[from Jefferys A Descriptive Account of the Isle of Man, 1808]

The next object of attention is


a barrow of a conical shape, and regular construction, supposed to be of Danish origin, but which has been rendered illustrious by the use to which it has long been applied.

A flight of grassy steps, fronting the chapel of St John, leads up to the summit. Below are three circular turf seats, for the different orders of the people; the lowest is about four feet wide, and eighty yards in circumference. The superior seats diminish of course, according to their height (from the conical form of the mount) while on the extreme top, which is about two yards in diameter, is occasionally placed a chair under a canopy of state.

This singular mount, which much resembles that in the garden of the Castle inn at Marlborough, stands upon a lawn called St John's Green, nearly in the centre of the Isle of Man, and has a very picturesque appearance from any of the four crossroads which meet here. It is situated in a beautiful and richly cultivated valley, surrounded by high mountains, and the whole forms a most delightful landscape, of which the sea does not form any part.

At the top of this mount, Sir John Stanley, (an ancestor of the Earl of Derby) King and Lord of Man, convened the whole body of the people to hear the promulgation of the laws, which, till then, were locked up in the breasts of the Deemsters.

In some degree the Tynwald Mount is still the scene of legislation; for whatever respects the internal polity of the Island, must, by immemorial usage, be published at this place.

The following is an account of the forms observed at the Tynwald Hill a few years since, with the order of procession which attended the present Duke of Athol.

Agreeable to ancient custom, every parish sent four horsemen, properly accoutred, and the captain of every parish presided over those of his own district. About eleven o'clock the cavalcade arrived at St John's, where the Duke of Athol was received by the Clergy and Keys, and saluted by the fencibles. He then went in state to the chapel on St John's Green, where a sermon was preached.

After service followed the procession of state. The fencibles were drawn up in two lines, from the chapel door to the Tynwald Hill, and the procession passed between the lines in the following order:

The Clergy, two and two, the juniors first
The Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man
The Vicars general
The two Deemsters
The Sword-bearer with the Sword of State
The Lieutenant Governor
'The Clerk of the Rolls
The twenty-four keys, two and two
The Captains of the different Parishes.

As soon as his Grace had ascended the hill, he was seated under the canopy in his chair of state; the Deemsters then proceeded to the ordinary business of the day.

The new laws were read in English and then in Manks; and after all the business of the Hill was gone through, three cheers were given to his Grace the LORD LIEUTENANT AND GOVERNOR TN CHIEF. His Grace then descended from the Hill, and the procession moved back again to the chapel, in the same regular order. After the necessary business was finished in the chapel, such as signing the laws, &c. his Grace was conducted to his coach and six, and returned to his residence.

In former times a court was regularly held here on St John's day, when every person had a right to present any particular grievance, and to have his complaint heard in the face of the whole country.


This Island has ever been very loyal. In the year 1649, when General Ireton proposed to the Earl of Derby, the re-possession of his estates in England, on condition of his surrendering the Isle of Man to the Parliament, the Earl treated the proposal with extreme contempt, and sent the. following spirited reply:

" I received your letter with indignation, and it is with scorn I return you this answer,-That I cannot but wonder, whence you should gather any hopes from r.e, that I should (like you) prove treacherous to my sovereign; since you cannot be insensible of my former actings in his late Majesty's service, from which principle of loyalty I am no way departed.

" I scorn your proffers-I disdain your favors-I abhor your treasons, and so far from delivering this Island to your advantage, that I mill keep it to the utmost of my power to your destruction.-Take this final answer, and forbear any farther solicitations, for if you trouble me with any more messages upon this occasion, I will burn the letter, and hang the bearer.

" This is the immutable resolution, and shall be the undoubted practice, of him, who accounts it his chiefest glory to be,

" His Majesty's
" Most loyal and obedient subject,
" Castletown, ' DERBY."
" 12 July, 1649."

This answer caused the death of this brave and high spirited Earl, for being taken at the battle of Worcester, (though under a promise of quarter) he was beheaded at Bolton, by the sentence of a court-martial, in 1651.

In the time of the Protector Cromwell, the Island, under the Earl of Derby, subscribed two sums of five hundred pounds each, towards the Royal cause; and this must at that time have amounted to a very large proportion of the specie in circulation.

And in the subscriptions which took place a few years since, they manifested their attachment to the British Government, by doing as much as their abilities would permit.

The House of Keys subscribed one hundred and seventy-five pounds, with the following observations:-

House of Keys,
March 18, 1798.

" The Keys of the Isle of Man, the constitutional representatives of the people, warmly attached to their sovereign and the constitution of Great Britain, offer this, their mite, in aid of their cause. And they feelingly regret, that in tendering so small a sum, there is so great a disproportion between their wishes and their abilities, having no public funds at their disposal."


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001