could be put off from tearing the roof for the first night he would then leave it alone.
The brave, some would say foolish tailor, worked hard that night, stitching the breeches together, keen to win his wager. As he sowed the wind grew stronger and the tailor became increasingly nervous. Then before him rising out of the ground came the mighty Buggane. Just having time to put the last stitches in the breeches the tailor leapt though the church window. Behind him he heard the crashing of the roof as it was ripped off and thrown to the floor. Running for his life he heard the pounding hoofs and blood curdling screams of the Buggane. Finally out of sheer anger the Buggane tore his own head off and threw it at the tailor. It exploded at his feet, but he escaped.
The tailor was fortunate to survive that night and win his wager. Never again did anyone ever attempt to replace the roof of St Trinians Church. Go there today and you will see it. Keeill Vrisht they call it in Manx Gaelic (Broken Church). It is a roofless shell. Locals will tell you that on dark winter nights when passing the church a large gust of wind arises from nowhere and the ground starts to shake. A warning from the Buggane that has been heeded for centuries.
Manx Fairy Tales by Sophia Morrison tells a story about Buggane. Get your copy from Amazon.com (US$) and Amazon.co.uk (GB£):