[from Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol2 #4 1926]


.P. G. RALFE.24th January, 1924.

The following notes refer to a document preserved in the Public Record Office, London, under the title: ' Patent Roll(Chancery), 20 Edward I m. q.'
It has often been mentioned in Scottish and Manx literature, and a partial translation is given in McKerlie's ' Lands and their owners in Galloway,1 but, so far as I am aware, no complete text has yet been published in a Manx work.
It reads as follows:_

Pro Johenne Camyn
Comite de Boghan.
Rex dilecto et fideli suo Waltero de Huntercumb,Custodi su(a)e Insul(a)e de Man saluten. Sciatis quod dedimus licenciam dilecto et fideli nostro John Comyn Comiti de Boghan quod ipse in minera nostra de Calf in Insula praedicta fodere possit minam plumbi pro octo turellis in castro ipsius Johannis de Crigelton et Galleweye cooperiendo. Et ideo vahis mandamus quad ipsum Johannem minam illam in minera praedicta quousque sufficienter foderit pro coopertura hujusmodi fodere et eam usque castrum suum praedictum absque impedimentosive occ(ursi)one (?) aliqua cariare permittatis. In cujus te T. Rex apud Berewyk sup Tweet XXVii die Jun~.
For John Comyn,Earl of Boghan.

The King to his beloved and faithful Walter de Huntercumbe, his custodian of the Isle of Man, greeting. Know that we have given licence to our beloved and faithful John Comyn, Earl of Boghan, that he may dig ore of lead in our mine of Calf in the Island aforesaid for covering eight turrets in the castle of the same John of Crigelton and Gallaweye. And, therefore, we command you that you permit the said John to dig the ore in the mine aforesaid so much as may suffice for covering in this manner, and to carry it to his aforesaid castle without impediment or other opposition. In testimony of which witness the King at Berewyk on Tweet, 27th day of June. (1292).

This document is interesting, not only as a reference to early lead-mining in our territory, but also as a link in the perplexed Manx history of the period, a witness of the relations of the Isle of Man to England and Scotland, at a time when its allegiance was sometimes exchanged between these countries

In 1270 the Scottish conquest of the Island had been completed at the battle of Ronaldsway.

In 1286 Alexander III of Scotland died, and, in 1290, his little granddaughter and heiress, the " Maid of Norway," died on her way to her throne, leaving the succession disputed by a crowd of distant relatives. Eventually, Edward I, the powerful and vigorous English King, was called upon to arbitrate, and. for this purpose, in June, 1291, a formal surrender of Scotland was made to him, the royal castles being placed in his hands. His decision was postponed until 7thNovember, 1292, Edward, in the meantime, treating Scotland as a subject country, and exacting oaths of homage from all the principal men. The licence to John Comyn was granted at Berwick during the final stage of his proceedings, while the competitors, who had been summoned to that city, on the borders of the two nations, were awaiting Edward's award.

But before the surrender of Scotland, by the year 1290, the Isle of Man had fallen into the hands of England. A curious letter exists, purporting to be written in the name of all the inhabitants of the Isle, in which they refer to Edward's having" received into his hands the said Island for its protection and defence, which was lately desolate and full of wretchedness,"and place themselves unreservedly at his disposal, " all remedies at law, and the customs of nations, being set aside."No mention is made of the rights of Scotland, and we can only conjecture the conditions which led to this strange surrender, dated from Rushen Abbey. In justice to Edward, it must be said that he seems to have looked upon his occupation of Man as a trust, and when he awarded to John Baliol the Crown of Scotland, the Island was made over to him.

John Comyn, Earl of Buchan, had succeeded his father in 1289, when he was more than 30 years old. In 1285 he had been one of the witnesses to a deed of donation by Alexander III, dated at Glenluce, giving Lezayre Church to the Priory of Whithorn. The principal estates of the Comyn family were in the North of Scotland, but they were connected with the old Lords of Galloway and had acquired considerable holdings in that territory also. They were, in general, devoted to the cause of the King of England, and every one knows the tragic story of the murder of the ' Red Comyn ' (a cousin of the Earl) by Bruce and his adherents in the church at Dumfries. Nevertheless, the Earl's wife, Isabella, sister of Macduff, Earl of Fife, deserting her husband's party, performed her family's hereditary office by placing the crown on the head of the outlawed Robert Bruce. By this she incurred in a special degree the resentment of King Edward, and soon after, falling into his hands, endured six years of captivity, being at first confined in a 'cage' on the turrets of Berwick Castle. After the triumph of Bruce, the power of the Comyn family was totally broken and the Earl hunted out of Scotland. He died in England about 1313. His relative or connection, Henry de Beaumont, was, in 1310, for a very brief time, and again in 1312, at least nominally King of Man.

Crigelton2 or, as it is now called, Cruggleton, is represented by slight remains. Some of us, as the excursion steamer passes from Burrow Head to Garlieston, have seen a single ruinous arch standing on a high cliff on the Wigtonshire shore, about three miles south of Garlieston and some 25 from the Point of Ayre. This scrap of building is all that now exists of the castle, a place very strong naturally and artificially. It occupied a rocky peninsula, cut off from the land behind by an artificial ditch. The traces ' seem to indicate an Edwardian castle of the 13th century, having a keep and subsidiary buildings, all defended by an enclosing wall,'3 as at Castle Rushen The ' eight turrets ' were, perhaps, on this outer wall.

Not much is known of the history of Cruggleton. It is supposed to have been a fortress of the Lords of Galloway. McKerlie thought it to be the ' strength on the Waters of Cree,' whose daring capture by William Wallace and his friend Ireland is so picturesquely related by ' Blind Harry,' but the minstrel's description does not apply well. We do not know whether Comyn held it on his own account or by commission from King Edward. Four years later we find the latter handing it over with other fortresses of South Scotland to Henry de Percy. When Robert the Bruce regained Galloway he gave it to Lord Soulis, who was soon executed for treason, and Cruggleton granted to the Priory of Whithorn. In the middle of the 17th century it was given to the Agnews of Lochnaw, and shortly after is described as ' wholly demolished and ruinous.'

In 1246 Harold Olaveson had granted to Furness Abbey the right of mining in the Isle of Man. This gift appears to be disregarded in the above licence.

The phrase, ' our name of Calf in the Island aforesaid, is noticeable. It is probably due to the ignorance of the scribe, who was not aware that the Calf was a separate islet. But there may be a possibility that the Calf Island is not the place intended. It is strange that lead for Cruggleton should besought at the point of Man most remote from Wigtonshire.

The mine is spoken of as already existing. Cumming and Lamplugh say that traces of both lead and copper are observeable On the Calf, and the former states that copper was sought for there by the Stanleys, and that traces of their labour remain. I am not aware that at the present day anything is to be seen which would lead one to believe that lead in quantities had been obtained. We shall probably never know whether Comyn got the desired supply.

In February and June, 1290, Thomas de Lou and others had safe-conduct from Edward I to the Isle of Man. In the later dated of these writs it is stated that they are about to come 'for lead (pro minera) for the works of our castles in Wales' (Talbot, ' Early Manx History,' 1893.) To Wales, of course, the Calf would be conveniently situated.


1 New Edition Vol. II, p. 329
2 The expression ' Crigelton and Galleweye ' is strange, but ' Castle'.. in the singular. seeming to show that one place only is intended.
3 'Inventory of Monuments, etc.', in Galloway.

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