[Note 21 from Manx Soc Vol 12 ]

§ 21.

James I., the seventh Earl of Derby and tenth Lord of Man of the House of Stanley, began as before mentioned his rule of the Island in 1627, he being then Lord Strange. He became Earl of Derby on the death of his father Earl William, on the 29th of September, 1642. He was a Knight of the Orders of the Garter and Bath, and was Lieutenant of Cheshire, Lancashire, and North Wales. (Seacome 71, 74, &c.) He was present at a Tynwald Court held at St. John's on the 24th June, 1637, when probably the Bishops and the holders of the possessions of the ancient baronies of the Island attended and did homage to him as their Sovereign Lord, as the Barons are mentioned as being present. (Mills' Statutes 91.) In 1642 the Civil War broke out in England, and after various efforts to assist King Charles I. against the Parliament, Earl James came in 1643 to the Island (where the inhabitants were showing symptoms of revolt,) leaving his Countess, the famous Charlotte de la Tremouille, and his children, at Lathom House. On the Earl's arrival in the Island he attended a meeting of the inhabitants held " in the heart of the country" (to use his own words,-probably at St. John's or Cronk Urleigh in Michael,) to hear their grievances. (Mackenzie's Stanley Legislation 25.) This meeting led to another meeting of the Earl, his Council, the Bishop, spiritual Officers and Clergy, the Keys, and four men from each parish, being held at Peel on the 18th July, 1643,-this meeting ending in the appointment of " a select Jury or grand Inquest " of twenty-four men (twelve from the Keys and twelve from the four men of the parishes,) who were sworn to present "all such wrongs or abuses as have been comitted or acted against his Lordship's prerogative, the laws of the Island, or the good of the comonaltie." On the 30th October, 1643, the Earl, with the Governor and Council, again met the Clergy, the Keys, and the four men of the parishes at Castle Rushen, when various orders for the remedying of grievances were agreed to and made. (Mills' Statutes 98, &c.)

On the 28th February, 1644, commenced the siege of Lathom House by the Parliamentary army under the command of General Sir Thomas Fairfax, the house being gallantly and successfully defended by the Countess. The siege was raised on the 27th May, 1644. One incident during the siege the Earl rendered memorable by the following order of the 26th April, 1645, made at the Fort in St. Michael's Isle. (Liber Scaccar, 1645, No. 56). The signature of the Countess appears to have been obtained to the document.

Bee it recorded, that James, Earle of Derby, Lord of Mann, &c., beinge in his Lops fforte in St. Michell's Isle, the 26th of Aprill, 1645, the day twelve months that the house of Lathome hovinge boene besieged close neare to three months, and gallantlie deffended by the greate wisdome and valour of the Illustrious Lady Charlotte de la tremoille, Countesse of Derby, by her Laps direction, the stoute souldiers of Lathome did make a sallie and beate the enemie rounde out of all their workes savinge one, and miraculouslie did bringe the enemies great morter peece into the house, ffor which the thankes and glorie is given unto God, and my Lord doth name this fforte

Derby forte.


During the siege of Lathom the Earl left the Island and was present at the siege of Bolton by Prince Rupert, general of the army of King Charles I. The town was taken by the besieging force on the 28th May, 1644, the success being chiefly attributed to the courage and resolution of the Earl. (Seacome 93, &c.)

The Earl, with his Countess and family, returned to the Island in 1644. (Seacome 97). The Earl appears to have remained in the Island until 1651. Being uncertain how soon he might have to leave, on the 20th April, 1645, he by the following commission appointed Governor Greenhalgh Lieutenant-General of the forces, and conferred on him extraordinary powers as to raising troops and establishing martial law. (Liber Scaccar, 1645, No. 54.) It does not appear that it was ever necessary that those powers should be exercised.

James, Earle of Derby, Viscount Kington, Lord Stanley and Strange of Knockinge, Lacye, Ifoughune, Bassett and Burnell, Lord of Mann and the Isles, &c.

To John Grenehalgh, Esqur., Governr of my Isle of Mann.

Having confidence and knowledge of your approved iudgment, valor, and integritie, I have thought good (in theise dangerous times for his Mattes better service and greater saftie to this countrey) by vertue of my power and authoritie to nominate and appoint you my Lieuetenant-genrall over all,the forces of this Island : Willinge and comanding all officers, soldiers and others of what degree soever to be obeyinge, aidinge, and assistinge to you, see often as you shall require them in anie service for the saftie of this countrey as in your discrecon you may think most fitt.

Alsoe I hereby give you power upon any occasion of invasion, rebellion, or the like, to raise an army or armies, and them to continue in a bodie or otherwise for large, and in what place or places you think most convenient. Also wth the same to kill, imprison, or otherwise to punish anie enemie accordinge to your owne discrecon.

Moreover you have hereby power to p'don and forgive them whom you thincke worthie of itt. And for the better enablinge of you to this greate chardge you shall nominate and appoint all the officers of the armies. And if anie of them misbehave themselves you may againe displace and punish them.

Hereby also I doe declare that you shall have power of morshall-lawo over the said army or armies, to execute the same by yoursglf or others deputed by you according to anie former custome of this countrey or is known usuall att this tyme of warre, in the neighbor kingdoms for prevencon of invasions and suppression of insurreccons. And this to continue duringe my good will and pleasure, ffor which this shall be your sufficient warrant. Given at my Castle of Rusher, under my hand and scale, this three and twentieth day of Aprill, in the yeare of our Lord God one thousand six hundred ffortie ffive. J. DERBY & MANN.

The Earl was present at Tynwald Courts held at St. John's on the 24th June, 1645, and on the 24th June, 1647, on both of which occasions laws were promulgated. (Mills' Statutes 106, 112.)

King Charles I. was executed and the English Commonwealth commenced on the 30th January, 1648/9, and on the 20th September, 1649, the Long Parliament, or the remnant of it styled the Rump, passed an Act conferring the Island on Lord Fairfax. But this Act did not take immediate effect, the Earl having continued in possession until his death in 1651 ; in fact the Act had no recognition in the Island until February, 1652.

In 1649 Commissary-General Ireton communicated to the Earl the offer of the Parliament to restore his estates, if he would surrender the Isle of Man. The answer of the Earl, styled by Hume " spirited and memorable," is worthy a place here.

Castle Town, July 12, 1649.

Sir,-I received your letter with indignation and scorn, and return you this answer :- That I cannot but wonder whence you should gather any hopes from me, that I should like you prove treacherous to my Sovereign, since you cannot but be sensible of my former actings in his late Majesty's service, from which principles of loyalty I am no whit departed. I scorn your proffers, disdain your favour, and abhor your treason; and am so far from delivering up this Island to your advantage, that I will keep it to the utmost of my power to your destruction. Take this for your final answer, and forbear any further solicitation, for if you trouble me with any more messages on this occasion I will burn the paper and hang the bearer. This is the immutable resolution, and shall be the un-doubted practice of him who accounts it his chiefest glory to be his Majesty's most loyal and obedient servant. DERBY. (Seacome 130, Hume's History of England, chap. 60.)

In August, 1651, the Earl being desirous of aiding the King (Charles II.), took from the Island into England a party of volunteers; but he first empowered the Countess, (whom he left in the Island,) to act for him by the following commission. (Rolls Office.)

James, Earle of Derbie, Viscount Kinton, Lord Stanley and Strange of Knockinge, Lacy, Moughune, Bassett and Burnell, Lord of Mann and th'isles, and of the Most noble Order of the Garter Knight, &c., &c.

To all people to whome theise presents shall come. Knows yea that uppon the espetiall trust and confidence which I, the said Earle, have and repose in the knowne wisdome and courage of you Dame Charlotte de la Tremoille, my dear and welbeloved wife, have thought good, (espetiallie in theise dangerous tymes,) for the better saftie of this Isle and countrey, and of my castles, ffourtes, and garrisons therein, to nominate and appointe, and 1 doe hereby nominate and appoint you in my place and steede, (beinge readie by God's assistance to advance with my fforces for England uppon his Matie' s service,) to order and dispose of all and everie the fforces of this Island, and the officers and soldiers thereof of what degree whatsoever, as to your wisdome shall bee thought meete : Willinge and comandinge all officers in commission or otherwise to bee obeyinge, aidinge, and assistinge to you uppon your comande, and uppon anie your dislike or displeasure on iudicious cause found against any of them, to displace and dischardge such like officer and officers, soldier and soldiers, from the exercise of their further duties in this Islande, notwithstandinge anie my further comission or comissions given or granted to them or anie of them, and new officer and officers, soldier and soldiers (at your good likinge), from tyme to tyme to make and ordaine by comission under your hand and scale of armes, or otherwise, in as full and ample maner to all intents and purposes as I in my owns p'son might, could, or should make and ordaine the same. Moreover I doe hereby give you power uppon occasion of invasion, rebellion, or the like, to raise anie army or armyes by your selfe or by your officers, and them to continue in order (or otherwise) see longe and in what place or places you shall thinks meet : And with power to kill, imprison, or otherwise to punish enemies accordinge to your good discretion, and power likewise to p'don and forgive all such of them whome you thinke wortbie of itt. Ffurtber alsoe I doe hereby give you full power and authoritie (in my absence) to dispose of, place, or displace all officers of this Island, spirituall or temporall; and free p'don of liffe, member, and geodes to all dellinquents (after judgment given) to give and grant at your will and pleasure under your band and scale or otherwise. Given under my hand and seale of armes, at Castle Rushen, the sixth day of August, in the third years of his Matie's raigne over Great Brittain, &c., and Ano. Dni. one thousand six hundred ffiftie one, 1651.


The charge on which William Christian was tried in 1663 was high treason in opposing the Countess whilst acting under this commission. The offence is set forth in the indictment in the following words :- (Liber Scaccar. 1663.) The jurors find " William Christian, late of Ronaldsway, gentleman, to bee a traitor, for his insurrection and treacherie against the Right Houble the Countess Dowager of Derby, at such tyme as her Lapp was in the year 1651 fully intrusted and ympowered with the state and government of the Isle of Mann, in the absence of the Right honble James, late Earl of Derby, Lord of ye said Isle, in which tyme the said Willm Christian assumed the power unto himself in becoming ye heade of ye said insurreccon and depriving her Lapp and his Lopp and heyeres thereof," &c. The Countess appears to have acted as a Regent in the absence of the Earl, not only in military but in civil matters, for we find that on the 15th September, 1651, she granted to Richard Stevenson, Captain of Arbory, his heirs and assigns, the estate of Balladoole and other lands "lately in the possession and occupation of his father and ancestors, to be holden according to ancient customs and houldinge of tenant right in this Isle, called the tenure of the straw, for ever." The grant is made in consideration of services rendered to the Earl and his family. (Liber Cancellar. 1654, No. 51.)

The Earl with his forces had an engagement with the Parliamentary forces at Wigan, and was defeated. He then attended the King at the battle of Worcester, which was lost to the Royalists on the 3rd September, 1651. The Earl was taken prisoner and conveyed to Chester, where he was tried by a court martial in October on the following charges :- " That he had traitorously borne arms for Charles Stuart against the Parliament; that he was guilty of a breach of an Act of Parliament of the 12th of August, 1651, prohibiting all correspondence with Charles Stuart or any of his party; that he had fortified his house of Latham against the Parliament; and that he now held the Isle of Man against them." He was found guilty, and sentence of death was pronounced against him. The sentence was carried into effect on the 15th October, 1651, when the Earl was beheaded at Bolton. (Seacome 117, &c.) He was thus the second King unrighteously slain by authority of the usurped power in England, and, amongst other charges, for the crime of having dared to defend his own kingdom.

Earl James died in the twenty-fifth year of his reign as Lord of Man.

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