[From Manx Soc vols 25+28 - Blundell's History]
THIS chiefest and highest court, and w is kept wth ye greatest solemnity, above any other in ye island, wherein their kings are inaugurated, their lords admitted, their old customs confirmed, new lawes enacted, unto w all ye Manks men are by proclamation (suthoned to appear) w j yt court w is there called a Tinwald, and is kept publickly (sub die, in ye sight of ye sunn, having no other covering than ye canopy of ye sky) upon a little assent of earth adjoyning to a little chappell dedicated to St. John ye Baptist, two miles from Peel towne (as I have before shewed you). This court may, in my opinion, bee called their court of Parliamt, it representing in little our Parliament (as I shall prsently discover).
For, as I said before, ye governmt of this Island is monarcliicall (although their kings were at no time monarchs). It should bee kept twice in ye year ; and in ancient time ye custome was to send out a proclamation before to give notice to all of ye Island yt ye king or lord of ye Island (or at least ye governor in his absence) intended at such a day to call a Tinwald, ye form of w proclamation my Manks Intel-ligencer thus setteth downe : In old time when any new law or statute was to be made or proclaimed in a Tinwald, they used to proclaim it in this manner : 1 The Tinwald.
" It is ye King of Mans pleasure, and his officers, to keep a court twice in ye year, yt all men, both rich and poor, deafe and dumb, halt and lame and blinde doe come, either on horseback or on foott, or to be drawn thither by a horse or upon a carr, yt they may know ye King of Mans pleasure, and his officers, and ye lawes of their country."
I psume (as was fitt) this was proclaimed in ye Manks language ; and yt this is but translated into our English, for otherwise it seemeth not to mee to bee of such antiquity as ye title above insinuateth ; and speaking good English it cannot be psuined to mount higher than ye reigrie of some of ye r John Stanleys.
What formality is now used, I yet know not, but I finde this here set downe is not now practised, because (it seemeth) it is not now thought necessary, for at this day a Tinwald may be kept in any other place where ye governor shall appoynt, and all ye natives are not now called to be prsent.
For (in ye chapter following) I observe yt in Castletowne an ancient customary law was totally for ye future abrogated, and a new forme instituted (for ye recovery of debts wthout speciallty) by ye only consent of ye lieutenant (yt is the governor, ye two deemsters, and ye 24 keys, without the assembling of ye cothonalty to give their voyces. Now, wt is thus agreed upon by those officers and 24 keys (in ye lords absence), is sent and prseflted to ye lord of ye Island (as from ye Court of ye Tinwald), and if he like well of it, and please to confirme it, then they are returned back and put upon record, and at ye next Tinwald after they are proclaimed for absolute lawes.
Soe you see here a sufficient parliament (for a laconi call kingdome of soe little a latitude), yet representing ye three estates of a parliamt in England ; first, ye governor is there, representing ye of ye king ; secondly, ye two deemsters, ye lords of ye upper house ; thirdly, ye 24 keys, ye house of commons or ye lower house ; and wt is by all these unanimously consented unto is received and recorded for law, and obligeth ye natives for ye future.
But these are meer shewes of formallity, for ye lord of ye Island hath a strong influence upon every one of these officers yt have voyce in this Tinwald, all of them holding their places at his will and pleasure, wherefore it is to be admired by all, and to be had in ppetual hono" by ye inhabitants of Man, yt ye family of ye line of ye Stanleys (having had continuance for eleaven successions) there was never yet found any one yt had his name soiled wth ye note of a tirant or an exactor, whereas in ye 12 descents those presedent kings, from Godred Crovan (by ye attestation of their own Cronocles), there had been many.
POSSE NOLLE NOBILE.