[From Manx Soc vol 1 Sacheverell's Survey c.1692]
ALEXANDER, King of Scotland, informed of the death of Magnus, began to seize such of the out-isles as lay most commodious for him, while the affairs of this little Kingdom were wholly distracted, But Magnus, King of Norway, son of Aquinus, thinking to apply some remedy to them, sent his chancellor into Scotland, with orders to surrender the Isles of Arran and Bute, on condition he should peaceably enjoy the remainder. Alexander generously rejected the offer, with a protestation he would win or lose them all; and, in pursuance of it, began to reduce them singly. But the Manks tradition informs us that the widow of Magnus, a woman haughty, intriguing, lewd, and secretly in love with the Knight Ivar, who by the death of Reginald had cleared her own way to the Kingdom, now thought him the fittest person to supply the vacancy. There was no lawful successor, except the daughter of Reginald, and she a child. The danger from Scotland seemed pressing; but what will not love and the temptations of a crown persuade men to ? Ivar, therefore, in the vigour of his age, gay, generous, popular, the boldest. the bravest, the lewdest, and the best of all the natives, one that had virtues enough to save, and vices enough to undo a nation, readily embraced the offer, and Mary was secretly conveyed into England, with all the public deeds and charters, by those who had the care of her, equally fearing the danger from abroad and at home. Ivar vigorously prepares for the defence of his new acquired Government, and at least resolves to deserve, if not enjoy the Crown. But the Isle of Man could do little singly with the more potent Kingdom of Scotland; for Alexander, having now reduced all the out-isles, sends a numerous army under Alexander of Peasely and John Comyne, who landed at Rannesway, in the year 1270. Ivar, though much inferior in number (as being deprived of all assistance from abroad), received them with a resolution natural to the Manks nation; stoutly he fought, and as bravely fell with the expiring liberty of his country, and with him five hundred thirty-seven of the flower of the people. In memory of it this distich was composed, which, though it passed for wit in that age, is hardly to be reconciled to sense in this :-
"L decies, X ter, et pente duo cecidere,
Mannica gens de te damna futura cave."
This makes up the number 537.
Thus the Kingdom of the Isles was wholly reduced, in which the King of Scotland had spent four years - viz., from 1266 to 1270; which is the only means I can find of reconciling Mr. Cambden to himself(73), and agrees exactly with his Manks tradition. The King of Norway now seeing the Kingdom of the Isles lost, sent his chancellor a second time, either to redemand it, or compound for a tribute; the first was absolutely rejected, but, to end further disputes, a peace was concluded under several articles, of which the payment of 4,000 marks ready money, and 100 yearly, by way of tribute, were the principal; and no notice taken of Mary, the last of the family of Goddard Crownan, which had held the Government two hundred years, and were now succeeded by
Alexander, King of Scotland, who enjoyed it by a mixed title of arms and purchase, and governed by his thanes, or lieutenants, of whom the first was Goddard Mac Mannus, too honest a man to make a good governor in his prince's sense, who, for refusing to be concerned in the murder of three brethren descended from the former race, was removed, after he had held this station four years. To him succeeded Allen, a man that understood his King's pleasure better than how to govern his people well, imperious, cruel, hard-hearted, inexorable, too much of the bully for the governor, and too little for the soldier. The people, who till this time had followed their hereditary kings with. a cheerful, active obedience, by which they were enabled not only to secure themselves at home, but often to make conquests abroad, instead of the generous fierceness of their ancestors, now degenerated into a sullen, supine, passive negligence, and their only study was how they might legally disobey. This increased the thane's severity: for the more a people suffer, the more men of brutish and cruel souls insult. Till at last, grown desperate by their miseries, the natives universally rose against the Scotch nation, with a resolution either to extirpate them, or fall to a man themselves; but by the interposition of their good bishop (to whom the Manks tradition gives the name of Drito), they agreed to end the dispute by a combat of thirty on a side. The thane, who had been the occasion of the quarrel, as he stood spectator of the fight, was pressed to death by the multitude. The Manksmen lost the day, and their thirty combatants, with but five-and-twenty of the Scots. This seems to be the original of an ancient law for deciding controversies by prowess. This last struggle of the Manks nation made the Scottish King sensible of his false polities. He therefore sent over
Maurice Okerfair, a wise and worthy magistrate, one whose prudence made him reverenced in peace, as his honour in arms rendered him terrible in war, dreadful to the stubborn, tender to the poor, and merciful to the afflicted, in whom the exactness of the soldier gave an air and vigour to the laws, and the fineness of the gentleman softened their rigour in the execution. By an excellent mixture of moderation and severity, he made it his business to allay the animosities of the two factions, and so far succeeded, that he caused thirty cross-marriages to be celebrated in one day. He held the Government three years, and died 1282,, equally lamented by both nations; and was succeeded by one
Brennus, who pursued the gentle and moderate principles of his predecessor. He taught the people the art of fishing; but was himself soon after slain in some rencounter with the Highlanders, Anno 1287. He was succeeded by
Donnald, a person of great birth and reputation. How long he held the Government is uncertain, for in the year 1289 King Edward(74), in the eighteenth year of his reign, gave the Isle of Man, &c., to
Walter de Huntercomb, for upon the surrender of the Island by Richard de Burgo, who probably had been entrusted with it by one of the competitors of the Crown of Scotland(75), King Edward the First, in the eighteenth year of his reign, committed the custody of this Island to the aforesaid Walter de Huntercomb, a very brave and honest man, who the year following, by his master's order, surrendered it to John Baliol, King of Scotland, with a salvo, notwithstanding, to King Edward's right, and that of all other pretenders(76). Whether he was ever possessed of it doth not appear, for the Scottish nation was at this time greatly embroiled by the factions of Brace and Baliol, competitors for that crown; and King Edward chosen as arbitrator of their differences, and being at Perth, or St. John's Town, Mary, the last of the former family, made her claim, and offered to do her homage for the Isle of Man; but was answered, she must claim it of the King of Scotland, who then held it(77).
It appears, by petition to King Edward I. in Parliament, Anno 33 of his reign, that while this Isle was in the hands of John Baliol, King of Scots, Mary, the wife of John de Waldeboef, presenting her right to the Isle of Man, was answered, she must prosecute it before the King of Scotland, who then held it; but she dying in the prosecution, the right descended to William, her son and heir; and from him to John his son, who then claimed the Isle of Man, and the adjacent isles, as true and lawful heir, and was answered, "Let it be heard in the King's Bench, and justice done."
In the thirty-fifth year of the aforesaid Prince's reign, there is a memorable record, extant in Mr. Prinn, of our King's right and seizure of the Isle of Man for his use.
King Edward I., soon after dying, was succeeded by his son, the second of that name, who made no less than three grants in one year to so many of his favourites - Percy de Gaveston, Gilbert de Mac Gaseall, and last to Henricus de Bello-Monte; the grant to the last is to be seen at large in Mr. Challoner. My Lord Cook likewise tells us of one Symon Montacute, who had intruded in the sixth of Edward the Second, for which he was attached to answer at the suit of the King, but the proceedings thereupon we find not; but how he came by it, the following instrument will declare:-
INSEQUENTEM CHARTAM EX CHARTULARIO DE CASTLE-ACRE, P. 180, CITAT ROGERUS DODSWORTH, COLLECT.-7 VOL. 30, P. 114.
AUFRICA DE CONNOGHT heres terre de Man, omnibus amicis et hominibus suis ejusdem terre salutem et dilectionem. Cum nos de bona et grats voluntate nostra dederimus et concesserimus totam hereditatem nostram, et jus nostrum in terra predicta de Man, nobili et potenti viro Simoni de Monteacuto, Militi, sicut plenius continetur in quadam carta quam nos sibi inde fieri fecimus, vos diligenter rogamus, et vobis omnibus mandamus, quatenus predictum dominum Simonem tanquam dominum vestrum proprium benevolenter recipiatis, facientes etiam sibi quiequid nobismet ipsis facere volueritis, et etiam de jure facere debueritis si nos fuissemus inter vos praesentes. In eujus rei testimonium has presentes literas nostras vobis fieri fecimus patentes, sigillo nostro sigillatas. Datum apud Brugewater, in comitatu Somersetensi, die Jovis vigilia Annunciationis Beatae Mariae Virginis, Anno Dom. MCCCmo quinto. (33 Ed. I.) -In dorso istius Chartae, Litera -Donationis Dominii del Ylle de Man.
Upon the dispossessing of Henry de Bello-Monte, the custody thereof was granted to Gilbert de Mac Gascall during pleasure, who, having expended one thousand two hundred fifteen pounds, three shillings, and fourpence in defence of it against the Scots, and likewise laid out three hundred eighty pounds, seventeen shillings, and sixpence in victuals, which he delivered to the governor of the Castle of Carlisle to victual it against the Scots, both these sums were allowed him upon his petition, and ordered to be paid.
It is probable King Robert Bruce ended the controversy, who, in the year 1313, sat down before the Castle of Rushen, which for six months was obstinately defended by one Dingay Dowyll, though in whose name we do not find. Some ascribe this action to Edward Bruce, brother to the King. Not long after it was granted to Robert Randolph, Earl of Murry, during whose government, in the year 1316, Richard le Mandeville, with a numerous train of Irish, landed at Rannesway on Ascension-day, demanding victuals and money, which being denied them, they divided themselves into two troops, and under the hill Warefield (now Barrowl) found the natives drawn up; but their spirits so debased by their loss of liberty and frequent change of masters, that they made little or no resistance. So much it is a prince's interest to have his people believe they have something worth defending.
The conquerors grievously spoiled the whole Island and Abbey of Rushen, and after a month's stay returned into Ireland. After this, the Scotch writers tell us of a grant to the Duke of Albany, the year uncertain; and lastly to Martholine, the King's almoner, Who was sent over to take care of the business of religion and reformation of manners, then wholly degenerate. He wrote against witchcraft (a practice too frequent in those days), and, for the better circulation of business, is said to have minted a certain copper coin with the King's effigies on the one side, and a cross on the other side, with this inscription, "Crux est Christianoram gloria." To say truth, we have so little certainty of those times, that we rather expose their ignorance than inform ourselves Only this is certain of all hands, that
In the seventh of Edward II. this Island was retaken by the Scots, and John de Ergarda, a potent man in this Island, and his family driven from thence, after great losses sustained, into Ireland; whereupon the King writ to his justice, chancellor, and treasurer of Ireland, to allow him a competent, maintenance, who soon after returning with some forces, expelled the Scots, and restored the King's authority; upon which the King Writ to his officers in Ireland to allow him his expenses, and a competent maintenance for himself, his family, and soldiers. Teste, the King, Anno octavo Regni sui.
Sir William Montacute, in the year 1340, conquered this Island from the Scots. Mr. Cambden says he was descended from the ancient Kings of Man; but the Manks tradition tells us expressly he was married to Mary, daughter to William Waldeboef (who entered his claim in Parliament in the thirtythird year of Edward the First), and consequently grand-daughter to Mary, the last of the family of Goddard Crownan. This lady coming into England with her grandmother's deeds and charters, cast herself at the feet of King Edward the Third. That generous Prince not only gave her his protection, but married her to Sir William Montacute, whom Speed styles the chief star in the firmament of England, for he was magnanimous, affable, active, generous, even to a fault, and his merits had acquired him the esteem of the greatest of our English monarchs. The King gave him both soldiers and shipping, to prosecute his lady's right, which he did so successfully, that in a short time he reduced the Island from the Scottish Government; and the Manks tradition says that excellent Prince caused him to be crowned and styled King of Man, Anno 1344, according to Daniel and Stow. But, as the gaining a man's right often costs him more than it is worth, he had contracted so vast a debt that he was forced to mortgage the Island to Anthony Beck-, Bishop of Durham, styled Patriarch of Jerusalem, for seven years, a proud, busy, crafty, covetous prelate, of little good nature, but abundance of grace; and as usurers generally gripe hard when they have got possession, he obtained a second grant from Richard the Second for his life(78). After which,, this Island devolved on William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, who Anno 1393 sold it to Sir William Scroop, chamberlain to the King, as appears by record:-
" Wilhelmus le Scroop emit de domino Wilhelmo Montacuto Insulam Euboniae, id est Manniae. Est nempe jus ipsius Insulaa; ut quisquis illius sit Dominus, Rex vocetur, cui etiam fas est corona aurea coronari."
This Sir William Scroop, afterwards Earl of Wiltshire, had all the vices of a great statesman-subtle, fawning, false, designing, timorous, unjust, covetous, and ambitious, and, to support his own authority., misled a weak prince into a separate interest from his people, which in the end proved the ruin of them both; for the nobility, not able to support his insolence, rose against the King, though unsuccessfully, among whom the great Earl of Warwick, a true maintainer of the English liberties, was banished to the Isle of Man, but soon after recalled; for the Duke of Lancaster (afterwards King Henry IV.) landing in England, was universally received by the nobility and people, and Sir William Scroop, Earl of Wiltshire, had his head struck off without any formal process, for misgoverning the King and kingdom; and the Island was granted by King Henry IV. to Henry Piercy, Earl of Northumberland, upon condition he should carry the Lancaster Sword, with which he was girt when he entered England, on his left shoulder at his own coronation, and his successors the Kings of England for ever. This earl was a hot, enterprizing, haughty, and ambitious man, a zealous asserter of the power of the nobility. for which he fell under an attainder, but was not long after restored to all his lands and honours, the Isle of Man only excepted, of which he was deprived by Act of Parliament. At first the Island was ordered to be seized into the hands of Sir John Stanley(79) and Sir William Stanley, for the King's use only; but in the sixth of Henry IV. the King made a grant to Sir John Stanley for life, in the month of October, and on the 6th of the ensuing April Sir John delivered up the said grant to be cancelled in Chancery; and the King, in consideration of the said surrender, re-granted the Island to him, his heirs and successors, with the Castle and Peel of Man, and all royalties, regalities, franchises, &c., with the patronage of the bishopric, in as full and ample a manner as it had been granted to any former lord, to be held of the Crown of England per homagium legium, paying to the King, his heirs and successors, a cast of falcons at their coronation, after such homage made in lieu of all demands, customs, &c., whatsoever, An. 1403.
The English nation had rendered itself famous for its valour during the reign of the First and Third of our Edwards; but in that of King Richard, a prince of no martial genius, the ancient military honour was very much debased. Sir John Stanley was almost the only chevalier of that age; he had visited all the Courts of Europe as far as Constantinople, where the Manks tradition tells us wonders of his triumphs and his loves; at last, returning into England, he was followed by a French combatant, who challenged the whole English nation. Sir John accepted the challenge, fought, and killed him in the King's presence. This raised his reputation among the sons of Mars, and no doubt gave him the secret good wishes of the ladies; among these was the heiress of Latham, beautiful, young, and rich, which justly rendered her the envy of her own sex, and the adoration of the other. Sir John declared himself her knight; for her he fought, and every combat was a new addition to his triumphs; at last he married her, with the unwilling consent of her father, who was that famous child that had been found in the eagle's nest. The story thus :-The Lord of Latham, and his lady, being childless, as they were walking in the park, heard a child crying in an eagle's nest; they immediately ordered their servants to search the eyry, who presented them with a beautiful boy, in rich swaddling clothes. The good old lady looked on it as a present sent from heaven, ordered it to be carefully educated, and gave it the surname of Latham. He was knighted by King Edward the Third by the name of Sir Oskatell Latham, and left the sole heir of that vast estate. He had only one daughter, named Isabella, who by marriage brought the honours of Latham and Knowsley, with many other lordships, to Sir John Stanley, whose youth gave him all those fine qualities that compose a generous hero, an exact courtier, and a just lover, and whose age ripened him into a profound statesman, a wise patriot, and an honest politician. He was by King Henry the Fourth made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, a post, as of great trust, so of great hazard in those unsettled times; so that we do not find he was ever in this Island, or how long he was master of it. He was likewise treasurer of the household to the King. It is probable he died Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, Anno 1413; a man truly great, and a honour to his country. He was succeeded by his son,
Sir John Stanley, King and Lord of Man, as I find him styled in our earliest records, for before his time we have none extant. He came into this Isle, Anno 1417, which I find to be dated " Anno quarto regalitatis nostroe," which was the ancient style of our court rolls. It is probable he had been here in his father's time to receive the homage of the people, and left one John Letherland lieutenant(80), or governor; but now returning in a mature age, and wisely weighing that a just regulation of the laws are a lasting happiness to a people, and the best security of a prince. In this important case he consults their oraculous deemsters, deep-sighted and knowing in the laws, and how to make them speak their Lord's pleasure. By their advice, the whole body of the people were convened at a place in the centre of the country, called the Tynwald, where every creature, even the halt and blind, were to come, and receive the King of Man's pleasure. This court is held sub dio, after the ancient manner of all the northern nations, where the Lord is placed on the top of a little rising, or barrow, surrounded by his people, who, with an awful silence, wait the future fate of their nation in the promulgation of their laws, which from the birth of time had been locked up in the breasts of their magistrates. First, therefore, they declare to him the orders of the assembly, which I shall give you from the original record in the ancient English of that age(81) :-
" Our doughtful and gracious Lord, this is the constitution of old time, the which we have given in our days, how ye should be governd on their Tynwald day. First, you shall come thither in your Royal array, as a king ought to do, by the prerogatives and royalties of the land of Man, and upon the hill of Tynwald sit in a chair, covered with a royal cloath and quishions, and your visage unto the east, and your sword before you, holden with the point upward, your barons in the third degree sitting beside you, and your beneficed men and your deemsters before you sitting; and your clerk, your knights, esquires, and yeomen about you in the third degree; and the worthiest men in your land to 'be called in before your deemsters, if you will ask any thing of them, and to hear the government of your land, and your will; and the common to stand without the circle of the hill, with three clerks in their surplices; and your deemsters shall make call in your coroner of Glanfaba, and he shall call in all the coroners of Man., and their yardes in their hands, with their weapons upon them, either sword or ax; and the moars, that is to wit, of every sheading. Then the chief coroner-that is, the coroner of Glanfaba--shall make a fence, upon pain of life or lymme, that no man make any disturbance or stir in the time of Tynwald, or any murmur or rising in the King's presence, upon pain of hanging and drawing. And then shall let your barons and all other know you to be King and Lord; and what time you were here you receiv'd the land as heir-apparent in your father's days, and all your barons of Man, with your worthies men and commons, did you faith and fealtie, and in as much as you are, by the grace of God, now King and Lord of Man, ye will now that your commons come unto you, and shew their charters how they hold of you, and your barons that made no faith nor fealtie unto you that they make now. And if any of your barons be out of the land, they shall have space of forty days after that they are called in to come shew whereby they hold and claim lands and tenements within your land of Man, and to make faith and fealtie, if wind and weather serve them; or else to seize their temporalities into your hands. And then to proceed in your matters, whatsoever you have there to do in felonie or treason, or other matters that touch the Government of your land of Man."
Having thus settled the order of the assembly, which, from the place, they call the Tynwald, they next proceed to acquaint him with the duty of the people, as their keeping watch and ward (a caution very necessary in those troublesome times), the power and authority of his lieutenant, that all his deeds be firm and stable; that no man depart the Island without his license; then for regulating his garrisons, with his dues upon fishing, carriages, and his bailiffs' duties; the power of his coroners., with several rules for letting his estate (which I shall treat of in its proper place) ; that his council are in all things to move for his profit; and conclude in a most severe sentence against treason, as drawing, hanging, and quartering, without any benefit of inquest. These are the oldest records we have extant, and may truly be called the original of their laws, to which the people, by a universal acclamation, gave their assent. His affairs called him soon after into England; but, considering that nothing tends more to the improvement of a country than a just and secure tenure, which has since met with divers changes equally injurious to the Lord and people, he left Thurstan de Tyldesly, a wise and severe magistrate, and Roger de Haysnap, his commissioners, with instructions to settle the people. It is more than probable that Goddard Crownan (notwithstanding his covenant upon his conquest) had given them some sort of fixed tenure, but upon the reduction of the Island by Alexander, King of Scotland, it is likely it fell upon the Scottish bottom, where the grand charter only is fixed, the rest loose and uncertain, by which means the country was laid waste, the soil impoverished, while it was nobody's interest to improve it. In the last Tynwald it had been given for law, that no man should occupy the Lord's land, but he should pay the full value. And for the better security of the Lord and tenant, four able and sufficient men were sworn in every parish, who were called the Setting Inquest, to provide tenants for all such estates as were then unoccupied. These were sworn to deal uprightly betwixt the Lord and his people, and for that time they were only tied for such a term of years as they could agree; and if they placed an insolvent tenant, they were to pay the rent themselves; and such tenants so placed the May following had their names entered in the court rolls after the manner of the English copyholds, and the occupancy given them by the delivery of a straw, which was the custom of all bargains in England in those ages, from whence our lawyers use the word "stipulate," because the contract was ratified per traditionem stipulae. In the year 1422 there was an after-law made, that there should be no abatement made of the Lord's rent, except in great necessity. These were thought great points in those days, and the people cheerfully sat down on those lands (which by other future laws were ordered to descend from father to son, or, for want of such son, to the eldest daughter, or next of kin), and began to build, and make some small improvements, to promote which the better, there was an order made, which at least allows, if not commands, the enclosing their respective farms; and the Lords, for their farther encouragement, complimented them with the kind words of title, descent, inheritance, heirship, that the people might believe their country worth improving and defending; so that by degrees they came to be reputed customary tenants, and paid only a small gratuity - viz., a single rent on the change of every Lord, instead of fines(81); and the better to secure this tenant's right, and prevent those inconveniences that always attend ill husbandry, there was an after-law made, that no man should sell, mortgage, or alienate any such lands without the consent of the Lord or his officers, upon penalty of three pounds to the Lord, and the vacating of any such bargain. But if, notwithstanding these precautions, any such farm fell to decay, proclamation was made three Sundays for the next of kin to challenge his tenant-right; after that it was free for the best chapman, or if none such was found, the eldest son of some better farm was bound to uphold the rent; therefore, the farmer's son is called the Lords treasure; but upon the taking possession of his own farm, he had free liberty to leave or retain them both at pleasure.
The commission determined with the year, and John Fasakerly, Esq., was sent over as Lieutenant, Anno 1418, under whom we have several odd law cases, affairs being yet unsettled; but Sir John Stanley now resolved to put a finishing stroke to his new Government, and returned into Man Anno 1422. It is probable he had sent John Walton, his Lieutenant, to prepare things for his own coming over; but whether the people suspected him of any ill designs toward them, as frequently happens in all changes of government, or whether it was the effect of pure brutality, or the fear of novelty, many of the best of the Island rose against him; so that Sir John Stanley, instead of finding the country in a posture of receiving him, saw nothing but disorder and confusion. He therefore resolves on another convention of the people, which was held., as follows from the original record, at Reneurling, in Kirk Michael :- In the which Court the Bishop of Man was called to come to do his faith and fealty unto the Lord, as the law asketh, and to show by what claim he holdeth his lands and tenements within the Lordship of Man; the which came and did his faith to the Lord. The Abbot also of Rushen, and Prioress of Duglass, were called to do their fealty, and to show their claims, holdings, lands, and tenements within the Lordship of Man; the which came, and did their faith and fealty to the Lord. The Prior of Whitern, in Galloway, the Abbot of Bangor, the Abbot of Sabel, and the Prior of St. Bede, in Copeland, were called in, and came not; therefore they were deemed by the Deemsters that they should come in their proper persons within forty days, and if they came not, then all their temporalities to be seized into the Lord's hands. After this, he confirmed all such laws as had been reduced to writing. In the same Court all such as rose against the lieutenant were sentenced to death, according to law, without any formal trial by inquests; but the number being great, those that submitted to the Lord's mercy were pardoned. The same year, on the vigil of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin, he convenes them a second time at his Castle of Rushen. The points of treason and the homage of his barons had been concerted in former assemblies; they now proceeded to the outlawries, and the several branches of his regality; to name them all would be endless; I shall only mention some few, of which one, relating to aliens, seems very particular:-
"If any alien die in your land of Man, and maketh not faith and fealty, whose tenant soever he be, the Lord shall have his goods; and if such person maketh a testament, it standeth of no force."
This law hath been repealed by the present Lord, as inhospitable, and prejudicial to commerce. Another, against sanctuaries, seems very remarkable, considering those times:-
" If any man has done any point of treason, and taketh sanctuary, the sanctuary shall not avail him by the law of Man."
The Lord is sole patron of the bishopric and all parsonages and vicarages, three only excepted, which are under the patronage of the Bishop.
In the ancientest of our records he is styled "Metropolitan and Chief of the Holy Church;" therefore no lapse can be taken against him for not presenting in due time, for it is his prerogative(82).
All fines and forfeited bonds in the Spiritual Court are his by his prerogative.
There lies no appeal to the Arches of York; but if any person is aggrieved by the sentence of the Spiritual Court, he may appeal to the Staff of Government, or the Lord; and if the Lord take the case to himself, or commission his prime officers to determine it, it is called "The Lord's Prerogative Royal;" and the person, though under excommunication, is to be delivered up to the Lord. In these senses only prerogative can be properly used; and it seems strange a word so invidious, and that makes so much noise in the world, should be so little understood.
By the advice of his Deemsters and four-and-twenty Keys, he may make such laws as tend to the good government of his country, and repeal others. But this seems remarkable: he has power of rejecting any person from serving as a member of the assembly(83), according to a decree made this meeting, as appears by record :-
" Also we give for law that there were never twenty-four Keys in certainty since they were first called Taxiaxi. These were twenty-four freeholders-to wit, eight in the out-isles, and sixteen in your land of Man. And that was in King Orry's days; and since they have not been in certainty; but if a strange point will come, which the Lieutenant will have reserved to the Tynwald twice in the year; and by the leave of the Lieutenant, the Deemsters there to call of the best to his Council in that point as he thinks fit to give judgment; and without the Lord's will none of the twenty-four Keys to be."
Lastly, the Lord hath power of holding courts in his own name; may hang and draw in his own jurisdiction; and chiefly can pardon for life.
His right of Admiralty was likewise asserted in this assembly., as wrecks, royal fish, &c., are his by his regality. But this I find more at large in my Lord Cook, from the report of Kellway, Surveyor of the Court of Wards in the eleventh of Henry the Eighth.
It was found, by inquisition. that Thomas, Earl of Derby.' tempore mortis suae, was seized of the Isle of Man, upon which Anne, Countess Dowager of Derby, by her council sued to have dower of the said Isle; to which Blundell, Chief Judge, ex assensu., Brook, Fitz-Herbert, and of all other the council of the King, said that the inquiry was merely void; for that the Isle of Man is no parcel of the realm of England, nor do they use the law of England; and it is like unto Tournay, when it was in the King of England's hands; and unto Normandy or Gascoigne, which are merely out of the Chancery of England, which is the place, and no other, to endow the widow of the King's tenants. But the Isle of Wight is made parcel of the county of Southampton, and Wales and Ireland are parcels of the realm, and a writ of error or judgment given there erroneously, lieth here in England; but for such an erroneous judgment given in Man, Gascoigne, and Callice, no writ of error lieth in England, for they be no parcels of the realm of England. This case being read at the council table to all the lords, it gave full satisfaction to the whole board; that the Admiral of England had not to do in the ports of Man, but that the Earl of Derby is Lord of Man and Admiral of the Isle.
It may not be improper here to remark that Reginald, who was the first that submitted to the Crown of England, did it upon express condition that the admiralty of those seas should belong to him; which gives a fair origin to the Earl of Derby to claim the same jurisdiction.
Besides all this, he is absolute Lord of the soil, and immediate landlord of every man's estate (some few barons excepted), so that, reserving his homage to the Crown of England, no prince bath a more full and ample authority.
These points established, he next proceeds to settle the civil polity of his Government, of which his officers make the principal figure, and his Lieutenant, or Governor, his own immediate representative.
It had been provided by the third law they ever passed, that all his deeds be firm and stable, he bath power to call a Tynwald when he pleases, or any other court, to swear inquests, and no court to be called without his warrant.
He is sole Chancellor, and if any man rise against him sitting in court. or any other place where he represents the Lord's person, or constrain him to hold a Tynwald to put down the Lord's prerogative, he is a traitor. He hath likewise the sole military power, may place or displace all officers in garrison or otherwise, and whoever robs him of his horse or arms, or beats his servants either in his presence or forty yards of his person. or breaketh house on him, or any of the Lord's council, in his presence, is a traitor.
Whoever speaks ill of him, forfeits ten pounds and his ears; whoever falsifies his token (which, by peculiar custom of the country. is made on a slate-stone, with one or two letters of his name), and has the same force as the Lord Chief Justice's warrant in England), forfeits three pounds to the Lord.
He hath a superintendency in all courts, as well ecclesiastical as civil. and may fine either bishop or archdeacon, or any of their officers acting contrary to law.
Sometimes, besides the Governor, there bath been a Captain General, but I suppose this only in cases of great emergency.
The next officer is the Receiver-Gener:il, or Treasurer of the island ; there were formerly two, one for each division. He hath the charge of the revenue; he is one of the Lord's standing council; pays all salaries of the civil list; but if he paid any bills without the comptroller's allowance, he formerly forfeited his salary, now he only runs the hazard of having it disallowed.
This office is executed by commission.
The next officer is the Comptroller. He is one of the Lord's council; always sits with the receiver, both on receipts and payments; he charges and discharges him, and all accountants, and is one of the auditors of the general accounts ., in all offences capital or otherwise, committed within the garrison, he may impannel a jury of soldiers; sits sole judge, although it be in trials for life. He is likewise clerk of the market, and ought to regalate weights and measures. He is head searcher, and hath his deputies in every port. He is Clerk of the Rolls, and hath the custody of the records, and enters all pleas in the several courts, whether they be the Lord's, Bishop's, Abbot's, and Baron's, &c., and has his yearly fee in each of these courts.
The next officer is the Water-Bailiff, who is in the nature of Admiral of the Island. He holds Admiral Courts on all emergencies ; he may impannel juries, arrest ships on any complaint, and sits judge in things relating to marine afairs. He has likewise the care of the customs, fishing, wrecks, and is one of the Lord's standing council.
The last officer is the Attorney-General, who is likewise one of the Lord's Council; sits in all courts to plead for the Lord's profit, as sueing for forfeitures, seizing and disposing all felons' goods. He likewise takes care of all deodands, waifs, estrays, forfeitures, and casualties, and disposeth of them to the best for the Lord's profit, for which he stands yearly accountable at the audit. He is likewise to plead the causes of all widows and orphans, they giving him twopence for his fee.
All the above-mentioned officers act by commission during the Lord's pleasure, and had formerly their diet in the family, where a constant table was kept both for the officers and soldiers; they are justices of peace by their places, and are in all things to move for the Lord's profit; and the Governor may call the said Council to his assistance as often as he thinks fitting or need require, either for service of the Lord or country.
The Deemsters are the first popular magistrates, and never were reputed part of the family. They sit judges in all courts, either for life or property, whether the court be held in the Lord's name or any of his barons. They have always been two-one for each division of the Isle, they are styled in the ancient court rolls, Justicarii Domini Regis; whether they have their names from the old word to deem, or think, or to doom, or condemn, I cannot be positive. By the advice of the twenty-four Keys, they may, in all new and emergent causes, declare what the law is, and all such laws so declared were formerly called "breast laws;" and in some measure they seem to keep up the old authority of the Druids.
By the ancient law, if any man accused the Deemster of maladministration, he forfeited life and limb. The process used by them is the same with the Governor, viz., a slate-stone, with one or two letters of their names made on it, for which formerly they had certain fees due to them, as likewise a share in all felons' goods; and to counterfeit or misapply this token or process, is highly penal in their laws.
After the Deemsters, the Twenty-four Keys are the representatives of the country, and in some cases serve as the Grand Inquest of the nation. They are the last traverse in all cases of common law, are present at all trials for life, and, in conjunction with the Governor and officers, make the legislative power of the nation. By a very ancient law it was provided that none of the Lord's feed-men should serve as one of the Twenty-four Keys.
They were anciently called Taxiaxi, as appears by a statute quoted in the Lord's prerogative; and for the manner of their election in those ages, you will find in the succeeding Tynwald. Subordinate to these are the Coroners of each sheading, or subdivision, who act in the nature of sheriffs.
Each parish hath likewise an officer called a Moar, who is the Lord's Bailiff; and each of these hath a subordinate officer, not worth the naming.
Sir John Stanley, having thus opened the laws and settled the magistracy, found it now requisite to fix the manner of their Courts of Judicature. I have already spoken so largely of the Tynwald, that I now studiously omit it. The other courts are usually held twice in the year-viz., about May and Michaelmas. The first are called Sheading Courts, and are in the nature of our court leet and court baron; these are held for the Lord's profit, and relate to all breaches of the peace. All presentments are here made upon any violation of their laws or public orders. Immediately after these, or rather with them, are held the Common Law Courts, where all actions relating to men's properties are tried. These courts were formerly held in every sheading, distinctly, to the great ease and benefit of the people. Immediately after these follows the Great Court, or the Court of Gaol Delivery, in which are managed all trials for life, and perhaps there is no place in the universe where men have a fairer trial. The Governor presides, assisted by the Lord's officers, with the Bishop and his clergy. The Deemsters sit as judges, with the four-and-twenty Keys to advise with in case any new matter arise. The criminal must be first found guilty by the Grand Inquest; after this, a peculiar jury of four out of every parish in the Island is impannelled, and he may make his exceptions against fifty-six, and no more; but if he suspects his case, he may put himself to the Lord's mercy, and the Lord, by their ancient law, grants him his grace, if it be for felony; but if he stands his trial, when the jury bring in their verdict, the Deemster asketh them whether the Baldpates, viz., the clergy, may sit? If the foreman answer No, then the bishop and clergy withdraw, and the man is found guilty; if otherwise, he is absolved. But if the felon be a baron's tenant, the steward of the barony may demand the prisoner, and try him in the Baron's Court, and the forfeitures are the baron's, but the disposal of the body the Lord's. There is likewise another court, called the Debet Court, in which all fines are set. There is also an Exchequer Court, which is held as often as the Governor pleases, or occasion requires. It is likely many of those courts were from all antiquity; but by his own peculiar, institution the Court of Chancery was erected, which then was to be held weekly, as may appear by his body of instructions yet extant in our Statute Book. At present it is kept monthly, or oftener if occasion require. The Governor sits sole Chancellor, and may call the Lord's Council and the Deemsters to advise with, as he sees proper. All actions are entered in the Comptroller's offices, of which the plaintiff presents the Governor a copy, who grants his token upon it. The defendant may refuse to appear three court days, but on the fourth is brought in by a soldier, and the matter heard and determined. So speedy is the justice of this nation, of which the world perhaps hath not a parallel.
Sir John Stanley having thus fixed his laws, his magistracy, and courts of judicature, and being now called into England by affairs of importance, the better to preserve his Government in peace and security, he left an excellent body of instructions, which show a masterly genius, yet extant in our Statute Book. I shall name only some of them.
The first is against the misgoverning of the laws and the partiality of officers, that the laws be executed without rigour, with a salvo to his own prerogative; that they be careful in setting his estate, without increase or abatement of his rent; for holding the Court of Chancery weekly; against exporting of money; against bribery, pride, and dissention among his officers; with several wise regulations in his economy and household affairs; all which show him a man of great prudence, and worthy of a nobler province. For, returning into England, he was declared Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and it is probable Walton continued his own Lieutenant here. The disorder at his first coming over had given a very inauspicious omen of his future conduct; for, notwithstanding all these wise laws and excellent regulations, which one would have believed might have contained the people in their duties, but more have taught the magistrates how to to govern themselves better, all things fell again into disorder and confusion; the officers quarrel among themselves, and agree in nothing but neglecting their duties, injuring their Lord, and oppressing his people.
Sir John Stanley, being duly informed of the general neglect of his affairs, and the great disorder caused by his own absence, sent over Henry Byron, his Lieutenant, a man of great prudence and severity, Anno 1428. He immediately, with a resolution becoming his station, sets about a thorough reformation of all abuses. John Coate was at that time comptroller, one whose education towards the law had given him all the knavish part, without any of the understanding-insolent, drunken, brawling, hare-brained, a blockhead, a zealot, always mistaken, running himself into every man's business, neglecting his own, worrying the people with his Lord's authority, but always to serve his own interests or passions. By the duty of his station, he was to sit judge in these disorders, of which he had been the principal cause; and, by the Governor's power, an inquest of four-and-twenty soldiers was sworn, and both the constables, the receivers, and several other officers are found guilty, but the comptroller himself much more. This convinced the Lieutenant that the most zealous are not the most disinterested servants ; and, as his justice would no more suited him to protect an ill officer than expose a good one, he took the judgment of the whole cause into his own hands, and, upon the verdict of the inquest, both the receivers, both the constables, and the armourer are found guilty, and displaced; and the comptroller himself upon no less than nine several articles, of which most were treason, yet was only dismissed his employment. The Lieutenant having thus begun with the regulation of the officers, next proceeds to the reformation of the people. The law for ending of controversies by prowess had been the occasion of great disorders, therefore he convenes them at the Tynwald, 1429, where, by universal Consent, that law was abrogated, with several regulations for measures, servants, and other inferior matters. Whether he had observed some discontents in the manner of electing their representatives, or whether he thought it for the real honour and interest of his master to have the ancient legislative power restored, he calls another assembly the year following, 1430, and ordered six men out of every sheading, or hundred, to be chosen by the whole body of the commons, out of whom he elected four, which from the six sheadings composed the twenty-four, and by their entreaty all former laws were confirmed. So that the completing the ancient number is wholly owing to the favour of this family, and seems the last finishing stroke of the settlement of this little state, by which the people are to be governed under the honourable House of Derby as long as an English Act of Parliament can have the force of a law, which all good men will wish may hold till time itself shall be no more(84).
A CATALOGUE OF THE GOVERNORS OF THIS ISLE SINCE SIR JOHN STANLEY'S TIME TILL NOW.
|John Letherland, Lieutenant
|John Fasakerly, Lieut
|John Walton, Lieut
|Henry Byron, Lieut.
NOTE.-I find no records from this time till the year 1492.
|Peter Dutton, Lieut.
|Henry Ratcliffe, Abbot of Rushen,Deputy
|Randolph Rushton, Capt.
|Sir John Ireland, Knight, Lieut.
|John Ireland, Lieut.
|Randolph Rushton, Capt.
|Thomas Danisport, Capt.
|Richard Holt, Lieut.
|John Fleming, Capt.
|Thomas Sherburn, Lieut.
|Henry Bradley, Deputy-Lieut
|Henry Stanley, Capt.
|George Stanley, Capt.
|Thomas Stanley, Knight, Lieut.
|George Stanley, Capt.
|Thomas Tyldesly, Deputy
|William Stanley, Deputy
|Henry Stanley, Capt.
|Thomas Stauley, Knight, Lieut.
|Richard Ashton, Capt
|Thomas Stanley, Knight,. Lieut
|Edward Tarbock, Capt
|John Hanmer, Capt.
|Richard Sherburn, Capt.
|Cuth. Gerrard, Capt.
|Thomas Martinier, Deputy
|NOTE.-1591 Richard Aderton was admitted and sworn Lieutenant under the Captain, by my Lord's directions, for all martial affairs.
|The Hon. Wm. Stanley, Capt. (afterwards Earl of Derby)
|Randolph Stanley, Capt.
| Sir Thomas Gerrard, Knight, Capt.
Cuth. Gerrard, Deputy
| Thomas Gerrard, Knight, Captain
Robert Mollineux, Deputy
| Cuth. Gerrard,, Capt
Robert Mollineiux,. deputy
|Robert Mollineux, Capt.
|John Ireland and John Birchall, Governors jointly, by patent from the King
|John Ireland, Lieut. and Capt
|Robert Mollineux, Capt.
|Edward Fletcher, Deputy
|Edward Fletcher, Governor
|Sir Ferd. Liege, Knight, Capt
|Edward Fletcher, Deputy
|Edward Holmewood, Capt.
|Edward Fletcher, Deputy
|Edward Christian, Lieut. and Capt.
|Evan Christian, Deputy
|Sir Charles Gerrard, Knight, Capt
|John Sharpless, Deputy
|Ratcliffe Garrard, Capt.
|Sir Phil. Musgrave, Knight, Bar.
|Samuel Smith, Deputy Governor
|Note.-That my Lord Fairfax made Commissioners for the governing of the Isle this year-viz-James Challoner, Robert Dinely, Esq., Jonathan Witton, Clerk.
|Matthew Cadwell, Governor
|William Christian, Governor
|James Challoner, Governor
AFTER THE RESTORATION OF THE KING.
| Roger Nowell, Governor
Richard Stevenson, his Deputy
|Henry Nowell, Deputy for one part of the year, and Thomas Stanley for the other part
| Bishop Barrow, Governor
Henry Nowell, his Deputy
|Henry Nowell, Governor
|Henry Stanley, Governor
|Robert Heywood, Governor
|Roger Kenyon, Esq., Governor