This account of the Tynwald ceremony of 1691, at which the 9th Earl of Derby presided as Lord of Mann, was found amongst the papers of the Kenyon family of Gredington Hall in Lancashire. Roger Kenyon was Governor of the Isle of Man from 1690 – 1693.
About seven of the clock in the morning, all persons who are to attend his Lordshipp from Castle Rushen to the Tinwall, to wit, the Governour, with his staffe of authority, all the officers and Lords Council (except such as are military and except the Deemsters and twenty fower Keys, who are to go before to the Tinwall and attend there the Lord of Man’s coming), all knights, gentlemen of quality, strangers and natives.
At half an hour past seven of the clock, the bell rings for half a quarter of an hour; which done, the Constable of that Castle, with the other officers of that Castle, go forth of the Hall to the gates there, to order the ground, and to doe their obeysance at his Lordshipp’s passing by.
When the Governour hath notice that the guards are so sett, and his Lordship’s horses and all things in readiness, he acquaints his Lordshipp therewith, who thereupon arises and commands the Governour, with his staffe, to goe, which he doth, walking barehead before him.
Then follows my Lord, and after him all the best gentlemen of quality that are strangers, and alsoe his Lordship’s chief servants, etc.
When his Lordship is come out of the gate, the groomes stand ready with their horses, and whilst the Lord, the Governour, the persons of quality, etc. are mounting, the Constable of the Castle, with his guards, march forwards with his Lordship’s musick playing before them; and when all are on horseback, then the Comptroller on the right hand, and the Steward of the Household on his left hand, rideing bare before the Governour. Then comes the Governour, allsoe riding bare before his Lordship, thorrow the towne, with his staff in his hand. Then the guards march, the musick playeing before them, thorrow the towne, all the best gentlemen of quality that are strangers, two by two, following next after his Lordship and, in like manner, his Lordship’s chiefe servants and after them the meaner persons accordingly.
When his Lordship is about the middle of the town, the great guns from the Castle goe off, five at the least; and haveing marched thorrow the town, those footguards and musick take horse and attend his Lordship, with the rest, to the Tinwall. When in this order they have passed the town the Governour, etc. ride covered till they come to the Tinwall field, where his Lordship’s guards, consisting of a thousand firelocks, are posted in great ordre.
His Lordship, after he hath taken a view of them, passeth thorrow them on horseback, and in that passage is decently saluted by all the military officers commanding those guards.
And thus his Lordship, the Governour, and persons of quality etc., with him, ride on till they meet the Bishop and clergy, the Deemsters and the twenty fower Keys of the Island; the Clergy on the right hand, the others on the left.
Then his Lordship alighteth, the Bishop, or in his absence the Archdeacon, or in his absence the Vicar-General, holding the right styrrup, accordeing to the ancient custome. When his Lordship hath saluted them all, they march; that is to say, the fower and twenty, in decent coates, and the Deemsters after them, in gownes, the Clergy in their habitts, and the Bishop after them.
Then the Governour, my Lord, and after him all the gentry, passing thorrow a guard, to witt, of Peel garrison, on one hand, and the garrison of Castle Rushen on the other hand, which make a lane to the church door. My Lord, being thus conducted, goes up into a chaire provided for that day, and then hears a sermon.
The sermon ended, all goe forth of the church but my Lord, the Governour, the Lower Council, the Deemsters and twenty fower Keys, the Secretarys, Clerke of the Rolls, and such as the Lord will comand to stay.
If his Lordshipp have anything to propound to the country, he moves it to the Deemster and fower and twenty, who debateing the matter, do agree therewith, or give his Lordshipp satisfaction, by their sufficient reasons to the contrary.
And if the Deemsters and fower and twenty have any request with his Lordshipp, they move it themselves, in an humble manner. If my Lord approve thereof, he commands it to be inserted in the Statute Book, where it is mentioned as an humble request of the Deemsters and the fower and twenty, on behalf of the country, setting all their names unto the same, as also the Governour and all the Lord’s Council subscribe; then my Lord confirms the same with his own subscription, under these words “Be it enacted as it is desired”; but if his Lordshipp like not the motion, then he tells them that he will take it into consideration against another time.
Note – that when his Lordshipp intends to propound something that day, which he conceives may probably find some opposition, or require some long debate, to prevent an inconveniency, his Lordshipp appoints a meeting some day the week before, where all things are well weighed and considered, to the contentment of all parties.
When there is no more for his Lordship and the rest to doe of themselves, his Lordship sends one of the Deemsters forth of the Church into the field, where the said Deemster comands the cryer to proclaim that if anyone have complaint to make, thoe it be against any of the officers, or any request by petition, or difference between party and party, he, or they, whoever they be, may come into the Church and be heard, and his Lordship will take order that right shall be done, according to justice and the lawes of the land.
Then such as have any business, present themselves before the table humbly, on their knees, and deliver their petition to the Comptroller, who is there ready to receive the same and to read, when the Lord commands him; which being done, the Lord heares the matter, if he please, or appoints another day.
All this being done, one goeth forth to cause the drums to beat; then the people gather together expecting his Lordshipp’s coming forth; the soldiers stand to their arms, and then the Bishop and clergy come into the church; then the fower and twenty march, two in a brest, thorrow the guards up to the Tinwald hill, the Deemsters following them, then the Clergy, Bishop, etc., as before, two and two.
The officers follow his Lordshipp, soe doe the gentlemen strangers and others, the Bishop and clergy on the right hand, the Deemsters and fower and twenty, on the left, standing bare, make a lane for his Lordshipp to goe betwixt them up the degrees to the top of the hill where, when his Lordshipp is arrived, he sits in a chair of state, with his face towards the East, the Governour standing or sitting on my Lord’s right and the Bishop on the left, the sword of state holden before his Lordshipp with the point upward, by whom his Lordshipp thinks fit to honour therewith. The gentlemen strangers stand or sit behind his Lordshipp, the Deemsters and officers stand one degree below the Governour; the guards (to witt of the two garrisons) stand at the foot of the hill, with matches lighted, bullets in their mouths, etc. Then the people draw nigh to understand what is said unto them.
The first business on the hill is that the six Coroners or Sheriffs present themselves before his Lordshipp, with white rods in their hands, which were given to them at the late Tinwall, as markes of their office, to continue from that time for one year. They are to come one after another, on their knees before his Lordshipp, presenting their staves, which he receives and (haveing been but lately elected and sworn, and recommended unto him as able and honest men) he returns them their staves, being satisfyed that they are fitt persons for such a place of creditt, advantage and trust. My lord, haveing a note of their names, and haveing commanded the Deemster to call them in order, he restores them their white rods, and each Coroner, as he receives the same on his knees, bowes towards his Lordship’s feet, riseth, maketh his reverence as he retires to one side, his face still towards my Lord; and, in like manner, all the rest.
After this, if any new law be made, or old altered, it is proclaimed by the cryer, in Manckes, being read and dictated to him by the eldest Deemster.
In conclusion, the Lord commands the cryer to let the people know (in Manckes) that his Lordshipp continues his love unto them and his care for them, and prayes God to bless them.
So commonly they crye aloud “God bless his Lordshipp and all his”, and with a great huzzah and shout, concludes the business of that day.