[Appendix D(4) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

N° 4.


The EXAMINATION of JOHN COSNAHAN, Esquire, high Bailiff of the District. of Douglas, in the Isle of Man, taken the 6th Day of October 1791.

[Examined by the Commissioners]

THIS Examinant saith, that he has been six years High Bailiff of the town and district of Douglas, at an annual salary of twenty-five pounds Sterling. This office is held by commission from the Governor during pleasure, and an oath of office is administered to him. There are perquisites annexed to his office arising from small fees attending the execution thereof.

That by virtue of his office he is conservator of the peace, and superintendent of the police. within his district ; and has jurisdiction in all matters of debt under forty shillings within his district ; and in his judicial capacity issues his warrant for convening parties, witnesses, or others whom it may concern, before him, and for each warrant receives a fee of three-pence Manks where the defendant only is summoned and where the warrant includes defendant and witnesses, six-pence Manks and also receives the sum of three-pence Manks for a common order or judgment between the parties, and six-pence Manks for a special order or judgment.

He is also empowered to take the acknowledgment of parties or testimony of witnesses for probate of all deeds or instruments brought before him for that purpose, and receives a fee of sixpence Manks for the acknowledgment of each deed or instrument He is also empowered to take affidavits, and receives a fee of seven-pence Manks for each affidavit ; that he also receives three-pence Manks upon every presentment of non-appearance and contempt to his judicial orders.

As conservator of the peace, he may commit any person guilty of a breach of the peace in his presence until peace is restored ; and upon flagrant breaches of the peace, open riots, and disturbances, or other notorious misdemeanors, he apprehends he may commit the offender or offenders until they have given bail to the Governor in all bailable offences ; but has not himself any-power of taking bail or surety for conservation of the peace in any case whatever.

Has the superintendence of the streets and pavements in the town of Douglas, and the power of preventing nuisances, hut not of imposing any fines for the offences specified in the Act of Tynwald of 1776 ; by which act this power was given to the Captain of the Town, whose civil office has devolved upon the High Bailiff by the Act of Tynwald in 1777, intituled, "An Act for the better Regulation of the interior Police of the Island, and the recovery of Small Debts before the High Bailiffs."

Has also the regulation of weights and measures in the manner described by an act of 1777, intituled, "An Act for ascertaining of Weights and Measures "; and is entitled to a fee of one penny Manks, upon the comparing, stamping, or marking weights and measures as therein mentioned.

In his judicial capacity an appeal lies from his determination to the Deemster, as described in the act of 1777, intituled, "An Act for the better Regulation of the interior Police of the Island, &c"

The office of High Bailiff is modern, and constituted by the said Act of Tynwald of 1777, Intituled, "An Act for the better Regulation of the interior Police of the Island, &c." and substituted in lieu of an ancient office called the Captain of the Town, who had a civil and a military jurisdiction.

The island is divided into four districts, namely, Ramsay, Peele, Castletown, and Douglas ; and over each of these districts an High Bailiff presides, who has similar jurisdictions and powers with those of this examinant.

The district of Douglas contains the town of Douglas, and the several parishes of Lennan, Conchan, Braddan, and Marown. The district of Castletown comprises the town of Castletown, and the parishes of Malew, Santan, Arbory, and Rushen. The district of Peele comprises the town of Peele, and the parishes of Patrick, German, Michael, and Ballaugh. The district of Ramsay comprises the town of Ramsay, and the parishes of Jurby, Andreas, Bride, Lezaire, and Maughold.


Jno Spranger.
Wm Osgoode.
Willm Roe.
David Reid.


Back index next


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