[From Manx Soc vols 25+28 - Blundell's History]
THE religion now here practised is conformable to ye Church of England ; for ye natives of this island were alwayes, and are at this day, such obsequious observers and suitors of ye kings of England and ye house of Darby as that they were never known at any time to murmur against either of them. They might exercise wt power they pleased, either in temporall or spirituall matters. As ye kings of England or lords of Man were inclined soe were they. An Act of Parliamt in England prevailed wth ym as much as a Generall Councell in King Henry ye Eighth his reigne. They somewt unwillingly at first left ye practise of ye primitive church, yet at last they complyed to banish ye Pope, but wth him most willingly they reteyned ye old Six Articles. In King Edwd ye 6 his reigne they admitted of ye Book of Common Prayer. After, in Queen Maryes reigne, they easily admitted of ye mass and its concomitants, as being their ancient religion, wch they had but lately left off. All Queen Elizabeths reigne they became purely Protestants. King James not changing anything, they changed not ; but in ye later end of King Charles his reigne Presbytery began (but as it were peeping up only). They now began to decline, neglecting to frequent ye churches or ye apostles and saints festivals, and admitted of preachings in private houses by strangers, whereof I was an eye-wittness, where they made their assemblyes and had their private meetings. Notwthstanding, I observed yt ye Manks men for ye major part are generally very respective of their clergy, and although those of ye clergy they are severe in their injoyning of tenants, and penaltyes wch they inflict upon delinquents, yet doe they punctually performe them wth all obedience and marvelous silence. Their tithes they willingly pay as soon as it is demanded ; if any fayle it is through want of means and not for want of will.
The ministers who are natives have alwaies ye addition of Sir, unless they be parsons of ye parishes, wch are but few, for most of ye parishes are impropriat to ye lord of ye Isle or the byshop ; and then instead of Sir, they have the addition of parson, as Mr. Chaloner saith, 1. 3.
Their ministers truly are not unlearned. I did not converse wt any one (yet I discoursed with diverse), but yt I found him both a schollar and discreet. I did not hear of any one yt was taxed or debosh. All wch is confirmed by Mr. Chaloner. But ye vulgar people I found to bee very ignorant for want. All ye clergy there have very sufficient meanes to maintaine them. Mr. Rutter had at my being there a living w ye Manksmen told mee was of fourscore pounds p. annum. I suppose it to bee ye parsonage of Andrew, w Mr. Chaloner saith belongeth to ye archdeacon, but now it seemeth there being no more archdeacons admitted, that title is wth ye byshops extinguished, and now a curate supplieth the place. Yet I was told that there were some ministers of ye lower classis yt have benefices of greatr vallue. ye least yt I did hear of was of threescore pounds p. annum, wch I admired ; but reflecting upon ye Earl of Darbyes piety, it is no marvell their annuall stipends were augmented by soe bountifull an addition of ye byshops, abbeys and priorys revenues devided amongst ym
St. Patrick (ye apostle of Ireland) is by the islanders held to bee their apostle alsoe, for they acknowledge him to have first setled Christianity in their island. Him, therefore, they have in most veneration ; next to him they honour ye memory of S. Maughald, whose feast they never faile to celebrate twice in ye year, as I have before noted, 1. 3, ch. 3.