[From Manx Soc vol 11 - Waldron's History] 


[W. Harrison].

Notes 56 to 81

NOTE 56—page 39.

"Cattle markets."—Waldron says, "No person is permitted to bid money for any beast, until the Lord's steward has had the refusal." There is no Act to this effect. In 1594, some orders were published with reference to markets; by these, "noe strangers, nor any countryman for them, shah buy any comodities of the countrey forth of the marketts, nor yet in the marketts before the markets bed be range, upon Paine of imprisonment and fine to the Lord." Item. " That no man shall sell any come to the stranger, but first they shall tender the same, or sufficient part thereof, to the markett, that the countrey may be first served." The next regulation in the statute book respecting markets is by Act of Tynwald of 1637, which relates to " engrossing, forestalling, or regrating" and that no person shall " engross and buy out of markets in private houses or places, any come, graine, cattle, provision, or other goods, and sell the same againe or export" without the consent and licence of the Lord, upon forfeiture of the same.

NOTE 57—page 39.

" Yarding."—At a court held at the Tynwald, by Henry Byron, Lieutenant, in 1429, it was ordained, " that servants be free once in the year, that is to say, at Allhollowtide, to serve at what place they will upon our Lord's several grounds."

In the book of the Customary Statutes, it was given for law, 13th July, 1577, " that the Deemsters ought to have one choice servant out of every Sheading at Allhollowtide, and likewise at May for maid servants, or more if it be needful for them."

" That Moares ought to have their choice servants within their parishes at Allhollowtide, and likewise at May a woman servant."

" That all instituted Parsons, and Viccars of third, or Vieears of pension, ought to have his bridge and staff, that is to say, if they have a man servant that cometh to them of his own free will, he ought not to be taken from them". Alsoe we give for law, that if any of the Lord his tenants be destitute of servants, and come and make his complaint to the Deemster, that he can get none to occupy my Lord his land withal!, then the Deemster is to send to the Coroner and to the Lockman of every parish, and to swear four honest men in every parish to enquire first of vagrant servants, and to serve the greatest rent first, and then every man according to his rent; and if there be no such servants, and if such need be, then he that beareth 5s. rent unto my Lord is to serve him that beareth 10s. rent, rather than the Lord his land fall to decay."

By the Act of Tynwald of the 24th June, 1662, it is enacted " that the Coroners of this Isle, who for many years past, by some favourable permission, and no customary law, by statute have had the benefit of yarding of three servants within their sheddings to the aggrievance of the country, shall for the future have but the benefit of one yarded servant within their sheading, after that the Deemsters and Moars are served for theirs; and it is ordered, ordained, and enacted, that the servants yarded for the Deemsters, and Moars, and Coroners, shall be proclaimed and made known at the parish church or cross where such servants then reside, the Sunday next after the days of warning between the farmers and servants, viz. Michaelmas day, and Lady day in Lent or the second Sunday after at the furmost, whereby the farmer may timelye know the same, and may with more security and convenience provide himself of other servants; otherwise in default of such notice the said officer or officers soe neglecting not to have the benefit of such yarded servant for that yeare, but be at liberty to serve where he or she pleaseth; and that from the 24 Keys their household hired servant shall not be taken from them by any yarding."

" That any man servant or maid servant that shall serve any of the said officers for one yeare by way of yarding, shall for four years after be freed from such (by part) too much injunction and bondage, and be at liberty for the said terme to serve upon Lyre wheresoever they please within the Isle."

By an Act of 1747, the law touching yarded servants was repealed for the space of three years.

By the Act of 1763, "the wages due by law to yarded servants is found to be very insufficient, it is therefore enacted that henceforth yarded servants waged shall be augmented, and that a man servant shall be intituled to have and receive the sum of forty shillings, and a maid servant shall have twenty shillings for their year's servitude, any former law or custom to the contrary hereof notwithstanding."

Persons refusing to comply with the yarding authority of the sumner, were committed to prison and kept on a daily allowance of one barley cake and a pint of water till they yielded obedience to perform their service. There was a customary ordinance that the porridge or sollaghyn of a yarded servant should be so thick that the potstick would stand upright in the centre of the pot immediately before dishing the porridge, and the cakes given to a yarded servant were required to be as thick as the length of a barley corn.

These laws and usages are now fallen into oblivion.

NOTE 58—page 40.

" To their compassion alone."—This appears to be not exactly correct, for in a case of incest, in the parish of Lezayre, between a brother and a sister, which had been dealt with as far back as Dec. 4, 1712, and continuing disobedient, they were excommunicated, the vicar reporting " that he found them very unconcerned, and continuing together in the "father's family." Their sentence on the 29th October, 1713, is to be committed " to Peel Castle, the one to St. German's close prison, the other to some other close room, such as the constable shall appoint, from whence they are to be delivered, body and goods, to the Lord of the Isle, according to the custom of this Church in these important and extraordinary eases." From this it would appear that the Bishop had in the Castle other rooms at his command besides that technically known by the name of his prison. —See Keble's " Life of Wilson," p. 310.

NOTE 59—page 40.

" Stone token." —It was not necessary that the Governor's name should be marked on them. The Deemsters used them, and probably other judges also. The party issuing the token scratched or marked the initials of his name on the piece of stone or slate, and gave it to the plaintiff, who- either showed it to the defendant, or got it served by the Coroner in the nature of a summons.

By the Act of 1651, " whosoever shall hereafter counterfeit or make false use of the Governor's token he shall forfeit 20s. to the Lord's use, and suffer imprisonment during the Governor's pleasure; and whosoever shall counterfeit or make false use of the Deemster's token, he shall forfeit 10s. and suffer also imprisonment during the Governor's pleasure." By the Act of 1763, the granting of stone tokens was considered " unbecoming the authority and solemnity of a court of justice," and that from this time "the granting and issuing of stone tokens shall absolutely cease and be discontinued."

NOTE 60—page 40.

"A kind of Lawyers."—At the time Waldron wrote, there were no recognised lawyers in the Island. He is corroborated by Bishop Wilson with respect to the class of men alluded to. The Bishop was very severe in his censures upon them. (See his Sermon xlix. in Cruttwell.) He refers to Camden's account of the Island, who remarks that the people are free from the " frivolous feeing of lawyers," &c. " every man pleading his own cause." The Bishop then draws the distinction of the (then) times. Again, (in Sermon lit preached before the Tynwald,) he refers to them as " designing men," and says " the generality of those who take upon them, to manage causes, have nothing so much in view as their own gain," &e., and expresses a hope that the Government will be awakened " to regulate at least, if not to silence them, and to bring us back to our old constitution, where every man pleaded his own cause," Do. ~

The evil complained of by Waldron and the Bishop appears to have been remedied in the year 1763 when the first legislative enactment respecting lawyers was passed. The preamble of the enactment (included in an Act for various purposes) runs thus—" Whereas much litigiousness and contentions are fomented and carried on by several ignorant and evil-minded Persons who Provoked law suits and pretended to practice as attorneys therein, though altogether unqualified, to the great trouble of the Courts," &e., and " the detriment of the public," &c.; and it then enacts that no person shall, after the promulgation of the Aet, plead in any cause or act as attorney, " until he be first duly approved of and admitted by the Governor, Officers, Deemsters, and Keys, or a Committee of them, and afterwards sworn in the Court of Chancery,"— with exception in favor of Attorney-General and the Keys, who are not to be affected or restrained.—Mills, p. 339.

NOTE 61—page 40.

`'Sheeding Courts."—(Sheading) These are now known as the Common Law Courts, and are held four times a year in the northern and southern districts of the Island, namely, at the terms of Hilary, Easter, Trinity, and Michaelmas. The particular days are regulated by Act of Tynwald, 1777; the districts and sheddings comprised in such districts, by Act of Tynwald, 1797; and an alteration in the days, by Act of Tynwald, 1800.—Mills, pp. 363, 392, 402.

NOTE 62—page 40.

Court of Chancery."—In former days there was a Chancery Court weekly. By an ordinance passed in the year 1422, it was ordained that the Chancery Court should sit every Monday. This was confirmed in 1661. It now sits regularly once a month, (except in the months of January, August, and September,) but the Governor as Chancellor, has power to order special courts at such times as he may think fit.

NOTE 63—page 41.

"A bridle."—The description of this instrument of punishment is curious. It was prescribed by the customary laws of the Island, and was used to check slander. In March, 1714, it was threatened to be used on a man, and, "in addition to standing for one hour in the market, the Court will order him to wear the bridle also; the punishment which the law has appointed for such as take upon themselves lewd crimes which they have not been guilty of."

It is recorded in a memorandum in Bishop Wilson's handwriting,— " June, 1714. I ordered a bridle to be made, as a terror to people of ill tongues; and it is now brought about the circuit by the General Sumner, and lodged in his hands for the time to come."

A somewhat similar instrument was used in various parts of England for the punishment of scolding women; it was also called " the branks." Dr. Plott, in his History of Staffordshire, 1686, says, " They have an artifice at Newcastle-under-Lyme and Walsal for correcting of scolds, which it does too so effectually and so very safely that I look upon it as much to be preferred to the ducking-stoole, which not only endangers the health of the party, but also gives the tongue liberty 'twixt every dipp, to neither of which this is at all liable, it being such a bridle for the tongue as not only quite deprives them of speech, but brings shame for the transgression, and humility thereupon before 'tie taken off; which being put upon the offender by order of the magistrate, and fastened with a padlock behind, she is led round the town by an officer, to her shame; nor is it taken off till after the party begins to show all external signs imaginable of humiliation and amendment." They still preserve a pair in the town court of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where the same custom once prevailed. In the Court Leet records of various towns in England, during the 16th and 17th centuries, repeated allusions are made to these modes of punishment, and orders made for their reparation. An early notice of the use of the bridle or brank is that which is recorded in 1623, as existing at Macclesfield, and is still to be seen in the town hall, and has been used within the seemly of an aged official of that town. In various parts of Scotland they were used as an instrument of ecclesiastical punishment for the correction of scolds and slanderous gossips, and are mentioned in the records of Glasgow as early as 1574.

The bridle is made of thin iron, passing over and round the head, and fastened behind byes padlock. The bridle bit is a flat piece of iron about two inches long and one inch broad, which goes into the mouth and keeps down the tongue by its pressure. A specimen of the " Bishop's brank;' is sketched and noticed in the Abbotsford edition of The Monastery.

 There are no remains of the wooden horse or stang in the Island, but the whipping stocks were in use. At a Tynwald Court held on the 24th June, 1610, it was enacted, " That as any man or woman shall be found drunk hereafter, the party so offending, if not of ability to pay a fine, shah for the first time be punished in the stocks; the second time to be tyed to the whipping stocks, and the third time to be whipped therein." In 1629, the wooden horse was ordered to be used for various offences.

NOTE 64—page 41.

" Tongue then hast lied."—In 1708, at a convocation, a person incurred sentence for defamation, as follows:—" Whereas John Robinson, of Kirk Arbory, without any regard to the respect due to magistrates and persons in authority, has presumed falsely and audaciously to say, That Mr. Deemster Parr was a church robber, which scandalous words tend very much to his defamation, it is hereby ordered that the said John Robinson shah be immediately committed to St. German's prison, there to continue tin he give in sufficient security: do three Sunday's penance after a very solemn and humble manner, viz.: one in Kirk Arbory, one in Kirk Christ Rushen, and one in Kirk Malew: and in each church humbly ask forgiveness of the said Deemster Parr, and lay his finger on his mouth, saying, ' Tongue, thou hast lied ;' and all along so demean himself as becomes a true penitent, and to behave himself for the future respectfully towards the said Deemster; And all this under penalty of forfeiting the bond to be given before his enlargement.

THO. SODOR & MAN, with his Archdeacons and Vicars-General."

The man soon after made his submission in Kirk Arbory church, which was read to the congregation in Manx, the Deemster being present. The other two days were remitted.

NOTE 65—page 41.

" Hedges they have none."—By the ancient customary law the inhabitants were not obliged to fence their lands, except from Lady day tin Michaelmas. Various enactments have been made to provide for these. In 1583 the fences were to be five feet high, and by an Act of 1691, they were to be five feet and a half high, with a trench at the bottom of one foot and a half deep; and a fence of six feet high where a trench cannot be made. The width at the foundation was six feet, often more, and the top about two feet, generally planted with gorse, which when in bloom has a splendid effect. The fences in the Channel Islands are made much after the same manner.

NOTE 66—page 42.

" Medals."—The plate containing a representation of some of these will be found in the folio edition of 1731, but not in the edition of 1744. A reduced copy has been made for the present reprint by Mr. Dean's photographic process, which gives a fair representation of the original plate, but in order to verify them it is to be regretted that the editor has been unable to meet with any of the coins or medals in the cabinets of colleetors to which he has had access. This has caused considerable doubt to arise in the minds of various numismatists respecting the validity of them, some asserting they are a fiction of Waldron's brain, being neither coins, medals, nor perhaps not even secret pass tickets.

It is scarcely probable that Waldron would invent these designs for the sake of mystifying the readers of his work, or puzzling the antiquarians of a future day; and " to doubt them altogether," as a correspondent remarks, " might be premature, for at the time Waldron wrote his remarkable history he might be in advance of his age without being fully aware of the future value of such researches; he may not have been a good draughtsman, and it seems more probable they are the product of an imperfect conception and worse execution of some real originals. The Rev. C. W. King, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, author of " Antique Gems," and of " The Gnostics and their Remains," regrets his inability to give any definlie information on the subject. He says, " They seem to me to be merely tavern tokens, belonging to the class issued by thousands all over Great Britain between 1650 and 1700, and this is the opinion of the most experienced numismatist in England, Mr. G. Eastwood, to whom I showed the plate. In No. 1, the female head is evidently copied from Mary's or Anne's on the shilling; the chequers on the reverse are the common device of such tokens: so is the tankard on No. 2. The legends on some of Waldron's pieces are numerals repeated for the sake of filling up the space. No. 4 I take to be masonic;the triangle, sheaf of arrows, and nail, are all known symbols of the craft; the building on the reverse may imply the lodge. I doubt much of No. 1 being in gold, much more likely 'twas a gilt counter. Perhaps the angel's head, star, queen's head, &e. were the signs of the taverns issuing the counters."

In a communication from the Rev. J. G. Cumming, he says, "that Mr. Syers Cuming thinks it just possible that Waldron may have had some foundation for these strange designs which seem to have been used towards the close of the seventeenth or early part of the eighteenth century, and appear to bear tavern signs. Thus No. 1 may be the queen's head with the cheekers or draught board on the reverse. No. 2 has a wassail cup, and may be the sign of the golden cup; the reverse displays a die or perhaps a draught board. No. 3 has the blazing star or the comet, the crosses on the reverse being evidently derived from the early silver coins of Scotland. No. 4 may give a view of the establishment where the piece was issued. No. 5 the angel's head, or the three creseents; and No. 6 the maiden's head or the hand."

John Garland, Esq., F.S.A., of Swinton near Manchester, also coincides with this opinion. " That they are simply tavern tokens bearing tavern signs. We know little or nothing of Waldron's authorities, but if they ever had an existence it is probable some of the originals may yet turn up and their true character become known."

The want of an authorised money as small change was severely felt in the early part of the seventeenth century. This induced the tavern keepers, as also other tradesmen to issue their own tokens. " Abbey pieces" and " Nuremberg counters" were issued by the great monastic establishments. The abbey pieces were large, about the size of a florin, and generally had a religious inscription in Latin around them. The ."Nuremberg Counters" have sometimes a counting table on one side, and an emblematical device on the other. They originated at Nuremberg, and were imported in large quantities into England. The name of one maker, "Hans Krawinekel" is of most frequent ocourrenee. Mr. John McMeiken, of Castletown, is in possession of one of these which had been found at Rushen Abbey, and Waldron may possibly have taken his sketches from originals found in the same locality, although he makes no mention of Rushen Abbey in his work.

A large number of coins and other treasure have at various times been discovered on the Island. Mr. Joseph Train states that, in 1780, a number of silver coins of William the Lion, who began his reign A.D. 1165, was dug up; the coinage of that reign was not known to antiquaries before that time. The learned Snelling thinks these coins were struck in the Isle of Man, but Cardonnel, the celebrated Scotch antiquary, is of a different opinion. In 1786, near the church of Lonan, two hundred and thirty seven pieces of silver were found. A coin of Ethelred II. who succeeded his half-brother Edgar in 979, was found in the north end of the Island; and several Danish coins were found in the neighbourhood of Castletown, one of them of Canute the Dane, who ascended the English throne in 1017. These were presented to Professor Torkelin, when he visited the Island in 1789. In 1835, a large quantity of silver coin was found near Balnabarna in the parish of Maughold; and in December, 1842, about two hundred silver coins struck in the reign of the Norman Edward, were found in a field on the Howe, near Douglas. Nearly equal portions of them appear to have been struck in London, York, and Canterbury. A gold noble of the reign of Edward III. was discovered at Slegaby in the parish of Onchan.

In 1852, a very large discovery of silver Anglo-Saxon coins of the reign of Ethelred II. was made at the top of a hillock near Brada Head, in the parish of Rushen. They were all of one king, and of the " crux" type, though minted at widely different places; at London and York, at Bath, at Lewes and Winchester. The description of one coin will answer for that of the whole. Obverse.—Within the inner circle, the king's bust in profile, regarding the right: the head unfilleted, the bust robed; in front, a sceptre surmounted by three pearls. Inscription— AEDELRED REX ANELOR. The outer circle crenated. Reverse— CEOLNOD M-O, LYND. Within the inner circle, a cross voided, in the angles of which are the letters C. R. V. X. Most of them were melted down, but some few came into the hands of Mr McMeiken, who is in possession of various other coins found in the Island.

Treasure thus found belonged to the Lord in virtue of his prerogative, and, that no doubt might be entertained on the subject, it was given for law, as may be seen in the Exchequer Court Book, anno 1586, by the Deemsters and twenty-four Keys, "That any treasure whatsoever being found and secretly hidden under ground, either within the house or without in the fields, or in the thatch of the house, or within any covert place, to the end to defraud the right heyres, or for any other fraudulent intent or purpose, shad be the Lord's, as a prerogative due unto his Lordship by the lawes of this Isle."

In a recent discovery, 1864, of a large number of silver pennies of the time of Henry III. John and William the Lion, of more than 6,000 found at Eccles near Manchester, upon the circumstance being communicated to the Crown authorities, the Solicitor to the Treasury in his reply stated them to be " Treasure Trove," " and as such the property of Her Majesty, by virtue of the Royal prerogative. There is no Act of Parliament under which the Crown's title is derived. Her Majesty is entitled under the common law of England."

In the Isle of Man the Crown would now claim the same prerogative as the ancient Lords or Kings of Man. The Treasury now give, upon these "finds" being delivered up to them, the intrinsic value of the metal, (as they did in the case of the Eccles find,) whereby many coins and treasure are preserved for historical data, instead of finding their way to the melting pot as formerly.

NOTE 67-page 43.

" Water Bull."-The tarroo-ushtey or water bun is also to be met with, according to Macculloch's Description of the Western Isles, in Loch Awe and Loch Rannock. Train in his "History of the Isle of Man," vol. II. P. 146, 1845, mentions several instances of his having lately been seen in the parish of Onchan. Mr. Campbell says, in his Tales of the West Highlands, " There are numerous lakes where water bulls are supposed to exist, and their progeny are supposed to be easily known by their short ears. He is generally represented as friendly to man. His name in Skye is tarbh eithre."

NOTE 68-page 44.

" The Nunnery."-Scarcely a vestige of this ancient structure remains. The view given by Chaloner in his Treatise, in 1656, and which has been photographed in the Manx Society's 10th vol. 1863, does not convey the magnificence which our author endeavours to make us believe in his description of the place. It is much on a par with that given of Peel Castle. St. Bridget, who was born in 453, is said to have been the founder.in the early part of the 6th century. It is said she died in 523, and was buried in this nunnery, and her body was afterwards transferred to Downpatrick, and laid beside the remains of St. Patrick and St. Columba. The prioress of Douglas was a baroness of the Isle, and held her own courts, temporal as well as spiritual. Waldron has overlooked Rushen Abbey entirely, of which there were much more extensive remains than of the Nunnery.

NOTE 69-page 44.

" Where the Present Major has his residence."-The Nunnery, at the time Waldron resided in the Island, belonged to the Heywoods. Capt. Thomas Heywood resided at the Nunnery in 1724, of whom mention is made in note 42, p. 100. He was presented for fornication, and refusing to comply with the censure passed on him, was excommunicated on the 22nd July, 1725. He appeals to the Earl of Derby, who remits his forfeitures, and ultimately submits to the Bishop, and becomes his attached helper and watcher in his last illness.

The Major mentioned in the text was Major-General John Wood, who married Leonora, the widow of Peter Heywood, (Attorney-General of the Isle of Man, who died 24th July, 1699,) on the 19th August, 1700, at the Nunnery. Both are buried at Kirk Braddan. It was through this lady the Heywoods became possessors of the Nunnery.

The Heywoods were a very ancient Lancashire family, having been settled at Heywood, near Bury, as early as the reign of Edward I. (1273). Peter de Heywood, of l:leywood, died 15th Edward I., to whom Adam de Bury granted the lands in Heywood, whose descendants continued upon them until 1717 when the estate was sold to John Starky, of Rochdale, gentleman.

Their first connection with the Isle of Man was on Peter Heywood, of Heywood, Esquire's marriage (before 1640) with Alice, daughter of John Greenhalghe, of Brandlesome, Esquire, Governor of the Isle of Man, and whose son and heir, Robert Heywood, of Heywood, was Governor of the Island in 1678. His son, Peter Heywood, born 10th June, 1662, Attorney-General of this Island, married Leonora, only daughter and heiress of Hugh Cannell, Water-Bailiff of the Isle of Man, (son of John Cannell, one of the Deemsters, who was son of Hugh Cannell, vicar of Kirk Michael,) by Margaret his wife, daughter of Captain Robert Calcott, alias Caldicott, of the Nunnery, married 1st December, 1685. His eldest son, Robert Heywood, of Heywood, clerk, sold the estate of Heywood, in 1717, and died unmarried, 1741. Peter Heywood, second son, also died without issue in Jamaica. Thomas Heywood, the third son, who gave so much trouble to the Bishop as alluded to in the note, was born in August, 1698, became Speaker of the House of Keys, and died 25th June, 1759, and was buried at Kirk Braddan. He married Hester, daughter of Robert Reeves, of Dublin, merchant, and had a large family; his eldest son, Peter John Heywood, becoming one of the Deemsters of the Island. He, in 1777, conveyed the Nunnery estate to John Taubman, of Castletown, Esquire, the ancestor of the present owner. The original grant from Adam de Bury of the lands in Heywood, the foundation of the evidences of that estate was, in 1782, in the possession of this Peter John Heywood, of Whitehaven, Esquire, and is at present in the possession of Edward Caryl Fleetwood, of the town of Douglas, Esquire, whose mother was Miss Eliza Heywood, niece of Peter John Heywood of the Nunnery, and sister to the late Deemster, John Joseph Heywood, who died at Bemahaghe, on the 26th May, 1855, Mr Fleetwood having married his second cousin, Eliza Heywood, a granddaughter of the before named Peter John Heywood of the Nunnery.

Mr. Fleetwood is also in the possession of the pedigrees tracing their descent from their common ancestor Peers Heywood living in 1164, to whose descendant the original grant was made by Adam de Bury. These genealogical trees are interesting as tracing the intermarriages of several old Manx families.

It may be remarked that the Robert Calcott before alluded to was the fourth in descent from Robert Caldicott, Esq., who was Comptroller of the Isle of Man in 1538, and who married Margaret Goodman, daughter and co-heiress of William Goodman, Esq., of Chester, and prioress of the Nunnery. This Margaret Goodman, by her marriage with Robert Caldicott, conveyed the Nunnery to that family, but by what means she, being prioress of the Nunnery, became the legal owner of the property, and thereby was enabled to transmit it to her children is unknown.

Further particulars of the Heywood family will be found in the Chetham Society's publications, and a pedigree in the "Iter Lancastrense," edited by the Rev. Thomas Corser, M.A.-Chetham Society, vol. vii.

NOTE 70-page 46.

" The Nun's Elbow Chair at the How."-Port Skillion is no doubt the locale of this punishment, as well as of the mermen and mermaids' revels of days of old. It continues to be the favourite resort of the mermen of the present day, being used as their bathing ground.

NOTE 71-page 47.

" The Fort of Douglas."-This Roman or Pictish tower, one of the most interesting remains in the Island, stood at the bight of the Pollock Rock, the former entrance to the harbour. It was built of hard stone, in the centre was a small round tower rising up above the rest of the building. Thomas Whittam, chief constable of the town of Douglas, in his examination before the Commissioners of Inquiry in 1791, states that " he is also the gaoler of the Fort or prison there, which is for the confinement of persons guilty of felony, or breach of the peace, and was formerly made use of for that purpose; but is at present in a very ruinous condition and insufficient for the purpose of confining offenders, without having a guard set over them."

In an old MS. account of the Island it is stated to be " commanded by a constable and lieutenant; the constable and two of the soldiers (which are there in continual pay) are bound to lye in this fort every night; and four of the townsmen are bound to keep watch and ward upon the rampart betwixt the fort and the town."

On the title page of Feltham's Tour through the Isle of Man in 1797 and '98, (Manx Society, vol. vi. 1861,) is given a view of this battlemented tower. It was taken down in 1818.

The Great Man's Chamber was, about the middle of the last century, called " Paul Bridson's parlour," the fort being then under the command of an ancestor of Paul Bridson, Esquire, the secretary of the Manx Society.

NOTE 72-page 48.

"knives, forks, or spoons."-At the time our author wrote, these indispensable articles of the table at the present day might not have been in general use at all the tables he frequented. In many parts of England they were much in the same condition as described in the Isle of Man, as may be learned from the importance of such like small matters being made worthy of bequests in the wills and inventories of the 16th and 17th centuries. Knives were of all time, and all sizes. The Roman Britons had large knives; the Saxons carried their met-saex, meat or eating-knife, about with them, and many were highly ornamented with rich enamelled handles enclosed in cases, and formed part of the adornment of a bride, and worn at the girdle towards the end of the sixteenth century. Chambellain states they were first manufactured in England by one Thomas Mathews, of Fleet bridge, London, in the 5th Elizabeth, 1563. Sheffield has been famous for its cutlery from the fifteenth century, for Chaucer says-

" He wore a Sheffield whittle in his hose." and they continue the first whistlers of the present day. It was carried where the Highlanders carry their dirk or skene-dhu. A "whittle gait" was the privilege of "the run of the table," or as we now say, " There is always a knife and fork for you."

Knives and spoons were the sole implements at dinner from Saxon times, as may be seen from various old illuminated manuscripts, until the close of the sixteenth century, when forks were first introduced at table, it is said by Coryatt, the traveller, who brought them from Italy. Some few specimens of forks have been found in Saxon tumuli,- but they have evidently been articles of luxury and used only on state occasions. The use of the fork became general by the close of the seventeenth century.

The description given of carving a fowl must have been another invention of Waldron's fertile brain.

NOTE 73-page 48.

" Queen of May." ~ This custom is evidently derived from the Northmen who held possession of the Isle of Man for such a length of time, awl is thus described by Olaus Magnus, who wrote in the sixteenth century.-" The southern Swedes and Goths that are very far from the pole, have a custom, that on the first day of May, when the sun is in Taurus, there should be two horse troops appointed of young and lusty men, as if they were to fight some hard conflict. One of these is led on by a captain, chosen by lot, who has the name and habit of winter. Be is clothed with divers skins, and adorned with fire-forks; and casting about snow balls and pieces of ice, that he may prolong the cold, he sides up and down in triumph, and he shows and makes himself the harder, the more the icicles seem to hang from their stoves. The chieftain of the other is for summer, and is called captain Florio, and is clothed with green boughs and leaves, and summer garments that are not very strong. Both these ride from the fields into the city, from divers places, one after another, and with their fire-spears they fight, and make a public show, that summer bath conquered winter. Both sides striving to get the victory, that side more forcibly assaults the other which on that day seems to borrow more force from the air, whether temperate or sharp. If the winter yet breathes frost, they lay aside their spears, and riding up and down, cast about upon the speetators ashes mingled with live sparks of fire taken from the graves or from the altar; and they who in the same dress and habit are auxiliary troops east fire balls from their horses. Summer, with his band of horse, shows openly his boughs of birch or tier-tree, which are made green long before by art, as by the heat of their stoves and watering them, and privately brought in as if they newly came from the wood. But because nature is thus defrauded, those that fight for winter press on the more, that the victory may not be got by fraud; yet the sentence is given for summer by the favourable judgment of the people, who are unwilling to endure the sharp rigor of winter any longer; and so sumuner gets the victory with the general applause of them all, and he makes a gallant feast for his company, and confirms it by drinking cups, which he could scarcely win with spears. This is the custom of driving away the winter, and receiving of summer."

It was also the custom at this season among the Celtic populations of Europe to hold a festival called " Beltein," and giving expression to it by kindling fires on hill tops. It was customary to light on the 1st of May two fires in honour of the pagan god "Baal", and to drive the cattle between those fires, as an antidote against murrain, or any pestilential distemper, for the year following. It was also customary to light these fires on St. John's eve, and up to the present time a stranger is surprised to see, on this day, as evening approaches, fires springing up in all directions around him, accompanied with the blowing of horns and other rejoicings.

I am not aware that the May-pole ever got a footing in the Isle of Man,-that indispensable to every village of England, equally with the parish church or the parish stocks,-but the custom of the Queen of May is something allied to it, both ending in dancing and feasting.

This was the great rural festival of our forefathers, and many a jocund band of lads and lasses sallied forth into the fields and woodlands to gather "May" and branches of trees, which they bound with flowers and ribbons forming garlands round which they danced. Many a writer has recorded the festive doings of this happy season, and poets, especially, have made the theme their own, and none more sweetly than Robert Derrick in his " Corinna's going a Maying". The quotation is too long for a note, or it should be given; his works abound with allusions to bye-gone customs.

NOTE 74-page 49.

" Christmas."-The Christian festival of the Nativity appears to have been appointed at a very early period, and there is no doubt that an event so striking in its manner and so important in itself should be annually commemorated amongst Christians from the days of the first apostles who survived our Lord's resurrection. Whatever diversity of opinion may have prevailed as to the time when this event took place, it is certain that festivities have been held at this season from a very early date, when nature was comparatively at rest, and all had leisure to enjoy them, from the court to the cottage, exhibiting itself in its various phases, in their traditions, superstitions, and customs, which might be common or peculiar to the country. These festivities no doubt, in the first instance, adapted themselves in the Isle of Man to the customs and usages of their Norwegian invaders, and as time rolled on engrafted those of their Briton, Saxon, or Norman rulers. For a time in England, as also from an earlier date in Scotland, these festivities received a check from the puritanical spirit prevailing, but I am not aware that it effected much change in the Island, for like all Islanders the inhabitants of the Isle of Man are greatly attached to their own customs and observances, and in spite of all proclamations and penalties, Christmas held its own-feasting, dancing, and merry-making were in the ascendant, and every board was redolent of good cheer with, as the old song has it,

" Plum pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast beef."

And as Sir Walter Scott has truly said,

"'TWAS Christmas broached the mightiest ale
'Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year."

The custom of hunting the wren has been a pastime in the Isle of Man from time immemorial, and is still continued at the present day, chiefly by boys who, on St. Stephen's day, carry that " king of all birds" as the Druids called it, from house to house, suspended in a garland of ribbons and flowers and evergreens, soliciting contributions, and giving a feather for luck, singing the well-known ditty of " Hunt the Wren." Several versions of this song are to be met with; the following is from that printed in Train's History of the Isle of Man, vol. ii. p. 141, 1845. "


We'll away to the woods, says Robin the Bobbin;
We'll away to the woods, says Richard the Robbin;
We'll away to the woods, says Jackey the Land;
We'll away to the woods, says every one.

- What will we do there ? says Robin the Bobbin, &c*.
We'll hunt the wren, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Where is he ? where is he ? says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
In yonder green bush, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.

* Each line is repeated four times in the same manner as the first and last are.

How can we get him down ? says Robin the Bobbin, &c
. With sticks and stones, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
He's down, he's down, says Robin the Bobbin, &c,
How can we get him hone ? says Robin the Bobbin, &a
We'll hire a cart, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
U'hose cart shall we hire P says Robins the Bobbin, &o.
Johnny Bill Fel.'s. says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
How can we get him in ? says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
With iron bats, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
He's at home, be's at hone, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
How will we get him boiled ? says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
In the brewery pan, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
How will we get him eaten ? says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
With knives and forks, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
Who's to dine at the feast ? says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
The king and the queen, says Robin the Bobbin, &c,
The pluck for the poor, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.
The legs for the lame, says Robin the Bobbin, &c
The bones for the dogs, says Robin the Bobbin, &c.

He's eaten, he's eaten, says Robin the Bobbin ,
He's eaten, be's eaten, says Richard the Robbin;
He's eaten. he's eaten, says Jackey the Land'
He's eater, he's eaten, says every one."

The air is given in Barrow's Mona Melodies, 1820. The custom is not peculiar to the Isle of Man. Sonnini, in his Travels, says the inhabitants of the town of Cistat, near Marseilles, armed with sabres and pistols commence the anniversary by hunting the wren. Crofton Croker, in his " Researches in the South of Ireland," 1824, p. 233, mentions this custom as prevailing there. There are various traditions and superstitions regarding this bud still current in the Island, and some fishermen will not yet venture to sea without one of these dead birds with them.

NOTE 75-page 50.

" Bows and arrows."-Shooting matches of this character continued to be practised about twenty-five years ago, called playing with bow and arrows. In the matches, " parish against parish," referred to in the text, it may not be unworthy of note to mention that the Kirk German bowmen, including those of Peel, held the first place, and were generally, if not always, victorious. . These have now merged into the modern archery meetings.

NOTE 76-page 51.

" Fairs.-Midsummer and Michaelmas."-These fairs are not held at Kirk Patrick, as stated in the text, but the Midsummer fair is held at St. John's in Kirk German, and the Michaelmas fair at Kirk Michael. The former fair, on the 12th June, 1610, was ordered by the Lieutenant-Governor, Deemsters, and Keys, if it fell on a Sunday, to be altered. " The Tinwald and the faire then shall be kept upon the day next following." There are no fairs held in the parish of Patrick, but numerous fairs are held in most parts of the Island. An order of the Governor, Council, and Keys was made the 23rd June, 1861, to the effect, that all fairs falling on a Saturday or Monday should be held on the following Tuesday, with the exception of the Midsummer fair at St. John's on the 5th July, which should continue to be held on that day, unless it fell on a Sunday, in which case it must be held on the following day.

NOTE 77—page 51.

"Horses."-The Manx pony still maintains its character for being hardy, sure-footed, and capable of great endurance.

NOTE 78—page 52.

"Salmon Fishery."-The Salmon Fisheries of the Island (with the exception of some of the rivers in which individuals have private rights) are now, end have been since 1765, under the control of the Commis6ioners of Harbours, who let the right of fishing in the different districts of the Island. The rents received from this source are made applicable, in terms of Act of the Imperial Parliament, 11 Geo. III. cap. 52, sec. 1, towards the repairs and maintenance of the several harbours of the Island. The rents vary from time to time; they are lower at present than they have been for very many years. The scarcity of fish is of course the cause of this. The following list will show the rents obtained for the Salmon Fisheries at the periods named:

1844. 1854. 1864.

Douglas ... £21 0~. ... £10 0~. ... silo os

Ramsey 6 0 ... 6 0 ... 2 10

Dolby Haven ... 2 2 ... 0 10 ... n 10

Peel ... ... ~l. .. 2 0 ... nil.

Kentraugh ... 1 1 ... rail. nil.

It is greatly to be desired that some legislative enactment was made to regulate the Fisheries, and preserve the purity of the streams in the Island, and a Bill for this purpose is now before the Legislature.

NOTE 79—page 52.

" Puffin."-The puffin, sea parrot, coulterneb or, as it is provincially called in Scotland, the Tammie Norrie, is a summer visitant, still frequenting the rocky parts of this Island from April to August, where they burrow in the earth like rabbits, to the depth of two or three feet, in which they deposit one egg about the size of a hen's. Their habits are very similar to those of the razor-bill. They lye upon small fish and crustacea, diving in the water with great celerity. They are not difficult to approach, and when taken alive bite most severely. The puffin is met with in numerous localities, Shetland, Ireland, Eastern coasts of England, France, Spain, on the Eastern side of America from Georgia to Labrador. The St Kildians usually cook it by roasting among the ashes.

NOTE 80—page 52.

" Rabbits."-These are now chiefly to be found in abundance on the Calf, where the tenant of that farm annually advertises the shooting, which induces many strangers to visit it far that purpose.

NOTE 81—page 52.

"Herring Fishery."-The Manx look to the Fisheries as the most important source of revenue; they also provide them with food for the winter season, each family curing a quantity for that purpose. Vessels leave the harbour in the evening and return the following morning; the fishermen never go out of harbour to fish on Saturday or Sunday evenings. The fishing season commences early in June, and continues until the end of October, provided the weather continues favourable

The Royal Commissioners appointed to make inquiries respecting the Sea Fisheries of the United Kingdom sat in the Court Room at Peel, in August, 1864, Then the following statements were made:-" There are 170 numbered fishing boats belonging to.Peel; a few old boats not numbered; none belonging to Douglas or Ramsey; 120 belonging to Castletown, including Port St. Mary, Derbyhaven, and Port Erin, making a total of about 300 boats, of from 15 to 30 tons each belonging to the Island. Fishing boats under 15 tons are not numbered. The average cost of a herring boat, including nets and everything ready for work, is £240 or £250. The nets cost about £100:

The Scotch and Irish boats are about the same size as the Manx. The Cornish fishing boats which come to fish here number about 200.

The Manx, Cornish, and Irish boats combined amounted to about 600 sail. For the last four or five years there had not been 400 Cornish and 100 Irish boats fishing for herring off the Island, as was the case formerly. The boats are the property of fishermen and employers. Most of the fishermen have shares in the boats; twenty years ago capitalists owned the boats. The capital invested in boats engaged in the herring fishery is more than double what it was twenty years since The boats are larger than formerly. Some of the boats which carry cargo in the winter have removable seats. There are seven men and a boy forming the crew.

The net, some thirty years ago, was 74 yards long and 200 nueshes deep; now the length is 100 yards and 300 or 400 meshes deep. There are 32 rows to a yard. Twenty pieces of net count as one share. The gross earnings are divided into twenty parts, and they are thus apportioned:- the nets ten shares, the crew seven and a hallf shares, and the boat two and a-half shares. The stores are taken out of the gross earnings.

The quantity of herrings caught has not increased during the past twenty years.

It was formerly fixed by Law in 1610, not to commence fishing before the 5th July, but this is now obsolete. The fishing begins about the 1st June, and some go out about the 20th May, but the fish caught then are thin and small; the proper time is the middle of June when the fish is in its prime. The fish on the Peel side are the best; the fishing off Peel is prosecuted at the surface, and the " deep sling" is never used there, but when they cease to take any, and the fish has begun to spawn, the fishermen go round to the Douglas side, generally in September, when the nets are sunk to about a fathom from the bottom, and they fish with the "deep sling." The fish off Douglas are of a different colour and size. The spawning season of the herring commences the end of September or beginning of October, when the fishing season ends, according to the time they go to the banks to spawn. The price of fish is much the same as thirty years ago. The herrings are generally sent off to England by the steamers; some are cured in Douglas and made into red herrings. It will be of great advantage when Port Erin is improved; generally there is more fish off Port Erin.

There is an admiral appointed to the fleet who is paid £5 a year out of the Harbour funds. He is superintendent of the herring boats, and goes out to sea with them. He is a kind of Deputy Water Bailiff; his duty extends over the whole herring fishery of the Isle of Man. His first duty is to give notice of the time for shooting nets,-about sunset. It does harm to shoot the nets before sunset, as the fish see the nets and go away, and the fishermen thereby lose a great deal of money. There are regulations about putting nets across others, that persons are not to cut nets,or use uncivil language. He puts up a flag until it is sunset, and then hauls it down, which is the signal for boats to shoot their nets. He summons the fishermen who shoot their nets before sunset to appear before the Water Bailiff who gives judgment. The Water Bailiff is the sole judge of the Admiralty Court, and penalties incurred by the fishermen can be enforced. The jurisdiction of the Water Bailiff extends nine miles from the land. The regulations of not fishing from Saturday morning until Monday is observed both native and foreign fishermen.

There is a fishing officer in Douglas who keeps an account of the takes of herrings; the fishing officer ascertains from each boat what quantity is caught and shipped.

The standard of the Manx fishermen has been considerably raised, their comforts increased, and their boats are much superior to those they formerly possessed. Much of this is due to their industry, frugality, and temperance. There used to be a good supply of haddock in the month of September, but they have disappeared for some years.

The supply of cod has fallen off considerably. They are caught from half a mile to six miles off Peel; they are also caught between the Bahama light ship and Douglas Head. The largest size are caught during February and March. They are taken with long lines. There are about 30 boats engaged in this service. There is not much trawling on the Peel side, but a good deal between Douglas and St. Bees.

An interesting article on Manx Fisheries. by George Quirk, Esq., late Receiver-General and Water Bailiff of the Island, will be found in Train's History of the Isle of Man, vol. ii. p. 130,1846.

With respect to the " Form of Prayer on the sea side," Train, vol. ii. p. 292, gives an extract from the Statutes of 1610, 1613, viz.:-" It is enacted and ordained that the vicar or minister of every parish, when the fishing is got, to repair to the harbour every morning and evening to read divine service, and to deliver them good monitions, upon pain of every default to forfeit his tithe of fish the following night. And if any person neglect to come to such place where such service is to be read, when the admiral or vice-admiral sets out his flag, such person is to be excluded from the benefit of the fishery that night."

After years of failure in the fishery, the following suffrage was ordered:—

" June 18, 1705.—It is hereby ordered (by the approbation of the Civil Government,) that in the public services of the church, this petition be inserted in the Litany, in the place and manner following, and constantly used in Al the churches within this Isle, viz.:—'That it may please Thee to give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth, and to restore and continue to us the blessings of the seas, so as in due time we may enjoy there.'—Thos. SODOR & MAN."

This form is still used in most of the parish churches. In 1714, Bishop Wilson signified his intention to provide " A Form of Prayer to be used by thee clergy who attend the boats in the herring fishery."


Back index next

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000