Section 6 of Appendix to Gell's edition of Parr's Abstracts
relating to Lighthouses of the Isle of Man, 1866
Until 1815, no revenue was raised specially for Lights on the coasts of the Island. Whatever Lights existed, were maintained out of the Harbour revenues. The condition of the Lights may be inferred from the following description of that at Douglas contained in the examination of Nicholas Christian, harbour master, before the Commissioners of Inquiry in 1791. (Appendix D to their Report, No. 17.)
In 1787, eighty-four yards of the lowest end of the pier, with a Lighthouse thereon, was destroyed by a violent gale of easterly wind, and has not Since been rebuilt. The only light at present to direct vessels into the Harbour is a lanthorn upon a pole erected at the extremity of the remains of the former pier which was destroyed in 1787, the former Lighthouse was a brick building between 30 and 40 feet high, lighted each night by seven or eight half-pound candles, with a tin circular reflector behind them of about8 feet diameter, and could be seen at the distance of 4 or 5 leagues at sea: he thinks the present light cannot be seen above a mile at sea. There is no person to attend the present light through the night; but about 12 or 1 o'clock a person goes to trim and put fresh oil in the lamp.
The Commissioners in their Report (page 92,) thus refer to the subject of Lighthouses:
The erecting of Lighthouses in the Isle of Man was a measure we heard frequently discussed and much recommended during our stay in the Island. None are there at present. In dark and stormy nights, upon coasts extremely dangerous, the want of them must, we should think, be severely experienced, and the loss of money, lives, and much property ensue. Indeed the general security of the navigation of that part of St. George's Channel could not, it should seem, fail to be promoted by Lights erected on a spot so commanding and central as the Isle of Man, and the homeward and outward bale of the contiguous ports of England, Scotland, and Ireland, to be particularly benefited.. The Calf of Man, Langley's Point, Douglas Head, and the Point of Airds, are the several spots selected as the most fit for erecting Lighthouses.
Trinity House. IJnder the supposed authority of an Act of Parliament, 8 Eliz., e.13 (1565), " An Act touching Sea-marks and Mariners," by which the Corporation of the Trinity House of Deptford Strond was empowered to place " beacons, marks, and signs of the sea, in such place or places of the sea shores, and uplands near the sea coasts, or forelands of the sea," which provision was by Act 48 George III,c. 104, sec.61, (25th June, 1808,) and afterwards by sec. 90 of 6 Geo. IV,c. 125, (5th July, 1825,) extended to all vessels duly appointed to exhibit Lights therein for the preservation of ships and vessels at sea," the Trinity House, in 1847, placed a floating-light vessel on the Bahama Bank, about 7 miles E. by N. from the town of Ramsey. Tolls for the maintenance of the Light were received under Royal Letters Patent, dated 29th July, 1847, and by a subsequent Order in Council.(Parliamentary Paper, sees. 1853, No. 977.) The Acts of Parliament referred to do not extend to or include the Isle of Man.
A.D. 1815. By authority of Act of Parliament, S5 George III, c. 67,(Local) " An Act for enabling the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses to erect Lighthouses on the Isles of Man and Calf of Man," (7th June, 1815,) such Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses erected Lighthouses on the Calf of Man and at the Point of Ayre. The Act recites other Acts of Parliament relating to the erection and maintenance of Lighthouses in Scotland by the Commissioners. By the Act they were authorised to purchase lands, to take rates or duties from the masters or owners of ships and decked vessels passing the Lights, or sailing within certain limits, and to borrow money on the security of the rates for the erection of the Lighthouses and buildings. The application of the revenue is thus directed by sec. 5:
That the said Commissioners shall apply the produce of the rates and duties by the said recited Acts and this Act granted, in making the purchases aforesaid, in erecting and maintaining the said Lighthouses and other buildings, exhibiting proper lights therein, in paying the expenses of preparing and passing this Act, and in repaying the money to be borrowed and interest thereof: And the surplus or residue of the rates and duties by the said recited Acts and this Act granted, which shall remain after answering the purposes of the said recited Acts and this Act, shall once in every year he vested in some one or other of the public Funds; and the same, together with the interest thereof, shall be allowed to accumulate until the yearly interest shall amount to a sum equal to the whole expence attending the Lighthouses under their charge, when the whole rates and duties by the said recited Acts and by this Act granted, shall cease and determine.
A.D. 1836. By Act 6 & 7 William IV, c. 79, sec. 40, (13th August,1836,) the rates payable to the Commissioners were reduced in amount..
A.D. 1853. By "The Merchant Shipping Law Amendment Act 1853," (20th August, 1853,) sec. 4, after the 1st October, 1853, the Lighthouse tolls or dues received by the Trinity House, the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses, &c., were directed to be carried to" one Aggregate Fund, to be called The Mercantile Marine Fund, such Fund to he applicable to the purposes of the services in respect of which the said tolls, rates, fees, and payments are levied, and to the execution of works necessary or expedient for permanently reducing the expense of such services, and, save as hereinafter specially mentioned, to no other purpose whatever." By sec. 11, upon the erection of any new Lighthouse, Her Majesty, by Order in Council, was authorised to fix the tolls to be paid in respect thereof; and by sec. 15, in like manner, the tolls or rates might be reduced, increased, or varied.
A.D. 1854. By " The Merchant Shipping Act. 1854," (10th August,1854,) sec.389, the superintendance and management of all Lighthouses, Buoys, and Beacons in Scotland, and the adjacent seas and islands, and in the Isle of Man, are vested in the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses, (one of the General Lighthouse Authorities constituted by the Act,) but subject to the powers or rights lawfully enjoyed or exercised by any person or body of persons having by law or usage authority over local Lighthouses, Buoys, or Beacons, (in the Act named Local Authorities,) and subject also Under secs. 392 and 393 to the inspection of the Trinity House and Board of Trade. By sec. 396 the Light dues in respect of existing Lighthouses, Buoys, and Beacons then payable to the General Lighthouse Authorities, are continued; but by sec. 397 the dues are subject to revision by Her Majesty in Council. By sec. 404 each General Lighthouse Authority, with the sanction of the Board of Trade, to be obtained through the Trinity House, may erect or place new Lighthouses, Buoys, and Beacons, &c. By sec. 410 Her Majesty, by Order in Council, may fix dues to be payable in respect of new Lighthouses, Buoys, and Beacons. By sec. 413 provision is made for the surrender or sale of Lighthouses, Buoys, or Beacons by a Local Authority to the General Lighthouse Authority; and Her Majesty may, by Order in Council, direct the payment of such dues as might be fixed and made payable if the surrendered or sold Lighthouse, Buoy, or Beacon were new. The application of the Light dues is directed by sec. 403 in these words:
All Light dues coming to the hands of any of the said (general Lighthouse Authorities under this Act shall be carried to the account of The Mercantile Marine Fundhereinafter mentioned, and shall be dealt with in manner hereinafter prescribed.
Sec. 418 of the Act directs to what purposes the Mercantile Marine Fund shall be applied. These purposes include the expenses of Local Marine Boards, and the survey of passenger ships, the expenses incurred by the General Lighthouse Authorities, expenses in maintaining lifeboats, &c., for affording assistance towards the preservation of life and property in cases of shipwreck and distress at sea, and for rewarding the preservation of life in such cases; the expenses incurred with regard to the performance of the duties of Receivers of Wrecks, and anye xpenses specially charged on the Fund by Act of Parliament.
A.D. 1862. By " The Merchant Shipping Act Amendment Act, 1862,"(29th July, 1862,) sec. 46, Her Majesty in Council, on the application of a Local Authority, may fix dues to be paid to such Local Authority in respect of shipping, wherever a "Lighthouse, Buoy, or Beacon is erected or placed, or reconstructed, repaired, or replaced by the " Local Authority. The application of the Light dues payable to a Local Authority is directed by sec. 47:
All Light dues leviable by any Local Authority under this Act shall be applied for the purposes of the construction, placing, maintenance, and improvement of the Lighthouses, Buoys, and Beacons, in respect of which the same are levied, and for no other purpose.
Her Majesty may, by Order in Council, from time to time reduce, alter, or increase all or any of such dues, so that the same may, as far as it is practicable, be sufficient, and not more than sufficient for the payment of the expenses incurred by the Local Authority in respect of the Lighthouses, Buoys, or Beacons, for which the dues are levied.
One Lighthouse, that at Douglas Head, has been surrendered by the Harbour Commissioners to the Northern Lighthouse Commissioners under the power contained in sec. 413 of the Act of 1854, and Light dues are levied by the last-named Commissioners in respect of such Lighthouse, and of those at the Calf of Man and Point of Ayre. All other Lighthouses are maintained by the Harbour Commissioners, who have not yet sought to obtain Light dues under the authority of sec. 47 of the Act of 1862.
With respect to the application of any surplus revenue arising from Lighthouses, &c. in the Island under the management of a General Lighthouse Authority, after payment of expenses, it will be seen from what has been stated, that the Island participates in the benefit of the surplus so far as it participates in the expenditure from the Mercantile Marine Fund, for life boats, preservation of life and property in cases of shipwreck, &c., under sec. 418 of the Act of 1854.
No surplus revenue available for any general purposes can arise from the dues which may be levied in respect of Lighthouses, Buoys, or Beacons, under the management of a Local Authority, as the whole revenue is to be applied solely for the maintenance, improvement, &c.of the Lighthouses, Buoys, or Beacons, in respect of which the dues may be payable.