[From Train's History, 1845]



Singular Fealty performed by the Bishop and other Ecclesiastical Dignitaries—Abbots' Right of holding Courts of Leet and Baron—Peculiar Enactments—Clergy exempted from Insular Imposts—Tithes, Corpse-presents, and .Mortuaries—Duties and Fees of the Parish Clerk—Rapacity of the Manks Clergy—Restrained by fdct of Tynwald—Modern Appropriation, of Tithes—Jurisdiction of the Bishop—Of the Archdeacon—Ecclesiastical Courts—Ancient Form of proving a Debt on Deceadant's Grave—appeal from Spiritual Court.

In few countries of Europe was the feudal system maintained with more state than in the Isle of Man; each baron had his vassals or retainers, who were obliged to render themselves subservient to his interest, and to yield him that homage and fealty, which belonged to a feudal superior. The barons held their lands of the king, as lord-proprietor of the soil, and were obliged to serve him in all his wars, whether waged in prosecution of his private quarrels or in defence of the institution of the state.1

The baronial territories of Man seem all to have fallen into the grasping hands of the clergy. The bishop was a baron, in right of his territorial possessions in the Isle, as was the abbot of Rushen, the abbots of Bangor, Sabal, and St. Trinian's ; also, the abbot of Furness,2 the prior of Whithorn in Galloway,3 and the prior of St. Bead in Copeland. Even the prioress of Douglas was a baroness, in right of her lands; she held courts in her own name, and possessed temporal authority equal to a baron.4

The barons were all summoned occasionally to the Tynwald Hill, to do homage and fealty to the lord superior for their landed possessions in the Island. It was the bishop's duty to hold the stirrup of the king's saddle as oft as his majesty mounted his horse, when attending the Tynwald courts, and the other barons had similarly menial offices assigned them. If any one refused to attend, he forfeited his temporalities.5

The abbot, in right of his lands, was authorised to hold courts of " Leet and Baron," in which his seneschal or steward sat as chief judge; but as some of the bishop's tenants had to pay refit customs, boons, suits, and services to the king, the deemster of the south side, with the comptroller and king's attorney, were likewise bound to attend, " to take notice of anything that might happen concerning the lord's interest." The deemster and the comptroller were each to have a fee of eight shillings and four pence, " for every such day as they sat in that court, to be paid out of abbey revenue."6

Such a division of authority gave rise to some singular enactments. " If an abbey tenant transgressed the law so as to forfeit either life or goods, if he paid rent to the lord to the amount of one penny, (although he held an estate under the abbot) the forfeiture fell to the lord, and not to the abbot.7

" If an abbey tenant committed a capital crime, and was committed for the same in the lord's court, the steward of the abbey lands could annul the sentence, and challenge the criminal from thence, to have his trial and confiscation in the abbey court."8

If a mere hedge or ditch divided the abbey or baron's lands from the possessions of the lord of the Isle, the baron's tenant was not only bound to uphold it, but was obliged " To leave as much ground on the lord's side of such fence, as a rnan could cut, joining his heel to the said fence, and reach with his spade, holding his foot thereon."

By an ancient customary law it was provided that if any abbey tenant removed from the ecclesiastical lands, he might, by law, '' Take away the roof of his house, with all doors and windows, as well those that hung on iron hinges as otherwise." This statute being more favourable to the abbey tenant than to the vassal of the king, was repealed by the Earl of Derby, anno 1669.9

If any of the lord's tenants should want servants, and can find none, the servants of the abbey tenants are to be taken from them, and put to work upon the lord's lands. If any strangers come into the Island, they are to be placed on the lord's ground, if there be occasion for them, and not on the lands of the baron.10

If any of the lord's liege tenants committed treason or felony, and fled into any of the barons' liberties for protection, and was not given np to the civil magistrate when demanded, the barons, for every such offence, forfeited the sum of £5 ; and if he retained or sheltered any outlaw, he forfeited his temporality. Nor was he allowed to entertain any stranger within his house, without giving information to the lieutenant-governor, "showing who the stranger was, from whence he came, and whither going ;" and no baron was allowed to hold an inquest upon any tenant of the lord proprietor, on pain of life and limb, that being the lord's prerogative.11 Such was the line of circumvallation drawn by the lord proprietor to check the arrogance of the ecclesiastical dignitaries.

On their first appointment to office, the bishop, archdeacon, and vicars-general were required, by law, to take the prescribed form of oath for the faithful performance of their duties; this was done at the Tynwald Hill, in presence of the king : "To the utmost of my power, I shall defend and maintain the ancient laws, statutes, and customs proper to, and belonging unto this Isle. And with my best advice and council, be aiding and assisting the governor of this Isle for the furtherance of the gov ernmeut of the said Isle, so help me God."12 They were each empowered, respectively, to administer the spiritual law, with such limitations as were provided by the ancient, continued, and accustomed constitution of the Island ; to hold circuit and consistory courts for citations, suspensions, excommunications, probate of wills, and making of decrees; and to assist the lord's council when called to do so upon any emergent occasion.13

In right of their several offices, the clergy were exempted from many of the insular imposts. It was provided by law, that the bishop and archdeacon might each keep, "freely and frankly," a herring scout of four tons burden, free of any tithe within the Island.14 That every parson, vicar of Third, or Pencon. instituted, might choose a fishing boat, at Easter time, for the purpose of receiving the tithe of herrings caught by the crew of such boat, during the succeeding season, whether they fished on the coast of the Isle of Man or elsewhere.15 That every vicar of Third and Pencon might have "his bridge and staff,16 that is to say, his man or woman servant shall not be taken from him either by yarding or by any jury of servants ;" and that every instituted vicar of Pencon " having five marks stipend, should have four nobles in tithes."

" All hyred curates, from Easter to Easter, or longer, shall give a quarter of a year's warning, before Easter day, to his master, in case his will be to depart and go away from him; and, in like manner, the master shall give a quarter of a year's warning to his curate, in case he will put him away, provided always that the ordinary shall always place and displace such curates at his discretion,"17

It was the ordinary's due to receive for each citation, sixpence; for every suspension, one shilling and sixpence; for an excommunication, four shillings and sixpence; for an absolution and receiving into the church again, five shillings.

Before the year 1643, the Manks clergy wielded with merciless rigour, the Druidical weapon of excommunication,18 in order to enforce the payment of tithes. The tithe of butter and cheese was required to be paid at the parish church, on the first Sunday of each month, from May to October;19 and the tithe of flax and hemp was required to be brought to the church with the seed on. For an in-calf cow, twopence was required; for a farrow cow, one penny; for every eight sheep, twopence ; for every four goats, one penny ; for every hen, an egg ; and for the only cock, two eggs. All persons who received the communion, paid twopence every Easter, as an offering for the four seasons of the year; "but in case it be the first time he doth receive the sacrament, he payeth only one half-penny, which the curate is to have, because he is to examine all such as to their faith."20

Any person having wild sheep and purrs which could not be brought to the fold, were required, at Easter, to make oath to the number, on a book, before the proctor, and to pay for the same at the rate charged on calves and colts.21

There was a tithe on ale ; and after the " honey and wax is purified, the tyth thereof shall be justly and truly taken;" also, "every person engaged in any occupation, although it should be only thrice in the year, shall pay twopence." The tithe of herrings -was required to be paid as soon as they were brought "above full sea mark;" and the owner of every boat employed in the fishing of grey fish or herrings, on the coasts of the adjoining kingdom, were required to pay half of the tithe thereof to the vicar of his parish in Man, although he brought no fish to the Island. Money, as a tithe, was claimed of such clothes and goods as were given at marriage to a man with his wife.

It was the sumner's duty to collect these tidies, but it would appear he was sometimes assisted in the execution of his duty: " When the sumner, parson, and clarke take pains in gathering wooll and lamb, having with them one horse a piece, and, in like manner, one sack for the carriage of the wool, then either of them to have one choice Iamb, and one fleece of wooll paid out of the tythe." As his due for collecting the tithe of grain, the sumner received from the husbandman within the parish, " as much corn as three straps of the principall corn could encompass ;" and, in like manner, " a principall cheese," from each person, for collecting the tithe on that article.22

The sumner is the parochial officer of the consistorial court, and is nominated by the sumner-general. His duty is to attend the ordinary in bringing offenders to the ecclesiastical prison, to call within the church all things required of him by the parishioners, and to stand at the church door during the time of divine service to whip away the dogs!!"

Not contented with fleecing the living, these harpies of the insular church claimed part of the property of persons newly deceased, under the name of corpse-presents, or mortuaries, which was the cause of great discontent among the laity.23

The church was kept in repair, and the ornaments, books, and other necessaries provided by the parishioners. The parson was bound only to maintain the chancel.

Four church-wardens were elected annually in each parish, whose duty it was to see good order kept in the church yard, and to report those that used witchcraft and sorcery.24

The office of parish clerk was, in old times, held by a person of respectable character, whose education had not been wholly neglected, and who, generally, with the exception of the sexton, or sacrist, was the best chronicler in the vicarage. He was not, however, one of those persons who were overpaid for their services, yet some of his perquisites appear, in our times, very singular.

It was his duty to attend the parson to the chancel, put on his surplice, and cover the communion table ; like-wise to attend the parson on each visitation, for which service, together with his usual duty, he was entitled to receive fourpence per annum for every plough in the parish, althougth it had made only three fins within the year; from persons who had not such all implement, but who kept a fire, a smoke penny ; and for persons newly deceased, he claimed by law, a " full corpse-present'" of twenty-one pence,25 or else his apparel.

The clerk's silver or head penny was, on the north side of the Island, fifteen pence, and on the south side, only twelve pence. The curate received of that sum, seven pence; the parish clerk, three pence ; and the parson's clerk, two pence.26 If the person deceased did not leave wherewithal to defray the corpse-present or head penny, it fell to the nearest of kin to do so, on the ground that " if the deceased had been wealthy, the nearest relation would have profited thereby."27

If any person remove from one parish to another, and remain there three days and three nights, or till the crow- ing of the cock on the third morning, and then depart this life, the spiritual dues shall be paid to the parish in which he died, and not to the parish which he left.28

The duty of the sacrist of Rushen is thus minutely detailed in an old manuscript account of the abbey, now in my possession :-" The sacrist shall cause his beadle to ring the bells on holy-days and festivals throughout the year, for matins, in the morning, at five o'clock. The matins being performed, he shall ring a little bell for the mass of the blessed Virgin Mary; and at eight o'clock, he shall ring the little bell again, for the souls of the faith-ful departed. He shall provide fresh water, if need be, every day, in the morning, throughout the year, for holy water and the baptismal font, and fire for kindling the candles at the high altar, when needful. He shall keep a lamp burning day and night before the holy sacrament. He must see washed, at least six times a year, the vestments of the high altar of the blessed Virgin Mary, and of the holy cross. He must go before the chair, in procession, with a wand in his hand; must provide psalms on Palm Sunday, and keep clean the holy embossed Evangel."

The histories of all ages exhibit to us the selfish encroachment made by the priesthood. There seems to have been no end to the artifices which they used in order to obtain power and riches. The Manks clergy arrogated to themselves the right of making all wills, and by this means often obtained an influence over the minds of weak superstitious persons, which was far from being advantageous to their descendants or relatives. When persons died intestate, they frequently interfered to make unjust distributions of the property, never forgetting, however, to urge that, " for the welfare of the soul of the deceased, the church should not be neglected."29

Although the constitution of the church of Rome warranted such imposition, yet it was only in the reign of Queen Elizabeth of England, that sin-money and all its accompanying absurdities were brought into ridicule.30 It was not, however, till the reign of Charles I, that the Manks people, in imitation of their neighbours, came to the resolution of resisting the payment of a claim which interested motives had introduced into religion.

When the Earl of Derby visited the Isle of Man, in 1643, he found such a violent aversion engendered in the minds of the people against the clergy, that it became necessary, for the tranquillity of the Island, to restrain the priesthood, by an act of Tynwald, from interfering in laical -affairs; and from levying either under the name of corpse-presents, mortuary, head-money, or any other name whatever, any tax from his subjects, in the diocese of the Bishopric of Sodor and Man.31

These matters of contention being adjusted, no opposition was offered to the clergy exercising their spiritual functions, in the modulated manner, which had become necessary by the inquiring spirit of the age.

At the commencement of the eighteenth century, the inferior clergy of the Manks church are described as being so poor and ignorant, and so inattentive to the instruction of the laity, as to entitle them to the appellation of " the most ignorant people of the British Isles;32,33 but such a stigma, if ever true, has been long since removed, both as respects the clergy and the laity.34

A great part of the tithes have now passed into the hands of the lay proprietors, which a late writer on the subject thinks favourable to the interest of the Manks cultivator.35

In the year 1811, about three thousand acres in the parish of Braddan were titheable to the estate of the Nunnery, and such part of these tithes as were not payable out of the estate itself, were then let to the occupants respectively, by private agreement.

At that time the annual amount of the tithes of the Duke of Atholl, upon lease, amounted to £408 18s. 6d., and the estimated annual value of the tithes sold by the Atholl family, amounted to £489 10s.

The mode sometimes taken by the Duke of Atholl's agents, (the grantee or lessee under the crown of the property of the dissolved abbey of Rusher,) and by those of the Bishop of Man, to convert their tithes into money, was thought to produce considerable injury to the agriculture of the Island, and being imitated by some of the incumbents, was thought to retard its improvements. A public auction was fixed, and the tithes of the parish were let to the highest bidder, who, either afterwards dealt with the farmer privately, or by sub-auction, let the tithes in small parcels, in the manner practised by the middlemen in Ireland. The tithes of the parishes in which these practices prevail, are said sometimes to have far exceeded their intrinsic value. The tithes of the small parish of Jurby, which had been let for £17 3s., by the bishop of Mall to the incumbent, as then generally practised, were raised in 1755 to 20, and continued at that rent till 1792. In 1811 they were let by auction for £231, so that in less than forty years, the tithes of this parish were raised in amount above eleven fold.36

The Bishop of Man is not only a baron of the Island,37 but has also a seat in the Council, in the Court of Chancery, and in the Exchequer. All ecclesiastical affairs, relative to wills,38 administrations, debts and credit of deceased persons, minors' effects, and alimony are heard and determined either by his lordship in person or by his vicars-general, who are kind of chancellors to the bishop. The power exercised by the Bishop of Sodor and Man, is of a more direct and stririgeilt character than what is exercised by and other bishop in the British dominions. He has a civil jurisdiction through his consistory, chapter, and vicars-generals' court, which no bishop ought to possess, and which would not be tolerated in any other Protestant country. He appoints the judges of the ecclesiastical courts, and can remove them at pleasure.

These judges are obliged frequently, in the common course of their official duty, to decide suits wherein the bishop himself is plaintiff. Since the existence of the bishopric, there has been only two instances of a vicargeneral having been bred to the law; yet persons filling this office decide the nicest points of common and equity law, often to the no small amusement of the regular advocates. The bishop had the jurisdiction of life and limb, with the right of erecting a cross or gibbet on his land, for the execution of malefactors.

In right of his barony, he was also entitled to a seat in the House of Lords, although not to a vote, as he held his appointment from a subject of the king; but since the Duke of Atholl has disposed of the patronage of the bishopric to the British government, the right of appointing the bishop is vested in the crown.

This admixture of civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, which appears so antiquated, particularly to persons unconnected with the Island, is extolled by Bishop Ward, in a letter addressed to the clergy of his diocese, in November, 1837:-" In our small but favoured Isle, the prayer of our blessed Lord seems to have been fulfilled, for among us our temporal rulers have been in full communion with the spiritual, and the spiritual rulers have brought their advice and blessings to the counsels of the temporal. Thus have those counsels ever been hallowed by the presence of God's ministers; and thus has our ancient church been ever one. Each succeeding year do we see a practical illustration of this, when, after ancient custom, we assemble to promulgate a new law; this, with us, is strictly a religious ceremony, and one too, in which all unite in holy fellowship. The bishop, with his clergy and the principal laity of the church, which includes the whole of the legislative body ; the governor and his council, in which are included the bishop and principal clergy; and with the council, the ancient and honorable House of Keys, all forming one estate spiritual, and one estate temporal."39

Notwithstanding the vaunted supremacy of the Manks church, it appears, by the records of the Island, to have been always under the complete control of the lord superior. All disputes between the clergy and laity were " chancelarised, decided, and settled" according to his pleasure.40 This is called the Lord's Perogative Royal.41All fines and forfeited bonds in the spiritual courts, fall to the lord, such being his prerogative ; and all persons excommunicated by the church were formerly delivered over to him, body and goods.42

So early as the year 1422, when the church of Rome was at the zenith of its power, the Bishop of Man was not permitted by the Lord of the Isle, to " receipt" any stranger or other person into his house, without giving notice to the governor. Nor was he allowed to employ permanently any monk or priest, without a license from the lord for that purpose.43 Neither was he at liberty to carry more than five pounds out of the Island at one time;44 nor to remain absent from his diocese more than four months in any year, on pain of forfeiting for the first offence, the full value of one half-year's profit of his benefice; and for the second offence, the full value of a whole year's profit of said benefice; such forfeitures to be applied by the governor and council in such manner as the lord may direct.45 But the bishop holding the stirrup of the king's saddle, while he mounted his horse at the Tynwald Hill, was the most decided mark of the submission of the church to the secular power.

So well was Bishop Wilson aware of the superiority of the civil power, over that possessed by himself, that he did not consider the ecclesiastical constitutions, approved at the convocation of the clergy, at Bishop's Court, in Feb. 1703, binding on his people, till sanctioned by the governor and Keys, and allowed by the lord superior to be proclaimed as law, in the ordinary manner, on the Tynwald Hill.46

It is asserted by Bishop Ward, that "the temporal and spiritual estates of the Isle of Man, have ever held together in perfect unity.47" It seems to have escaped the venerable prelate's memory, that one of the most distinguished of his predecessors in the see of Man, with his two vicars-general, were, by order of the governor of the Island, cast into the common jail of the Castle of Rushen ; and that the bishop excommunicated the governor's wife, and committed one of the members of his council to the ecclesiastical dungeon in Peel Castle.48

There was more vanity displayed by the Manks prelates, formerly, than was compatible with the tenets of the Christian church. By one of the canons, enacted at Kirk Braddan, in 1291, the parish clerk was subjected to severe punishment, who did not cause the bells of the church under his charge to be rung in honour of the bishop, at whatever time he might happen to pass that way;49 nor was it till after the death of Bishop Wilson, that the degrading homage of approaching the bishop on the knee, was discontinued.

An act to prevent clandestine marriages, was passed by the insular government, in 1757, which confirmed and continued to the bishop and his successors, the ancient " right of granting special licenses to marry at any convenient time or place," 50 a power possessed in England, only by the Archbishop of Canterbury.51

The Archdeacon is the second spiritual officer in the Island, and has in all inferior cases alternate jurisdiction with the bishop. He holds his court either in person or by his official deputy.

The vicars-general hold a court every Friday; the consistorial court is held on the last Thursday of every month; and the clergy are annually assembled in convocation at Bishop's Court. The sumners execute the decrees of the spiritual court.

The ecclesiastical judges formerly possessed great power over the person of the subject. For a slight offence any one might be confined in the ecclesiastical prison (which was a subterraneous dungeon in Peel Castle already described), until a jury of six men was empannelled, to examine if he should be delivered to the civil power for further trial and punishment. In the year 1737, the power of the clergy was so much diminished that they could no longer imprison, except in a very few cases, and in these only for a very short space. Imprisonment for contempt of court was no longer discretionary.52

The spiritual judges take cognizance of marriages, probates of wills,53 granting letters of administration and tuition of children's goods, and that, in many instances, in a way quite peculiar to the Island. Prior to the year 1757, persons of every age might intermarry without either license or publication of bands; even the prohibited degree of affinity was never prohibited by any act of Tynwald ; and at the present time no legal disabilities exist.54 In latter times, no person can marry till he has received the sacrament, without leave from the ordinary.55 An alien is not permitted to marry till he has been three months in the Island. If a native marry a couple contrary to law, he is thereby subject to transportation for fourteen years; but " if such person be an alien, foreigner, or stranger, and not of the ministry of this Isle, and convicted as aforesaid, such alien shall be publicly exposed with his ears nailed to a pillory, to be erected for that purpose at Castletown cross, there to remain for the space of one hour, when his ears are to be cut off, and remain on the pillory. The said offender to be returned to the prison of the Castle of Rushen, there to remain till he pay a fine not exceeding fifty pounds, at the pleasure of the governor, and abjuring this Isle."56

It was an old spiritual law, " That every man or wife which depart this life, upon the south side of this Isle, do stand in one effect, that is to say, the man to have one halfe, and the wife the other halfe, provided always, that the debts temporall be paid out of the whole, and the debts spiritual out of the part of the dead." " But in case there be issue, lawfully begotten, then if the man depart, all the goods moveable shall be divided into three parts, one part to the executors, another part to the dead, and the third part to the wife." But on the north side, the wife hath the half,57 a boon conferred for assisting their husbands in the day of battle.58

A widow had one-half of her husband's estate if she was his first wife; but if she was his second, she was only entitled by law to one-quarter of his estate of inheritance.

A marriage contracted between the parties within a year and a day of the birth of a child renders the child legitimate, if the character of the female is otherwise unimpeachable. Children arrive at the age of majority when they complete their fourteenth year, so far as relates to personal property; but must attain the age of twentyone before they can enter into the possession of landed estates, or make any disposition of the same.

" When a child cometh to the age of fourteen years and craveth restitution of his goods, the spiritual judges are to orant him a certificate from the spiritual register to the deemster, with directions to put the same into execution."59

In the year 1603, a man and wife died and left two children under age; one was committed to the tuition of the father's kindred, and the other to the relations of the mother; the former died, and it became a question of law who should have the tuition of the latter; " Whereupon the deemster and twenty-four keys, on a request from the lord bishop of the Isle, pronounced the law in that case, that the child surviving should be taken, with his goods, from the mother's kindred and given to the father's.' "60

When a person dies insolvent, all his debts in the Island are to be paid in full, " before strangers can receive any part of theirs, according to the rule and practice of this Isle, held in such cases."61

Some of these laws have, however, been repealed. All property, except landed estates of inheritance, is possessed by the husband and wife in common; with this difference that the husband may bequeath his share of the property to whom he will; the wife, if she make a will, may leave the property only to her children by the present husband ; but if she have none, she cannot make a will. On the death of the husband, the widow enters upon her share of the property; on the death of the wife, if she has not made a will, the husband enters upon the whole .62

In ancient times, a singular method was adopted for establishing the proof of a demand for or against the estate of a person defunct. It was provided by a law of the spiritual court, that the person charging or denying the debt was obliged to visit the grave of the deceased at midnight, alongst with two witnesses, or as they were called in the statute book cumpurgators, where, stretching himself on the grave with his face towards heaven, and with an open bible on his breast, he emitted a solemn oath, as to the validity of his claim or otherwise,. which, in the absence of more positive proof, was sustained by law. This custom was in force till the year 1609; when as it was held that " the manner of swearing upon the graves of the dead with cumpurgators is not fitting or christianlike," it was ordained, " that it should not be hereafter used; but that such controversies shall receive hearing, and be tried according to law by witness or otherwise; first in the spiritual court, within a twelve month and a day, and then in the temporal court as aforesaid.63

If any person found himself aggrieved by any censure in the spiritual court, he had the power of applying to the " staff of government," who might prohibit further proceedings in the ecclesiastical tribune, or to the Lord of the Isle, who might commission his officers to determine the same, even though it was a case of suspension or excommunication. And " if any person, whatsoever, shall presume to make his appeal in any other cause than is before prescribed, from any spiritual court, by urging or preferring an appeal to the Archbishop of York, he is to be punished at the Tynwald court, and pay a fine to the Lord." In the most ancient records, the Lord is styled the " Immediate Metropolitan Chief of the Holy Church within the Island."64


l " On the death of a vassal, the baron was entitled, by ancient custom, to obtain from the heirs, as an acknowledgement for the protection be afforded his family, the best horse, the best ox, the best cow, in short, the best beast that pertained to the deceased."-Wallace's Nature and Descent of Ancient Peerages, Edinburgh, 1785, p. 104 ; Miller's Distinction of Ranks, London, 1773, p. 208.

2 " In the year 1176, Goddard, King of Man, presented the lands of Mirescoge, in the Isle of Man, to Syvan, Abbot of Furness."-Johnstone's Celto Normanicae, Copenhagen, 1786, page 150; Chronicles of Man, ap. Camden.

3 The Bishop of Galloway had, of old, the patronage and tiends of two parishes in the Isle of Man, " yea, and as I am informed, was in possession of them since the reformation; but at present they are worn out of possession of them."-Symson's Description of Galloway, written in 1654, first published in 1823, Edinburgh edition, p. 108 ; Chalmer's Caledonia, London, 1524, vol. iii, p. 418. " The religious society of St. Bees was possessed of some valuable property in the parish of St. Maughold. I believe there is an annual sum still paid out of that parish to St. Bees' school, on which account the parish claims the right of sending two boys there gratis. "-Townley's Journal, Whitehaven, 1791, vol. ii, p. 237 ; Feltham, p. 159.

4 Willis's Survey of Cathedrals, vol. i, p. 372 ; Wood's History of Man, p. 113. The Abbot of Rushen was of the order termed Mitred Abbots; the other four abbots, above mentioned, were consecutively of the orders termed Crosiered, Cardinal, Regular, and Commendatory Abbots.-Buck's Theological Dictionary, London, edition 1827 ; see 'Abbot.'

5 If any of your barons be out of the land, they shall have the space of forty days. After that, they are called in to come, to show whereby they should not claim lands within your land of Man, and to make faith and fealty, or else to cease their temporalities into your hands."-Lex Scripta, p. 2 ; Camden's Britannia, edit. 1695, p. 1068. This was an ancient law in Wales, and was probably introduced into the Manks code, by some of the Welsh kings of Man,-" If a clergyman shall hold any lands of the king, he shall give service, and be held to answer in the Royal Court for the same, and unless he shall answer personally, the said lands shall return to the King."- Woton's Laws of Wales, London, folio, 1730, p. 337.

6 Besides large domains in the Island and the ordinary revenues of the church, which were great in former times, the Abbey of Rushen was possessed of considerable wealth. Magnus, king of Man, it appears, not only made large donations to the abbot and convent of Rushen himself, but collected money from others for that purpose; and the kings of Norway made a " Confirmation and Donation to the monastery of Rushen in Man."-Calendars of Ancient Charters with Rolls and Schedules of Fealties done in the Isle of Man, London, 1772, pp. 344, 421. The number of computed quarterlands formerly belonging to the monastery of Rushen, was 99 ; and the number of abbey cottages, 77. Feltham, p. 272.

7 Appendix, Note i, " Deodands."

8 This was a law in Wales in the time of Howel Dha. See Warrington's History of Wales, p. 66.

9 MS. Statute Book, 'Customary Law,' folio 18.

10 Statute Book, folio 17, 23, ap. Parr's MS. p. 3.

11 Statutes, anno 1422 ; Lex Scripta, pp. 22, 25, 26, 29.

12 Ward's Ancient Records, p. 114.

13 MS. Statute Book, pp. 32, 36, 31.

14 MS. Statute Book, ' Spiritual Men,' p. 31, A.D. 1577, 1610 ; Lex Scripta, page 51.

15 Dugdale's Monasticon, vol. i, ' Isle of Man.'

16 Statute, anno 1577 ; Lex Scripta, p. 64.

17 Lex Scripta, pp. 51, 59, 60, 64, 149.

18 When a person excommunicated did not, within the space of eleven weeks, return with contrition to be admitted into the church, the ordinary had the power of delivering him over to the Lord " Body and Goods," such being the Lord's prerogative, as in the case of Captain Robinson. A.D. 1635. MS. Statute Book, 'Excommunication.'

19 " We enjoin that from every house, of whatever description, there be given, in summer as tithes to the church, eighteen of the best cheeses, and eighteen made in autumn, clean, salted, and well-prepared; and in the houses where butter is made, let there be given a tithe of the butter, without any fraud or diminution of the milk." -Synodical Constitution of the Church of Sodor in A.D. 1291, see. viii, ap. Dugdale's Monasticon, vol. i.

20 Statute Book, p. 35.

21 Synodical Constitution of the Church of Sodor, 1291, sec. viii, ap. Duydale's Monasticon, vol. i.

22 Book of Spiritual Laws and Customs; Lex Scripta, pp. 31, 54, 56, 60.

23 Appendix, Note ii, " Corpse-presents."

24 I find only one act in the Statute Book against witchcraft. " Any person suspected of witchcraft is to be committed to the bishop's prison, and all the offences or crimes that the jury can find or prove, the ordinary shall write, and if the jury can bring or prove any notorious crime, then the bishop is to deliver him out of his prison to the lord's jail and court, where he or she is to be tried as a felon."- Statute 1617.

25 Spiritual Lazes and Customs; Lex Scripta, VP. 57, 58.

26 " whereas it is a complaint of the country, that the Lord of the Island makes clerks of the parishes by his special grants, whereas the parishioners pay the clerk his dues, his lordship is graciously pleased to order that the parishioners, and the parson, and vicar of the parish shall henceforth nominate the clerk, who is to be approved of by the bishop. Given at the Castle of Rushen, 30th October, 1643."-Lex Scripta, PP. 121, 122.

27 MS. Statute Book, folio 35, 1616, " Parish clerks-how elected-his dues and duties." If the following statement be correct, the parish clerk is not yet well paid for his trouble :-' I have been a subaltern in the service of the church many years. Ø Sundays and other holy-days, I have the church doors to open in proper time, the bell to rin at the hours of eight, nine, and ten forenoon, and twice in the afternoon ; to put the surplice on the clergyman, mark the lessons for him, raise the tunes and 8`11g the psalms at times when almost out of breath with ringing the bell, and all the Editoru a lh I receive is sixteen shillings yearly."-Extract of a Letter to the a Le e Mona's Herald, dated Point of Ayre, 16th April, 1834.

28 Lex Scripta, p. 53.

29 Bacon's Discourse on the Laws and Government of England, part i, cap. lsvi.

30 Hume's History of England, chap. xxix.

31 Bullock's History of the Isle of Man, p. 95. " Whereas there has been a very indecent and irreverent use by the clergy, when they collected the offerings money and tithes, at Easter, to demand the same at the time the people were to receive the communion, and sometimes would stop the people from receiving the blessed sacrament, because they had not paid their said dues. It bath been therefore ordered and redressed, that the ministers to whom such oblations and tithes belong, shall sit in the parish church, upon Monday and Tuesday in Easter week, after the people have received the communion, to receive the same."-Statute Book, p. 84.

32 Waldron's Description of the Isle of Man, folio, 1731, p. 114.

33 Appendix, Note iii, " h'uneral Service."

34 "The clergy are generally natives, and have their education in the Island. They are not anywise taxed with ignorance or debauchery. They have always a competent maintenance of at least 50 or 60 a-year. The ministers always have the addition of 'Sir' to their names, unless they be parsons of parishes, and then they are called 'Mr.' '-Camden's Britannia, edit. 1795, p. 1070.

35 Quayle"' General View of the Agriculture of the Isle of Man, p. 26. Certain parts of the property of the Island is exempted from the payment of tithes, by an ancient fixed commutation, in the shape of a modus or prescription. This system, Bishop Wilson considered a violation of justice. He paid tithes, from which he was legally exempted, and prevailed on many to renounce the benefit of the modus. Stowell's Life of Bishop Wilson.

36 Quayle's View of the Agriculture of the Isle of Man, p. 28.

37 Camden's Britannia, edit. 169:1, p. 1070.

38 See Appendix, cap. xxiv, Note ii, " Wills extracted from the Parish Registers."

39 Ancient Records, by Ward, p. 76,

40 Lex Scripta, pp. 119-122.

41 Sacheverell's Account of the Isle of Man, p. 86.

42 Lex Scripta, p. 59.

43 Lex Scripta, p. 26.

44 MS- Statute Book, p. 12.

45 Lex Scripta, pp. 180, 181.

46 Ward's Ancient Records, 1'. 65.

47 Ibid, p. 75.

48 Bullock's History of the Isle of Man, pp. 1 0fi, 170, 171,

49 Dugdale's Monosticon, ap. Ward's Ancient Records, p. 138.

50' Lex Scripta, p. 371.

51 Ward's Ancient Records, p. 118.

52 Lex Scripta, pp. 59, 277; Wood's History, p. 268.

53 It was ordered that the probate of every will should be perfected and effected within three months after the decease of the party; and the legacy bequeathed by the Ø' to be paid within fourteen days after, if within the Isle."-Statute Book, Page 32.

54Øo04'8 History of the Isle of Man, p. 238.

55 Statute 1703.

56 Statute, an". 1757, ap. Lex Scripta, p. 372. IT-

57 Lex Scripta, Douglas, 1819, pp. 51, 52. There was a law in Ireland, couched in equally curious terms:-" we ought not to pass by what we find in an ancient Irish synod, concerning the riyhts of a dead body, inthese words : Every dead body has a right to a cow, a horse, and a suit of clothes, and the furniture of his bed; nor can these be taken in satisfaction of other debts, because they are peculiar to his body."-Ware's Antiquities of Ireland, Dublin, 1705, p. 153.

58 See chap. iv, p. 84, n. n. 1098.

59 Customary Laws; Statute Book, pp. 31, 50, 58, 450.

60 Seacar, 1603 ; Statute Book, folio 41.

61 Statute, anno 1675 ; Spiritual Customary Law.

62 Statute, anno 1777 ; Le.x Scripta, p, 424.

63 Lex Scripta, Douglas, 1819, page 91. This singular custom was of Scandinavian origin. The Cumpurgators were not supposed to have any knowledge of the affair in question, but they were simply to swear, they were persuaded the accused spoke true.-Mallet's Northern Antiquities, vol. i, cap. viii. See also Camden's Britannia, edit. 1795, p. 1066.

64 Statute, anno 1541; MS. Statute Book, p. 130 ; Spiritual Men; Sacheverell's Account of the Isle of Man, p. 86.




The forfeitures to the lord proprietors, called deodands, are so singular, that I will here make an exact copy of them from the Statute Book :-

" If an ox, bull, cow, horse, or any other beast whatever, shall kill or be the immediate cause of the death of a man, woman, or child, that beast, although the same belonged to any baron's tenant, or to the baron himself, doth fall, and become proper and due to the lord proprietor.

" And if a horse should throw the rider off, so that the man die thereby, whatever furniture the horse had on him, as saddle, bridle, and the like, is to be forfeited to the lord, as well as the horse himself.

" And if any person be riding a horse through a river, and happen to be drowned, if it may be discovered, that it was rather in the weakness of the horse not being able to carry his rider, than by the greatness of the flood, the horse is to be reputed a deodand, and to be forfeited to the lord.

"Also, if a man go from his own house to any dangerous place or bough, to look for his stock, as sheep or the like, and he meet an accident in the bough, the stock or goods that he went to look for there, fall as deodand to the lord, because they were the cause of that accident."-MS. Statute Book, ' Deodands Customary Law,' 37 Acts of 1561, 1570, 1600. From these early enactments, all flowing from the Salic Law, the origin of deodands, well known in the Marks law, may be clearly seen.Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, b. xxx, c. xx ; Murphy's Notes to Tacitus, page 230.



This Indenture, made the last day of July, A.D. 1532, between the Right Rev. Father in God, John, Bishop of Sodorensis and the Isle of Man, and all the clergie and spiritualitie of the said Isle, on the one part; and William Stevenson and M'Gawne, of the sheading of Rushen; Rowland Cross and Bartholomew Stevenson, of the sheading of Glenfaba; William Moore and John M'Cleare, of the middle, sheading ; Wm. M'Fayle and Gilbert Corrin, of K. Michael sheading ; Wm. M'Urwyn and James Kent of the Garffe; Huan M'Christian and Markk M'Christian, of the Ayre, on the other part; Witnesseth, That whereas variance and discord hath arisen between the said bishop and clergy, and the persons abovesaid, and all other-the temporal inhabitants of the said Isle and commonalitie, for, when taking of mortuaries was called, in the said Isle, corsepresents, and other exactions and wrongs which the said commonalitie alledgetb, the said spiritualitie did unto them :-for the appeasing and ordering of the said controversie and variance, the Right Hon. Edward Earl of Derby, soveraigne and liege lord of the same Isle, by his writing of commission, under the seal of Man, dated at Manour, of Colham, the xxvi of June last past, assigned, appointed, and authorized Thomas Sherbourne, Esq., lieutenant of the said Isle; Thurstan Tyldesley, Esq., his receiver-general; Morgan Jones, his auditor ; John Fleming, captain of Man; Thomas Tyldesley, water-bailiff; John Gardener, comptroller of Man ; Edward Corchill, one of the deemsters of Man; Robert Calcoats, receiver of the Castle of Man; Piers Anderson, receiver of the Peel in Man; to be his commissioners for the hearing, ordering, and reforming the premises according to equity and justice. Dy force of which commission, upon summons and warning given by the said commissioners to the said parties, the aforesaid bishop, and Thomas, Abbot of Rushen, with divers others, the clergie of the same Isle, and all other persons above named, of the other party, and a great multitude of the said Isle, appeared in their proper persons, before the said commissioners, at the chapel, in the town of Rushen, the 24th of July last past, at which time it was alledged (by the said bishop, abbot, and clergie) that if any person, whether it be man or woman, wife or child, dwelling in the same Isle, have goods at his or their deaths, shall pay to the clergie the value of 20s., besides all debts, which are called free goods ; and, having power, by the custom of the said Isle, to make a will of the said goods, that the executor or administrator of every such person shall pay to the church, for the corse-present of every person so deceased, the best beef or horse that he or she had, or else 6s. in money, at the election of the said executor or administrator, and shall pay to the corse-present, such of the best cloaths or apparel of the person deceased as the church have used to take, or else 3s. 4d. in money, at the election of the said church and clergie.

" Moreover, the said clergy alledge, That they had taken and ought to have, of right and custome, of every person brewing any ale, in recompense of the tithe thereof, certain pottles of ale.

" Alsoe, the said clergy alledge, That they ought to have certain money of such marriage goods as is given to any man with his wife at their marriage, in recompense of the tithe thereof. And over this, the said bishop alledgeth, That he and his successors ought to have, for the probation of every testament, 2s. 8d. rebating thereof; for every poor person's testament, a parcel of his own good will and discretion.

" Alsoe, the other party, and all the commonalitie abovesaid, (that was specified) said that the church ought to have, by the old custome for corbes (for every person as is above named), 6s. 6d., and no more. And, alsoe, they deemed that the church ought NOT to have such pottles of ale, or any money for the marriage goods, as is above rehearsed. Moreover, the said commonalitie deemed that the bishop ought to have no more than 6d. for the probation of any testament ; and for a poor man's testament, no more but a penny or twopence. And in all variances and controversies abovesaid, the parties above rehearsed, (for the avoiding of all ambiguities and doubts) before a final unity be had amongst them, by means of the said commissioners, to be agreed and constituted for them and their successors for ever, and either of the said parties conditioneth and agreeth, in such manner and form as hereafter ensueth :-

" First, the executors and administrators of such person as hereafter shall depart, having free goods the value of 20s., shall pay to the church, for mortuaries, 8s., in full recompense of all the said mortuaries, corse presents, and cloathes and apparel, (and no more) within a fortnight after the burial of the said party so deceased.

" It is further agreed, That the executors and administrators of every such person, when they shall pay the sum of 8s. for the mortuaries and corse-presents, shall pay to the bishop, for the time being, for the insinuation and probation of the testament of the person so deceased, and for all manner of things touching the same, within the space of one fortnight, 1s., and no more.

" Alsoe, it is agreed, " That if any person departed, having houseing goods under the value of 20s., free goods, the old custom has been, that the church hath had (in recompense of the corse-present of the same person) the first part of the same goods; to which custom both parties agree to stand for ever. And, as touching the probation of the testament of such persons, and for all manner of charges the same concerning, the same parties be now agreed, That the bishop shall have (for probate and other charges for every such testament) 4d., except it please the bishop, of his own free will to take less.

"And, furthermore, the said parties are agreed that, from henceforth, the bishop is not to have any recompense for brewing ale, nor any tithe for any such marriage goods as is above named.

" And it is said and agreed, That the church and clergy shall take for their corsepresent, and other, the premises of some men which is now deceased, whereof no agreement nor recompense heretofore had or made for the same after the rate of this agreement, and none otherwise. Alsoe, it is agreed, That the commonalitie shall reasonably agree with the priest or clerk, doing divine service at burials or weddings, or else to have or recompense them for their labour and diligence according to the old custom used in the said Isle.

"In witness whereof, the said parties to this present indenture of agreement have interchangeable put their hands and seals ; and in proof of the abbot and some others of the clergy whose names be hereafter subscribed, and alsoe the said commissioners were present and hereto agreeable, every one of them hath written with their proper hands their own names."- Townley, vol. ii, p. 256.

These ecclesiastical herints were, from the circumstance of their being carried to the. church along with the corpse, called mortuaries or corpse-presents. The custom arose from posthumous bequests being rendered in lieu of neglected tithes. These, by frequent usage, in course of time, were converted into regular church dues, and in both England and Scotland, bore the same name as in the Isle of Man.

When a heriot was accepted by a feudal lord, in satisfaction of the right which he claimed to the property of a deceased tenant, by virtue of the dominion assumed over his person, the clergy were also willing to accept a similar compensation in requital of the demands which they had upon his soul for undischarged oblations. Hence a mortuary was termed in the laws of Canute, Soul Scot, or symbolum animæ. owing perhaps to the very rich endowments of the ecclesiastical establishments of England, by which they were rendered less dependant on casual bequests, these mortuaries were never collected so rigorously in the Isle of Man as in Scotland, as appears by the following extract from the ancient poem of the Monarchy, by Sir David Lindsay, of the Mount, edition 1776, p. 111 :-

"And eke the vicar, as I trow,
He will not fail to take a cow
And upmost cloth, though babes them ban,
From a poor silly husband-man.
When that he lieth for to die,
Having small children, two or three,
That hath three kine, withoutten ma,
The vicar must have one of tha,
With the grey close that haps the bed,
Albeit that he be poorly clad;
And if his wife die on the morn,
Though all the babes should be forlorn,
The other cow he cleeks away,
W ith the poor coat of raplock grey ;
And if, within twa years or three,
The eldest child happen to die,
Of the third cow he will be sure,
When he them all hath under cure ;
And father and mother both are dead,
Beg must the babes without remead
They hold the corpse at the kirk style,
And then it must remain a while,
Till they get sufficient surety
For their church right and duty.
Then comes to the landlord, perforce,
And clecks to him an hired horse.
Poor labourers! would these laws were down,
Which never founded was by reason
I heard them say under confession,
That law was brother to oppression"



Townley, in his usual strain of sarcasm against the clergy, gives this account of the funeral service, as performed at the interment of a young man who was drowned on the coast:-

" The burial service should have been read by the minister of the place of interment, but I am certain if the great apostle of the Gentiles had been there, he would have disclaimed having any concern with the burial service that was galloped over upon that melancholy occasion ; and good King David must have been in high wrath with the horrid mutilation of two such noble psalms as make a part of the service. Moses, the clerk, had a strong clear voice, ' and would have made something of it,' as Sterne says, but his master mumbled it over in shameful haste, to the tune of titup-a-titup-a-tee."-Journal in the Isle of Man, vol. i, p. 220.


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