[186]

Chapter 7: Bishop Wilson (1698-1755)

WE now approach a period in which the Manx Church was not only to have a ruler of real ability as well as goodness, but was to retain him during more than half a century.

So great was Bishop Wilson's influence on his conternporaries, and so great a part did he play in matters civil as well as ecclesiastical in the Isle of Man, that, during the greater part of his episcopate, his biography is practically the history of the time.

For full particulars about this great and good man, our readers must necessarily be referred to his biographers,[note 1] as space compels us to make our account of him very brief.

Thomas Wilson was born on the 20th of December, 1663. He was the sixth child of Nathanael Wilson, a farmer, living at Burton in Cheshire, and of Alice his wife. Thomas [187] was educated at a school in Chester, and at the age of eighteen was entered at Trinity College, Dublin, where he took his degree in Arts in due course. He was ordained deacon in 1686 at the cathedral church of Kildare, and was shortly afterwards licensed by the Bishop of Chester to be curate at Winwick, in that diocese, the parish of his uncle, Dr. Sherlock. In 1689, he was ordained priest. In 1692, he became tutor to Earl William's son, James, and, in the following year, the earl offered him the living of Baddesworth in Yorkshire, which he declined, as he determined never to accept a living the duties of which he could not perform owing to non-residence. In November 1697, Lord Derby pressed him to accept the Bishopric of Man, which he at first declined, but, after further persuasion, he gave way, and was consecrated at the Savoy church in London by the Archbishop of York, assisted by the Bishops of Chester and Norwich, on the 16th of the following January, having a few days previously been created a doctor of divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Within a fortnight of his consecration, he was again offered Baddesworth, but he declined it on the same grounds as before. Early in April, he started for his new diocese, being installed in its cathedral on the 11th of that month.

We will now briefly consider the chief characteristics of his episcopate. One of the most important and interesting of these, and the one from which the bishop's troubles were mainly to arise, was the maintenance of ecclesiastical discipline in the Manx Church, at a period when that of the Church of [188] England had practically ceased to be administered, and when the Church itself in that country was in a most unsatisfactory condition. It is this with which Bishop Wilson's name is inseparably connected, though, as will be seen when the account of the discipline has been compared with that adminsitered by his predecessors of the seventeenth century, he did not increase its severity[note 2] but, on the contrary, endeavoured to mitigate it.[note 3]

With a view to this administration of discipline, and to the regulation of his Church generally, he laid, in 1704, his famous "Ecclesiastical Constitutions"[note 4] before the clergy, by whom they were signed, so that, in the words of the preamble, "We may not stand charged with the scandals which wicked men bring upon religion, while they are admitted to and reputed members of Christ's Church; and that we may by all laudable means promote the conversion of sinners, and oblige men to submit to the discipline of the Gospel; And lastly, that we may provide for the instruction of the growing age in [189] Christian learning and good manners."[note 5] These fourteen constitutions,[note 6] or canons, contain nothing which had not legal sanction before, and it would seem that there were no grievances against the Church at the time, as they were found by the Legislature, whose authority was required to make "some of the Orders and Constitutions in this Synod . . . effectual to the ends they are designed for," to be "very reasonable, just, and necessary."[note 7]

The articles which refer more especially to the discipline are the following:
"V. For the more effectual discouragement of vice, if any person shall incur the censures of the Church, and, having done penance, shall afterwards incur the same censures, he shall not be admitted to do penance again (as has been formerly accustomed) until the Church be fully satisfied of his sincere repentance; during which time he shall not presume to come within the church, but be obliged to stand in a decent manner at the church door every Sunday and Holy Day the whole time of morning and evening service, until by his penitent behaviour, and other instances of sober living, he deserve and procure a certificate from the minister, churchwardens, and some of the soberest men of the parish, to the satisfaction of the Ordinary; which if [190] he do not so deserve and procure within three months, the Church shall proceed to excommunication: And that during these proceedings, the governor shall be applied to not to permit him to leave the island; and this being a matter of very great importance, the Minister and Churchwardens shall see it duly performed, under penalty of the severest ecclesiastical censures; and whenever any daring offender shall be and continue so obstinate as to incur excommunication, the Pastor shall affectionately exhort his parishioners not to converse with him, upon peril of being partaker with him in his sin and punishment.
"VI. That the Rubrick before the Communion, concerning unworthy receivers thereof, may be religiously observed, every Rector, Vicar, or Curate shall first privately, and then publickly, admonish such persons as he shall observe to be disorderly livers; that such as will not by this means be reclaimed may be hindered from coming to the Lord's Table, and being presented, may be excommunicated; and if any Minister knowingly admit such persons to the Holy Sacrament, whose lives are blemished with the vices of drunkenness, tippling, swearing, profaning the Lord's Day, quarrelling, fornication, or any other crime by which the Christian religion is dishonoured, before such persons have publickly acknowledged their faults, and solemnly promised amendment, the Minister so offending shall be liable to severe ecclesiastical censures.
"VII. If any moar, serjeant, proctor, or any other person, shall presume on the Lord's Day to receive any rent or sums of money they shall be liable to [191] ecclesiastical censure, and shall always be presented for the same.
"VIII. That the practice of commutation as has been formerly accustomed; namely, of exempting persons obnoxious to the censures of the Church from penance and other punishment appointed by law, on account of paying a sum of money, or doing some charitable work, shall for the future cease.[note 8]
"XIII. For the more effectual suppression. of vice, &c., the Minister, and Churchwardens, and Chapter-quest shall, the last Sunday of every month, after evening prayers, set down in writing the names of all such persons as without just cause absent themselves from Church."

As regards the offences which came under the cognizance of the Ecclesiastical Court between 1698 and 1726, when the discipline was most active, a careful comparison has shown that they are siniilar as regards their total number to those of the previous thirty-eight years, but, as regards their relative numbers, presentments for the non-observance of saints' days became less numerous, though at Convocation in 17o8 a special order was made for their observance, while presentments for immorality were as common as ever, and for drunkenness and swearing, against which a proclamation was issued in 1708, perhaps even more common. The punishments for these offences were, as already stated, generally less severe after 1698 than previously, and it may be mentioned with [192] regard to the penalty of being dragged after a boat in the sea, which was inflicted on one wretched woman, that it was strictly in accordance with the law, and also that the use of the bridle was no innovation.[note 9] In 1710, there occurs, for the first time, a difficulty in getting the churchwardens and chapter-quests to present offenders against the spiritual ordinances, but this seems to have been overcome, and a reference to the Records will show that the discipline was vigorously carried on without opposition till 1713, when it came into collision with the official class, whose cordial support had hitherto been given to it.[note 10} This collision arose out of the bishop's practice of mitigating the fines which from time to time were laid on offenders by the Spiritual Court, so that, as these fines were levied in usum domini, there would be a reduction of the lord's revenue, which would not be acceptable to Lord Derby, who was already disappointed at the financial results of the Act of Settlement, and dissatisfied with the bargain the commissioners had then made for him. As the bishop had been the chief of the commissioners, and as he now declined to surrender his right of reducing the fines, the earl gradually became alienated from him. The discipline was not, however, as [193] yet interfered with, and so, in 1714, the bishop's charge at Convocation was mainly directed to the necessity of seeing that censures were properly performed, and that the offenders were not to be received "into the peace of the Church without their giving at least outward signs of repentance." On the same occasion, he complained that cases of drunkenness were not presented, and ordered that they were to be particularly enumerated among the offences for presentation.

In connexion with this, attention was called to "the inconveniences and fatal consequences which attend the unlimited number of ale-houses in all parts of this island, whereby many of the people are of late become not only tipplers, but also infamous for sottishness and drunkenness." Representation of this state of things was accordingly made to "the Honourable Governor, that he may confine the privileges of licences for selling ale to a select number."

At last, in 1716, the conflict between Church and State was precipitated by the action of an unfortunate woman, who declined to perform penance, and was consequently excommunicated. She then appealed to the Lord of the Isle, and this appeal was allowed by the governor, though, according to the ordinance of 1636,[note 11] the appeal in purely spiritual matters was to the metropolitan, the Archbishop of York. It might, however, have been objected that this ordinance was [194] not legally binding as not being, a statute, and that, in any case, it did not absolutely forbid appeals to the earl. The bishop, having been summoned to appear before Lord Derby for a hearing of this appeal, declined to do so, and was consequently fined £10, but as he afterwards seems to have succeeded in showing the correctness of his view, the fine was remitted. For some years after this, the bishop was left in peace, and he made use of his opportunity by insisting on the necessity of Church discipline at a time "when," according to him, "not only evil practices, but evil books and evil notions are become very common."

In 1720, however, the governor again renewed his opposition to the discipline by refusing a soldier to take offenders who had been committed by the Ecclesiastical Court to prison; his next step, in June 1721, was to imprison and fine the Rev. John Woods, episcopal registrar, for not reading a precept in church because it had not been seen by the bishop; and, finally, he summoned the bishop and his vicars-general to answer the following charges : "First, that the Ecclesiastical Court assume to themselves a power of hearing and determining causes in their Court contrary to the rules that the Statute Law of this isle directs.[note 12] . . . Secondly, that the Lord Bishop of this Isle calls a convocation, at times and for causes that are not [195] comprehended in the law for calling a convocation.[note 13] . . . Thirdly, that the said Court have taken upon them to summon persons not within their jurisdiction, contrary to the known laws of this isle."[note 14]

The bishop and his vicars-general declined to answer the above summons until it was "determined by the 2 Deemsters and 24 keys (the proper judges of such causes) whether it was legal and practicable for the attorney-general to bring such a charge against a whole Court, where no appeal had been made."[note 15] The governor and Council had, in the meantime, condemned them, on all the above counts, in their absence, and required them "to retract and cancel" their late proceedings. They also refused their appeal to the House of Keys, stating that the attorney-general had acted "pursuant to his oath and office, and that "a complaint of this nature is not cognisable before the 24 keys, but properly before the Right Honourable the Lord of this Isle, who is also Metropolitan and Chief of the Holy Church of this Island." The case was then dropped for a time. The storm was, however, soon to arise again, being originated by the governor's determination to prevent any of his household or the soldiers of the garrison submitting themselves to ecclesiastical authority. It would seem that a soldier had sinned in [196] a way which would subject him to penance, and, though his misdeed had not been discovered, he submitted himself to this penalty voluntarily. For this he was tried by the comptroller and "the jury of the house within the garrison of Castle Rushen,"[note 16] by whom it was recommended that he should "receive such condign punishment . . . as his crime demerits." He was consequently imprisoned by the governor, and, after being kept in prison for fourteen days, was drummed out of the garrison.

Another case involving this question of jurisdiction, that of Archdeacon Horrobin, had arisen a little before this time. The archdeacon, who was also the governor's chaplain, had, in October 1721, expelled one of his congregation, a widow, from the sacrament because of some slanderous remarks made by the governor's wife against her. The widow appealed to the bishop, and demanded an investigation. This was granted, and, as the governor's wife could not prove her statements, the widow, having cleared herself of the charge upon oath with sufficient compurgators, according to Manx spiritual law, was permitted to take the sacrament, while the governor's wife was required to make an apology and ask forgiveness before being admitted to it. This she declined to do, but came, notwithstanding, to the sacrament, and was admitted by the archdeacon. For this, and for some unorthodox doctrines[note 17] [197] in his sermons, he was called to account by the bishop, and, as he failed to defend himself satisfactorily, he was suspended at Convocation in 1722. The archdeacon, instead of appealing to the Archbishop of York, threw himself into the hands of the governor, who now took up the case against the bishop and vicars-general with renewed vigour. His first step was to send them a copy of the decision in Bishop Phillips's time,[note 18] to the effect that the lord's or governor's household, officials, and soldiers were exempt from ecclesiastical jurisdictions.[note 19]

The governor next required them to "retract and cancel" their late proceedings against the archdeacon and Bridson; and, finally, he closed the chapel at Castletown without any pretext whatever. The bishop and his coadjutors replied to this attack by delivering a public protest to the governor at Tinwald. In this protest they denied his jurisdiction over them, and again demanded "to have the Deemsters and 24 keys called to deem the law truly."

They were, however, unable to persuade any of the Council to record their protest, and the governor expressly denied the Archbishop of York's authority, declaring not only that the Earl of Derby was and should be metropolitan, but also that he, the said governor, would punish any person that should in any case presume to appeal to the archbishop. The Keys having then departed from the Tinwald [198] without having been consulted, the governor and the Council proceeded to fine the bishop £50 and the vicars-general £20 each "for their contempt." This being without the sanction of the House of Keys, was, of course, absolutely illegal. They refused to pay the fines, and were consequently imprisoned[note 20] in Castle Rushen, in June 1722. This action all but caused a popular tumult, for the people considered the bishop, and that very justly, not only as their faithful pastor and unwearied benefactor, but as the champion likewise of their political rights and liberties." The prisoners determined, by the advice of the Archbishop of York and others, to bring their case before the Privy Council. In doing so they prayed for the king's order for their release, "they being ready to give security for the payment of the fines if the same shall be legal."[note 21] They asked also that their accusers should return their answer in writing, and that they should have free recourse to the insular records to prepare their case. Their prayer was, after some delay, granted, and, the order for their release having arrived, they were discharged after nine weeks' imprisonment. It would appear that during the greater part of this time their letters and friends were kept from them, and they were [199] treated generally with considerable harshness. The day of the bishop's release "was a day of general jubilee throughout the island. . . . Never were there more sincere congratulations than were expressed on this occasion. Old and young, rich and poor, broke forth into acclamations of joy, and formed such a procession as had never before been witnessed."[note 22]

His first step on his release was to collect the evidence for his case against Lord Derby, the governor, and the officers, which was not settled till July 1724. This long delay was partly owing to the governor being unprepared with his documents, but partly also to the lagging steps of the law. At last, on the 4th of July in that year, the Privy Council met, and ordered that the "judgements or sentences given by the Governor, Council, and Deemsters of the Isle of Man on the 9th and 10th days of February 1722, be reversed and set aside, in regard they had no jurisdiction. And for that the order signed by the Governor as made at a Court of Tinwald the 25th day of June, 1722, was not an order of that Court; that therefore the fines imposed by the said order upon the said Bishop and Vicars-general be restored to them."[note 23] The further petition of the bishop and vicars-general against the governor and officers for disrespect to the royal authority in their way of receiving the orders in Council was also adjudicated upon at the same time, it being decided that "such [200] contempts" had been proved. The arrest of the governor was consequently ordered, but does not seem to have been carried out. The decision was thus, as far as it went, in favour of the bishop, but it must be remembered that the two principal points in dispute – the question of appeals from the ecclesiastical courts, whether they were to the lord or to the archbishop, and the liability of the earl's household and soldiers to Church censures – were left untouched.

It is interesting to find that, in "a Summary of Grievances" presented to Lord Derby at this time by a deputation from the House of Keys, redress is sought for the grievances of the Church, which included the points recently in dispute between the bishop and the governor, as well as for the grievances of the State. It is clear, therefore, that the sympathies of the country were with the bishop and his administration of Church discipline. But the only result of this protest seems to have been that Lord Derby sent a governor, Lloyd, who was even more hostile to the Church than his predecessor. For he went so far as to give soldiers' places to those who had incurred Church censures. This governor's career soon, however, came to an end, and, for a time, there were symptoms of better relations between Church and State. Thus, at the Tinwald in 1725, the bishop was permitted to lay before the court the question as to whether or not his demand of a soldier from the garrisons to carry out ecclesiastical censures, [201] which had recently been denied, was legal or not. The court decided this point in his favour, and the deputy governors promised that its decision should be carried into effect in future. At this time, too, the chapel at Castletown was re-opened, the attempt to authorize publications in church without the bishop's consent was virtually abandoned, and the fine inflicted upon the Vicar of Malew was remitted.

As regards the discipline, it seems for some years after the bishop's imprisonment to have been administered as vigorously as ever. The Records are full both of presentments and of the punishments inflicted, and there are some notable cases of submission and repentance recorded, especially that of the obdurate offender mentioned above,[note 24] who did penance in the autumn of 1722. And it was significant of the altered circumstances that the archdeacon submitted, in October 1723, and was, consequently, restored to his office and benefice. But, in 1725, with the appointment of Governor Horton, who was "unfortunately most prejudiced against the Church, Churchmen in general, and in particular the laws and discipline of this Church,"[note 25] this brief period of better relations between Church and State came to an end. He brought with him a letter from Lord Derby, in which the earl claimed that the insular spiritual laws were abolished by the Act of 33 Henry VIII, by which the Isle of Man became part of the province of York – a claim which had not [202] hitherto been heard of. But it was nevertheless to be speedily put in force by the governor promptly quashing the recent decision granting soldiers to put in execution the orders of the Ecclesiastical Court. This was naturally a great blow to the Church and to her discipline, as recusants could now set her censures at defiance. As regards her spiritual laws, however, it would seem that for some time past their revision had been desired by the clergy as well as the laity. To this end, some of the Keys, with the concurrence of the bishop and clergy, had transmitted to the earl, through the governor, a draft of certain amendments and alterations, and also a draft of an order to be signed by the earl, mitigating the severity of the execution of sonic of the spiritual laws until the revised code might become law. He signed the order accordingly, but, instead of doing as the House of Keys wished, he suspended the whole code until "it should be amended and revised by the Legislature." The House of Keys it once remonstrated against this order, pointing out that "the consideration of the Spiritual Customary Laws will take some time before they can be concluded upon and published,"' and "that, if a suspension or stop shall be put to the execution of the said Customary Laws till other be substituted in their stead, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction will for so long a time . . . be in great measure, if not entirely, at a stand, no debts can be recovered, nor the people, so far as depends on these courts, [203] be secure in body, goods, or fame; and an encouragement will unavoidably ensue to all vice and immorality, which of late is but too notorious among us." They concluded with requesting that "this our representation may be recorded, and a copy thereof transmitted with all convenient speed to our Right Honourable Lord."[note 26]

This very reasonable request was refused by the governor, and so the Church and the Civil Government were once again at open war. The governor then (1727) took the extraordinary step of depriving the sumner-general, who had been appointed by the bishop in 1712, and appointing another in his place, though this officer seems usually[note 27] to have been appointed by the bishop. The bishop thereupon remonstrated at the Tinwald Court, and asked that the two deemsters and twenty-four keys "might deem the law truly" on this point. No notice was taken of this request, and the governor and the lay members of the Council departed from Tinwald before the bishop could get an opportunity of laying his grievance before the court. The bishop consequently sent a memorial to Lord Derby, and the House of Keys also forwarded a petition to him. Lord Derby, however, refused all redress, and so the House of Keys appealed to the king in Council. In reply to this appeal, the governor and his officers [204] prepared a draft[note 28] of their view of the case to be laid before the same body. In this they stated, with reference to ecclesiastical matters, that "many of the clergy of the . . . isle . . . have, against the ties of gratitude and allegiance, been for several years last past very active and restless in opposing the civil government . . . and in exalting the ecclesiastical power in opposition to it." That "the arbitrary practice and proceedings of the Spiritual Courts are carried on and exercised to the great destruction and ruin of numbers of families there;" and that the power thus "arrogated by the Bishop and clergy" is "utterly destructive of and inconsistent with the liberties and properties of the inhabitants, and with the Protestant religion itself." They added that the assistance of soldiers claimed by the Ecclesiastical Court had been abused by their having sent "the poor people" to prison "on sundry trifling occasions," and that, "as the appeal to York was too expensive, though it was the only way of the said poor people being released from prison," the governor, "to prevent the rights and liberties of the people. . . from being overturned and destroyed by such pretended Church power," had refused the aid of the soldiers. And they further stated, that the spiritual customary laws[note 29] were "only divers absurd arbitrary pretended practices, devised, contrived, and from time to time made use of by such clergy as were officers of the ecclesiastical court at their own pleasure, and never received or had any [205] sanction or authority, consent or allowance of the lord or legislature of the said island." And that "the temporal laws of the said Isle are sufficient, and the only proper national security for body, goods and fame of every subject." Nothing more, however, was heard of the case on the either side, possibly on account of the want of funds on the part of the appellants. Thus were the administrators of the discipline subjected to a series of rebuffs which were clearly approved of by the earl, who went so far as to remit an excommunication, and the governor caused his order to this effect to be published in Kirk Braddan, in spite of the bishop's protests. It was, indeed, clear by this time that the discipline, as far as moral offences at least were concerned, was failing, and the governor further undermined its authority and received assistance in his attacks upon it by having got the House of Keys on his side. This he effected by the simple method of removing eleven of those who were opposed to him and by substituting his own creatures.

The Chapter Courts, however, still continued to be held, and, though it would seem from the ecclesiastical records that there were often no presentments, some few offenders were still censured, and underwent penance. It would appear, too, that voluntary submissions to penance became more numerous than formerly, which showed that the system still met with considerable approval. Among presentments at this time, were those of two women for sorcery; and, at Kirk Lonan, the [206] curate presented "a general neglect of his whole parish in attending divine service upon the feasts of the Church;" and, in the same parish, the curate and wardens represented to the court that "there is a superstitious and wicked custom of going to the top of Snaefell mountain upon the first Sunday in August."[note 30] This custom was condemned by the court, and an order was made that those practising it should "be proceeded against with severe ecclesiastical censures." During this period (1726-36), there had been several convictions for robbery, previously a rare crime in the island, and smuggling was becoming the chief business of its inhabitants. Against these offences, the bishop fulminated in a pastoral letter to his clergy, and he asserted in his Episcopalia, that "this surpassing growth of wickedness" was due "to the great contempt that of late has been put upon the discipline of the Church".[note 31]

But now a new régime, that of the Atholes, the Earl of Derby having died in February 1736, was to begin; and the change was a favourable one for the Church, as the ecclesiastical laws, instead of being abrogated, were reformed in a way which was probably in conforniity with public opinion. Thus "the custome and practice of delivering over Persons excommunicated in the spiritual Court, Body and Goods, to the Lord of the Isle," was put an end to, the delinquents, if obstinate, being confined for three months; and compulsory, though not voluntary, compurgation was to cease.[note 32] [207] The result of this legislation seems to have been that the number of ordinary disciplinary new cases decreased, and that there was a marked absence of disputes between the civil and ecclesiastical courts.[note 33]

But there was another cause for the decadence of the discipline, as well as of all spiritual life, viz. the pursuit of smuggling, which still continued to increase. From the demoralization this caused, and from the uncertainty about the Impropriate Fund,[note 34] arose a difficulty in obtaining suitable men to take Holy Orders, and so hard pressed was the bishop in this respect, that we find him getting leave from the Archbishop of York to ordain before the usual age. The men thus ordained were frequently very unsatisfactory, and we consequently find a great increase of censures on clergymen, as well as numerous exhortations to them from the bishop.

About the administration of the discipline in his later days, the bishop continued as earnest as ever. Thus, in 1749, he asked the clergy "to be very serious and earnest in their public and private admonitions of persons under Church censures;" and he ordered that "the presentments of every circuit may be laid before him before the censures are sent out." But it was all in vain, as the presentments became fewer, and the penalties inflicted fewer still and much lighter in character, seldom [208] exceeding an admonishment. This was partly due, doubtless, to the failing health of the bishop, but also to the spirit of the time.

To our brief survey of the administration of the discipline as it appears in the Records, we may add the evidence of a contemporary and alien witness,[note 35] who remarked that the laws were put into execution by the ecclesiastical courts with severity, and that the clergy held "a kind of tyrannical jurisdiction over the Manks people, in spite of the temporal power, which is continually endeavouring to abate the rigour of it, but in vain; for these spiritual masters are, in a manner, idolized by the natives; and they take care to maintain their authority by keeping the laity in the most miserable ignorance."[note 36] He also stated that the discipline was "perpetually dinn'd into the ears of the laity," that they were under "the indispensable obligation of submitting to it," and that "the abject creatures are drove to prison like sheep to a fold, and from thence to publick penance, as quietly as those beasts are to the slaughter; deterred, on the one hand, from murmuring by the threatenings of severer punishments; and persuaded, on the other, that patient submission to the inflictors is the supremest merit in the eyes of heaven."[note 37] He declared, too, that the methods taken by the Church to prevent fornication have not been successful, and that "the custom of purging or swearing innocence leads to perjury."[note 38]

[209] But it is not difficult to show that this indictment is an exaggeration, as, if the jurisdiction of the bishop and clergy had really been so tyrannical as he states, it would have alienated the people from them, whereas it is clear that the bishop, in particular, was most popular; and, as regards the statement that the people were kept in ignorance, it is sufficiently disposed of by referring to the account given of the bishop's constant endeavours to promote education by establishing schools and libraries in every parish.[note 39] Having thus seen how the Manx Church administered her discipline, as regards moral offences, under Bishop Wilson, let us inquire how she provided for the religious needs of the people, and compelled them to conform to her ordinances as to services, &c. On reference to the canons of February 1704,[note 40] we find that some of them regulated the services of the Church, especially Confirmation and the Holy Communion, thus:
"I. That when a Rector, Vicar, or Curate shall have any number of persons, under twenty, of his parish desirous and fit to be confirmed, he shall give the Lord Bishop notice thereof, and a list of their names, and shall suffer none to offer themselves but such as he has before instructed to answer in the necessary parts of Christian knowledge; and who, besides their Church Catechism, have learned such short prayers for morning and evening as shall be immediately provided for that purpose.
[210] "II. That no person shall be admitted to the Holy Sacrament till he has been first confirmed by the Bishop; or (in case of his Lordship's absence or indisposition), to bring a certificate from the Archdeacon, or Vicars-General, that he is duly qualified for confirmation.
"III. That no person be admitted to stand as godfather or godmother, or to enter into the holy state of Matrimony, till they have received the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; unless, being an orphan, there be a necessity for his speedy marriage; and this to be approved of and dispensed with by the Ordinary for a limited time, to fit himself for the Sacrament; and where any of them are of another parish, they are to bring a certificate from their proper Pastor.
"IV. That all children and servants unconfirmed, of such a division of the parish as the Minister shall appoint (which shall be at least one-fourth part thereof), shall constantly come to evening prayers, to be instructed in the principles of the Christian religion; at which time every Rector, Vicar, or Curate shall employ at least half-an-hour in their examination, and explaining some part of the Church Catechism; and that all parents and masters who shall be observed by their children's and servants' ignorance to be grossly wanting in their duty, in not teaching them this Catechism, shall be presented for every such neglect, and severely punished. And, to the end that this so necessary an institution may be religiously observed, every Minister shall always (by the assistance of the Churchwardens) keep a catalogue of such [211] persons as are not confirmed, and is hereby required to present those that are absent without urgent cause, who shall be fined twopence the first Sunday they omit to come, fourpence the second, and sixpence the third ; in which case the parents are to be answerable for their children, and masters for their servants; unless where it appears that the servants themselves are in the fault."

This duty of catechizing was not only inculcated in the canons, but was constantly referred to in the bishop's Convocation charges. As late as 1747, he insisted more strongly than ever "upon the duty and necessity of catechizing in the Church," which, he remarked, is "bound upon us as strictly as laws, and canons, and conscience can oblige any minister of God and, at the same time, he referred to the petty schools, which he had established in each parish, as the places where this good work should be carried on. He also thanked the clergy who had "broke through a bad custom of having the Lord's Supper administered in country parishes only three times a year," and called attention to the desirability of observing "the rubric which requires such as intend to receive to give in their frequent names the week before." Some years before this, he had issued an order to all the clergy to observe strictly the rubric for the office of Public Baptism, and to take care that the whole Morning or Evening Service be read "whenever any child shall be baptized on any other day besides Sundays or holy days, lest the Holy Sacra- [212] ment of Baptism degenerate into a formal ceremony."

Confirmation also received due attention, as, at Convocation in 1738, it was ordered "that the names of all persons confirmed shall for the future be recorded in the Church Registries." This was a matter of some importance, as no unconfirmed person could then be admitted to be married without special dispensation.

There were frequent regulations, too, for enforcing due attendance at church both on Sundays and Saints' days. Thus, at Convocation in 1716, it was ordered "that there be particular care taken that the parishioners duly attend evening prayer," and "that those families & other persons who are notorious for absenting from Divine Service on the Holy days and solemn Feasts of the Church be reproved by the rector or vicar. And if afterwards they continue obstinate, they are to be presented & censured." And, on a similar occasion, the following notice was issued:- "Forasmuch as a late indulgence in relation to holidays has been shamefully abused; it is ordered that for the future all the Festivals and solemn Feasts of the Church shall be religiously and strictly observed by all persons within this diocese, according to the ancient and laudable custom of this church, by attending God's public worship, and abstaining from work on those days." A very strong admonition was at the same time issued against fishing on Sunday. The clergy, too, had their share of admonition, as [213] the bishop commented on the negligence and irregularity of some of them reading "the service of the Church after an hasty, careless, and indecent manner," and on the "notorious indecency of the clerks hurrying the responses, and psalms, and hymns as fast as ever they can clatter them over," by which they lead the people into the same error." With reference to preaching, he made the following pregnant remarks: "As to sermons, I am confident that a good deal may be done towards hindering the growing sins of these times, if all the clergy would but seriously lay to heart the real and present necessities of their own people, and speak to them after a plain and affecting manner, and not make their sermons harangues and their own particular fancy." But many of his younger clergy were not capable of preaching, and so he ordered that "the curates of vacant livings, being deacons, shall for the future on the Lord's day at Morning Service plainly, distinctly, and audibly read one of the Homilies of the Church, standing in the reading desk." What the result of these regulations was, we learn from Bishop Hildesley, who wrote, in 1755: "Never did I see more justice done to our excellent Liturgy in any place than in the congregations of this Isle, whether it be in Manks or English, the responses were duly made, and the directions of the rubric punctually and regularly attended to, in kneeling and rising in proper time and place,"[note 41] and, in 1762, "the adult natives, to a man, I think I may say, are conformists of the established com- [214] munion of the Church of England; and so exact and punctual, for the most part, in their attendance on the public offices of divine worship, and especially at the sacrament (there being, no less than six hundred at the communion in a country parish church at Easter), that there is little or no occasion for presentments on this head."[note 42]

Another subject which received much attention from the bishop was that of parochial organization. Thus each rector or vicar was advised to keep books with "a particular register of every family in his parish, with the times he visited them, in what state he found them, and what hopes he had of reforming what he found amiss in them." As a further means of increasing their knowledge of their respective parishes, he promoted the observance of the old custom of perambulating the boundaries, and he provided them with a form of service to he read when doing so.[note 43] He also enjoined upon them the necessity of maintaining the churches, parsonages, schools, and parochial libraries in good order, and of attending to the regular keeping of the registers. Another notable point in Bishop Wilson's episcopate was his earnest care for the promotion of education ; and it is especially worthy of remark, that he made it compulsory, as appears from the following clause, which was among the canons which became law in 1704: "IX. For the promotion of religion, learning, and good manners, all persons shall be obliged to send their [215] children, as soon as they are capable of receiving instruction, to some petty school, and to continue them there until the said children can read English distinctly, unless the parents give a just cause to excuse themselves, approved of by the Ordinary in open court: And that such persons who shall neglect sending their children to be go taught shall be fined one shilling per quarter to the use of the school-master, who may refuse to teach those children who do not come constantly to school (unless for such causes as shall be approved of by the Minister of the parish), and their parents shall be fined as if they did altogether refuse to send them to school."

By the next clause, the schoolmasters received fees in addition to their salaries: "X. And for the further encouragement of the schoolmasters, they shall respectively receive, over and above the salaries already allowed them, sixpence quarterly from the parents of every child that shall be taught by them to read English, and ninepence quarterly from such as shall be taught to write; which sums being refused, the sumner shall be ordered to require punctual payment within fourteen days ; and upon default thereof they are to be committed till they submit to law." Two wise provisions follow : "XI. Notwithstanding, where the parents or relations are poor, and not able to pay as aforesaid, and this be certified by the Ministers and Churchwardens of the parish to the Ordinary, such children are to be taught gratis. XII. And whereas some of the poorer sort may have just cause, and their necessities require it, to keep their children at borne for several weeks in the summer and harvest; [216] such persons shall not be liable to the penalties aforesaid, provided they do send such children, during such absence from school, every third Sunday to the parish church, at least one hour before evening service, there to be taught by the schoolmaster, to prevent losing their learning : and if any schoolmaster shall neglect his duty, and complaint be made and proved, he shall be discharged, and another placed in his stead, at the discretion of the Ordinary: And every Rector, Vicar, or Curate shall the first week of every quarter visit the petty school, and take an account in a book of the improvement of every child, to be produced as often as the Ordinary shall call for it."[note 44]

In 1706, he was able to devote a considerable sum to educational purposes, as in that year he received orders from the trustees of the "Academic Fund," who then had more than £1200 in their hands, to invest £650 to increase the salary of the academic master at Castletown ; £250 for a grammar school in Douglas; and, with the remainder, to liquidate certain outstanding claims. This grammar school in Douglas, which had for long been greatly needed, as the population of that town was rapidly increasing, was placed under the charge of the chaplain of the new chapel dedicated to St. Matthew, which was built at that time. The academic school at Castletown was now established in the old chapel, the grammar school being carried on in the same building and under the same headmaster. The parochial schools, other than those which received the "Royal Bounty,"[note 45] also [217] gained considerable additions to their endowments, chiefly through the charity of Lady Elizabeth Hastings.[note 46] The bishop was thus enabled to relieve the clergy of their teaching duties by appointing masters or mistresses to take charge of the schools. These teachers were, in the terms of their licences, "to instruct the children in learning and good manners," to "be diligent in teaching them the Church Catechism and their prayers," and to "bring them up in the fear of God." But though the clergy were relieved of their teaching duties, they were still required to visit the schools frequently, and, at Michaelmas and Lady-day, to return to the bishop the number of scholars, the books they read, and their proficiency. More advanced education also benefited at this time by private benefaction. Thus, the grammar school at Peel, founded in 1746, was the gift of a private donor, who endowed it with a sum of £500, and appointed the bishop and twenty-four Keys trustees, so that, in the words of his will, "the income should be paid unto a proper school-master qualified to teach Latin, or such other learning as may fit youth for the service of the country in Church or in State."[note 47]

While thus providing for the young, the bishop did [218] not neglect the needs of those beyond school age. To this end, he carried out a project for founding public libraries in every parish and town throughout the island, and he tried to ensure their being cared for by obtaining an Act of Tinwald, which made the rectors and vicars of each parish accountable for the books in them.[note 48]

As a further means of educating and edifying his people, he published various religious books in the Manx language. The first of these was The Principles and Duties of Christianity; then followed A further Instruction for such as have Learned the Church Catechism, and plain short Directions and Prayers; A Short and Plain Instruction for the better understanding of the Lord's Supper, and The Gospel of St. Matthew. This last is said to have been translated by him and his vicars-general when confined in Castle Rushen in 1722,[note 49] but it was not published till 1748. Before his death, the Gospels of SS. Mark, Luke, and John, and the Acts of the Apostles were translated, though not published. It certainly seems strange that, with all his zeal, not only for the education but also for the spiritual welfare of his flock, Bishop Wilson did not undertake the translation of the Bible and Prayer-book into Manx, especially as two-thirds of the people spoke no other language.[note 50]

[219] The next point we may notice is the energy in church building and restoration displayed during this period. Space will only permit us to note briefly what was done. Castletown Chapel in 1698, and St. John's chapel in 1704 were built mainly from the funds which had accumulated during the vacancy of the see. Lezayre church was also built in 1704, St. Catherine's chapel, Ballure, in 1706, and St. Matthew's Chapel, Douglas, in 1708. In 1710, "the bishop," in the words of the preamble of the Patrick Parish Church Act, "laying it seriously to Heart of what evils Consequence it has been that the Inhabitants of the Parish of St. Patrick's have for some ages past been destitute of a place of worship within the said parish, is resolved, God willing, to promote the Building of a new Parish Church."[note 51] It would appear that the old parish church, which had been in ruins for centuries before this time, is actually situate on Peel Island, which is remote from the greater part of the parish, and was then inaccessible, except at low water. This fact affords a significant commentary upon the state of neglect into which the churches throughout the island seem to have fallen before this [220] time. In 1717, an addition was made to Ballaugh church;[note 52] in 1733, a church was built at Lonan ; in 1745, a chapel was built near Ramsey on the site of Bishop Parre's old building; and, in 1747, Malew church was thoroughly repaired. In addition to this church building, rectory and vicarage houses were built or repaired in nearly every parish in the island. For it would appear by the "Glebe Houses" Act of 1734, that "several of the vicarages and one of the Rectorys now and for some ages past have not had Houses upon them . . . some others being in a Ruinous Condition."[note 53] It was, therefore, enacted that a rector or vicar building a house on his glebe land was to receive two-thirds of his expenditure from his successor, and the successor was to receive one-third of original expenditure from the next incumbent. Each incumbent was to be responsible to his successor for dilapidations. Several new glebes were added by the bishop's exertions.

The style of his church building is favourably criticized by a recent and capable critic, who says that he "quite caught the old spirit of Manx churches," and that "he was faithful to the type,[note 54] and preserved it, in all instances."[note 55]

[221] It should be recorded, that, on Bishop Wilson's arrival in the island, he found Bishop's Court for the most part in ruins, and its farm in a state of utter neglect. He rebuilt the house and planted numerous trees, which now add so greatly to the beauty of the grounds, while he improved the farm so successfully that it soon greatly increased in value.

Among other important questions which arose at this period was that of Church dues. Bishop Wilson, a strict upholder of the Church in all things, consistently insisted on the payment of her dues. Though corbes had not been regularly paid for some time past, he decided, at a Convocation held at Kirk Michael in 1712, that "Corse presents" were "due by the law . . . without controversie," the persons committed for not paying them having pleaded that they thought they were obsolete. It was ordered, at the same time, that the widows of the clergy should pay to their husbands' successors "ten shillings by way of corbes to be laid out for their use in books at the discretion of the Ordinary."[note 56]

At the same Convocation, it having been noticed that for five or six years past much of the land had been planted with potatoes, and so withdrawn (as was supposed) from being tithable,[note 57] an order was made that all persons should "give a just account and proportion of their potatoes [222] unto the rector, vicar, or proctor of their respective parishes, as of any other tithe growing or produced off or from the earth: the tithe-owners and agents to take care that no predjudice do accrue to the Church by their neglect in this matter." This decree was received quietly enough at the time, but more than a century later, as we shall see, it was a cause of considerable commotion. At this time, too, there arose a tithe question between the abbey tenants and the clergy. It would seem that no composition had been made in the Act of Settlement for the tithes of the abbey demesnes made over by Earl Charles, but that they were left to be paid in kind, which arrangement, the abbey tenants complained, put them in a worse position than the other tenants, and so some of them proposed "that the Clergy should take one-half the Lord's rent instead of full tithes." This was agreed to by the clergy, but only a portion of the tenants would pay in this way, while some continued to pay in kind, and the rest refused to pay at all. A good deal of trouble was thus caused for some time, but the malcontents gradually admitted the clergy's claim. There were also troubles with those who claimed to be free from tithe by prescription.[note 58] Another question, which had given trouble before this period, and was not to be settled for some time after it, was that of the tithe of fish. The fish when landed were divided into five portions, and then the proctor chose the clergy's share, which [223] was one-fifth. There were constant grumblings at this exaction, and numerous pleas for exemption on the score of prescription, but the clergy, nevertheless, continued to get the tithe, though it led to much ill-will between them and the fishermen. But in spite of these difficulties, the attitude of the people towards the Church, according to Bishop Wilson, was, on the whole, a very favourable one.

Let us now briefly inquire into the character and condition of, the clergy at this period. Something will have been learned about them from what has been already stated, and to this the testimony of Waldron, which applies to the period before 1730, and of Bishop Hildesley, who was probably better acquainted with the latter periocl, may be added. Waldron, whose account is, however, clearly much too unfavourable, considered them to be on the whole, very ignorant; he remarked that "they look and move and speak as if they knew themselves to be of a different species from their hearers," and he finally disposed of them by the comprehensive statement that they were "evil ministers";[note 60] while, though the clergy of Bishop Wilson's latter days were certainly inferior to those of his earlier, Bishop Hildesley spoke of tliem as "in general a very sensible, regular, decent set of men almost without exception."[note 61] Our own impression, derived from private letters of the time and from memoranda in the Records, is, that they were neither evil[note 62] nor, except in some cases [224] after 1736, ignorant. The two leading men amongst them, William Walker[note 63] (born 1679, died 1729) and Phillip Moore[note 64] (born 1705, died 1783), were able and well-educated men. The former was Bishop Wilson's chief companion and friend during the first part of his episcopate, and the latter held the same position during the last part of it.

As to the income of the clergy, the bishop wrote: "The livings are generally small. The two parsonages are indeed worth near sixty pounds a year, but the vicarages, the Royal Bounty included, are not worth above twenty-five pounds; with which, notwithstanding, the frugal clergy have maintained themselves, and sometimes pretty numerous families, very decently."[note 65]

The bishop's own income was less than £300 a year at his accession, but it improved so rapidly under his good management that thirty years later its amount was £400. It arose "from a demesne, some lands in lease, and appropriations, with the advowsons of Kirk Gerrnan, Kirk Braddan, Kirk Jurby, two-thirds of Kirk Patrick, and one-third of some of the other parishes."[note 66]

Various doctrinal questions arose during this period,[note 67] but a very brief survey will suffice them. In 1718, a complaint was made to the bishop that two of his clergy, William Ross [225] and Alexander Macon, masters of the Academy at Castletown, had "advanced some opinions which savour of Popery." He therefore required them to meet him and the rest of the clergy "at the Cathedral . . . to know what you have to say to this charge." They consequently prepared a written defence, after consideration of which, the bishop and clergy pronounced "that there is no reason, to us appearing or known, to charge them with Popery, or even of being Popishly affected." On this Keble comments that, "considering the defendants' position, one cannot doubt that in the main their teaching harmonized with Bishop Wilson's, and that he must be counted (so far) among the most exclusive of 'High Churchmen' of the day."[note 68]

This view receives some confirmation from Waldron's complaint of the toleration of "Papists" by the bishop and clergy, and from his statement that the chief subject of their sermons was "the power of the Priesthood and the discipline of the Church."[note 69] This power, he, remarked, "is indeed their corner-stone, the foundation on which the stupendous structure is erected to such gigantic and formidable heighth, most certainly framed after the model set before them by their grand masters the Romish clergy."[note 70]

It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to mention that the Bishop held the strongest views against anything that savoured of free-thinking. As instances of this we may quote his denunciation of a book of this tendency, called [226] The Independent Whig, which had been introduced into his diocese, as "most pestilent" ; his speaking of the "spirit of profaneness, libertinism, and heresy" that was abroad, and his warning his clergy that there never was more need than now of taking "heed to ourselves and to the flock over which the Holy Ghost has made us overseers."

We may note that Bishop Wilson provided special prayers from time to time, as the occasion arose. One of these occasions was during the wet harvest of 1708, which, in the bishop's words, "may too likely be attended with sickness and scarcity of bread unless God in mercy hinder it." He therefore issued a suitable form of prayer to be used, "until it shall please God to send us more seasonable weather." Not only did he thus provide prayers for special occasions, but for special needs. The most interesting of these is the "Form of Prayer to be used by those clergy who attend the Boats in the Herring-Fishery"; and he also ordered the following petition. to be inserted "in the publick services of the Church,[note 71] viz. "That it may please Thee to give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth, and to restore and continue to us the Blessings of the Seas, so as in due time we may enjoy them." The expression "restore and continue" refers to the comparative failure of the annual shoal of herrings, which had been a trouble to the island for many seasons. The old custom of the clergy attending the boats of the herring-fleet every evening before they put out to sea, to pray with the fishermen and so to let them start [227] with a blessing, was, at the same time, ordered to be continued. He also drew up forms for consecrating churches, chapels, and churchyards,[note 72] for receiving penitents and excommunicated persons back into the Church, and for a service to be read when perambulating parish boundaries; and he composed a prayer for persons performing penance.

Having, thus completed our survey of the period which bears Bishop Wilson's name, let us now briefly touch upon the character of this good man himself, as shown in his life and works. To do this adequately is beyond our powers, so we will confine ourselves to giving the testimony of others, so that from them, and from the account of his episcopate in the preceding pages, our readers may be able to form their own estimate. His contemporary, Waldron, could not withhold from "the amiable qualities which adorn the character" of the bishop their due meed of praise, stating that he was in his own nature what our blessed Saviour recommends, mild, humble, tender, compassionate and forgiving; " and concluding that "the abundant charities he bestows, and which are too well known not to have reached wherever this treatise will arrive, are better testimonials of him than the words of any author."[note 73]

His charities were indeed extraordinary. As early as 1693, he dedicated one-fifth of his income "for pious uses and particularly for ye poor."[note 74] After he [228] came to Man, he rapidly increased this proportion till at length he gave away more than half his income. Our next evidence about him is from the Rev. Philip Moore, who knew him intimately, and wrote: "He was an honour to humanity, and added dignity to the nature of man. He gave the world a living example of the divine power and efficacy of Christianity, of which his whole life was a most lively transcript. He was a person whose integrity was inflexible, his holiness pure, and his piety fervent; of admirable probity and simplicity of manners; of a most engaging behaviour, affability, and sweetness of temper. His piety, beneficence, and charity will be remembered and recorded by the people of this Isle, with gratitude and affection, to the remotest generations. In his private conversation he was agreeable and entertaining, lively and facetious without levity; and always consistent with the dignity of his character; never at a loss for something pertinent and proper to illustrate his discourse; on these occasions nothing ever proceeded from his mouth but what was good, to the use of edifying, and ministered not only grace, but also pleasure and delight to the hearers."[note 75]

Then, in order of date, comes the evidence of Butler, Bishop Hildesley's biographer, who said: "He was eminently distinguished for the great sanctity and rectitude of his life, no less than for his benevolence, hospitality, and unremitting attention to the wants and happiness of the people entrusted to his guardian care. He encouraged agriculture . . . established schools . . . and founded parochial libraries. . . [229] His virtues were, in short, so numerous, so amply displayed, that he approved himself in every sense an inestimable blessing to the Isle of Mann, and an ornament to human nature. Venerable in his aspect, meek in all his department, his face illumined with true Christian mildness, and his heart glowing with godlike philanthropy, he went about, like his Divine Master, doing good."[note 76]

As to his literary work, we have the following evidence from competent observers, "His sermons are the affectionate addresses of a parent to his children; descending to the minutest particulars, and adapted to all their wants."[note 77] "His writings," says Dr. Beattie, "are an inexhaustible as well as an inestimable treasure of virtue and piety. When I think of what he has done, as well as what he has written, I am struck with astonishment and rapture; for I cannot help considering him one of the greatest and best characters that has done honour to human nature since the apostolick age."[note 78] "To think on Bishop Wilson with veneration is only," says Dr. Johnson, "to agree with the whole Christian world. I hope to look into his books with other purposes than those of criticism; and, after their perusal, not only to write, but to live better."[note 79]

That he is still appreciated in the present century, the following will show: "Bishop Thomas Wilson is a great name in modern religious history. Even fifty years ago his books were favourite devotional reading with religious people; but he belongs to [230] the days of grave piety and subdued enthusiasm, and distrust of all that is showy, or venturesome, or romantic in religion. There is nothing in him but what is plain, direct, homely, for the most part prosaic; all is sober, unstrained, rational, severely chastened in style and language . . . As he wrote so he lived, simply, resolutely, with single and dauntless heart; 'a burning and shining light' - 'burning, indeed, and shining,' as has been said, 'like the Baptist in an evil time, he seemed as if a beacon lighted on his small island, to show what his Lord and Saviour could do in spite of man, how He could at will make for Himself a dwelling-place upon the waves and a garden in the barren sea.'"[note 80]

Bishop Wilson died on March 7, 1755, in the ninety-third year of his age, and the fifty-eighth of his consecration, and was buried at Kirk Michael.


Notes

1. Cruttwell, Stowell, and Keble. From the two volumes written by the latter, and published by the Parker Society, much of the information given in this chapter is derived, and is frequently quoted without reference. The writer has, however, also referred to the insular ecclesiastical records during this period, but has found very little that Keble does not mention.

2. See ch.v, pp.120-123, and 148-150, and ch.vi, pp.171-4. The truth of this statement can, however, be only fully appreciated by any one who has carefully studied the ecclesiastical records.

3. According to Waldron (Manx Soc., vol. ii p.26), "long and uninterrupted custom has made the spiritual court of such an arbitrary authority, that should he (the bishop) derogate from it, he would be in great danger of public opposition as well as private hatred from the whole body of the inferior clergy; he may therefore be said rather to comply with it than approve of it."

4. Statutes, pp.155-9.

5. Statutes, p.155.

6. Lord Chancellor King was so pleased with these constitutions, that he said, "If the ancient discipline of the Church were lost it might be found in all purity in the Isle of Man."

7. Statutes, pp.159, 160.

8. This had already been prohibited by the Act of 1691 (see p.171).

9. See pp.108-9.

10. As proof of this, we may note that all appeals from the Church Courts to the Staff of Government had been dismissed, and that a receiver-general who had been accused of embezzlement and perjury was handed over to the Church to be tried for the latter offence.

11. The governor based his opinion upon the letter of Edward Fletcher in 1627, and the agreement of the vicars-general with it, while the bishop relied on the Act of 1542, Earl James's letter of 1628, and the ordinance of 1636. See ch.v., pp.99, 123-6.

12. The principal case alleged was that of Bridson, Vicar of Marown, who had been suspended by the vicars-general for calumny against the bishop.

13. The last Convocation had been in August instead of at Whitsuntide.

14. This refers to the question of the jurisdiction over the garrison, and especially to Horrobin's case. See p.196.

15. Note by Bishop Wilson in episcopal register.

16. This seems to have been a sort of standing court-martial.

17. He appears to have said that "great and good actions, wherever found, were sufficient to obtain the rewards of another life," and that "a man may be saved in any religion if he live well " (see Keble, pp.425-6).

18. See p.123.

19. It would seem that the recent practice, if not the ecclesiastical law, as regards exemption front Church censures was in accordance with the governor's view, though the general practice, during the seventeenth century at least, told in the bishop's favour.

20. The window of his cell, from which lie is said to have given his blessing to the people who flocked from all parts of the island to receive it, is shown to this day. It was usual, as noted by Bishop Hildesley, for the people "upon meeting their diocesan to kneel down on one knee and ask his blessing." (Memoirs, p.98).

21. Keble, p.519.

22. Stowell, Life of Bishop Wilson, p.177.

23. Ecclesiastical records.

24. See p.193.

25. Bishop Wilson's letter (MS.).

26. Keble, p.673-4.

27. Only one case is on record before 1727 of this officer being appointed by the lord (see pp.126-7), but after that date he was invariably appointed by him. (See Keble, pp.697-702.)

28. It is not known whether it was presented or not.

29. This can only refer to the laws of 1667, not those of 1610.

30. See Folklore of the Isle of Man, p.121.

31. Quoted by Keble, p.773.

32. Statutes, pp.212-25.

33. In 1748 a new scale of fees for spiritual officers was fixed. See Statutes, p.253.

34. See pp.159-60.

35. George Waldron, who was employed by the British Government to report on the import and export trade, and who wrote between 1710 and 1730.

36. Manx Soc., vol.xi p.19.

37. Ibid. p.21.

38. Ibid. p.22.

39. See pp.216-17.

40. Statutes, pp.155-6.

41. Manx Church Magazine, p.cxiv.

42. Memoirs, p.419.

43. See Folklore of the Isle of Man, pp.114-117.

44. Statutes, p.158.

45. See p.164.

46. These schools now get about £4 4s. each annually. For full particulars see Isle of Man Charities, pp. 40-2. See the same for other charitable bequests among which the most valuable was the clergy's "Widows and Orphans Fund," initiated in 1730, at the suggestion of Dr. Thomas Wilson, the bishop's son (pp.45-50).

47. Isle of Man Charities, pp.63, 69.

48. Statutes, p.208.

49. Hildesley's Memoirs, p.42.

50. Bishop Hildesley wrote of this educational system, etc., as follows: " Every parish has a petty schoolmaster or mistress to teach the Bible and Church Catechism and private prayers in English, and no master or mistress is allowed to teach without the Bishop's licence or appointment, or receive their salary without a certificate from the ministers of respective parishes, who are obliged to visit the school for that purpose, to see whether they do their duty." As to the language: "What is very remarkable, there is no grammar, or any other book in the Manx tongue, excepting the Gospel of St. Matthew, and some few translations of the Catechism. All are taught to read English, and scarce write any other, and yet both clergy and laity are extremely tenacious of their own language. If you ask how they perform the service and preach in Manx, I believe chiefly by translating it from the English before them, which by habit and pains they have acquired a readiness in" (Manx Church Magazine, p.cxiv).

51. Statutes, p.183-6.

52. See p.50.

53. Statutes, p.208. This was repealed by the "Ecclesiastical Residences and Dilapidations" Act, 1879, by which money may be borrowed by incumbents to improve their residences. This money to be paid off in thirty years, and the apportionment of payment between an outgoing incumbent and his successor to be "in such proportions as they shall he respectively entitled to receive the profits of the benefice for the year in which such avoidance may happen."

54. See p.50.

55. Neale, p. 34

56. Repealed by "Glebe Houses" Act of 1734, which did away with corbes payable to the clergy from their predecessors (Statutes, p.209).

57. Only what was cut from the ground being, according to an old customary law, tithable.

58. A notable case of a surrender of a tithe held by prescription in 1715 is recorded in the Manx Church Magazine, p.cxix.

59. Manx Soc., vol.xviii p.98.

60. Ibid., vol.xi p.21.

61. Memoirs, p. 419.

62. With one or two notorious exceptions.

63. For brief biography see Manx Note-Book, vol.1 pp.90-97.

64. Ibid., vol.i pp.136-141, and vol.ii pp.31-6.

65. Wilson, Manx Soc., vol.xviii, p.111.

66. Browne Willis, Manx Soc., vol.xviii p.130.

67. See also Horrobin's case, p.196.

68. Keble, p.387.

69. Manx Soc., vol.xi p.22.

70. But this account is probably an exaggerated one.

71. I.e. in the Litany.

72. Cruttwell, vol.i, pp.cxliii-cxlvi.

73. Manx Soc., vol.xi p.26.

74. Keble, p.63.

75. Cruttwell, pp.xviv-v.

76. Memoirs, p. 15.

77. Ibid., p. 314 (Bishop Horne).

78. Ibid., pp. 314-5.

79. Ibid. p. 315.

80. Preface to Sacra Privata, Oxford, 1838, signed I.H.N. Dean Church, The Discipline of the Christian Character, pp.132-5. London: Macmillan and Co.