[From Manx Soc vol 3]
JAMES, Lord Stanley and Strange, was called to Parliament by writ in 1627, the third year of Charles I. From that date to his death, in 1651, the government of the Isle of Man was administered by him.. In Mills' Statute Book, from page 84 to page 113, we find the records of his legislative actings, taken from the authorized copies in Rushen Castle. A careful revision of that text has lately been made, in preparation for a complete and uniform edition of the Manx Laws, which it is hoped the Manx Society may be instrumental in procuring for the Island. It is not desirable, therefore, to enlarge the size of the present volume by giving the full text of the seventh Earl's enactments. A brief abstract, which all insular readers may compare for themselves with Mills' text, will be sufficient to indicate the character as a legislator, of that remarkable member of the house of Stanley.
The second Stanley legislator, like the first, made seven additions to the Statute Book.
The first was an enactment " at the Tinwald holden the 24th June, 1629, and confirmed by Lord Strange, as in the Exchequer Book, 1630, appeareth." The preamble is as follows: "As in every well governed Commonwealth, wholesome Statutes, Orders, and Laws answerable to the Times, are usually invented, prepared, and enacted, for prevention and avoiding of such present and future annoyances, inconveniences, and losses, as the Magistrates find the Members thereof to be subject unto and to suffer; so the Government of the Inhabitants of this Isle being exemplary of ancient Customes, guided and provided for by the like Ordi-nances; we therefore the Captain, Deemsters, Officers, and 24 Keys, having advisedly observed and considered the manifold Misdemeanors and evil Accions comitted in these Times by Malle-factors, to the Ruin and Distruction of the Commonwealth, doe for Remedy thereof ordaine, enact, and publish, to be executed for Law henceforth, as followeth." The object of the statute was to increase the severity of the penal code, by imposing the penalty of death on all stealing of sheep, swine, beehives, turf, gorse, corn, hay, geese, hens, ducks, garden produce, wool, &c. Juries had been in the practice of extenuating the rigour of the law, which must be prevented in future. Very severe punishments enacted against cutting trees and pulling horses' tails. The rights of minors restricted. Coroners to continue in office no longer than one year. The law of corbes altered.
The second addition to the Statute Book consists of " Orders and Directions given concerning the Isle of Mann, by the Right Honourable James, Lord Strange, Lord of that Island, the 22nd day of November, Anno Domini 1636." These orders are nine in number. The first permits the Lord's Officers to receive Rent in grain from poor tenants. The second deprives Coroners and Mears of their stipends, and orders them to be paid only for work actually done. The 'third reduces the Deemsters' salaries from xiijl- vjs. viijd. each to the old payment of vijl. xs. yearly. The fourth directs the Receiver-General to account quarterly to the Captain and Comptroller. The fifth refers to Breast Laws, and is as follows:-" Whereas the Lord is informed that the Deemsters of the Island do sometimes give Judgment by Lawes unknown to his Lordship, or any other of his Councell of that Island,
called Brest Lawes : his Honour therefore declareth his Pleasure, and doth order and direct, that the said Deemsters do, upon Notice of this his Honour's Order, sett down in Writing, and certify to his Honour by the next Passage, after what Lawes these Brest Lawes are, and of what Use, in what Cases they are requisite, and how far their Power and Execution of them extende ; and in particular to certify, whether the same be used in all Cases, that is to say, Criminal for Punishment of Offenders, and Civil for Decission of Rights of Lands and Goodes, or in which of them, or in what Cases are any of them; whether by such Lawes finall deffinitive Sentences, Orders or Judgments are given, whereby the Causes are absolutely and finally determined, or but interlocutorie Orders before the final Decree or Judgment; whether Judgments or Orders made by such Lawes be subject to any Appeale or higher Judgment, or do extend to Matters of any Value whatsoever, or be restrained to some certain values whether the same are to be pronounced in open Court, or maybe done privately out of any Court or Session; and whether by the Opinion of one Deemster alone, or with what Assistance; what Entree or Remembrances is made of such Orders or Judgment, and how it may appeare that the same is not repugnant to the known Lawes and Customes of the Island; or one Brest Law contrary to another; and how the People may take notice thereof, to frame their Accompts and Contracts accordingly." The sixth is that order may be given for re-building the Lord's Mills, and demolishing lately-erected private mills, that thereby his Lord-ship's prerogatives and his profit of mulcture and toll may be preserved. The seventh relates to ecclesiastical appeals, and is as follows :" Forasmuch as the Execution of Justice, and Punishment of Offenders, have of late been much delayed by unnecessary Appeals from the Ecclesiastical Courts in that Island, sometimes to the Lord of the Island, and sometimes to the Lieutenant or Captaine of the Island, or his Deputie, and to the Temporall Judges and 24 Keys; for Reformation of which Delays hereafter, and for Quietness and avoiding of Differences between the Ecclesiasticall and Temporall Courts within that Island, the Lord is honourably pleased, and so doth declare, direct, and appoint, that noe Appeale shall hereafter be made from the Ecclesiasticall Courts to the Lieutenant, or to the Captain or his Deputy, or to the Judges or 24 Keys, or any of them, for any Cause depending or determined in the Ecclesiastical Courts, which do meerly concern Government of the Church, Excommunications, Suspensions, Incests, Adultry, Fornication, Prophainacion of God's Name, Prophainacion of the Sabbath, Cursing, Probatt of Wills and Testaments, granting of Administration, granting Tuition of Infants Goodes, or merely substracting of Tythes, or for, or concerning the Defamations determinable or punishable by the Ecclesiasticall Lawes : Let these Proceedings be no Ways prejudiciall to the Privilidges formerly enjoyed by the Soldiers there under the Captaine in Garrison. These directions to endure until his Lordship hath further considered of the consquence of this business, and do give further orders therein" The eighth is an order to enrol all the forementioned orders and directions in the records of the Island, that they may be duly observed by all, upon pain of such punishments as are due to contemners of his Honour's command, any former directions to the contrary notwithstanding. The ninth is an order for copies to be sent to him of all Laws made since the decease of Ferdinando, late Earl of Derby.
" In testimony whereof the Lord hath subscribed with his Hand and affixed his Seal, the day and year first above written. " JAMES STRANGE."
The third addition to the Statute Book is thus headed:-"At a Court of Tynwald holden in the Isle of Mann, the 24th day of June, in the yeare of our Lord God 1637, it was enacted, established, and confirmed, by the Sovereign Liege Lord of the Island, James, Lord Strange, and by the Barrons, 24 Keyes, Commons, and Inhabitants of the said Island, assembled at this Court, as followeth." The object of this statute is (1) to prevent all forestalling and regrating, (2) to secure some uniformity of weights and measures, (3) to forbid all exporting of provisions from the Island without the Lord's license, (4) to require, for the first time, that none sell wine, ale, or beer without a license, and (5) to limit the period within which actions real and personal could be instituted.
The fourth addition to the Statute Book has so important a bearing upon the political and ecclesiastical history of the Island, and is so specially referred to in the Earl's letter above printed, that it must be given in full.
APUD CASTRUM DE RUSISEN, XXX° DIE OCTOBRIS, 1643. Whereas before this time, at Peele Town, the Xviijth day of July, 1643, before the Right Honourable James, Earl of Derby, Lord of the said Isle, &c., the Officers spirituall and temporall, with the 24 Keyes of the said Island, and four men of every parish, were assembled together to advise and consider of certain Grievances of the Church and Commons of the said Isle, laid down and expressed in and by their several petitions and com-plaints unto his Lordship, and to study and devise such convenient remedy and redress therein as might or may best stand with the maintenance and preservation of his Lordship's royalties, rights, and prerogatives of and within the said Island, the good and welfare of the Church and Commons of the same, and the peace and. safety of the whole state in general; at which place and day it was mutually condescended and agreed unto by all parties, as well complainants as defendants, and it was their humble desires that his Lordship should chancelarise, order and decide, all and every their matters and business of complaint or agrievance whatsoever, as in his Honour's wisdom shall be thought meet and convenient. To which order, doom, and decree, every of them, viz., the Reverend Father in God, Richard, Lord Bishop of this Isle, with his Officers spirituall, and the body of the Clergy, the said twenty-four Keyes of the Island, with the four men of every parish, in the name of themselves and of the whole Commons of the Isle, by whom they were chosen and thither sent for that purpose, did condescend and agree for them, their heirs and successors, to stand, to perform, and abide such his Lordship's order, doome, and decree therein, as should be there-after published and declared under his Honour's hand and scale. To which end and purpose, and for the more perfect, more ready, and good performance of the business, according to justice and equity, his Honour (being willing to understand the true state of all their causes and grievances) was gratiously pleased to give order that a select Jury or Grand Inquest of twenty-four men, newly chosen, whereof 12 of the 24 Keyes to be part, and 12 of the four men of the parishes there present, should be impannelled and sworn to find out and present all such wrongs or abuses as have been committed or acted against his Lordship's prerogative, the laws of the Island, or the good of the comonaltie, as by the tenor, form, and effect of the oath then administered unto them by Ewan Christian Esquire, one of the Deemsters of the said Isle, more plainly appeareth ; which oath was verbatim as followeth
You shall truly and faithfully proceed and prevent all such wronges and abuses as have been committed and acted against the Lord's prerogative, the laves of the Island, and the good of the commonaltie ; all which you shall, by virtue of your oath, maintaine and defend.
You shall, without malice, favor, or affection, give in a true answer according as cases shall (by sufficient proofs and testi-monys, records, or any other legall manner) be made appear. So God you help, and his Holy Word contained in this blessed Book.
The Names of the said 12 chosen out of the 24 Keyes are, &c.
The Names of the said 12 chosen out of the four Men of the Parishes are, &c. All of which, as one Grand Enquest or Jury of Presentment, do find and present upon their oathes certain prooffs and examinations which they had taken upon the petitions of the several parishes, the most of which did concern particular abuses of the Clergy, by particular ministers and proctors, in the collecting of their tithes and duties to the Church, contrary to the known laves and orders of the Island: Whereupon his Lordship gave order, that the Clergy and Proctors should make their answers, and plead their defence against such the complaints of the country; which accordingly they have done, and have given his Lordship such satisfaction therein, with promise of reformation for future times, and have made and offered also to his Lordship such feizable reasons of their just grievances against the Comon-altie, that his Lordship (for preservation of love and unity betwixt the Clergy and Comonaltie for time to come) thinkes fitt that those matters of particular Grievances on both parts shall be no more remembered: Nevertheless, if any of the parties grieved think good hereafter to prosecute their grievances and put them to a tryal, his Honour will take paines to give his especial order therein for relief of the wronged partie.
And whereas amongst other the complaints of the country, some particular matters concerning the generall good are most considerable of reformation and determination, his Honour was graciously pleased to assemble the Clergy and 24 Keyes of the Island, with the four men of every parish, to meet this day, being the 30th day of October, 1643, as afforesaid, at his Castle of Rushen, where accordingly they did appear, and then and there upon their ensuing business, (agittated and disputed before his Lordship) betwixt the Clergy and Proctors upon the one part, and the said xxiiij Keyes and four men of the parishes in behalfe of the Countrey upon the other part, his Lordship doth order and declare as followeth
First, that whereas when there are diverse children left under age, and executors by their dead parents wills, if any of them shall dye before he or she comes to the age of xiiij years, (which is the age the law requires before such infant can dispose of his goodes by will or otherwise,) the goodes of such infant falls by law to the rest of its brothers and sisters : Yet notwithstanding the Church have used to make a decree of this child's goodes, and for the same takes a fee of three shillings four pence for decreeing the goodes to its brothers and sisters, which is needless, (as is argued by the countrey,) the same falling upon them by law as aforesaid, without any decree, his Lordship there-fore hereby ordereth, that the Church shall take no more but vjd. for the taking notice of, and making the decree for and concern-such a child's goods, being under age as afforesaid.
Itm Whereas it is a complaint of the country, that the Lord of the Island makes Clearkes of the Parishes by his speciall grants, whereas the parishioners pays the Cleark his dues, his Lordship is gratiously pleased that the Parishioners and the Parson or Viccar of the Parish shall have the nomination of the Clearke, and the Bishop or Ordinary to have the allowance or approbation of him for his sufficiency and ability to perform the place; and this order to take effect after the time of the grants in being be expired, which have been heretofore made by his Lordship or his ancestors.
Itm. Whereas it is complained of, that the Ministers of the Parishes have taken xijd. for the writing of a Decedtts will, whereas the party himself, or his friend for him, would have written it for little or nothing; and that the Church have some-times refused to accept of and prove such wills, except they were made and written by the minister's hand; his Lordship's order is, That every man may make, or cause to be made, his own will, by whom he shall please to direct; and if he desire the minister to make it, that he shall agree with the minister as he can for the writing thereof, and not otherwise.
Itm. Whereas when 'a man dyes intestate his goodes, by the law, ought to fall to his children unmarried equally amongst them; yet, contrary to this, the Church sometimes use to decree the whole teame of oxen and the cropp of corne to the eldest son, which commonly is more worth than all the rest of the goodes ; it is therefore ordered by his Lordship, that if the Church shall hereafter make any such decree in favour of the eldest sonn, to the wrong of the rest of the younger children, that decree shall be void, and the goods to go equally amongst all the children according to the law.
Itm. Whereas it is a great complainte of the countrey, that the Clergy and Proctors use to take viijs. for a corspresent out of a decead" goods of the value of iiijl. and proportionably after that rate forth of goodes under that value, it is ordered by his Lordship, That noe corpspresent shall be hereafter taken by the Clergy or Proctors of spirituall livings of any deceadent's goods under the value of vjl. xiijs. iiijd.; and of that value, and under the value of xxl., they shall take but xxd. for the corpspresents; and if the goods be of the value of xxl. and under the value of xll., they shall take for the corpspresents but iijs. 4d. ; and out of goodes of the value of xll. and above, they shall take vjs. iiijd. and no more, be the goodes of what value soever they may be; and that none shall pay a corpspresent but such as at the time of his or her death were housekeepers and masters of a family; and that no infant or child under the age of fourteen years, nor no woman under the covert Baron, shall pay any corpspresent; and if any Clergyman or Proctor take more for a corpspresent, or otherwise than as afforesaid, he shall forfeit so much in value as he shall take above the summ before limitted, and also vjs. viijd. to the party grieved, to be recovered by accon of debt at the Common Law; but it shall be lawful for any spirituall person to take any summe, or other thing, which by any person dying shall be given or bequeathed unto him.
Itm. Whereas it is a greate complainte of the country, that by the spirituall Lawes here they are forced to pay tyth butter and tyth cheese, which is called the milk tythes; and in the payment thereof there is an undecent order in paying it on the Sabbath Day upon the alter in the Church, where often falls our great contention betwixt the Minister and Proctors on the one part and the people that pay the same on the other part; and sometimes the people are put to their oaths for such things,.upon triviall matters; which kind of tything is much out of use in most parts of the king's dominions; his Lordship therefore orders, That from henceforth no more tyth butter or cheese shall be paid in manner as aforesaid; but in lieu thereof the farmers, cotlers, and all others who ought to pay such tythes, shall at Easter, when the accompt for their other dutys to the Church, pay iiijd. for every cow which has a calf that yeare, and ijd. for every farrow cow which had no calfe, but gave milk since the Easter before, and one penny out of every four milk sheep, and jd. out of every two milk goates ; the Viccars of thirds and pentioners, who were used to have a choice cheese, they to have in lieu thereof the moneys due for the tyth cheese, and butter of a choice house in the parish, and the Sumner likewise.
Itm. Whereas there hath been, and it is a great complainee made by the countrey, for the losses they have suffered by the Ministers and Proctors not coming in due time to take the tyth of their corne, whereby the farmers have sometimes lost their own corne, not daring to draw or lead the same before the Proc-tor or Minister come to take away their tyth ; his Lordship therefore, for prevention of such inconveniences, doth order and decree, That from henceforth the Parson, Viccar, and Proctor of every parish, shall acquaint the several farmers of the parishes with the names of his or their under Proctors or deputies, who are to receive their tythes ; and this shall be done in the month of July before the harvest beginn ; and when the time of harvest is come, the farmer shall give notice to him or them who are to have and receive their tyth corne the evening or day before such farmer intends to lead his corne; and then if the Parson, Viccar, or Proctor, or his or their under Proctors, come not to take the tyth of the farmer's corn according to the warning given, the farmer to take two neighbours to justify with him that he hath left his due tyth : this warning to be given by the farmer as aforesaid, shall be given at the Parsonage, Viccarage, or Proctor's house, who is to receive the tythes, if there be any such in the parish; and if it be a stranger of another parish, or layman of the same parish, shall, before the time of harvest, acquaint the farmer at what house in the same parish the farmer shall give or leave such notice, that his corne is ready for leading, or that he intends to lead; and the like order for tyth hay is to be observed.
Itm. Whereas it is complained of by the Comonaltie against the Ordinary, and his spiritual officers, that orphan's goods and just debts to creditors are not, and have not been sufficiently secured by their court; by means whereof diverse poor people being left orphants, and many others, who had just debts owing to them by the deceadents, have mightily suffered in their estates; his Lordship therefore doth order, that the goods of the deceadent, according to the inventory, shall be made good by the Ordinary, or his spiritual officers, if he or they, upon the proving of the will, or making of the decree where no will was made, do not, or shall not take sufficient security for the same.
And whereas there is a controversy betwixt the Clergy and Proctors upon the one part, and the Commonalty upon the other part, concerning the payment of some other tythes and dutyes, as tyth wool and tyth fish, clerk silver fees for probation of wills, and the Sumner's dues, and this upon a pretended record produced by the Commonalty of the year 1541 ; which record hath this day been in open court deliberately discussed and argued pro et contra, by both partyes, before his Lordship, and there adjuged of no validity, upon diverse good reasons; his Lordship doth therefore order and declare, that the said record be of no force or effect hereafter to be pleaded in way of barre to the book of the spirituall statutes enrolled in the Statute Book of this Island; and that therefore the Lawes and Orders positively made, and in that book recorded, shall be from henceforth duly and truly observed in all things, till some other law, statute, or ordinance shall be aggreed upon, to the contrary.
And whereas there is an undecent and irreverent use in this Island by the Proctors and Clergy, when they collect their small tythes and offering money at Easter, they demand the same at the time the people are to receive the communion, and sometimes will stop the people from receiving the blessed sacrament, because they have not paid their duties; his Lordship therefore ordereth, That the Proctors and Ministers to whom such small tythes and oblations belong, shall sitt in the Parish Church upon Monday and Tuesday in Easter Week after the people have received the communion, there to receive their dues; andwhosoever shall not pay their dues to them upon one of those dayes, the Ministers and Proctors shall proceed against them by way of citation before the Ordinary or his officers: And his Lordship thinkes fitt, that the Minister or Proctor in such cases of willfull neglect by the people in not paying their dues, shall have the speediest and strictest course that may be from the Ordinary for the recovery thereof.
In witness the said James Earle of Derby hath hereunto put his Hand and Seale of Armes the day and yeare first above written. JAMES DERBY. Consented unto and witnessed by us whose Names are subscribed, (&e.)
The Twenty-four Keyes, (&c.) Four Men of the Parishes, (&c.)
"NOTE.-The reason why the full body of the Twenty-four Keyes, and the four Men of each Parish are not all incerted, is because their meeting at Castle Rushen, the said 30th October, 43, proved a very tempestuous day of raine and wind, they could not conveniently travell without hazard, &c.; and therefore the names of them who happened to appear were only taken, as appears placed in the original of the afforesaid statutes."
The fifth addition to the Statute Book is thus styled, "At the Tinwald Court, holden at St. John's Chappell, in the Parish of Kirk German, in the Isle of Man, the xxiiij day of June, in the year of our Lord 1645, before the Right Honourable James, Earle of Derby, Lord of the said Isle, John Greenhalgh, Esquire, Governor of the said Isle, with the rest of the Lord's Councell there. Ewan Christian, Esquire, and John Cannell, gentlemen, Deemsters there, with the Representative Body of the said Countrey, viz., the xxiiij Keyes of the said Isle, whose names are subscribed, it is ordered, enacted, and ordained, as followeth." In this statute there are nine distinct enactments. The first declares that those who held land or houses under his Lordship
had power to convey the same only to their oldest son or daughter, or next of kin, but not to any other child or person, without the consent of the Lord. The second enacts that in case of non-payment of rent, the Lord re-enters and takes the forfeiture of lands and houses. The third imposes a fine for non-attendance at the services of building or repairing the Lord's houses and forts. The fourth empowers the Governor to punish pedlars for
selling by unlawful weights. The fifth renders the Winchester bushel the only lawful corn measure. The sixth explains an ambiguous clause in one of Sir John Stanley's acts, p. 73, as im-plying that " no manner of persons shall hold any of the Lord's Wast or Commons of this land unrented." The seventh defines the word proves in Sir John Stanley's act, p. 79, to mean prowesse or combat. The eighth is as follows: "And whereas by the Statute Book, fol. 12, it is laid down, That whosoever pleadeth any deceipt against the Lieutenant, he is a traytor by our law, &c., for the better explination of the meaning of that point of the statue, it is ordered and enacted by this present court, and by the authority thereof, that whosoever pretendeth or practiceth any evill or hurt to the prejudice of the Lord, of the Governor or Government of the Island, he or they so doing, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall forfeit as in case of treason." And the last enactment gives to the Governor, Council, and Keys discretionary power over all exports and imports of corn, cattle, and other commodities.
The sixth addition to the Statute Book is in a new style. In this the officials and 24 Keys appear not as a power co-ordinate with the Lord, but as presenting "the humble petition of your Lordship's servants the Officers and 24 Keys of the said Island." The prayer of the petition is to enact that all making or inten tional using of unlawful money be treated as high treason. To this petition is annexed a clause, " I do approve of the peti-tioners' request, and confirm the same as an Act, to be published for a law at the next Tinwald. James Derby."
The last addition made by the seventh Earl of Derby to the
Manx Statute Book is thus styled :"A true copy of an Act made and published at the Court of Tinwald the xxiiijth of June, 1647, confirmed by the Right Honourable the Lord of the Isle, with the consent of the Officers and xxiiij Keyes of the said Isle, as appears upon record in the Exchequer Book for the aforesaid year." It contains three enactments. The first to repeal the act of 1637, limiting to ten years claims to lands, and to restore the Act 1593 extending the terms to twenty-one years; another to punish, at the discretion of the Court of Chancery, taking interest above ten per cent.; the third is as follows:-" It is enacted, confirmed, and published for law, as in the Exchequer Book for the year 1601, more at large appeareth, that whosoever shall accuse or speak any scandalous speeches against any Chief Officer of this Isle, spiritual or temporal, or any of the xxiiij Keyes, touching either their oathes, or the state and government, or any other scandalous speeches which might tend to the defamation of their offices and places, and be not able to prove it, shall be fined for every time soe offending in Tenn Pounds, and their ears to be cut off' for punishment besides,"