[From Manx Soc vols 25+28 - Blundell's History]




MR. CAMBDEN’ saith suites in this Island of Man are ended wthout protraction or attending for a tearme. I confess all suites and controversyes are here more speedily heard and determined than in England, or in any other part of Europe at this day. Notwthstanding, in many cases of battery and bloodshed, slanders and muisdemeanor , and such like, they attend untill one of the tearmes begin ; for though they have not soe many tearmes, nor kept in ye same mañer as ors are in England, at one place in Westminster, yet have they two tearms wch they fayle not to keep twice in ye year, ye one in ye spring, ye other in ye fall of ye leafe—yt is, in May and Michaelmas ; but these tearmes are neither long, nor locall, nor constant in any one place (as with us only in London); neither doe they commonly name them tearmes, but call ym their Sheeding Courts, wch, for ye ease of ye Manksmen, doe constantly begin upon ye first or second week after May day, and in like manner after Michaellmas day (as it shall please ye Governor and his assistants to appoint) ; at Peel-towne (for ye west and north parts of ye island), it begins on ye Munday, whence they stir not all yt weeke ; but from thence, on Munday following, they remoove to Douglass (for ye east side of ye island), where they stay but two dayes ; for from thence they remoove to Castletowne (for ye south and middle parts of ye island) ; and yt week being ended there, yt tearme is ended ; soe as in one fortnight they commonly end all ye controversyes of all ye seaventeen parishes, yt is, of ye whole island. If so be any controversyes could not be then ended (as peradventure some of ye juryes were not then ready to give in their verdict, etc.), they may bring them in at their Exchequor Court, wch is a court wch ye governor may keep upon such occasion at any time, in any part of ye island, where they are deliberately heard and determinated :—To ye end yt justice might be speedily executed, ye customary lawes of ye island doe soe empower ye island, I say ye governor or either of ye two deemsters, as yt in effect they are, as I touched before, Courts of Record in themselves, for if either of those be but riding or walking in ye highway, if any have cause of complaint against another for debt, or any extraordinary business, he may procure a token either from ye governor or ye deemster to bring ye adverse party before either of them.

And if ye adverse party do either confess y° debt or matter, or yt it appear by ye testimony of two witnesses upon their oaths yt such a debt or thing is due, either of ye said officers may give their token for execution to ye coroner or lockman ; and this is as good and lawfull as if ye matter had. in court received tryall by verdict of a jury, or by a decree in the chancery.

Ffor ye preservation of ye peace, and for ye prseflt sup-pressing of riots, battery, and misdemenors , their customary lawes doe impower any of their officers (from ye highest to ye lowest- yt is, from ye governor to ye lockman) to take recognizance for ye peace in ye lord’s name, and to certifye ye same unto the comptrowler or clearke of ye rolls office; but if soe be ~ he be denied, or yt sufficient bayle or suretyes for ye peace be not prsently tendred unto them, ye governor or deemsters may committ ye delinquent to ye coroner of ye sheeding where ye fact is committed, and he is to bring them to ye next gaol, castle, or fort ; but ye inferior officers, though they may take recognizance, etc., yet they cannot committ them, but yet they may raise ye country to assist them, and force him to come before ye governor or some officer yt may cothitt them.

That speedy justice may be done to all, especially for strangers who desire speedy triall in their businesses, there is erected (as ~\/[r. Chaloner saith not long since) a Court of Chancery, wherein ye governor sitteth sole judge, as chancelour, representing ye lord’s pson, which court he niay keep every weeke as occasion shall require. Besides, Mr Chaloner shews you a most remarkable token of ye lord of ye island’s goodness and nobleness to ye Manksmen, yt ye . clearke of ye court hath not a farthing for ye recording of any recognizance of ye peace, or at ye releasing thereof~ nor for ye recording of ye indictmts of any delinquent, or for the drawing up of ye orders of arraignmt, nor ye entering of any action at ye common law (though there be an infinite n" at every court), nor for ye recording of any prsentmt brought in by ye great enquests of ye sheedings, or juryes of slanders, or any other business wtsoever handled at ye sheeding courte or courts of gaol delivery.

1 In his Treatise of ye British Isles.


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