[from Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol2 #3 1924]



29 November, 1917.

(i) Early Spellings of the Word ' Manx.'

in the course of editing the first volume of the Liverpool Municipal Records or 'Town Books,'(1) I came across the following entry, under the Mayoral year 1562-1563(2):-

'This yere mayster mayre bought a certen numbre of strykes of Manske barlie of mayster Henrie Stanley, gentylman, late capitaigne in thisle of Man, at iiis. id. the stricke.'(3)

Familiar by painful experience with the erratic orthography of the holder of the combined offices of Recorder and Town Clerk, by whom the volume was written, and quite unfamiliar with the history of the word ' Manx,' my first impulse was to suppose that the writer had, with his usual perversity, preferred to spell ' Manske,' instead of 'Mankse,' which, in the light of the modern ' Manx ' and the not yet disused ' Manks,'(4) seemed to be the natural spelling. A timely hint from Mr. P. M. C. Kermode, and a precautionary glance at the New English Dictionary, showed that I was mistaken, and that on this occasion, at any rate, the Recorder's spelling was to be treated with respect.

The N.E.D. has, in fact, one example, although only one, and that ten years later, of a spelling closely resernbling that of the Liverpool Recorder, viz., ' Maniske,' this, too, being what may be described as an 'official ' spelling, occurring, as it does, in a statute of the realm of the year 1572.(5) The Liverpool 'Manske ' (which occurs again in the ' Town Books ' a few years later(6)) has thus the merit, not only of being older, but also of being a slightly nearer approach than the example in the N.E.D. to the old Norse 'Mansk-r,' from which the word derives. Other similar sixteenth century forms could doubtless be found. One at least occurs, although disguised in the Chester records. In a report of the year 1575 on the number of poor people in that city there were returned as living in the Trinity Ward ' 17 householders of mariske and yrishe-40 Persons,' with men, women and children, whom [sic] hath beyne heare in Chester some of xi yeares, some more , some lesse.'(7) It hardly needs the light of the above-- mentioned statute of 1572 to make it evident that the mysterious word ' mariske ' is to be emended as ' manske,' of which it is clearly either a. scribal mis-writing or an editorial mis-reading.(8)

It is possible to carry the history of the word much further back than the 16th 'century examples which have been mentioned. It occurs, in fact, as a national surname three centuries earlier, namely, in a Latin text of the 13th century, the names of the Manxmen resident in Dublin at that period including an 'Alicia Manske ' and a ' Matiricius le Mansk,' alias 'le Maniske,' alias 'Mansek.'(9) With such a history, it can only be regarded as a misfortune that the old Norse 'Mansk-r' has, by way of the 13-16c. 'Manske,' and its variants 'Maniske,' etc., and the later ' Manques' and 'Manks,' ended in the present barbarous spelling 'Manx.' This is to be regretted all the more because there are indications that the word might have had a happier fate. For example, a form 'Mannish,' which is not mentioned in the N.E.D., and which indeed has not any parallel there, was used early in the 17th century by Bishop Phillips, the author of the first translation(10) of the English Prayer Book into the Manx language. There was thus a possibility that `Manske' might have given, not `Manx,' but a more euphonious 'Manish ' or 'Mannish,' by a process analogous to that which from the Danish word 'Dansk ' has produced, not 'Danks' or 'Danx,' but 'Danish.' [FPC: also occurs in 1428 Garrison Roll]

The mention of the last-named word is a temptation somewhat to extend the present note. Although it is only concerned, strictly speaking, with the spelling of 'Manx' in the 16th century Liverpool records, it is not really irrelevant to compare the spelling in the same records of the closely kindred word. Of that spelling more than one example occurs. Thus, in February, 1562/3, the agent of a London merchant came to Liverpool and made a town bargain(") of 'Danske rie,'(12) another bargain of 'Danske rie ' being made during the same mayoral year, October, 1562-October, 1563.(13) The same form occurs in connexion with a similar bargain of 'Danske rie' at Chester in 1588,(14) whilst at Liverpool again, two generations later, viz., in 1649, there is a like mention of a cargo of ' Dansk rye.'(15) In each of these cases the word represents, of course, the modern adjective ' Danish.' It occurs also, however, as a substantive. Thus, in the above-mentioned year, 1563, a ship of Hull arrived in Liverpool laden.with 'rie of Danske,'(16) the outcome of negotiations between the Mayor and one 'William Owthwayte of Danske,'(17) the word here meaning in both cases Denmark.(18) I have not found in the Liverpool records, so far as I have read them (viz., to about the year 1650), an example of the substantive 'Dansker,' a Dane, as in Shakespeare's Hamlet,(19) a substantive which, moreover, is not matched in the same records, nor apparently anywhere else, by a corresponding word 'Mansker,' a Manxman.

Although 'Danske ' has thus been in the long run more fortunate, from the point of view of euphony, than the sister word 'Manske,' its evolution has been such that its ultimate fate was for many centuries uncertain-whether it would end, as has actually happened, in an Anglicised form 'Danish,' or whether it would, like 'Manks,' remain truer to its origin in the form 'Danks.' The double tendency is clear from the forms in the N. E. D., which show on the one hand (inter alia) a 13-1q cent. 'Danshe ' and a 16th cent. Sc. 'Densch,' and on the other hand a 16-17 cent. 'Dansk ' or 'Danske.' That the danger of ending in 'Danks,' from which to 'Danx ' would have been only a step, was a real one is shown by a mid-17th cent. spelling 'Dancks ' which is not recorded in the N. E. D.,(20) and which is thus contemporary with the parallel spellings 'Manques ' and 'Manks ' mentioned above.

Thus the Norse 'Mansk-r,' successfully resisting the anglicising -sk to -sh influence, which would have led to 'Manish ' or 'Mannish,' has passed through 'Manske ' and 'Manks ' to 'Manx,' whilst the Danish 'Dansk,' yielding, on the contrary, to the English influence, has given not'Danks ' or 'Danx,' but 'Danish.' The explanation of this philological phenomenon lies doubtless in the sphere of phonetics, and is therefore beyond the competence of the present writer.(21)

(1)Vol. I. (circ. 1550-1570) is all in type, and will, it is hoped, be published shortly by the University Press of Liverpool for the University School of Local History and Records, under the auspices of the Corporation of Liverpool. It is therefore possible in the following notes to refer to the page of the printed volume, as well as to the folio of the MS. [The volume has been published since the present article was written, under the title 'Liverpool Town Books.' Proceedings of Assemblies, Common Councils, Portmoot Courts, &c. Vol. I. 1550-1571. (Liverpool and London,1918.)]

(2) More exactly 18th Oct., 1562-18th Oct., 1563, the mayoral year at Liverpool beginning and ending (until the Municipal Corporations Reform Act of 1835) on the annual Election Day, St. Luke's Day, 18th Oct.

(3) MS. Vol. I, f. 94 v. It will occur on p. 226 of the printed edition.

(4) As in the title of 111. P. M. C. Kermode and Prof. W. A. Herdman'sManks Antiquities.' It was, in fact, on seeing the mention of the publication of the second edition (1914) of this work, that I ventured to remonstrate with Prof. Herdman on the use of the archaistic spelling 'Manks.' In self-defence the Professor referred me to Mr. Kermode, who not only justified the spelling, but suggested that I should write a note on the subject for Mannin,' at the same time kindly furnishing me, as will be seen, with much of the material for it.

(5) v'iz., stat. 14 Eliz. (arr. 1572), c. 5, f. 34 : ' Yf any suche Maniske or Iryshe . . . Beggar . . be set on Land in any parte of England or of Wales.' (tit. N.E.D.) .The other forms in N.E.D. are the 17 0. 'Manques,' 17-19 c. 'Manks,' and 19 c. `Mankes, Manx.' It follows from the preceding note that the 20th century may be added to the period during which the 'Manks' form has prevailed. To the Dict. examples of 'Manks ' may be added another one from the ' Excellent Discourse of the Island of Man ' [by James Chaloner, see King ' in, the Dict. Nat. Biog. ] at the end of the original edition of King's Vale.Royall (London, 1656), vi z., in Chapter II ( Concerning the Inhabitants '), ll 4 ; ' as the Isle is named Man; so are the People styled Manksmen, and their Speech, Manks.' Cf. also a Liverpool town bargain [i.e., a communal purchase by the freemen of the town of an imported cargo] of 'beeffe from aboard a Manksman' (MS. Vol. III of the 'Town Books,' p. 388, 11th March, 1645/6),where Manksman ' means, of course, a 'Manks ' ship, as in the analogous expressions, a 'Frenchman,' a Spaniard,' etc.

(6) MS. Vol. II of the 'Town Books,' f. 114 r., an. ,1581, a presentment by the jury of 'the wyef of George Assheton for receiptinge [i.e., receiving harbouring] . . -Manske, Irishe and Northeron men, loiterers and quaines.' [i.e., queans.]

(7) R. H. Morris, Chester irr the Plantagenat and Tudor Reigns [Chester, 1893], p, 363, note, where it is remarked that the report is badly spelt and badly written.

(8) The word 'mariske,' thus mis_spelt, occurs again several times in the note in Morris. There was evidentla considerable colony of indigent 'Mariskes ' in Chester at the period.-

(9) Gilbert, Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin (Rolls Series), 1, PP. 477, 481, 483, 497, whence the names are (as pointed out to me by Mr. Kermode) cited by Dr. Alex. Bugge in his Contributions to the History of the Norsemen in Ireland, iii, Norse Settlements round the Bristol Channel (Christiania, 1900), p. 5. These examples are not mentioned in the N.E.D.

(10) In a letter of Feb., 1610/11, he refers to his work as 'the Mannish Book of Common Prayer by me translated.' See that work in the publications of the Manx Society, Vol. XXXII, p. xi, and see A. W. Moore, Sodor and Man (Diocesan Histories Series), 1893, PP. 135-137- It was Mr. Kermode who mentioned to me this use of the form Mannish ' by Bishop Phillips.

(11) See above, note 5.

(12) 'Town Books,' MS. Vol. I, f. 99 v. (p. 201 of the printed edition).

(13) Ibid, f. 99 r. (printed p. 227)-

(14) --Morris, op. Cit., p. 269, note.

(15) 'Town Books,' MS. Vol. 111, p. 484.

(16) 'Town Books,' \IS. Vol. 1, f. q9 v. (printed p. 202)-- - .

(17) Ibid, and also f. 100 r. (printed p. 204).

(18) N.E.D, gives only one example of 'Dansk ' meaning Denmark, slightly later than the Liverpool instances, viz., of the year 1568.

(19) I1, 1, 7, an. 1602, mentioned in N.E.D.-the only instance there given. There is a much earlier example, viz., 'the Danskers,' in Cal. State Papers, Domestic, 1547_1580 P, 314, under the year 1568.

(20) '100 quarters of Dancks' ,Rye' in Records of Nottingham, Vol. V., ed. Baker, 1900, p. 304, an. 1659. From the fact of his having printed Dancks' ' instead of 'Dancks,' as though it were a possessive case, instead of an adjective, it may be inferred that the editor misunderstood the word. He has no note on it, and merely refers to 'Bailey, iii, 856,' i.e., Bailey's Annals of Nottinghamshire [1853]. The reference is not very helpful, for Bailey has simply 'quarters of rye,' having apparently avoided the difficulty by the time-honoured device of a suppressio veri.'

(21) Mention ought, perhaps, to be made, although it is hardly pertinent to the foregoing, to the surnames 'Danish ' (i.e., the Dane, corresponding to the similar national surnames 'English,' 'Welsh,' etc.) and 'Danks,' the latter of which is, rightly or wrongly, explained by Bardsley, Dict. of Eng. and Welsh Surnames, and also by Harrison, Surnames of the United Kingdom, as a contraction of 'Dankins.' The parliamentarian fleet at Liverpool during the Civil Var was 'under the command of one Captain Danks or Dansk' (R. Muir, in Fict. Hist. Lane., IV, p. 21, with a reference to 'Carte, Life of Ormond,' 111, 190 '). In the light of the foregoing notes, the second of these two spellings suggests that the ' Dankins ' explanation of 'Danks' is not quite exhaustive. Neither Bardsley nor Harrison, it may be added, gives a corresponding surname Mansk,' Manks,' or Mannish.'

(ii) A Sixteenth Century Manx Apprentice at Liverpool.

Scattered about the pages of the first volume of the Liverpool 'Town Books' are a number of indentures of apprenticeship. With one exception, the apprentices bound are Liverpool youths; the exception being a certain Robert Davie (or David),(') of the Isle of Man, who, on 5th August, 1566, was bound an apprentice to the trade of a 'sclater,'(2) his master being Edward Wilson, of Liverpool.(3) Robert, who is said to be of the age of 'xviii yeres or ' (a blank space in the MS.), bound himself for a term of six years, 'duryng all which terme the sayd Edward byndyth [hym] to exhibite fynd and gyve unto the sayd Robert Davie meate dryncke and ludgynck holsome and honest, and alsoe vis- usuall monney of England for his apparell and clothyng, and to teyche the sayd Davie his occupacion, wyth certan other condicions expressyd in an orignall writyng in paper. . . .'

Unfortunately, 'sclater' Wilson's moral character was far from being beyond reproach, and as the apprentice would, in accordance with the custom of the time, live in his master's house, it is not surprising that, as the later records of the town show, the youthful Manxman proved to be no exception to the rule that 'evil communications corrupt good manners.'

(1) His name is written as 'Davie' in the text of the indenture, but in the margin as 'David.'

(2) A 'sclater ' is a slater, in the sense of a roofer or tiler, one who covers a house with `sclats ' or flat roofing-stones, or a mason, who builds a house or a wall of similar materials. See the New English Dictionary.

(3) MS. 1, f. 150 v. printed p. 529).

(iii) Sixteenth Century Governors and Deputy-Governors of the Island.

In the Recorder's entry of the year 1562-1563, printed above,(1) there is a mention of 'Mayster Henrie Stanley, gentylman, late capitaigne in thisle of Man.' According to Moore s History of the Isle of Man,(2) 'captain' or ' lieutenant ' was, until 1639, the usual title of the Governor of the Island. In Moore's account of Henry Stanley, Knight, Lord Strange, eldest son of Edward third Earl of Derby, and himself fourth Earl in 1572,(3) and in the article in the Dictionary of National'Biography, there is no mention of this ' late ' captaincy. Moore's list of 'Captains or Governors '(4) has, indeed, ' 1552 Henry Stanley,' followed immediately by ' 1570 Edward Tarbock.'(5) In the light, however, of the fact that the Recorder uses, in 1562-1563, the word ' late,' Moore's list would appear to be incomplete.(6)

Another entry belonging to the same mayoral year, viz., under date September, 1563,(7) introduces amid the alarums of war and the pleasures of the chase, both on land and sea, another scion of the house of Stanley, as a some time Deputy Governor of the Island, viz., Sir Thomas Stanley, Earl Edward's second son:-

' This yere warre was proclaymed in Fraunce, and noe wheare els. And syr Thomas Stanley, knyght and lieuetenaunt in the Isle of Man, and certen men of Chester that were victuallers, sett forth a shyppe of warre, Hugh Mason capitaigne, whoe at theyr comyng into Liverpole havon brought wyth theyme a prise of wadd [woad], fyne tullois [Toulouse] wadde, etc., to the value of [blank]. They came in about the xxiith daye of Septembre the erle myn olle lord of Darbie,(8) father to the sayd syr Thomas Stanley, beyng at theyr game and pleasure huntyng. The shypp shot off a noble peall of gones [guns], thick, thyck, une upon an other [blank], the lyke never herd in thiese parties of England and Wales. This priese was taken wythowt feight, and yeldyd wythowt dawnger or troble, as they mariners all confessed they were mariners and soldears in the shippe, but [unfinished].'

This Sir Thomas, who died in 1576, thus described in 1563 as ' lieuetenaunt in the Isle of Man,' duly figures in Moore's list of Deputy-Governors.(9)

(1) Page 251.

(2) 1900, VOLS. I, p. 223, and 11, p. 740-(3) Vol. I, Pp. 222-223.

(4) Vol. 11, p. 976.

(5) Edward Tarbock will occur on p. 448, note 3, of the printed edition of Vol. I of the Town Books.'

(6) It may be mentioned that near the end of the late T. N. Morton's annotated copy of Picton's 188, Report on the City Records, preserved in the Liverpool Corporation Muniment Room, there is a list of the 'Governors of the Isle of Man ' from 1417 to 1566. Some are called `Captain,' others 'Lieutenant,' and others 'Deputy-Lieutenant.' The last three in Morton's list (which gives no authorities, and must therefore be taken with reserve) are : 1552 Henry Stanley, Capt., 1562 T(homas) Stanley, Knight, Lieut., and 1566 Richard Ashton, Capt. According to Morton, therefore, Richard Ashton was Governor between Moore's Henry Stanley and Edward Tarbock.

(7) MS. Vol. I, f. 105, bis r. (printed page 224). The entry is also printed, but not very correctly, in Picton, 'Selections from the Liverpool Municipal Archives and Records, 1 (1883), p. 34, and Touzeau, Rise and Progress of Liverpool from 1551 to 1835 (1910), p. 53. There does not appear to be any mention of the incident in Morris's Chester (op. cit. above, p. 26, note 7)-

(8) i.e., the above-mentioned Edward, 3rd earl, who died in 1572.

(9) Op. cit., Vol. 11, p. 976.

(iv) The Isle of Man as a Port of Call between England and Ireland in the Sixteenth Century.

The various Calendars of State Papers (Domestic, Ireland, etc), Dasent's Acts of the Privy Council, and similar works doubtless contain mentions of the fact that, as was natural, the Isle of Man served as a kind of half-way house in the transport of troops, victuals, munitions of war, etc., from England to Ireland, a traffic in which Liverpool had, as the Patent Rolls, for example, show, already played a notable and profitable part in the Middle Ages. During the interminable Irish wars of the 16th century the role of Liverpool's ships and mariners is of increasing importance, and is fully comparable with that of its older and more powerful rivals, Chester and Bristol.(1)

The first volume of the Liverpool records contributes an illustration of the important function of the Isle of Man as a base for the military operations of the period. It occurs, not indeed in a municipal document proper, bitt in a registered copy of a commission by Queen Elizabeth, dated 4th July, 1566 on behalf of Giles Cornewall, the agent of the Earl of Bedford, governor of Berwick, for the transport of a number of troops from Berwick to Ireland, to assist in the struggle against Shane O'Neill.(2) The commission is addressed generally, and commands all the queen's subjects ' that you se the bearer hereof . . . to be furnished wyth all maner of thynges necessarie whiche he shall require by lande and by sea, for the conduccion and tra[n]sportacion of certen numbre of soldeors, wyth theyr captens, from Barwike to any porte of our seacostes towardes the Isle of Man, to be transportid into the sagd Isle, and from thence unto our realme of Ireland, upon reasonable prices to be made for victuals, cariages by horse or by carte, and for shippyng and all other necessarie thynges tendyng to the spedie conduction of the sayd captens and soldears from place to place untyll they shall aryve wythin our realme of Ireland. . '

Cornewall was at the same time furnished with an order by the Earl himself, dated 19th July, and likewise addressed generally, calling upon all the Queen's subjects to assist his agent, and to provide him with everything requisite for the fulfilment of his mission, for example, with post-horses at the rate of a penny a mile, the rate fixed by the Privy Council for the royal service.(3)

For the soldiers, often inland levies who had never seen a ship before, the half-way call at the Isle of Man must always have been a welcome break in the never too placid crossing of the Irish Sea. Too often, however, it was an unpremeditated and, when the sea was lashed by the storm, a tragic halt. For, when the frail barks of the Liverpool mariners, seldom exceeding fifty tons burden, were caught in the gale and driven. too near the island's rocky coast, there was but little chance of escape from shipwreck. The 'Town Books ' contain a graphic description of such a storm, and tell how in the winter of 1565 it scattered the ships which were conveying the retinue; treasure and personal belongings of the newly-appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland, Sir Henry Sidney,(4) whilst in his own letters Sidney relates his losses and his privations during his enforced stay at Hilbre, Beaumaris and Holyhead, as he impatiently waited for a favourable wind. Writing on December 17th, he laments how in the storm one of his ships 'in whych whas seven of my best horsys and mutch of my stuf, cast away at Wyrchyngton [Workington] in Cumberland. The men wear all saved, my horsys all kylled, my stuf all marred, and the bark broken. Another went with [i.e., went to, went by way of, made] the Ile of Man, laden with my stuff. What is becum of her God knowyth. . . .'(5)

Even after he had safely arrived in Dublin (13th January, 1565/6) his lamentations continued. A long letter of eighteen pages written from Dublin on March 1st to the Earl of Leicester about the situation in Ireland concludes with what is evidently a broad hint at compensation for 'myn one [own] lossys, whych I assure your lordship ys more than 1,500ll that ys quyte gon, besyde ii shyppes laden with my gooddy s and horsys, wherof one ys in the Ile of Man, and another I wot not whear, but thogh my stuf cum to me, I know it wyllbe marred. . ' Another letter, written only two days later to Cecil, repeats the same refrain : 'Sutch tempestys hath tormented thyes Irysh seas, as, if I had not taken the oportunyte of passyng [crossing] when I dyd, yea if I had omytted but 2 ouerys [hours], I had byn on that syde the sea yet. I assure you, Sir, uppon my honesty I lost woorth 1,500l, besyde 2 shyppes laden with my, horsys and stuf, wherof one ys in the Ile of Man, and hath ym thear thyes 15 weekys, and my stuf spoyled. The other I wot not whear, but I thynk at the Pyle of Faudrey,(6) whear, as I here, the marynarys have alredy sacryfyzed my horsys. . . .'

What was the ultimate fate of the bark which had taken refuge at the Isle of Man, or had been wrecked there (it is not quite clear what had really happened to it), does not appear. Nor can the present writer answer the question whether Sidney succeeded in obtaining compensation for his losses from the Queen. Judging from the frailty of her reputation for generosity, the presumption is strongly in the negative.

(1) On this subject see F. J. Routledge, Liverpool and Irish Politics in the Sixteenth Century, in the J. M. Mackay 'Miscellany (1914), PP. 142 seq.

(2) Cf. Routledge, op. cit., Pp. 148. 149-

(3) the foregoing two documents are on ff. 149 v. and 148 bis r. of MS. Vol. I of the 'Town Books,' and will be found on Pp. 547 and 548 of the printed edition, where further information is added in the footnotes. As far as I am aware, they have not been printed or calendared elsewhere.

(4) MS. Vol. I, f. 141 v. (printed pp. 291-298).

(5) This and the several other letters in which Sidney describes his unavailing efforts to cross the wintry sea, in order to take up his duties as lord Deputy at Dublin, are printed ibid., pp. 571-576, from the originals in the Public Record Office (State Papers, Ireland, Eliz. XV. and XVI).

(6) i.e., the Pile of Fouldrey, about a mile from the small island of Foulney, on the east of Walney Island, N.E. Lancashire.


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