THE principal officer under the lord is he yt doth bear ye title of Governor of ye Island when ye Lords of Man were styled kings. The Governor was of ye quality of a viceroy. Our King Edward ye 1st, in a commission for redress of certam abuses in the Isle, which I shall hereafter recite at large,— In yt commission’ he is called Custos Insulæ nostra, ye keeper of ye Island. In the islands of Guernsey and Jersey ye captain of the island appointeth certain officers under him, the principal of whom beareth the name of Bailiff.2 So also doth King Edward in ye forementioned commission stile them in the Isle of Man ballivos nostros. Most frequently, in deeds, he is called Lieutenant of the Isle.

The Manksmen cothonly call him ye Captain of the Isle, yet, in the indenture which I mentioned in ye chap. precedent, you may observe these two last titles of lieutenant and captain to belong to 2 distinct persons, for Thos Sherborn is there the lieutenant of Man, and John Fleming was captain of Man.

Mr. John Greenhalgh of Greenhalgh,3 a gentman of an ancient descent in Lancashire, was governor of ye Isle at my being there. I, discoursing with him upon his title, and having shewed him the indenture before-named, he thus answered me, yt 3 titles, of Governor, Lieutenant, and Captain of the Isle, did signify but one and ye same person and command. Yet, said he, in former times, when there was any show of danger, or fear of any innovation or invasion unto the Island, it hath been put in practice by ye Lord of ye Island to nominate a captain of the Island to assist the Governor in ordering of soldiers, and at his cothand to ride about, and to give orders in the Island where the occasion in any place shou’d present itself ; but the danger being no more feared his title and authority ceased. Whether the Lord of Man be in person therewith in ye Island, or absent in England, the Governor’s power is the same as is the lord’s over the Manksmen ; but ye lord of the Island (and he only) hath power over him. Yet I find not any of the Kings or Lords of Man yt did personally sit in the seat of justice, of what nature soever the cases were, but yt they always referr’d it to the Governor, as chief~, and to his inferior officers as assistants; and this I do observe, at my being there, altho’ the earl of Darby was then resident in ye Island. What respect, reverence, and privileges, from all antiquity, hath been given to the Governor, and not only by the Lord of ye Island, but by the Manksmen themselves, you may observe by these their customary laws, which I here set down (which are concerning him) in their own words, as I copied out of the book of one of the keys of the Island. The law is there, yt it is forfeiture of life and goods, and toucheth treason, for smiting only in his presence, or within 24 paces of him, whether the x~ìan be of ye jury or not. Whosoever beateth any of his waged men, in his presence, it is as much as if he had beaten him. If any do rise against the Governor in a Tinwald, or in any place where he is to do any thing as Governor, he is a traitor. He yt pleadeth any deceit against him (as to have done any injustice), and cannot prove it, is a traitor. He yt robbeth him of his horse, or of any weapon of his in Court or fence made, is a traitor.

The Governor is intrusted to seal up the money in the bagg for ye Lord’s use, and to lock them up in the chest appointed for yt purpose. The Governor may hold Tinwald or Court when and wheresoever he pleases ; he may cause execution to be done both when and where he pleaseth.

None can arrest any-, no not the water bailif, ye coroner, or any other, but by warrant from the Governor. All merchandise imported must be allowed by the Governor. The merchant stranger is personally to appear before ye Governor or his deputy, to show him what his loading is ; what he purposeth to export ; whence he came, how long he intends to stay, and to inform him of occurrences, etc. None of ye Island can transport any goods without the Governor’s licence into any place whatsoever, and ye merchant must inform him what his business is to ye coast, whither he intendeth to go unto, and what merchandises he purposes to bring back again ; and, in old times past, neither bishop, abbot, or baron, cou’d entertain or receive any stranger into their houses’ without the knowledge of the lieutenant, what they are from, whence they came, whither they are going, and of what condition they are of. In some cases the Governor in effect is as good as a court of record in himself; for a complaint being made unto him, being only walking or riding on the highway, he may give his token for execution to the crowner or his lockman, and this is as good as if the business had received tryal by jury, or decree in chancery, for, as Mr. Chaloner addeth, the Governor sitteth in chancery sole judge, as chancellour, representing the lord’s person; which court he may keep every week once, as occasion shall require, and especially in case of strangers who desire speedy tryals of their business. In all or any niatter wherein every one or any one of the lord’s officers have to deal, the Lieu-tenant or Governor is to call them to account, as he shall see cause, upon complaint or otherwise, at his own discretion; and if any of them shall have done or proceeded otherwise than according to law, or have been neglective in their places, he is to certify their offence to his lordship, and for the present may comit the body of such officer or officers, in case he conceived danger of his or their further misdemeanours, or departure out of ye Island without his consent.

And this is to ye end such officer may be forthcoming to make good, and answer according to his lordship’s order, or cothand, upon the certificate made as aforesd by the Governor.

The Governor twice in the year, namely, a week or a fortnight after May, and again in the like time after Michaelmas, as he shall please to assign, calleth the courts for the several sheedings (which are of the nature of our court leet in England), which shall hereafter be shewed taken out of him, when I shall shew you the political government of the Isle of Man in their legal proceedings. The Governor, if it be material to know it, hath a pension of the Lord of ye Island of an £100 p. annum, besides his perquisites.


1 Anno 1291. ~
2 Speed’s Abridgement of Guernsey.

3 Anno 1640 to 1650.

1 See this among ye Spiritual Laws, 1. 3.


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