From Manx Soc vol. 19


THE peculiar feature connected with making known the Laws of the Isle of Man to the people has induced the author to place before the Members of the Manx Society the following account, in the hope that it may form another link in the authentic records of the island. The proceedings are the more singular, as it is believed to be the last remains of open-air legislation in Europe, continued uninterruptedly, as it has been in the island, from the remotest time. The Manx appear to have been satisfied that the Law should continue to be so long locked up in the breasts of their Deemsters until a recent period, although ordered by Sir John Stanley, in 1417, to be committed to writing. These early statutes and ordinances have been so imperfectly printed, that it would be highly desirable to have copies carefully taken from the originals, and printed in a new edition. This was recommended by Mr. Simms of the British Museum to the Rev. Mr. Mackenzie, when he was examining a copy of these Manx records deposited in that Library.

The account here given of the rebuilding of St. John's Chapel is the first Church notes issued by the Manx Society ; others are in their possession, which, it is to be hoped, some Member will undertake to see through the press, as well as extracts from the various parish registers of the island.

In the Appendix will be found an account of the Duke of Atholl first taking possession of his newly-acquired kingdom or lordship of Man in 1736, written evidently by one who took part in those proceedings, which will be an acceptable addition to Manx history, as it gives a statement of what took place on that occasion both in Castletown and on the first Tynwald held at St. John's by the Duke, entering as it does so minutely into every occurrence; it is here printed for the first time. Also is introduced " A Lay of Ancient Mona," by Dr. M'Burney of Douglas; being considered an appropriate addendum to the History of the Tynwald.

During the printing of this work the author visited St. Luke's, in Baldwin, in order to inspect the ancient Tynwald at that place, which is mentioned at page 29, but was much disappointed to find that every vestige of it had been removed ; the ground levelled, and inclosed in the adjoining field. He was informed the property on which the Tynwald stood now belongs to the Trustees of the Impropriate and Academic Fund, who had permitted. the tenant to destroy one of the oldest monuments in the island, which has stood for the last thousand years as a memorial of the ancient usages of the country. If this has been done with the sanction of the Trustees of that Fund, it redounds little to their credit as conservators of the antiquities of their country, and is at variance with the intention of the founders, " for the advancement and promotinge of godliness and learninge," and " to teach, inform, and instruct in the study of history all and every person within the Isle of Man," by the removal of one of the oldest monuments in it.

Its site was on the south-west corner of the third field from the present chapel of St. Luke's, which was built on the site of the old temple of Kil-Ammon, higher up on what is still called the Kil-Ammon road, a continuation of the Raad Jiarg. The district is highly interesting to the antiquary, many of the places still retaining their old appellations, as " Balla Vriw," the Judge's town, once the residence of a Deemster, now the property of Mr. John M'Clure, of Baldwin, and the neighbouring farm of " Balla Moddey."

The ancient Sword of State, which had so long remained neglected, until the present Lieutenant-Governor rescued it from its ignoble use, and had it cleaned and placed once more in safe custody, has been photographed by Mr. Dean of Douglas. This, with the other drawings in photo-lithography by Messrs. George Waterston & Son, of Edinburgh, will form a suitable accompaniment to the records of both Tynwald and Chapel. An Index has been added for the greater facility of reference. The author can only conclude in the words of an old writer, John Lydgate " The Monk of Bury," 1431 :-

" I humbly do beseech all those that read,
Or leisure have this story to peruse,
If any fault therein they find to be,
Or error that committed is by me,
That they will of their gentleness take pain,
The rather to correct and mend the same,
Than rashly to condemn it with disdain,
For well I wot, it is not without blame."


ROCK MOUNT, October 1871.


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