[From Manx Soc vol 32 - Prayer Book]



JOHN PHILLIPS, the reputed translator of the Prayer-book into Manx, was a native of North Wales. He was a member of St. Mary Hall at Oxford, where he took his degree of B.A. in 1579, and proceeded to that of M.A. in 1584. Shortly afterwards, he was appointed Vicar of Thorpe-Bassett in Yorkshire. In 1587 he was appointed Rector of Andreas and Archdeacon of Man, and in 1590 he became chaplain to Henry, Earl of Derby. In 1591 he was Rector of Slingsby in Yorkshire, and, in 1601, Archdeacon of Cleveland. With all these other appointments, it is not likely that he paid much attention to his duties in Man. Indeed, we only hear of him as present at a convocation there in 1597, and at a consistory court in 1604; and it is probable that he only came over when in attendance on the Earl of Derby as his chaplain. In 16051 he, while still holding the office of Archdeacon of Man, was appointed Bishop of Sodor and Man, in succession to Dr. Lloyd, who was translated to Chester. After his accession to this important office, he seems to have spent much more of his time than hitherto in the island2, and thus to have honourably distinguished him self from many of his predecessors. He was a determined supporter of Church discipline, as is shown by numerous entries in the ecclesiastical records. One of his earliest actions, in fact, was to commit a man "to St. German's prison " for disobeying the warning given in court that " no man should irreverently lean or rest on the Comunion Table, but those that are called to use the office of ministers."3 Some months after this, in the autumn of 1605, we find him making a visitation of the various churches in his diocese. During the next few years there is very little to be learned about him from the ecclesiastical records of Man, which are, unfortunately, very imperfect at this period; but it seems probable, as will appear later, that he remained, for the most part, in the island, and that he was largely occupied in making the translation of the Prayer-book into Manx, which is now published for the first time. We know that a portion at least of this work must have been done between 1604 and 1610, as he used the English Prayer-book published in the former year, and we shall see that his translation was completed in the latter year. There only remains on record an account of two convocations held during his episcopate. The first of these was in May, 1610, at "the Church of St. Peter-in-Holme " (i.e. Peel), at which several wise and useful regulations were passed. We append the more important of them:-

" In Primis, that all members in their several churches do diligently catechise on the Sundays and holy days according to the Book of Common Prayer, provided that some part of the Parish come one day and some another day, at the appointment of the Minister till he have gone thro them all, and so from time to time to hold on that course, and let every Minister between the Morning prayer and the high Service question some point of the Catechism with the clerk or some other in the Vulgar tongue for the better edifying of all degrees.

"It: That beneficed persons that are not allowed to preach themselves take order that certain Sermons be preached within their cure yearly by such as be allowed by the ordinary to preach, viz: that Parsons and Vicars of thirds do provide six sermons at the least by the year and the Vicars of pension four sermons.

" It: That the Minister go not a visitation without the clerk or a deputy allowed by the ordinary for the testification of Wills if they be made; and of this let their (sic) be made a publication the next Sabboth (sic) in every several Parish by the Minister.

" It: That there be a register Book kept by every Minister within his several charge, of the Christenings, Marriages and Burials and that none be churched in houses but in case of necessity and that upon special Licence from the Ordinary, so that no Minister be present at any private contract of youth, never before married unless the Parents Guardians or such as have charge over them be present and give consent thereunto.

"It: Let reparation be carefully made of the Chancel and Church houses upon the Glebe lands within two years at the furthest and some preparation towards it in the meantime be done.

" And all the premises to be accomplished upon pain of suspension and sequestration according to Law, unless the Ordinary see just cause to give further time."

It should be mentioned that at this time an important Act was passed by the Legislature to the effect that " the children of all ecclesiastical persons in this Isle begotten in marriage shall be and continue legitimate and inheritable"4. This would almost certainly be with the bishop's approval.

In the next month, June, we learn from the following letter to the Earl of Salisbury, lord high treasurer, then one of the temporary guardians of the island, that the bishop had come into collision with the governor on various points:

" Right honourable my verie good lorde necessytie enfourcing mee (as followeth) to bee an humble Complaynante and Petitioner to your good Loip, thesse are out of soom extremyties, most humbly to shewe to your Lop that whereas for the due discharge of my place and for the good of this poore Church, I have besides other my poore laboures bestowed for this yere present, above cc marks in Repayringe this Ruinous Bishoprick: Mr. Ireland the Lievetenant of this Isle, hath notwthstanding, wthout due cause, and contrarye to Lawe wth soom other unfyttinge disgraces, dispossessyd mee of my Turfebery wch of oulde by the originall Lawes of this Isle did beelonge to the Bishoprick, but since uppon a new incrochement was put under a rente of Vs. wch was dulye payd for my tyme (savinge for this present yere,) wch beeinge tenderyd, Mr Lievetenant comanded not to bee taken, Hereuppon seeinge mysellf debarred (by arrest) of that good meanes for my housekeepinge heere, I desired that I might have his passe for Englande, to provide for mysellf there against wynter, but he denyeth me the Lybertie. May hyt therefore please your good ho: of your most noble disposytion and Relligious pietie consyderinge I am thus strayted betweene two uneasefull Meisuries, bee soe good a Lorde to mee a poore Bop as to wryte your holbe Letters, so as I may coome presentlie for Englande to acquaynte your ho. with theese and the lyke Meisures att large, so as I may receyve what redresse your ho. in wisedoom shall thinke good to vouchsaffe mee: as allso for a tyme theere yt I may followe myne owne pryvate occasions, the Neglecte whereof, by this Restrainte and confyninge of mee heere, tendyth to a great prejudyge in my poore Estate: thus shall I beeinge Releeved by your ho. helpe bee evermore most bounde (as allreadye I am) to pray for the good preservatione of yor ho. most noble Estate, wch I daylie beseech God to have, and retayne in his happye tuytione, so leavinge to bee further troublesome. to your honoure, I do most humbly rest Your lion. poore Suppliante, at all Commandement, duringe life,

"Jo: Sodor and de Man.

"Isle of Man, June the 1, 1610."
" To the Right honorable, my verie good Lorde, the Earle of Salisburie, Lo. highe Treasurer of England, these 10 June, 1610.

"Bishop of Man to my Lord."5

A little later on, the bishop embodied all his grievances in a number of articles which are among the ecclesiastical records in "A Book containing the Answere of the officers, Deemsters, Viccars Generall, and 24 keyes to certain Articles objected by John now Bishop of this Isle against John Ireland, Esq. Lievtennante and Captain of the Isle of Mann," which is dated 11 Febr: primo die. 1610-11." The following letter preceded the articles :

"To the Rt Honorable Robert Earle of Salisbury Lord High Treasurer of England.

"The humble petition of the Bishop of the Isle of Man.

"Shewing to your Honr That whereas I, with my clergy did this year purpose to have perused the Mannish Book of Common Prayer by me translated, so with one uniform consent to have made it ready for the printing, for the comfort of that poor church, if your Honr would think meet to give allowance thereof: I was lett and hindered from that and other religious labours, and in some extremity occasioned to come out of that Isle.

" For that Mr. John Ireland Esq. Lievetennante of that Isle, did use diverse vexations and innovations besides severall indignitys offerred me to the prejudice of myself and others, which I am bound in conscience to make your Honour acquainted with as well in discharge of my oath to be true to that goverment, as also for the preservation of the rights and liberties of that poor Church and Bishoprick.

"All theis (sic) greivances are particularly sett down within this petition."

The answers of the officers and the House of Keys to many of these articles show so clearly the questions at issue between Church and State at that time, that we may advantageously take extracts from them as well as the articles. The bishop divides his grievances under three heads: (I) "Concerning Temporall Rights and Liberties; " (2) "Ecclesiasticall jurisdiccon (3) "Vncharitable plotting wth Indignity."

These he forwarded to the guardians of the island, who referred them to the governor for answer; and he, in justification of himself, called together in February, 1610-11, the officers, vicars-general, and Keys, to give their evidence with regard to them. Before doing so, they discussed the question of the Prayer-book, which, as we have seen, was touched upon in the bishop's letter to the Earl of Salisbury:-

"The two Viccars Generall (Sr Wm Norres and Sr Wm Crowe) were asked by the Lieutennante whether they saw or knew of the Book of Common Prayer said to have been translated into the Manshe speech , they answered that they have seen the Book translated by the new Bishop of Sodor into Mannish. And Sr Wm Norres for his part further answereth that he could not read the same Book perfectly but here and there a word. And Sr W- Crowe for his part answereth that having the same Book a day or two before he could upon deliberate perusall tl~ereof read some part upon it, and doth verily think that few else of the clergy can read the same Book for that it is spelled with vowells wherewith none of them are acquainted. And the said Viccars being further asked whether they purposed with the Bishop to peruse the said Book to th' entent the same might be made ready for the printing, they replyed saying they were not therewith acquainted by the Bishop at any tiine since he was Bishop, and therefore did not, nor could not propose any such thing."

It would seem then that the bishop's Prayer-book was not received with favour by his contemporaries, and it is clear that Bishop Barrow knew nothing of it, as he wrote, in 1663, that the Manx people had nothing but oral instruction from the clergy. "For there is nothing either written or printed in their language, which is peculiar to themselves; neither can they who speak it best write one to another in it, having no character or letter of it among them"6. Sacheverell in 1702, had heard of it, but not favourably, as he wrote, "it is scarce intelligible to the clergy themselves, who translate it off-hand more to the understanding of the people"7; while Bishop Wilson, writing about 1720, remarked on its being of no use to the present generation" 8. The present writer, however, fortified by the fact that he has read considerable portions of this MS. to Manxmen, by whom it has been, for the most part, easily understood, ventures to differ entirely from the above-mentioned opinions, though he finds it difficult to explain the attitude of Phillips's contemporaries, except, perhaps, on the ground of jealousy on account of its being the work of a stranger; while Sacheverell must have acquired his information at secondhand, and it would seem probable that Bishop Wilson never perused the MS. The older Manx is more phonetic than the modern, and it is a much more direct and simple translation, avoiding the periphrases, circumlocutions, and many of the corruptions which abound in the latter. The chief divergence, as far as the actual words are concerned, is in the particles, which are, of course, very important in fixing its idiomatic character.

To the question of the turbary, which appears in, the bishop's letter, as well as under his first head, they made no answer, so that it would seem probable that the bishop was right in his view. Under the same head, he complained that he was compelled "to make four fishing boates, and to attend the herring fishing9 about the Isle to mine exceeding trouble." In reply to this it was stated that the "Bishop having one fishing boate of his own did send the same with two other fishing boates hired by him at that time to drive for the herring fishing but utterly denyd that he made any boate new as formerly he bath deposed; " and the brother-in-law of the bishop, who was examined, said that the bishop had received two warrants from the governor "commanding him to provide two fishing scoutes vizt one in respect he was Bishop, and the other in respect he was Archdeacon, as well as two fishing boates." It is difficult to understand the question at issue here, for among the spiritual laws we find "that all Bishops shall have their Herring Scoute and their fishing Boate, freely and franckly, without any Tythes paying wheresoever they land in this Isle'," and it would appear from this that having a scoute and a fishing boat free from tithe was a privilege; yet the bishop, in 1610, considered the being compelled to make two fishing boats a hardship. He also complained of the inconvenience of the governor's new market ordinances. The reply to this was that the ordinances were not new, and that no inconvenience had been caused by them. And, finally, under this head, he stated that the governor had "appointed a wast or dead rent to be sett upon my tennants, whereby I am and shall be hindered of their services and carriages, besides other dutys and benefitts due to me." To this no answer was vouchsafed. Under the second head we find (1) that the governor had " placed a Layman in the chaplain's place to read service to the garrison in scandalous manner vizt in his doblett and hose, and sometime in his livery coat: yea, when a minister or two have been present." [No answer to this.] (2) That the Bishop being ... the cheef competent spirituall judge ... Mr Lievtennante will take all appeales to himself; and sendeth forth his prohibition." [No answer.] (3) That the governor imposed a fine on parish clerks on entering their office, "and so to hold them by Lease, whereas the Lawes of that Isle appoint they should be elected by the parishioners and admitted by the bishop." In reply to this it was admitted that "there hath been a statute that the Parishioners should choose the parish clerk," yet they added that " that power doth properly belong to the Lord of the Isle," and they quoted recent leases of clerks' glebes to show that they had been granted by the Lord. (4) That the governor "prisoned in the dungeon and set 5/- fine upon a poor clearke lawfully admitted and . . . did put in a clerk of another parish." The governor admitted that he had fined the man, but denied the imprisonment, and "confesseth he did impose upon him for that he presumed to serve the Clerkship of Kirk Andreas parish by the Bishop's admittance and had no warrant thereunto from the Lord of the Isle." (5) That the governor had issued licences for eating flesh in Lent, this being the bishop's prerogative. To this it was replied that the governor only did so to " sick and weak persons " after they had procured the bishop's certificate. (6) He "appointeth those he please of the Clergy officers to keep Courts extraordinarily, and sometimes to sett down rules to dirrect me (that am to dirrect them)." Answer, that he "made no spirituall officer . . . but desired us (the Viccars Generall) charitablie to rectify two poor widows being strangers and not of abillity to stay for the quarter chapter Court; " also that he " did at no time set down any law but willed us ... to declare our knowledge of certain points of the law." (7) He prevented the bishop from imposing penance on a garrison soldier, " contrary to the old order." To this they replied, " that the punishing of Soldrs or any other that receive pay of the Lord, or of any of the LievetennanCs family, for criminal causes, doth not by law belong to the Bishop or spirituall jurisdiction, for speciall reasons and good considerations formerly sett down by the late Bishop Meryck in a letter sent by him to Capten Robt Mollineux then Deputy in this Isle which letter hath been shewed and publickly to us read and remaineth of record, and this we say doth agree to the antient laws of this Land10. And we further say, that to our remembrances there was a woman punished in the market place by Hugh Holland then archdeacon but it was done by lycense of Mr Sherburn then Capten." (8) " Our bookes of spirituall statutes which should be for our dirrection he hath called in and taken from us, so as it seemeth we are debarred from all judiciall proceedings in the Ecclesiasticall Court." Answer by the vicars-generall, that they had delivered the books up because they "ought to be kept of record in the Lord's rolles; " but that they " received a coppy", and so "were not debarred of any judiciall proceedings." (9) " One of our best lawes, vizt, the oath for swearing on the grave ... he hath abrogated." This law had just been repealed by the House of Keys, because, according to the vicarsgeneral, it " was unfitting and caused much wrong to poor orphanes and simplest of ffriends2." (10) Abolition of the slate token11. [No answer.] Under the third heading, (1) " He placed and displaced the 24 keyes at his pleasure." Answer, " the Lievetennante hath used no other course and manner in choseing of the 24 keyes than as ever in former times to our remembrances hath been accustomed." (2) " He frowned upon, and wrought displeasure to any that conversed with me ; or took my tythes at my hand, insomuch that many told me they forbare my house and company for fear of him." [No answer.] (3) The bishop seems to have objected to take the new oath imposed in 1608, when the Earl of Salisbury became temporary guardian of the Isle, unless " he might be suffered to put an addition thereto for reservation of his former oaths." From the copies of the two oaths appended we are inclined to agree with the officers, &c., that the new oath " was no otherwise than by good reason he ought to take:"

1608. "The Coppie of the oath by the Bishop alreadie taken.

"My alleigeaunce to the King's Majestie of England, and my former oathes according to the Lawes there, Reservyd, I sweare to bee true to the Right heyres of this Isle, and wyll pforme all such duties unto them as belong unto my place being Bishop here, and to my power shall maintayne and defend the auncient Lawes, statutes, and Customes, prop (sic) and belonge (sic) to this Isleand the prerogatyvesdue to the hyres thereof, and with my best advise, and counsell, bee aydinge, and assistinge to the Captaine of this Isle, or governoure for the tyme beinge for furtherance of the government, and benefytte of the sayd Isle, so god healpe mee, and by the contents of this booke."

1608. " The Coppie of the oath which is now required of the Bishop.

" My alleigeaunce to the kings Roiall Matie of England, Reservyd, I sweare to be true to the righte honorable Ild Robert Earle of Salisburie, Lo. highe Chgmberlaine by Reason of their interest from his Roiall Maiestie in ye state, and governement of this Isle, for tearme of Certaine yeares yet to comme: And I do furthr sweare to bee true, to the Right honorable Wylliam Earle of Derbie and his heires, in whom is the title of the inheritance of the said Isle. And wyll pforme all such duties unto all, and everie of the honorable Lld aforesayd as beelonge unto my place beinge Bishop heere, and to my power shall maintayne and defend, the ancient Lawes, Statutes, and Customes, prop and belonging to this Isle, and the prerogatives due to the Lo. thereof, so god mee healpe, and by the Contents of this booke'."

(4) " He threateneth to fine any that will call me Lord Bishop." Governor Ireland would seem from this to have been imbued with the puritan tendencies of the time. [No answer is given to this allegation.] (5) The bishop claimed to be a member of the Council, and that he should "take account " of the officers "upon oath for the Lord's use." In the answer, the first claim is admitted, but the second is declared not to have been legal "since the dissolucon of the Abbey," as " the Bishop cannot claime that power to himself only, without the Abbot and Audittors." (6) " He hath laid greevous imputations upon me of enmity and no good mind bearing to the Honble House of Derby, and that I would never do them good (the reason) for that I am a Welchman ... and thus both in private and publick he doth traduce me, so makeing me no better than some viperous broode." [No answer.] (7) " Lastly having endured all their greivances; I appealed to your Honr" (see letter, pp. x, xi). At the end of their reply, the officers, &c., refer to a letter of the bishop's, which is not among the Records, in which he " certified against the Lievtennante that he violently forbidden (sic) persons summoned to appear to the Ecclesiastll Court since his comirio. to the Countree at his last return, and did forbid them to obey the justice of the Ecelesiasticall Government; we~the Viccars Generall do protest and averr that the Lievtennant did no such matter." It is nowhere stated what the end of this controversy was, but it seems clear that the bishop prevailed, as in the following year Governor Ireland was withdrawn; indeed the position had become so intolerable that either he or the bishop must have gone, and, as we shall see, the bishop's contentions prevailed in all the more important matters under dispute. For he continued in possession of his turbary. The appeals from the bishop's decision in the ecclesiastical court were practically disallowed. Parish clerks were elected by the parishioners with the bishop's sanction. Ecclesiastical officers, except the sumner-general, about whom there was occasionally a dispute, as in 1612 and in 1727, were appointed by him alone. Swearing on the grave, in spite of the statute of 1610, was still in vogue in Bishop Wilson's time', and the bishop is, without dispute, a member of the Council to this day. The question of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the garrison soldiers 'was left in abeyance. If the governor was complaisant, there was no difficulty about it ; if otherwise, there were disputes. So we see that the bishop triumphed, though the Keys and, curiously enough, his vicars-general, seem to have been opposed to him. This shows how much stronger was the position of the Church in Man in his day than in the following century, when Bishop Wilson, though having the vicars-general and Keys with him, instead of against him, was ultimately defeated by the civil power. The reality of the ecclesiastical power was shown in the following year by no less a person than the Captain of castle Rushen being sent to St. German's prison for " marrying without asking Banes (sic) or Licence from the Ordinary." And it was doubtless through the influence of the bishop that the observation of Sunday was more strictly enforced. For, by the statute of 16io, which regulated the herring fishery, no one 11 was admitted to fish from Saturday morning till Sunday at night, after sunset, upon pain of forfeiture of his boat and netts '." In 16 12 the dispute about the appointment of sumnergeneral, already referred to, took place, and two vicars were fined and imprisoned because they "refused to accept of and publish a precept sent from the Capten signifying the pleasure of the Countesse of Derby concerning the Sumners office, and also uttered other speeches tending to impeach the power of the sd Countesse therein alledging it to belong to the Lord Bishop onelie." In this case the bishop had to give way and the countess's nominee was appointed; but at a later period, till 1727, we find the bishop appointing this ecclesiastical officer without any protest.

It would seem also, from a case in 1613, that the Church's jurisdiction was, temporarily at least, permitted over the garrison soldiers, for one of them sent an "humble and unfeigned petition" asking to be permitted to perform the penance which he had been condemned to undergo but had previously evaded. In 1614, there was an appeal to the civil power by an individual who was llaggreived that he hath been suspended, excommunicated and so continueth;" but the Keys, thoueh they decided that the vicars-oeneral had committed certain " mistakings and errors," did not venture to reverse their decision. During the next two years there is no trace of the bishop's proceedings in the Records; but, in 1617, we find that he took the strong step of excommunicating Edward Fletcher, Vicar of the parish of Braddan, " for his clandestine marriage, and decreed a Denunciation to be published in the Parish Church; and further censured him according to law in that case untill that he shall satisfy the Church and congregation for his irregularity."

At the end of the same year, the following strongly worded regulation was passed at a convocation held by Bishop Phillips; i.e. " that no manner of person shall traduce or obloquic or call in question any churchwarden or sworn man for any presentment they present or set down upon their oathes, upon payne of the Churches censure in the highest degree." The Church's officials were, in fact, to be considered infallible!

For a still longer period after this there is no mention of the bishop, and when a record does occur, i.e. in 1626, it is with reference to arrangements during his absence from the island. He then appointed substitutes for the spiritual affairs of his see during his absence, as follows:-

" In the name of God. Amen, &c.

"In a respective (sic) due regard of the good pleasure of the Right Honourable nobles of the House of Derby, the Lords and Owners of this Isle of Man with the Regaltic thereof we John Phillips (by the providence of God Bishop of the same) having for a time urgent occasione to be absente do contynue our Vicar General Sir William Norris our Vicar General and our official Sir William Crowe our joint Substytutes for the spiritual affayres of this Isle, that so all acts and censures may pass more indifferently, And this the rather, for that wee have seen a former warrante granted in that behalf. Also wee contynue Sir Nicholas Thomson our Episcopall Register. And in the roome and steade of Sir Hughe Cannell late Register, we have deputed Sir John Moore and Sr Robert Norris joyntlie to bee Registers under the Vicar Generall and to register the acts and censures Spiritual on the South syde as I leave Sir Nicholas Thomson for the official on the North-syde and to record his acts and censures truly. And because 'Vis unita fortior' I doe strictlelye (sic) enjoyne theise my prime officers to doe all things in loove (sic) and justice for the Good and most convenient ease of the subject so far as may bee, without all Partialytie: And because both the Vicar Generall and officiall grow aged, that they may partytione (sic) theyr charge and Lymytts (sic) the better I allotte S, William Norris to and for the South syde of this Isle, and to and with him I associate Sr Hughe Cannell to sit in the Seat of judicature, and so do I Sir Nicholas Thomson to and with the officiall Syr W. Crowe and Syr Hughe Cannell as formerly in Commissione for the North syde and Cyrcuite.

" And knowe all men further that whereas wee have comytted the Records and Bookes of Wylls and Testaments and other the Spiritual acts to the aforesaid Sr John Moore and Syr Robert Norris to keepe besydes their several otthes. Sir William Norris has pawned his faith and honest credyte to see the Books saffe and well kept. Thus and for this Ende have wee uppon his earnest requeste freed Sir Hughe Cannell from keeping the records that he may have the better opportunytic of stydiynge of the Woorde of God, and to preach the same. And thus may the People, upon notice hereof given, know wheer to repayre and to whom for Coppies of what they desyre and wch hath come into our hands of and concerninge spirituall acts and matters. Omnia decenter, et secundum ordinem fiant. Sic decernimus io May. AO Christi. 1626.

" Jo Sodors de Man."

From the following entry in the Lzber Scaccariae in 1627, it would

seem that a difficulty about the appeal from the ecclesiastical to the civil jurisdiction had again arisen. The governor (Fletcher) here stated the law, having doubtless had the deemsters' advice, as he conceived it to be, and his view was upheld by the vicar-general and the official, who, as we have seen, were the spiritual rulers in the bishop's absence. His statement was as follows:-

fi 49 Py the ancient and accustomary laws of this Isle, any Inhabittor nding himself agrieved by any censure or proceeding held agt him in the Spiritual Court, may, upon ye same appeale unto the Lord his staff of Govermt here, and further, as occasion shall be offered, unto the Lord himself, for this is a prerogative. Upon wch appeale exhibited, the Staff of governmt may prohibitt the spirituall officers for any further proceedings or intermeddleing therewth untill an indifferent tryall may be had concerning the same, so the same be done within a convenient time without predjudice to any party. But and if the Lord of the soyle please, upon any complaint of appeale or petition, to grant any tryall in law to be made by his prime officers, and twenty four keys agt any formr proceedings or censure by the Spirituallty proceeded in, altho' they have proceeded both in suspeneon and excommunication, which is the furthest point of ye law that they can proceed in, but only deliver both the party and cause to the Lord; then we say, it is the Lord's prerogative royall, upon the right of his warrant or refferrence sent over to his Temporall officers for tryall, that the spirituallty do not only surcease, but also absolve, and in law dispense with the party, whereby he may be capable Of law, and at liberty to plead for himself; and this we say is the Lord's prerogative, as before, in respect ye party, in that danger running, is only at the Lord's mercy for his body and goods upon tryall, which the Lord at his pleasure may give or take the same without the controulm~ of any, for the spirituallty bath no further power over the party or his cause, but as before.

,, Mr Norris, and Mr Crow. If these propositions above written be law, and the Lord's prerogative royall, then I require you, in the Lord's name, as you are sworn, to subscribe your names thereunto, resting

Ed : ffietcher.

Humble duty remembred &c: All such propositions as are demanded of us here to be answered concerning the premises, is law, and we say, that the HonalO Patron and Lord of this Isle, by prerogative, may, and is to call to his Honblo Court Temporall any Spirituall officer to answer that Court according as ever hath been in our time, and for to certify our knowledge, we have subscribed our names, the 30'h of July, 1627.

"Will- Norres. Viccr Genll

" Will- Crow, officl" 1

But this ruling was reversed, and, in the following year, a decision was given in the bishop's favour by the following order from Lord Strange', who had just taken over the government of the Island on behalf of his father Earl William, and at once superseded Fletcher I in his post as governor:

" Whereas by the auncient Lawes and Customes of the Island the Lord Bishop bath ever had power, and authoritie to heare, order, and determine, all ecclesiastical causes (soe yt the same depend not before him, aboue one yeare, and a day) and to punish all such offenders whatsoever as shall cofflitt any misdemeanours within or belonging to the jurisdiction of the Spirituall Courte: Yet nevertheless I am informed by the now Lo : BPP that you my officers (in repugnancy of his authoritie, and to the overthrowe of the Governmt incident and proper only to his place and ffunction) doe frequently restore psons excommunicated by him, and doe further take upon you ye hearinge and disposition of eccl: causes at yor pleasure not belonging unto you, whereby you doe not only derrogate from the honor of his place, in trenching so farre upon Church govemmt, but alsoe hindere mee, and give incouragemt to offenders to neglect his authority : In consideration whereof, and to the end that offenders may be suppressed and duly punished, the auncient eccl govt established and religion ye more advanced ; it is my pleasure and express command that you, and every of you henceforth surceass to intermeddle in anie matter or cause belonginge to the Spirituall Covernmt (other than with such as by ye Lawes, and customes of ye Island may be Lawfull for you), And yt you suffer him and his servants quietly to pass to and from Ye Island as occasion shall require and for ye better incouragement of ye said Lo: Bishop in the full and free execution of his place, and that publick scandall and dangerous example may be avoyded, and that good respect and due obedience mqy be given him by all, as befitts them to give to one of his callinge, and that these my directions may be the better observed, Let these my lettr8 be kept upon record, for that I have seen several letters which to this purpoase formerly sent unto you (as it seems) are either sleighted or forgotten And sue I bidd you farwell from my Mannor House of Knowsley the twoe and twenteith day of July 1628.


" J. Strange.

"To Capten Edward Christian, my Lievtent and Capt of the Isle of Man, my Receivr, Deemsters, Comptrolil, Waterbayliff, and the rest of my officers there, whom these may concern'."

This view was afterwards controverted by Bishop Wilson.

Lord Strange, afterwards the famous seventh Earl of Derby, was a strong supporter of Church government in days when the opposition to it was rapidly incre&sin~,

The last document in connection with Bishop Phillips is in the archidiaconal archives, and consists of a letter, dated 1629, from him to his clergy, relating mainly to the conduct of the ecclesiastical courts, to registration of wills, to the necessity of enforcing presentments, and of seeing that marriages were not celebrated without licences having been granted. It will be seen from it that the bishop was as earnest in the cause of Church discipline at the end as at the beginning of his episcopate.

"Religious Brethren. SaluteminjesuCh~'o:&c.

" Wee in religious good discretion (fearing least soome remissive comixtion and perfunctorie course by Eccles (?) regard bath beene heretofore held touching the Several Eall jurisdic~o-nes of the Lo : Bop and the Archdeacone) doe intende to reforme the same. And willing to the uttermost of our power to provide for the indemnities and good of our poore Church within this Isle, and from henceforth (for preventinge and avoidinge of intollerable inconveniences that might ensue and prejudice the same) to settle a due and legal course that thereby the Spiritual Courts, all dues and several peculiar priveledges properly due and belonginge to the sll Ecc-all jurisdic~o-nes maybe without * * * i~ightly distinguished, religiously maintained, retained, continued and duely executed accordinge to the auncient custome and laudable usage of the Sd Church. To this ende wee commande you our Spirituall officers to keep our Ecd'all Courts hereafter in due tyme as wee shall forthwith direct you without Innovicone or broaching of noveltic. Also wee commande you our Registers to have a speciall care to keep severall all the wills decrees and acts everie halfe yeare due and belonginge to the sd severall jurisdi(~o-nes as of aunciente tyme hath been accustomed. And if any of our officers or your selves have been heertofore in our tyme defective herein, wee requier you to make due and diligent search hereof, and reforme wt you confessedly neglected. And whereas manie offenders have beene presented, and (by negligent procrastina~c-on) not yet punished, to suppress and debilitate the strength of irreligious impieties, wee will and requier you to send us an abstracte of their names, especially of the adulterers and * * * that, (knowinge impunitie to bee a greate aluremente to sin and encouragement to the wicked to dooe woarse) wee may injoyne they doe their due deserved penances according to law, and the qualitie of their offence, whereby the offended congregdcone may be satisfied, justice duly executed, delinquents reformed, sin suppressed, the scelerous and ill disposed premonished and examined. Also concerning the severall inhibited tymes of marriage we commande you our loving Brethren of the Clergie in generall, and all, and everie one in particular, upon paine of our displeasure, and further censure (if wee shall find just cause by yourselves neglected) to give publique warninge to your parishioners who intende to marrie to come for lycenses to our well-beloved Sr Hugh Cannell our officiall (of whose honest care, uprightness and conscionable~ proceedinge, wee have had long experience and good tryall) whom only wee do hereby authorize to graunt the lycenses in due form of lawe : And fail not you sub pcena suspensionis, to desist from maryinge any without our or his lycense in the prohibited tymes, or any other tyme, except the Banes be duely asked three severali Sondaies or holy daies accordinge to lawe. And thus expecting your diligent care obsequently to accomplish and trulie perform all and everie the present premises with due observancie, wee cofflitt you to God, and rest * * *

November the xxiiiith 1629.

Returne this to be of Recorde."


Bishop Phillips died on the 7th of August, 1633, at Bishop's Court, and was buried in St. German's Cathedral.

We have no record of the state of the diocese during his episcopate, but from some brief notes of his predecessor, Meryck, and some extracts from two reports made just after his death, we may gain some idea of what it was. Bishop Meryck says that the episcopal income "scarcely ever exceeded ;£100," and that out of this he "should have assigned some portion towards the repair of the buildings, and something also to him who presides over the law courts (as never a penny is paid by the people to the judge or the functionaries) the remainder * * * is thought there sufficiently magnificent in relation to the other revenues of the island I." The people "are extremely religious, and most readily conform, without a single exception, to the formularies of the church of England'." The following particulars are extracted from a State Paper 2 endorsed by Archbishop Laud, said to have been written by Sir Hugh Cannell, vicar of Michael: The diocese consists of a bishop, archdeacon, and seventeen priests. The bishop and archdeacon exercise jurisdiction alternately every six months'. The value of the bishopric is £140, and of the archdeaconry with the rectory of Andreas :£60. All the clergy except two or three are illiterate men, brought up in the island in secular professions'. The service is that of the Church of England, in some places read in English, in others in 1\Ianx. Nine or ten parishes are worth £4 (?), one or two £40, and the rest £20. There is neither dean nor cathedral'. In 1636, when Archbishop Neile, of York, was making inquiry into the state of his province, Bishop Parr reported of Sodor and Man, that the " extreme coldness of the country"' and his "ruinous house" constrained him "to retire to England for the winter season; " that "most of the ministers were of no better ability than to read distinctly divine service;" and that ,the island was destitute of means of learned education." He also informed the archbishop that he had warned the ministers to be diligent in catechising, and that "because many of them could not preach" he introduced the Book of Homilies. The most startling part of his report, however, is to the effect that on " St. John Baptist's day 7 " he found " the people in a chapel dedicated to that Saint in the practice of gross superstitions," which lie caused to be " cried down," and in place of them " appointed Divine service and sermons.' We have no precisely contemporary account of Bishop Phillips, but Chaloner, who wrote twenty-five years after his death, and must have been acquainted with those who knew him, speaks of him as a "singularly Learned, Hospitable, Painful and Pious Prelate * * * who out of zeal, to the propagating of the Gospel, attained the knowledge " of Manx " so exactly, that he did ordinarily Preach in it'." Sacheverell, writing in 1702, and probably taking his information from Chaloner, says that Phillips was "famous in his generation for his great pains in preaching, his charity, and hospitality, even to the meanest of the people "; " and Wood ' remarks that he " was famous for his charity and hospitality." Chaloner is also responsible for the statement that he translated the Bible as well as the Prayer-book, saying that he "undertook that most laborious, most difficult but useful Work, of the Translation of the Bible into Manks; taking to his assistance some of the Islanders; as namely, Sir Hugh Cavoll (Cannell), Minister of the Gospel and now Vicar of Kirk Michael, perfected the said Work in the space of twenty and nine years'." Sacheverell mentions this statement of Chaloner's, and remarks that his Bible is " now not extant" 2. Cox, writing in 1720, but merely copying his predecessors, says that he translated "the liturgy and Bible into the Manks language4;" and Bishop WiIson writes about the same time that "It has been often said that the Holy Bible was by Bishop Phillips's care translated into the Manks language; but upon the best enquiry that can be made, there was no more attempted by him than a translation of the Common Prayer.." His evidence, combined with the fact that there is no mention of this Bible in contemporary records, would seem to show that no such translation had been made. To form a just estimate of Bishop Phillips from the scanty material we have been able to accumulate is scarcely possible. But it is at least clear that he was a strong and zealous upholder of the Church and her riahts and that, considering his other appointments, he bestowed considerable attention upon his diocese. The mere fact of his having mastered the Manx language, and of his having translated the Prayer-book into that language, shows that the welfare of his Manx flock was dear to him. In fact, in every aspect in which we are able to view him, he stands conspicuously superior to most of his successors as well as his predecessors, and would seem worthy of a reputation not much inferior to Wilson, Barrow, and Hildesley, and the less known, but probably equally estimable bishops, Simon, Mark and Donkan.


1 Feb. 10, 1604-5, date of consecration.

2 Possibly he had resigned some of his other appointments.

3 All quotations to which no references are given are from the Manx eccleslastical records.

4 Statutes of the Isle of Man (Gill), vol. i, p. 72.

5 State Paper Office, Scotland, vol. lv, Art. 1

6 Butler's Memoirs of Bishop Hildesley, P. 305.

7 Manx Society, vol. i, p. 15.

8 Manx Society, vol. xviii, p. 100.

9 Perhaps, in accordance with the customary law, to pray witli the fishermen before they set sail. This was however, usually done by one of the clergy.

10 Isle of Man Statutes, vol. ii p. 40.

11 This same question was still in dispute between Church and State more than 100years later, in Bishop Wilson's time.

12 it appeared, however, among the spiritual laws written down in 1665 as follows: " He that enters his claim within the year and a day after the probate of the will .... without bill bond or evidence, shall prove the same upon the grave of him or her from whom the debt was due, with lawful compurgators according to the a,ntient form; that is to say, lying on his back with the Bible on his breast, and his compurgators on either side one." This custom was approved by Bishop Wilson, and was not discontinued till the middle of the eighteenth century.

13 These were bits of slate with the governor's or deemster's initials scratched on them, which then served as warrants. In spite of Governor Ireland's decree, they were used till the " Revestment " (1765), as the resumption of the possession of Man by the English Crown is called.

14 From State Paper Office, Scotland. Manx Society, vol. ix, pp. 97, 98.

See note 2, p. xiv.

Isle of Man Statutes, vol. i, p. 7s.

Manx Society, vol. iv, p. 98.

2 State Papers, cclxv. 45, P. 47, April io, 1634 (in ecclesiastical records).

' This must not be taken to mean that the archdeacon could perform all the functions of a bishop. He held courts in which, except for certain reserved episcopal causes, he had the same jurisdiction as the bishop.

. 4 Chaloner, however, writing twenty-five years later, remarks of the clergy: "It is marvaillous to hear what good Preachers they be." (Manx Society, vol. x, p. 18.)

' This must mean that the cathedral was not used, for it was certainly in existence.

' This statement would not pass mtister in these days of greater knowledge of climatic conditions.

' The 24th of june, Tinwald Day.

1 It is possible that his opposition to the bishop may have originated in revenge for his having excommunicated his relative, the Vicar of Braddan.

Lib. Scaccarii, 1628.



Manx Society, vol. x, p. 9. 2 Manx Society, vol. i, p. 9 r.

"Athenaeum," Oxford, vol. ii, p. 883. 4 Manx Society, vol. xviii, p. 89.

Manx Society, vol. xviii, p. ioo.


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