[from History of IoM, 1900]

CHAPTER IV.

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC HISTORY (1405-1660)

1. Condition of the People.

THE earliest direct evidence as to the condition of the Manx people at this period is that of Bishop Meryck, in 1577, which we have already quoted in the Introductory Chapter. 1 Both he and Blundell, who wrote in 1648, regard the upper classes as similar to those of Lancashire in their style of living. The latter states that their houses, which were "high, handsome," and "well-built,"2 were situated on their own estates in the country, and he declares that, though the diet of the farmers and peasants consisted of butter, herrings, and thin oat-cakes, and their drink of water, or water and milk, and butter-milk (ale or beer being only drunk on market days),3 this abstemiousness did not arise from necessity but from covetousness, " for they have store of bacon, fresh butter, geese, ducks, hens, capons, eggs, piggs, &c., to feed upon."4 With " these, together with their yarn and flax, and hemp, and honey, wax, &c.," they make money " at their faires and markets," and also " exchange with their shop-keepers in the town for iron, starch, sope, candles, pitch, tarr, and with other commodities they want." 5 Their homes are described, in 1645, as being " mere hovels, compacted of stones and clay for the walls, thatch'd with broom, most commonly containing one room only," 6 this room having no " ceiling but the thatch itself, with the rafters." 7 In them lived, not only the people, but their live stock. In 1641, there seems to have been an increase in the indigent class, since there were complaints of the great number of poor beggars straying about the country, who did " much prejudice to the inhabitants by filchinge and stealinge."8 Each parish was, therefore, ordered to maintain its own poor, the able-bodied being set to work to relieve the impotent, while the wanderers were whipped and sent to their own parishes.8 Between this time and 1648, the people seem to have prospered, but in that year and 1649,9 there came " a time of great dearth and scarcitie," 10 during which many of them died of starvation. Those who could afford to do so were, consequently, ordered to " spare and forbear the usuall proporcõn of victuals for one meale upon Wednesdays and Ffridays,"11 and to give them to those who were in need. In the following year there was fortunately a good harvest. Of the townsmen, Blundell says three parts were Manxmen and one part " foreigners," but he gives no description of the natives, beyond the statement that they were, for the most part, mariners and fishermen who, though not rich, lived well. 12 It is probable, however, from the character of the houses, which, though very low and small, and built of similar materials to those of the farmers,13 had, as a rule, two floors,14 that the shop-keeping class, at least, were better off than the country people. We should note, too, that many even of the poorest people in the towns possessed two houses, and that the shop-keepers had usually three, in one of which they lived with their families, the second being used as a shop, with a warehouse on the upper floor, while the ground floor of the third house was used for storing such commodities as barrels of beer, herrings and beef, and its upper story for lodgers, or for entertaining friends. Nearly all the shopkeepers entertained lodgers, keeping a sort of tavern.15

Let us now enter more particularly into such questions as the relations of masters and servants, 16 prices, wages, 17 trade regulations, &c.

Nothing is known about the rise of the Manx serf to the position of free labourer, though it is probable that this change took place in Man, as in England, early in the fourteenth century. Nor is it known whether the Isle of Man was visited by the terrible " black death " of 1348, which so powerfully affected the condition of the English labourers. It is evident, however, that, even if this plague did not leave the island entirely untouched, its effects must, at any rate, have been comparatively slight, because the communal system of cultivation, which in England began to die out immediately after 1348, survived in Man down to the sixteenth century. It may, nevertheless, be regarded as almost certain that the causes which were at work in England to augment the value of labour were, in a greater or less degree, operative in Man also. Of this there is, perhaps, some proof afforded by the statement of the vicar of the parish of Malew, in 1368, to the effect that he could formerly live better upon six marks than he then could upon twenty.18 Evidence is, however, entirely wanting with respect to the rates of wages paid in Man before the seventeenth century, though some more or less probable inferences may be drawn from the contemporary state of things in England. We know that, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, artizans in that country were paid 6d. a day, agricultural labourers about 4d., and in harvest 6d. If they were fed, a lower scale of wages was paid, the cost of feeding a man being estimated at 6d. to 8d., and sometimes as much as 1s. per week, the average price of wheat between 1401 and 1540 being 6s. per quarter, which was decidedly lower than the average during the previous 150 years. On the assumption that wages in Man bore the same proportion to those in England, that they did at a later date,19 they may be estimated at about 1d. a day for a labourer and 2d. for an artizan, without maintenance. This, with cows selling at 4s., sheep at 6d., pigs at 4d., lambs at 1d., kids at d., and geese at from d. to 1d.,20 wheat at 2s. per quarter 21 and oats at 4d., as was the case in 1422, would mean that they lived in a condition of considerable comfort,22 since the cost of their food would not be more than d. a day.

By 1540, when the religious houses were dissolved, the prices 23 of corn and live stock were about 50 per cent. higher than in 1422.24 Thus, young cattle varied from 5s. 3d. to 6s., and full-grown cattle cost 6s., sheep and pigs 8d., goats 6d., lambs 4d., and horses 3s. 4d., while wheat cost 3s. 4d. per quarter, 21 barley 2s. 8d., and oats 1s. The dissolution of the monasteries must have been an unfortunate event for the labourers, for the monks were not only great employers of labour, but they were kind and charitable to the poor. It would seem probable, too, that, after 1540, wages in Man, as in England, ~, did not advance proportionately to prices, though, if the evidence of the " aunciente men " in 1608 is to be believed, prices must have fallen again after 1540 and before 1593, since they swore " that they themselves have sould in open markett a beef e for 4s. 6d., a mutton for 6d. and 7d., a lambe for 2d., a goose for 1d., a hen Id., a swyne purr 25 6d., a boule of wheat 20d., a boule of barley 18d., a boule of rye 7d., a boule of otes 4d."26 We know, however, from the following account of them that, at the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth, their position, relatively to each other, was not so favourable to the labourers as in the fifteenth century. Thus, in 1593, a " bieffe " was sold for 8s. 4d., a mutton for 8d., a lamb for 6d., a " hogge " for 3s. 4d., a goose for 3d., a green goose for 2d., a "heron" for 1d., and a chicken for d.27 As regards corn, it was ordered, in 1597, which was a year of scarcity, that wheat and barley " shall not be solde . . . below the price of 15s. per bowle the best sort, and 13s. 4d. the worse sort, nor otes below 2s. 4d. the bowle."28 This is equivalent to 30s. and 26s. 8d. per quarter for wheat, its price in England at the same time being 40s.28 In 1608, the current prices were a bullock at Michaelmas 16s., a sheep at midsummer 2s. 6d., a lamb in May 8d., a goose at Michaelmas 4d., a hen 2d., a yearling pig at midsummer 18d., wheat 10s. a quarter, barley 9s., rye 8s., oats 7s. 4d. Cows cost about 8s. and horses about 7s.29 By 1645 prices had risen greatly, sheep costing 3s. to 4s., bullocks 40s., cows 33s., horses 30s., and geese 6d. In the same year wheat was 20s. a quarter.

Writing in 1640, Lady Strange 30 speaks of the Isle of Man as " a place where one can live for almost nothing." 31 But by 1645, owing to the numerous English soldiers and refugees there, prices had greatly risen, sheep costing 3s. to 4s., bullocks 40s., cows 33s., horses 30s., and geese 6d. In the same year, wheat was 20s. a quarter and malt 9s., and, in 1651, the price of wheat had risen so much that it was not permitted to be sold above 32s. a quarter. 32

The earliest regulation of wages by the Tynwald Court was in 1609.;33 From this we see that artizans were paid 4d. a day, with meat and drink.34 Ordinary labourers are not mentioned, but, judging from the proportion their wages bore to those of an rtizans at a later date, they were probably not more than 2d., without " meat and drink."35 But the usual practice was to board the labourers, and, if they were engaged for a year, to lodge them also. On this system, then, the following wages were paid, in Man, in 1609: By the year: "Plowmen" 13s. and 4d., " Drivers " 10s., " Horsemen " 8s., and the women "as much as they shall be thought to deserve by the Deemster and Jury." By the day " Head Taylors " 4d., if working for servants 2d. ; apprentices 2d., if working for servants 1d. ; and " if any refuse to work after the rate above specifyed or refuse to come, being sent for by the Farmer, shall, upon complainte sufficiente proved, be put to be a servant." 36 Fourpence was also paid to every

" Mazon, Carpenter, Shipwright, Hooper, Slater, Thatcher, thatching after the English fashion, and Joiner." 36 These artizans were not lodged. The following were paid by the piece, without maintenance: " Woolen weavers per yard of woolen cloth for Blankett sufficiently wrought," d. ; " for every four great hundred breadth of keare (i.e., dark gray cloth), d. ; for every yard of medlie (mixed cloth), 1d., being five hundred, which is for every great hundred a farthing." . . " Every Walker or Fuller of cloath . . . for every yard of blankett cloath sufficiently fulled an d. of the great hundred ; for every yard of keare cloth, d.; every yard of medlie, 1d.; and every yard of white cloath, 1d. . . . Every Blacksmith for laying of every Coulter, 1d. ; for making of every Coulter, 2d; for making of every new Sock, 2d.; for making and laying of every wing an ob 37." 38.

It was also ordained that " if any Farmer or other having occasion to use any of the said servants or Handicrafts men shall give any greater wages than before is mentioned, otherwise than upon the good desert of his servant, in way of Bountie, and not by set hyre or wages, then every such person so offending contrary to the trite meaning of this Statute shall for every time forfeit so much to the Lord of the Land as the whole wages or day's work cometh unto."39, Between 1640 and 1660 the only wages mentioned in the Records are 6d. a day for masons and blacksmiths. 40 But there is no doubt that wages generally were higher than in 1609. It is, therefore, clear that, notwithstanding the increase of prices, the position of the Manx labourer, at least between 1642 and 1651, had considerably improved.

While such was the position of the Manx labourer as regards his means of gaining a livelihood, his social status was evidently a low one. He was liable to be arbitrarily selected, "yarded " as it was called, to serve the lord and the chief officers, at a nominal wage, such selection annulling all previous engagements of service, so that his former master was deprived of his services.41 But, though the labourers' toil might thus be arbitrarily appropriated, the law protected his personal liberty in other respects. Thus, no coroner could arrest either him, or any other Manxman, for debt, without a special warrant from the lord or the governor, except in case of treason or felony, 42 and no officer might " imprison any man for debt, nor any other cryme, but as the Deemster shall appoint by law and process." 43 And, moreover, it did not altogether neglect his interests in other respects, for, in 1429, it was declared to be the law, that all servants were to be free once in the year, " that is to say, at Allhallowtide, to serve at what Place they will upon our Lord's several grounds."44 This was for male servants, but for females, the period of freedom was in May. " And in respect of that freedom," says Deemster Parr, " it was accustomed and exercised for law if any servant hired himself for half a year or three quarters or the like, and the master or mistress of such a servant were unwilling to part with him or her so hired till the year's end such is notwithstanding obliged to the whole year's service determinable always at Allhallowtide and May."45 There are also the following customary laws with reference to ser vants: " If any servant make complaint to the Deemster that he is behind or unpaid of his wages, he is to cause the master to come before him, and if he cannot give satisfaction unto him that he hath made payment of the said servant's wages, nor chew just and lawful cause why he withholdeth the same, the Deemster (upon the bare oath of the servant administered unto him before the said master) is to grant a present execution for as much as the servant hath deposed to be detained from him. This also may be done by the Coroner at the Parish Church where both the master and servant live, by the discretion of the Deemster, or at the style or gate of the Churchyard, which oath the Coroner is to administer unto him, and to certify the same unto the Deemster that execution may be granted for the receiving of what wages is behind as aforesaid. And it hath been accustomed within this Isle if any servant fall sick, his master or mistress is bound to keep him for the space of one month in their own house and upon their charges and to be allowed out of his wages as is proportionable to the said time, and afterwards the servant's friends or relations are bound to take him away and leek to him, and his master or mistress to be no longer troubled with him during the time of his sickness."46 The quality of their food, too, was regulated, there being a customary ordinance that the porridge, or sollaghan, of yarded servants should be so thick that the potstick would stand upright in the centre of the pot, immediately before dishing the porridge ; and the cakes given. to them were required to be as thick as the length of a barley corn. 47 As a set off to these kindly regulations, there is, in 1651, what appears to be an infamous decision of the deemsters to the effect that " if any master draw blood upon the servant in his service he is to be spared."48 Further regulations follow in 1655, from which we learn that it had been the practice to impannel a jury, called a jury of servants, in each parish, whose duty it was to see all vagrant servants either " put to service or otherwise to suffer punishment until such tyme as he or she be willing to perform their service."49 It was also enacted that, if servants did not give legal warning and then hired with another master, the second hiring was invalid. In such a case, the first master retained the right to the services, while the second received the wages by way of compensation, and the offenders were to be fined if they were able to pay ; if not, they were whipped. The times of hiring and mode of giving notice were also specified. 50 At the same time it was mercifully ordained that " old decrepitt and sick persons shall have the benefit of one of their children which they liked best . . . for their better support, releefe and lyvlihood,"50 and that such child was not to be taken from them. Some light may, perhaps, be thrown on the condition not only of the labouring class, but of the people generally, at this period by the laws relating to women, marriage, &c. According to customary law, the wife was entitled on her husband's death to one-half of his goods,51 and it would seem also that, if she left her husband "for any crime, either adultery, or for any other cause," 52 she was not deprived of her share till after 1598, when Ferdinando, the fifth Earl of Derby, declared that her receiving it under such circumstances was " against the lawes of God and good government." 53 If a woman was guilty of felony, her husband might forsake her; but, if he did not, and concealed what she had done, he was " to stand as deep in the law as the woman." 54 A woman, however, did not forfeit her share of the estate if her husband was committed for felony. 55 An outrage on a woman was punishable by death, but, if she was not married, the deemster was to "give her a rope, a sword, and a ring," 54, so that she might " have her choice to hang him with the rope, cut off his head with the sword, or marry him with the ring." 54 The marriage of the parents " within a year or two " 55 of its birth made the child legitimate, provided the mother " was never slandered nor defamed with any other man before." 56 A bastard had no right of inheritance except by will "or at the discretion of the Ordinary upon charity." 56 Legitimate children could only be deprived of their share of their parents' property by a special bequest of sixpence.57 The father was obliged to maintain his children until they reached the age of fourteen. 58

In estimating the position of Manxmen at this period, we should not lose sight of the hardship of living in a small island from which no one was permitted to depart without a licence. Thus, in 1422, it was ordained that no " Shipman " should take " Tennants nor Servants out of the Land without Lycense . . . upon paine of forfeiture of his vessel," 59. and,.later in the same year, to avoid the possibility of mistake, another ordinance was issued to the effect that "noe man, of what condition soever he be," 60 might leave the island without permission. That this law continued in force is clear from the following decision of the deemsters given as late as 1609: " If any inhabitant (whether he owed any rent or any other debts in the Isle or not) that will transport himself in a private manner without licence as aforesaid either in any Boat of his own or take away any other man's Boat, he is a Fellon if he can be so found and shall forfeit his goods whose Tenant soever he is, provided it be not such shipmen or merchants as traffick in the Island (to whom this law doth not extend) that pass to and fro as wind and weather serve them." 61 These laws applied to natives of the Isle or aliens who had sworn fealty.

We think, however, that Sir Spencer Walpole goes somewhat too far in inferring from such laws as these and those relating to tenure 62 that, during this period, " the ordinary Manxman . . . was, in fact, but little better than the chattel of the Lord." 63 We have already mentioned some considerations which tend to qualify this unfavourable view, and, as Walpole himself points out, the inhabitants of Man at this period enjoyed very considerable advantages over those of England and Ireland. " No such massacres," he says, " desolated the island as those which were unhappily witnessed in subject Ireland. Douglas and Castletown saw none of those grim fires which accompanied the alternate victories of Papist and Protestant in predominant England. Except for the duties to his Lord, his Church, and his Country, the Manxman enjoyed comparative liberty. The soil brought him the little which was necessary for his frugal existence, and the rich though fluctuating harvest of the sea supplemented the food which he drew from the land. The laws, too, which forbade his removal from the island, could not have had much terror for a people who took naturally to a seafaring life, and who could assure their escape by a few hours' voyage from the decrees of the Stanleys and the echoes of Tynwald. And thus the little island after a rude fashion flourished. The Stanleys had at last brought it peace; and peace may atone for worse evils than an absentee sovereign, a grasping Church, and a feeble Legislature." 64

It should be understood, however, that this position of comparative advantage was enjoyed only by native Manxman, and by such strangers as had sworn fealty to the lord of the island. The condition of a stranger resident in Man who had not taken the oath was anything but enviable. Such persons, indeed, were little better than outlaws. On their decease, their property was forfeited to the lord, and, if they were convicted of any crime, however trivial, the penalty was death. In 1429, aliens were absolutely prohibited from residing in the island unless they had sworn fealty. 65 This law, however, cannot have been rigidly enforced, otherwise there would have been no necessity for the deemsters' decision, in 1506, that any testament or other disposition of goods by aliens who had not sworn fealty stood "in no force in the law." 66 In 1582, the lord made all aliens pay a sum of money " for an acknowledgment of their freedom," 66 but some years later, when an Englishman who had come to the island demurred against making this payment, the deemsters decided that Englishmen were not aliens, and that therefore they need not pay.67 Their decision appears to have been afterwards quashed, since there are several instances on record, at a later date, of Englishmen paying for their naturalization.68 And yet, notwithstanding these disabilities, Man seems to have been considered a desirable place of residence, if we may judge from the numerous petitions from aliens praying the lord that they might become " free denizens," asking him to accept their " faith and fidelitie," and paying money for the same.69 Such aliens were likely to be of some advantage to the land of their choice. But those who were described as " fforaigne beggars " were, in 1658, sent " out of the Isle by the next opportunitie," 70 in accordance with the order of the Tynwald Court, unless they had special licences. If they bad not, " their geodes were to be seized and they to be confined at the next garrison." 70 By 1697, 71 however, more rational ideas ' with regard to aliens had come into vogue, and the old laws against them were repealed, it being enacted " that all and every person or persons, whether subjects of the Kingdoms of Scotland or Ireland, or any Foraigners or Strangers, of any other Kingdom or Nations coming into this Isle to reside, shall for the future have and enjoy the same Imunitys, priviliedges and advantages that any of the subjects of England have or hereafter shall or may have and enjoy by the laws and customes of this Isle."72

Strangers were not yet, however, in the same position as natives with regard to trading privileges, for they had to pay heavier duties, unless they obtained the rights of a " free denizen," which were acquired only by long residence and by payment as before. Thus, in 1757, David Forbes, " a native of North Britain," 73 who had resided in Man " and traded and dealt there for many years last past," 73 prayed that he might have " the freedom and priviledges of a native of this Isle in such manner and form as anciently accustomed, upon paying a fine and taking the oath as aforesaid," 73 so that he might " carry on his business upon a more equal and equitable footing with other Traders in this Isle." 73 This state of things continued till the Revestment in 1765, after which most of the special privileges of natives ceased, though it was not till 1846 74 that the distinction between natives and strangers as regards arrest for debt before judgment was abolished.75 There is still a slight difference between the treatment of a Manxman and a stranger in this respect, inasmuch as the former has the right of discharge on judgment being given in the action, whilst the latter has not. 76

It is not till the very end of this period that we have any particulars about the insular towns, which might more correctly be called villages, for it is not likely that the population of the largest exceeded 600.

Castletown was considered the most important of them, the chief courts being held there. It had " one formal street" and " a handsome piazza, which is the market place, with a cross in the middle." 77

Between 1643 and 1651, when the seventh earl resided at the castle, the governor had a house near it, and most of the principal officers lived in the town ; but usually the governor and some of the officers lived in the castle, the others, except the deemsters, living in Peel Castle. From another source we learn that this street, called " The West Street," was " dirty and foule by reason of the unevenness thereof and that there is no passage for the conveyinge of the water thereout." 78 The parishioners of the adjoining parishes of Arbory and Malew were therefore ordered to " come in courses with horses and caries, spades, creeles and the like " 78 to repair it, and the householders on each side of the street were assessed for the same purpose.

Douglas came next in population to Castletown, and it was more frequented by strangers because "it hath a haven far more comodious, safer and easier to ride in than any other in the whole Island." 79 Peel is only mentioned as being the place where the Sheading Court of Glenfaba met, and Ramsey is described as " the least and poorest " 80 town, being no larger than Ballasalla. Some twenty-four or twenty-five years before this the town had been much more extensive, but the sea then " carried away most of its houses, with a great part of the land whereupon the town was built." 80 The sea, indeed, threatened to overwhelm the town at frequent intervals. 81

Each town was governed by a " captain," who also commanded its garrison, the members of which acted as constables.

It is rather surprising to find that one of these towns, probably Castletown, contained a public library at such an early date, but there seems to be no doubt that this was the case, seeing that there exists " a catalogue of the books sent from my Lord Ffayrefax for the library in the Isle of Man". 83 These books, 217 in number, were sent over in 1657. They consisted, for the most part, of religious publications, many of which were in Latin. It does not seem likely, therefore, that they were much read, and they have long ago disappeared. Indeed, only a few years later, we find that Bishop Barrow intended to found a library.83

We have no information as to the population, but, judging from the number of tenants on the Manorial Rolls, it probably averaged about 12,000.84 Of the state of the public health there is also no record.85

From what we are told about their habits we I should judge that the Manx, at this time, were, on the whole, a temperate people, though, in 1652, we learn that "the abominable and beastly sin of drunkenness hath been (and yet is) too shamefully abounding in this island." 86 The first known enactment relating to drunkenness is dated 1610, but this was probably merely the recording of an old law. By it, any one found drunk, who was not able to pay a fine, was for the first offence "to be punished in the stockes, the second Time to be tyed to the whipping stockes, and the third Time to be whipped therein. " 87

The earliest appearance of a wine, beer, and spirit licence is in 1637, those having it being alone permitted to sell those liquors; and, in the same year, there was an effort to regulate the number of the licensed sellers and to ensure their being responsible persons by requiring a recognizance. These licences were in force for one year only, and cost the sum of fourpence.88

Footnotes

1 See p. 16.

2 Manx Soc., vol. xxv. p. 55. He also states that "the largest of these estates were worth from 600 to .700 a year," but this is clearly an error, perhaps arising from a mistake in figures. Geoffrey King (Work and Wages, pp. 463-4) estimated the average incomes in England, at the same period, at 280 for a gentleman, 50 for a yeoman or freeholder, and 42 10s. for farmers holding from 40 to 50 acres.

3" The hired servants' allowance at one meal is two boiled herrings, one entire oaten cake, . . . butter with milk or milk and water" (Manx Soc., vol. xxv. p. 58). We must remember that, in the winter, there would be very little milk because there were no sown grasses or turnips. Fresh meat was, of course, unprocurable, and, since salt was scarce and dear, it is not likely that much salt meat was eaten, except by those who were really well off.

4 Ibid., p. 58.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid., pp. 56-7.

7 Chaloner gives a similar description.

8 Statutes, vol. i. p. 91. In 1658, it was ordered " that the poore of every parish shall continue in and bee kept in their own parishes," and, if they wandered, they were to be " putt in the stocks and whipt and then sent from constable to constable, or from coroner to coroner, into their own parish again " (Lib. Scacc.).

9 These were very wet summers. The price of wheat in England averaged 85s. a quarter during them, its average between 1647 and 1700 having been 49s. 10d.

10 Lib. Scacc. The earl imported some corn from France.

11 Lib. Scacc.

12 Manx Soc., vol. xxv. p. 81.

13 Though some were ceiled and plastered.

14 The upper floor was reached by a ladder placed outside. In some few cases there were garrets above the first floors, which were called lofts.

15 Manx Soc., vol. xxv. pp. 68-9.

16 See p. 292.

17 It is not likely that money wages were generally paid before the seventeenth century, (see Trade, p. 312).

18 Urban V. Cod. Chart (tom. xx. fol. 23), Arch Sec. Vact. (Manx Soc., vol. xxiii. p. 307).

19 It must be borne in mind that, owing to the continuance of the communal system already referred to, the number of paid labourers in Man was probably very small.

20 Statutes (1422), vol. i. p. 11. Also see Inquisition of 1608, in Lib. Scacc., when the prices " in old days " were stated to be " Beef 4s., marte 3s. 4d., mutton 6d., swyne 4d., lamme 1d., kidde ld., goose 1d., green goose 1d., 3 hens 1d., 4 chickens 1d., Boule of wheat 12d., Boule of Barley 8d., Rye 8d., Oats 2d." (Also in Knowsley Muniments,1715/5.)

21 A quarter being reckoned as 2 bolls, a "boll " or " boule " being the local term.

22 Provided their services were not arbitrarily taken by " yarding " at a nominal wage.

23 Accounts in English Records relating to Rushen Abbey (see Talbot in Manx Sun, November, 1894.) Prices in England were much higher, a quarter of wheat being 7s. 8d. and a quarter of oats 5s. 5d., oxen 26s. 8d., wethers and calves 3s. 4d., and lambs 12d.

24 This rise began about 1520.

25 Wild pig.

26 Knowsley Muniments, ~1715'/5.

27 Rotul. It is significant of the change that it was ordained in 1593, that in rating for " corspresents " cattle should be valued at the " ancient rate " of 5s. for a cow and 6d. for a sheep (Statutes, vol. i. p. 63).

28 Lib. Scacc.

29 Hoper's Inquisition (Knowsley Muniments, 1715/5).These were the prices at Michaelmas 1607, this being "the best and deerest time." In 1610 a beef was 13s. 4d., and a mutton 17d. (Rotul.). 30 Afterwards Lady Derby.

31 Lady of Latham., p. 24 (see also Manx Soc., vol. iii. p. 18). 32 Lib. Scacc. and Rotul.

33 In England many similar regulations affecting the rates of wages were issued by the Justices in Quarter Sessions during the reign of Elizabeth.

34 Statutes, vol. i. pp. 70-1. Artizans in England at that time got 9d. without meat and drink. Reckoning meat and drink " at 1d., the actual wages in Man for artizans were probably 5d.

35 Labourers in England at that time got 7d.

36 Statutes, vol. i. pp. 70-1.

37 I.e., a halfpenny.

38 Statutes, vol. i. p. 71.

39 Statutes, vol. i. p. 71.

40 Rotul.

41 Certain privileged persons, such as Members of the House of Keys, parsons, &c., could not be deprived of their servants in this way (Statutes, vol. i. p. 50).

42 Ibid., vol. i. pp. 5 and 15.

43 Ibid., p. 55 ; or, after 1530, on affidavit that a debtor was about to leave the Island, an arrest enforceable against his body and estate could be obtained from the Chancery Court, and a similar arrest could be obtained against the estate of any debtor if he were off the Island.

44 Ibid., vol. i. p. 22.

45 MS.

46 Customary Laws, 24 and 25, MS.

47 Customary Laws, 24 and 25, MS.

48 Lib. Placit.

49 Statutes, vol. i. pp. 108-9.

50 Ibid. p. 109.

51 Statutes, vol. i. p. 40.

52. Ibid., p. 63. 53 Ibid., vol. 1, p. 63.

54 Ibid., p. 25. 55 Ibid., p. 55.

56 Ibid., p. 51.

57 Statutes, vol. 1. p. 47.

58 Ibid., pp. 41, 51.

59 Ibid., p. 15.

60 Ibid., p. 21.

61 Lib. Scacc., 1609. In 1615, a member of the House of Keys was fined 66s. 8d. for attempting to leave the island. Knowsley Muniments

62 See Book VII.

63 The Land of Home Rule, p. 128.

64 The Land of Home Rule, pp. 128-9.

65 Statutes, vol. i. p. 22.

66. Lib. Scacc.

67 Ibid., 1596. They decided at the same time that " If any shall affirm himself so to be (an Englishman) or forge any device to maintain the same and be thereof lawfully convicted, he shall be proceeded against as a Traytor."

68 For an amusing contemporary account of the reception of a stranger in the middle of the seventeenth century, see Appendix A.

69 Thus, in 1681, William Mercer paid a fee of five shillings and sixpence, and took the following oath of naturalisation on his knees: " You shall not reveal the secrets of this Isle and garrisons therein to any fforaigner or stranger, or whomsoever you know or suspect not to be sworne thereunto. You shall bee obedient to the Governor, Lieutenant, or Deputy and the Government of this Isle accordinge to the laws and jurisdicon thereof. . . . You shall to the uttermost of your power giuc your best assistance for the deffence of the Isle . . . to make known all plots, treasons and conspiracies . . ." (Lib. Scacc.). 70 Lib. Scacc.

71 As a matter of convenience we complete the account of aliens in this chapter.

72 Statutes, vol. i. p. 154.

73 Lib. Scacc.

74 In 1844, the strangers resident in the island sent a memorial to the Home Secretary complaining that their persons and properties were " often subjected to arrest under most vexatious circumstances, while the native born cannot be molested before the debt is proved and judgment awarded." This led to pressure being put on the insular Legislature to pass the " Arrest for Debt " Act in 1846.

75 See Statutes, vol. ii. pp. 157-8. Thus Mrs. Bullock wrote in 1816: "The stranger is exposed to imprisonment and sequestration of property for the smallest sum, whilst the native is protected from incarceration for the largest " (p. 277). See also Clarke, View of the Principal Courts, 1817 (p. 19).

Strangers were liable to arrest on mesne process on affidavit that they were not natives, but the ownership of a quarterland or of intack land paying 3 lord's rent gave them the privileges of natives (see " Constitution of the Isle of Man," Manx Soc., vol. xxxi. p. 34, n.).

76- when a debt is not disputed, it is usual for the imprisoned defendant, when a Manxman, to be brought into court to admit judgment for the amount sued for, and thereupon, on giving proof of his privilege, he is discharged. The practice, however, of ordering the imprisonment of a stranger when judgment has been given against him has long fallen into disuse.

77 Blundell (Manx Soc., vol. xxv. p. 74).

78 Lib. Scacc., 1648 and 1650.

79 Blundell, Manx Soc., vol. xxv. p. 75. See also note under Trade, p. 310.

80 Ibid., pp. 76-7.

81- In 1630, it had been " wholly destroyed " (Loose Papers. Rolls Office ; in 1644, its inhabitants petitioned the earl to order the people of the adjacent sheading to come and help them against the sea, and, in 1704, being " in jeopardy of theire habittacons as also of theire worldly substance . . , being taken away by the rageing billows," they asked that " the inhabitants of Ayre Sheading and Maughold parish should be ordered to assist them to mend the breaches," and that an assessment for the same purpose should be made on the townspeople. Lib. Scacc.

82- Loose Papers. Rolls Office.

83 See p. 472.

84 Hollinshed, writing in 1556, remarks that the population was formerly 1,300 families, but that that number was halfdiminished, through the rich inhabitants " joining house to house and land to land." But his information respecting the island is, for the most part, obviously untrustworthy, so that there is probably but little foundation for the above statement. (Chronicles, vol. i. p. 40.)

85 There was evidently a doctor in the island, for the death of "Dr. John Lace" is recorded in 1653. His will is in the Episcopal register in 1654.

86 Legislation was proposed to enforce a penalty for drunkenness in that year, but it is not found in the Statute Book (see p. 369)

87 Statutes, vol. i. p. 76.

88:Statutes, vol. i. p. 88.


 

Back index next

 

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2004