[from History of IoM, 1900]

CHAPTER III

THE COMMONWEALTH AND LORD FAIRFAX (1651-1660)

WE have seen in the last chapter that the final departure of the " Great Stanley" from the Isle of Man took place on the 15th of August, 1651. His absence, and the withdrawal of nearly the whole of the English soldiers at the disposal of the Government, left the disaffected spirit of the islanders without efficient control. It was not long before the outbreak took place. On the 19th of September, Governor John Greenhalghe was buried, and Sir Philip Musgrave was sworn as governor in his place. On the day of Greenhalghe's funeral there was some talk of the people rising against the countess,1 but nothing was done till " the night before the head Court-day " 2 (i.e., the 19th of October), when about 800 men met at Ronaldsway, the residence of William Christian. This William Christian-afterwards famous in Manx song under the name of Illiam Dhone, " Brown William "-was born on the 14th of April, 1608. He was the third son of Ewan Christian, of Milntown, one of the deemsters. In 1643, he rendered himself acceptable to the earl by taking the estate of Ronaldsway, which had been made over to him by his father, on a lease for three lives, instead of holding it by the "straw." 3 In 1648, he was appointed to the office of receiver, and, on the earl's departure, he was left in command of the insular militia, with the rank of major-general. 4 It was at his house, then, that the 800 men took an oath "that the people should withstand the Lady of Derby in her designes untill shee had yealded or condissended to their aggreavances." 5 The chief of these " aggreavances " was doubtless the change in the tenure, but the only one then referred to was " the troope that then was in the Isle and their free quarteringe." 6 Those present at this meeting were induced to take this oath by the statement that the Lady had " sent to make condicons with the Parliament . . . without their knowledge, contrary to her promise, and would sell them for 2d. or 3d. a peece." 7 There was some truth in this, because the countess, having heard of the earl's capture, had written to Colonel Duckenfield, who had been appointed to the command of the expedition against Man, asking him to treat " about the rendition of the Island upon condition that the Earle might be released." 8 This expedition started on the 18th of October, so that it would seem probable that the organizers of the Ronaldsway meeting must have been aware of Cromwell's instructions to Colonel Birch, the Governor of Liverpool, on the 30th of September, in which he required him to assist in the reduction of Man..9. We know, at any rate, that before the arrival of the expedition, on the 25th, the Manx militia had captured all the insular forts except Rushen and Peel. They had had the latter " once in their own hands, but, not being experienced in war, lost it again." 10 And yet we find that, on the 23rd, some of the Manx " offered to take oaths of faithfulness to be true " 11 to the countess and to assist her against the Parliamentary troops " with their lives and estates." 11 Perhaps, however, there were two parties among them.

Let us now see how Duckenfield's expedition fared. On the 18th they set sail from the Chester river, but were forced by a contrary wind into Beaumaris Harbour. While lying there the Countess's letter, already referred to, was received. On the 25th, at about two in the morning, they set sail, and about twelve hours later they came close to the Manx coast, where they saw troops mustered, but, whether these were friends or enemies they knew not. They were prevented from landing that day by a storm which suddenly sprang up, and, at ten in the evening, the fleet, consisting of forty-four sail, carrying three regiments of foot and two troops of horse, anchored in Ramsey Bay. The sight of this formidable fleet sailing up the coast no doubt convinced Christian and his associates that it would be wise for them to make the best terms they could. They therefore sent a message to Colonel Duckenfield that all the forts, except Rushen and Peel, were in their possession, and that there would be no opposition to the landing of the troops. At eight on the following morning commissioners from the islanders went on board Colonel Duckenfield's ship and surrendered the island on the sole condition " that they might enjoy their lawes and liberties as formerly they had,12 i.e., before the innovations introduced by Earl James; and, considering the overwhelming force brought against them, and their suspicion that the countess had already been in communication with Duckenfield, they certainly acted wisely, though not chivalrously. The elements were still adverse to the fleet, and on the 27th, when most of the soldiers were still on board, there was another storm which prevented them from landing. This was, however, accomplished on the 28th, when one party marched to Peel, and the other to Castletown, to lay siege to the castles. Colonel Duckenfield went with the latter force, and, on the 29th, he sent a summons to the countess to surrender. By this summons, which contained the words " the late Earl of Darby," 13 and was her first certain intimation of his death, she " was extreamly passionately affected," 13 and so replied with proposals which could not be enter tained. 14 Duckenfield's answer to them was to occupy himself with getting his cannon into position, but, while he was doing so, " News came that there was a discontent generally among " the " souldiers in the Castle," 15 some of whom, on the 31st, wrenched open a sally-port by the help of some of the Parliamentary troops, who thus " became possessed of the outward wall and tower." 16 Fur ther resistance was evidently hopeless. The besieged, therefore, " called out for a parly," 16 which resulted in an agreement being entered into, in accordance with which the castles were surrendered, and the countess and her friends, children, and servants, were permitted to leave the island.17 This agreement, together with an account of his proceedings, was forwarded by Duckenfield to the Parliament. So, says Hume, " Lady Derby retained the glory of being the last person in the three kingdoms, and in all their dependent dominions, who submitted to the victorious Commonwealth." 18 It has been stated by Seacome and Burton that she was kept long confined in Castle Rushen by order of Receiver Christian, and more recent Manx historians have further alleged that she was not released till the Restoration. But this is evidently an error, because, on the 25th of March, 1652, less than five months after the surrender of Castle Rushen, she was in London.19

The island was now for a brief period under the rule of the English Parliament, whose first step, on the 6th of November, was to thank " Col. Duckenfield and Col. Thomas Birch and the officers and soldiers for their good and faithful service." 20 It then, on the 11th, approved and confirmed the articles entered into by Duckenfield and the countess, and, on the 5th of December, it voted a guard for the protection of the island," 21 and directed that two vessels should be provided for its "help and benefit," 21 since its inhabitants were not " able to subsist without Traffic, or defend themselves from Pyrates without some such conveniency." 21 It was enacted that the island should " be taken in as part of England, yet retaining such Laws already established, as are equitable and just, and more suitable to the condition of the People than any other that can be imposed " 21 and, in order that the Parliament might learn what these laws were, Deemster Christian 22 and his brother William, described as " two of the ablest and honestest gentlemen in the Island," 23 were summoned to London. But, though the Parliament was thus settling the affairs of Man, it had already, on the 29th of September, 1649, granted 24 it to Thomas, Lord Fairfax, " in as large and beneficiall manner to all intents and purposes," 25 as Earl James had it, " so that," says Chaloner, who was afterwards governor under Fairfax, " as his Lordship hath the Jurisdiction of the Isle, as the said Earl had; so hath he also the Title, namely, Lord of Man, and of the Isles." 25 The Isle of Man, therefore, continued under a monarchical government, and remained, as regards its relations to England, in precisely the same position as before. It would seem that Lord Fairfax must have taken immediate steps on the conquest of the isle to ascertain the value of his new property, for the commissioners that he had appointed-James Chaloner, William Steane, and J. Rushworth-had, as early as the 4th of December, 1651, deputed Captains Eaton and Beale to make inquiries and to give notice to the tenants in the island of his lordship's right thereto. 27

But it was not until the 23rd of February following that he was formally proclaimed lord of the isle. 28 This was done at Castletown in presence of " the officers and 24 Keys of the Islande and four men of every Parish," who at the same time " did chearefully accept as and acknowledge the said Tho. Lo. Ffairfax ffor ther Honourable Lord and Master." In the meantime Colonel Duckenfield had acted as governor 29 and Captain 29 Smith as deputy. The latter appears to have continued as deputy-governor, and, as such, to have held the courts until his death in June, 1652. 30 On the 18th of August, Lord Fairfax appointed James Chaloner and Robert Dynely, together with the Rev. Joshua Witton, 31 as Commissioners to act " for the settling of affairs in the Isle of Man." 32 It may be inferred that it was his lordship's intention at this time to dispense with the appointment of a governor-the Commissioners performing all the duties belonging to that office-because, in October, 1652, the Courts of Common Law and General Gaol Delivery were held " in the name and right of Thomas, Lord Ffairfax, Lord of Man and the Isles," 33 before the deemsters, comptroller and clerk of the rolls, the receiver and attorney-general, reference being made to the Commission of the 18th of August, though the Commissioners do not appear to have been present in the courts. But it was probably pointed out to him that the presence of a governor was constitutionally indispensable for the legality of the session of these courts, for we find that the next Common Law Courts were held in January, 1654, before Captain Matthew Cadwell, governor, and the other officers, and in the proceedings there was an entry to the effect " there were noe Courts houlden at May last nor Michelmas for want of a Governor, soe these Courts now houlden stand for Michelmas Court last." 34 This adherence to constitutional forms and procedure is remarkable at a time when there was much laxity in such respects. 35 The rule of Lord Fairfax, or rather that of his governors, if we may judge from the ordinances to be found in the Records, was evidently just, though severe.36 The best known of these governors was James Chaloner (b. 1603, d. 1660), who entered Brazenose College, Oxford, in 1616, and afterwards became a lawyer. 37 In 1645, he was M.P. for Aldborough, and, in 1647, he was appointed secretary of the commission for the reformation of his old university. In 1648, as one of the King's judges, he was present at the first three sittings of the court, but from that time he abstained, and was not there when the sentence was pronounced. We have already seen how he became connected with the island, and it would appear from his Short Treatise of the Isle of Man, 38 which contains the results of some painstaking inquiries into the constitution of the Manx Courts, the condition of the people, &c., that his contention that he had " made a more than ordinary inquisition into the state of the Island " 39 is fully justified. During 1654 and 1658 his name appears in the Records at intervals as deputy-governor, and, in the latter year, he was made governor. One of his most important actions was his removal of William Christian (Illiam Dhone) from his offices of receiver and steward of the abbey and bishop's lands. Christian departed from the island secretly in June, 1659, leaving " his accounts noe ways advanced but disordered." 40 The result of an examination of them showed a deficit, though Christian's son, George, produced a list of payments made by him which put the balance in his favour. 41 In June, 1660, Chaloner licensed George, and his brother, Ewan, to collect money not yet paid to their father. After this no more is heard of the question, and it would seem that the case against Christian had not been proved. But, prior to this last date, on the 22nd of November, 1659, he had himself been summarily removed, having been seized at Bishop's Court by the officer in command at Peel Castle, Lieutenant Hathorne, and imprisoned in that castle. On the 25th, he issued a summons to the officers and 24 Keys to meet him there to hear Hathorne's explanation of his action. In consequence of this, they arrived at Peel Castle on the 28th, when the lieutenant told them that his action "was for the preservation of the peace of the Island and the saftie of the Garrisons, there beinge manie fears and jealousies abroad of Generall Monke's beinge in armes in opposition to the army in England . . . and that he hath sent to acquaint the Lord Fleetwood herewith and expects his answer therein suddenly." 42 The officers and Keys then made the following memorandum " That the grounds and reasons aforesaid was (sic) declared before us . . . whereupon we engadged ourselves and states for the Gouernour's enlargment. . . . Whereuppon the Lieutenant replied that he would not doe it for the present, . . . and that the Governour should be used well, and that, when he and the Governour did agree, bee would be satisfyed with the Governour's owne engadgment." 42 But they evidently did not agree, since Chaloner was imprisoned till the 27th of December, when an order was received from the Parliament " that Lieut. Hawthorne (sic) and all other persons who doe keepe Mr. James Chaloner, a member of this House, in prison or restraint, bee and are hereby required and enjoyned to sett him at Liberty." 42 This order was forwarded to the island by " the Commissioners appointed by Parliament for management of the fforts of the army," 43 and was at once obeyed. Looking at this curious incident by the light of events in England, we find that Chaloner was imprisoned at a period when the army under Lambert was supreme,44 and that, when the Parliament was restored on the 20th of December, owing to the arrival of Monk in London, he was promptly released. Shortly after this he took his revenge upon his late gaoler by issuing an order that " noe Boate or Shippe shall transporte out of this Isle Lieutenant John Hathorne or any other officer or souldier of the garrisons here, but by the exprest (sic) lycense under our hands and scales for that purpose upon the payee of the losse of such Boate or Shippe as the Law in such cases hath provided." 45 Having thus prevented his enemy from escaping, he took no further steps till the 21st of April, 1660, when he issued a Commission appointing Captain Samuel Rice, William Qualtrough (deemster), Richard Tildesley (comptroller), Mr. Thomas Prenton, and Mr. Thomas Parr, minister, to examine "Liet. Hathorn, Edward Christian,46 Ewan Curghey,47 John Teare, now Prisoners in Peele Castle, and John Christian (of Sulby) and Wm. Gawne, now Prisoners in Castle Rushen, touching the taking and carrying of myselfe Prisoner to Peele Castle the 22nd of November last " ; 48 and, on the 18th of May following, the same Commissioners were further empowered to inquire into " Divers Scandalls . . . Vented against me in a bitter and malicious manner by William Gawne of Kirk Christ Rushen and others." 49 This enquiry was put an end to by the Restoration. Two days after the appointment of this Commission, Deemster John Christian-not the John Christian mentioned above-was suspended from the " execution of his place as deemster," 49 but this order was withdrawn on the 31st of May. On the 28th of May, Charles the Second was proclaimed king " in Peeltown at the Cross . . . at Castletown, May 29th; at Douglas Cross, May 30th; and at Ramsey Cross, May 31st . . . with shouting, shooting of muskets and ordnance, drinking of beer, with great rejoicing." 50 These proceedings were countenanced by Chaloner, who attended "with the Officers, civil and spiritual, 24 Keys, the Captains of the Parishes, and above 60 horse, besides the officers in each town aforesaid." 50 He also presided at a Tynwald Court on the 25th of June, and was still in the island on the 29th of July, the first mention of the governor appointed by Charles, Earl of Derby,51 Roger Nowell, being on the 16th of August. Chaloner died before the passage of the Act of Indemnity, having taken " a death sickness as the result of his imprisonment in Peel Castle." 52

Footnotes

1 "The Manx Rebellion " (Manx Soc., vol. xxvi. p. 24). This volume contains some extracts from the Records concerning the events of this period.

2 Lib. Placit. The governor presided in this court on the 20th of October.

3 See " Tenure," p. 880.

4 This was the same position, and seems to have been the same rank as that of Sergeant-Major held by Edward Christian.

5, " Manx 'Rebellion " (Manx Soc., vol. xxvi. pp. 8-9).

6 Ibid., p. 8.

7 Ibid., pp. 8-9.

8 The earl wrote to his wife shortly after his arrival at Chester advising her to surrender Man, "and make conditions for yourself, children, servants, and people there " (Chetham Soc., vol. lxvi. p. cc-cci ; and Lady of Latham, p. 173), and he wrote again on the 12th of October with the same advice, pointing out that " it would be a grievous and troublesome business to resist . . . them that at this hour command three nations " (Ibid., p. ccxxvi, also Lady of Latham, p. 180), but Lady Derby was not permitted to adopt or even to know the nature of her husband's recommendations (Ibid., celxii), seeing that she did not receive these letters till after the surrender of Castle Rushen. (See also Manx Soc., vol. xxvi. Introduction, p. xxvii.)

9 Historical MS. Commission, see note (a), bk. ii. chap. ii. p. 54.

10" Mercurius Politicus " (Manx Soc., vol. xxvi. p. 66). This account was written by a person on board Duckenfield's fleet. According to Burton (Life of Musgrave, p. 23), they also

plundered the earl's property, and ill-used the English refugees who fell into their hands, but there is no confirmation of this from any other quarter.

11 " Manx Rebellion" (Manx Soc., vol. xxvi. p. 65). Burton (p. 25) says that Christian volunteered to take an oath of fidelity to the countess, but the governor " did use him kindly and refused his oath."

12 "Manx Rebellion" (Manx Soc., vol. xxvi, p. 6).

13 " Mercurius Politicus" (Ibid., vol. xxvi. p. 68). 14 Ibid., p. 72.

15 Ibid., p. 73.

16 " Mercurius Politicus " (Manx Soc., vol. xxvi. p. 73).

17 Ibid., pp. 73-4.

18 Lingard (History of England, vol. vii. p. 205). This, however, is not correct, since Galway held out longer.

19 She wrote to her sister from thence, saying, " I have lost all my personal property, having had only four hundred crowns' worth of silver plate allowed me to bring me here from the Isle of Man, and nothing more since that" (The Lady of Lathanm, p. 201).

20 Journal of House of Commons " (Manx Soc., vol. xxvi. p. 77).

21 Ibid., pp. 78-9.

22 This was John Christian. He had been acting as deputy to his father, Deemster Ewan, who was then very old.

23 Ibid., p. 79.

24 That the deemster fulfilled his mission we know from a letter of Bradshawe's to Colonel Duckenfield, dated December 23, 1651: " The bearer, John Christian . . . hath informed us of divers things of good concernment to the State, whereof he can also give you notice. We desire you to receive his informations and make such use of them on the State's behalf as you shall see cause," S. P. 0. (Ibid., vol. ix. p. 148).

25 According to the Life of Fairfax this grant was " in public gratitude of his high deserts, and not as the issue of his own desires."

26 Chaloner (Manx Soc., vol. x. p. 28).

27 Lib. Scacc.

28 He does not seem to have ever visited the island.

29 Lib. Scacc.

30 He was buried on June 27th in the garden or ditch of Castle Rushen (" Malew Register," Manx Note Book, vol. ii. p. 77). 31 According to Calamy, " He was a man of an excellent temper, of great integrity and unusual capacity."

32 Lib. Scacc., where commission is given; see also Manx Sec., vol. x. p. 1.

33 Lib. Placit.

34 Lib. Placit.

35 Gell (Manx Soc., vol. xii. p. S7).

36 See Lib. Scacc., 1653-60. As an instance of his interest in the people we may note that he sent over 217 books for the " Library in the Isle of Man." They were for the most part written in Latin, so it is not likely that they were generally appreciated (Loose Papers, Rolls Office).

37 He married Ursula, sister of Sir W. Fairfax, of Steeton, Lord Fairfax's cousin.

38 Manx Soc., vol, x.

39 Manx Soc., vol. x. pp. 1-2.

40 Lib. Scacc. In July, John and Edward Christian, deemsters (his brothers), were suspended from their offices and confined to their houses and a limit of half a mile from them, because they " had a hand in that secret conveyance," but both of them were restored to office in November (Lib. Scacc.).

41 The deficit was 956, and the statements of his son showed further payments made by him of 1,597, leaving a balance of 641. No receipts had, however, been deposited for these payments. It would seem that a certain " Wm. Christian " had committed" acts of Delinquency" against the Commonwealth in 1652, but this was probably not Illiam Dhone, S. P. O. (Manx Soc., vol, ix. p. 149).

42 Lib. Scacc.

43 It may be noted that there is no trace of Fairfax having intervened in any way.

44 The Parliament was dissolved by the army on the 13th of October, 1659.

45 Lib. Scacc. This order was endorsed " To the Watter Baliffe and his subordinate officers to be published and observed as they will answer the wine to the Parliarnt and the Lord of the Isle at their utmost peril."

46 Formerly governor.

47 A member of the House of Keys.

48 These Manxmen were evidently accomplices of Lieutenant Hathorne.

49 Lib. Scace.

50 Ibid. and Gell (Manx Soc., vol. xii. pp. 88-9).

51 According to Brian Fairfax's Life of Buckingham (p. 365), Lord Fairfax had, during his period of rule in the island, " caused the whole of the rents of the Isle of Man to be paid regularly "to the Countess of Derby, who confessed that she never received her rents with greater regularity from her own agents. But no confirmation of this statement, which, though Lord Fairfax was both chivalrous and generous, seems improb able, can be discovered in the Records or elsewhere. Moreover, we know that, in 1657, the Countess had petitioned Parliament, saying that she was " wholly destitute of subsistence S. P. Dom. Interreg.," Chetham Sec., vol. lxvi. p. cvii).

52 Petition from his son; according to which he was " of a tender and weak constitution " (Hist. MSS. Commission, 7th Report, p. 147).

 

APPENDIX

TERMS OF SURRENDER OF CASTLE RUSHEN

1. That the Castle Rushen, with all the Arms, Ammunition, Ordnance, and other materials of war, shall be delivered up by 11 o'clock to-morrow in the forenoon, into the hands of such Officer or Officers as the Commander in chief shall appoint.

2. That Peel-Castle, and all the Armes, Annnunition, Ordnance, and other materials of War, shall be delivered up by 11 of the clock in the Forenoon on Munday next, being the 3 of November, into the hands of such Officer or Officers as the Commander in chief shall appoint.

3. That all goods in both the above named Castles, belonging to the Countess of Darby, shall at the time of rendition specified, be inventoried, and secured, and further referred and submitted to the dispose and pleasure of the Parliament of England.

4. That all other goods whatsoever, except wearing apparel, in both Castles, be likewise Inventoried, and secured, and referred and submitted to the dispose and pleasure of the Parliament of England.

5. That the Knights, Gentlemen, and other persons whatsoever, in both the said Castles, shall have quarter, and be protected by the Commander in chief, from any harm whatsoever, against their persons, by any Soldier under his command, or any other person in this Island, and shall not have any wearing apparel taken from them, or private monies out of their pockets; and such of the Natives as are in the said Castles shall have liberty to return to their several habitations.

6. That the Knights, Gentlemen, and other Strangers, shall have Passes from the Commander in chief, to go to their several Countries or habitations, they acting nothing prejudicial to the Parliament of England.

7. That the Countess of Derby, with her children, and servants, have liberty to transport themselves for England, there to make what application to the Parliament she shall think fit, and from thence to passe into Holland, or France, if she please.

THOMAS BIRCH. THOMAS ARMSTRONG.

WILLIAM MITCHEL. SAMUEL RUTTER.

~~ This is a true copy of the articles of which I approve and have already surrendered Castle Rushen.

" C. DERBY."

1 Manx Soc., vol. xxvi. pp. 73-4

 


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