High Bailiffs


Created under 1777 Act -

it hath been judged expedient to erect a new Jurisdiction in each of the four several Market Towns of this Isle for the Hearing and Determination of Matters of Debt where the Demand doth not Answer to the Sum of forty Shillings ;


That all and every civil Duty and Power heretofore vested in the Captains of the several Market Towns, shall and are hereby committed to the Jurisdiction, Orders, and Directions of the High Bailiffs severally and respectively, and that the said several High Bailiffs in their respective Towns shall have full Power and Authority to-make and give such Rules, Orders, and Directions, with respect to the repairing, amending, and compleating of the several Streets, and the Removal of Encroachments, Nuisances, Filth, and Rubbish in the said Towns, or the Districts thereunto respectively belonging, in such Manner as in his and their Judgment shall be most conducive to the Publick Convenience


And it is hereby further declared and enacted by the Permission and Authority aforesaid, That the High Bailiff in the Execution of their Offices shall be considered and reputed as Civil Magistrates of this Isle to all Intents and Purposes whatsoever ;

The 1792 Commissioners' Report notes their salaries:

These Officers, formerly Captains, altered, by Act of Tinwald of 22d of July, 1777 which was formerly 15l. each, was increased to 25 l. each, from 8th of Sept. 1777; when four constables, whose salarires were 5 l. each were discontinued and ten pounds added to the two High Bailiffs by the Governor

In 1866 responsibility for calling inquests passed to High Bailiffs.(since 1852 it had been the responsibility of the Water bailiff). The High Bailiff was also president of the Licensing court for his jurisdiction. Outside of Douglas the High Bailiff was also Deputy-Registrar for civil registration of Births etc.

With the appointment of Town Commissioners for Douglas in 1860, Ramsey 1865 and then for the remaining towns in 1877, many of the Town Captain functions moved to the Commissioners. The Macdonnell commission of 1911 recommended that the four four posts be reduced to two.


[A few dates to be determined]

1777-xxxx William Callow

1811-xxxx Robert Kelly
1832-1854 John Kelly
1854-1866 James Gell
1866-1892 John Moore Jeffcott
1892-1911 James Stowell Gell (+ also for Douglas from 1905)
1911 merged with Douglas
1777-1808 John Cosnahan
1808-1816 Norris Moore
1816-1819 John McHutchin
1820-1841 James Quirk
18xx-1855 John Courtney Bluett
1855-1864 Senhouse Wilson
1864-1905 Samuel Harris
1905-1918 James Stowell Gell
1919-1925 Reginald Douglas Farrant
1925-1923William Lay
1777-1794 Robert Farrant
1794-1802 Capt George Savage
1802-1807 Thomas Clark
1808-1817 Hugh Clucas
1817-1820 James Quirk
1820-1840 John Llewellyn
1840-1853 Richard Harrison
1853-1884 Robert John Moore
1884-1911 A.N. Laughton
1911 - merged with Ramsey
1777-1794 John Frissell Crellin
1794-1805 James Wilks
1805-1812 Thomas Gawne
1812-1821 Ewan Gill
1821-1828 Thomas Arthur Corlett
1828-1832 John Caesar Gelling
1832-1873 Frederick Tellett
1873-1880 Alured Dumbell
1880-1898 John Corlet LaMothe
1898-1916 James Murray Cruikshank
1916-1921 F. M. LaMothe
1921-1925 William Lay
1925-1933 William Percy Cowley

From 1933 merged into a single post held then by William Lay




Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 1999