Appendix C(10) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]



To John Spranger, William Osgoode, William Roe, and David Reid, Esquires, His Majesty's Honourable Commissioners of Enquiry now in this Island

The Memorial of the Right Reverend Claudius Lord Bishop, and Evan Christian, Vicar-General, in behalf of themselves and the other Ecclesiastics, constitutionally members of His Majesty's Council in the said Isle;


THAT whereas his Majesty, in that royal and paternal care and solicitude for the happiness and prosperity of all his people which have invariably distinguished his reign, hath now been graciously pleased more especially to extend that goodness to the Isle of Man, in the beneficent wish to render it also prosperous and happy, by sending Commissioners to enquire into, and report upon its state and condition in every respect ; the memorialists, imprest with the most lively sentiments of gratitude and loyalty to his Majesty for such mark of the royal goodness, embrace the opportunity so graciously offered, of stating to his Majesty's Commissioners some grievances, under which for some time they have laboured, and which, they apprehend, not yet entirely removed.

That by the constitution of the said Isle, the Bishop, the Archdeacon, the two Vicars-General, and the Archdeacon's Official (as may appear by the Statute-Books through their whole extent, until the years 1776 and 1777), have been considered as members of his Majesty's Council, or second estate or branch of its Legislature: That, as such, the present Lord Bishop and the other said ecclesiastical officers have been duly sworn in members of the said Council, having had in legal form the subjoined oaths administered to them; yet, notwithstanding, that in the years 1776 and 1777, when first any laws or Acts of Tynwald had, from the period of the Revestment of the said Isle in the Crown, been passed in or by the Legislature of the Isle, and when (it may deserve remark) laws were enacted materially affecting, or intending to affect, the rights and jurisdictions of the memorialists, they found themselves excluded from their seats in the said Council, and from every share whatever in the Legislature of their country. And it may not be improper to add, that such exclusion has appeared to the memorialists to have been by the mere will and pleasure of the Governor, or Lieutenant-Governor, for the time then being, without any crime or misdemeanor whatever being stated, alledged against, or (that they know of) imputed to the memorialists individually or collectively, and, as they humbly conceive, not in strict accordance with the words or spirit of the oath which, on entering on his office, the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man is by law enjoined, and doth take.

That, until the periods of 1776 and 1777 aforesaid, the right of the said ecclesiastical members to their seats and share in the Legislature of their country had never, that the memorialists understood or heard, been called in question ; but that since, from (as they conceive) the precedent then made, there are who deny them that right; and that very recently, when the present Lieutenant-Governor, to receive his Majesty's Commissioners, and to lay before the Legislature of the Isle the instructions with which, respecting the Isle, the said Commissioners were charged (matters of the highest importance, and of the most general concern to all and every his Majesty's subjects in the Isle!) thought it his duty to assemble the said Legislature, and in that the whole of his Majesty's Council, and not any one part of it, his Majesty's Attorney-General was pleased, concurred with by the Clerk of the Rolls (whose own seat is doubtful), to take exception to, and to protest accordingly against your memorialists being admitted as members. The Lieutenant-Governor, however, concurred with by his Majesty's Deemster or Chief Judge, was pleased (after admitting the protest to he entered on the minutes) to overrule the exception, and to admit the memorialists to their seats, and to report the matter to his Majesty's Secretary of State.

That the Bishop, however, not only as the Head of the Church, but as Premier Baron, possessing a great extent of territory, and having under him a numerous tenantry, always, when present, signed all Acts of legislation next to the Governor; and that the inferior ecclesiastical officers, as judges in their several courts, were held to be essential members of the Legislature; and that, as neither by the Act of Parliament of 1765, by which the Island became revested in the Crown, or by any subsequent Act, law, or instruction whatever, they appear to have been deprived of any right, privilege, or immunity formerly enjoyed by them; they, therefore, humbly conceive, that it neither was nor could be competent to, or in the power of, any Governor, legally or justly to deprive them of such right, privilege, or immunity, at his will and pleasure, or even as he might have been advised by any other one or more counsellors.

The memorialists likewise beg leave to observe to his Majesty's Commissioners,-That the Bishop's cathedral, which is situated within the Castle of Peel, needing some reparation upon the decease of Bishop Hildesley, his successor, the Right Reverend Richard Lord Bishop (as was usual in such cases) preferred his petition to John Wood, Esquire, then his Majesty's Governor of the Isle, praying that he might order a jury to view, estimate, and report the dilapidations thereof, and what sum or sums of money would be sufficient to put the said cathedral into a proper state of repair; and that the executors of the said deceased Bishop might be ordered to pay the same to the petitioner for that purpose. That the Governor so far granted the prayer of the said petition, as to order a jury to view, estimate, and report as aforesaid ; but afterwards ordered, that neither the petitioner nor the said jury should have access to the said cathedral. That at that period a trifling sum of money would have completed the said repairs; but that now, owing to the neglect thereof, and to the Governor's said inhibition, as well the petitioner as his successor in the see, have been ever since deprived of the use of their cathedral ; and the same is now in so ruinous and dilapidated a state as to be totally useless, and will require a very considerable sum of money to put it into even a decent state of repair.

The memorialists beg leave also to represent to you,-That St. John's Chapel, in the Parish of Kirk German, in which the successive Vicars of that extensive parish were accustomed, time immemorial, to officiate to every Sunday after-noon, during the summer season, for the convenience of the parishioners who lived at a great distance out their parochial church, is likewise, at present, in so ruinous and dilapidated a state, as to be altogether unfit for the afor said purpose; and that the late Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle withdrew the key of the said chapel from the present Vicar, and deprived him and his parishioners of the use of the said chapel.

The memorialists therefore pray,-That his Majesty's Honourable Commissioners may report to his Majesty, that the memorialists ought to be confirmed in their places and seats in the said Council; and that the said cathedral ought to be repaired, and peaceable possession, and the use thereof, be allowed to the present Bishop and his successors in this see; and likewise that the said chapel ought to be repaired, and restored to the Vicar and parishioners of the said Parish of Kirk German, for the purposes of divine worship; and the memorialists, as in duty bound, will pray, &c.


Bishop's Court, 21st October, 1791.


My allegiance to the King's Majesty of Great Britain, and my former oaths (according to the Laws there) reserved; I swear to be true to the Right Honourable Earl of Derby, and to his heirs, and will perform all such duties unto them as belongs to my place, being Bishop here; and to my power shall maintain and defend the ancient laws, statutes, and customs, proper and belonging to this Isle, and prerogatives due to the heirs thereof; and with my best advice and counsel be aiding to the Captain of this Isle, or Governor for the time being, for furtherance of the government and beneft of the said Isle.

So help me God, and by the contents of this Book.



l. Your allegiance to the King's Majesty of Great Britain reserved

2. You shall swear to be true, and true faith and fidelity to bear, to the Right Hon. Earl of Derby, and his heirs, during your life.

3. You shall to your power maintain and defend the ancient laws, statutes, and customs proper and belonging to this Isle, and the prerogatives due to the heirs thereof, as appertaining to your office and place, according to the trust in you reposed; and with your best advice and counsel be aiding and assisting to the Captain and Governor, or Deputy-Governor of the said Isle for the time being, for the furtherance of the government and benefit of the said Isle, as oft as you shall be called upon or required thereunto.

4. You shall reverently obey your Ordinary for the time present, by Divine Providence Lord Bishop of this Isle, and his successors, in all honest and lawful things, following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, and submitting yourself to their godly judgments.

5. You shall faithfully and diligently discharge the duty of your place in all things, according to the ancient laws, accustomary course, and proceeding of your court.

So help you God, and by the contents of this Book. The Oath administered to the Official of the Archdeacon's Courts is the same as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th (the 4th omitted). In the 3rd, after office and place, is said, as Official.


You shall be aiding and assisting with your best advice and counsel at all times hereafter to the Lieutenant-Captain, and the rest of the Lord's Council here for the time being, so often as is needful, and so often as you are called upon by them, or any of them, for the furtherance of the government and benefit of this Isle and houses, and the preservation and safe keeping of the same.

There is the same clause in the Oath of the Comptroller and Clerk of the Rolls.


Your allegiance to the King's Majesty of Great Britain reserved ;

You shall swear to be true, and true faith and fidelity bear to the Right Honourable Earl Derby, and to his heirs. You shall not reveal the secrets of this Isle, nor houses, nor garrisons therein, to any foreigner or stranger.

You shall truly and uprightly deal between the Lord and his people, and as indifferently betwixt party and party as this staff now standeth, as far as in you lieth.

You shall take the advice and consent of the rest of the Lord's Council of the said Isle, or so many of them as shall be present within the Isle, in all matters that concern the state and government of the said Isle and houses.

These, and all other things appertaining to the Governor of this Isle, his office and place, you shall, according to the purport and extent of your commission, and the laws of the said Isle, do and perform so far as in you lieth.

So God you help, &c.

N.B.-The Bishop was present at the first Court or Tynwald that is mentioned in the Statute-book, and which was held upon the hill of Reneurling, before our doughtful Lord, Sir John Stanley, King of Man and the Isles, on the Tuesday next after the Feast of St. Bartholomew, in the year 1422.

Richard Bishop of Sodor and Man, and Nicholas Thompson and Hugh Cannell, his Vicars-General, subscribe several laws, for different purposes, along with the Governor, as members of his Council, at a Tynwald Court holders 24th June, 1637.

The Officers, Spiritual and Temporal, and twenty-four Keys, were convened by the Right Honourable James Earl of Derby, at Peeltown, 18th July, 1643, to advise and consider of certain grievances of the Church and Commons of the Isle, &c.

Richard Sodor and Man, and Hugh Cannell, Vicar-General, subscribe laws enacted anno 1643.

Hugh Cannell, Vicar-General, subscribes, as a member of the Council, laws passed for various purposes, annis 1647, 1661, and 1662.

Isaac Sodor and Man, and the said Hugh Cannell, sub-scribe the laws passed annis 1664, 1665, and 1667.

Thomas Sodor and Man, the Archdeacon, and Vicars-General, subscribe the Ecclesiastical Constitutions, anno 1703. Thomas Sodor and Man subscribes the Act of Settlement, &c., annis 1703 and 1704.

Thomas Sodor and Man subscribes the laws passed annis 1711, 1712, 1713, 1726, and 1733.

Thomas Sodor and Man, and his Archdeacon (Kippax) subscribe a law anno 1734.

Thomas Sodor and Man, and his Archdeacon subscribe the laws passed anno 1738.

Thomas Sodor and Man, his Archdeacon (Kippax), and John Cosuahan, Vicar-General, subscribe laws passed annis 1739, 1741.

The said Archdeacon and Vicar-General Moore subscribe a law passed 1742.

Mark Sodor and Man, and his Archdeacon (Mylrea), and Vicars-General Robert Radcliffe, Matthias Curghey, James Wilks, and John Moore, subscribe various subsequent laws, during his Episcopate, until the year 1765.

Vide Statute-book, wherein there are various other instances of the Bishop, Archdeacon, Vicars-General, and Archdeacon's Official, acting a8 members of the Council.


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