[from History of IoM, 1900]



(1266-1405) THE century and a half which intervened between the cession of the Isle of Man to Scotland in 1266, and the commencement of the Stanley dominion in 1405 is a period characterized by continual changes of nominal sovereignty, the history of which is, in many of its details, hopelessly obscure

General character of the period 1266-1405.

During the lifetime of Alexander III. the rights of the Scottish crown appear to have been asserted. with some vigour. When Scotland fell under the power of Edward I., the island came for a time into his possession, and, subsequently, its allegiance was disputed between the sovereigns of England and Scotland, with varying success, the English supremacy being, in the end, established. In the course of the fourteenth century we hear from time to time of various persons as " owners " or " lords " of Man but, during the latter part of that century, the internal government of the island seems to have been largely in the hands of the ecclesiastical barons representing the great monastic bodies, the growth of whose influence, with the increase of the papal power, is the great feature of the church history of Man during this period. Having thus stated the general character of the period, we will now briefly mention the chief secular events by which it was marked.

Scottish rule established with difficulty

The authority of the Scottish crown over the Isle of Man was not established without some delay and difficulty. In 1267, King Alexander was compelled to send an expedition against " the rebels "1of Man. The result of this expedition was the submission of the Majores, which, however, was qualified by the curious stipulation that Alexander " should not go to Man for a time."2It is possible that this condition may have been connected with the advice given to Alexander at this time by Henry III. of England, that he should not go to the " Islands subdued to his rule . . . until the times with the aid of God are more propitious," because " fortune was not favourable to his ancestors when they went there some time ago," and because of the "great risks " which would be " thereby incurred to his kingdom and his heirs."3What Henry's object was in giving this advice is not known.. It is not likely to have been mere goodwill to the Scottish sovereign, and he may possibly have thought that, if Alexander kept away from the islands, Man, at least, might fall into his own hands. Beyond the fact of this expedition, nothing4 is known of Manx History between 1266 and 1275, except that King Alexander appointed bailiffs in the Island.5

The rebellion of 1275.

In the latter year, if not before, there was a rebellion against his government, of the suppression of which we have the following account: " Upon the 7th of October, the Fleet of the King of Scotland put into the port of Ronaldsway. John de Vesci and the King's nobles immediately landed their forces on the island of St. Michael, the people of Man being prepared for the encounter, along with Godred, the son of Magnus, whom they had made their king but a short time previously. The chiefs and officers of the King of Scotland, however, sent an embassy of peace to Godred and the people of Man, offering them the peace of God and of the King of Scotland on condition of their laying aside their absurd presumption, and of giving themselves up to the King and his nobles.

Its suppression.

As Godred, however, and some of his perverse counsellors did not agree to the terms of the embassy, on the following day, before sunrise, whilst darkness still covered the earth, . . . an engagement took place, and the unfortunate people of Man, running away, fell miserably ."6,7.

It would seem that their easy defeat resulted mainly from the division of opinion which existed among them. If Godred, as is probable, was among the slain, the male line of Godred Crovan expired in his person.8

Man remained subject to Alexander till his death.

After this victory it may be assumed, in the absence of any information to the contrary, that the island continued under Alexander's rule till his death in 1285. Indeed, there is positive evidence that Man was part of his dominion in 1284, when, on the Scottish throne being settled on Margaret, the " Maid of Norway," Alexander's only grandchild, Man is included as one of her future possessions, and, two years later, when it was in this position, it must have been subject to the regency appointed to govern during her minority.

Edward I. takes possession of it

But Edward I. of England was evidently in possession of the island before her death, which was in September, 1290; for, in February of that year,9 he informed "the keepers of the land of Mann, and . . . all other his friends, bailiffs, and faithful subjects," that he had given a safe conduct to certain merchants for " the despatch of their business " 10 there, and, in June, he issued a writ to the inhabitants of Man in favour of "Walter de Huntrecumbe," whom he appointed as custodian of that isle which Richard de Burgo, Earl of Ulster had surrendered into his hands.11 It was during this year, too, that he demanded and received a pledge from the " People of the Isle of Man," who promised that they would not " rebel against his power, or offend, or maliciously injure or annoy any of his people . . . under forfeiture of two thousand pounds of silver."12

Claim of Maria, Queen, of Man.

In July, 1291, " the Noble Lady Maria, Queen of Man" 13 a member of the Scandinavian royal family of Man, did homage to Edward at Perth, when she probably took the opportunity of claiming the Manx crown, though as would appear from what follows, without success In the following year (1292) the Manx complained of " trespasses and injuries " 15 done to them, and Sir Edward appointed three justices to " hear and determine " these complaints, according to Manx law and custom.16 The only result of this inquiry was the outlawry of a certain Donekan Mactoryn,17but the sentence was shortly afterwards annulled by Edward, it having been discovered that the charges brought against him were erroneous.18

Edward grants Man to John Balliol.

Early in 1293, Walter de Huntercombe, by Edward's order, surrendered the island to John Balliol, reserving, however, not only his (Edward's) rights as lord paramount, but those " of any other whomsoever."19It is probable that this curious phrase was issued in view of the two claimants of the Manx crown, one of whom, Maria, has already been mentioned. She again, at this time, brought forward her claim before Edward, who told her that she should apply to the King of Scotland, " in that the said land was at that time held of the said King." 20

Aufrica's claim to the Manx crown.

As to the other claimant, Aufrica, who asserted that she was heiress of Magnus, King of Man, Edward appears to have given her the same advice, since, in her appeal to him, she complained that Balliol had refused to listen to her 21. In consequence of this, a writ commanding the appearance of Balliol "to answer upon an appeal to the King of England"22 was issued.

Result of claims.

It is not known whether Balliol obeyed the summons, but these claims were not again heard of till twelve years later, in 1305, when John de Waldeboef, grandson of Maria, probably taking advantage of the temporary disgrace of Antony de Beck, Bishop of Durham, who was then owner of Man, petitioned Edward to hear his claim. Edward, consequently, referred the petition to the justices of the King's Bench. 23

In the following year, Aufrica granted all her right in the Isle of Man to " the noble and potent man Simon de Montecuto."24It does not appear whether the claim either of Waldeboef or of Montacute obtained recognition. All that is known is that Sir William de Montacute, grandson of Sir Simon, was afterwards in possession of Man.25In the meantime, important events, which indirectly affected Man, had been passing elsewhere.

Revolt of Balliol

In 1294, Balliol entered into an alliance with Norway and France, and revolted against his over-lord. Upon this, Edward, after the capture of Berwick, marched into Scotland, when Balliol at once surrendered himself. Scotland was then (1296) treated as a forfeited fief, and, doubtless, Man was taken over in the same way.

Edward takes possession of Man again and probably at once grants it to Anthony de Beck

Indeed there is indirect confirmation that this was the case from a summons addressed by Edward to Mark, Bishop of Sodor, to do homage, 26 and from a letter of protection given by him to one who is " about to set out for the parts of the Isle of Man on the service of the Venerable Father A [ntony de Beck], Bishop of Durham."27 The latter document also indicates that this able and ambitious prince-palatine and bishop had been put in possession of Man by Edward in 1298, if not earlier, and it is certain that he was its lord in 1307, since, in that year, King Edward I., who had had several quarrels with de Beck, issued a writ summoning him to show cause why he should not resume the island into his own hands.28

Who held it till his death in 1310

But Edward II., who succeeded his father nine days after the issue of this writ,29 was on good terms with de Beck, 30 and therefore allowed him to retain Man till his death on the 20th of March, 1310.31 On the 1st of May following, the King granted it to Henry de Bello Monte (Beaumont).32 His tenure of it, however, was a very brief one, seeing that, in the same year, the king took the island into his own hands to be governed by Gilbert Makaskel33 and Robert de Leiburn, constable of the castle of Cockermouth.

Edward II resumes possession of Man

During this year we find Edward asking the men of Bristol to " despatch in all haste to the Isle of Man . . . the navy . . . so that it may be there to conduct . . . Sir Simon de Montagu, whom we have made admiral of our navy, to go from thence with our English navy against our enemies in Scotland." 34

In 1311, King Edward granted the island to Pete' de Gaveston35 and issued a writ in which he en joined his sheriffs, bailiffs and faithful subjects it the counties of Chester, Lancaster, Cumberland and Westmoreland to afford assistance to the seneschal 36 of Man against Robert Bruce, who as the King had heard, intended to despatch al his navy to the Isle of Man "for the purpose of destroying it and of establishing a retreat there."37 From a further writ we learn that Bruce see us have had partisans within the isle whom the king ordered to be arrested.38 In 1312, Edward II. ordered " Gilbert Makaskell," now called " keeper," to hand over monies to the keeper of the stores at the Port of Carlisle. 39 In this year Henry de Bello Monte again received Man, and was deprived of it for abuses committed by him there and elsewhere.40

Conquest of Man by the Scots under Bruce

But English rule in Man was now to be interrupted for a time by the Scots, who took possession of the island. The Chronicle gives the following account of this occurrence: " In the year 1313, on the 18th of May, Lord Robert [Bruce], King of Scotland, put in at Ramsay with a large number of ships, and on the following Sunday went to the nunnery at Douglas, where he spent the night, and on Monday laid siege to the Castle of Rushen, which was defended by the Ilord Dungali Mac Dowyle 41 against the said Lord King until the Tuesday after the Feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle (June 21), on which day the said Lord King took the Castle."

Who grants it to Randolph Earl of Moray

On the 20th of December, in the same year, Bruce granted the island to Thomas Randolf,42 Earl of Moray, " to have and to hold to the said Thomas and his heirs, of us and of our heirs, in fee and heirship, and for a free royalty, without any restraint, freely, peaceably, fully and honorably, with the advowsons of churches and monasteries . . . together with royal government and justice, to be administered over all men inhabiting the aforesaid Islands. As well as over all men of the Bishopric there . . . So that no minister of ours may from henceforth enter upon the premises within the aforesaid islands. Save and except to us and our heirs, the patronage of the episcopal See there, and its government in all other respects. Finding for us and our heirs . . . six ships43 annually, each of twenty-six oars . . . and rendering annually . . . a hundred marks sterling, &c.." 44

In 1314 took place the Battle of Bannockburn, which resulted in the consolidation of Bruce's power.

The Battle of Wardfel or South Barrule

The new ruler of Man, however, had to fight the English there in that year;45 and, on Ascension Day, in 1316, Richard de Mandeville " with his brothers and others of note," and a body of Irish freebooters, disembarked at Ronaldsway and demanded either a grant of land or a supply of provisions, cattle, and money. The Manx replied " that they would give nothing, but were prepared to resist them in the open field; the Irish messengers returned, and reported the answer they had received; upon this the Irish, roused to anger, immediately set up their war-song, prepared for the contest, and advanced in two bodies against the Manxmen till they came along the side of Wardfel,46 to an open spot, where was the residence of one John Mandeville. Here the hostile parties met and fought. At the first onset the Manxmen turned and fled, leaving nearly forty men dead on the field. The Irish pursued, some on foot, and others on horseback, killing end wounding great numbers, plundering the country of its valuables, and discovering at leisure much money that had been long concealed in various places. They came afterwards to the Abbey of Rushen, which they plundered, seizing both the furniture and the herds and flocks, leaving absolutely nothing. When they had spent a month in this fashion they loaded their ships with the choice plunder of the country and returned home." 47 It seems probable that this descent on Man was a reprisal for Bruce's proceedings in Ireland.

Doubtful whether English or Scots were in possession of Man between 1313 and 1317.

It is quite impossible, then, to say whether it was the English or the Scots who were in possession of Man between 1313 and 1317, 48 but, in the latter year, it was evidently the English who were its masters, seeing that, on the 6th of July, Edward II. states that he had committed the island to the safe keeping of John de Athy and orders him to provide three ships and " a sufficient armament of warlike men " to protect " it against the hostile attacks of our enemies and rebels the Scots."49And yet, three months later, Randolf, Earl of Moray, is spoken of as " being about to set out for the parts of Man,"50 but whether he arrived there or not is not known. In 1318, there was a truce between England and Scotland, and, judging by the fact that when, in 1328, the independence of Scotland was formally acknowledged the King of England gave an undertaking not tc assist any enemies of the Scots to dispossess their of Man,51 it is probable that Man had before that date reverted to Scotland.

Probably under the Scots between 1318 and 1333

Accordingly, in 1329 when Richard de Mandeville, " with a multitude of Scottish felons,''52 probably disaffected subjects of the youthful King of Scotland, attacked Man Edward III. sent an expedition to drive him out 52 He may, taking advantage of Bruce's death in this year, and the accession of a child of seven years old, have done this with a view of seizing Man, but, on the other hand, it is possible that he was simply carrying out his promise, Mandeville's usurpation being dangerous to both kingdoms, and it is certain that in this year the Scots exacted a tax of one-tenth of a penny on all Manx farm rents.53 All this, however, is somewhat obscure, and it is not till 1333 that we are on firmer ground. On the 30th of May, in that year, after the battle of Halidon Hill, which re-established English supremacy, Edward gave orders that possession should be taken of Man.54 This shows, at least, that the Scots were in possession of it just prior to that time. Edward's orders were evidently carried out, since, on the 8th of June following, he granted the custody 55 of the island to Sir William de Montacute,56 and, further, on the 9th of August, he gave it to him as his absolute possession-in the words of the grant - he " remitted, surrendered, and . . . assigned peaceful possession of all the rights and claims which we have, have had, or in any way could have in the Isle of Man, . . . so that neither we, nor our heirs, nor any other in our name shall be able to exact or dispose of any right or claim in the aforesaid Island," 57 thus not reserving any service to be rendered to himself.

The Scots again threaten Man.

But Sir William, who was created the first Earl of Salisbury in 1337, seems to have been unable or unwilling to protect the island58 against the Scots, who, profiting by England having become involved in war with France in 1336, again threatened it. Consequently, in 1343, " the men of the community of the Isle of Man "59 paid a fine of three hundred marks in order " to enjoy a certain sufferance of peace with them for the period of one year; "59 and, In the same year, Edward permitted "honest men " 60 of the Isle of Man to treat with the Scots provided that they did not afford them assistance with " arms or provisions." 60

But, after 1346, they cease to be dangerous to it.

This state of affairs must necessarily have been put an end to by the battle of Neville's Cross, in 1346, when King David of Scotland was defeated and captured, and from henceforth, though the Scots had by no means given up the idea of recovering Man, they never again made any formidable attempt to enforce their claim to its possession.61 Sir William de Montacute died in 1344, and, either then, or at a later date, was succeeded by his son of the same name, who, in 1381, was styled ''Lord of Man."62

French and Scottish incursions.

Nothing is now heard of Man till 1377, in which year, if Capgrave's information be correct, "the Frenschmen took the Ilde of Man, al save the Castel whech Ser Hew Tyrel manfully defended: but thei of the ylde were fayn to gyve the Frenschmen a M. mare, that thei schuld not brenn her houses."63 In 1388, the Scots troubled Man for the last time, Robert, Earl of Fife, and Archembald Douglas, Lord of Galloway, having " spoiled it."64

Sir William Montacute II sold Man to Sir W. Le Scroop.

Four years later, Sir William de Montacute II. sold the island " with the crowne " to Sir William Le Scroop, Richard II.'s underchamberlain; for, according to Capgrave, " he that is lord of this yle may were a crowne."65 In 1399, Henry IV. ascended the English throne and caused Le Scroop, who had taken Richard's side, to be beheaded.

It is granted by Henry IV. to Percy, Earl of Northumberland.

All adverse or opposing claims having then expired, the island came into the absolute con of the English Crown, and was granted by Henry to Henry de Percy, Earl of Northumberland, subject to the service of carrying, " on the coronation days of us and our heirs," the sword, " called the Lancaster Sword." 66 In 1403, the Percies rebelled and were defeated at the battle of Shrewsbury. The earl himself, who was not present at the battle, being detained by illness at Berwick, submitted to the king and was pardoned. But it seems that, although he was not then attainted, his property, or, at any rate, the Isle of Man, was seized to the king's use, and was not restored to him on his submission, because, in 1405, the King ordered John Stanley and William Stanley, when they had taken "the Castle and Island," to hold the same in his name.67

And, after their rebellion to Sir John Stanley.

Later on in the same year, he granted the island to John Stanley, " Chivaler," for life,68 and, in the following year, he cancelled this grant and gave the island with its castles and royalties, " not exceeding four hundred pounds per annum,"69 with the patronage of the bishopric, to Sir John Stanley, 70 his heirs and assigns, on the service of rendering two falcons on paying homage and two falcons to all future kings of England on the day of their coronation.71

A dismal period of Manx history.

In 1406 there ends a dismal period of Manx history, during which the unfortunate island changed its rulers so often that they could have taken but little interest in it. Indeed, it is probable that they confined themselves to taking all they could out of it, while doing as little as possible for it. Under such circumstances it would seem that the condition of the people must have been a miserable one; as regards four definite periods, there is positive proof that it was so. Thus, in 1290, the island was described as being " desolate and full of wretchedness; "72 in 1316, the country was " plundered of all its valuables,"73 and, in 1400 and 1403, the people were compelled to buy corn in Ireland for their relief and support.74

Probable condition of the people.

But, though most of the people were probably in a position of dependence, it would seem, judging by the fact that Edward III., in 1343, gave the Manx permission to " treat and agree "75 with Scots, and " to traffic with whomsoever they will,"75 that their chief men were personages of some consideration. The governing classes to whom this independence of action was permitted probably consisted mainly of the ecclesiastical barons, representing the abbeys of Furness, Rushen, Bangor and Sabhal, and others. It is, as has already been stated, the increase in the power of these barons, who seem to have taken the place of the secular freeholders, together with the growing ascendancy of the popes, which is the most striking fact characteristic of this period.

Land tenure.

The freeholders having disappeared, the land became the demesne of the king, who, whilst granting a portion of it to the barons, retained the rest in his own possession, to be occupied by tenants-at-will76paying rent.


The degradation of the social position of the Manx would be accompanied by a like change in their constitutional position, this being probably the period " since King Orryes Dayes " (1265), during which the Keys ceased to be " in certainty " and could not even exist " without the Lord's will." 77

The Church.

We will now turn to the affairs of the Church, which steadily grew in power and authority during this period. The first steps she took in this direction were to increase her income and to make her discipline more severe, and these objects were attained by the enactment of thirty-four canons at a diocesan synod held at Kirk Braddan, under the presidency of Bishop Mark in 1291.

Increase in its powers and revenue.

By these canons the various tithes were enumerated with much greater precision than they had been in the canons of Bishop Symon, and several new ones were added. Thus, a fish tithe is found for the first time, also a tithe upon merchants and traders, smiths and other artificers. The offences to be followed by the penalty of excommunication were set forth, and the duties of the archdeacon in his visitation, together with rules of a very strict character concerning the conduct of priests, and the nature of their vestments, were laid down. Laymen and clergy were prohibited from bearing arms in church and from holding courts for the pleading of lay cases on the Lord's day in churches or churchyards,78 an enactment which affords an insight into the state of society at the time.

In 1334, visitation dues are first mentioned, each church in Man being compelled to pay twenty shillings on such occasions. The herring tithe was in full operation, and strangers were obliged to pay it as well as natives. In 1350, Bishop Russell's synod passed several canons, which, though chiefly relating to the duties of the clergy, contained stringent penalties for being absent from church and regulations for the repairs of churches by the parishioners and of chancels by the rectors.79 At the same time the revenues of the bishop and religious houses were augmented, since, not only did they become owners of a larger portion of the land80 of the island, but the bishop80 and some of the religious houses acquired a larger share of the tithes at the expense of the secular clergy.81 At the beginning of this period, if we consider the insular tithes as divided into 51 parts, the bishop had 17, the religious houses 10, and the secular clergy 24; whereas, at the end of it, the bishop had 22, the religious houses 14,82 and the secular clergy 15.83 Moreover, by that time, the latter were, for the most part, reduced to the position of vicars or even to that of mere stipendiaries.

Instances of papal interference.

Another increasing influence was that of the popes, as is seen from several cases of papal interference with the affairs of the diocese during this period. Thus, in 1363, Pope Urban V. set aside the election of an abbot of Rushen. A certain William of Cockerham had attained this position, either by election, or, if the papal bull is to be believed, by force. The Pope, therefore, declared, in accordance with a decree of Innocent VI., that " abbatial and other dignities and benefices "84 could only be disposed of by the Roman Pontiff, and so he ordered Roger, a monk of Furness, to be appointed to Rushen in the place of William. Again, in 1376, during the absence of Bishop Donkan, Gregory XI. instructed the Archdeacon of Man, with two others, to decide an ecclesiastical case in Man.85 On the archdeacon's ruling being appealed against, the Pope appointed the Bishop of Lismore Argyll) to act as judge;86 and, in 1377, the same pope confirmed an appointment made to the church of St. Moliwe (Malew) by " John Ford of the territory of Isla,"87whom he states to be " the true patron of the said parochial church, in peaceful possession [of the right 88] or of the quasi right of presenting the rector to the said church." 88

Conditions to be remembered estimating the Pope's power in Man.

We must also bear in mind, in estimating the power of the Pope and monks in Man at this period, that it was free from the legal restrictions which had been imposed upon it in England. There were no "Constitutions of Clarendon" which kept the privileges of the clergy within bounds; no " Statute of Mortmain," by which so much property was prevented from passing into the hands of the Church; no " Statute of Provisors," which ordained that " Kings and all other Lords are to present unto benefices of their own or their ancestors' foundations, and not the Pope of Rome; " and no " Statute of Praemunire," which declared that all who sued for redress in the papal courts should not have the protection of the law of England and should forfeit their goods to the State.

The Friars Minor

It was possibly, too, owing to the power of monks that, till 1373, no attempt seems to have been made to introduce their rivals, the Franciscan friars, for it is certainly a singular fact that the foundation of an oratory of these friars in that year is the only trace of the extension to Man of that great movement which was so powerfully felt all over Europe. The Earl of Salisbury had assigned a site for this foundation in the village of St. Columba (Arbory), and he had granted to the provincial prior and brethren of the order in the Province of Ireland permission to erect buildings there. They did so at a. place variously called Bymaken, Beemaken, or Bowmaken, near the present parish church of Arbory. These buildings consisted of " a church or oratory, with a bell-tower, cemetery, houses, and other necessary offices; "89 but they were only to be built " provided that twelve brethren of the said Order can be fittingly and properly maintained at the place; without infringing, however, on the rights of the parochial church, or of any other in any respect."89 We hear but little of these friars; their property was a small one, and their influence was, therefore, probably equally small 90

The Bishops.

The only bishops of any note at this period were Mark, William Russell, and John Donkan, the last two of whom were designated as " Manxmen."


Mark, a Galloway man, was appointed, in 1275, by King Alexander, who ignored the ordinary procedure and set aside the Abbot of Rushen, whom the clergy and people of Man 91 had unanimously elected. He then sent him, with letters from himself and with such as he had been able to extort from the clergy, to the Archbishop of Drontheim for consecration. 92 Mark, who, according to the Chronicle, " governed the Sodor diocese right nobly," seems to have been a man of ability and distinction, being employed in various high and important offices. The first of these was a mission to Norway, probably in 1288.93 In 1289, he was one of the guardians of the kingdom of Scotland,94 and, in 1292, he was an auditor at the parliament held at Berwick in that year.95 Among other events in his life, we may note his being summoned, in 1296, to make his allegiance to Edward I. of England; 96 and, in 1299, his appropriation to the abbey of Furness of the churches of St. Michael and St. Maughold.

He approriates revenues of Michael and Maughold churches to Furness.

This last action seems to have been; called in question, since he protested that these appropriations were " by consent of our clergy . . . confirmed and ratified without compulsion or exaction . . . or even fear of the said abbot [of Furness], although at the time of the appropriation he had the custody of the Isle of Man." 97 But the very fact of his having considered it necessary to make this protest, renders it probable that "fear" of the abbot had something to do with the transaction. It was perhaps in consequence of these appropriations, and of the increased ecclesiastical exactions, that Mark was, about this time, expelled from the island by the Manx, who suffered for their temerity by being placed under interdict for three years. At the end of this time, he was recalled,98 and, in consideration of the interdict being removed, the Manx submitted to a tax of one penny on every house with a fireplace

The Chronicle tells us that Mark " was a liberal and courteous man," and that " he died at a good old age when he had become blind; and was buried in the church of St. German in the island of Holm."

William Russell

William Russell, elected in 1348, was consecrated at Avignon by Bertrand, Bishop of Ostia, at the command of Pope Clement VI.99 With regard to this, the Chronicle remarks that " he was the first Sodor bishop-elect consecrated and confirmed by the apostolic see; for all his predecessors had been wont to be confirmed and consecrated by the Archbishop of Drontheim, that is the Metropolitan." This, however, as we have seen, had not been invariably the case. But Pope Clement wrote, at the same time, to the Archbishop of Drontheim, stating that no prejudice to his metropolitan rights was intended by this election.100 The first act of the new bishop was to obtain leave from the Pope to encumber his church and see with a mortgage to pay the " great and burdensome outlay . . . for the successful carrying on of the affairs of the Sodor Church,"101 and, at the same time, he obtained leave from the same authority to release some religious persons from the prohibition to eat meat, imposed upon them by the statutes of their order.102

His synod in 1350.

In 1350,103 he held a synod. It is satisfactory to learn, from receipts for the payments to the Apostolic Chamber given to him by Stephen, Archbishop of Toulouse, that the bishop was able to pay oh the mortgage on his see in a few years.104 He died in 1374, and was buried at Furness. 105

John Donkan

John Donkan, who had previously been Archdeacon of Down, Nnne.io. and collector of banal revenues. was appointed in his place.

Taken prisoner at Boulogne.

He went to Rome for consecration. On his way home, he was taken prisoner, and kept in confinement at Boulogne till the end of 1376, when he was released on payment of a ransom. It is with a mention of the ceremony of his installation in St. German's Cathedral, when he received " many very great offerings . . . at his first pontifical mass," that the Chronicle terminates.

Bishop Donkan gets into trouble with the Pope.

Six years after his accession, Bishop Donkan seems to have got into some trouble with the Pope, for, in 1380, a commission was appointed by Urban VI. to inquire into the allegation that he had kept back and gave no account of " rents, incomes, and revenues"107 belonging to the Apostolic Chamber. The result of this inquiry is unknown, but it is probable that John Donkan was acting the part of a patriot in resisting papal greed and aggression; and, from the important trusts confided to him, it is clear that, whatever his conduct in this case, he was a man of probity and ability.108 We nowhere, however, learn how he administered his diocese. He was translated to a see described as Cathadensis in 1392.109

Probable effect of the monks' influence

On the question whether the effects of the ascendency of the monks in Man during this period were beneficial or the reverse, there is not suficient evidence to warrant any decided opinion.110 It is well known that the condition of the English Church at the same time was unsatisfactory. But it does not necessarily follow, so isolated was Man, that the state of affairs there was similar. On the whole it seems likely that, with the exception of the unfortunate secular clergy, the Manx people, consisting for the most part of poor farmers, agricultural111 labourers and fishermen, were benefited by the predominance of the ecclesiastical over the civil power, for the wielders of the former were, generally speaking, certainly more cultivated and were probably more humane to their tenants and labourers than those of the latter.


1: " Foedera " (Manx Soc., vol. xxii. p. 230).
2: Inventory of the Public Records in Edinburgh Castle (Manx Soc., vol. xxii. pp. 229-30).
3: Exchequer Treasury of Receipt. Miscellanea No. 574
4: Sacheverell's account of this period must be regarded as fictitious. Indeed, he himself says, " To say truth, we have so little certainty of these times, that we rather expose their ignorance than inform ourselves " (
Manx Soc., vol. i. p. 60).
5: " Chronicle of Lanercost" (Manx Soc., vol. xxii. p. 232). The first of these " was Godred Mac Mara, then Alan, the son of the Count, after him Maurice Okefair, after him Reginald, chaplain of the King."
6: "Chronicle of Lanercost"(Manx Soc, vol. xxii. pp.232-3).
7: Our Chronicle states that 537 of the Manx were slain.
8: The female line, as we shall see, survived a little longer.
9: 1289-90. We, for simplicity, will use the latter date in all cases.
10:February 6th. Calendar of Patent Rolls, 18 Edw. I. On the 6th of June he issued a similar safe-conduet. In 1289, mention is made of "two preachers going into Ireland with letters of the King of England in respect of the land of Mann " (Exchequer Rolls, Scotland, vol. i. p. 47).
11 He also issued a mandate to the bailiffs under the said Richard to deliver the castle and island to the said Walter, and granted simple protection for the inhabitants of the Isle of Man. On the 11th of June, he gave a protection for Walter de Huntercombe, going on his service to Man; on the 17th, a protection was issued for John de Vallibus; and, on the 18th, attorneys were nominated for de Huntercombe and for John de Vallibus going with him (Calendar of Patent Rolls, 18 Edw. I.)
12: "Foedera" (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 110-11).
13: 19 Edw. I. (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 115-16).
14: " I Rot. Parl. 33 Edw. I." (Ibid., vol. vii. p. 135). See also Manx Sun (March, 1900), letter by the Rev. T. Talbot on " Mary, Queen of Man and Countess of Stratherne."
15 " Rot. Pat." (Ibid., vol vii. pp. 121-2). 4'
16: " Rot. Pat." (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 121-2).
17: Rot. Scot." (Ibid., vol. vii. p. 130). Perhaps.he was the same as the Duncan Matkory who was justice of Man in 1290. See " Rot. Parl. 18 Edw. I." Ibid., vol. vii. p. 112; see also note p. 191.
18: "Rot. Scot." (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 130-1).
19: Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 125-6.
20: Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 127-9, and see also " Rot. Parl. 3 Edw. I." (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 135-6).
21: "Rot. Scot." (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 127-9).
22: " Rot. Scot.", (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 127-9).
23: " Rot. Parl." (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 135-6). i
24: Dods. MSS. (Bib. Bod. Oxon) (Ibid., pp. 137-8). Camden (Manx Soc., vol. iv. p. 101) asserts that she was Sir Simon's wife, and the " Traditionary Ballad " (Manx Ballads, pp. 12-13), written circa 1507, marries a daughter of " King Goree " (probably Aufrica) to Sir William, son of Sir Simon, but he must have been too young for this. Mr. Talbot, on the other hand (Letters in Manx Sun, 1893), points out from contemporary evidence that the name of Sir Simon's wife in 1290 was Isabella. (See Placitorum Abbreviatio, p. 221, London, 1811.) Sir Simon may, however, have married twice.
25: See p. 194.
26: " Rot. Scot. 24 Edw. I." (August 29, 1296). from Talbot s letters in Manx Sun, 1893.
27: " Rot. Pat. 26 Edw. I.," (October 21, 1298). Ibid.
28: " Foedera," vol. ii. p. 1058 (Manx Soc, vol. vii. pp. 139-40). Camden's story that Sir William de Montaeute drove the Scots out of Man between 1305 and 1307 may be dismissed with little ceremony, because it is highly improbable that they were in possession of it at that time. With this story also falls the statement that Montacute mortgaged it to de Beck (see Camden, in Manx Soc., vol. iv. p. 101).
29: July 7.
30: On November 12, 1307, in a letter to Pope Clement I., he spoke of him as "amieus nester oarissimus " (Talbot).
31: Stowe's Annals, p. 215.
32: " Rot. orig. in Curia Scacc." (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 141-2).
33: Ibid (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 143-4). This Gilbert Makaskel was de Beck's seneschal.
34: " Rot. Scot." (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 145-7).
35: Cott. MSS., vol. i. No. 81.
36: Makaskel, who is spoken of as de Beck's seneschal, as if de Beck were still alive.
37: "Rot. Scot." (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 149-51) (December 15, 1311).
38: Ibid (Ibid-, vol. vii. pp. 152-3) (December 16, 1311).
39: Ibid. (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 154-5). At this time Edward ordered his bailiffs,&c., not to inflect any injury on the " men of the Isle of Man, who have hitherto adhered to us and to our faithful subjects, and still adhere." " Rot. Pat." (Ibid. vol. vii. pp. 156 7) (June 18, 1312); and "Rot. Parl." (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 159-61).
40: " Rot. orig. in Curia Scacc., (Ibid., vol. vii. p. 158).
41: Who he was and on whose behalf he held the island we are not told.
42: He bore the more modern arms of the Kings of the Isles, viz.,
three human legs, armed, conjoined, and bending the knees " (Camden, Manx Soc., vol. iv. p. 102).
43: This tribute of the six ships looks as if the old Scandinavian system of compelling each of the six sheddings to supply so many ships had continued to be in vogue.
44: " Add. MS." (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 162-5).
45: See " Rot. Parl." (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 166-7) for petition of Donekan de Mackoury stating that he " has lived the whole of this year in Man in great distress, in the service of the King against the enemies aforesaid " (i.e., the Scots).
46: Now South Barrule.
47: Chron. Man., pp. 111-13
48: According to Talbot (letters in Manx Sun, 1893) Man was in possession of the English the whole time between 1313 and 1317.
49: 10 Edw. II. (Mans Soc., vol. vii. pp. 169-70).
50: " Rot. Pat. et Claus. Cancell. Hib." (Ibid., vol. vii. p. 168).
51: " Foedera " (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 176-7).
52: " Rot. Pat. Hib." (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 178-9).
53: Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, vol. i. p. 151.
54:" Rot. orig. in Curia Scacc." (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp.180-1).
55: " Foedera " (Ibid., p. 182). These dates are wrongly given as in 1334.
56: Grandson of Sir Simon de Montaeute and Aufrica (see p. 187).
57: 7 Edw. III. (Manx Soc., vol. xii. p. 22).
58: The statement of " the Supposed True Chronicle of the Isle Of Man, ' that he "conquered the Isle of Man, out of the hands of the Scots" (Manx Soc., vol. xii. p. 7) in 1335, is not likely to be correct.
59: " Rot. Litt. Claus." (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 192-5)
60: " Rot. Scot." (Ibid., pp. 196-7). The conquest of the island from the Scots by Sir W. de Montacute has been attributed by various historians (Stow, Le Baker, Largman, Lettenhove, Galf) to 1340, 1342, and 1344 respectively, but, in view of the above statements his conquest of it at any of the periods mentioned must beregarded as doubtful.
61: In 1375, (George de Dunbar, Count of the Marches, was recognised as "Lord of Annandale and Man " by Robert II. of Scotland, who informed him that he had agreed with "the illustrious James de Douglas " that he should marry his (G. de Dunbar's) daughter, and that he had promised them 5,000 acres of land in the Isle of Man as a marriage portion, when he or they became possessed of it " either through War, agreement of peace, or any convention or composition."-" Registrum Magni Sigilli Scotorum " (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 203-4).
62: " Formulare Anglicanum " (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 205-7).
63: " Chronicle of England " (Ibid., vol. iv. p. 73).
64: Holinshead, vol. ii. p. 248 (Ibid., p. 232).
65: Ibid., vol. iv. p. 73. In 1398, the Earl of Warwick, who had been condemned on a charge of treason, was confined in Peel Castle (" Rot. Parl." Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 212-3).
66: " Rot. Litt. Pat." (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 215-19)
67: " Foedera " (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 228-9). ~
68: Ibid. (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 232-4).
69: Ibid. (Ibid., vol. vii. p. 240).
70: The circumstance of this grant having been made before the attainder of the Earl of Northumberland, which was on December 2, 1406, rendered the title of the Stanley family of doubtful legality, as will be seen later (Ibid., vol. xii. pp. 27 and 39). IT
71: " Foedera " (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 235-46).
72: " Foedera " (Manx Soc., vol. vii. p. 111).
73: " Chron. Man." (Ibid., vol. xxii. p. 113). The period 1311-21 was one of famine in England.
74: " Rot. Scot." and " Rot. Hib." (Ibid., vol vii. pp. 220-2, 233-4, and 227). It is not known whether the epidemics of 1348-9, 1368 9, 1375, 1382 and 1390-1 reached Man or not.
75: " Rot. Scot." (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 196-7). Edward takes possession of Man again ant probably at once grants it to Antony de Beck, Who held it till his death in 1310.
76: It is possible that the document by which Edward I. handed over his rights to John Balliol in 1293 (" Rot. Scot.," Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 125-6) may be quoted to show that the Manx people had then a fixed tenure, but we may point out that it is probable that its formal verbiage regarding " escheats," &c., had been drafted in ignorance of the real state of affairs in Man. On the other hand, it is possible that the change from freeholders to tenants-at-will had not then been consummated.
77: Statutes, vol i. p. 11.
78: See Manx Soc., vol. ix. pp. 182-201, for these canons.
79: Ibid., vol. ix. pp. 202-10. I
80: The bishop, the abbots of Rushen, Furness, Bangor, and Sabhal, the priors of St. Bede's and of Whithorne, and the prioress of Douglas were barons of the isle.
81: For a case of oppression of a secular clergyman by the monks see " Vat. Arch." (Manx Soc., vol. xxiii. pp. 387-8).
82: Of which Rushen had 8 parts, and the others 6 (i.e. Furness 2, Whithorne 3, Douglas 1).
83: For details see letter in Manx Sun by the Rev. T. Talbot, November, 1894.
84: " Vat. Arch." (Manx Soc., vol. xxiii. pp. 365-73.)
85: "Vat. Arch." (Ibid., vol. xxiii. pp. 387-9)
86: Ibid (Manx Soc., vol. xxiii. pp. 401-3).
87:Ibid. (Ibid., vol. xxiii. pp. 404-6).
88: The words in brackets are not in the text, which reads 'in pacifica poossessione vel quasi juris' showing clearly that the omission of juris after possessione is merely a clerical error. It would be interesting to know how this right originated.
89: "Vat. Arch." (Manx Soc., vol. xxiii. pp. 382-4)
90: This order had arrived in England a century and a half before, when they were called the begging friars, and subsisted on the alms of the poor, not being allowed to possess either money or lands. But we hear nothing of them in Man till their status in these respects had changed. We may note that the prior of this foundation was a Baron of the isle, as lands were part of the lord's manor.
91: This would, probably, include Sodor also.
92: We know that he was accompanied by several envoys, as their expenses are entered in the Scotch Exchequer Rolls.
93:We find his expenses charged in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, in 1289 (vol. i. p. 49).
94:" Foedera " (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 106-7).
95: Palgrave (Ibid., vol. vii. pp. 118 20).
96: " Rot Scot." (Ibid., vol. vii. p. 132).
97:" Chart. Furn." (Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 133-4).
98: It does not appear by whom.
99: This tax, called " the smoke penny," has only recently fallen into desuetude.
100: " Vat. Arch." (Mans Soc., vol. xxiii. pp. 349-50).
101: Ibid. (Ibid., vol. xxiii. pp. 344-7).
102: Ibid., pp. 351-4.
103: Ibid., p. 355.
104: See p. 200.
105: " Vat. Arch." (Manx Soc., vol. xiii. pp. 360-2 and 363-4.)
106; Chron. Man., p. 121.
107:" Vat. Arch." (Manx Soc., vol. xxiii. pp. 407/8).
108: In 1388, he was asked by the Council of Richard II., King of England, to treat with the sons of John de Islay, late Lord of the Isles, regarding a treaty of alliance and commerce between them and England ("Vat. Arch.," Manx Soc., vol. xxiii. pp. 409-11); in 1393, he received payment from the royal treasury for charges and labour incurred by him in proseouting certain affairs for the same king in the Isles (Issue Rolls, Manx Soc., vol. vii. p. 211), and, in 1405, he was deputed to negotiate peace and alliance between England and Ireland on the one side, and Donald, Lord of the Isles, and John his brother on the other. (" Foedera," Ibid., vol. xxiu. pp. 412-413)
109: Bullarium Ord. Praedic. (3° Boniface IX.) (quoted in a MS. letter from Bishop Stubbs).
110:Sacheverell's statement that Martholine, the Scotch king's almoner, who " was sent over to take care of the business of religion " in Man, found it " wholly degenerate " (Manx Soc., vol. i. p. 59), cannot be accepted as historical.
111: It should be noted that the Cistercian monks were excellent agriculturists.


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