[from Land of Home Rule, 1893]



FROM the death of the second Sir John Stanley in 1432, the Isle of Man almost disappears from history for a hundred years. Sir John's successors had work to do which diverted their attention from the little island which owed them allegiance. His son, Sir Thomas, the first Lord Stanley, was employed in Ireland and France; and though tradition runs, and Shakespeare has preserved the tradition, that he was directed to take the Duchess of Gloucester, who was alleged to have compassed Henry VI's death by witchcraft, and hold her prisoner in the Isle of Man, there is no evidence that Sir Thomas was ever in the island, and there is some little doubt whether the Duchess of Gloucester was ever taken there.1 Lord Stanley died in 1459. His son and successor was the well-known statesman who turned the tide at Bosworth, and who — married to the mother of Henry VII — became necessarily one of the fore most personages at the English court. He was raised to the Earldom of Derby in 1455. But he too, occupied with the affairs of England, had little leisure to attend to his kingdom of Man; and, from his accession in 1459 to his death in 1504, he rarely or never visited the island.

On Lord Derby's death in 1504, he was succeeded by his grandson Thomas, the second Earl. At that time Henry VII. had been nearly twenty years on the throne, and was probably a little intolerant of great nobles as subjects who claimed the titles of kings. Lord Derby, at any rate, thought it politic to drop the rank by which his ancestors had been distinguished, and believing that "to be a great lord is a more honourable title than a petty king," 2 assumed the title of Lord of Man. Thenceforward, till the revestment in 1765, the Isle of Man had no more kings. Its sovereigns were uniformly styled Lords.

If, however, he abandoned the title of king, Lord Derby did not give up the rights of sovereignty. , The people of Galloway, on the adjacent shores of Scotland, seem to have maintained a hereditary feud with the Manx. Lord Derby raised a force, crossed over to Kirkcudbrightshire, and harried the country. As the old Manx ballad said —

" On Scotchmen he revenged himself,
And he went over to Kirkcudbright,
And there made such havoc of houses
That sume of them are yet unroofed."

And the author, who was a contemporary of Lord Derby's, for he wrote —

" I leave the man who cometh after me
To praise him as he will find him worth,
When his crest will be laid in the grave,"

goes on to say —

' In one thousand five hundred and seven,
And it was in the month of May,
He came onshore at Derbyhaven,
And put a full end to the commotion of the people.
Such a house as he kept himself,
For a king, or down to a low degree,
People near saw for countless years,
Neither will again in our days." 3

Thomas, second Earl of Derby, died in 1522. At the time of his death, his eldest son, Edward, was a minor; and during his minority his affairs were left under the guardianship of the Lieutenant-Governor and Bishop of the island, the Archbishop of York, the Chancellor of England, and others.4 But, though Lord Derby made these careful arrangements for the guardianship of his son, he neglected to make adequate provision for the support of his widow. Lady Derby appealed to Henry VIII. for a dower; but it was held by the King's Council that the Isle of Man, being no part of England, and not being governed by English laws, it was out of their power to interfere in her behalf by granting her a dowry out of the revenue of the island.5 Lady Derby's claim had thus the effect of obtaining a decision from the highest authority on the judicial independence of the island; and the suit, if of no advantage to herself, affirmed an important constitutional question.

The third Lord Derby enjoyed his high honours for the long period of fifty years. In England he was "so celebrated for magnificence and liberality, that Camden says, 'That with Edward, Earl of Derby's death, the glory of hospitality seemed to fall asleep."' 6 In his insular kingdom he was less well known. He probably never visited the island at all, or, at any rate, at only distant intervals. But the increasing interest which the Stanleys were taking in its fortunes may be inferred from the circumstance that during much of the period members of Lord Derby's own family and name were its deputies, captains, and lieutenants, for the word governor had not come into general use.

On Lord Derby's death in 1572, he was succeeded by his son Henry, the fourth Earl, who appears to have visited the island in 1583 and in 1588.7 This Earl married the grand-daughter and co-heiress of Charles, Duke of Suffolk, and his son, Ferdinand, the fifth Earl, who succeeded in 1593, is said to have been urged to claim the throne of England in virtue of his descent from Henry VII. ; and, on his refusal, to have been poisoned by those who had instigated him to do so. Whether this be so or not, he died in 1594, in the year following that in which he succeeded to the title. Leaving only three daughters, the baronies of Stanley and Strange fell into abeyance, while the earldom passed to his brother William, who became sixth Earl. Doubts arose as to the succession to the Manx crown; uncle and nieces both urging their claims to it. The question was referred in 1595 to referees appointed by Elizabeth; and, while the reference was going on, Elizabeth took possession of the island, and nominated a governor to it.8 The dispute was protracted throughout the remaining years of the Queen's reign, and was not concluded until some time after the accession of James I., when it was decided in favour of the fifth Earl's daughters.9 In the meanwhile, however, these young ladies had married; their husbands had not probably any great desire for a residence in a little island ; and accordingly an arrangement was made between the uncle and his nieces, under which they surrendered to him their claim to and their interest in the island. Armed with this agreement, the sixth Earl succeeded in obtaining a fresh grant of the island from the King, and a private Act of Parliament assuring and establishing the Isle of Man in himself and his heirs for ever.10

These proceedings throw a new light on Manx history. They show conclusively that, in the last resort, the Crown of England was sovereign, and that the Parliament of England could override the local Legislature. The island, indeed, was confirmed in the Stanley's ; but it passed to the sixth Earl, not by descent, but by a fresh grant from the King, and the action of Parliament. In the interregnum, from 1595 to 1610, the Crown of England had exercised the rights of sovereignty by the appointment of governors ; the courts of England had examined and decided the right of succession to the Manx throne ; and finally, the Parliament of England had assured and established the island in the Stanley family. In such circumstances, the island might still claim to be an ancient kingdom ; it could no longer claim to be an independent kingdom. It was evidently subject to the English Crown, and liable to be regulated by the English Parliament.

During the hundred and eighty years with which this chapter has been occupied, the Statute Book of the Isle of Man was gradually acquiring shape; and, as the old customary ordinances were reduced to writing, they throw a little light on the circumstances and condition of the island. The laws, however, which were made during the sixteenth century — for during the last seventy years of the fifteenth century the Legislature was nearly silent — must not be supposed to have been framed with any regularity. Some of them are customary laws, Or declarations of the common law in Tynwald by Deemsters and Keys; others of them are spiritual laws, which appear usually to have taken the form of an agreement between the beads of the Church and the representatives of the civil power; while others again are ordinances issued by the Lord, or framed by commissioners appointed by him.

During the first portion of the period the Church regained some portion of the power of which it had been deprived under the second of the Stanleys. In 1458, indeed, the Pope ventured on taking the appointment of the Bishop into his own hands, and of uniting the See to the province of York. 11 But in 1532 a check was placed on the pretensions of the Church by an indenture concluded between the Bishop and clergy on the one part, and two men from each sheading on the other part, and confirmed by commissioners appointed by Lord Derby, which was avowedly intended to terminate the "variance and discord [which] hath risen between the said Bishop and Clergie, and all other the temporall inhabitants of the said Isle and Commonalty, for and upon the taking of corse presents, and other exactions and wrongs which the said Commonalty alledgeth the Spiritualtie of the said Isle did unto them." The payments to which the clergy were entitled were accordingly reduced to writing; the recompense for brewing ale and the tithe on marriage goods were abolished, and the charge for proving a will was reduced to fourpence.12 In this way and to this extent an effectual check was placed on the future exactions of the Church. But a still greater blow to ecclesiasticism was at the same time given by the progress of the Reformation in England. The island silently adopted the tenets of the new religion, and the monasteries were dissolved by the authority of the Lord, without the intervention of the Legislature.13 Such action had, of course, the greatest significance. In England the dissolution of the monasteries had given the lay peers numerical predominance in the House of Lords. In the island their dissolution left the Bishop the only remaining baron. The Lord at Tynwald was no longer surrounded with half-a-dozen barons whose powers must have been inconveniently great, and he thenceforward replaced them with officers of his own household, who, owing their appointment to him, were naturally inclined to safeguard his interests.

Though the tenets of the Reformation were silently adopted in the island, before the close of the century the Tynwald interfered in the interests of the reformed faith. The moment of its interference was significant; it was at Midsummer, 1594, almost at the moment, therefore, when Elizabeth was practically taking the sovereignty into her own hands. The manner of interference was hardly less striking than the occasion — for it was evidently inspired by the crown — the Governor (or Captain) handing in his orders, by which he availed himself of the machinery, which the Church of Rome had instituted, to put down the practices which the Church of Rome favoured. He directed the Vicars-General to impanel in the several sheadings jurors to inquire into all offences committed against the spiritual laws; but these jurors were to be specially instructed —

That they take order, the Queen's Majestie's injunctions be read in their churches ;

That they inquire and present if there be any in the Isle do use witchcraft and sorcerie ;

That they inquire of and present all adulterers, fornicators, blaspheamers, drunkards, and such like;

That they inquire of and present all such as carry bells or banners before the dead, or pray upon the graves of the dead;

That they inquire of and present all such as keep any markett upon the Sabboth-day, or otherwise profane the same;

That they inquire of and present 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.

The hand that drew these articles was evidently guided by a Puritan head, and the writer had no objection to make the island an unpleasant residence for those who did not accept the Puritan creed; and this policy, it is worth observing, was indirectly confirmed by the Legislature in 1610, when, "by general consent of the Lieutenant, Officers, Deemsters, and twenty-four Keys, it was enacted that the children of all ecclesiastical persons in this Isle begotten in marriage shall be and continue legitimate and inheritable, to all intents and purposes, in such sort as children of lay persons be within this Isle." 14

While the power of the Church was slowly but surely declining and the growth of Puritan principles was preparing the way for the spread of Nonconformity 150 years afterwards, the influence and authority of the Lord was becoming more marked, and his privileges were confirmed and ratified by statute. A large proportion of the statute book is, in fact, occupied with legislation of this character. The whole of the statutes, for instance, passed in the period with which this chapter is concerned are comprised in thirty-four pages of the statute book, and six of these are mainly occupied with minute regulations for the Lord's household and garrisons. These orders, intended to remedy the great waste that had previously taken place, regulated the amount of bread, beer, beef, candles, fuel, and fodder which every one was to receive, from the captain to the watch-man; and these commodities were supplied to the garrisons either "at the Lord his price" or gratuitously. For in 1593, in some orders set down by Ferdinand, Lord Derby, and subsequently confirmed by the Council and Keys, it was directed that " whereas heretofore every quarter of land hath been accustomed to pay every yeare a beefe into the Castle and Peele, which is above 600 beeves a yeare, it is my desire that 100 of the poor sort shall be spared every year at the discretion of my Captaine and the rest of my chief officers, and so to pay yearly 500 beeves, if the country like well of this my order." 15

Purveyance, which thus took the substantial form of a contribution of a bullock and a half a day, was only one of the Lord's prerogatives. In the same year, in which he issued an order for regulating the household and garrisons, Lord Derby, imitating, it must be confessed, the example of Queen Elizabeth, issued a book of rates, or an elaborate table of custom duties.16 Few things thenceforward could be brought into or taken out of the island without paying toll to the Lord. And customs duties were not the sole prerogative of the Lord in trade. By an old custom, reduced to writing in 1523, the merchant trading to the island was to appear personally before the Lord or his deputy to show him what his loading was, and to tell him news from whence he came. The Lord, moreover, was to have a preference in all dealings with the merchant stranger. His stewards were "to take up what they shall think needful for the houses," and "my Lord shall have what his necessity and pleasure is before any man. No man is to have choice wine but my Lord, the Captaine, Bishopp, Abbott, or Archdeacon, and to drink it of free cost, or cis to have none, saving my Lord." 17

In similar fashion, and, in accordance with the practice of larger countries, wrecks were to be sold for the Lord's profit, Treasure-trove was his property.18 Felons' goods, such as oxen and kyne, horses and mayres, "belong to our Lord by his royalty." The goats, however, of felons were declared to belong to the Queen of the land.19 The Lord, moreover, had the right to free carriage for his turf, 20 and large rights of sporting and forestry. In 1570 his forest rights were defined in fashion and language so quaint as to be worth quoting. Complaint, it seems, had been made to the Captain by some of the people that Robert Lassall, now forester, did clip their sheep unlawfully within the fells. Whereupon the Captain did demand the law of the Deemsters, and the Deemsters did request the Captain that they might have the advice of the twenty-four antientest men in this Isle, according to the old custom in such cases. The Deemsters, on the request being granted, did not have recourse to the Keys. Possibly there were no Keys to have recourse to; but they proceeded to impanel a jury of twenty-four, "which, being sworn on the Evangelists, do say as hereinafter followeth : —

"First, we find by virtue of our oaths that the forester ought to go forth on St. COlttmme's Eve, and to ride to the highest hill-top in the isle of Man, and there to blow his horne thrice; the same done, thenafter to range and view the forest.

And on the third day to go forth, and take such company with him as he shall think like, to see what sheep he finds unshorn. And, if he finds any unshorn, he ought to take them with his dog, if the said sheep be not milk sheep, to sheare them, and to take the fleece to his own use, and to put a privy mark on the same sheep, to the intent that, if any such sheep be found the next yeare by the said forester, he to certify the comptroller and receiver of the same, that they may be recorded in the court bookes, and so sold to the Lord his most profitt." 21

In other words, any farmer pasturing his sheep on the forest, who neglected to shear them before the 11th June, forfeited their fleeces to the forester, and ran the risk a year afterwards of forfeiting the sheep to the Lord.

But the Lord's chief privileges were vested in him not as sovereign but as landowner. Goddard Crovan's settlement, it must be recollected, had,made the whole of his subjects tenants at will. The fact, however, lost much of its significance from the circumstance that the chief difficulty was to find tenants for the Lord's land. In consequence, at a very early period, any one leaving the island without a special license was made guilty Of felony ,22 while a little later the tenants were compelled by statute to manure and occupy their land, so that, even if the fishing failed, they might be able to pay their rent with their corn,23 While at a still later date, the husbandman's son "was declared to be my Lord his honour's treasure, for that he is to be a tenant." 24 With the same object of ensuring that the land should always be kept in cultivation, if any of the Lord's tenants complained that he was without servants, the Deemster was to impanel a jury in every parish, who were to discover vagrant servants, and apportion them to the various tenants, the largest tenants being first served ; and, in case there were no servants available, the smaller tenants were to serve the larger tenants " rather than the Lord his land fall to decay." 25 In the same way, again, the export of corn was strictly prohibited, unless its sale proved impossible in the local market ; 26 but the tenant otherwise unable to pay his rent was authorised to export corn.27

While legislation during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was restricting the privileges of the Church and confirming the prerogatives of the Lord, it was doing little for the people generally. The whole spirit of the law, in fact, assumed that the people existed for the Lord, not the Lord for the people. On this principle the whole community were liable to serve in what was known as "watch and ward." "Watch and ward," ran an old statute of 1417, "shall be kept through your said land upon pain of lyfe and lyme; for whosoever fails any night in his ward forfeiteth a wether to the warden ; and to the warden the seacond night a cowe; and the third night lyfe and lyme to the lord." 28 And by the same statute the Lord, in any emergency, was entitled to raise a levy en masse. "All manner of men within your said land to be ready at your calling upon paine of lyfe and lyme." This old statute was carefully elaborated in 1594. The date probably accounts for the new law; for the Armada had but recently threatened the coasts of the British Islands; and tradition goes that one at least of the retreating vessels had not accompanied her consorts in their flight round the coast of Ireland, but, penetrating between Scotland and Ireland, had been lost on the south-east of the island [FPC: No evidence whatsoever for this !]. The high cliffs which rise perpendicularly at this point from the sea are said to owe their name of Spanish Head to the circumstance. Possibly warned by the danger with which it had so recently been threatened, Tynwald resolved on the following elaborate regulations :29

"Whereas the safe keeping of this Isle consisteth in the dutifuil and carefull observance of watch and ward, without which the Lord can never be well defended nor the people live in safety : therefore be it ordained that all watch and ward be kept according to the strict order of law, and that none be sent thither but such as are of discretion, and able to deserve to be carefull ; and that the night-watch shall come at sun-setting and not depart before the sun-rising, and that the day watch shall come at the sun-rising and not depart before the sun-setting.

2. "That, upon warning given, every one be able to encounter the enemy upon pain of forfeiting life, body, and goods.

3. "That whosoever absenteth himself from the muster shall be punished by fine and imprisonment, unless he be letted with sickness or such-like lawful excuse."

And in propounding these laws in Tynwald, Randolph Stanley, the governor of the island, asked the Deemsters and Keys to resolve certain doubtful points. For instance

"I pray you certify me what punishment your laws impose upon the wardens of the watch if they do not nightly see the watches sett at the hours appointed."

And Deemsters and Keys replied: —

" If the wardens do not their duty according to the Captain's directions, they are to be punished at his discretion." 30

And these laws were no empty formula ; for Blundell, writing in the middle of the succeeding century,31 said : — "Besides the continual watches kept in every of the four towns, castles, and forts on each side of the island, there are in several places watch and ward continually, very strictly to discover yo approach of any ship, especially of any burden or bulk, unto any part of the island, and unto whatsoever part they do observe them to steer their course. Thither presently are all the Manksmen of yt part or quarter bound to repair unto in arms upon pain of life and limb. On the west side of the Island are the hills called the Watch Hills, commonly called the Ware Hills, which are about the upper part of Kirk Kirberry (Arbory), very convenient for discovery of any ships approaching from the west between Ireland and this Island. But, from what part soever they come, they are perfectly descried from the top of the highest of these hills, which they call Sceaful (Snaefell). On this hill watch and ward is kept continually the day and night, winter and summer, and, if any danger doth appear in any part, the beacon is set on fire immediately. The laws of watching and warding, as they call it, are very severe and rigorously put in execution ; for, if any danger be discovered against any part of the island, and any that do slow or make default, it is loss of life, yea, in their customary watches in any of their towns, altho' no danger is apparent or then feared. . . . .But, besides the seventeen parishes, do each parish every week thro'out the whole year muster, train, and have their arms. Every parish hath his captain, under whom are disciplined, listed, and armed, such as are meet for the war, of whom, saith Mr. Chaloner, they have about 1500 ready upon any occasion, and in case of necessity they might arm 5000 or 6000 men."

Watch and ward have left their permanent mark on the names of the island. Every tourist knows the high hill which rises precipitously from the coast on the south-west, and bears the picturesque name of Cronk-ny-Irey Lhaa. But perhaps few tourists are aware that a comparatively low hill on the north-east, not far from the northern extremity of the island, has the same name. Cronk-ny-Irey-Lhaa or Cronk-ny-Arrey-Lhaa (as it is spelt by Mr. Arthur Moore) is the Hill of the Day Watch. Every tourist, again, knows the two high mountains, North Barrule and South Barrule, which are such conspicuous points in the northern and southern parts of the island. But South Barrule was originally known as Ward Fell, and the name Warfield is still applied to a portion of it; and Barrule and Warfield, Professor Rhys tells us, " can be shown to be two forms of one and the same Norse name, Vörðfjall, meaning Beaconfell." 32 Vörðfjal went through what the Professor calls a series of changes, becoming Varfl, Varrul, and finally Barrule.

North of South Barrule, and between that mountain and the range of which Snaefell is the centre, is some high land, which has lately been planted, and which is still called Archallagan, the high little hearth ; and this hill, there is authority for saying, was also a watch hill.33 The beacon on Archallagan may probably have served as the connecting link between the signals on the north and those on the south of the island. The imagination can easily complete the picture, and conjecture how the watch on Cronk-ny-Irey-Lhaa may have espied on some dark night an approaching sail; how the fiery signal may have blazed from its top and been answered by South Barrule ; how, as the flame went up from South Barrule, the beacon may have been kindled on Archallagan ; how the light on Archallagan may have been responded to by Snaefell; and how Snaefell may have conveyed the message to North Barrule, and that other Cronk-ny-Irey-Lhaa on the extreme north of the Island. Then, as hill-top after hill-top was ablaze with flame, the men of every parish would hurriedly seize their weapons and repair to the trysting-place —

" And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din,
As fast from every village round the horse carne spurring in."

The men who answered to the muster were bound to come armed. Each of the Lord's tenants was required to provide himself with arms, and these arms passed from father to son as corbes or heirlooms.34 They consisted of bow and arrows, sword and buckler. The men thus armed were placed in each parish under the command of a captain; and, though watch and ward have disappeared amidst the uncongenial surroundings of the nineteenth century, the captain still receives his commission from the Governor, and is still theoretically in command of the men of the parish.

While the Legislature was thus confirming the privileges of the Lord and providing for the defence of the Island, it did little for the unhappy people, who drew a precarious subsistence from the fruits of the earth and the harvest of the sea. But some quaint customs were recorded in the statute book which it is worth mentioning before this chapter is concluded. Various statutes forbade any one to leave the island without the Lord's license, and this rule was continued well into the nineteenth century. Scotchmen. Irishmen, and other aliens were excluded from the Island unless they were sworn to the Lord and the land.35 Irishwomen loitering and not working were to be commanded forth of the said Isle with as much convenient speed as may be: 36 and no woman was to come within any of the Lord's houses without special warrant from the Lord.37 In other respects the law was not unjust to women. By a very old law the wife was entitled on her husband's death to one-half of his goods ; 38 and in 1577 these goods were defined to comprise real as well as personal estate, including one-half the tenement which she occupied during her widowhood. The right, however, of the husband to the wife's property, or the wife's to the husband's, did not accrue till one year after marriage; 39 and, in the case of her misbehaviour, the wife forfeited her right to her own share, as her receiving it in such circumstances was declared to be "against the lawes of God and good government of that his Honour's Isle." 40 Similarly, if a woman was guilty of felony, the husband was entitled to forsake her. If he failed to do so, and concealed her deeds, he was to stand as deep in the law as the woman. A woman's share of the estate, however, was not forfeited on her husband's conviction for felony.41

The marriage law of the island was and still is a compromise between the English and Scottish laws. The marriage of the parents within a year or two after its birth made the child legitimate, provided the mother "was never slandered nor defamed with any man before." 42 But, though the law was thus lenient to the children, it had no mercy for the parents. The man and woman who were guilty of what Bishop Wilson, centuries after, used to call prenuptial inchastity, were "to be brought by the coroner to the whipping-stock in the tyme of open market, and there each of them to receive six — and to be fyned besides uppon discrecon."43

The natural son had no right of inheritance, unless property was specially bequeathed to him by will.44 The legitimate child succeeded as a matter of course, and could not be deprived of his share of his parents' property unless a specific bequest of at least sixpence was made to him. But "if there be any man or woman that mislikes their children's behaviour," the law allowed them to cut the child off with a sixpence. 45 Children attained the age of puberty at fourteen years,46 the age which was also prescribed in other Celtic countries. The father was bound to maintain the children up to that age, when, if he liked them not, he might turn them off, giving them "their mother's child's part of goods." 47

Outrage on a woman was punishable by death; but, if the woman'was a maid, the punishment was left to herself. For the Deemster was "to give her a rope, a sword, and a ring," and she was to have "her choice to hang him with the rope, to cut off his head with the sword, or marry him with the ring." 48 Tradition says that in every case but one the woman was lenient and preferred the ring. In one case she chose the rope; but, when the man was strung up she relented, and had him cut down and offered him the ring. The man was ungallant enough to plead that he had already been punished, and that no one could be punished twice for the same offence, and the plea was sustained.

Laws such as these help us to infer what sort of place the Isle of Man must have been in the days when the Stanleys held it under the Houses of Lancaster, York, and Tudor. For the ordinary Manxman, it could not have been a comfortable place to dwell in. The exactions of the Church and the prerogatives of the sovereign must have pressed severely on his occupation and his industry. He was, in fact, but little better than the chattel of the Lord ; and, on the distant occasions when Tynwald was assembled, the Legislature showed more alacrity in confirming the privileges of an absentee sovereign than in redressing the grievances of an impoverished people. Yet it is fair to recollect that the laws which were thus enacted were passed in Tudor times, and that the Tudor days in England are memorable for the autocracy of the sovereign and the dependence, or even misfortunes, of the people. In some respects, the Manx had an advantage over their English and Irish neighbours. No such massacres 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 the 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 least brought it peace; and peace may atone for worse evils than an absentee sovereign, a grasping Church, and a feeble Legislature.


1 Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, was the wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (who was executed in 1447), one of the younger sons of Henry IV., and therefore uncle of Henry VI. The Duchess was accused of making a waxen image of the King, and, according to the theory of the age, the King was to waste away as the image gradually melted. Her accomplices were sentenced to death.

" The witch in Smithfield shall be burned to ashes, And you three shall be strangled on the gallows."

Then Henry, turning to the Duchess, adds —

"You, madam, for you are more nobly born,
Despoiled of your honour in your life,
Shall, after three days open penance done,
Live in your country here in banishment,
With Sir John Stanley in the Isle of Man." — SHAKESPEARE, Henry IV., Pt. II. Act ii. sc. 3.

As a fact, she appears to have been condemned to imprisonment for life in 1441. (Ellis Letters, — 2nd series, i. 107; Devon, Issues of Exchequer, p, 440), to have been sent as far as Chester on her way to the island, but in 1443 taken back to Kenilworth (Rymer's Foedera, xi. 45). A liberal allowance was given her (Devon, Issues of Exchequer, p. 447). In 1446, when her husband fell into disgrace," her removal to the Isle of Man was again ordered (Nicolas, Proceedings of Privy Council, vi. 51). I owe these references to Professor Ramsay's work on York and Lancaster, &c., vol. ii. p. 35, where, however, the reference to the Ellis Letters is misprinted, vol. ii. There is no actual evidence that the order of 1446 was obeyed ; but the tradition in the island is that the Duchess was kept there in captivity fur fourteen years. Cf. Oliver's Munumenta, in Manx Soc. Pub., vol. ix. p. 19 where the order of the Privy Council directing the writ for her removal to issue is published. The Mauthe Dhoo, or black dog, which was alleged to haunt Peel Castle, and whose etymology, oddly enough, puzzled Sir Walter Scott (see Preface to Peveril of the Peak), was supposed to be the spectre of the Duchess. Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, seems to have been confined in the island onder an order of Richard II. The fact of his imprisonment is recorded in his monument in St. Mary's Church, Warwick, Lord Wiltshire was paid £1074 for taking him, and for the support of the said Earl, and also for the costs and expenses of divers Irish hostages in his custody after the King's coming from Ireland. Devon, Issues of Exchequer, p. 271, and see Manx Soc. Pub., vol, xvi. P. 203, See in the same volume, p. 48, " The Lamentable Fall of the Great Duchess of Gloucester," reprinted frum the Percy Ballads frum the edition of 1659.

2 The expression of the seventh Earl in his letter to his son. Manx Soc. Pub., vol. iii. P. 20.

3 Train, vol. i. pp. 54, 55; Sir J. Gell (Manx Soc. Pub., vol. xii. p. 33) says it is "by no means certain" whether this Thomas, Lord Derby, ever visited the island. The old ballad, however, seems to make this tolerably plain. ,

4 Train, vol, i, p. 170.

5 The judges in this case went on to affirm that the statutes De Donis, of uses, and wills, nor any other general Act of parliament, did extend to the Isle of Man ; but by special name an Act may extend to it. See Sir J. Gell, Manx Sec. Pub., vol. xii. p. 34, and Appendix, p. 154 —

6 See the extract quoted in Burke's Peerage under Derby.

7 Sir J. Gell says that he visited the island in 1577 and 1583. Manx. Soc. Pub., vol. xii. P. 35. Train, however, gives some reasons for showing he was there in 1588.

8 During the period, in which Elizabeth resumed possession of the island, she presented to it the remarkable old clock which, a model of simple machinery, still accurately records the time at Castle Rushen. Nine out of every ten visitors to the island are probably more or less well acquainted with it. Perhaps hardly one in every thousand is aware that it illustrates an interesting epoch in Manx history.

9 Sir J. Gell thinks that the suit was probably purposely protracted till Ferdinand's three daughters came of age, The youngest of them attained her majority in 1609

10 7 Jac. I. c. 10, 5 Geo. III. c. 26; Train, vol. i. pp. 177-183. Royal mines of silver and gold were excluded from the grant, but the Abbey lands were included in it.

11 The Pope's Bull will be found in Manx Soc. Pub„ vol. iii. p, 189.

12 Statutes of Isle of Man, vol. i. p. 29,

13 The statute of Henry VIII. suppressing the monasteries did not extend to the Isle of Man ; and Sir J. Gell says, " The only conclusion to which we can come is that the Manx religious houses were suppressed or dissolved, not by force of any statute or law, but simply by an act of power on the part of the sovereign of England. This dissolution was not completed until the reign of Elizabeth, Rushen Abbey being the last monastery dissolved in these kingdoms." Manx Soc. Pub., vol. xii. p. 57.

14 Statutes, Isle of Man, vol. i. p. 72.

15 Statutes, Isle of Man, vol. i. p, 64,

16 Ibid., p. 37.

17 Statutes, Isle of Man, Vol. i. pp. 27, 28,

18 Ibid., pp. 36, 60.

19 Ibid, p. 25.

20 Ibid., p. 5,

21 Statutes, Isle of Man, vol. i. p. 26, The forester's office was only abolished in 1860. St. Columb's Day is the 9th June. The law which has been quoted in the text remained in force till 1748, when the 21st June was substituted for the 11th June. This concession to the farmer could not, however, have made much difference, as by the alteration of the calendar in 1752, the new 21st June was practically the same as the old 10th June.

22 Statutes, Isle of Man, vol. i. p. 5.

23 Ibid,, p. 14.

24 Ibid., p. 51.

25 statutes, Isle of Man, p. 55.

26 Ibid., vol. i. p. 66,

27 Ibid., p. 66.

28 Ibid p, 4.

29 Statutes, Isle of Man, p. 65.

30 A warden of the watch was appointed by the Governor for each parish. A copy of the commission given to him is printed by Mr. Arthur "Moore in Manx Surnames and Place-Names, p. 183, Watch and ward was not finally discontinued until after 1815.

31 Manx. Soc. Pub., vol. xxv. p. 95. Chaloner's estimate of the population in this extract is certainly extravagant. Nearly eighty years afterwards Bishop Wilson, after careful inquiry, placed the population of the island at only 13,971 souls. Assuming that there had been no increase in the interval, there could not at that time have been more than 7000 males. This, according to modern ideas of life, would have given about 2800 males between the ages of fifteen and sixty-five. For Bishop Wilson's Estimate, see Keble's Life of Wilson, p, 125.

32 Preface to Manx Surnames and Place-Names, p. vi.

33 Manx Surnames and Place-Names, p. 183,

34 By an Act of 1748 housekeepers within the isle, being Protestants, were allowed " to keep a firelock, as well for the protection of their own houses and families, as for the service and defence of their country upon all emergent occasions, provided they always keep them clean and in good order." And Tynwald added : " The said arms shall go and descend to their heirs and assigns in place of the ancient weapons of war called corbes " (Statutes, Isle of Man, i. 255). A man's corbes, by an Act of 1499, were, "if his father have a pann, his son to have it, els his best pott, a jack and a sallett, bowes and arrows, sword and buckler," &c. (ibid., p. 7) ; and these corbes were inalienable, for "if in case any do bequeath a corbe or hyreloome for a legacy, the same shall not be given, but the value thereof with discretion "(ibid., p, 45).

35 Manx Surnames and Place-Names, P. 22.

36 Ibid., p. 37.

37 Ibid., p. 12.

38 Ibid., p. 40.

39 Ibid., p. 47.

40 Ibid, p. 41

41 Ibid., P. 63.

42 Manx Surnames and Place-Names, p. 25.

43 Statutes, Isle of Man, p. 55.

44 Ibid., P. 73

44 Ibid., p. 51

45 Ibid., p. 47

46 Ibid., PP. 41- 51.

47 Ibid., p, 28.

48 Statutes, Isle of Man, p. 55.


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