Lady Isabella

It’s perhaps the ultimate Manx symbol, but where does it come from? A new book aims to unlock the mysteries of the distinctive and ubiquitous Three Legs of Mann.

‘Three legs Good’, published by Loaghtan Books, celebrates the Manx triskelion and explores the history of the symbol and its origins.

Author Sara Goodwins, who lives in Ramsey, told the Manx Independent: ‘I’m a comeover, and the first time I visited the island about 25 years ago I saw the symbol everywhere.

‘It’s distinctive, eye-catching and also quite odd when you think about it. there was obviously great pride in the symbol, but I noticed people weren’t always sure where it really comes from.’

Douglas Harbour
Patrick Sundial
Douglas Silvercraig Hotel

The Manx version of the triskelion is believed to have been adopted as a royal coat of arms in the island during the 13th century, but the symbol’s origins go much further into the past, taking in Celtic and even classical history.

‘From a Manx point of view the earliest examples are on the Manx Sword of State and on the Maughold stone cross, but it appears even earlier elsewhere in the world’, Sara said. ‘The spiral symbol goes back several thousand years, and the three legs themselves appeared about 500BC in ancient Greece.’

The book features full colour photographs of some of the most distinctive examples around
the Isle of Man.

Written by David Kneale, published in The Manx Independent, Thursday 5 March 2015.