[pages 276-286 Manx Soc vol XXIV]


Established in the Year 1858 for Publication of National Documents of the Isle of Man.

IN this work, treating of what has been printed relative to the History and Antiquities of the Isle of Man, it would be in-complete if special notice was not made of the formation and progress of a Society which has been the means of bringing not only the present account, but numerous other documents, before the public, which would otherwise have never appeared.

Early in the year 1858 a few gentlemen met in Douglas to consider the best mode of forming a Society for publishing or reprinting everything tending to illustrate the History of the Isle of Man, an undertaking which required the assistance of many hands. After several meetings a Committee was formed, who drew up an address which was freely circulated in the Island, as also in England and Scotland, and its object met with such hearty support, that upwards of one hundred and twenty members desired to be enrolled in the Society. Amongst the number were the Earl of Derby, the Duke of Argyll, several leading Members of Parliament, with most of the Members of the Insular Government, and others. A general meeting was accordingly called, when the Society was formally instituted, and a code of Rules adopted, his Excellency the Honourable Charles Hope, Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man, being elected President of the Society.

The following is the Address which was sent out, with a copy of the Rules :—



The Chief "of the multitude of Isles,"satellites to Great Britain and Ireland, has local peculiarities of the most interesting and important nature. It has an unexhausted field to the Antiquary and the Statesman—the man of the past and of the future—of conservatism and of progress. Inhabited by an aboriginal tribe of the great Celtic family, with language, institutions, and laws peculiar to itself—never united to Scotland, Ireland, or England—to this day a separate realm independent of the Imperial Parliament, and under its native and aboriginal Legislature, with a singular relation between its Church and State, having, as Lord Coke says, "such laws the like whereof are not to be found in any other place ; "so that " if the ancient discipline of the Church were lost,"said Chancellor King, "it might be found in all its purity in the Isle of Man,"surely this Island has peculiar claims to have the light of catholic publicity at length cast upon all its documents and pecu liarities. It was not in jest merely that Burke, speaking to Dr. Johnson and Boswell about a visit to this Isle, used the famous line of Pope— "The proper study of mankind is Man."

The central Isle of the British group, connectedwith Scotland geographi cally and geologically, with Ireland ethnologically, with England politically, and with the three kingdoms ecclesiastically, merits more attention from the United Kingdom than it has ever received. As during the past it has been, so for the future it promises to be, a beginner of the great central movements of the British Isles. Said to have been the central fane of Druidism in the aboriginal Celtic period, it was certainly the stronghold of the Norsemen long before they took the supremacy of Great Britain and Ireland. They introduced here Trial by Jury, and modified the old Celtic government by consti tuting the House of Keys to be a representation of the Island, before the judicial and political systems of jury and representation were known in Britain. The highest order of English chivalry, that of the Garter, began with the King and Queen of Man. The Papacy was subdued in this central Isle a full century before Henry VIII. , and thus among the European nations, the Manx, like Wycliffe, was the Morning Star of the Reformation, and for 428 years has been to the most catholic extent anti-papal. The latest reforms of the British fiscal and legal systems under Peel and Brougham are said to have been modelled after Manx examples. The records of such central movements of the geographic and organic heart of Great Britain and Ireland must prove in the highest degree interesting to the antiquary, the historian, and the conservative patriot, and may afford data to the patriotic reformer and liberal for prospects and actings as to future progress. The oldest and first-born dependency of England must be an object of interest to the younger brood of giant nations growing up from the loins of the Anglo-Saxon race. It is a singular spectacle in Europe to see a nation with no debt, with no soldiers of its own, with a heavy claim against the British Treasury, and with the taxing branch of its own legislature dormant. Having single-handed cut itself free from the Papacy in 1430, at the end of "the Great Western Schism,"and being the only Reformed nation that has not been excommunicated by Rome, it holds towards Papal and Protestant kingdoms a peculiar position in Christeadom. Marching in the front rank of European progress, the miniature kingdom of Man preserves with Asiatic immobility the Tynwald government, older far than that throne of the Caesars on which the Popes have placed their Chair of St. Peter. The Protestantism of Mona, so much indebted to Wycliffe, and not impeded by the growing obstacles that stop the progress of the Luther and Calvin Reformation, seems to have special preparation for the next era and development of Christianity. A nation whose soil is divided as in France, and whose Sabbath is observed as in Scotland, with a domestic Legislature, and a Bible in every family, is in a normal position for progress, ready to move in the van of Christendom, a pilot engine before the catholic train of mankind.

On these grounds it is deemed that a Society for the publication of all the valuable documents illustrating the past, and promotive of the future of the Manx people, will have claims of no ordinary strength on the patronage of the Nobility, Commons, and Churches of the British Empire and Colonies, and of all who look to the United Kingdom as the leading and model nation of man-kind. This Society will direct, for the first time, a combined and powerful influence towards the elucidation of the national records and monuments of Man.

The following extract from the Preface to the latest work of the Rev. J G. CUMMING, the modern historian of the Isle of Man, may be quoted in connection with the preceding statements :— "It does indeed seem strange that, with all the facilities which steam navigation affords, the Isle of Man, presenting to us certainly some of the most beautiful scenery in the British Isles, and whose political status is of so singular a character, should continue to be so little known. How very few are aware, as I have found by repeated inquiries, of these facts following, very worthy of note —That its climate is more equable than that of any country in Europe, and its mean annual temperature higher than that of any spot in the same parallel of latitude ; that it has within itself more antiquities in the shape of cromlechs, stone circles, crosses, ruined churches and castles, than any area of the like extent in the British Isles ; that it has been the possession in turn of the Scotch, Welsh, Danes, Norwegians, and English ; that its kings dictated terms to the Kings of Ireland ; that it played a part in the struggle between Bruce and Baliol ; that the land, the people, and their privileges, have been transferred from one party to another by purchase or by mortgage on five separate occasions ; that though in the middle of the British Isles, it is not in point of law a part of them ; that though a possession of the British Crown it is not ruled by the British Parliament ; that though its people have the rights of British subjects, it is no part of England, is not governed by the laws of England, and belongs not to England by colonisation or by conquest ; that in all these various changes of hands through which the Island has passed, it has maintained in its integrity its ancient and singular Constitution, and presents the last solitary remains of the ancient Scandinavian Thing, or Court of Justice, which, for the protection of public liberty, was held in the open air, in the presence of the entire assembled people ; that its Bishopric is the most ancient of any in Great Britain or Ireland, and has preserved an unbroken succession of Bishops from the first till now ; that it contains no records of the Reformation (of the sixteenth century) ; that the Bishop in the time of King Henry VIII. was also Bishop in the time of Elizabeth, and died in possession ; that its ecclesias tical liberty is not encumbered with an Act of Uniformity, or an Act of Mort main ; that, for the better Government of the Church, and for making such orders and constitutions as shall from time to time be found wanting, it is enjoined by law that there shall be a convocation of the whole clergy of the Diocese, on Thursday in Whitsun Week, every year ; that Canons drawn up in these Synodal meetings of the Church have received the sanction of the Legislature, and are actually the statute law of the Isle ; that the Bishop can himself draw up public prayers to be used in the churches of his Diocese, and that such prayers have been incorporated into the Liturgy of the Manx Church ; that the Offertory has never been discontinued, but is in general practice, once at least, every week, in every parish in the Island."


1. That the affairs of the Society shall be conducted by a Council, to meet on the first Tuesday of every month, and to consist of not more than 24 Members, of whom six shall form a quorum ; and that the President, and Vice-Presidents, the Hon. Secretaries and Treasurers, shall be considered ex officio Members. The Council may appoint two acting Committees, one for finance and the other for publication.

2. That a subscription of One Pound annually, paid in advance, on or before the day of annual meeting, shall constitute Membership ; and that every Member not in arrear of his annual subscription be entitled to a copy of every publication issued by the Society. That no Member incur any pecuniary liability beyond his annual subscription.

3. That the Accounts of Receipts and Expenditure be examined annually by two Auditors appointed at the annual meeting on the 1st of May in each year.

4. That six Copies of his Work be allowed to the Editor of the same, in addition to the one he is entitled to as a Member,

5. That no Rule shall be made or altered except at a General Meeting, after due notice of the proposed alteration has been given as the Council shall direct. The Council shall have the power of calling Extraordinary Meetings.

* The quorum was reduced to three in 1869.

In addition to this Address the following was extensively circulated throughout the Island :— The Council of this Society particularly request your kind co-operation in furnishing them with information on the various details of your parish or district, and beg to call your attention to the following queries :—

Name of the parish, its length, breadth, acreage, and general geological character ; Celtic remains, such as rocks or stones, which are objects of popular tradition or superstition ; altar stones, cairns, either simple heaps of stones or surrounded by circles of stones, runic stones, or crosses

Have any axes, spears, arrow-heads, vases, coins, rings, or other remains been found ? In whose possession are they ? Are there any ruins or remains of ancient buildings, embracing roads, stations, harrows, Treen chapels or yards, civil, military, or ecclesiastical

Incumbents, etc. , of the livings from the earliest to the present time, with the dates of their induction, etc. In whose gifts are the various Church preferments?

What benefactions have been given to the parish, particularly since 1827 ? Parochial registers : their earliest date ? Particular information is earnestly requested, and as ample extracts from them as can be given. No subject is of more importance to the antiquarian and historian, and in no way can clergymen do greater service to the history of the Island than by rendering accessible the valuable documents in their custody.

The Church, when built, its general plan and dimensions ? Are there any remarkable tombs or monumental inscriptions ? Exact copies of these, with all armorial bearings, are particularly valuable. Earliest date on stones, and remarkable ages?

Notice any peculiarity in the fonts, of what materials composed ; if any screens or carved work, communion plate or Church relics ; if any arms or inscription ? Extent of parish or clerk’s glebe ; number of wardens in the parish, or any peculiar mode of election?

What schools are there in the parish, and how endowed or supported?

What chapels of other denominations are there in the parish, when built, and how endowed, etc.?

Is there any library connected with the church or parish ; by whom given, or how kept up ; the number and description of books?

Are there any words or phrases peculiar to the people of the district

Have they any remarkable legends, ballads, or traditions?

Are any ancient customs or games kept up, or any peculiar customs ob served at funerals, or respecting the dead, or marriages or christenings?

Are there any mineral or remarkable springs of water or wells?

Natural History : any information on this subject will be very useful. Appearance of rare birds, insects ; mollusca, shells, etc., thrown on the sea-shore ; plants, etc., that may be considered rare, etc.

These and many other kindred subjects are all worthy of investigation, and the Council recommend that none of these points be lost sight of by those able and willing to communicate information ; in fact, everything should be collected and arranged which can in any way assist in illustrating the past and present condition of the Island, including topography, family or general history, so that each and all may find their appropriate place in some of the volumes offered by this Society.

In what manner the Society has so far carried out their object will be best seen by a reference to the following works which have been published, and already noted in the text of the present volume :—


For the First Year—1858-59


An Account of the Isle of Man, with a Voyage to I-Columb Kill By William Sacheverell, Esq., late Governor of Man.

1703. With a dissertation about the Mona of Caesar and Tacitus, and an account of the Ancient Druids, by Mr.

Thomas Brown. Edited, with introductory notice and copious notes, by the Rev. J. G. Cumming, MA., F.G.S.

300 copies printed. Pp. xvi. 204. A Pedigree.


A Practical Grammar of the Antient Gaelic or Language of the Isle of Man, usually called Manx. By the Rev. John

Kelly, LL.D. Edited, with an Introduction, Life of Dr. Kelly, and Notes, by the Rev. William Gill, Vicar of Malew. 322 copies printed. Pp. xlviii. 92.

For the Second Year—1859-60.


Legislation by Three of the Thirteen Stanleys, Kings of Man, including the letter of the Seventh Earl of Derby, as pub-lished in Peck’s "Desiderata Curiosa."Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by the Rev. William Mackenzie. 402 copies printed. Pp. xix. 224. Plate.


Monumenta de Insula Manniae, or a Collection of National Documents relating to the Isle of Man. Translated and edited, with Appendix, by J. R. Oliver, Esq., M.D. Vol. i. 315 copies printed. Pp. xv. 244. Plate.


Vestigia Insulae Manniae Antiquiora ; or a Dissertation on the Armorial Bearings of the Isle of Man, the Regalities and Prerogatives of its Ancient Kings, and the Original Usages, Customs, Privileges, Laws, and Constitutional Government of the Manx People. By H. R. Oswald, Esq., F.A.S., L.R.C.S.E. 310 copies printed. Pp. ix. 218. Ten plates.

For the Third Year—1860-61.


A Tour through the Island of Mann in 1797 and 1798 comprising sketches of its ancient and modern History,

Constitution, Laws, Commerce, Agriculture, Fishery, etc. By John Feltham. Edited, with Notes, by the Rev. Robert Airey. 305 Copies printed. Pp. xvi. 272. Map. Four Plates. Three Woodcuts.


Monumenta de Insula Manniae ; or a Collection of National Documents relating to the Isle of Man. Translated and Edited by J. R. Oliver, Esq., M.D. Vol. ii. 311 Copies printed. Pp. xxi. 250. Map.


Bibliotheca Monensis : a Bibliographical Account of Works relating to the Isle of Man. By William Harrison, Esq., M.H.K. 308 Copies printed. Pp. viii. 208.

For the Fourth Year—1861-62.


Monumenta de Insula Manniae ; or a Collection of National Documents relating to the Isle of Man. Translated and Edited, with Appendix and Indices, by J. R. Oliver, Esq., M.D. VoL iii. 300 Copies printed. Pp. 272.


A Shore Treatise of the Isle of Man. By James Chaloner, Governor of the Island from 1658 to 1660. Published originally in 1656 in King’s "Vale Royal of England, or the County Palatine of Chester."Edited, with an Introductory Notice and copious Notes, by the Rev. J. G. Cumming, M.A., F.G.S. 300 Copies printed. Pp. vii.

138. Map. Four Plates. Five Pedigrees.

For the Fifth Year—1862-63.


A Description of the Isle of Man : with some useful and entertaining reflections on the Laws, Customs, and Manners of the Inhabitants. By George Waldron, Gent., late of Queen’s College, Oxon. 1731. Edited, with an Intro-ductory Notice and Notes, by William Harrison, Esq., M.H.K. 300 Copies printed. Pp. xxv. 155. Plate.


An Abstract of the Laws, Customs, and Ordinances of the Isle of Man : compiled by John Parr, Esq., formerly one of the Deemsters of the Island. Edited, with Notes, by James Gell, Esq., Attorney-General of the Isle of Man.

Vol. i. 310 Copies printed. Pp. xvi. 241.

For the Sixth Year—1863-64.


Fockleyr Manninagh as Baarlagh, Liorish Juan y Kelly Edited by the Rev. William Gill, Vicar of Malew. Part i.

An English and Manx Dictionary, prepared from Dr. Kelly’s Triglot Dictionary, with alterations and additions from the Dictionaries of Archibald Cregeen and John Ivan Mosley. By the Rev. Wm Gill and the Rev. J. T. Clarke. Part ii.

500 Copies printed. Pp. 432.

For the Seventh Year—1864-65.


Memorials of "God’s Acre,"being Monumental Inscriptions in the Isle of Man, taken in the Summer of 1797. By John Feltham and Edward Wright. Edited, with an

Introductory Notiëe, by William Harrison, Esq. 300 Copies printed. Pp. xv. 132. Six Plates.


Antiquitates Manniae ; or a Collection of Memoirs on the Antiquities of the Isle of Man. Edited by the Rev. J. G. Cumming, M.A., F.G.S. 300 Copies printed. Pp. viii. 140. Twenty-four Plates. Eleven Woodcuts.

For the Eighth Year—1865-66.


Mona Miscellany. A Selection of Proverbs and Sayings, Ballads, Customs, Superstitions, and Legends, peculiar to the Isle of Man. Collected and Edited by William Harrison. 261 Copies printed. Pp. xv. 241. Music to three Songs.


Currency of the Isle of Man, from its earliest appearance to its assimilation with the British Coinage in 1840 ; with the Laws and other circumstances connected with its History. Edited by Charles Clay, M.D., Manchester. With articles on Paper Currency, Treasure Trove, etc., by J. Frissell Crellin, Esq., M.H.K. 250 Copies printed. Pp. xi. 215. Illustrated extensively with Photographs, Lithographs, and Woodcuts.

For the Ninth Year—1866-67.


The Old Historians of the Isle of Man-----Camden, Speed, Dugdale, Cox, Wilson, Willis, and Grose. Edited by William Harrison. 209 Copies printed. Pp. xiv. 199. Three Maps and thirteen Plates.

For the Tenth Year—1867-68.


Records of the Tynwald and St. John’s Chapels in the Isle of Man. By William Harrison. With an Appendix, con-taming an Account of the Duke of Atholl taking possession of the Isle of Man in 1736. Also, A Lay of Ancient Mona. 263 Copies printed. Pp. xiv. 148. Fourteen Plates.

For the Eleventh and Twelfth Years—1868-69-70.

(No Works issued for these Years or Subscriptions collected.)

For the Thirteenth Year—1870-7l.


Manx Miscellanies. Vol. i. Containing—

1. Selections from "Paradise Lost,"a Poem, by John Milton, translated into the Manx Language by the Rev. Thomas Christian, Vicar of Marown, in 1796.

2. The Emerald Vernicle of the Vatican. By C. W. King, M.A., with Notes by "Aspen."With a Portrait of Our Saviour.

3. Ancient Portraitures of Our Lord. After the type of the Emerald Yernicle given by Bajazet II. to Pope Innocent VIII. By Albert Way.

4. The Seal of Thomas, Bishop of the Isle of Man. By

E. L. Barnwell, MA. With an Engraving of the Seal.

5. Poetical Description of the Isle of Man in Manx. By Joseph Bridsou, 1760. Rendered into English by Mr. John Quirk of Carn-ny-Greie, Patrick.

6. Diary of James, VIIth Earl of Derby, who was be-headed at Bolton-in-the-Moors, October Thth, 1651, aged 45 years. With Notes by Mr. Paul Bridsori, Hon. Sec. 250 Copies printed.


Mona Miscellany. A Selection of Proverbs, Sayings, Ballads, Customs, Superstitions, and Legends, peculiar to the Isle of Man. Second Series. Collected and Edited by Wil ham Harrison, Esq., Author of "Bibliotheca Monensis."Pp. xvi. 285. Two Plates. With Music to one Song. 208 Copies printed.

For the Fourteenth Year-.1871-72


Chronica Regum Manniae et Insularum. The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys, from the Manuscript Codex in the British Museum, with Historical Notes. By P. A. Munch, Professor of History in the Royal University of Christiania, Hon. F.R.A.S.S. Revised, Annotated, and furnished with additional Documents, and English Translations of the Chronica and of the Latin Documents, by the Right Rev. Dr. Goss. Vol i. Pp. xxviii. 264. Two Plates. 155 Copies printed.


The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys. Vol. ii. Containing Documents referred to. Pp. 265-436. 155 Copies printed.


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