[from History of IoM, 1900]

CHAPTER V

THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AND ITS FIRST STRUGGLE WITH THE STATE

THE history of the Church during this period is, in the main, a record of one long, though intermittent, struggle with the State, which was put an end to by the seventh earl, who, though a strong churchman, determined to have Church, as well as State, entirely subject to him.

Power of Church and State contrasted

At the beginning of Stanley dominion the power of the Church was very great, while that of the State was very Small. As Walpole has pointed out: " The Church had its written laws; the State could not show a single document. The Church had its Synods; the State had suffered its Tynwald to drop into disuse. The Church levied its regular exactions ; the State in all probability had no revenue, except the rents which the Lord received from his tenants."1 But this condition of affairs was speedily to be altered. The first Stanley was a ruler of strong Lollard sympathies, " a man who gave neither toleration nor termon (sanctuary) to ecclesiastics, laymen, or literary men," 2 and his able son was of the same mind.

The former curbed by Sir John Stanley (II.)

No sooner did the latter arrive in Man, in 1418, than he proceeded to curb the power of the spiritual barons. His first step in this direction was to obtain from his deemsters, assisted by the most experienced men in the isle, a statement of the ancient laws, and among them those which referred to the spiritual barons. One of these laws was to the effect that the barons living out of the island had forty days' notice, within which time, " if wind and weather served them," 3 they had to show by what right they held their lands, and then make their fealty. If they failed to do this, they legally forfeited their temporalities. Sir John Stanley does not seem, on that occasion, to have enforced this law, but, shortly after his departure, the commissioners left by him made an indenture with the deemsters and House of Keys on the subject of sanctuary, which these barons had the power of granting to felons and traitors, in the following words: " That the said twenty-four Keys of the Law, with the Deemster of Man, say and adjudge for the Law of the Land, that whatsoever liege Tenant or Tenants of the Lord of Man shall have committed a crime in any case of Felony or Treason, and shall have fled . . . from the Land of the Lord of Man into the Liberties of the Barons, and shall have been required by the Lord of Man or his ministers to return to the land and to a lawful trial, and if he or she excuse himself or themselves, not consenting to return thence, and if any of these Barons under the Lord of Man shall retain him, her, or them . . . then he shall forfeit to the Lord for every such offence of retention 60s., and shall answer for the body of the aforesaid transgressor, at the prison of the Lord of Man, and this under penalty of forfeiture of all his liberties possessed in Man." 4

Right of sanctuary done away with.

The right of sanctuary thus abolished was one of the most potent of priestly weapons, and so large and numerous were the spiritual baronies in Man, that, as long as it existed, Sir John Stanley was but the shadow of a king. His vigorous action is the more remarkable from the fact that in England no steps were taken to put an end to this dangerous abuse until a much later date. In 1422, when there was further legislation with a similar object, it was " given for law," that " if the bishop or abbott or any other barron receipts an outlaw after that he is outlawed," without the Lord's special grace, he is to forfeit his temporality; and, with reference to sanctuary, it was again declared that it did not " avayle by the law of Man." 5

Further regulations placing Church under State.

The following regulations passed at the same time also tended to place the Church in the power of the State. No baron was to take more than £5 out of the land, except in merchandize, on pain of forfeiture. This, if enforced, would have practically put a stop to the non-resident barons spending their rents out of the island. Neither bishop, nor abbot, nor baron was to receive any stranger or other person within his gate without the knowledge of the governor. The abbot was not to receive any resident monk or priest without the lord's licence, and, if the clergy did any wrong to the moar,6 they were to pay six shillings and eightpence, and, if to the coroner, three pounds.

Spiritual barons summoned to do fealty.

And, finally, in a Tynwald Court held at Reneurling, in August of the same year, the barons, in accordance with the law given in 1418, were summoned to do faith and fealty, and to show by what claims they held their lands. The "Bishop of Mann," the " Abbott of Rushen," and the " Priors (? Prioress) of Douglas " came, but " the Prior of Whithorne 7 in Galloway, the Abbott of Furnace, the Abbott of Bangor, the Abbott of Saball, and the Prior of St. Beade, in Copeland, were called in and came not; therefore they were deemed by the Deemsters, that they should come in their proper Persons within forty days, and if they came not, then to loose all their temporalties, to be ceised into the Lord's hands in the same Court." 8

Malcontents punished.

Not only were the spiritual barons thus subjected to the lord, but they, as well as all Manxmen, were placed in the same position with respect to the governor, it being enacted that an offence against him was to be treated in the same way as if it were against the lord. 8a The necessity for this was shown, in 1422, by a riot, in which the governor's life had been threatened and his men assaulted.9 It cannot be definitely stated that this riot was instigated by the Church party, but the fact that the recent ordinances had been directed against the Church renders it not improbable. In any case, the decision of the deemsters that the offence was a capital one seems to have terrified 10 the malcontents. Having thus shown the futility of any resistance to his power, Sir John Stanley graciously confirmed the charter of Magnus to the Church. 11

First recorded dispute between clergy and laity.

In 1429 occurs the earliest mention in the insular Records of a difficulty between the clergy and laity on the subject of Church dues, a difficulty which was to arise frequently in the future. In that year the bishop, Richard Pully, held a visitation at Peel, when certain persons were prosecuted for refusing to pay these dues. They, however, put in a counter-presentment that certain "particles" 12 of land " ordained to the reliefe of poor Schollers " had been " dealt into other uses " 13 by the bishop's fault. They fortified their case by annexing a copy of the old constitutions, which they said the bishop had broken, and they declared that they would not pay their dues till these abuses were corrected. The case was decided against them by a sworn enquest, set by the authority of the bishop, at the said visitation, but from this verdict they appealed to the lord, or his representative, the governor. The governor then asked the deemster what was the law of Man with regard to such an enquest as that appointed by the bishop, which had " attempted the King's right and inheritance of his Land of Man, and his prerogatives, without his leave or his Lieutenant's." 14 The deemster replied that the action of the enquest was illegal. Upon this, the bishop's commissary pleaded guilty, as did the members of the enquest, while the traversers pleaded not guilty, and said that they would give themselves "to God and the Countrey."15 Then was " called and sworne " 15 an enquest of twenty-four, who gave as their verdict that the traversers were not guilty.

Its result.

Thus the verdict of the national jury set aside that of the bishop's jury, and vindicated the supremacy of the civil over the canon law. This is all the more remarkable because in England at this time the spirit of religious freedom had been utterly suppressed.

Blank in Manx ecclesiastical history, 1429-1499.

From 1429, till nearly the end of the century, Manx ecclesiastical history is almost a blank. The greater part of this period in England was occupied by the miserable wars of York and Lancaster, during which papal usurpation reached its culminating point, and the national character of the English Church became almost extinct. In the almost complete absence of records, it is impossible to discover what was the state of affairs in Man in this respect, but the probability is that the Manx Church, owing to its poverty and obscurity, enjoyed greater liberty than the English. Two events only are recorded during the seventy years referred to. One, in 1458, was the placing of the see under York, by Pope Calixtus IV. ; 16 and the other, in the following year, is a rescript from Pope Pius II., excommunicating all those " who shall dare to molest " 17 the island, which affords a curious but pleasant aspect of the papal relations with its Church.

The struggle between clergy and laity continued.

The next glimpse of Manx Church history is in 1499, and it is a significant one, because it shows that the struggle between the laity and the spiritual barons and monks still continued, and that the former strove to protect the poor and oppressed parochial clergy from the exactions of the latter. The point at issue was a tax which pressed heavily on the parochial clergy as well as on the laity, viz., the payment of corbes, or death-bed presents.18 The question of the legality of these impositions was laid before the deemsters, who consequently summoned two juries, one of six clergymen and six laymen to fix the corbes, if any, to be paid by the clergy, and the other of twenty-four laymen to fix the corbes to be paid by the laity.

Verdict in favour of laity.

The first jury found that the " Viccars of Pencion " 19 ought not to pay any corbes, and they strictly limited the corbes to be paid by the " Viccars of Thirds." 20 The verdict of the second jury was, in effect, that the children of the deceased, whether men or women, were to have their best effects, leaving therefore only the inferior chattels to the clergy. It was also decided, at the same time, that the lord, not the barons, had the first right to the services of any stranger coming into the country; and, in 1501, a decision was given by the deemsters to the effect that, "No baron can take an enquest of the lord's tenants (except they bear barons' rent), or commit any of them within his liberties, or indict any without the governor's privity, upon pain of life and limb, it being against the lord's prerogatives." 21

But power of Church still considerable.

 

But still, notwithstanding these arrangements, it is probable that the power of the Church, or rather of the religious orders,22 was not greatly diminished during this period, and it is certain that the property of the bishop was largely increased, since, in 1505, Thomas, the second earl, granted him "the liberties of every kind anciently conceded to the same church," 22 together with more land and a further share of the parochial tithe. 23

Increased privileges granted to it.

On the other hand, the following dictum given, in 1514, by the deemsters with reference to appeals from the spiritual court, about which there were to be frequent disputes later, shows that the civil authorities were determined to maintain what they considered their rights:-" If the lord take the case to himself, or commission his prime officers here to determine it, then it is called the Lord's Prerogative royal, for the spiritual court is not only to surcease in their proceedings, but also to deliver up the party and cause to the lord; " 25 and, in 1520, it was decided by the governor and officers that " noe Barron can take an enquest of the Lord's tenants nor convict any of them within his Libertys, nor arraigne them in his Court, upon paine of forfeiting his Body and Goods to the Lord's mercy, being against the Lord's prerogative, as appears by an ancient Record in this behalfe." 26 By 1531, clerical exactions had again become a source of lay complaints.

Clerical Exactions again a cause of complaint.

It appears that the bishop and clergy had made certain claims with regard to corpse presents, tithe ale, marriage money, and bishop's fees, which were controverted by the laity, who denied that the amounts of these taxes were as large as had been represented. Each party argued their case' before a Commission appointed, in 1532, by Edward, the third earl, and consisting of the governor, receiver - general, auditor, captain, water - bailiff, deemster, and the receivers of Peel and Rushen Castle.

Agreement between clergy and laity.

By them it was decided: (1) that the executors of those who had free goods (i.e., net property after paying all debts), to the value of twenty shillings, should pay to the Church eight shillings for mortuaries,27 and a fee of one shilling to the bishop for probate, and that the executors of those whose goods were worth less than twenty shillings were to pay " the first part of the same goodes," 28 and for probate four pence; (2) that tithe for brewing ale and on marriage presents should be abolished; (3) that the corpse payment for the recently deceased should be at the rate of this agreement ; (4) that "the Commonalty shall reasonably agree with the Priest or Clerk doing divine service at Burialls or Weddings, . . . according to the old customs used in the said Isle." 29 This decision greatly reduced the claims of the spirituality.

Dissolution of the Manx religious houses.

The first step to divert ecclesiastical property in the Isle of Man to secular purposes was taken in 1537, when, on the dissolution of Furness Abbey, the tithes of that abbey in Maughold and Michael were leased for the king's benefit.

The dissolution of the religious houses in Man was not brought about by the English Act of 1539, which did not apply to the island, but simply by the arbitrary action of Henry VIII., by which the monastery of Rushen, the priory of Douglas, and the friary of Bymaken were vested in the Crown.30 On St. John the Baptist's Day, in 1540, the abbot and his six brethren "were removed " from the monastery of Rushen ; and, on the same day, the prioress and her three sisters "departed from the priory of Douglas." 31 The tithes belonging to these houses were also leased for the king's benefit. Later on the priory of Whithorne was dissolved and its Manx tithes, which were in the parishes of Marown and Lezayre, seem to have been taken possession of by the Lord of Man. 31 All these tithes were, however, in 1609, in the possession of James I., who, in that year, granted them to William, the sixth Earl of Derby, and his countess with reservation of a certain rent charge to the Crown.32 We learn nothing of the condition of these religious houses at the time of their dissolution. 33 We are ignorant whether they had been well or ill conducted, and whether their influence on the Church in Man had been good or bad, though we have already given our reasons for believing that it was good on the whole.

Consequences of the dissolution.

It is certain, however, that their removal must have been a loss to the poor, while it is probable that the parochial clergy went on much as before, and that the bishop, being deprived of the support of the Pope and of the abbeys of Furness and Rushen, would be more under the influence of the civil power.

Slowness of the Reformation in Man.

Of doctrinal changes there is no evidence, the probability being that they were very gradual.

Evidence to show this.

As proofs of this we may mention the following facts. (1) In 1594, it was thought needful to legislate against carrying banners and bells before the dead; 34 (2) Lord Derby, at the same time, issued an order against eating meat in Lent ; (3) the children of ecclesiastics in Man were not legitimized till 1610, whereas the Act for the marriage of the clergy was passed in England in 1549; 35 and (4) praying for the dead and other " reliques of popish superstition," are mentioned by Bishop Levinz as existing as late as 1688.36 The gradual nature of the process of reform among the Manx is also testified to by a writer of the middle of the seventeenth century as follows: "They somewhat unwillingly at first left the practise of the primitive church, yet at last they complyed to banish the Pope, but with him most willingly they retayned the old six Articles. In King Edward the 6 his reigne they admitted of the Book of Common Prayer. After, in Queen Marye's reigne, they easily admitted of the mass and its concomitants, as being their ancient religion, which they had but lately left off." 37; Though, on the other hand, Bishop Meryck writes in 1590, after stating that the people "are extremely religious," that they "most readily conform without a single exception to the formularies of the Church of England."38 And yet, when we consider the isolation of the diocese, the ignorance of the English language and the absence of books in the native tongue, the slowness of the Manx Reformation will no longer cause surprize.39

The Act of 1542.

An important change, however, was made in the position of the Manx Church, in 1542, by the passage of "an Act dissevering the bishopric of Chester and the Isle of Man from the jurisdiction of Canterbury to the jurisdiction of York." 40 This Act, it was argued, had the effect of vesting in the archbishop, with respect to Man, the same right as to appeals which he had with respect to the diocese of Chester, and, if this was the case, the lord ceased to be metropolitan. 41

Little information about the Church before the end of the 16th century.

From this time, till towards the end of the sixteenth century, there is scarcely any information obtainable about the Church in Man,42but, from that time onwards, the insular ecclesiastical Records have been preserved with some continuity and regularity, and in them we find ample evidence as to the way in which the reformed Manx Church administered its laws, especially as regards moral offences, and nonattendance at church on Sundays and Saints' days. Before this time, though under Bishop Mark's constitutions (1291) all sorcerers, magicians, forgers, notorious usurers, thieves, robbers, perjurers, those defrauding the Church, &c., were liable to be excommunicated, and, under Bishop Russell's (1350) canons, fines were imposed for non-attendance at church, nothing is known of the administration of the spiritual laws.

The Discipline between 1580 and 1633.

During the period from about 1580 till the death of Bishop Phillips in 1633, this administration, or discipline, 43 as it has come to be called, was remarkably severe-more severe, indeed, than during the epoch of Bishop Wilson, who has been ignorantly supposed to have made it much more rigorous. This is all the more remarkable, when we consider that the period in question was marked by a general disposition to revolt from any sort of authority or discipline. The ordinary punishment 44 for moral offences was imprisonment in St. German's prison, three days being the smallest and six months the largest term, together with from one to fourteen Sundays' penance, according to the enormity of the misdeed. For non-attendance at church, penance was the usual punishment.

We find, however, that, during the first ten years of the seventeenth century, there being great need of repairs to the chapel at Castletown, many of the less serious of the above offences were commuted for a money payment. The most incorrigible offenders, among whom was a Vicar of Braddan, for a " clandestine marriage," 45 were excommunicated, and of this punishment there are more recorded instances during the first twenty-five years of the seventeenth century than during any other later period of equal length. Nor did the ecclesiastical power confine the exercise of its authority to the poor, for no less a person than the Captain of Castle Rushen was sent to St. German's prison for " marrying without asking Banes (sic) or Licence from the Ordinary."46 The most trivial offences, too, received their punishment: for instance, a man for leaning on the communion-table was sent to prison for three days.46 But the most significant sign of the height to which ecclesiastical pretensions went, is a regulation passed at Convocation, in 1617, to the effect " that no manner of person shall traduce or obloquie or call in question any churchwarden or sworn man for any presentment they present or set down upon their oathes, upon payne of the churches censure in the highest degree." The Church officials were, in fact, to be considered infallible.

The Reformation made no difference to the disputes between Church and state.

And now we have to return to the disputes between Church and State, which continued notwithstanding the Reformation. They centred chiefly round two questions-the claim of the State to decide appeals from the Ecclesiastical Courts, and the claim of the Church to jurisdiction over the garrison soldiers. The first question arose in 1541, when " an enquest of the twenty-four [Keys] with the two Deemsters " declared that the lord was " metropolitan and chief of Holy Church, by reason whereof the bishop shall not present to any benefice within the Isle by reason of any lapse of time." 47It next came up in 1627, when Edward Fletcher, the deputy-governor, with the advice of the deemsters and the approbation of the vicars-general, stated that the Manx law was in favour of an appeal from the spiritual courts to the Staff of government. 48 In the following year, however, Lord Strange, at the request of the bishop, ordered the civil officers not to interfere with causes belonging to the " spiritual government; " 48 and, in 1636, he directed that no appeal should thereafter be made to the Governor of the Isle or the temporal Court " for any cause depending or determined in the Ecclesiastical Courts, which do meerly concern Government of the Church." 49 It will be seen that this order, as Sir James Gell comments, " does not affirm the jurisdiction of York in matters of appeal, nor direct that appeals should not be made to the Lord himself : it professes merely to take away, in certain cases, the right of appeal to jurisdictions inferior to the Lord." 50 This order, as we shall afterwards see, was to be a fruitful source of dispute, both on account of its ambiguity, and also because, not being an Act of Tynwald, it might be argued that it was of no legal validity. The second question was, in 1585, brought before Governor and Bishop Meryck, who, with the assistance of the deemsters, decided that " the punishing of soldiers, or any of the Lievetenants ffamilly, for criminal causes, doth not by law belong to the Bishop or spirituall jurisdiction."51 This question was, however, again raised by Bishop Phillips in 1610, when it was laid before the " officers, Deemsters, Vicars generall, and twenty-four keyes," 52 who referred to the above decision and confirmed it. The bishop contrived, however, after Governor Ireland's departure, to exercise jurisdiction over the soldiers for a time, but, as Lord Strange was against him on this point, he had ultimately to give way.

Among minor points in dispute was that of the appointment of the sumper-general. Till 1612, this officer seems to have been appointed by the bishop, but, in that year, the Countess of Derby made the appointment. The bishop's right to do so was, however, confirmed by Lord Strange in 1627, and remained undisputed for a century. The result, then, as regards the various points in dispute had been, on the whole, in favour of the Church, and yet, as we shall see, in 1644, it was altogether subordinated to the State by being deprived of its bishop.

Attitude of the people to the Church and their spiritual condition.

The attitude of the people to the Church seems, generally speaking, to have been favourable, though the evidence as to their spiritual condition is conflicting. In 1616, there were some Puritan influences at work among them, if we may regard the following as significant: The " clarke of Kk. Michaell " refused to " attend the minister in the Chancell where Divine Service is usually redd," to help him on with his " sirplesse," or to "read the first lesson, all which are offices usually belonginge to the clarke. But would have the Communion table and the Byble removed down into the body of the church, where he himself sayt, and there onlie he sayd he would doe and execute these services." 53 The next account of the attitude of the people is derived from Bishop Parre, who, in a letter to Archbishop Neile, written in 1639, states that he found them " on St. John Baptist's day, in a chapel dedicated to that Saint, in the practice of gross superstitions," 54 which he caused " to be cried down," 54 and in the place of them " appointed Divine Services and Sermons."54 By 1643, according to Lord Derby, they were declaring " that they would have no bishops; pay no tithes to the clergy," 55 and yet, in the same year, various questions between the clergy and laity, in which substantial concessions had been made to the latter, were amicably settled, and both then, and till after the Restoration, tithes continued to be paid almost without protest. Moreover, though the laity neglected " to frequent the Churches on the apostles' and saints' festivals, and admitted of preachings in private houses by strangers," 56 they were, as a rule, respectful to the clergy and those who had offended against the spiritual laws submitted to the severe penalties imposed upon them " with all obedience and marvellous silence." 57

The Clergy.

About the clergy we learn nothing till 1634, when, according to a State Paper 58 endorsed by Archbishop Laud, all of them "except two or three" were "illiterate men, brought up in the island in secular professions." And, in 1639, Bishop Parre states that " most of the Ministers were of no better ability than to read distinctly divine service," 59 that " the island was destitute of means of learned education," and that " because many of them could not preach," 59 he had introduced the Book of Homilies. But a few years later this evidence was contradicted by Blundell, who remarks, " Their ministers truly are not unlearned. I did not converse wth anyone, but that I found him both a schollar and discreet"; 60 and this account is confirmed by Chaloner, who writes, " Considering the Ministers here are generally natives, and have had their whole education in the Isle, it is marvailous to hear what good Preachers there be." 61

Their incomes.

As to their incomes, " nine or ;ten of the parishes are worth £4, one or two £40, and the rest £20," 62 and " the rectory of Endreas (sic) £60." 62 Under Lord Fairfax, these incomes were greatly increased. 63

On the condition of the fabrics of the churches before the dissolution of Rushen Abbey nothing is known, but it was probably better than it had beenn early in the seventeenth century, when there are entries in the Records which tend to show that they were little better than barns, and in a miserable state of repair.

The bishops.

John Meryck.
 

The first bishop after the Reformation, of whom we know anything worth recording, is John Meryck (1576-1599), who affords a welcome contrast to his immediate predecessors, since he visited his diocese occasionally. In a letter to Lord Burghley, he writes: " I came last sourer to Wales, having byn the yere affore in Man, as I am comonly between boath not of my one choise and wyll, butt things are so ; . . . nether bath any bisshopp my predecessor byn otherwyse." 64 He was governor as well as bishop, and, as he used his authority to advocate the election of the House of Keys, "by the whole consent of the country," instead of, as for some time previously, by the governor's nomination, he was probably very popular. 65

John Phillips.

The next bishop, John Phillips (1605-1633), had been archdeacon since 1587, 66 and he continued to hold that office as well as the bishopric. We have already seen how strenuously he upheld the rights of the Church at a time when the Puritans and their principles were rapidly becoming more powerful. There is no precisely contemporary account of him, but Chaloner, who wrote twenty-five years after his death, and must have been acquainted with those who knew him, speaks of him as a "singularly Learned, Hospitable, Painfull and Pious Prelate . . who out of zeal to the propagating of the Gospel, attained the Manks Tongue " so that he was able to preach in it. 67

Not only did he preach in Manx, but he made a most important contribution to the needs of the Church by translating the Prayer Book into that language. 68 Bishop Phillip's Manx orthography is more phonetic than that of the Prayer Book of 1765, and the language is more direct and simple, avoiding the periphrases, circumlocutions, and many of the corruptions which abound in the latter. The chief divergence between the two translations, as far as actual words are concerned, is in the particles, which are, of course, very important in fixing the idiomatic character of the composition. But, whatever may be thought of the literary merits of Phillips's translation, it remains a monument of painstaking work.

To form a just estimate of Bishop Phillips from the scanty material we have been able to accumulate is scarcely possible. But it is at least clear that he was a strong and zealous upholder of the Church and her rights, and that, though he had other appointments, 69 he did not neglect his diocese. The mere fact of his having mastered the Manx language, and of his having translated the Prayer Book into that language, shows that the welfare of his Manx flock was dear to him. In fact, in every aspect in which we are able to view him, he stands conspicuously superior to most of his successors as well as his predecessors, and would seem worthy of a reputation not much inferior to those of Wilson, Barrow, and Hildesley, and the less known, but probably equally able bishops, Simon, Mark, and Donkan. He died at Bishop's Court, and was buried in St. German's cathedral.

Income of the bishops.

As to the income of the bishops, Bishop Meryck states that it was only eighty pounds annually, out of which he had to pay travelling expenses. 70 In another letter be estimates that his income scarcely ever exceeded .100, and that out of this he " should have assigned some portion towards the repairs of the buildings, and something also to him who presides over the law courts (as never a penny is paid by the people to the judge or the functionaries), the remainder . . . is thought there sufficiently magnificent in relation to the other revenues of the island." 71

The State Paper 72 already referred to informs us that, in 1635, the money value of the bishopric was estimated at £140 ; and in the Civil Records, in 1645, 73 the rents are estimated at £116, together with " customes," commutable to 12, or rather less, in money, but usually paid in kind. 74

Their non-residence.

Proof of the inadequacy of this income to induce the bishops to reside in the island, is afforded by a letter of Earl James's in which he tells his son that, if he allowed the bishopric to be leased, as had been the usual practice, " he would find few worthy men desirous of the place," 75 because it would be worth so little, and that, if he appointed men already beneficed in England, as was also the usual practice, " they will seldom live in the isle." 75

Civil rulers take their place from 1644-1660.

And now the Manx Church was to be without a bishop for nearly seventeen years, the episcopal office being exercised by Earl James and the succeeding civil rulers of Man. Perhaps one reason why the earl abstained from appointing a bishop was his need of the revenues of the bishopric for paying military expenses. This view receives confirmation from a document in the Civil Records, dated 1645, giving " a particular account of the Rents forth of the Bishop's spiritualtyes," which shows that these rents were chiefly spent upon the Lord's household, the remainder, together with the " customes," 76 going to the garrisons. But another reason for not appointing seems to have been that he did not intend to do so till the leases expired. 77

However this may have been, we find the earl superintending Church as well as State till he left the island in 1651. 78

A Manx college contemplated.

About this period, too, he entertained the idea of establishing an insular "university" or college, as will be seen from the following letter to his son Charles: " I had a design, and God may enable me, to set up an university, without much charge (as I have contrived it), which may much oblige the nations round about us. It may get friends into the country, and enrich this land." 78a But this design was not to be carried out for nearly two centuries.

Fairfax becomes Lord of Man.

The substitution of Lord Fairfax for Lord Derby 79 made singularly little difference to the Manx Church. There was no bishop, but there had been already a vacancy in this office for seven years; the Book of Common Prayer ceased to be used; a court called " the Wills or Willers Court," constituted of civil magistrates, took the place of the Ecclesiastical Court for the probate of wills; and the punishment of offences against Church discipline was administered by the deemsters instead of the vicars general; while for the chapter-quests were substituted four men in each parish nominated by the governor and officers. 80

Consequent changes.

The parish clergy, indeed, benefited by the change, because part of the bishop's income was used " for the better encouragement and support of the Ministers of the Gospel," 81 who, according to Blundell, received at least £60 each. 82

The interests of the clergy were, in other respects, well looked after. Thus, when, in 1659, the officers of the castles quartered soldiers upon them, the governor, Chaloner, declared that they " always have been and should continue 'to be exempt " from this service; and, in 1658, he ordered that " Sir Hugh Cannell " should have an increase of £14 to his income, as being " one of the first preachers in this isle, and the first that taught the Manks to read the Scriptures in the Manks tongue." 83 And it is clear, from the large proportion of the parishes which had the same clergymen just before the Restoration and just after it, that the clergy conformed to the new state of things without difficulty.

Part of bishop's income used for education.

The remaining part of the bishop's income was used " for the maintaining of Free-Schooles, i.e., at Castletown, Peel, Douglas, and Ramsey." 84 The governors, who lived at Bishop's Court, succeeded to Earl James's control of ecclesiastical arrangements, and they seem to have administered the discipline of the Church in a thorough and satisfactory manner.

Maintenance of the discipline.

Thus, we find that four men in each parish, 85 the captain of the parish invariably being one, had instructions to prevent such as (1) "profane or break the Sabaoth in absentinge him or herselfe from the publike worshipp of God, by loyteringe or using vaine sports and games " ; (2) " make or cause anie disorder or tribulation at sermon or prayer time, or that doe quarrell or make anie tumult on the Sabaoth day " ; (3) " doe curse, swear, or otherwise blaspheme or take the name of God in vayne " ; (4) " go about to doe anie maner of worke, business, or labour on the Sabaoth day . . . workes of charitie and necessitie always excepted " ; (5) " frequent taverns, or ayle houses on the Sabaoth day."

The churchwardens and their duties.

The churchwardens, instead of being elected by the parishioners at the Easter vestry, and sworn in at the Chapter Court, were " chosen by the minister of the parish and the ould churchwardens, within six dayes after the Michalmas courts," 85 and were sworn in by the deemsters. Their oath was almost identical in terms to that previously given, but with the following additions: They were to present their parson, " if it be apprehended that he preach not sound doctrin ; if his life and conversation be not agreable to his doctrin," and " if he suffer beere or ayle or wine to be sold in his house; " and they were also instructed " every Sabaoth or Lords day both forenoon and afternoone at the time of publique worship " to " goe . . . to such ayle-houses or places where any persons are drinking at service time, or any way neglecting the same [i.e., the service], and to present them." 86

Both the churchwardens and the four men from each parish were to make their presentments " at the two Sheading Courts in euery year, or the two Head Court days at the furthest . . . unto the Gouernor and officers at the temporall court." 87

Orders respecting Church matters issued by the governors.

We find the governors ordering that no " Minister of the Isle," or "stranger" should be allowed to officiate in the churches or chapels without special leave from the ministers of the said churches or chapels; that no one not in Holy Orders was to officiate on any pretence whatever, and that no one was to be admitted to the Holy Communion without a certificate from the minister and churchwardens of his, or her, parish. They also issued directions for the examination of candidates for Holy Orders and granted commissions to three ministers selected by them to examine candidates for Holy Orders and to ordain those who gave sufficient evidence of their competency. 88

Other matters connected with the Church also received careful attention. The tithes were collected as strictly as ever, some who tried to evade the tithe on honey, for instance, being promptly ordered to pay it; and, if we may judge from various enactments in the Records, the fabrics 89 of the churches were not allowed to fall into decay. In 1657, for instance, the Council and Keys ordained that " the assessment for the reparacon of the churches in this Isle . . . ought to be made on the ffarmers of the quarter-lands according to their respective rents and upon all intack houlders, cottage houlders, Tradesmen and Townes inhabitants according to their abillityes, and this to bee made and levyed by the church-wardens for the tyme being in each yeare " ; 90 and, in 1660, a decree of the governor did away with the ancient method of making up the " church-yard hedge " by the owner of each treen, 91 which had been generally neglected, and ordered that the churchwardens should pay for its repair out of the Church assessment. 92 One result of the administration of the Manx Church between 1651 and 1660 was, according to Chaloner, that the people " bore a great esteem and reverence to the Publique Worship of God; which they testifie by their seldom absenting themselves from Church"; 93 while, on the other hand, Bishop Barrow gives a deplorable account of the religious condition of the people in 1663,94 and Bishop Wilson testifies that the Manx Church had " during the Great Rebellion suffered in her doctrine, discipline, and worship." 95

Footnotes

1 The Land of Home Rule, p. 101.
2 Ann. Four Masters, A.D. 1414.
3 Statutes, vol. i. p. 4.
4 Statutes, vol. i. p. 3 (translation).
5 Ibid., vol. i. pp. 8 and 9.
6 The collector of the lord's rates.
7 It is curious to note that, in 1604, the Provost of Whitherne made a claim to have his barony, that of St. Trinian's, restored, but in vain. From loose paper in Civil Records.
8 Statutes, vol. i. pp. 20-1.
8a Ibid., p, 6.
9 Statutes, p. 21.
10 Ibid. It would appear that two of them were "drawne with Horses, and after hanged and headed," but the others, after asking " grace of the King," were pardoned.
11 See p. 177.
12 The following order, in 1403, is an instance of these grants of particles. " The King to all to whom, etc., greeting. Know that we have conceded of our especial grace, to Luke Macquyn, of the Island of Man, Scholar, certain alms called particles, in the island aforesaid, vacant, as said, and in our gift, and which alms are appropriated to the support of certain poor scholars of the island aforesaid, and which were given, confirmed, and conceded perpetually to the scholars by our predecessors, former Kings of England; to have and to hold to the said Luke the alms aforesaid, as long as he shall remain a scholar for the benefit of the Church, and shall not be promoted." " Rot. Pat." Manx Soc., vol. vii. pp. 225-6. This looks as if there was some educational foundation in Man for the benefit of the sons of the clergy.
13 Statutes, vol. i. p. 24.
14 Statutes, vol. i. p. 24.
15 Ibid.
16 Reg. York (Manx Soc., vol. ix. pp. 20-23).
17 Theiner's "Vetera Monumenta " (Ibid., vol. xxiii. p. 414).
18 It is clear from the name that these were originally voluntary bequests to the Church, though, according to the statutes of Bishop Symon (see p. 172), they were to be levied as a tax " justly due."
19 These were the poorest class, they being miserably paid by the monks, who owned the tithes of their parishes.
20 Statutes, pp. 6-8. The date is wrongly given as 1419.
21 Rotul.
22 The Abbot of Rushen, John Farker, being deputy-governor in 1504 is significant of this.
23 Manx Soc., vol. ix. pp. 27-31.
24 I.e., 7 more shares, thus giving him 24 out of 51.
25 Lib. Scacc.
26 Rotul.
27 The Mortuaries Act had been passed in England in 1529.
28 Statutes, vol. i. p. 30.
29 Ibid, vol. i. p. 31.
30 For particulars see Gell (Manx Soc., vol. xii. pp. 54-64). A computation of the value of the demesne lands of Rushen, made in 1539, when it was referred to as " Russhing late monastery " (Dugdale, Manx Soc., vol. ix. pp. 224-6), places their value at about X95 ; and the whole pension to the retired monks amounted to 24 (Browne Willis, Mitred Abbies, ii. 320).
31 For this see Talbot (Manx Sun, Nov., 1894), quoting from Roll of Accounts in English Public Records. The properties of Bangor and Sabhal and St. Bede's (Bees) are, soon after this, found in private hands, so they had also probably been taken possession of either at this time or earlier.
32 See "Rot. Litt. Pat." (Manx Soc., vol. x. pp. 99-113). This charge is now worth £525 per annum.
33 Except such as can be gained from the following details of the sale. The movable property of the abbey, including corn, cattle, horses, sheep, bells, lead gutters, timber, slate and stones, and utensils sold for £142 16s. Id, and the "jocalia," mainly silver articles, were valued at £24 8s. 8d. At the Priory, the cattle, pigs, horses, corn, and domestic utensils sold for £24 11s. 6d., and the " jocalia " £24 5s. 4d. (see Talbot, Manx Sun, Nov., 1894)
34 Statutes, vol. i. p. 66. It is significant that this action was taken by the State, not by the Church.
35 We may note also that John Stevenson, Vicar of Maughold in 1576, was called "the last popish priest; " and his successor, John Christian, in 1580, "the first protestant minister," of that parish (Lib. Scacc. 1719).
36 Ecclesiastical Records.
37 Blundell (Manx Soc., vol. xxvii. p. 166).
38 Cott. MSS. (Ibid., vol. iv. p. 98).
39 The fact (already referred to) that Edward, the third earl (d. 1572), was a strong Catholic had no doubt also its effect in retarding the Reformation.
40 Constitution (Manx Soc., vol. xxxi. pp. 300-1). As Man had been placed under York by bull of Pope Calixtus in 1458, this looks as though it had been again transferred to Canterbury. But it seems more probable that this Act was simply a sign that Henry VIII. ignored the papal authority in this as in other matters.
41 We will return to this subject when discussing the question of appeals.
42 It would be interesting to know what effect such events as the issuing of the thirty-eight articles in 1563, and the thirty- nine in 1571, the formation of the Congregationalists in 1568, and the Establishment of Calvinism in Scotland, between 1560 and 1572, had upon the Manx Church. Sir James Gell quotes a number of English Acts during the period 1532-1571, chiefly relating to Church questions, which did not apply to Man, and comments-" Many of the provisions in these Acts were inapplicable to the Isle of Man. Firstfruits and tenths are not payable in respect of livings there. At the same time, it is presumed that the Reformation was brought about in the island by means of the recognition of some of the Acts; for there are no Acts of the Insular Legislature bearing on the Reformation" (see Manx Soc., vol. xxxi. p. 297). We may note that the earliest church register now in existence, that of Ballaugh, was commenced in 1598.
43 As to the questions with which this discipline was concerned, at that time, we learn from the Statute Book in 1594, that the vicar-generals were ordered, at Tynwald, to empanel juries in each sheading to inquire into all offences committed against the spiritual laws, and that the following instructions were given them to be laid before these juries: that they "inquire and present (1) if there be any in the Isle do use Witchcraft or Sorcerie ; (2) all Adulterers, Fornicators, Blasphearners, Drunkards and such like; (3) all such as carry Bells or Banners before the Dead, or pray upon the Graves of the Dead; (4) all such as shall keep any Markett upon the Sabboth day, or otherwise profane the same; (5) if there be any Person or Persons within this Isle that refuse to come to the Church to hear Divine Service, or to receive the blessed Sacrament of the Lord's Supper " (vol. i. p. 66).
44 The earliest penalty recorded is in 1595, when John Christian, minister of Kk. Maughold, was fined three shillings and fourpence " for presumptuously eating flesh upon Fryday " (Lib. Scacc.).
45 Ecclesiastical Records.
46 Ecclesiastical Records. In 1613, certain parishioners of Lonan were sent to St. German's prison by the vicars-general without being informed of the charge against them. They consequently appealed to the "Staff of government," when it transpired ' that they were one Sunday absent from Divine Service." (Lib. Scacc) They were thereupon released by the civil power in spite of the bishop's protest.
47 Rotul.
48 Lib. Scacc.
49 Statutes, vol. i. p. 85.
50 Constitution (Manx Soc., vol. xxxi. p. 302).
51 Lib. Scacc.
52 Ecclesiastical Records.
53 Lib. Scacc.
54 Ecclesiastical Records.
55 Manx Soc., vol. iii. p. 12. See also p. 237.
56 Blundell (Manx Soc., vol. xxvii. p. 166).
57 Ibid., p. 167.
58 In Ecclesiastical Records, marked No. cclxv. 45.
59 Letter to Archbishop Neile in Ecclesiastical Records. This was probably the reason why the seventh earl paid an extra salary to two public preachers, one for the garrisons and towns, and the other for the country churches. The same arrangement was continued by Fairfax (Lib. Scacc.).
60 Manx Soc., vol. xxvii. p. 167.
61 Ibid., vol. x. p. 18.
62 State Paper already quoted.
63 See p. 367.
64 Lansdowne MSS. (Manx Soc., vol. ix. p. 74).
65 Lib. Cancell., 1581. See also Manx Soc., vol. xxxi. p. 67.
66 It is recorded in 1596 that he complained of a portion of his turbary being taken away from him, and, on reference of the question to a jury, it was restored to him (Lib. Scacc.).
67 Manx Soc., vol. x., pp. 9 and 15.
68 Completed in 1610, but not published till 1895. (See Manx Soc., vols. xxxii. and xxxiii.)
69 He was Archdeacon of Cleveland, and held two English livings.
70 Lansdowne MSS. (Manx Soc., vol. ix. p. 74).
71 Cott. MSS. (Ibid., vol. iv. pp. 97-8).
72 No. cclxv. 45.
73 Lib. Scacc.
74 Lib. Scacc. The boon-days, or days of free labour, and "carriages" were not included in this amount.
75 Derby (Manx Soc., vol. iii. pp. 18, 19).
76 Lib. Scacc.
77 Derby (Manx Soc., vol. iii. p. 18). Blundell (Manx Soc., vol. xxvii. p. 48) states that he bestowed the bishop's revenue on the clergy, and on maintaining four free schools, but this cannot be maintained in opposition to the Records. A curious, and indeed it would seem most unlikely, piece of contemporary evidence gives yet another aspect of this question: " I doe finde likewise . . . that the King hath been tampering with the Archbishop of Yorke, for settling of the Bishopricke in the Isle of Man, which the Earl of Derby is resolved never to suffer." Letter of Sir John Meldrum to Lords Committee, " S. P. Dom. Interreg.," No. 12, fol. 18, Nov. 21, 1644, Chetham Soc., vol. lxvi. p. cxix). The writer of the Memoirs of Earl James thereupon conjectures that he "seized the ecclesiastical revenues into his own hands, to prevent the bishop and clergy being deprived of the regulation of their own ecclesiastical affairs " (Chetham Soc., Ibid., p. cxlv).
78 Lib. Scacc. Thus, in 1644, a dispute having arisen between Sir Patrick Thompson and Sir Thomas Harrison, " touching the right to the vicarage of Kk. Braddon," he decided it in favour of the former; and "the chappell of Douglas" being "un- furnished of a preaching minister," he ordained that 10 per annum "be duly paid unto Sir Tho : Harrison for preaching upon Sundaies in the said Chappell out of the revenues of the Bpricke." It should be observed that the title " Sir " given to Thompson, Harrison, and others, is equivalent to the modern dominus given to University B.A.'s, but it seems formerly to have been given to vicars and curates, whether they had taken that degree or not, rectors being styled 1 Mr.," the shortened form of magister (vide Shakespeare, " Sir Oliver Martext, a vicar ").
78a Derby (Manx Soc., vol. iii. p. 19).
79 All notices about Church matters at this time (1651-60) are found in the Civil Records.
80 A Bill to abolish the Church courts which declared that "Secular and Civill imployment " was a "burden and great hindrance to such as are to serve for higher purposes " is in the Rolls office, but we do not know whether it became law or not.
81 Chaloner (Manx Soc., vol. x. p. 18).
82 Manx Soc., vol. xxvii. p. 167.
83 Lib. Scacc.
84 Chaloner (Manx Soc., vol. x. p. 18).
85 These men also presented civil offences, and seem to have been of a better class than the churchwardens and chapter- quests were usually composed of.
86 Lib. Scacc. In 1652, Bills were drawn for enforcing ` the strict observation of the Sabbath " and against drunkenness and swearing and cursing. The first of these ordered that all house- holders were to go with their children and servants to attend " the hearing of God's Word preached thrice every Lord's day " under forfeit of paying one shilling for every servant or child absent and two shillings for each householder. No wares or merchandize were to be publicly displayed, and no persons were to "travel, or do any worldly labours whatever on that day, or to use, exercise, keep, maintaine, or be present at any sports for pleasure or pastime, as wakes, feasts, church-ales, dancings," &c., under a penalty of ten shillings; and the second declared against drunkenness, imposing, as a penalty for it, a fine of five shillings, or, in default of payment, three hours in the stocks. The penalties it inflicted for swearing were very heavy. A yeoman having to pay 3s. 4d. for the first offence, 6s. 8d. for the second, 10s. for the third to the sixth, and for the seventh, " a publique whipping in the market place and imprisonment for three months," while "he that writes himself or is written or stiled gentleman " got 6s. 8d. for the first offence, 13s. 4d. for the second, 20s. for the third to the sixth, and for a seventh was imprisoned for three months and disabled from holding any office. These Bills were found among some loose papers at the Rolls Office. It is not known whether they became law or not.
87 Lib. Scacc. A Bill for " Removing Church Scandals " also dealt with these questions, ordering the clergy to preach twice each Sabbath and forbidding them to sell beer or ale (Loose Papers. Rolls Office).
88 For full particulars see Sodor and Man, pp. 149-52.
89 In 1655, Castletown chapel was repaired by assessment on the people by order of the governor and officers.
90 Lib. Scacc.
91 See Ballaugh Register, 1600, quoted in Manx Names, p. 162. There are, on an average, ten treens in each parish.
92 Lib. Scacc., 1660.
93 Manx Soc., vol. x. p. 11,
94 See pp. 463-4.
95 Quoted by Keble, p. 52.

 


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