[Appendix D(3) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]
PETITION for the INHABITANTS of the NORTHERN DIVISION of the ISLE of MAN, 1791.
[In the Duke of Atholls Letter of the 10th of October 1791.]
Unto the Kings Most Excellent Majesty
The humble Memorial and Petition of your Majestys most loyal and dutiful Subjects, the Inhabitants of the Parishes of Kirk Patrick, Kirk German, Kirk Michael, Ballaugh, Jurby, Kirk Andrews, Kirk Bryde, and Kirk Christ Lezayre in your Majestys Island of Man,
THAT from time immemorial, two Judges or Deemsters have explained and decided agreeable to the laws of the isle of Man, in all cases of dispute or litigation which occasionally arose among the inhabitants. One of these Deemsters, or Judges, expounded the law in the southern division of the isle of Man, which contains nine parishes ; the other decided all disputes in the northern division, composed of the parishes inhabited by your Majestys present humble petitioners.
That this division of justice in the island seems to have been wisely adapted to its natural situation, the Isle of Man being six-and-thirty miles in length, while in breadth it scarce any where exceeds ten.
That in the year 1777, an Act of Tynwald was passed, erecting a new tribunal and jurisdiction in each of the four several markets towns of this Isle, Castletown, Douglas, Ramsey, and Peel, for the hearing and determining of actions under forty shillings extent, the judges of which court assumed the title of High Bailiffs of these respective towns.
Your Majestys humble petitioners are sensible that advantages may arise to the Isle of Man where such High Bailiffs shall do their duty, by rendering the distribution of justice in actions under forty shillings more commodious and easy to the inhabitants of the island
But at the same time, while your humble petitioners admit that the determination of such small actions are by this means rendered more easy, your Majestys loyal and dutiful subjects inhabiting the northern division of the island have experienced very great hardships from the abolition of the Northern Judge or Deemster, which appears to have been incautiously recommended when the new jurisdiction of High Bailiffs took place, whose powers only extending to actions under forty shillings in value, your Majeitys humble petitioners have ever since that period been reduced to the necessity of resorting in all actions exceeding that sum to the Southern Judge or Deemster, whole proper and accustomed residence in that division of the island, renders the loss of time in attendance at his courts a very serious calamity to your Majestys loyal subjects, the present petitioners, who were formerly accustomed to the administration of Justice in the northern division of the island, and near their own homes
Your Majestys most humble supplicants therefore pray, That in your wonted goodness and attention to the meanest of your Majestys subjects, you will be graciously pleased to restore to them that part of their ancient constitution which from time immemorial, until within a very few years, they have uniformly enjoyed, by appointing a person skilled in the laws of the land to be your Majestys Northern Deemster or Judge in this your Island of Man
And with unfeigned gratitude your Majestys most loyal and dutiful subjects inhabiting the northern division of the Isle of Man shall for your Majestys happiness and welfare ever pray
Claud: Sodor and Mann
Ev. Christian, Vicar General
William Crebbin, Vicar of Jurby
Daniel Gelling, Rector of Ballaugh
Henry Corlett, Vicar of Kirk German
John Crellin, Ep Regr
Daniel Mylrea, Curate of Kirk Andreas
William Clucas, Rector of Bride
Thomas Corlett Vicar of Lezayre
Alexander MKnight, junior