BISHOP WILSON usually has had the credit or discredit of creating in the Diocese of Sodor and Man the system of Chapter Quests, and other Ecclesiastical Courts, by which our ancestors near a couple of centuries ago had perforce either to " comport themselves as becorneth " or to run the risk of occupying for a space the Bishop's Prison which is under St. German's Cathedral at Peel. The system of church censure began, of course, long before Wilson's time. The "present-rnents" recorded on this page were made by the Chapter Quests during the time when Isaac Barrow, John Lake and Baptista Levin occupied the See. Thomas Wilson was not in the Diocese until 1698, but when he did come he perfected the system to such an extent as to call forth from Lord Chancellor King the remark: 'If the ancient discipline of the church were lost it might be found in all its purity in the Isle of Man.'
For the more effectual suppression of wickedness the churchwardens and Chapter Quests were often admonished to make diligent enquiry and constant presentments. Monthly meetings of the Wardens and the Quest, or Courts of Correction as they were frequently called, were held in most parishes in order to deal out the discipline of the Church.
The following accounts of "Presentments" were transcribed by Mr. David Craine, M.A., from the Episcopal Register in the Rolls Office:
Document No. 168
Robt. Hanton and Mitchall Kelly for absentrig themselves from the publique worship upon the Lords day in time of divine service and seere to bestow that precious time discourseing or consulting together in the ffeilds to the encouragement of unstable psons and offence to good and sincere Christians.
Censured to one Sunday penance to acknowledge their error and p'ntisse reformacon.
Document No. 169
Rich. Quirke psented for saying the curse of a widdow man about Henry Ratclife house and about his fire.
1 d(a)y and to ask forgivenesse.
Document No. 170
"We doe present the church doore for being opne one nigth."
Document No. 171
John Carrets head broken and ruinringe blood . . . Hugh Wood, under age, did it by throwing a stone vollentary.
The sumner is orderd [by the wardens and Chapter Court] to bring him to the pish church and whipp him in the afternoone after evening prayer.
Document No. 172.
Wm Taylor presents himselfe for selling beare in tyme of Divine service on Sunday w(he)n ye Minister was at prayers and he being warden absented himselfe from prayers.
Because of his ingenious acknowledgint he is remitted promiseing reformation sub poena 2/6 p future.
Document No. 173.
The minister's wife not haveing the service of the church red her in English and not understanding the Mankes absents herselfe till the pish will aloes halfe the service to be red in English and then she will duely observe the servise.
To pmisse reformacon.
Note.-The Vicar of -Kirk Lonan in 1669 was the Rev. Charles Parr. He became, in 1670, Rector of Ballaugh.
Document No. 174,
Dan Cowle for cursing Pat Keneen saying tht the Devil might eat him out of his Close if he did not keep his cattle out of his Corn.
John Brew for smileing and winking at others in the church in time of service as often is observed.